Lab Equipment Buying Guide

Recalibrate How You Buy Lab Equipment

Before you purchase instruments (used or new) for your lab, check our pro guidelines and questions to ask yourself or the supplier:

1) Is new equipment really necessary, or would good refurbished equipment work just as well, at a fraction of the cost?

We have seen great deals and terrible deals from various sources. If your project is relatively short, and the equipment needed does not need to be state-of-the-art, then buying used may be feasible. Buying used can often be a great GREEN way to go. Be sure it is purchased from a reliable source (buying on eBay is not always a good deal). Buy equipment that has some sort of guarantee from a reputable dealer – or make sure that you are capable of doing any necessary repairs. 

2) If you decide that you need/want new equipment, ask the supplier about service.

Even the best quality equipment will eventually need service. If the manufacturer does not have local options, ask about their maintenance policy. If the equipment is too large for shipping to the manufacturer, get an estimate to have the manufacturer’s rep come out to your lab (i.e., travel and on-site service rates).

It’s well worth checking on this; we have seen travel charges approaching $2500. Since the majority of equipment failures are relatively minor (a broken switch, a lamp failure, etc.) – that can be unnecessarily expensive. Also, check with the manufacturer if they are willing to work with a local service company to keep your costs down.

3) Confirm how many years the manufacturer will guarantee support of their equipment.

Many limit support to only 7-8 years, then call it obsolete. Then you’ll need to go buy another piece of equipment (or find a service group – like Phoenix – to help extend its life). That’s so wasteful, since many items (such as centrifuges, incubators, shakers, etc.) potentially can operate for 10-20 years or more.

4) If a manufacturer has a local service rep, ask about travel and field service charges.

Followup question: if they have multiple calls at your campus/institution, will they split the service charges? We have seen some manufacturers make 3 calls on a campus in one day, and charge each customer the full travel charge – very profitable for the manufacturer, but unfair to customers like you!

5) Generally, a service contract is not a good deal.

The manufacturer builds the costs to be beneficial to them, not to the user, and often the non-contract service prices are set simply to make the service contract look good. In some cases, an annual PM contract is very advisable. This can help avoid major equipment failures, and keep the operational costs for the equipment low. Also, the only times that you make out well under contract, is if you use the equipment extremely heavily, the equipment is critical to your operation and the manufacturer will guarantee a fast response, or if you bought a lemon in the first place – we hope to help you avoid that.

6) Do your homework.

Find out who else in your area has purchased that equipment and ask them for their overall impressions. Or look for someone who has owned that equipment (or older models) for some time. Even poorly made equipment should not fail within the first year.

7) Feel free to call us for our recommendations (at no charge).

We have been servicing lab equipment for more than 50 years, and have seen some great instruments in operation for decades. Conversely, there are lemons that have been trouble from the start.

We can help you avoid the latter scenario. Even if you ignore these suggestions – we are here for you, and will perform the service that you will eventually need.

Bob Krouse, President
Phoenix Equipment Inc.

Finding the Best Solution for Your Budget

Why Work with Us: At Phoenix Equipment Inc., we work to find the best solution for you and your budget. We offer lower costs than manufacturers and provide a way for you to keep your existing equipment operating efficiently, saving you valuable resources while also reducing the impact on the environment. 

  • Authorized service provider for many manufacturers
  • Specialized factory training and expertise to service/ repair all brands and types of laboratory equipment (not just the manufacturers we represent)
  • More than 50 years of industry experience so you can trust us to provide the best repair service possible 

“You Break It, We Fix It.”

Interested in learning more about how we can extend the life of your laboratory equipment? Contact us now to get connected with a service technician! 

Get in touch

Would you like for Phoenix to represent your company? Contact us to learn about the programs and flexible arrangements that we can provide to better assist your company and your customers.