Refrigeration Buyer’s Guide

April 2020 - Vol.9 No. 4 - Page #16
Category: Refrigeration/Freezers

The use of and reliance upon various types of refrigeration is ubiquitous in clinical laboratory practice. Within the majority of hospital labs are an array of refrigerators (and in some cases, freezers and deep freezers) used for patient sample and blood product storage, as well as reagent storage. Although the intended function of these devices is basic, their quality and versatility has grown substantially in the last decade. Many laboratories have traditionally relied upon consumer-grade refrigeration devices that offered little in the way of temperature uniformity and quick recovery, let alone the advanced monitoring capabilities of today’s medical-grade devices. In some cases, these devices were adequate, but the risk to samples and products in the event of a failure could be substantial.

Featuring sophisticated alarming systems and self-diagnostics, modern medical-grade refrigeration devices have become integral to efficiently run laboratory operations. These devices not only help to ensure peace of mind that samples, blood and blood products, and reagents remain viable and secure, they also help labs comply with regulatory standards. Laboratory management should be aware of the standards that affect each individual lab. The US FDA is just one of several groups with requirements that affect laboratory storage of refrigerated products.1

Laboratory Reagents

  • The majority of reagents used for laboratory testing are temperature sensitive, with most requiring routine refrigeration
  • A small subset of materials require freezer, or below freezer-level conditions (ranging from freezing to 70° below freezing)
  • Without refrigeration, most reagents will deteriorate within hours. No reagents that require refrigeration will last more than 2 to 3 days without it
  • Refer to product labeling/manufacturer instructions for specific storage temperature information

Other regulatory and accreditation agencies detail additional guidelines and standards (including CAP’s All Common Checklist) for the safe and proper management of refrigerated products and specimens, and for the devices themselves. MLM encourages laboratory management to be well versed in this vital area of operations. To read more about the value of reliable and sophisticated medical-grade refrigeration, read Clinical Temperature Management of Blood Products at


  1. US FDA. Medical Devices Requiring Refrigeration. Accessed March 21, 2020.

High-Performance Laboratory Refrigerators from Follett

The high-performance laboratory refrigerators from Follett are engineered to provide safeguards for storing patient samples, blood, reagents, and more. Featuring an advanced air flow design, the plenum air distribution system delivers cold air at six different levels for precise temperature control and top-to-bottom temperature uniformity, allowing full utilization of the storage space. Quick recovery after door openings eliminates the risk of temperature fluctuations, protecting product and sample integrity. An intuitive, icon-driven user interface features enhanced data management from data collection to alarms, and an optional electronic locking system. Full stainless-steel construction provides exceptional durability and easy cleaning.

The top-mounted modular refrigeration system increases useable storage space and simplifies maintenance by allowing critical components to be serviced without disrupting the contents and internal temperature of the refrigerator.

  • From Follett

Pro Series from Cardinal Health

Cardinal Health Pro Series laboratory refrigerators are designed to meet the requirements of daily use for laboratories storing reagents, media, proteins, and samples. SNAP compliant and Energy Star certified, these refrigerators combine the performance, security, and quality required for everyday applications. Using natural refrigerants, they feature quiet operation, adaptive defrost, LED interior lighting, digital control, and low heat output. In addition, they are equipped with a rear access port; keyed door locks; remote alarm contacts; and temperature, door ajar, and power failure alarms (with battery back-up).

  • From Cardinal Health


Portable Refrigerators & Freezers from BioFridge

BioFridge offers portable medical refrigerators and freezers designed to maintain a constant, traceable temperature for blood and other products. With its on-board power supply module, the units can be removed and are able to operate for up to 18 hours before needing to be plugged into a 120-volt power source. Each unit comes with a built-in temperature monitoring system that provides an audible high/low alarm for precise temperature control; or, any temperature monitoring system may be installed upon request.

Backed by 20 years of cold-chain engineering experience, BioFridge offers a range of sizes from the 15LT unit that stores 12 RBC/plasma 500 mL bags, to the 60LT unit that stores 42 RBC/plasma 500 mL bags. Additional options include: the Thermal Mass Carrier that separates products of varying temperatures; the Platelet Warmer; and the Dash-2 models that allow two refrigerator/freezer combinations in one unit. Helping the blood industry stay compliant with all AABB and FDA mandates, the units also adhere to US regulations and are UL Listed.

  • From BioFridge


Large Volume Freezer from PHC Corporation of North America

PHC Corporation of North America introduces a new 29.8 cubic-foot -80°C ultra-low freezer that has earned Energy Star certification. This large-volume freezer joins the VIP ECO product line, which includes the original 25.7 cubic-foot upright freezer and smaller 18.6 cubic-foot model. These freezers are engineered to optimize energy-efficient, ultra-low temperature storage while providing savings in long-term operating costs. Designed for new or upgrade replacement use, they require only 115V AC power, with 220V AC models also available. Offering temperature uniformity, recovery, and energy savings, this refrigeration platform uses variable speed compressors, which provide reserve cooling capacity to accommodate high ambient temperatures and facility voltage fluctuations typical of a variety of environments. Automatic adjustable restart assurance following power outages or power backup switchovers helps to eliminate uncertainty during emergency events.
  • From PHC Corporation of North America

GX Solutions from Helmer Scientific

GX Solutions from Helmer Scientific are professional medical-grade refrigerators designed for the unique needs of critical health care applications, such as blood, reagent, and patient sample storage. Energy Star certified, they feature OptiCool technology, which incorporates a variable capacity compressor (VCC) and natural hydrocarbon refrigerants to optimize control in three key areas: temperature management (uniformity, recovery, and stability), noise management, and energy management. The technology results in a system that is notably energy efficient while also using refrigerants that have no impact on ozone depletion, thereby supporting sustainability initiatives to decrease global warming potential.
  • From Helmer Scientific


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