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3 tips for choosing the right flammable cabinet or safety cabinet for your lab

Learn how a modern lab safety cabinet can save your surfaces, employees, and space.

So, we heard you’re thinking about upgrading the safety cabinets in your laboratory. Well, up and atom!

Where will you begin? With all the sizes, materials, compliance requirements, and colors (oh, so many pretty colors!) of safety cabinets to choose from, picking the right one for your application can get overwhelming.

Lucky for you, we’re right in our element when it comes to safety cabinets.

Here are the 3 tips you’ll need to keep in mind when choosing the right safety cabinet for hazardous materials in your lab.

Tip #1: Identify your chemicals.

Taking an inventory of the chemicals you need to store in your lab helps you get a good idea of the types and amounts of safety cabinets your lab may need. As you take your inventory, some questions to keep in mind are:

  • Can I group all my chemicals together, or will I need to segregate them in multiple cabinets?
  • Do I have a greater quantity of some chemical types than others? (i.e. more flammable liquids than not)
  • Do I exceed the chemical volume amount per cabinet as allowed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)?


Bright and yellow like the sun, you’ll usually find flammable safety cabinets dressed in yellow. A good flammable cabinet is intelligently designed to mount flush with other cabinetry in your lab. This allows you to easily access them during procedures right at your workstation.

These Undercounter Flammable Safety Cabinets by Justrite are built to specifications by OSHA and NFPA.

When is a flammable cabinet required? Working with flammable materials that aren’t stored correctly poses safety hazards to your lab and employees. Storing flammables in a flammable cabinet helps protect the surrounding environment from materials that become dangerous near a fire, or can react dangerously to other substances in a lab.

What are flame arresters in a flammable storage cabinet? Flame arresters facilitate the passage of gas while limiting the potential propagation of a flame in a flammable cabinet. The Undercounter Flammable Safety Cabinets by Justrite feature dual vents with flash arresters built into the back wall for easy connection to outside ventilation (if desired).

Corrosives & Acids

Feeling blue like this an acid storage container? Or are you worried about storing chemicals like hydrochloric acid or acetone? Corrosive and acid safety cabinets are the way to go. Usually built with steek or durable polyethylene, these cabinets come in a variety of sizes that easily fit beneath your countertops or can be stacked upon one another.

Some safety cabinets pack tons of value into one cabinet. This ChemCor Lined Safety Cabinet by Justrite offers protection against fire and corrosion. It's flame-coated and lined with thermoplastic to offer superior protection against corrosion.

Working in a lab with changing needs? This cabinet features customizable options like:

  • 2" liquid-tight contamination sump
  • Dual vents
  • Adjustable shelves
  • Three-point, self-latching doors
  • Leveling feet


You may need to store other potentially hazardous chemicals in your lab like paints, inks, or pesticides. If your lab carries a variety of chemicals that require segregated storage, a set of stackable storage cabinets may be your best bet.

Stackable storage units are built to fit in small areas and stack upon one another, maximizing the floor space in your lab. They come in corrosive safety and flammable safety options so you can customize a cabinet to your specific needs.

These Mini Stak-a-Cab Safety Storage Cabinets fit in spaces that larger safety cabinets can’t, and meet/exceed NFPA and OSHA standards.

Tip #2: Figure out how much lab space you can use for storage.

The amount of space you can dedicate to chemical storage in your lab will determine the kind of safety cabinet or safety cabinet combination that would best suit your needs.

When assessing your storage space, ask yourself:

  • Will this safety cabinet be accessible to me, or is it too far from my workstation?
  • Will these safety cabinets block doors, entryways, or hallways?
  • Do I need to maintain any distance between my safety cabinet(s) and another area in my lab?

You can use our state-of-the-art size guide to help you figure out the best size for your lab.

I want a safety cabinet the size of a toaster oven I want a safety cabinet somewhere in the middle I want a safety cabinet the size of a barbecue

Besides the actual size of the safety cabinet, you should also keep an eye out for specific design elements that help you maximize floor space and interior unit space.

Each cabinet design offers its own unique set of features that the manufacturer adds to make your lab life easier.

Check out some of the cool design elements:

Undercounter cabinets

A good undercounter cabinet should fit alongside your other lab cabinetry seamlessly. When selecting an undercounter safety cabinet, look for design features like:

  • Toe kick space (so you can stand comfortably in front of the cabinets)
  • An adjustable shelf to help you house more chemicals or chemicals of different sizes
  • Manual or self-closing doors (depending on what compliance requirements your lab needs to follow)
  • Feet that you can adjust up to 1.125" for alignment and leveling (on uneven floors)
  • Padlocks that allow you to lock up your chemicals

If you’re looking for an undercounter cabinet that checks all these boxes, check out Undercounter Flammable Safety Cabinets by Justrite.

Stackable cabinets

Stackable safety cabinets are ideal for labs with limited space. You can put them on the benchtop. You can stack them on the floor (usually up to three units high), and you can customize your compartment types based on your chemical types. When selecting stackable safety cabinets, look for design features like:

  • Optional adjustable feet on the base unit to level on uneven surfaces
  • Included hazard labels for the various compartments
  • Padlocks that allow you to lock up your chemicals

If you’re looking for stackable safety cabinets that house all these features, check out these Mini Stak-a-Cab Safety Storage Cabinets.

Floor cabinets

Floor safety cabinets are ideal for labs that have the space for them. You can often stack floor safety cabinets, or use them all by themselves depending on the unique needs of your lab. Some models even offer work trays you can secure against a cabinet top to use as a surface for pouring and dispensing liquids. When hunting down a floor safety cabinet, look for design features like:

  • Adjustable shelves o help you house more chemicals or chemicals of different sizes
  • Leveling feet that you can adjust
  • Full coverage in epoxy paint (to prevent corrosion)
  • A liquid-tight contamination sump of at least 2"

Looking for a safety cabinet that checks all these boxes and more? These Justrite ChemCor Lined Safety Cabinets are flame-coated and fitted with a thermoplastic liner to offer superior corrosion protection.

Tip #3: Determine whether you need to meet any compliance requirements.

Your state might require your safety cabinets to meet certain compliance requirements. It’s good to know exactly which features your cabinets need before you go picking the colors.

Some questions to consider when researching your compliance requirements:

  • Do I need to meet a specific code? (ex. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Code 30)
  • Do my safety cabinets need self-closing doors?
  • Does my safety cabinet need to be tested or approved by Factory Mutual?

… among any others that may apply to your state.

If you’re on the hunt for a safety cabinet that checks all the boxes, check out these Justrite ChemCor Lined Safety Cabinets that are:

  • NFPA Code 30 compliant
  • OSHA compliant
  • Uniform Fire Code compliant
  • Factory Mutual tested and approved
  • Have a Regulatory Approval Key

Got more questions about safety cabinets for your lab?

All you have to do is ask! Talk to us and get recommendations for your lab size or application needs.

I have questions about safety cabinets