Selecting a Vacuum Pump

Rotary Vane Vacuum Pump, 8.0 CFM, 115/220 VAC, 2 Stage

Rotary Vane Vacuum Pump, 8.0 CFM, 115/220 VAC, 2 Stage

When choosing a vacuum pump, first determine the level of vacuum/pressure required.

  • Laboratory/Filtration Vacuum pumps are general and specific purpose pumps for applications in the laboratory or anywhere a low vacuum is needed. Most laboratory/filtration pumps have vacuum and pressure capabilities.
  • Rough Vacuum pumps supply vacuum for laboratory and industrial applications requiring a level of vacuum less than 10–3 Torr.
  • High Vacuum pumps are used in many applications requiring vacuums higher than 10–3 Torr.

Second, determine the free air capacity—the larger the free air capacity, the faster it will evacuate the chamber. Finally, consider whether you need a lubricated or non-lubricated pump.

Lubricated pumps provide higher capacities, higher vacuum levels, and lower noise, but can contaminate the system being evacuated and require more maintenance. Select a non-lubricated pump for vacuum in a clean system and low maintenance.

Vacuum Pump Types

Dry Pumps (non-lubricated) provide a clean vacuum over the entire vacuum range. They require little maintenance and don’t generate any waste materials. However, dry pumps have a higher initial cost. Common dry pumps include diaphragm, piston, scroll, and turbomolecular pumps.

Water-Based Pumps provide a rough vacuum at low initial cost with minimum maintenance.

These pumps are corrosion resistant. However, they are not suitable for water vapor sensitive systems. The disposal of contaminated water is another concern with these pumps. Common water-based pumps include water aspirator pumps.

Oil-Lubricated Pumps provide high pumping speeds and a wide range of ultimate vacuum at a reasonable price. However, the pumps require routine maintenance and oil changes. The oil may contaminate your vacuum. The pumps also require inlet and outlet filters to protect the pump and the environment. Common oil-lubricated pumps include rotary vane pumps and gear pumps.

Accessories are an important part of every pumping system. An inlet filter protects your pump from dust and contamination. When using an oil-lubricated pump, an exhaust filter keeps your work area free of oil mist. Traps prevent condensable vapors from damaging the inside of your pump. Regulators are often used with vacuum or pressure gauges to control system pressure.

View our selection of vacuum pumps.

2 Comments on "Selecting a Vacuum Pump"

  1. Having never purchased a vacuum pump before, I found this post to be very helpful. I appreciate how you outlined each type of pump and their uses in a concise way. I’ll need to compare this guide with my situation to see which pump would work best. Thanks for the helpful post.

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