20 Tips For Buying Used Lab Equipment And Supplies

20 Tips For Buying Used Lab Equipment And Supplies

When it comes to buying laboratory equipment and supplies, it's no secret that they can be quite expensive. That's why many researchers and scientists opt for buying used lab equipment and supplies. However, buying used equipment can be risky if you don't know what to look for. We've compiled a list of 20 tips on buying used lab equipment and supplies. And we hope this helps you make the right decision. 

1. Research the seller 

Spend time researching the seller's reputation before committing to a purchase. Visit their website and check online reviews. Make it a habit to ask for references from previous customers. Lastly, if a seller doesn’t have any reviews be it on Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace, it’s best to look for another seller. 

2. Check the condition 

Request detailed pictures of the equipment to assess its working condition. Look for any signs of damage, wear and tear, or missing parts.  That’s also because most sellers won’t give any personal warranty.

For example, when buying a used centrifuge, check the rotor, motor, display, and lid for any damage or wear. This will ensure that the equipment is in good working condition and meets your laboratory's needs.

3. Ask for a warranty even for used lab equipment

A warranty can provide protection in case of any unforeseen malfunctions. While most sellers would refuse or not give out any warranty for their used items, it’s always worth a try. 

4. Look for certifications 

Verify if the equipment has any certifications or has been tested to meet industry standards. This will give you confidence that the equipment is safe and reliable. Check out our article about the important certifications to look for when buying either brand new or used lab equipment.

5. Check for compatibility with your existing lab setup

Ensure that the equipment you're considering purchasing is compatible with your existing laboratory setup. Consider factors such as power requirements, software integration, and other hardware requirements.

6. Check for missing parts 

Before making a purchase, ensure that the equipment comes with all the necessary parts and accessories. Missing parts can be costly to replace and may delay your laboratory's operations.

7. Ask about maintenance records 

Let’s say you found a seller with a magnetic lab stirrer. Then try and ask for the maintenance records of the equipment. This information can provide insight into the history of the equipment and help you determine its overall condition.

8. Consider the age of the equipment 

Consider the age of the equipment and if it's still relevant to your needs. Some older equipment may not have the latest features or capabilities that newer models have. Additionally, if the lab equipment is too old, you might end up paying more for repairs. 

9. Check for wear and tear

Look for signs of wear and tear, such as rust, corrosion, or cracks. This tip doesn’t just apply to machineries used in the lab. Let’s say you want to save more on used glassware, then make sure to check for any nicks or scratches. Overall, any equipment that has been poorly maintained or stored in unfavorable conditions may have these types of issues.

10. Ask for a demo  

Request a demonstration of the equipment before you make a purchase. This will allow you to assess the equipment's performance and ensure that it meets your laboratory's requirements.

11. Check for calibration 

Verify if the equipment has been calibrated recently. Calibration ensures that the equipment is accurate and reliable.

12. Look for a service contract 

Look for a service contract or maintenance agreement to ensure that the equipment is regularly serviced. Regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of the equipment and prevent costly breakdowns.

13. Check for recalls

Research whether the equipment has been recalled or has any known safety issues. This information can help you make a more informed decision.

14. Ask about shipping and handling

Inquire about shipping and handling fees and if they're included in the price. These fees can add up and significantly impact the overall cost of the equipment.

15. Negotiate the price

Don't be afraid to negotiate the price. Used equipment is often sold at a discounted price, and you may be able to negotiate an even better deal. 

16. Ask about return policies 

Request the seller's return policy in case the equipment doesn't meet your expectations. This can give you peace of mind and protect you from potential losses.

17. Don't rush and give in to persuasions

Take your time when making a decision. For example, if the price seems too good to be true, then walk away if your guts are telling you something is off. Rushing into a purchase without proper consideration can lead to costly mistakes.

18. Ask for recommendations 

Ask colleagues or other professionals for recommendations on where to buy used laboratory equipment. This can lead to valuable insights, recommendations, and an idea how much a specific used lab equipment costs on average.

19. Compare prices 

Continuing from our previous point, compare prices from different sellers to ensure you're getting a fair deal. Don't just go for the cheapest option - consider the overall value and quality of the equipment.

20. Consider leasing 

If purchasing equipment outright is not an option, consider leasing equipment instead. This can be a more cost-effective option, especially for equipment that is only needed for a short period of time.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can ensure that you make an informed decision when buying used lab equipment and supplies. With a little bit of research and due diligence, you can save money without sacrificing quality or safety.

Why Buy Used Lab Equipment?

Buying used lab equipment can be a smart decision for many reasons. Firstly, it's often more affordable than buying new equipment. This is especially important for new labs or small businesses that may not have a large budget for expensive equipment.

Secondly, buying used equipment can be more sustainable as it reduces the amount of waste produced by manufacturing new equipment. Used equipment can be refurbished and given a second life, reducing the environmental impact of the lab industry.

Finally, buying used equipment can be a great way to access older models. Or in acquiring hard-to-find equipment that may no longer be available. This can be especially useful for researchers who need specific equipment for their experiments. However, if you can’t find any used lab apparatus in good condition, perhaps it’s time to buy one that’s brand new

why used lab equipment

How To Negotiate With Sellers When Buying Used Lab Equipment

One of the advantages of buying used lab equipment is that it is often sold at a discounted price. However, it is important to remember that the seller's asking price is not necessarily the final price. Ultimately, the main goal is to get a better deal on the apparatus you need. Here are some tips on how to negotiate with sellers when buying used lab equipment:

1. Do your research

Similar to our previous tips, it’s important to research thoroughly. Before negotiating with a seller, do your research to determine the fair market value of the equipment. This will give you a baseline for what you should expect to pay and can help you determine a reasonable offer.

2. Be respectful

While negotiating, it is important to maintain a respectful and professional demeanor. Being overly aggressive or confrontational can damage the relationship with the seller and make it more difficult to reach an agreement.

3. Be confident when asking information

Don't be afraid to ask questions and request additional information or clarification. Trust your instincts and make sure you feel confident in the decision to purchase the used lab equipment. At the same time, this will help you not get taken advantage of such as offering you a high price or be persuaded easily.

3. Start with a lower offer

Start with a lower offer than the seller's asking price. This gives you room to negotiate and can help you get a better deal.

4. Highlight any issues

If the equipment has any issues or is missing parts, use this as leverage to negotiate a lower price. Also, make sure to provide evidence to support your claims. You wouldn't want to be in a heated conversation with the seller, would you?

5. Consider other factors

If the seller is unwilling to lower the price, consider asking for other concessions, such as free shipping or a warranty. Perhaps you might even get both if your time with the seller goes smoothly. 

6. Be willing to walk away

If the seller is unwilling to negotiate or you are unable to reach an agreement, prepare yourself to walk away. There are many sellers of used lab equipment, and it is important to find one that is willing.


Buying used lab equipment can be a great way to save money, reduce waste, and access hard-to-find equipment. However, it's important to approach the buying process with caution and do your due diligence to ensure that you're getting a quality piece of equipment. By following these tips and taking the time to research and inspect the equipment, you can make an informed decision and save money without sacrificing quality or safety.

If you’re still looking for expert tips about the advantages of buying brand new lab equipment, check out our article here!

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