Autoclaves are a vital component of excellent infection control in a dental office. There are a lot of different autoclaves available in the market. You might be satisfied to buy the same one if you’re replacing an old autoclave and your needs haven’t changed.  

On the other hand, there are a couple of things you need to consider if you’re looking to buy a new type of autoclave or your very first autoclave.  

Lucky for you, we’re here to help. If you want to buy a new autoclave, you need to consider several things to avoid expensive autoclave repair. Here are the things you need to consider: 

Automatic or Manual 

Autoclaves that are manual will need you to spend time on things to ensure smooth operation. On the other hand, automatic autoclaves can get rid of that. For instance, you won’t have to set sterilization parameters on manual autoclaves since automatic ones have pre-programmed cycles. Other examples include digital documentation for the sterilization log, a water-fill feature, and automatic door release and locking.  

Manual autoclaves are more affordable and easy to use. On the other hand, you need to know if there are enough pre-programmed cycles for your needs when it comes to automatic autoclaves. Keep in mind that choosing more pre-programmed cycles than what you need isn’t great as well. 

Available Space 

You can improve the efficiency and performance of your dental clinic if you design and designate an area in advance. The autoclave you’re planning to purchase should fit in the designated place in your reprocessing area. It should also have additional space for set-down areas.  

Also, it might be a lot better to buy 2 small autoclaves instead of a single big one if you expect a high throughput of instruments. This depends on the available space you have. If you’ve got 2 small autoclaves, you can gain these benefits: 

  • You’ve got a backup 
  • Accommodation of expected growth 
  • Possibility for staggered loads or simultaneous use 
  • Smaller autoclaves need less energy compared to big ones 
  • Flexibility in processing smaller loads 

Cycle Times 

Cycle times can differ from cycle parameters and type of autoclave, as well as cooling times and warm-up. Think about every stage in the process. An autoclave will also require drying time if it needs a pre-heat phase.  

Load Capacity and Chamber Size 

The chamber size can be around 60 liters for small steam sterilizers utilized in the dental clinic. The configuration of racks and tracks within it and the internal dimensions of the cylinder itself can differ. It can affect the loads that it can accommodate. A chamber big enough and configured to accommodate your needs is best. However, you shouldn’t choose an excessive one as well. The reason for this is that it will take up a lot of space in your clinic.  

Type of Instruments and Volume 

Think about the instruments you’re going to sterilize. How many instruments do you utilize every day? How often do you need them? What kinds of instruments are you using? How many handpieces do you utilize every day?