The term dry bath is meant to distinguish from other methods of heating through a liquid medium. The laboratory dry bath is used to thaw, boil, incubate and warm samples for use in molecular biology, assay preparation, tissue/cell culture, biochemistry, genetics and proteomics.
Today's modern dry bath is equipped with microprocessors and digital display which make it easy to set and confirm temperatures.
For the utmost in precision, it is recommended that the user purchase a temperature probe or external thermometer since the digital reading only reports the temperature of the block and not the liquid being heated.
While dry baths have typically been used for just heating, a newer series sport compressors which allow for cooling several degrees below ambient (room temperature).
Also, look for dry bath inserts from Lab Armor to accommodate labs that wish to use milled aluminum beads in place of the standard bath block.