How Scientists Select an Evaporator for Their Laboratories

By Joshua Delos Reyes, 11 April 2017

Evaporators serve crucial functions in many laboratory operations, from simple concentration of substances to sample preparation for downstream processes and extractions of desired substances. A recent survey result from Lab Manager asked scientists about what features they consider when purchasing an evaporator. These were the top 10 results:

Top 10 Features Respondents Consider Before Buying an Evaporator





Ease of use


Low maintenance / easy to clean


Low operating cost of ownership




Ease of installation


Fully integrated - The evaporator, the vacuum pump, the vacuum controller, and the recirculating chiller


Service and support


Built-in vacuum controller



Up to 69% of the respondents said that reliability is the factor/feature they look for. How can we know if an evaporator is reliable?

Those in charge with purchasing laboratory equipment often check the warranty. Manufacturers often show a longer warranty duration to show that they are confident about their product.

For example, many rotary evaporators such as the ValueVap RE-502 often have a 1-year complimentary warranty included. Other evaporators such as the Scilogex RE100-Pro have a 2 year warranty. A warranty longer than 2 years is very good; for instance the Hei-VAP Precision has a 3-year warranty.

Vacuum Control

Many of those working in the laboratory also check if the evaporator has a built-in vacuum controller. From the survey results, up to 36% of the respondents consider having a built-in vacuum controller as one of the most important features.

Some rotovaps are more expensive because of that feature. For instance, the LabTech EV311VAC Rotary Evaporator, which has a built in vacuum controller, has a list price of over $4,800, whereas other models list for $3,200 or less. It has an integrated advanced vacuum control technique.

Most applications will require control of the vacuum pressure, and most vacuum pumps are simple on / off devices, therefore a vacuum controller is generally a necessary component of a complete rotary evaporator setup. If your rotovap does not have built in vacuum control, you have the option of a digital vacuum controller such as the LabTech VC1000, or a manual vacuum regulator.


Aside from reliability and built-in vacuum controller, respondents also prioritize safety (up to 65% of the survey respondents) when selecting an evaporator.

Almost all rotary evaporators now have basic built-in safety features. For example, the LabTech EV311H automatically shuts down in case the bath runs dry. In case of power failure, the Scilogex RE100-Pro safely and automatically prepositions the evaporating flask to the top position, out of the bath.

For rotary evaporators used in industrial scale processes, a long list of safety features are often built in. For example, the Hei-VAP Industrial Safety has, in addition to many other safety features, a metal framed guard hood with protective glass. This encloses the bath to protect the user from steam, splashes, and shards of glass (in case of accidental flask breakage).

Hei-VAP Industrial Safety Rotary Evaporator

The Hei-VAP Industrial Safety

Other Features

Aside from safety, built-in controller, and reliability, respondents also consider ease of use (62%), low maintenance (61%), low operating cost of ownership (52%), and other features.

Laboratory managers and scientists often look at all those features before purchasing an evaporator. However, reliability and safety are at the top of the list, as with other laboratory equipment features.