The Six Most Important Items in a Laboratory

From the scientific freezer or lab refrigerator to the right sort of microscope, there’s certain equipment every lab needs to have. Here’s a short list of six of the most important pieces of laboratory equipment.


A centrifuge is a piece of laboratory equipment that can separate gases or fluid based on their density, or remove suspended material from nearly any sort of medium. Centrifuges are critical pieces of equipment for medical science and laboratory testing. Centrifugal force is frequently used with cell cultures, DNA, and blood sample testing. The spinning of the centrifuge causes the denser substances within a medium to move, and these denser substances settle on the outside while lighter substances remain in the middle. Centrifuges come in many speeds and sizes, and the right choice for any laboratory will depend on precisely what type of testing is to be done there. Some centrifuges are manually operated, while others use electricity. Some centrifuges are refrigerated as well.


The microscope is one of the most important pieces of equipment that any laboratory could have. Microscopes are the most basic device in lab study and analysis and will be used regularly to perform basic studies, to repair cellar fluid samples, to dissect specimens, and even to mix chemicals. As with centrifuges, microscopes come in a wide variety of models for every sort of application. Microscopes can also be classified based on how they interact with the specimen. Some generating an image, some analyze a specimen all at once, and some only analyzed specimen through a particular scanning point.

Scientific Freezer

The scientific freezer or laboratory refrigerator is also a key part of any laboratories equipment. Among the many things a scientific freezer is used for is storing vaccines. Vaccines must be stored at ideal temperatures, a record kept of the daily temperatures both at the beginning of a workday and also any time the scientific freezer is opened, and action taken if the temperatures in the scientific freezer ever fall out of the desired range. Vaccines are so crucial that a scientific freezer or a vaccine storage refrigerator has to be made quite different for the refrigerators and freezers in an ordinary home. They often come with alarms that indicate when the doors have been left open or when temperatures drop outside of the set range.

Safety Equipment

The safety of everyone in the laboratory is absolutely crucial. Unfortunately, even people who work in a laboratory can sometimes ignore safety protocols and put themselves and other people in danger. Safety protocols are very important, and so is having the right safety equipment. Because laboratories contain chemicals and other dangerous substances, safety goggles, cloaks, and gloves are the minimum safety gear that every laboratory needs to carry at all times. Cloaks and gloves usually need to be worn anytime a biological substances handled. Safety goggles are important when working with either biological substances or chemicals.

Heating Plates

The heating plate, or hotplate, is used to heat liquids, solids, or glassware. In the past, Bunsen burners and other open flame heaters were used in most laboratories. The modern hotplate is a much safer alternative. Some hot plates even have a special magnetic stirrer which keeps solutions from overheating.


The simplest and perhaps most used items in a laboratory is the beaker. A beaker is used to heat mixtures, hold samples, measure, stir, contain chemical reactions, and collect liquids. There are generally three types of beakers found in any laboratory. The Griffin beaker is the standard and is used for preparing solutions and for simple chemical reactions. Flat beakers are most often used for hot bath heating and in crystallization. Tall-form beakers are twice as tall as their own diameter and are usually used for titration.

These are just a few of the important items you can find in any laboratory anywhere in the world. Depending on the work a laboratory does, it may have many other types of equipment, but you can be sure but every laboratory will have beakers, microscopes, hot plates, the lab freezer or scientific refrigerator, and an array of safety equipment.

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