1. What depth of vacuum to do you need?
    1. If you only need a vacuum pump for filtration or aspiration applications, modest vacuum levels are all you need to induce a pressure differential or suction force. Evaporative work in boiling off materials may require deeper vacuum levels perhaps even down to the 1-5 torr range. Freeze drying samples requires even deeper levels of vacuum.
  2. How much flow do you need?
    1. Once you’ve identified your required vacuum depth, you then need to decide what kind of flow you need or really how fast you want your application to run. Are you running a single filtration process or many at one time? Are you evaporating off milliliters or gallons of product? Answers to these questions and ultimately how fast you want these applications completed will narrow down the field of pumps that suit your needs.
  3. What kind of chemicals are you working with?
    1. If you are working with harsh or corrosive chemicals, a chemistry-rated pump may be in order to ensure the vacuum pump does not prematurely breakdown from exposure to such reagents. Specialized wetted path materials can allow for pumps to hold up more longer than similarly designed standard duty pumps. If you are working with less aggressive materials, a standard duty pump should hold up just fine.
  4. Do you need advanced controls?
    1. If you are running simple benchtop experiments that require little control like filtration of media, then a basic on/off pump should be all that’s required. If your research demands tight parameter controls, standardization, and data logging, a more sophisticated vacuum system may be in order.
  5. Do you need just a vacuum pump or integrated condensers, filters, or other glassware?
    1. Sometimes all you need is a pump hooked up directly to your experiment’s apparatus (think Buchner funnel and sidearm flask). Other times, you may need to reclaim solvent or protect the pump from high vapor loads. In the case of the latter, consider vacuum pumps with integrated condensers and catchpots to optimize the overall vacuum performance and experiment results.


Answers to these five questions above can help narrow down the vast field of lab vacuum pumps available to scientists and help ensure you have the right pump for the job. Use our selection guide