Choosing the best autoclave for your dental practice

In the market for a new autoclave? It can be overwhelming deciding on which is the best autoclave for your dental practice. Below is our guide of recommended questions every dentist should ask themselves before deciding on the best autoclave.

Once you answer these questions you will dramatically narrow down your search to finding the best autoclave for your dental practice.

Your needs

First, write a list of what you need to sterilise in your autocalve. Will you only place handpieces for cleaning or are you also planning on sterilising other items such as wrapped or hollow instruments in the machine?

Also ask how many instruments you need to place in the unit to maximise space. Not enough room will mean extra cycles and too much room is a waste of water and energy. You want every cycle to be filled up as efficiently as possible.  This will then help to determine the optimal chamber size you require for your autoclave.

Size matters

If you haven’t already decided on the allotted bench space for your autoclave you’ll need to make this decision fairly quickly. Find out how much room you have and look for autoclaves that will accommodate those dimensions. This then needs to relate back to step 1 to make sure the chamber size is large enough to sterilise all the instruments you need.

The bench space available will dramatically narrow down your search for an autoclave. You’ll also want to make sure there is plenty of room to open the autoclave door allowing staff to easily access instruments.

If you need something narrow the Melag Melaquick 12+ is 20.5cm width x 45cm depth allowing for instruments up to 20 cms long. If you have plenty of space then you might consider Melag Vacuklav 24BL+ which is 75 x 42.5 x 48.5cm with a sterilisation chamber of up to 60cm.

Cycle Times

How often does your practice sterilise equipment and how quickly do you need it? Machine cycle times and sizes generally vary between 10 – 40 minutes for the complete cycle run. If you’re looking for a machine with the fastest cycle time the Melag Premium Plus range has universal cycles lasting between 15-25 for sterilisers with models that hold 18L & 22L depending on what size you need. The Melaquick 12+ only holds 1.35L but a cycle can be finished in 7 minutes, great for when you need something quickly. The difference between the machines and the size loads will also need to be taken into consideration.  You don’t want to make patients wait and leave you running behind schedule because you‘re waiting for equipment to be sterilised.

Plumbing in or stand alone machines

One of the most frequent questions we get from dentists is whether to buy an autoclave that’s plumbed in or should they buy a stand-alone machine. With a plumbed in machine the autoclave will fill and empty itself as it’s attached to plumbing lines for drainage. On the other hand the stand alone machines need to have distilled water added manually plus staff also need to drain the machine, this can be unproductive on time management for your staff.

If you want to opt for a plumbed in machine and don’t already have the correct plumbing in place then you’ll need to budget this cost, but once it’s done then your staff will be able to work more productively as they won’t need to fill in the drain the machine manually. With the stand alone machine you are only able to use distilled water so if you don’t already have one you also need to purchase a water distiller.

Printers & Data Logs

All autoclaves have a printer and data log capabilities. Models such as Melag Vakuquick 13B Autoclave will allow you to use a USB or card reader which is inserted into the autoclave and then plugged into the computer to read the information. On other machines such as Midmark’s Newmed the printer is built into the machine saving you money in time handing and making it easier for your staff.

Price

How much do you have to spend? This will outline the number of features that will be available to you on this budget. Plus think about operational costs such as servicing and the water and electricity bills that will happen every time you run the machine. The cheapest autoclave we stock is Melag Euroklav 29VS Autoclaves at $6495 and 17L in size this model is only available as a standalone machine and a printer attachment can be sold separately.

The largest Melag Autoclave is the Melag Cliniklav 25 which is $38,000. This machine is one of the largest machines on the market holding 25L and can take up to 15kg of instruments allowing for 36 standard trays or 18 cassettes. The shortest cycle time is only 14 minutes for a small cycle but this autoclave is ideal for larger practices.

Warranties, Guarantees & Quality Assurance

It’s best to check the warranty and guarantee of the machine you are wishing to purchase. All Melag and Midmark autoclaves comes with a 24 month warranty.  All autoclaves also are manufactured to ISO Standards and CE marking approved.

User Friendly and Printing Options

The most user friendly machine we have come across is the Melag Premium Plus range which has touch screen facilities that are similar to using an iphone  and clicking on icons. This range of autoclaves also come in 18L & 22L with the choice of stand-alone or plumbed-in options and are a great all-rounded for dental surgeries with 3-4 rooms. We highly recommend the Melag Premium Plus range as one of the best autoclaves on the market.

Testing & Maintenance

To keep your machine running optimally you complete a daily test cycle as per manufacturer’s regulations. It’s also recommended to have your autoclave professionally serviced every 12 months. Learn more about maintenance tips for your autoclave by clicking here and remember that better maintenance will keep your steriliser running longer avoiding unnecessary breakdowns leaving you without a machine.

For more information on autoclaves for your dental clinic please call the Dentec team on 1800 88 44 44 or view our products online.