10 things to consider before choosing a Desiccator & Dry Boxes

A desiccator is a good place to organize and store products that are sensitive to humidity. They are an economical way of assuring dust-free, dry storage. It is often used to store moisture sensitive materials and compounds. A desiccator can be optimized through the desiccator shape, size and control mechanism which is best suited to your space requirements, application and items to be stored.

Desiccators are a type of a Dry Box. A dry box is a container in which the humidity is kept at low levels. It can be a simple airtight or watertight enclosure as well. Cameras, lenses or musical instruments are kept in dry boxes to prevent damage from moisture. There are two types of dry boxes – desiccant box and an electronic dry box.

Electronic dry boxes have a Peltier cooler which condenses out moisture and removes it. In other electronic dry boxes, multi-porous molecular sieve desiccants adsorb moisture. These desiccants are renewable. This type is best for colder ambient temperatures.

We can see that dry boxes and desiccators are the same devices.

Things to consider when choosing a desiccator and dry box

  1. Optimal environment: the Desiccator or dry box you choose must provide an optimal environment for your experiments or tests. Some desiccators require a desiccant, others require gas or vacuum. Some need manual monitoring and others are automated. Certain desiccators can achieve dry conditions faster and so on. Based on what your test is or the item you need to store, you can choose from among the different types of desiccators and dry boxes.
  2. Type of desiccation: each type of desiccator has its own unique advantage. Desiccants, inert gases or vacuum can be used to create a dry environment. Depending on what you are storing, choose one of the options.
  3. Quantity of items to be stored:  The number of items that you need to keep inside a desiccator is a big deciding factor. If you have few items, a jar-shaped regular desiccator will do. Large sized cabinets can be used as desiccators when inert gases are used for drying.
  4. Price: Standard desiccators are not as expensive, compared to vacuum desiccators or the ones using inert gases. If you don’t require a vacuum desiccator then a standard one will work within a limited budget.
  5. Space in the laboratory: Some desiccators are large, and some are small. If you have a space crunch, then a small jar or box-shaped cabinet will work best.
  6. Length of time: Certain Desiccator Cabinet can maintain humidity levels for 72 hours or more. If you have similar needs, then choose a device that sits well with your plans.
  7. Mobility: Not all desiccator cabinets are mobile. Some are very large and cannot be moved without significant effort. But smaller desiccator jars and some mobile cabinets with wheels provide mobility.
  8. Operation: How a desiccator operates is also one of the considerations before buying. Some devices may need additional peripherals and arrangements. For example, a vacuum desiccator needs a vacuum pump.
  9. Monitoring: Certain desiccators are monitored manually, and some can be monitored automatically.
  10. Speed: Some types of desiccators can create a dry environment faster than others. Using silica gel as a desiccant will be slower than the use of inert gases to eliminate moisture.

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