Understanding Autoclave Classes: Your Guide to Sterilizer Machines

Autoclaves are essential equipment for maintaining sterility in a variety of settings, most notably in the food processing, medical, and laboratory industries.

This comprehensive reference explores the various autoclave classes, highlighting their unique characteristics and uses. Selecting the ideal sterilizer machine for a given set of needs requires an understanding of these variances. Visit Revolutionary Science's Sterilization Equipment to learn more about our selection of sterilizing solutions.

What is an autoclave and how does it work?

An autoclave is a pressure chamber used to sterilize equipment and supplies. It works by subjecting items to high-pressure saturated steam at 121°C (250°F) for about 15-20 minutes. This process ensures thorough sterilization of various tools and instruments, making autoclaves crucial in medical, laboratory, and food processing industries.

What are the main differences between Class B, Class N, and Class S autoclaves?

Class B autoclaves are versatile, suitable for porous materials and hollow instruments, and use a pre-vacuum method for sterilization. Class N autoclaves are simpler, designed for solid, un-wrapped instruments, and are not effective for porous or hollow items. Class S autoclaves are a hybrid, suitable for certain hollow instruments and wrapped goods, offering more flexibility than Class N but less than Class B.

What are the advantages of small autoclaves?

Small autoclaves are ideal for spaces with limited room or for portable sterilization needs. They are efficient for smaller loads and offer the same level of sterilization as larger machines. Their compact size, ease of use, and energy efficiency make them suitable for places like dental offices, small labs, or tattoo parlors.

Why is the autoclave sterilization process important?

The autoclave sterilization process is crucial for preventing the spread of infections and ensuring safety in healthcare and laboratory settings. It involves several steps, including cleaning, packaging, sterilizing, and drying the items, to ensure they are completely sterilized and free from contamination.

What factors should be considered when choosing the right autoclave for your needs?

When selecting an autoclave, consider the types of instruments to be sterilized, load size, available space, frequency of use, and industry regulations. Different types of autoclaves serve specific purposes, so understanding your needs is key to making the right choice. Revolutionary Science provides a variety of autoclaves and guidance to help with the selection process.

What is an Autoclave?

Definition and Overview

An autoclave, fundamentally, is a pressure chamber used to carry out industrial processes requiring elevated temperature and pressure different from ambient air pressure. These robust machines are used to sterilize equipment and supplies by subjecting them to high-pressure saturated steam at 121°C (250°F) for around 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the load and the contents. Learn more about the science behind autoclaves at Revolutionary Science's Autoclave Technology.

Classifying Autoclaves

Autoclaves come in different classifications to meet different demands for sterilization. The structure, operation, and adaptability for various materials and instruments are the basis of these classes. Comprehending these groups facilitates decision-making about particular sterilizing needs.

Class B Autoclaves

Description and Uses

The class B autoclave, also called "Type B," is a versatile device that may be used for a variety of purposes. It can be used with porous materials and hollow instruments. They work on the pre-vacuum concept, in which a vacuum pump is used to remove air from the chamber and load. Dental offices, physician offices, and labs that need to sterilize a variety of tools should use this course. Check out Revolutionary Science's Class B Autoclaves for a wide assortment.

Features and Benefits

The significant benefits of Class B autoclaves include their versatility and efficiency in sterilizing complex loads. They are equipped with advanced features like vacuum drying and electronic control systems, ensuring high-quality sterilization and user safety. Their ability to sterilize porous materials and hollow instruments makes them a preferred choice in advanced medical and laboratory settings.

Class N Autoclaves

Characteristics and Comparison with Class B

Class N autoclaves, or 'Type N,' are simpler compared to Class B. They are primarily used for sterilizing solid, un-wrapped instruments and do not have the capability to effectively sterilize porous or hollow instruments. This makes them less versatile than Class B but more suitable for applications where only solid instruments require sterilization. Find out about our Class N offerings at Revolutionary Science's Class N Autoclaves.

Ideal Settings for Class N Autoclaves

These autoclaves are well-suited for small clinics, tattoo parlors, and beauty salons where the instruments to be sterilized are generally solid and do not require advanced sterilization features. Their simple operation and cost-effectiveness make them a practical choice for smaller establishments.

Class S Autoclaves

Features and Applications

Class S autoclaves are a hybrid, offering more flexibility than Class N but not as much as Class B. They can sterilize certain types of hollow instruments and wrapped goods, which makes them a suitable choice for medium-sized clinics and laboratories. Their versatility in handling a wider range of instruments than Class N autoclaves, while being more cost-effective than Class B, positions them as a favorable option for many healthcare professionals. Explore our range at Revolutionary Science's Class S Autoclaves.

Selecting Between Class S and Class B

While choosing between Class S and Class B autoclaves, consider the types of instruments and the frequency of sterilization required. Class S autoclaves are a good middle ground for facilities that occasionally need to sterilize porous or hollow instruments but predominantly deal with solid items.

Small Autoclaves: Compact and Efficient

Advantages in Limited Spaces

Compact autoclaves are intended for environments with limited space or for those who need a portable sterilizing option. These autoclaves are quite effective for lesser loads, such as those found in dentistry offices, little labs, or tattoo parlors, despite their modest size. Though they are easier to handle and use less energy, they offer the same level of sterilizing as bigger machines. Visit Revolutionary Science's Small Autoclaves to learn more about our small solutions.

The Convenience of Small Autoclaves

The primary advantage of small autoclaves lies in their convenience and ease of use. They can be easily accommodated in tight spaces and are perfect for businesses with limited sterilization needs. Their user-friendly interfaces and quick cycle times make them ideal for fast-paced environments.

The Autoclave Sterilization Process

Step-by-Step Breakdown

A number of crucial processes are involved in the autoclave sterilization process, all of which are intended to guarantee that the instruments and equipment are completely sterilized. Cleaning the products, properly packaging them, inserting them into the autoclave, choosing the suitable cycle, sterilizing, drying, and then discharging the sterilized things are all common steps in the process. For sterilization to be successful and to avoid contamination, each step is necessary. See Revolutionary Science's Guide to Autoclave Sterilization for a thorough explanation of this procedure.

Importance of Proper Sterilization

Proper sterilization is crucial in preventing the spread of infections and ensuring the safety of both the professionals using the instruments and the individuals they are used on. Autoclaves provide a reliable and efficient method of achieving this, making them indispensable in healthcare and laboratory settings.

Choosing the Right Autoclave for Your Needs

Factors to Consider

A number of considerations, including the kinds of instruments to be sterilized, the size of the load, the amount of space available, the frequency of usage, and industry regulations, must be taken into account when choosing the best autoclave. Every kind of autoclave has a distinct function, so knowing what you need will help you make the best decision. Revolutionary Science offers a variety of autoclaves to meet various needs as well as thorough assistance. Check out Revolutionary Science's Autoclave Selection Guide for individualized support.


Understanding the different classes of autoclaves is crucial for efficient and effective sterilization. Whether you need a small autoclave for compact spaces or a versatile machine for a variety of instruments, choosing the right type is pivotal to your sterilization needs. Visit Revsci.com for more insights or to consult with our autoclave experts.