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Ultimate Drying With Vacuum Ovens

Whether you need to dry heart valves, circuit boards, or plant material, you’ll need a reliable vacuum purge oven. These ovens excel at pulling water and solvents from materials that can’t tolerate high heat. From smaller, entry-level models to larger, feature-laden models, there’s a vacuum oven for every need.

Should you get air jacket or plate heating?

A vacuum oven heats the material inside through direct heat. In the air jacket type, the walls of the oven are heated. This heat then transmits through direct contact to the shelves on which you have placed the material. This type of oven can usually produce temperatures up to about 260 Celsius, depending on the model.

When the shelves themselves are producing the heat, it’s called plate heating. This type of oven produces faster drying since the heat reaches the material more quickly. A shelf-heated vacuum oven can heat as high as 400 Celsius, depending on the model.

If you don’t need the highest temperatures, the type of oven you prefer will probably depend on the complete set of features the different models offer. You may be able to find a used, pre-owned, or new vacuum oven of either type that fits your needs.

What’s the size range in vacuum ovens?

There’s a very wide range of sizes available from less than a cubic foot to at least 10 cubic feet. As you might expect, the cheapest vacuum oven is the smallest. Prices increase quite sharply as the sizes get larger.

A purge oven for flammable solvents

If you need a purge oven to pull flammable solvents from materials, you’ll need a specialty model. You must not use a standard vacuum oven for this purpose.

Although the two types of ovens appear to be similar and work in a similar way, the specialized purge oven that’s used for flammable substances has more robust safety features.

Controlling a vacuum purge oven

Different models of ovens have different control capabilities. If there’s a function that’s necessary for your needs, be sure the oven you choose comes with the ability to control that function.

Some ovens let you ramp the temperature rather than setting a single point. Some can be programmed to cycle on and off for up to seven days. High-end vacuum ovens will log data, so you can check the operation and make adjustments.

If all that’s too fancy, you can also find an affordable vacuum oven with analog controls and a dial thermometer.