Lab Armor Beads

Category Bead Baths Accessories
Manufacturer Lab Armor

Lab Armor Beads are small, dry, metallic, thermal beads designed to replace water in laboratory water baths and ice in ice buckets.


  • Compatible with most standard six to eight inch-deep water baths and many other constant temperature laboratory baths.
  • Compatible with a broad temperature range for use in incubators, ovens, refrigerators, and freezers. For best performance, use Lab Armor Beads at an operating temperature from -80°C to 180°C. Product fluidity may be reduced at temperatures above 180°C.
  • Transfers dry heat and cold with high efficiency to warm, thaw, incubate, and chill samples at constant temperatures.
  • Accepts and supports any size and shape vessel, including 96 well plates, Petri dishes, and other non-water-tight vessels.
  • Stays clean and disinfects easily.


Stays Clean: protected from water-borne contamination. Reduce the risk of contamination, achieve reproducible results.

Stays Organized: Unlike water baths that require racks, floats, and bottleneck weights, Bead Bath naturally holds things in place without accessories.

Saves Time: The bath always stays on, so you don’t have to plan around warmup times. You don’t need to worry about burnout either because there is no water to evaporate.


Highly recyclable. The Beads are formed from solid recyclable metal. The material is very desirable to recyclers, which means the raw material used in Lab Armor® Beads can be reused in other products.

More Energy-efficient. Beads can transform a water bath into a smarter instrument that uses less electricity. For instance, water constantly evaporates during water bath operation. As water evaporates it cools. Due to this evaporative-cooling effect, the bath must heat more frequently, which increases energy consumption. A bead bath uses over 4X less energy when set to 65 ºC and over 2X less energy at 37 ºC. Plus, a bead bath provides more constant temperature and fewer temperature fluxuations during operation than a water bath.

No Gray Water: Lab Armor has worked hard to eliminate the need for many of the germicides that are a common part of water bath maintenance. Bead Baths are dry and periodic decontamination with a biodegadable, earth-friendly disinfectant, such as 70% EtOH is usually all that is required to keep most unwanted microbes away.


Lab Armor Bead Bath vs. Water Bath

  Bead Bath Water Bath Oil Bath Sand Bath
High Thermal Efficiency Yes Yes Yes No
Microbial/Biofilm Resistant Yes No Yes Yes
Cross-contamination Resistant Yes No No No
Minimal Cleaning Yes No No Yes
No Refilling Yes No No Yes
Rack & Accessory Free Yes No No Yes
Angled Incubation Possible Yes No No Yes
Constant Volume Yes No Yes Yes
Non-Corrosive Yes No No Yes
Broad Temperature Range (-80 to 180C) Yes No Yes Yes
Non-water tight Vessel Compatibility Yes No No Yes
No Evaporation (Instrument Burn-Out Protection) Yes No Yes Yes
Always On (No Warm Up) Yes No No Yes
Mobile or Field Use Compatible Yes No No No
Non-combustible Yes Yes No Yes
Manufacturer Specifications
 Volume 0.75, 2, 4 or 8 L
Size and weight

Diameter ~ 5 – 8 mm

Height ~ 1 – 2 mm

Weight ~ 3.65 lbs per liter

Properties Metal composition
Moisture and gas impermeable
High thermal conductivity
Smooth, rounded surface
Working temperature range is -80°C to 180°C
Environment Recyclable
Non-toxic, non-vaporizing material
No daily requirement for biocide use – no gray water
Improves energy efficiency of standard water baths by over 50%
Storage Ambient temperature

Can you use Lab Armor Beads in [insert whatever water bath you have here]?

Lab Armor Beads can replace water in most laboratory water baths. The mechanism by which the liquid level shutoff operates in some water baths prevents their use.

The following baths are known to be incompatible:

  • Julabo – SW and TW series
  • Ratek - WB4, 7, 14, 20 analog series and WB4D, 7D, 14D, 20D digital series.
  • Shallow form baths (baths less than 4" deep) or deep tank baths (baths more than 8" deep)
  • Any circulating or shaking baths

The following baths are known to be compatible:

  • Thermo-Fisher Scientific - Isotemp and Precision series
  • Precision Scientific – all general purpose series
  • PolyScience – all general purpose series
  • Grant Instruments – all general purpose series
  • VWR – all general purpose series
  • Sheldon Manufacturing – all general purpose series
  • Lab Companion – all general purpose series
  • New Brunswick – all general purpose series
  • Lab-Line – all general purpose series
  • Buchi Heating Baths – all general purpose series
  • Boekel – all general purpose series

In addition to compatibility, there are a few practical differences with regards to using lab armor beads that you should be aware of.

Lab Armor Beads will heat significantly (~3x) more slowly than water. Because of this, bead baths are meant to be left on at all times. Compared to a laboratory bath left on for a standard 8-hour workday, this will generally not increase your energy consumption, however, as no energy is being wasted on evaporation (relative energy consumption to water depends on bath temperature). If you plan on only using your bath occasionally, be sure to allow more time for it to warm up.

There is also usually a modest trade-off in temperature uniformity when using a bath not intended for beads (for improved temperature uniformity, a bead bath can be used).


Can you use Lab Armor Beads in an oil bath or other high-temperature bath?

The short answer is that yes, the Lab Armor bath beads can be used at temperatures from -80°C to 180°C.

The caveat is that because the beads do not flow like a liquid does, the temperature uniformity is not as good. While this difference is often negligible at temperatures close to room temperature, it gets larger as the temperature increases.

There are still many advantages to using beads instead of oil in a high temperature bath, such as easier cleaning, reduced risk of sample cross-contamination, and non-combustibility.


What is the recommended procedure for cleaning Lab Armor bath beads? Can they be autoclaved?

For sterilization, it is recommended that you either rinse / soak the beads in 70% isopropyl alcohol then let them air dry or perform a dry-heat decontamination at 180°C for a few hours. For situations where cleaning is required, Lab Armor beads may be washed in a solution of mild detergent in water.

Lab Armor beads should not be autoclaved. The combination of high humidity and high temperatures can cause the beads to become sticky, reducing their fluidity and overall performance.

Additionally, Lab Armor beads should not be cleaned using strong detergents, acids and bases, bleach, or reactive oxidizing substances.


Can I use Lab Armor Beads in place of dry ice?

Yes. When stored with a Lab Armor Chill Bucket at -80°C, then removed into a room temperature environment, the temperature of the beads inside the Chill Bucket will increase at a rate of 20°C / hour. Note that it would take 24 hours for a full bucket with beads to equilibrate to -80°C.


Are Lab Armor Beads chemically compatible with [insert chemical of your choice here]?

The beads are primarily an aluminum alloy, and will behave like aluminum for material compatibility purposes. We recommend checking a material compatibility table to determine if aluminum will demonstrate good resistance to the chemical in question.


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