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New or Used Equipment: What's better for your lab?

By Michelle Alpiner
Published: Aug 24, 2017   

Credit: New-Lab Solutions

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Whether you are a new lab starting up or a seasoned lab looking to upgrade your old equipment; there are many cannabis testing lab equipment essentials you must think about before deciding to make your  purchase.  


My clients often ask if I work with used equipment dealers.  This is an area that needs to be assessed with great emphasis if you are considering buying used and refurbished instruments.  

Although I can provide details and pricing on used equipment for my clients; I will first make sure that all key questions have been asked and a true analysis of the total cost of ownership has been evaluated by my client.  

Asking The Right Questions

There are many questions that you need to ask yourself, and the used equipment dealer before considering a purchase.  It is important to keep in mind the overall cost to your budget, scientific results and personnel.

Key questions include:

• Do they have the full history of the equipment?  Maintenance logs, list of repairs completed etc.

• What is the life expectancy of that type of equipment?  How many more years will you actually get out of the equipment based off of its manufactured date?

• Are parts available if a repair is needed?  Can the manufacturer perform the work and provide repairs for you or will you need to use a 3rd party service company?

• Will decontamination documents be available?

• Does the unit provide energy savings?  

• Is it up to date with technology standards?

• What would your safety officer or EH&S Department recommend?

These, and many other questions, should be asked and evaluated to get a true overall value of the used equipment.

Reasons New Equipment May Be A Better Option

Everyone would prefer to have a brand new car with that new car smell, but not everyone can fit that into their budget. I understand that this is the same feeling with lab equipment.  We would all love to have the latest GC/Mass Spec or Microplate Reader, especially when the sales representative does such a great job at pointing out all of the key features and benefits, but not every lab has the budget for this.  It’s easy to become frustrated with the overall process of acquiring new equipment, particularly when budgets are strained and time is of the essence.

There are a lot of great options out on the market for every piece of lab equipment.  It is feasible for a lab to get all the equipment they need as long as they are vigilant about assessing the overall value of their options and their final decision.

Key points to consider when looking at new equipment include:

• Do I really need this equipment for my lab and my research?

• Will I be able to perform my research with the basic model or do I need to purchase the high end unit?

• Does the equipment include the latest technology?  

• What type of warranty is included?  Are parts and labor included in the warranty?  Are there extended warranties available?  

• Does the unit have to be serviced by the manufacturer or can I use a 3rd party service company or my own facility engineers?

• Can I learn how to use the equipment easily and train my lab personnel?

• What preventative maintenance (PM) needs to occur and how frequently?  Can the lab personnel perform this or do we need to purchase a PM package and have the manufacturer do this?

Do Your Homework

Many clients I have worked with over the years purchase a new piece of equipment without fully analyzing all of these important details.  In the end, it may cost more than initially anticipated, especially if the equipment is not used as often as planned.

Whether you end up purchasing a new piece of equipment or a used one from a dealer, it is paramount to spend that extra time doing your homework and an overall analysis of what the purchase will cost in the long run.  A lab cannot just view the equipment and budget as a here and now decision. It needs to be viewed more for the long-term expectancy of the equipment and how it will affect results and personnel down the road.

For more feedback and consulting while preparing to purchase your laboratory equipment please visit New-Lab Solutions at www.new-labsolutions.com


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