Compatibility of Lab Armor Beads with Non-Lab Armor Baths

Compatibility of Lab Armor Beads with Non-Lab Armor Baths


When converting a third party water bath into a bead bath by adding Lab Armor Beads, the water bath must heat to the set temperature and maintain a constant temperature. The designs of some baths make them incompatible for use with Lab Armor Beads. Some customers may experiences issues when trying to use Lab Armor Beads in their old water baths. Common problems are discussed below.


  1. Shallow form baths – Moving air wicks heat away from the surface of Lab Armor Beads. Routine removal of the bath’s lid during normal operations produces too much heat loss. There is insufficient thermal mass in 1-2 inches of Lab Armor Beads for the bath to optimally recover.
  2. Deep Tub Water Baths – Water baths with tub depths greater than approximately 8 inches are usually incompatible with Lab Armor Beads. The location of the heating element and its proximity to the thermostat is often too great, which causes the element and beads to overheat. The over temperature control unit of the bath may shut off the bath, or sometimes the bath will continuously cycle between temperatures above and below the set point.
  3. Circulating Water Baths – Mechanical water pumps are not compatible with beads.
  4. Shaking Water Baths – General mechanical movement is not compatible with beads.
  5. Metal cover plate in the bottom of older style water baths - May be able to convert by filling the spaces below and above the cover plate with beads.
Old Water

Steps to fill the spaces below and above the cover plate with Beads

  • Identify the cover plate. If you see a metal plate similar to what's pictured here, follow these steps.
  • Switch bath to OFF position, unplug, and empty water.
  • Remove metal base plate to uncover thermostat or heating element
  • Clean bath thoroughly with soap and water; rinse tub with 70% ethanol and allow to completely dry.
  • Clean metal base plate thoroughly with soap and water; rinse with 70% ethanol and allow to completely dry.
  • Once completely dry, first fill space beneath metal base plate with Lab Armor Beads then replace the plate.
  • Fill bath to 3/4 volume with Beads.

    Known Incompatible Water baths

    1. Julabo – SW and TW series
      Dry-running protection system interferes with bead bath set up and prevents continuous operation.
    2. Ratek - WB4, 7, 14, 20 analog series and WB4D, 7D, 14D, 20D digital series.
      For safety, a manual reset cut out disconnects power to the element if the water level falls too low.

    Known Compatible Water baths

    1.   Thermo-Fisher Scientific - Isotemp and Precision series
    2.   Precision Scientific – all general purpose series
    3.   PolyScience – all general purpose series
    4.   Grant Instruments – all general purpose series
    5.   VWR – all general purpose series
    6.   Sheldon Manufacturing – all general purpose series
    7.   Lab Companion – all general purpose series
    8.   New Brunswick – all general purpose series
    9.   Lab-Line – all general purpose series
    10. Buchi Heating Baths – all general purpose series
    11. Boekel – all general purpose series
    Information provided by Lab Armor