How do you determine the right oven for your lab and applications?
With so many lab ovens in the marketplace, how to you find the ideal one for your needs? Here are some tips to help you:
1. Select an oven type based on your application.
Mechanical convection drying oven
Designed with a motor and fan to circulate the air around for even heating and faster drying time—appropriate for drying and heating samples that require a higher level of accuracy, multiple samples and high moisture content.
- General heating – baking, heating, and drying glassware and rubber
- Complex heating – asphalt testing, conditioning, digestion of proteins and starches, drug metabolism, electronic burn in, epoxy and plastic curing, serum protein analysis, stability and QC batch testing, sterilization, suspended solids evaluation and vulcanization studies.
Gravity convection drying oven
Ensures gentle, natural, air circulation of warm air moving upwards without a fan — ideal for sterilization, drying, and other applications requiring subtle air flow.
- Use when a powder or substance would be disturbed by a fan-generated airflow.
- Ideal for simple heating such as baking, drying, conditioning, pre-heating, aging and curing.
Creates a vacuum to remove moisture from a sample faster than if using ambient temperature. Ideal for carefully controlled processes such as desiccating, vacuum embedding, plating, and semiconductor processing.
- Heating in an oxygen-free atmosphere to prevent corroding or scaling the samples.
- Desiccating, low-temperature drying, aging tests, moisture determination, and chemical resistance studies.
- Great for pharma/food drying and electronics
Botanical vacuum oven
Provides a higher vacuum to extract faster and safer. Ideal for botanicals and cannabis applications.
2. Match the oven size to your materials.
Select and oven where the size is neither too small nor too big. Consider the size of your samples and how many you need to place into the oven at one time. Selecting one that is small may fit in your space but not fit your samples. Getting the largest oven when you don’t need it will take up too much energy and you will lose cost efficiency.
3. Get an oven with your required temperatures.
Maximum oven temperatures range from the hundreds to thousands of degrees. Select the oven temperature on your materials’ required temperatures. As with the size, you don’t want to select one that has a higher temperature range if you don’t need it. You will be wasting money and energy.
4. Select ovens with optimal thermal insulation.
Laboratory ovens often run for long periods of time and at high temperatures which will consume a lot of electricity. Select ovens with optimal thermal insulation to reduce thermal transfer rates. This will prevent the generated heat from leaking out of the chamber to minimize wasted energy and save in energy costs.
5. Look for an oven that is easy to clean and maintain.
It is important to be able to clean and maintain your oven. Failure to do so can disrupt the lab from moving your science forward. Look for an oven that has rounded corners for easy cleaning, and stainless steel parts and interiors for longer oven lifetime. Also, look for trays and shelves that you can quickly remove and a larger door that allows you to access the inside of oven when you need to clean it. Spills happen.
6. Ensure the oven you choose has reliable safety features.
Prevent fires and protect your valuable samples from overheating. Select an oven with a built-in overtemperature thermostat, so the oven shuts off if the temperature goes beyond the set temperature. Other features to consider include a temperature deviation alarm, overcurrent protection, and auto-start after power loss/return.