Choosing the right science laboratory equipment and instrumentation for your school or classroom is an important responsibility. Like any sort of shopping, it can be fun if you get into it. Whether you are calling the shots yourself or consulting others on the purchases, consider these do’s and don’ts of selecting and buying equipment for your school’s laboratory.
Do Make a List of the Necessary Features
Each individual piece of lab equipment you need to purchase will serve its own purpose in the laboratory. Some pieces may help all students do their work more efficiently, while others may make learning more accessible to certain students. If you come across equipment within the laboratory that is largely unused or that serves no concrete purpose, you may consider not replacing it.
Before you start searching for new equipment, make a list of the necessary features each piece needs to have. For example, you may need a piece of equipment to give exact outcomes every time, so accuracy is the priority. For other items, it may be that speed is more important as long as the results are fairly accurate. Sometimes both are equally important.
Don’t Mix and Match All Laboratory Equipment
Some laboratory equipment may need to be compatible with other things in the lab to be useful. Although it’s not always possible, try to use equipment that is made by the same manufacturer. More importantly, try to get instrumentation and accessories from the same place. For example, tube fittings should be the same brand when used in a single apparatus.
While it’s perfectly fine to transition slowly to a new manufacturer or brand without replacing all the equipment in your lab, things that work together should typically be replaced at the same time, when possible. You may create a plan to replace equipment in different areas of the lab at a time.
Do Ask the Manufacturer Any Questions You Have
As you look at a variety of lab equipment options, you may discover that you don’t know as much about complex equipment options as you thought you did. That’s okay. You don’t have to be an expert to select your new laboratory equipment. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer of the lab equipment with any questions you may have.
Some questions that are worth asking while shopping for equipment and instrumentation include:
- How often do you think this equipment should be replaced?
- Who do I contact if something goes wrong?
- What are the signs that something is wrong with the equipment?
- How much floor space is necessary for this equipment?
- How is the equipment tested?
- Will this equipment be difficult for younger age groups to use?
- Can you explain how this is typically used in the classroom?
- How hot does this instrument get?
- Are there any known hazards to operating this?
Some of these questions will, of course, only apply to specific equipment. If other questions come up as the manufacturer answers your questions, it’s okay to follow up with further questions. The makers of lab equipment are sure to want you to get all the data you need to make an informed decision.
Don’t Start Shopping Until You Establish a Detailed Budget
Don’t start shopping until you know how much you have to spend on equipment. You need to carefully establish your budget for buying lab equipment so you can determine where it would be best to spend the most money.
As you assess your budget, you may discover that you need to keep some lab equipment from previous years that is still in good shape, or you might determine that you can afford to get all new equipment and instrumentation so that you can ensure precision and accuracy. If lab equipment becomes outdated, it can compromise the quality of the education students receive.
Do Look at the Details of Each Piece of Equipment
If you are buying a lot of equipment, it can be easy to just look at the basics and move on. However, the equipment’s value can often be found when you study the details. Look at what the equipment is made of and whether the manufacturer has a lot of experience in making the items they’re selling.
Cheaper prices don’t necessarily mean that you’re getting a good deal. You may think that you can save money by choosing a product from a cheaper manufacturer; however, if you look at what’s included with the piece or what a cheaper item is made of, you may realize that you ultimately would spend more money in the long run.
Finally, take your time to choose the right lab equipment. If you have any questions or are ready to choose the equipment for your school’s laboratory, contact Revolutionary Science. As an American manufacturer with decades of experience, we take pride in making high-value, life science laboratory instrumentation and equipment.