Many people consider the sterile processing department as the beating heart of a hospital. They clean and sterilize all the soiled equipment used in various procedures and surgeries to ensure they’re ready to use for the next case. The entire sterilization process is a lengthy one, but one of the most important pieces of sterilization equipment is the autoclave sterilizer.
An autoclave typically uses steam to kill bacteria and viruses and decontaminate equipment. However, autoclaves come in many different shapes, sizes, makes, and models. To help you narrow down your search, let’s take a look at how to choose the right laboratory autoclave sterilizer.
Do You Need Vacuum or Gravity Sterilization?
Before your autoclave can begin the sterilization process, it must get rid of the contaminated air within the chamber. Autoclaves can remove this air through two methods—a gravity vacuum or a pre-vacuum.
A gravity vacuum autoclave uses steam, which relies on gravity to naturally displace the air, while a pre-vacuum autoclave manually sucks out the air. If any of the equipment you’re sterilizing is porous or has holes in it, it is wise to use an autoclave with a pre-vacuum method so that water does not become trapped and cause mold.
Are the Internal Accessories up to Standard?
Inside an autoclave, there are many shelves, trays, and racks to keep equipment separate. One model may not have enough trays or separators to properly place and separate your equipment. Other models may have too much space, and you don’t want to pay for more than you have to. It is incredibly important that you inspect the model’s storage before purchasing to determine if it’s the right fit for you.
How Big of a Sterilization Chamber Do You Need?
To determine how large of a sterilization chamber is needed, you must first determine your typical everyday load and how much space you have available. How many instruments does the department clean on average? How many of these instruments need their own separate cycle? What is the size, shape, and width of your largest instrument?
There is a sterilization chamber to meet any load size, but that does not mean every chamber is suitable for your space. You may be better off purchasing two or three smaller autoclaves to fit your space.
Do You Prefer a Manual or Automated Autoclave?
Automated autoclaves come with a variety of pre-programmed sterilization parameters, making the sterilization process as easy as clicking a button. However, some models have too many pre-programmed settings to sift through, and if your team is already acquainted with manual autoclaves, the learning curve may be too steep. An automated autoclave should have a simple user interface with a select few pre-programmed parameters. If it does not, you may be better off sticking to an easy-to-use manual autoclave—they’re also less expensive.
Now that you know how to choose the right laboratory autoclave sterilizer, let Future Health Concepts LLC provide you with the equipment you need to keep your sterilization department running. Our wide selection of new and refurbished autoclave sterilizers ensures you’ll find the perfect sterilizer for your department while staying within your budget.