Laboratory Carts: Plastic Vs Stainless Steel


When stocking your laboratory, it’s easy to forget about smaller lab implements and instead focus on major undertakings like the installation of workstations and sinks. However, laboratory equipment carts, glassware drying racks, and other small additions are equally important when it comes to creating an efficient working environment. While you plan out your laboratory construction or redesign, it is vital to ensure that you choose the right cart for laboratory use. Two of the most common carts are the stainless steel lab cart and the plastic cart.

Pros of Stainless Steel Laboratory Carts

Stainless steel laboratory carts have several advantages. One of these advantages is the fact that stainless steel lab carts tend to be less susceptible to heat damage. These carts, which also are called laboratory trolleys, are designed to transport lab instruments and supplies across the lab. Because instruments used in the lab are often precision-calibrated and extremely expensive, it is vital that you or your lab planner makes sure that your laboratory equipment carts are durable.

This is why stainless steel carts are often a great choice. Steel is often a more durable and longer-lasting material than plastic. For this reason, if you want a cart for laboratory use that stands up to heavy instruments and potential high-temperature exposure, steel is an excellent choice.

Pros of Plastic Lab Carts

Unlike stainless steel lab carts, the plastic laboratory cart is, on average, more affordable. And while “plastic” may conjure up images of a child’s toy cart, the plastic used to make these carts is typically ABS plastic. This plastic type is designed to be resistant to temperature, impact, an general stress. Essentially, while some lab designers may prefer the sleeker aesthetic of stainless steel, the plastic laboratory cart is still an extremely effective, durable, and safe option.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of the plastic cart is its price. It is often challenging to find inexpensive lab equipment, and the durable ABS plastic of these carts offers a dependable surface without the high initial cost of stainless steel.

Cons of Stainless Steel Laboratory Carts

Just as the primary benefit of plastic carts is their affordability, the primary drawback of steel carts is price. Steel carts may be easier to match to your lab’s working surfaces, but if your lab has a tight budget, it is likely better to spend money elsewhere. Plastic carts may be less aesthetically appealing, but they are certainly more economical.

Cons of Plastic Lab Carts

We have mentioned that plastic lab carts are often affordable, but one drawback is that the term “plastic” covers a range of materials. While most well-made plastic carts are made of durable ABS plastic, it is important to check and see that the cart you’ve chosen is durably made. In particular, be sure to check the construction on a lab cart that is especially inexpensive. Most reputable manufacturers will list the plastic type on the product information page. If you are interested in a plastic cart but no information is given, it may be worthwhile to investigate a bit more before committing to purchase.

Planning out a laboratory setup is often exhausting, and it may be tempting to skip over small details like equipment carts. However, even the smallest components of a lab are vitally important to its functioning. When you take the time to choose the right number and type of carts for your lab, you will be investing in the success of your research environment and future projects. If you have any questions on lab carts and other furnishings, don’t hesitate to contact us at Lab Tech!


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