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Type of sterilizer (gravity sterilizer and vacuum sterilizer) and their respective advantages

Type of sterilizer

Sterilizer’s function mainly by gravity or vacuum induction or pre-vacuum (pre-vacuum) sterilization methods, although some types of sterilizer combine both methods for sterilization.Although these two type sterilizers both use high temperature steam for sterilization and use pressure as a means to allow steam instead of the air in the inner chamber and penetration sterilized items.

Sterilization items and suitable sterilizer type:

The sterilizer system you choose depends on the item your need to sterilize.In general, steam sterilization is highly rapid,effective,reliable, non-toxic, and provides an low-cost way to quickly heat and permeate the items in the chamber, including some items that contain liquids. However, this method can not sterilize oils or powders , and can only sterilize heat-resistant and moisture-resistant items. Following is a brief of the main item’s type used for gravity and vacuum sterilizer types.

Vacuum (pre and rear) is suitable for sterilizing large or porous items:

①Animal cages and bedding

②wrapped dry items

③The medium solution in a suitable vessel, For example a tissue culture flask with a loose cap for steam high-pressure circulation

④High density polyethylene products such as pipette, syringes, etc

Gravity sterilizers are suitable for disinfecting non-porous items (For example: items with a hard surface):

①Biohazard waste

②Polypropylene Pyrex® or type I Borosilicate glassware

③Non-packaged items

④Most metals, especially stainless steel surgical instruments and laboratory appliances

Gravity sterilizer, also known as gravity displacement sterilizer is the most basic form suitable for the most common laboratory items for sterilization, including steel vessels, glassware, and biological hazardous wastes. Gravitation-induced sterilizer includes pumping steam into the inner chamber of the sterilizer to replace the air and forcing it out of the exhaust valve so that the remaining steam can sterilize the items of the chamber. The advantage of this mechanism is that the design is simple and does not depend on the peripheral mechanism to replace the air in the inner chamber with steam, this will make this type sterilizer more economical and reliable. Most sterilizer items’s design for sterilization are very simple and do not contain space or barriers to steam entering, so the steam replacement function is enough for suitable sterilization.Due to these reasons that gravity sterilizers are the most common type on the market and are usually used for most applications.

On the other hand, vacuum autoclave method, also known as pre-vacuum autoclave method.Pre-vacuum is more suitable in situations where air cannot be easily removed from the sterilization items for sterilization. This may include large or porous items such as wrapped surgical tools,animal cages and bedding. These sterilizer’s vacuum function lets steam to penetrate deeper into the items when sterilizing. Because it completely remove the air in the inner chamber and allow high temperature steam osmosis original area was full of air to start sterilizing,so that it can more effectively to disinfect internal hard to reach some of the items.

Choose a sterilizer

Selecting the right sterilizer requires you to assess not only the type of the items you need to sterilize in the autoclave chamber, but also the production capacity and available laboratory space, and utilities including electricity (suitable power output), water, and indoor steam.

Gravity sterilizers are also especially advantageous when used at high humidity or at high altitudes because they always maintain the relationship between pressure and heat in the inner chamber and overcome differences in boiling points at high altitudes by opening and closing the exhaust valve. It’s called pre-vacuum sterilizer and its function allows for suitable sterilization in laboratories and hospitals located in high altitude areas.

For the dimension of sterilizer you want to purchase, you need to consider limiting energy use and cost, especially for smaller laboratories, depending on the space available to purchase the appropriate sterilizer.

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