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UV Disinfection Stations: You Get What You Pay For

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When buying any new product, it can be easy to focus on price instead of value. That’s how many people frequently end up buying things that don’t work or last long. Who hasn’t had flimsy clothing shrink in the wash or a cheap gadget break after a few uses? While shopping for a bargain UV disinfection product is tempting, focusing solely on price and choosing the less expensive item can come at a steep cost.

"It takes good engineering and science to develop UV-C technology correctly."

There’s a reason why lower quality products are usually cheaper to produce. Dr. Jim Malley, president of the International Ultraviolet Association, explains to WebMD that many people don’t understand how difficult and costly it is to come up with useful and effective UV-C technology. “It takes good engineering and science to develop it correctly. There’s a lot of rubbish out there,” he explains. The bottom line, says Malley, “You get what you pay for.”

If you’re paying very little for an unverified UV-C disinfection station or device, be aware that it may be dangerous as well as ineffective. Don’t be fooled by fraudulent claims of cheap UV sanitization products that have never been tested. Here’s what to look for when sorting through the rubbish to find an effective professional-grade UV-C station that meets the highest standards and mitigates viral bacteria’s spread.

"Many consumer-grade UV products are fakes that carry the risk of accidental exposure to dangerous ultraviolet light."

One of the most common consumer-grade UV products is a light wand. We certainly understand the allure of these devices. You can easily find them online, and many claim to kill viruses with a quick wave of a light over a surface. But the problems with design and usability of these readily available products outweigh the potential benefits. This makes them not only a poor value at any price, but also potentially dangerous. Discovery magazine reports, “For starters, many of them are fakes. Others are of such low power that you’d have to hold the device over an item (say, a mask) for 30 minutes to maybe get any disinfection, much less destroy SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. You also risk accidental exposure to dangerous ultraviolet light.”

When the ultraviolet light is not contained, consumer-grade or “home use” portable sterilizers and wands are not considered safe by either the independent safety science company UL or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “UV light may be used to disinfect surfaces in a setting where UV light does not escape to the surroundings.  If products generating UV light do not shield the user from exposure, they pose a potential health hazard depending on the wavelength, intensity, and exposure time,” states the FDA.

uvone on table

How to Compare Professional Grade-UV-C Sanitization Products

When comparing professional-grade UV-C sanitization products, durability, effectiveness, certifications, and convenience are all important considerations along with the price. It is also essential to check the number and type of bulbs and how many hours the bulbs last before needing to be replaced. UVone™ Mobile Device Disinfection by LocknCharge includes sixteen long-lasting, high-powered UV-C bulbs. In comparison, other manufacturers’ professional-grade disinfection stations may contain as few as six bulbs. In Manual Cycle Mode, UVone users can expect 25,000 hours of bulb life or three million uses. If a bulb burns out, the UVone easy-to-use app provides visibility to see which bulb needs to be changed.

Use the chart below as a checklist when evaluating professional grade disinfection stations. Pay close attention to the documentation that verifies that the device has been through 3rd party lab testing to support the manufacturer’s claims of kill rates and kill times.

Features/BenefitsConsumer
Grade
UVone Professional GradeOther Professional Grade
Number of BulbsMost handheld wands include one 36-watt bulb, portable sterilizers may include 2 UV-C lamps16 high-powered, professional-grade UV-C blubsVaries by product, may contain as few as 6.
Number of Bulb UsesConsumer products lack information on the number of bulb uses25,000 hours (3 million uses)Varies by product, one claims up to one year, another 2,000 hours with average daily use
Testing DataNoneExtensive research from BSL-2 Safety Lab, testing data available upon requestVaries by product, request testing data from the device manufacturer
CertificationsNoneCE and ETL CertifiedVaries by product, request proper safety certifications from the device manufacturer
TouchlessNoYes, top-loading with motion-activated open/close door and touchless startNo other professional-grade units are 100% zero-touch with touchless open, close and start
MountableVaries by productYes, to increase hygiene compliance UVone can be wall or countertop mountableVaries by product, most are countertop only
Customer SupportNoYES, world-class with an NPS of 97, which competes with some of the largest tech giantsVaries by product
Kill RateMost consumer products lack performance data from independent testing labsMRSA: 99.999% in 30 seconds
C. Diff: 99.99% in 60 seconds and 99.9% in 30 seconds*
Varies by product, from 3-Log reduction to a 6-Log reduction for 12 minutes of kill time
Kill Time30 minutes for low-power UV light wands to maybe get any disinfection, 10 minutes or more for UV-C sterilization boxes30 SecondsVaries by product, from 20 seconds – 12 minutes

For years LocknCharge products have been known to save time and make life easier. UVone by LocknCharge is no exception. It’s six times quicker than traditional wipes and conveniently integrates into any environment to increase hygiene compliance. Compared with other professional-grade disinfection stations, UVone’s 5-Log reduction in 30 seconds is on par or better than competitors. Also, no other units are 360-degree, 100% zero-touch with touchless open, close and start and come with our unrivaled world-class customer support. Contact us to learn more.

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*LocknCharge’s kill rate claims are based on data conducted by an accredited, GLP compliant, BSL-2 laboratory. Kill rate claims for MRSA at a 5-log kill or 99.999% are based on final GLP testing. Kill rate claims for C. Diff are at a 4-log kill or 99.997% in 60 seconds and a 3-log kill or 99.9% in 30 seconds. C. Diff results are based on final GLP testing. Real world results may vary. Testing data available upon request.

[1] UV Light Wands Are Supposed to Kill Viruses. But Do They Really Work? - Discover Magazine

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