8 Things You Need To Know Before Buying an Autoclave Instrument Sterilizer

by: dewi susanti

Today, an autoclave is the preferred instrument sterilizer whether it is for medical and surgical instruments or equipment used in the cosmetics industry particularly tattooing needles and guns. These instruments, if not disinfected, have the potential of transmitting health-harmful microbial agents. Some of the microbial agents can resist strong chemicals too. As such, there is need for a potent sterilization method that creates a safe and clean testing environment.



This is where an autoclave comes in. As an instrument sterilizer, it uses saturated steam at the highest temperature under pressure to disinfect equipment used in surgery and laboratory testing. An autoclave is a good investment for a doctor’s office, a laboratory as well research centers.

Here are 8 aspects you should factor in before you make a purchase of an autoclave.


1. Availability of Space

The availability of space is one of the factors that determine a suitable size option for your facility. If your office is limited on space, you should opt for a small sized device that fits into confined spaces. Space is not only about locating the device but also having enough space to keep soiled and clean items separately. Before you make a purchase, get the dimensions of the device to ensure that it will fit.


2. Size of the Chamber:

The size of the chamber refers to checking out the interior space and not the size of the encasing. The bigger the size of the chamber, greater is its capacity to take loads. A small sized sterilizer is worth considering in facilities where the need to sterilize equipment is not very large.


3. Cycle Time:

Shorter processing cycles means faster sterilization of equipment. This can be a great bonus in places where instruments need to be readily available for use. It should allow you to customize cycles based on the items being sterilized.


4. Ease of operation:

The instrument sterilizer should be easy to use. The instructions for operation and maintenance should be clearly listed. It should specify the number of instruments per load. Many manufacturers organize onsite training. If the device is too complicated to use, you will have to spend more in staff training.


5. Construction Material:

Autoclaves are made of different materials; plastic and metal being the two most commonly used materials. A plastic-bodied instrument sterilizer is a better option than metal because it is lightweight and resistant to corrosion. Metal however, lends a modern look and gels well with the rest of the décor. Also, it is quite sturdy.


6. Purchase Price of a Sterilizer:

Autoclaves are available in different price ranges. The price tag is determined by its size and features. You should buy one that meets the demands of your facility without being too burdensome on your budget. Along with the purchase price, you should also draw an estimate of the operational costs as it is an expense against your budget. This includes costs incurred by way of electricity bills, purchases of distilled water, cleaners, detergents, biological indicators and insurance.


7. Quality Assurance:

The device should be constructed of quality materials and should meet the quality standards laid down by quality control associations. Products backed by warranty also guarantee the quality of the product.


8. Testing and Maintenance:

An autoclave demands periodic testing and maintenance to prolong its life and determine its efficiency. You should consider the approximate time and cost of testing and maintenance. Choose one that can be maintained with minimum effort.


You purchased An Instrument Sterilizer. What next?

The instrument sterilizer, whether it is a steam sterilizer or a dry heat one, must be tested after installation and set up. It is first run empty with biological indicators followed by a full test load of devices. The presence of microbial organisms after a sterilization cycle is an indication of a defect. The device should not be used until the problem is rectified.

Once you start using an autoclave, you should maintain it properly; light maintenance on a daily basis and thorough maintenance every 40 hours of use. This will increase efficiency and prolong functionality of the device.