What type of Autoclave would suit my needs?

There are a number of key points to consider when choosing what type of autoclave to go for:

  • What is your laboratory’s requirements in terms of load variation
  • What is the frequency of sterilising applications
  • What is the available space you have – benchtop or freestanding?  Top or front loading?
  • Sterilisation applications; media preparation, laboratory waste sterilisation before disposal, glassware, instruments and porous loads
  • Your financial budget


If you operate in a small area with limited floor space and the items you need to sterilise are relatively small a benchtop autoclave may be the most appropriate choice. As the name suggests, these autoclaves fit directly on the surface of your benchtop – if you need to create a category 3 laboratory, you can add small legs to the corners to enable cleaning of the bench underneath.

These are the most affordable type of autoclave, simple to install and can be stand alone units with only a power supply required. Astell have a range of benchtop autoclaves of different sizes neither of which require a drain or water supply to be connected. Their ‘Classic’ range requires the user to pour the water directly into the autoclave chamber to the correct level for every autoclave use. Their ‘Autofill’ range have an integral reservoir built inside of the unit, the user tops this up and it will last for 15-20 cycles.

Benchtop Autoclave by Astell

Top Loading 

These are a practical choice for those needing to save space in the laboratory, the footprint of these are minimal with the models increasing in height to increase the capacity. With this they can sterilise tall items such as fermentors and large erlenmeyer flasks which would alternatively need a much larger and more expensive autoclave. However users need to be aware of health and safety issues if lifting heavy containers into top loading autoclaves.

The Astell 63L models are also easy to install and have the same Autofill and Manual fill options as the Benchtop versions. The 95L, 120L and 135L models all require heat resistant drains and those with drain cooling, autofill or steam generator also require a water supply.

Astell Autoclave

Front Loading 

These are easier to load than top loading autoclaves but they will take up more floor space. These can often have far greater chamber capacities than are practical for top loading cylindrical models. The front loading models from Astell are available in 120L,153L, 247L, 290L and 344L, all require heat resistant drains and those with drain cooling, autofill or steam generator also require a water supply.

Astell front loading autoclave


A ‘Duaclave’ consists of two identical chambers one directly above the other which is perfect for where laboratory space is a premium. The two chambers operate completely independently allowing the user to run two completely different cycles at the same time. Astell’s range of Duaclaves are available in combined chamber volumes from 66-306 litres.

astell duaclave autoclave

‘Square Autoclave’

If you are in need of a higher throughput for sterilisation then you may want to consider a square chamber autoclave. Although they are often at a higher price point, due to their uniform integral shape they offer a much larger capacity for users looking to sterilise lots of the same items i.e petri dishes or media bottles. These autoclaves can be customised to suit your requirements, get in touch with one of our technical team to find out the options.


For more information about the autoclaves available and which would suit your application please get in touch by calling 01954 233 120, emailing or filling in the contact form below