Research laboratories need water baths for the incubation of cultures and liquids at controlled temperature. There are many types of water baths for laboratories such as static water baths, shaking water baths, and circulating water baths, and to choose the right one you need to know the purpose it has to serve. The static water bath is equipped with a thermostatically controlled heating element placed beneath its floor. This type of water bath serves applications that need to hold media at the correct temperature. Circulating water baths that come with a paddle at the bottom of the basin which gently mixes the water in it are used for the incubation of selective enrichment cultures. They come up to temperature more quickly and maintain a more stable and consistent temperature than their static counterpart. Shaking water baths feature a built-in shaking platform and enable cultures to achieve a desired level of growth with a gentle shaking motion during incubation. An advanced shaking water bath, the Shaking Hot Tub Orbital/Reciprocating Shaking Water Bath by Boekel Scientific, offers a unique magnetic shaking mechanism for both orbital and linear shaking. It also offers several temperature-controlled shaking protocols.

Once you have decided which type of water bath you require, consider the following points:

  • Size and controls: Water baths are available in different sizes, featuring both digital and analog controls.
  • Desired temperature: Check temperature uniformity, increments and accuracy to see that they meet application requirements. You can get compact water baths that allow digital selection and monitoring of temperature. State-of-the-art shaking water baths such as the Shaking Hot Tub Orbital/Reciprocating Shaking Water Bath by Boekel Scientific are designed for a wide range of temperature-controlled shaking protocols.
  • Suitable for variety of test tube sizes: Molecular biology labs may need to incubate liquid samples in various quantities. An innovative water bath like the MyBath 4L can serve this purpose as it comes with test tube racks for frequently used tube sizes such as 50ml, 15ml and 1.5/2.0ml.
  • Sturdy construction: Laboratory water baths typically feature a stainless steel interior and either chemically resistant exterior. Lids can be lift-off or hinged.

Other features to look for are reliability, consistency and quiet operation. If the water bath is critical to your lab operations, it’s a good idea to have a back-up unit and purchase your device from a lab equipment supplier that can ensure efficient and prompt on-site maintenance service.