Monday, May 19, 2014

Freezers and fridges for your lab

The pricing of research items does not make sense to me. When I tried to buy a drafting stool for a high bench from for $110, I was told that insurance only covers chairs bought from VWR or Fisher and had to spend $244 for a VWR High Bench chair, luckily deeply discounted from a list price of $674.

Snowflakes at the electron microscope
As the lab is growing we started to fill the hand-me-down freezers and fridges I had collected from other investigators, and I had to figure out what to do. I wanted a nice and spacious 2 door deli case fridge. I didn't need a fancy chromatography fridge such as the one listed from VWR for $9,695.69 (Symphony Chromatography Refrigerators), but even the basic 49 cu. ft. 2-door fridge was not much cheaper at $6,899. With a good quote, I could have probably knocked 2-3K off the list price, but even if my institution has restrictions on chairs, it does not have restrictions on vendors for appliances. So after multiple searches on and KaTom Restaurant Supply, in comes a great 45 cu. ft. 2-door beverage merchandiser from True Refrigeration for around $2,300. I paid an extra $400 for white glove delivery so that it wouldn't get stuck in the loading dock and our fridge space is now tripled. A neighbor has had the same fridge happily for 10 years...and even if it breaks in 5 years, it's still 1/3 of the scientific distributor's price. This is $3-5,000 in your equipment budget that now you can use for something else.

Same goes for small undercounter freezers and fridges. In my old institution every bench came with one undercounter for free I believe, but here I just need a couple for specific applications that require separate freezer space. Again the VWR 5 cu. ft. general purpose freezer is listed at $1,639. From Best Buy you can get a 4.2 cu. ft. upright freezer for less than $300.

Hope this helps.


  1. Thanks for the freezer details and get detail about ultra low freezer to save tissue from bacteria in labs by researchers. it work on very low temperature upto -80 to -85 degree.

  2. Hi, I have been reading your blog for a while and I got here through this post. I've been really enjoying it as I start up my own lab (though at a different type of institution). I would love an update; how have the restaurant supply store refrigerators held up? Any complaints? I'm particularly interested in the dlei fridge as that is what I need to order soon.

    1. Still working well, almost 5 years later. The colleague who recommended the brand has one which has been going for 10+ years. Even if it broke and I needed a replacement, it would still be cheaper than buying one from a science supplier. We're very happy with it (and now I say it and something is going to happen tomorrow, but I'll keep my fingers crossed). :) Thank you for reading!!