Introduction

The function of a laboratory water bath is to heat containers used in biomedical or pharmaceutical tests at relatively low temperatures. The heating bath works on the principle of electrical resistors raising the temperature of the liquid (water or oil) used in turn to heat the specimens. Maintenance of water baths is important and when considering buying, you should take into account the following specifications:

Material – Generally stainless steel for cleanliness and prevention of rust Coating – A high quality epoxy powder coat finish will guard against chipping to the container and is easy to clean Heating elements – Recessed and out of the way so you don’t have to come into contact with them

Most importantly, water baths need to be low-maintenance and reliable to ensure trouble-free operation.

There is a great range of laboratory baths on Amazon right now and the following guide will help you decide what one is best for you.

(If  you fancy having a go at making a DIY water bath, full instructions can be found here)

#5 JULABO SW22 digital Shaking Water Bath

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Julabo is one of the leading digital water bath manufacturers and the SW22 shaking water bath is right up near the top of the range of this category. If you are looking for the best available and are prepared to pay a bit extra, then this is definitely the choice for you. Whether you need a high quality water bath for the laboratory, dental practise or in an industrial material testing application or a full range of other uses you will find that this kit will carry out the job efficiently and accurately. Temperature is is controlled by the latest microprocessor technology and the LED display shows up to four values. Keyboard selected PID temperature control to within 0.2°C ensures stable heat across the range of applications.

 

#4 Thomas WA2SG11B Analog Water Bath

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With the emphasis on economy and reliabilty, the Thomas water bath uses analog controls rather than digital but still produce the versatile control required for all general applications and are more than adequate for most general laboratory purposes. Temperature control is stable and consistent over a range from 5 to 100 degrees C and the analog controller gives better stability and precision than most of their digital counterparts at +-0.25 degrees C. Safety is provided by a protective thermostat which cuts out the bath on over-temperature or in the event of low water in the reservoir. Capacity of the unit is 2 liter and a raised lid design allows a variety of sample bottles to be accommodated with ease.

 

#3 Benchmark Scientific BSH1004, Digital Dry Bath

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Although this section of our reviews is mainly concerned with digital water baths, there are other alternatives that might be worth you considering. For example the Benchmark Scientific BSH-1004 4-Position Block Digital Dry Bath is a very compact unit for the precise and even heating of tubes. The BSH-1004 uses Benchmark dry blocks which can take up to 96 tubes at a time in a footprint area of less than a square foot. The precision machined blocks are designed to fit exactly round the tubes for maximum efficiency and highly accurate digital temperature control. Supplied with a special block remover tool for ease of block removal and exchange, even under full heating conditions. Tube sizes accommodated are 0.5, 1.5, 2.0, 15 and 50 ml.

 

#2 Premiere HH-4 Digital Water Bath, 4 Wells Capacity

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The Premiere HH-4 Digital Water Bath might not be the most sophisticated piece of equipment on the market but there is no doubt that represents terrific value for money and is perfect for most general use. Temperature is controlled digitally and a good level of precision is achieved from the controls so you can be confident that your work is always carried out in a consistent temperature environment. Ideal for working with drugs, chemicals and biological products the Premiere HH-4 can be used for drying, distilling, drying, soaking and condensing of the specimens. Construction of the waterbath is stainless steel – the best available for rust prevention and cleaning.

 

#1 Edvotek 539 Stainless Steel Digital Waterbath, 1.8L Capacity, Ambient to 95 Degree C

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For great performance at a price that is excellent value, the Edvotek 539 Stainless Steel Digital Waterbath is a great piece of kit to consider and is our No.1 choice. This digital water bath has been improved and enhanced in a new design to bring better performance but still at an affordable price. Main upgrades include digital temperature control to maintain the chamber, accurate to within +/- 0.5 degrees C and a redesigned deeper chamber to give more capacity and hold more flasks and bottles. Also added is a low water level sensor which will cut off power and prevent the unit burning out in the event of loss of water. The stainless steel chamber provides easy cleaning as well as good corrosion resistance.

Introduction

Scales are instruments used for measuring weight, whilst balances are used to measure an object’s mass. The main difference is in accuracy, balances are more precise than scales and analytical balances can measure highly accurately to 0.0001g in lab conditions. There are many different uses for scales and balances and each application has a type of scales best suited to it, this review concentrates on use in labs and small industrial premises. They range from very cheap handheld models right up to highly accurate state of the art machines with outputs to computer software. The measurement technique also varies widely depending on the use, from balance beams and springs to highly sophisticated electronics.

The following are the top 5 best scales and balances available to buy on Amazon in 2014:

Starting with #5…

#5 Adam Equipment HCB Highland Portable Precision Balance

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First up we feature the Highland HCB range of precision balances from Adam Equipment which offers high precision without a premium price to match it. These are available in a wide range of sizes, from the HCB 123 with its 120g capacity and a readability of 0.001g, up to the HCB 3001 which has a capacity of 3000g and 0.1g readability. This conventional balance has a two second settling time giving less unproductive time and an automatic internal calibration system. Backlit digital LCD display makes it readable in all conditions. A hook is suspended below the HCB to suspend items that are too bulky for the 120mm stainless steel plate. To prevent accidental damage to the weighing cell and balance from over weight samples, an overload protection is also built in. Data can be transferred easily to printers and computers though the RS232 and USB slots. Mains AC or battery powered through an integrated rechargeable battery (up to 24 hour use). ABS plastic housing. Built-in security slot. Accessories available include: ATP Thermal Printer, Adam Data Collection Program, RS-232 to PC cable, USB cable.

 

#4 Ohaus 8004-PN Pull Type Spring Scale, 4.5lb/20N Capacity, 1lb/0.5N Readability

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Our next choice is the Ohaus 8004-PN pull-type spring scale, which If you are looking for ease of use at a rock-bottom price, combined with excellence in manufacture from one of the world’s leading brands, is definitely the one for you. Ideal for use in a range of applications from science projects to measuring torque in-situ where the component can’t be easily moved and put on a fixed set of scales. Also great for any other hand-held application. Reading in pounds (lb) / grams (g) /ounces (oz) or Newtons (N) force. Capacity up to 4.5 pounds (2000 grams). The product is of sturdy construction with ABS plastic housing and metal face plate, spring and hook and pointer action.

 

#3 Intel-Lab Lab Balance 320 g X 0.001 g, RS232, Rear display

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The Intell-Lab PMW-320 range of balances have been developed for simple weighing applications and their design is hard to fault. They are designed with simplicity and ease of use as a main priority with the large backlit LCD display a stand-out feature, providing a impressive easy to read screen which is visible in all lighting conditions including bright sunlight. Ideal for use throughout a wide range of industries with flexible weighing suited to many disciplines. Along with the display the ease of use is carried through to the large user-friendly menu. Communication with peripheral devices is easy via the configurable RS232 port which allows the user to interface with printers, hanheld readers or laptops/PCs. 320 gram maximum weighing capacity and readout is to 0.001 gram making this a highly accurate device.

 

#2 Duda Energy DE-938 Pocket Scale 500g Max Weight / 0.01g Accuracy Auto Shut off LCD Backlit Screen g oz T gn ozt dwt ct

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Our second top selection is the Duda DE-938, these pocket scales are lightweight and extremely portable at only 5 ounces, making them ideal for any application where you need to have scales ready all the time and you want to have a set handy in your pocket. Weighing capacity is up to 500g (half a kilogram) and accuracy of the instrument is very impressive, within 0.1 gram. The LCD Backlit Screen runs off 2 x AAA batteries which come supplied and has an auto-shut off feature. You can set the scales to choose from various measurement units including grams, ounces, carat, grain, pennyweight and troy ounces. This is a great pick if you are looking for very inexpensive pocket scales.

 

#1 Ohaus 750-S0 Triple Beam Mechanical Balance with Stainless Steel Plate, 610g Capacity, 0.1g Readability

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Our top pick is the Ohaus 750-S0 Triple Beam Mechanical Balance, an excellent choice for all small scale counter-top applications like weighing ingredients and powder, science labs or for eductional departments. The triple beam design gives unparalleled accuracy in measurement and the simple technology of these balance scales means that they will last a lifetime and never break down. The beams are notched and tiered and have a centre reading and the balance is magnetically dampened so that weighing is quick and the zero adjust compensator is spring loaded. Ohaus is just about the most respected name in weighing aparatus so you can be sure that this product delivers on precision, accuracy and durability.

Introduction

Autoclaves and Sterilizers are used by dentists and doctors in the dental and medicinal industries as well as laboratories to sterilize glassware, utensils and even some clothing like lab coats etc. Another application that is using autoclaves more and more is tattooing, tattoo artists need to get their needles scrupulously clean to prevent infection and this is the perfect equipment for them. There are two main principles of cleaning used, steam or ultraviolet light depending on what it is that needs to be cleaned.

The following are what we have found to be the best buys available right now on Amazon.com.

#5 Tuttnauer 1730 Value Clave

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First up we are recommending the Tuttnauer 1730 Value Clave, like all products from this manufacturer it is pure quality. This is the entry level machine in the range but it perfect for many smaller practices and businesses with its compact 7″ chamber. Another option could be to get one of these units as a second autoclave for your operation for more cleaning capacity or for use as a standby in case your main autoclave is out of action. Simplicity and ease of use is at the heart of the 1730 with easy to use controls and the cleaning cycle is fast and efficient.

 

#4 SBSC-23L Autoclave Sterilizer by SMTmax

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Next up for review is the SBSC-23L Autoclave Sterilizer, a very nice machine that sterilizes and sanitizes your medical instruments – whether they are packed or unpacked. It is fully compliant with EN13060 standards for convenient cleaning and European B standard vacuum pre-drying, whilst residual humidity gets down to as low as just 0.2%. This model has a top-opening water tank for ease of accessibility and the machine is designed so that the steam reaches every corner of every instrument for perfect cleaning each time. Fully computerized control with a nice easy to read panel makes this a breeze to use.

 

#3 12L Liter Portable Autoclave Steam Sterilizer for Medical Dental Tattoo Professionals

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Number three is this Autoclave Steam Sterilizer, which is fully portable and with its 12 liter capacity is ideal for medical, dental and tattoo professionals alike. It uses saturated steam for rapid and efficient sterilization and it suitable for use in hospitals, health centers, tattoo parlours, clinics, science centres and research institutes. Many various items can be sterilized – from glass utensils, medical equipment, surgical dressings and needles among others. The unit has very low power consumption, about 50% less than using a conventional stove and has rapid heating and cooling. Very versatile with dozens of uses, some of the interesting other uses for this machine include making high quality drinking water and even use as a pressure cooker. Acid and alkili proof in 100% stainless steel with the emphasis on safety, the lid is equipped with a safety valve and air releasing valve and features 6 point locking.

 

#2 Tuttnauer 2340M Manual Autoclave Sterilizer

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Runner-up is the Tuttnauer 2340M Autoclave Sterilizer, a great piece of kit from one of the market leaders. Tuttnauer is an American company that has been making and servicing sterilizing equipment for over 20 years now and deserve their place as one of the most trusted brands in the industry. Available in a wide range of sizes and capacities all built to the same exacting standards, this autoclave is ideal for use in dental practices, hospitals, labs and infectious waste disposal units. Featuring an electronic fast closed door system, the unit is fully automatic.

Tuttnauer is a leading manufacturer of autoclaves and offer a wide range, for more detailsk click here

 

#1 WAF Electric 27.3 Quart 650 Watts/6.88 amps Sterilizer

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Our most highly rated machine is the All-American Electric 27.3 Quart which comes highly recommended by users on Amazon. The operation is dead simple, just pour some distilled water into the bottom of the unit and place your items to be cleaned on the rack above. Featuring a metal to metal seal on the lid, this is perfect as it creates a better seal while at the same time means that you won’t have to spend money on replacing gaskets, an expense that can be quite costly over time. Available in both 120V and 220V models (make sure you order the right one for your electrical supply) and there is a knob for adjusting the temperature in a range (from 1-10, 100 degrees F being the lowest)

Note that as well as being available in different voltages, there is also a less expensive 14.5 Quart model available that we would recommend if you have smaller stuff to clean.

Introduction

A pH meter is an electronic device used for measuring the acidity or alkalinity (pH) of a liquid. The pH reading itself is on the “pH scale” from 1 to 14, with 1 being the highest acidity and 14 being the maximum alkilinity. The neutral point – or zero pH – is 7. A pH meter consists of an electronic meter with a special glass measuring probe connected to it, it measures the pH and gives the the reading on an LCD display. pH meters generally require to be calibrated using control solutions which have precise pH values. There are many uses for the pH meter, both scientific and industrial, as well as normal everyday household applications. These include: Fish ponds (koi carp), plants and gardens, swimming pools, soil analysis, home-brewing, home winemaking, testing well water, testing chemical baths, hydroponic gardening, cheese making, spa baths, drinking water, foodstuffs.

Here we have the best five pH meters currently available on Amazon.com

Starting with #5…

#5 HORIBA LAQUAtwin 3200456563 Model B-713 Compact pH Meter

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First for review is our fifth place choice, the HORIBA LAQUAtwin 3200456563 Model B-713 Compact pH Meter, that to be honest is not for everybody due to being a bit more expensive than some of the meters on the marketplace. However if you need really fast accurate pH measurement in a just seconds, this is regarded by many as the best compact pH meter available. It measures pH samples in water, soil, plants, food and more from as little as a single drop of sample – all at the touch of a button. Easy to calibrate, user-selectable for either one or two point calibration. With Horiba you know you are buying a quality, well designed product and it is easy to use, accurate and stable as well as being able to be stored dry.

 

#4 Milwaukee Instruments Waterproof pH Tester

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Our second choice is from Milwaukee Instruments and is a waterproof pH meter. This is a great meter if you are not particularly technical due to its quick and easy configuration and you’ll find that is is compact and easy to store. For peace of mind though, the customer service guys at Milwaukee Instruments are superb and if you have any problem at all, just pick up the phone and you’ll be right through to an expert. This meter is ideal for domestic uses including testing the pH in plant soil, drinking water and home brewing and comes with 20ml sachets of ph 4.01 and 7.01 calibration solution. Batteries ARE included and there is a very reassuring 2 year manufacturer warranty.

 

#3 Hanna Instruments HI98128 pHep 5 pH/Temperature Tester

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Next up we rate the Hanna Instruments pHep®5 portable pH/Temperature tester, a compact tester which is used in industrial and laboratory applications. This meter is recommended if you need the highest degree of accuracy at a budget cost. The clear dual-level LCD screen shows both the pH measurement and the current temperature simultaneously and is waterproof and designed to float. Packed with features including: ATC (automatic temperature compensation), automatic pH calibration, user selectable automatic shut-off, hold function, dual temperature scales °C or °F, BEPS, replacable pH electrode cartridge, stability indicator.

The unit comes supplied with pH electrode, electrode removal tool, batteries and instructions. Can be used in very hot and very cold environments -5 to 50°C (23 to 122°F) Range: pH -2.00 to 16.00 pH (resolution: 0.01 pH) Temperature: -5.0 to 60.0°C / 23.0 to 140.0°F (resolution: 0.1°C / 0.1°F)

Accuracy @ 20°C: pH ±0.05 pH, temperature ±0.5°C / ±1°F

 

Beakers and flasks are essential items in any science lab and are something that always need to be renewed. Breakages and losses mean that beakers and flasks are items that are in constant demand. They come in all shapes and sizes and we highlight some of the very best picks available right now on Amazon in our top 5 reviews below…

#5 Emsa Perfect Beaker

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We’re going to start our reviews with a look at first choice, the highly versatile Emsa Perfect Beaker. Alton Brown from the TV Show Good Eats loves this product – high praise indeed! This item is the perfect answer for precise measurement of both liquid and dry ingredients like healthy drinks, sauces, salad dressings, marinades and flour mixtures. Its ingenious narrow base gives great fine tuning and accuracy when measuring smaller quantities. Many buyers have commented that the eye-catching shape of the unit is very aesthetically pleasing and a great addition to any kitchen.

As a measuring dish it’s unequalled, not only is it very accurate, it measures in all the most commonly used units – milliliters, cubic centimeters, fluid ounces, pints, teaspoons, tablespoons and cups. Great if you find pouring into spoons to measure quantities tricky to do. One big advantage of the Emsa Perfect Beaker is that you can mix a few ingredients right in the unit by adding them in and totting up the measurements on the scale, saving time and washing up.

It is made in Germany from BPA free plastic, has a beveled rim that makes pouring both easy and drip-free and is dishwasher-safe (although some people prefer not to put plastic in the dishwasher). It can handle boiling water easily and comes in two style options – with seal or without seal, this is the Esma terminology for with or without a lid.

 

#4 Glass Beaker Set Karter Scientific 214t2 50ml 100ml 250ml

 

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Next up for review we have a Glass Beaker Set, the 214T2 by Karter Scientific in 3 Sizes – 50ml, 100ml and 250ml. This set of the three most popular sizes of low form beaker is made from sturdy Class A high quality borosilicate glass which has great inert properties, meaning the beakers will not react with their contents. The range of sizes makes this an ideal solution for most small measuring and mixing jobs.

There’s a vast array of uses for these beakers, including measuring liquids and powders, essential oils, candle making, heating substances, electroplating, home and school laboratory and as a more than adequate replacement for much more expensive lab equipment. The beakers are very good quality for the low price with rolled rims and rounded bottom edges. They represent excellent value and are not easily broken –  being equally at home with high temperatures or freezing liquids.

 

#3 Glass Erlenmeyer Flask Set Karter Scientific 214U8 with Rubber Stoppers -50ml 150ml and 250ml

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Also by Karter Scientific is the 214U2 Glass Erlenmeyer Flask Set in 3 Sizes – 50ml / 150ml / 250ml. Again these are three of the most popular and practical sizes of flask in use today and are made from heavy duty high quality 3.3 borosilicate Class A glass.

With the range of sizes in the set, these highly versatile flasks are suitable for measuring and mixing most small quantities – like for example candle making, science projects, heating liquids, cooking recipies and much more. The measurements on the glass are easy to read, so if you need a inepensive, great value for money alternative to a major brand product like Pyrex this three-piece Glass set will do the job for you.

 

#2 Glass Low Form Beaker Set Karter Scientific 213A8 with Zinc Plated Beaker Tongs 50ml 100ml 250ml 500ml 1000ml

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Another Karter Scientific product – the 213A2 Karter Scientific Low Form Glass Beaker 5 Piece Set in 50ml, 100ml, 250ml, 500ml and 1000ml is our runner-up in this review section. These glass beakers are made from high quality glass, sturdy and hard wearing 3.3 borosilicate Class A with etched graduation markings.

They are microwave-safe and can stand up to dramatic changes in temperature, several buyers have reported that they have successfully gone from boiling heat, ovens and even torches to plunging into ice without any noticable effect on the beakers. The range of sizes right up to one litre makes this set very versatile and highly useful in a lot of home and laboratory applications.

This set also comes complete with a set of quality zinc-plated tongs for ease of removal of items from your beakers

 

#1 Karter Scientific 213C2 Glass Graduated Cylinder 3 Piece Set 10ml 50ml 100ml

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Our top pick in the Beakers and Flasks section is the 213C2 Karter Scientific Graduated Cylinder 3 Piece Set 10ml 50ml and 100ml are a bit different in that they have a hexagonal base which prevents the beakers from rolling off the work surface and smashing if they are tipped over. They also have three small dimpled feet on the bottom that they stand on, which prevents heat direct transfer to the surface you are working on and can also help to reduce mess.

Perfect for laboratory as well as home use and equally at home holding acid as they are with cake-mixing ingredients, aromatherapy products, perfumes or any small quantities. The cylinders have clear, easy to read graduated markings and have decent accuracy for a product in this price range.