Comparing Refrigerated and BOD Incubators


In grad school, it is essential to choose the right lab. This decision can profoundly impact your time and your future lab life. When comparing incubators, it is crucial to consider size, temperature range, humidity controls, energy efficiency, and more. The right incubator will provide you with an optimal microbial culture environment, enabling your research to advance.


Whether you need a refrigerator or a freezer for your lab, the first step is to figure out how much space you have. This will help you to determine what size model is suitable for you. A refrigerator is an excellent option for storing biological samples, ice packs, or other items that must be kept at a specific temperature. Typically, they are used in research laboratories and medical clinics. A refrigerated incubator is a particular type of incubator that produces a temperature limit between 5degC to 60degC or includes cooling and heating capacities under one unit. It is commonly used for microbiology laboratories, including fungal growth and cell culture, BOD test, fermentation, agriculture and physiology, and many pharmaceutical assays.

Temperature Range

A refrigerated incubator will hold temperatures below ambient to about 20degC, where samples must be tested for Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD). They are often used for water quality testing and studying microorganisms in the laboratory. Refrigerated incubators can keep their temperature at these low levels for extended periods, which is essential when testing water in a BOD incubator. They also are used in a wide range of other applications, including preserving vaccines and biologicals, incubating bacterial cultures, and determining the biochemical oxygen demand of the sewage. These models meet APHA specifications for BOD testing and include a mechanical convection system to ensure even air distribution, an overload-protected refrigeration system, a digital temperature set controller, safety high/low alarms, and more. An electrical outlet allows small laboratory equipment to be operated inside the chamber. Stackable and available in various sizes, these units are ideal for multiple laboratory applications.

Humidity Controls

Humidity controls are available for a refrigerator that can help you maintain a constant humidity level within the unit. This helps ensure that your fruits and vegetables stay fresher longer, and it can even prevent certain produce from rotting prematurely when ethylene is released from the air. For example, some fresh foods like tomatoes, bananas, and pears can give off ethylene gas, speeding up the ripening process. Placing these fruits in a separate drawer can create a high-humidity area that traps the ethylene and keeps the other products in the fridge from getting spoiled. Maintaining a consistent humidity level is essential to function in any laboratory properly. It preserves the source materials and bacteria being examined, ensuring that data is unbiased and reliable. It also safeguards lab operations by reducing the overall energy consumption of the entire facility. This allows laboratories to remain competitive and preserve funding.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is essential to laboratory sustainability and one of the best ways to reduce your lab’s energy consumption. Small energy savings add up quickly and can significantly impact your budget. ENERGY STAR branded equipment will include advanced technologies such as microprocessor temperature control and defrost sensors, more efficient high-capacity air circulation systems, innovative refrigerants, and more. These technologies can be easily implemented into your lab, helping lower costs and improve energy efficiency in various application areas. Refrigerated incubators are equipped with Peltier technology to reach and maintain precise ambient temperatures, reducing energy consumption by up to six times compared to comparable compressor-cooled incubators. They also contain no hazardous refrigerants, making them an excellent choice for an environmentally conscious lab.