Selecting a Water Bath on Amazon.com
A water bath, sometime spelled waterbath, is used in food processing, metallurgy, biological research, and pharmaceutical industries to heat or cool specimens and samples indirectly. Analog water baths have a dial and a separate thermometer to control and monitor bath temperature. Digital models have an integrated thermometer and more accurate and precise temperature controls. Water is the standard bath fluid, but some applications require other fluids including glycol, oil, beads, algae-control agents, or a combination of these materials.
Warm water baths are used to incubate specimens, thaw sensitive substances, and perform genetic and hormone studies, while refrigerated baths are used to remove heat from specimens and keep them at a safe temperature. Some water baths provide both heating and cooling features. A circulating water bath also maintains a controlled heated or cooled environment that reduces hot spots by circulating the bath fluid. A boiling water bath, also called a high-temperature water bath, reaches temperatures up to 250 degrees C and is used primarily for food and beverage testing and DNA extraction.
Water bath chambers have a variety of attributes including capacity, single or multiple chambers, depth, lid style, and material. Multiple-chamber baths usually have independent temperature control so that multiple samples can be processed simultaneously using individually determined conditions. Shallow chambers are used for smaller samples, such as test tubes and small flasks, while deep chambers are designed for larger sample sizes or large flasks or beakers. Water bath lids are usually stainless steel or clear plastic. Stainless steel lids are suitable for use at higher temperatures, while clear lids enable users to monitor the contents without opening the bath. Peaked or gabled lids allow for taller specimen containers and provide steam drainage. Most chambers are stainless steel, which can be sterilized and is resistant to chemicals and corrosion. Features to consider when purchasing a water bath include capacity, temperature range, analog or digital control, lid, chamber capacity and material, high-limit thermostat to prevent overheating, cool-to-touch exterior, and power source requirements.