Laboratory fridges have been designed specifically to store samples, specimens, vaccines and medicines between a very specific temperature range

A laboratory fridge is used by healthcare facilities and professionals to store samples and specimens, as well as vaccines and medicines, at a specific temperature to ensure they do not become spoiled.

Laboratory fridges come in a range and sizes and specifications, but their purpose remains the same – to ensure items are stored at the right temperature.

They are different to the domestic fridges found in homes, restaurants and shops in that they maintain this very specific temperature range consistently and without fail.

The temperature range, also known as the cold chain, is between +2Oc and +8oc and standard fridges are simply not powerful or accurate enough to achieve this.

Laboratory fridges also come with special features including state of the art thermometers and alarms that sound if the temperature rises above or falls below the required range.

Below, we take a closer look at laboratory fridges and their features.

They come in a range of sizes:

Different laboratories require different sized laboratory fridges depending on their storage needs and the space available to install the fridge.

As such, laboratory fridges come in a range of sizes including small and medium.

Small fridges can be installed on a countertop or under a desk, while medium fridges are about the same size and shape as a domestic dishwasher.

They are fitted with thermometers and alarms:

All laboratory fridges are fitted as standard with a thermometer and an alarm that sounds if the temperature becomes out of range.

The thermometers are highly accurate and monitor both the air temperature inside of the fridge as well as a second glycine probe which replicates the temperature of the drugs stored inside fridge, giving a more accurate temperature measurement of the drugs.

Secure locks to prevent unauthorised access:

Laboratory fridges come fitted with a security lock as standard to prevent any unauthorised access to the unit. This is important for several reasons including:

• It prevents medicines and vaccines from being stolen
• Stops someone gaining access to potentially dangerous samples/specimens

Fridge or freezer:

Laboratory fridges are also available as freezers and can be used to store specimens, samples, vaccines and medicines that require freezing.

They come with the same features as a laboratory fridge, including thermometers, alarms and locks, but accurately freeze items rather than cool them.

Just like laboratory refrigerators, dedicated laboratory freezers must be used by healthcare facilities and practitioners in order to meet the required storage and hygiene standards imposed on them.

In most cases, a laboratory will require both a laboratory fridge and laboratory freezer.

What to consider when buying a laboratory fridge:

If you need to purchase a laboratory fridge or freezer, you should consider your storage requirements to ensure you purchase the right size.

Also think about whether you should invest in a thermometer that monitors the temperature of the vaccine and not just the temperature inside the fridge.

Most laboratory fridge manufacturers will also offer the option of an extended warranty – ours come with five years as standard – as well as a service plan.

Service plans are always worth taking as laboratory fridges are a substantial investment and you should want to keep yours in the best possible working order.

This helps to ensure the laboratory fridge/freezer is working as it should do and prevents any outages or failures. It also helps to maximise the lifespan of the unit.

If you have any questions about laboratory fridges, please contact a member of the CoolMed team here.