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


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


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


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


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


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.