Basics about laboratory supplies

You’re at the doctor’s office getting a routine checkup. The nurse draws some blood and tells you you’ll find out your test results in a few days. Why the wait? “We’ve got to send it to the lab,” she tells you.

Almost everyone has been in a situation like the one above, when it takes a few days or even weeks to receive medical test results. From blood to biopsies, many things collected in a doctor’s office or at the hospital must make the trek to the lab. Obviously, you know that labs exist. But what else do you know about them? If you’re like most people, you probably don’t know much about these mysterious places and the laboratory supplies that stock them.

What happens at a medical equipment lab?

Scientific labs run the gamut for those that are extremely complicated to those that are simple in nature. Most labs that analyze results for hospitals and doctors fall into the latter variety. In these kinds of labs, a variety of laboratory supplies and standard tests are used to generate results.

Most of the time, a hospital will have its own lab on site to perform basic tests on blood, urine, and feces. For more complicated and less common tests, samples are sent off to regional labs for analysis. That’s why some test results are available quickly, while others can take more than a week to receive.

Types of medical laboratory supplies

The most important parts of any lab are the supplies that go into it. Without these laboratory supplies, an equipment lab would be just like any other building. There are some laboratory supplies that are made especially for medical labs, but many are standard pieces of equipment that can be found in all lab environments, from those on college campuses to the labs associated with huge research companies. The following list of laboratory supplies are some of the most common–you’ll find these in any lab you visit.


Regardless of its purpose, every lab is equipped with a standard array of glassware. This includes beakers, graduated cylinders, and flasks. The glass pieces are used to measure products and are often the sites of tests.

Scientific instruments

Things that fall into this broad category of laboratory supplies include scales, thermometers, calculators, burners, and other tools that make tests happen. Whether they are complicated measuring devices or basic Bunsen burners, scientific instruments make it possible for lab workers to get results.

Safety supplies

Every lab must include a standard assortment of laboratory supplies devoted to safety. Fire extinguishers, eyewash fountains, showers, and goggles are necessary to ensure workers will be okay in case of an accident. Gloves, jackets, and other wearable laboratory supplies are also crucial for a safe environment.

All of the above categories of laboratory supplies can be found in any lab, regardless of its function. There are only minor supplies that set a medical laboratory apart from other lab environments, and these are usually medical tests. But even with medical testing supplies, the products and tools listed above play crucial roles in the everyday workings of the lab.

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