How much should you spend on lab equipment?

PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
When I was working at a big corporation we didn't give much thought to spending hundreds of dollars on mixers or even a couple thousand dollars on a good balance.  But many of the people who frequent this website are consultants or small businesses who are looking to start their own cosmetic labs.  Assuming that you are making a lab in which you will do prototyping and maybe a small production test run (say 5 gallons of product or less)...

What would be your estimate for how much someone should spend on the following pieces of equipment?  

Lab balance (or scale)


Temperature control devices (hot plate)

Containers (beakers)

Testing equipment

I'll post my opinion after a few people have listed theirs.  This is just meant to get an estimate but if you want to link to specific pieces of equipment that's fine


  • edited October 2015
    My equipment purchases where all out of necessity so I didn't just buy to equip my lab. I have a trusted used lab equipment refurbisher friend that would find me the equipment, cleaned them and repaired them and sold them to me at cost. I only bought an IKA top mixer new. 

     Here's almost what I spent:

    Lab balance (or scale)- 3 for different weight ranges- $800 to $1500 each

    Mixers- 2 at $400 and $1200

    Temperature control devices (hot plate)- 2 at low cost (perhaps $150 or $200). They don't stir or do anything fancy.  

    Containers (beakers)- Got free combined when I bought the scale and pH meter

    Testing equipment- pH meter (can't recall exactly, but low cost, perhaps below $300 with a fairly nice electrode)

  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Thanks @AuroraBorealis!

    I'd like to add there is some great information about equipment needed to set up a cosmetic lab in the following discussion.

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