Dry Baths

What are Dry Baths?
A dry bath is a type of laboratory equipment that is used to heat samples. Dry baths are often used in molecular biology, microbiology, biochemistry and genetic applications. The capacity of these baths is measured in blocks. Depending on the size of the block, the user can place a certain amount of tubes into each block. The most common sizes for blocks are 1, 2 and 4 block models. The blocks have holes that are specific for tubes. Compatiable tubes will depend on the diameter of the tubes. Most common tubes that are used in these baths are 1.5ml & 2.0ml microcentrifuge tubes, 15 & 50ml conical and self standing centrifuge tubes and test tubes. 

Other Names
Heating Block, Dry Bath Incubator, COD Reactor


  • Dry baths are essential laboratory instruments used for heating samples.
  • The applications of the device extend to fields such as molecular biology, microbiology histology, genetic applications, biochemistry, and clinical, environmental and industrial settings.
  • The instrument consists of a stainless-steel chamber, aluminum blocks, microprocessors, and a digital display with timer and temperature control.
  • A key benefit of the dry bath is the superior hygiene of the instrument with less probability of sample contamination.

Dry Baths vs. Water Baths

  • Cleanliness: Although of course most labs place a high priority on cleanliness, there are some applications where additional steps are needed to maintain hygiene. In these instances, a water bath may not be the correct choice because water baths tend to be more susceptible to contamination. In this case, dry baths hold the advantage over water baths because dry baths are less likely to become contaminated or spread contaminants between samples and work surfaces.
  • Speed: Water is capable of transferring heat to samples much more quickly and effectively than air is, so a water bath will heat samples at a more rapid rate than a dry bath. A water bath will also promote more consistent heat distribution in a sample. The water is also better at maintaining temperature which reduces the chance of temperature fluctuations. However, it also takes longer for a water bath to be warmed up to the desired temperature which, in turn, means that the water bath will use more power over time.
  • Sample container size: Although many labs use standard sample containers, there are some applications that require the use of bulky or unconventional containers. Water baths are ideal for these non-standard applications since the water will naturally adapt to accommodate the shape of the sample. Dry baths are generally compatible with standard sample containers. Keep in mind, a sample that is placed in a water bath must be properly sealed, so you won’t be able to treat open sample containers.

Types of Dry Baths

  • Dry Baths / Dry Bath Incubators: A variety if different models available. Generally distinguished by tube compatibility, block capacity and temperature range.  
  • Cooling Block: Ability to cool samples below ambient temperature
  • Shaking / Agitation Blocks: Ability to shake samples

Information required to to quote on a Dry Bath

  1. What temperature range?
  2. What size tubes will you be using?
  3. What is the maximum number of tubes that you will be using at any given time?
  4. Do you need shaking?




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