7 Questions to Consider When Purchasing Used Lab Equipment

Furnishing your facility with high-quality equipment is one of the primary foundations of a successful lab operation. Equipment accuracy and reliability are the cornerstones of performance, whether conducting scientific research at a university or processing samples for a biotechnical company. For some labs, equipment purchases are among their most substantial overall investments.

Because of the escalated costs of some lab instruments, it makes sense to consider purchasing used equipment to meet your facility's needs. In some cases, you can locate dependable equipment that costs less than half the price of a new device. When exploring these options, you must conduct the necessary research to ensure you're receiving an instrument with the features you need to produce the most reliable results.

Questions to Ask When Buying Used Laboratory Equipment

Questions to Ask When Buying Used Laboratory Equipment

Because buying secondhand lab instruments can involve some risk, compiling a checklist of questions relevant to your purchase can be highly beneficial. Some examples include:

1. What Type of Equipment Do You Need?

Although determining which instruments you need to operate your lab can be challenging, conducting a comprehensive evaluation of your facility's requirements can save significant time and money in the long run.

Comparing the capabilities of two different models of the same product is often an excellent starting point, as this process can show you whether it's worth paying extra for advanced features. More importantly, thoroughly analyzing a device's specific functions ensures you receive a product that satisfies your lab's exact research requirements.

Another factor to consider is equipment size, such as determining whether a device is small enough to fit into a specific area or benchtop. The speed at which an instrument operates can also play an essential role in product selection.

In addition, compatibility is critical. For example, if you're considering purchasing a rotor compatible with an existing centrifuge, consulting a compatibility chart can help streamline your selection.

2. Is the Seller Trustworthy?

Buying secondhand equipment for your lab goes beyond finding a good deal for an instrument that will perform the specific functions you need. Choosing a reliable seller is critical for ensuring you receive the exact product you ordered in a timely fashion. Sellers who do not stand behind their products lurk everywhere, particularly on public marketplaces and non-reputable sale sites.

Although it's unlikely you can obtain a report outlining an instrument's detailed use history, choosing a vendor with an impeccable seller reputation is an excellent first step in buying used equipment. Establishing a trust level is crucial. One effective way of evaluating a vendor is by viewing feedback from previous customers, whether you obtain the information on the seller's website or a third-party reviewing site.

Recognizing the most common signs of scams and deceptive sellers in advance can help tremendously.

3. What Is the Equipment's Use History?

If you locate an instrument with a detailed history of its use, you can save a significant amount of research, specifically if you can access maintenance logs. Learning how much a previous owner used the instrument or how long it has been sitting idle can help narrow down your decision. It is also helpful to remember that an instrument's age does not always reflect its past usage frequency.

However, a device's age sometimes dictates its ability to perform effectively — it does not make much sense to buy an instrument manufactured by a supplier that no longer offers replacement parts. At the same time, buying secondhand equipment that will consume more power than an energy-efficient model can offset the advantages of its lower purchase price.

4. What Is the Equipment's Remaining Service Life?

Gauging an instrument's usage history can help you evaluate its remaining service life. Choosing a less-expensive, older model that a previous owner used minimally can often offer a comparable life span and similar service as a current model, particularly if the product's design has not evolved much over the years.

While an instrument's age is not a tell-all performance indicator, significantly older devices with wear and tear could present a red flag for your operation. If you are considering buying a centrifuge older than five years with multiple scuffs, scratches or obvious signs of misuse, you can safely guess it will not hold up to another decade of use. Evaluating product reviews of similar equipment can also help determine how long the equipment might perform optimally.

5. Does the Equipment Have the Necessary Safety Features?

Laboratory safety is the highest priority for every operation. Lab workers face exposure to potentially hazardous biological, chemical, physical and radioactive elements daily. Knowing which features a device requires to operate safely is vital before buying a secondhand version.

Components like shields and guards are crucial for ensuring worker safety. Comparing the safety features on a new model to those on the used device can offer insight. Following the recommended laboratory safety guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is highly beneficial.

6. What Is the Cost of Ownership?

Another critical factor to consider is the cost of ownership for a recent model compared to older models. Even though the price of used equipment might be significantly lower than a new model, it can still offer reliable performance. For example, used models featuring current designs provide significant energy savings without the price tag of a new device.

Reading product reviews and asking suppliers questions about performance can help you make a more informed decision.

7. Is There a Warranty?

Choosing a seller that backs a product with a comprehensive warranty is a solid indicator of a reliable product offering. Even though most warranties on used equipment do not cover a device's entire expected life span, they still indicate an instrument is in proper working order when you purchase it. If you are unsure whether a secondhand device will work well for your specific application, choosing a vendor that offers extended warranties and a hassle-free return policy can save significant time and money.

Finding a vendor with a knowledgeable staff that offers exceptional support can cut many hours from your research process. These vendor characteristics also go a long way in building a relationship for future purchases.

Buy Used Lab Equipment From a Reliable Source

Buy Used Lab Equipment From a Reliable Source

If you are looking for high-quality used lab instruments at a portion of the costs of new equipment, New Life Scientific is a perfect choice. We supply reliable devices from some of the industry's most recognized brands, thoroughly tested and repaired by our in-house technicians. In addition, we provide some of the market's most comprehensive warranties for used equipment and a no-questions-asked 30-day return policy.

Contact us online or call 567-212-2460 to learn more about how our used lab equipment can benefit your operation.