How to Choose Between Purchasing Lab Software vs. Equipment

By Chris Austin 2 min read 23 Nov 2023

Making the right purchasing decisions in a laboratory can dramatically improve operations and productivity. But, deciding what to purchase requires thoroughly understanding your many interconnected factors.

When deciding between investing in a laboratory notebook or inventory software versus getting new laboratory equipment, it’s crucial to approach the choice with a friendly evaluation of your lab’s unique needs, goals, and limitations. 

Here are several reasons why leaning toward digital tools might be a wise move.

Improved Data Management and Organization

Laboratory notebooks and lab inventory software can be lifesavers when managing and organising your data. They make recording and accessing data a breeze, reducing the chances of data loss, errors, or misplacement. This is a big deal in keeping your research data squeaky clean and traceable. 

A new piece of equipment will expand your technical capabilities. But it will also generate more data. And if you don’t already have a solution for data management and organisation, it could further exacerbate your current challenges.

Enhanced Collaboration and Sharing

Digital lab tools offer the fantastic benefit of real-time collaboration and easy information sharing among your team, even if they’re scattered around the globe. This boosts teamwork and productivity, which may not be as smooth with new equipment alone.

Stricter Regulatory Compliance

Many research fields have rigid rules about data retention and compliance. Lab notebooks and inventory software come with features that make it easier to meet these requirements, such as auditing, version control, and electronic signatures

More Cost-Efficiency

Let’s face it; new lab equipment can break the bank and often comes with additional costs for maintenance and operation. On the flip side, lab software solutions usually have lower upfront costs and can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Logical Resource Allocation

Your lab might already have all the equipment you need to carry out experiments. Prioritising software for data management and inventory ensures you’re making the best use of what you’ve got before splurging on more gadgets. 


Digital tools are like chameleons; they adapt to your changing research needs and the latest technologies. They’re versatile and can grow with new features, which is only sometimes the case with physical equipment. 

Better Time Savings

Effective data management and inventory software can free up a ton of time researchers would otherwise spend on tedious manual record-keeping and hunting for items in the lab. Without a software solution, new equipment will add to these burdensome tasks.

Supportive Decision Making

Lab software often comes with cool features for analysis and reporting, which can help with decision-making and designing experiments more efficiently.

Going Green

Getting new lab equipment can have a significant impact on the environment, from energy use to waste production. Opting for software solutions can be a more eco-friendly choice.

Stronger Training and Skill Development

Investing in software can also be a great opportunity to boost the skills of your lab team. They can become proficient in digital tools and data management, a valuable asset in modern scientific research.

Making the Right Decision for Your Lab

Remember, the key is to make your buying decisions only after carefully evaluating your lab’s needs and goals. New equipment might be necessary to meet ongoing project objectives in some situations. The choice between lab software and equipment should be based on what your lab specifically requires. You can find a sweet spot by considering lab software and equipment in your investment plan.

If you’re looking for a digital lab platform, Contact eLabNext to learn more about our software solutions.

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