An autoclave is an essential piece of equipment in a dental clinic, hospital or laboratory. Modern autoclaves are a marvel of technology. You don’t need extensive training to operate a high-quality autoclave. Just press a few buttons and you are done. Having said that, autoclaves are expensive and typically cost thousands of dollars.
The price of an autoclave depends on its volume, features, the technology used, its type, class, and several other factors. While it’s important to consider the initial cost of an autoclave, it is also equally important to take into account the cost of after-sales service, cost of replacement parts, cost of utilities and cost of training, among other things. And this is why it’s important to research several options and choose a model that works best for you and provides the best value for your money.
What Is An Autoclave?
An autoclave is a sterilisation device that makes use of heat, water, and pressure to sterilise equipment placed inside the sterilisation chamber. It gets rid of spores and microorganisms through superheated steam. It functions as a pressure cooker. The equipment to be sterilised is placed inside the chamber built inside the autoclave.
Steam is then pushed inside which increases temperature and pressure inside the chamber. The steam pressure is increased until the temperature inside reaches at least 121 degrees C. This particular temperature and pressure are maintained for a set period (at least 15 minutes) which is enough for killing any harmful microorganisms and their spores.
Types of Autoclave Machines
Autoclaves can be categorised based on their size or based on class. In terms of size, these machines can be classified into small tabletop, medium-size machines, vertical autoclaves and pass-through machines. These machines are also classified into class N autoclave, class S autoclave, and class B autoclave based on the function.
N type autoclaves: These are meant to be used for sterilising instruments with a solid structure. It doesn’t have a vacuum pump which means it is not possible to properly sterilise instruments that are hollow or have porous spaces inside. Also, items in packages cannot be sterilised using this type of machine.
B type autoclave: This is the most advanced steriliser and is extensively used in dental clinics, hospitals, beauty parlours and tattoo studios. Simply put, this is the preferred autoclave in places that have particular sanitary requirements. It is capable of sterilising all kinds of instruments. It comes equipped with fractionated pre-vacuum that gets rid of all the air in the sterilisation chamber. It also features a separate steam generator unit from which steam is transferred into the sterilisation chamber.
S type autoclave: This is also known as a negative pressure displacement autoclave. It comes equipped with a vacuum generator and a steam generator. It is also the most expensive type.
Things to Consider before Buying an Autoclave
There are so many models of autoclaves in the market that choosing one can be a challenging exercise. Nobody wants to spend more money on such an expensive piece of equipment than needed. Here are a few things you need to consider when buying an autoclave to get the best value for your money:
- Specify your requirements
- Type of materials to be sterilised
- Ease of use
- Number of cycles needed per day
- Initial cost and warranty
The most important thing that matters is the type of materials that are going to be sterilised inside the autoclave. As explained above, not all autoclaves are capable of sterilising any kind of instrument. Some autoclaves are limited to sterilising only solid pieces of equipment. Autoclaves are sold in various capacities. Choose a capacity that is right for your requirements.
If you need to move the autoclave constantly, choose a portable model that is easier to move. If you need to run a lot of cycles each day, it is better to choose a model with several preset options which will make it easier for the user to operate. As far as the cost is concerned, it is recommended to consider the overall cost of ownership over its expected lifetime. Also, compare the warranty terms carefully to choose one with fair warranty terms.
How Much Does an Autoclave Cost?
Autoclaves are sold in a wide price range. You can buy one for a few hundred dollars but you can also spend tens of thousands of dollars on an autoclave. What matters is the type of instruments that need to be sterilised. The price of an autoclave depends largely on its quality, features, chamber size, class, brand and warranty terms. It is better to focus on the lifetime cost of ownership than only the initial price.
Buy High-Quality Dental Equipment, Supplies & Tools!
Autoclaves are available in a wide price range and choosing one can be a challenging exercise. This is why it’s important to research different types of autoclaves before choosing one. MES Medical Equipment Services is a leading provider of autoclaves and dental equipment in Australia.
We have been serving customers in Australia since 1952. We offer a wide range of products including dental lasers, electrosurgical equipment, dental imaging instruments, dental systems, sterilisation systems as well as equipment servicing and maintenance. We source products only from the leading manufacturers across the globe. We are known for providing reliable equipment at affordable prices.
If you are planning to buy an autoclave, our experts will be happy to help you choose the right model that matches your requirements and is available within your budget.