When looking to properly sterilize tools, heat and chemicals are the primary methods to adequately kill any sort of pathogens. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of all the methods available for sterilization, moist heat in the form of saturated steam under pressure is the most widely used and the most dependable. In medical and veterinary facilities, dentists offices, laboratories, tattoo shops, nail salons, and spas, autoclaves are the ideal piece of equipment to sterilize tools quickly and effectively. It is an easy and inexpensive way of sterilizing tools and equipment used in day to day operations.
What Exactly is an Autoclave?
Think of an autoclave like a fancy pressure cooker; a sealed chamber filled with water that uses the power of steam and pressure. During this process, an autoclave kills bacteria, spores, and germs resistant to boiling water and powerful detergents. Pressure serves as a means to obtain the high temperatures necessary to quickly kill microorganisms.
Autoclaves range in all sizes; from small tabletops that resemble the microwave in your kitchen to large autoclaves the size of refrigerators. This means the prices of autoclaves can range just as much as their sizes can. Like any investment in a piece of quality equipment, investing upfront will often save you money in the long run and offer a greater return. However, you don’t need to spend top dollar for a top quality autoclave. Depending on your needs and budget, there is an autoclave for you.
If you are looking for a small, tabletop sterilizer that is both economical and reliable, the S500 Dry Heat Sterilizer by Wayne Metal Products is an ideal sterilizer for the practitioner that requires less space. Although technically not an autoclave (this dry heat sterilizer does not require water), the S500 Dry Heat Sterilizer works exactly like an autoclave using heat to kill bacteria and disinfect. Wayne Metal Products has been a manufacturer of premium sterilizers since 1955. Wayne sterilizers have been trusted for decades in laboratories, dentist offices, veterinarians, tattoo parlors, and more. If you need more room, you can upgrade to the S1000 Dry Heat Sterilizer that features almost twice the capacity of the S500 while maintaining the price under $1,000.
Tuttnauer’s 1730 Manual Valueklave Autoclave is one of their more popular models for its features and ease of use. Tuttnauer has established themselves as a trusted name in sterilization for over 90 years. The fast cycle time and heated drying of the Valueklave delivers a quick turnaround for wrapped or unwrapped instruments.
The simple controls and easy closing door make this unit a breeze to operate. This model is available in older and current certified pre-owned as well as factory new conditions, giving you the flexibility to choose the model that fits your budget.
Similarly, the Midmark M7 SpeedClave Sterilizer, known as the “workhorse” of sterilizers, is an economical, manual autoclave for sterilizing both wrapped and unwrapped instruments, linen packs, and glassware. The SpeedClave sterilizes unwrapped instruments in just nine minutes and requires no outside plumbing. Safety features, an easy to read temperature gauge and regulator, cycle timer, and front draining for easy cleaning, makes the M7 efficient and dependable.
The M9 UltraClave Automatic Sterilizer and M9D AutoClave Sterilizer by Midmark feature an intuitive LCD display and simple prompts that help you easily select the cycle you need, whether for unwrapped items, pouches, packs, or handpieces. Once the M9 UltraClave sterilization cycle is complete, the door automatically opens quietly to dissipate the steam and provide fast, efficient drying of your instruments. With the M9D AutoClave, an audible signal is emitted to indicate the cycle is over. The door must then be manually opened to release the steam and to dry your instruments.
Certified vs New, Automatic vs Manual, Help!
If you're feeling a little more overwhelmed than when you started, not to worry. The more options available the harder it can be to narrow down exactly what you need. Autoclaves can range in sizes, features, and prices. It is important to find an autoclave that can perform the duties you need without dipping too deep into your wallet. This is where considering age, condition, and features will really save you some time and ultimately money!
Editor’s Note: Information, prices, and products are subject to change. Please visit product listings or contact MFI for most up to date information.