The Complete Guide To Lab Coats
The Complete Guide To Lab Coats
In a world filled with technological advanced textile manufacturing and medical textile applications, choosing the right lab coat can be daunting and we’re here to help.
This article will help weave you into the right cost based on the intended services and functions so that you can make an informed choice on the best value for your dollar, all things considered. So let’s get started!
How to Choose The Best Lab Coats
Whilst it can be overwhelming when deciding between lab coats this article will highlight the different key aspects to make your decision making easier.
When evaluating lab coats, you should consider following factors mentioned below:
- Comfort, Mobility & Durability
- Function & Style
- Material and Fabric Type
- Specialised features
- Care and Maintenance
Comfort and Mobility & Durability
Lab coats are either mandatory uniforms or a necessity in the working environment. When you are wearing it all day, everyday, comfort and mobility becomes quintessential in the daily grind.
The ideal lab coat not only offers protection from potential contamination risks but also should ensure the mobility you need whilst working. Lab coats in cotton or cotton blends are extremely breathable, light-weight and comfortable against the skin for daily wear. With that in mind, look out for:
- Fabric types and their properties
- Fitting and finding the right size
Lab Coat Material and Fabric Type : What Do The Composition and Coating Mean?
For Reusable lab coats, the material choice of your lab coat will affect these properties:
- Durability and maintenance
- Type and level of protection (ie. fire, substances and materials etc.)
- Special Properties
100% Cotton Lab Coats
Highly light-weight and breathable material although not flame resistant. Splash resistant, mild protection to chemical resistances. Appropriate for use in clinical settings and laboratories where biological materials are present.
- Soft to the touch
Durability and Maintenance: 7/10
- Medium wash cycle resistance
- Have some resistance to substance and/or material contamination
- May get wrinkled easily and requires ironing
Poly/Cotton Lab Coat Blends
Although not as soft as 100% Cotton, Polyester-Cotton blends ( with no less than 35% cotton) that are good for usage in an environment where there are no open flames.
- Average comfort levels
Durability and Maintenance: 9/10
- High wash cycle resistance
- Have some protection to substance and/or material contamination
- Wrinkle resistant
Lab coats that are made in Polyester-cotton blends that are the most cost effective and durable material when frequent washing is required. Polyester-blends can also be treated with wrinkle-free chemical wash to make it more resistant to wrinkles after wash, in turn requiring less ironing.
How to find the right sized Lab Coat:
- Check fit ( Asian, Western or other)
- Check the cut ( slim or relaxed )
- Check the size range/ sizing guide
Fit & Cut
Wearing the wrong fit might cause unwarranted mishaps; the right fit directly impacts the wearer’s comfort and mobility. On the contrary, a properly fitted coat will minimize contaminations and accidents. The right fit should be:
- Loose but not baggy
- Allows a range of comfortable arm movements without feeling restricted
- Be able to bend and stretch without exposing
Size Range & Chart
Western brands tend to run bigger than the asian fit. In addition, the sleeve and hem lengths are also longer. Comparatively, asian fits such as Japanese brands have a smaller shoulder frame, shorter sleeve and hem length.
Be sure to look up the size guide for a more accurate assessment in sizing. When ordering for a team, be sure to find out the size range required before committing to an order in large quantities.
When in doubt about size, always go for the bigger option. In the case where slight alterations are necessary, sleeve length and hem lengths can be adjusted easily.
Lab Coats By Function
Amongst the various styles offered for lab coats depending on various professions and industry, it is important to have the most effective style and function relative to the environment. In some cases, the lab coat is not only a professional distinction but also an important indication of the protection it offers based on the colour. (ie blue coats are Fire retarded).
The following points are something to consider when decided what features the lab coat should have.
- Reusable or Disposable
- Colour and/or symbol indications for protection type indication.
- Additional material coating
- Utility Pockets
Reusable or Disposable
Although the daily wear reusable lab coats have more mileage and can be maintained easily, there may be situations and/or environments which require the industry profession to choose disposable lab coats instead.
In some instances, the pros of a disposable coat out performs the reusable in:
- Contamination risks
Colour and/or Symbol Indications
As mentioned above, colour and symbols can help to quickly identify professional hierarchy and also the type of protection it offers to the wearer. Because of the difference in colour and symbol it can be identified faster and more easily.
Additional material coating
Besides having fire retardant qualities, wrinkle-free coatings make managing your uniform simpler and hassle free. A lot of time is saved from ironing out wrinkles. You’ll be looking work-ready speedily.
All these additional material conditioning helps to make your lab coat more durable and therefore last longer.
When in a sensitive and potentially hazardous environment, long sleeves with cuffs, high necks and long hem all offer additional overall protection. Having a quick snap-on a snap-off front closure would also reduce the amount of time taken to remove the contaminated piece of clothing. Having this in mind its good to consider the following:
- Sleeve length
- Hem length
- Closure (zips, buttons, snap buttons)
Difference combinations of the above offer different levels of protection and function.
All things considered having extra utility pockets would help to free up your working hands without losing your belongings. The number of pockets and placement of them will help you store your essential belonging and tools. Pens, notepad, phone and other tools will be easily accessible with just a convent reach.
Most popular utility pockets are:
- breast pockets (single or double sided)
- waist pockets and/or side pockets.
Having the option to make the compartment closures with zips or snap buttons will also help to reduce the risk of things falling out while working. Especially in a profession where a lot of mobility is required.
100% Cotton FR (Fire Retardant) Coated
Cotton treated with FR (Fire Retardant) material retains breathability yet suitable for environments where pyrophoric materials are handled. Suitable for use in environments such as research laboratories where there are light flammable liquids or open flames present.
FC (Fluorocarbon Coated)
FC coated lab coats prevent penetration by water, oil and other mild chemicals for environments prone to surface/contact contaminations.
This material is both liquid and flame resistant. It is breathable but slightly bulkier than Polyester blends or Cotton materials. It is one of the more expensive choices on the list but suitable for usage in an environment where there is extreme fire danger, open flame, electrical and pyrophoric material.
- Micro-breathe/Microporous (only for disposable lab coats)
- High temperature washing resistance
Look out for: These special properties are usually indicated by the brand or supplier. Where you need these fabric properties or not depends on the job scope and washing requirements. In the case where industrial washing is required, high-temperature resistance is required. In the case where the wearer needs to be in an ultra-clean environment, the Microporous is highly recommended as it has 99.9% filtration efficiency.
Care and Maintenance
Some industries require professional washing services however oftentimes and not, it can be taken care of very quick and simply. Some points to note are:
- Washing temperatures
- Laundry method (industrial or domestic)
- Frequency of wash
- Risk of material/substance contamination at work
For accurate washing requirements, check the care label instructions. An important point to note, not all materials can resist high temperature washing. A proper care to your lab coat will ensure that it lasts longer over time.
Lab coats typically range from 20-100 per coat. How much you should be paying depends on:
- Material choice
- Replacement rate
- Job / Industry requirements ( if any )
In a high risk contamination environment, your lab coat might need to be either cleaned or replaced more quickly. Assess the usage vs durability before investing in your lab coat. In some instances, you might want to consider disposable lab coats as they are extremely low-cost.
Reusable VS Disposable Lab Coats
There are 2 broad categories of Specialize Lab coats, Reusable and Disposable. Each one has different uses, pros and cons. You will need to evaluate the use of a lab coat in order to decide which one will be suitable for use.
Reusable Lab Coats
For long term use when the wearer needs protection from particles, liquids, biological and mild airborne particles or in cases where PPE standard lab coats are required whenever the wearer may anticipate splash, spray, blood or OPIM (other potentially infectious materials) contaminations. Often cases, they are knee-length, long sleeved and have high neck closures for optimal protection.
Type of Protection
Main industries that use reusable lab coats:
- Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
- Pharmacies and Clinical Laboratories
- Physician/Dental Practices
- Optometry/Audiology Offices
- Food Processing and Manufacturing
- Scientific research
- Art restoration
Disposable Lab Coats
These lab coats and jackets are made for long lasting durability and dependability. Fluid-resistant, non-flammable material provides protection and comfort. Meet OSHA requirements for blood-borne pathogens. Lab Coats and gowns available in several closure types including Rear Tie, Snap Front, Velcro Front and Waist. There are commonly made in:
- Polypropylene (or PP for short)
The 100% non-woven spun bond polypropylene is non-allergenic that can resist mildew.This material is not splash resistant nor flame resistant however it is extremely light-weight and breathable. Low-cost lab coat that is good for protection from dirt and grime in non-hazardous environments. It is eco-friendly and disposable.
Micro-breathe / Microporous (Microporous film over spun bonded Polypropylene)
Although not flame resistant, this ultra-clean material offers a strong barrier to particles, biological fluids and chemicals. Because of its 99.9% filtration efficiency, it is widely known and used for its utility in medical, industrial and institutional service sectors as it is lint-free, anti-dust, antibacterial and anti-static properties.
Tyvek (High Density Polyethylene)
The superior barrier protection against hazardous materials for industrial workers such as manufacture, automotive, utilities and more. Tyvek disposable lab coats protects again small hazardous particles such as lead, asbestos and mold. It is slightly flame retardant and can also be used in clinical settings and research where biological material is manipulated.
Main industries that use disposable lab coats:
- Asbestos and lead Abatement
- Mechanical Assembly
- Clean Rooms
- Food Processing
- Electronics Manufacturing
- Mold Remediation
- Spray Painting
- Laboratory Work
- Pet Care
- Medical Care
- Dental Care
Customized Lab Coats
3 Ways to Customize Your Lab Coat
Want to add special customization to your lab coat? There are 3 main ways to create your ideal professional lab coat for your industry and/or service.
Custom Logo and/or Name
- Name tags
- By profession
- By team
- By department
- Adding colour accents (please ask for consultation)
- Varied necklines and collars
- Custom fit and style and closures
- Material Coating
- Utility Pocket add ons etc.
Conclusion: The Lab Coat that Meets Your Needs
The perfect Lab Coat should be:
- Convenient: Readily available with fast shipping times and can be tailored to your requirements
- Range: Good fit and colour/style options
- Functional : Customizable with material coatings and utility pockets
- Affordable : Available at reasonable prices, often cheaper than other uniform options
- Professional : Have a high finish standard
With all the different aspects in Lab Coats covered in this article, you are now able to start your order!