Lab Equipment: How to Keep Samples the Right Temperature


From heating blocks to mantles to baths and circulators, the options in lab equipment for keeping samples heated (or cooled) are many. Within these categories, questions are also plentiful. Users ask our technical assistance team: which bath is big enough or fast enough to meet my needs? Will this device hold my samples at a specified temperature and length of time?

Cole-Parmer® Standard Benchtop Chilling/Heating Block

Cole-Parmer® Standard Benchtop Chilling/Heating Block

To provide an effective answer, the experts need to know key information. Here are specifics to consider:

  • How much power or capacity is necessary for your application? What total volume are you using?
  • What kind of container are samples in?
  • What temperature range is needed? What is the delta or the change in temperature anticipated?
  • How much temperature control do you want for your solution?
  • Are you circulating externally?
  • What fluid are you typically using?

Types of Heating/Cooling Equipment

A laboratory Heating Block warms, cools, or maintains the temperature of samples. Different blocks can be placed into the heated base to adjust to various sizes of sample containers.

“Heating/cooling blocks are ideal for warming up or cooling down samples in labs that have limited space. Perhaps there is not enough room for a bath or the lab tech is afraid something will fall into a bath,” said Anthony Murphy, Application Specialist. “Users simply dial in the temperature on the heating block and it remains constant.”

The blocks are best used with smaller samples in plates, vials or tubes. They are typically found in microbiology and life science research.

Hot Plates are a general lab tool and the most common of all of the heating devices. From boiling water to heating other fluids, hot plates are found in academic labs, industrial manufacturing, food & beverage production, and in the pharmaceuticals and paint industries. They are also used in conduction research for silicon chips and for testing temperatures on slides.

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