Wet Labs vs Dry Labs: What’s The Difference?

Author Justin Fink Read bio
Tags: laboratory life sciences
Date: October 26, 2022

When planning a laboratory space, it’s important to understand the particular requirements of the lab and make sure that all the necessary controls are in place. That being said, there are many different types of laboratory spaces, each with its own set of requirements. 

 In this article, we’ll be talking about the differences between the two most common types: wet and dry labs.

Before you decide which one is the best for your business, let’s explain them a little bit more.

Wet Labs Explained

A wet lab is the type of research laboratory in which different kinds of experiments are performed, and all of them include dealing with liquid substances of some sort. These types of labs are designed to handle chemical and potential wet hazardous products. All researchers involved in wet lab research must possess skills and knowledge of wet lab techniques and safety procedures

Wet lab research is an essential part of scientific discovery, as it allows scientists to directly manipulate and study the properties of matter. Consequently, wet labs must be carefully designed and operated in order to ensure the safety of both researchers and the general public.

Dry Labs Explained

A dry lab is a laboratory where computational and mathematical analyses are done on electronic equipment like computers and other digital devices. These labs are specially designed to store large electronic instruments. These laboratories are built for analytical purposes and require a proper temperature and humidity control system. Dry labs generally have fewer risks than traditional wet laboratories, as there are no hazardous chemicals or other materials present. 

However, it is important to follow safety protocols when working in a dry lab, as electrical equipment can pose a fire hazard if not handled properly. They usually have a higher initial cost than traditional laboratories, as they require specialized equipment and an uninterrupted power supply. However, the long-term costs of operating a dry lab are often lower, as there is no need to purchase or dispose of hazardous materials.

Equipment in a lab space

Key Differences Between Wet Lab and Dry Lab

As their names suggest, the main difference between these two types of space is the presence or absence of water

Wet labs contain sinks and other fixtures for working with liquids, while dry labs are typically reserved for computer work and other tasks that don’t require access to water. Both types of space have their own benefits and drawbacks. 


Wet labs are essential for scientists who need to work with liquids, but they can be more difficult to keep clean and organized. Dry labs, on the other hand, are less likely to be damaged by spills and accidents, but they may not have all the equipment that some researchers need. As a result, most laboratories use a mix of both wet and dry space, depending on the needs of the scientists working in them.


In a dry lab, the dominant form of benches is the workstation: A set of electronic equipment designed to be used together, often including a CPU, one or more monitors, and a printer. Unlike in a wet lab, computer equipment in a dry lab is not typically fixed to the bench; instead, it is often placed on rolling carts that can be moved around as needed. 

This allows for greater flexibility when configuring the layout of the workspace. In addition, a dry lab typically requires less ventilation than a wet lab, making it easier to control the temperature and humidity levels. As a result, a dry lab can be a more comfortable working environment for many people.

Wet labs tend to have more intense design requirements. The manipulation and testing of live cultures, as well as the storage of samples creates a number of variables that often need to be controlled in order to maintain their integrity. Add to that the safety of those who perform testing and the administrative support required for the operation. All of these elements must be carefully considered in the design of a wet lab. 

The layout of the space, the choice of equipment and furniture, and even the lighting can all have an impact on the efficiency and accuracy of the work that is done in a wet lab. That is why wet labs require a higher level of design than other types of laboratories.


While both types of labs are important for scientific discovery, each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Wet labs are ideal for experimentation and hands-on learning, while dry labs are better suited for theoretical research and data analysis. Ultimately, both types of labs play a vital role in the scientific process.

Now that you know a bit more about the difference between wet and dry labs, it’s time to start looking for your own laboratory space. If you’re based in the Bay Area, or are planning to be, our team of experts can help you find the perfect lab space for your needs – just get in touch!