Fume-hood vs Biosafety Cabinet

When it comes to laboratory safety, two essential pieces of equipment stand out, fume hoods and biosafety cabinets. These two devices are designed to protect laboratory personnel and the surrounding environment from hazardous fumes, chemicals, and biological agents. While they may seem similar, there are distinct differences between the Fume Hood and the Biosafety Cabinet that are important to understand. In this blog post, we will explore the characteristics and functions of each to help you determine which one is best suited for your laboratory needs.

What is the Fume Hood product?

A fume hood is an enclosed workspace with a moveable sash that provides a barrier between the user and substances. These hoods are designed to exhaust harmful fumes and vapors, thus protecting the laboratory worker from inhaling any harmful substances. Fume hood products are commonly used in chemistry labs, pharmaceutical labs, and any other laboratory that deals with hazardous chemicals. They come in various sizes and are usually placed against a wall, making them a space-efficient option for labs with limited space.

What is a biosafety cabinet product?

On the other hand, a biosafety cabinet (BSC) is a specialized piece of equipment designed to provide both personnel and environmental protection when working with biological agents. BSCs come in three classes – I, II, and III, each with different levels of protection. They are equipped with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, which capture and filter out any harmful biological materials. Biosafety cabinets are commonly used in microbiology labs, pharmaceutical labs, and other labs that deal with biological agents. Whatever your industry, Hoffen provides customized Laboratory furniture solutions that exceed your expectations. You can learn more about our success stories by reading our blogs.

What are the differences between the Fume-hood vs Biosafety cabinet?

FeaturesFume HoodBiosafety

Fume hoods protect workers from inhaling harmful chemicals through utilizing unidirectional air flow totally exhausted from the lab environment to the external environment.

Carbon/Hepa filter can be added to the exhaust to protect the external environment.

Biosafety cabinets provide both personnel and environmental protection by default. Through incorporating High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters to ensure the purity of both incoming and outgoing air
AirflowFume Hood exhausts the air: Fume hoods are total exhaust cabinets, meaning 100% of the air is exhausted outside the lab environment.In most commonly used BSCs (Class II); 70% of the air passes through a filter and is recirculated back to the cabinet. However, their operational methodology varies according to their respective classifications.
ContainmentFume hoods provide containment by relying on the airflow direction and have a sash to act as a barrier between the user and the chemicals. For storage of chemicals, it is recommended to use Chemical safety cabinets.Biosafety cabinets utilize the same containment logic, however, in Class II the airflow direction is not totally from the lab to the external environment; 70% flows back into the cabinet filtered and recirculated. For the maximum level of containment, Glove boxes or Class III BSCs are completely enclosed and provide the highest level of protection.
ApplicationsHazardous substances such as corrosive chemicals, noxious gases, volatile compounds, reactive materials, chemical leaks, aerosols, carcinogens, flammable agents, and other volatile and toxic compoundsInfectious microorganisms and other hazardous particles.

Fume hoods are designed to protect the user from inhaling harmful substances, while biosafety cabinets offer protection when handling biological materials used in lab worktops. This means that fume hoods are more suitable for labs that deal with chemicals, while biosafety cabinets are essential for labs that handle biological agents.

Which one should you choose Fume hoods and Biosafety cabinets?

The answer to this question depends on the type of work being carried out in your laboratory. If your lab deals with hazardous chemicals, then a fume hood would be the most suitable option. However, if your lab deals with biological agents, then a biosafety cabinet is a must-have.

In conclusion, fume hoods and biosafety cabinets play a crucial role in laboratory safety. They offer different types of protection and are used for different purposes. Therefore, it is essential to understand the differences between the two so that you can choose the most appropriate equipment for your lab. As a laboratory owner or worker, it is your responsibility to ensure that safety measures are in place, and investing in high-quality fume hoods or biosafety cabinets is a step toward achieving that goal.