Understanding the difference between Jacketed and non-jacketed autoclaves is important for making an informed decision when purchasing an autoclave for your laboratory. This article will compare and contrast the two types of autoclaves and present a reference table for your convenience.

Jacketed vs Non-Jacketed Autoclaves

Design and Operation:

Jacketed autoclaves have a double-wall design with an independent steam generator. Steam is first routed through the jacket to rapidly raise the temperature of the inner chamber. Once the desired temperature has been reached, steam is then sent into the chamber itself to speed up the sterilization process. Non-jacketed autoclaves apply steam directly without a jacket or pre-heating phase. While slower, they are ideal for institutions and applications with a more moderate workflow.

Efficiency and Suitability:

Jacketed autoclaves are ideal for continuous, high-throughput settings like hospitals or pharmaceutical labs. In contrast, non-jacketed autoclaves are more suitable for standard, less frequent use in research or educational settings, providing efficient operation without the complexity of a steam jacket​​.

Cost and Maintenance:

Jacketed autoclaves are typically more expensive to purchase, maintain, and operate due to their complex design. The complex design includes more moving parts which will require resources and maintenance. Non-jacketed autoclaves offer a cheaper upfront cost and fewer moving parts leading to lower maintenance and operational costs.

Applications and Performance:

Jacketed autoclaves are preferred in high-throughput environments for quick sterilization and drying of large loads. Non-jacketed autoclaves, however, are well-suited for sterilizing standard lab items like culture media, pipette tips, and glassware with less urgency for load clearance​​.

Energy Consumption and Sustainability:

Jacketed autoclaves have higher energy and water demands due to the need for a pre-heating phase and steam needed to fill the jacket before the main chamber. Non-jacketed autoclaves, without the need for a pre-heat phase and second chamber, use significantly less energy and water, making them a more environmentally friendly option for most research and educational labs​​​​.

Reference Table for Choosing the Right Autoclave for Your Lab

TOMY has developed the checklist or decision-making flowchart below to assist in determining the most suitable type for specific lab needs.

Factor to Consider Jacket Autoclave Non-Jacketed Autoclave Notes
Usage Frequency High (daily, continuous use) Moderate to Low (less frequent use) High-frequency labs benefit from the efficiency of jacketed autoclaves.
Types of Materials Complex materials, and fast drying required Standard lab materials (culture media, glassware, etc.) Jacketed autoclaves are better for complex sterilization needs.
Budget Constraints Higher initial cost Lower initial cost Consider both the purchase price and long-term operational costs.
Operational and Longer-term Costs Higher maintenance cost and energy cost Lower maintenance cost and energy cost Non-jacketed autoclaves are more cost-effective in the long run.
Space and Installation Requires more space and complex installation Less space-intensive, simpler installation Evaluate your lab’s available space and installation capabilities.
TOMY’s vertical autoclaves
save space and require zero installation!
Energy Consumption and Sustainability Higher energy and water usage More energy-efficient and environmentally friendly Sustainability considerations are important for long-term operations.

Choosing the right autoclave requires assessing specific lab needs, and considering factors like throughput, material types, and sustainability. While jacketed autoclaves are suited for high-throughput, resource-intensive environments, non-jacketed autoclaves offer a cost-effective and sustainable option for standard lab use.

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