Buying used lab equipment online is a great way to maximize what you can do with your department’s budget.
Since the lab equipment industry is highly specialized, new equipment can be extremely expensive. Manufacturers can guarantee high-quality equipment, but their products will cost you thousands, if not millions.
If you’re willing to take on a little extra risk, you can buy used lab equipment at a fraction of the original price. Online resellers offer a surprisingly wide scope of inventory, so it isn’t too difficult to find what you need.
Below is a list of three websites where you can buy used lab equipment, ranked from generally least to most expensive.
Where to Buy Used Lab Equipment For Sale
eBay.com is perhaps the largest online marketplace in the world for used items, including scientific lab equipment. It’s also the platform where we choose to sell lab equipment.
eBay boasts a vast selection of lab equipment and replacement parts, from large systems such as vacuum deposition systems, NMR machines, electron microscopes, or fume hoods to brand new consumables such as PPE or pipette tips. All these can be found at the fraction of the prices of big-name suppliers. Lab chemicals are also available if they can be shipped through the mail.
One of the reasons eBay is so much cheaper than major manufacturers is competition. If multiple eBay sellers offer the same product, you can make an offer for a lower price or play them off each other to decrease the price.
While eBay doesn’t offer much for warranties, eBay’s Money Back Guarantee does offer good buyer protection. If an item you receive is broken on delivery or not as described, the eBay seller is required to give you a refund as long as you report it within 30 days.
Another online marketplace for used lab equipment is Biosurplus.com, which as you might assume, focuses on biological lab equipment.
Like eBay, most listings have a 30-day money-back guarantee, but it depends on the listing and company. Prices on Biosurplus usually do not include shipping and packing costs, which can really add up for large, fragile equipment.
While Biosurplus does sell common interdisciplinary pieces of equipment, the equipment selection is much more limited compared to eBay.
LabX.com is one of the most trustworthy websites for buying used lab equipment. LabX is one of the largest resale platforms dedicated to lab equipment, and they have almost all kinds of lab equipment for chemical, physical, biological, or semiconductor laboratories.
Of the three marketplaces, LabX is the most likely to have warranties on their equipment. However, the warranties usually last for a much shorter duration than what the original manufacturer would provide.
The biggest drawback to buying on LabX is the cost. It is more expensive than eBay and Biosurplus in almost every category. Sometimes the original manufacturers even post listings for equipment on LabX at name-brand prices. Good warranties come with name-brand purchases — but at a high price.
Tip: Look at multiple marketplaces before buying
Before you decide where to buy your used lab equipment online, make sure to view the item on multiple websites.
Many resellers list their equipment on several platforms, and you’ll often find the same product for sale at different prices by the same seller. The reason for price differences is that online marketplaces charge sellers different fees that affect the final price on that platform.
When comparing prices, you should also check if shipping is included. For large pieces of equipment, shipping can add up quickly.
The Best Website for Buying Used Lab Equipment
So, which online marketplace is best? It depends on what you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for a wide selection of equipment and replacement parts at amazing prices, search on eBay. If your focus is biology, head over to Biosurplus. If a warranty is important to you, explore options on LabX.
Whatever your lab needs are, you can find good, used lab equipment on online marketplaces for low prices.