Should You Buy An Autoclave With A Cylindrical Or Rectangular Chamber

When you first start shopping for autoclaves you don't realize how many options you're going to find. Internal water tank or external? Top-loader or front-loader? Floor model or counter-top? Manual or programmable controls? And on and on... By the time you get around to looking at the shape of the chamber you're ready to sign on any dotted line just so you can be done with it. But there are significant differences between a cylindrical or rectangular chamber that you really need to be aware of before you buy an autoclave.

The Pros And Cons Of A Cylindrical Chamber

When pressurized steam starts filling the chamber it naturally expands and tries to make the chamber round. So a chamber that's already round won't have to be as strong to hold up under the pressure. A cylindrical chamber can be made of thinner steel, which means it weighs loss and costs less to produce. And because that steel is thinner there's also less metal to heat, which means it costs less to operate.

A cylindrical chamber, in a front loading model, also provides better steam circulation around your instruments. Your sterilization trays are usually square or rectangular and when you put them inside the circular chamber there's plenty of extra space for the steam to move around, ensuring more reliable sterilization.

The downside of a cylindrical autoclave chamber is that it has less useable space than an autoclave with a rectangular chamber.

The Pros And Cons Of A Rectangular Chamber

The major plus for an autoclave with a rectangular chamber is that they typically have a much larger load capacity then similar size models with a cylindrical chamber. There's also less wasted space because again, the trays are square or rectangular and so is the chamber so you have a closer fit inside the chamber.