I have spent the last few years self-studying chemistry and I want to try doing practical experiments with chemistry in a safe manner. I don't plan on doing anything dangerous but would still like to keep precautionary measures. I allotted myself a medium-sized (8ft by 6ft) space in the garage to carry out any experiments. What equipment would you recommend me to keep for precautionary measures as well as carrying out chemistry experiments?

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    $\begingroup$ I want to study chemicals is incredibly vague. This sounds like you have no real idea what you are doing and is therefore dangerous. $\endgroup$
    – bon
    Jul 17, 2016 at 17:49
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    $\begingroup$ Given the 'I study chemicals' I think its fair to say you probably dont have much knowledge yet. I'd build up some theory before going straight in and setting up a lab. Not only are you likely to seriously injure yourself (not to mention others around you), but your actions are also quite possibly illegal in many countries/states. $\endgroup$
    – NotEvans.
    Jul 17, 2016 at 18:04
  • $\begingroup$ You should edit in the details of what exactly you want to do. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Jul 17, 2016 at 20:05
  • $\begingroup$ Your question instantly made me think of this book: chemistry.about.com/b/2008/08/05/… $\endgroup$
    – Theoden
    Jul 17, 2016 at 21:53
  • $\begingroup$ I have read that book. I just wanted a "second opinion". $\endgroup$ Jul 17, 2016 at 23:38

1 Answer 1


You will be better off if you join a real lab. Researchers can help you get started in a safe manner. Chemistry experiments killed many professionals. Here is a list of things you would need.

A chemistry lab needs at least this:
Hood with 650 cubic feet per minute air flow. You CANNOT make it with a small pump.
Chemistry waste disposal. Flushing it down the drain is not a good approach.
Freezer and fridge for chemicals only.
Fire extinguisher.
Rotovap. Basic one costs 5000 dollars.
Source of vacuum.
Emergency shower.
Analytical instruments. NMR costs 100 000 dollars to buy, plus you will need to refill liquid helium once in a while. You can also ask chemistry department to run you samples for 10-20 dollars per piece.

Lab rules strictly prohibit working alone. In case of emergency someone should be around to save you.

Bottom line: you will poison yourself without a hood and set garage on fire. Find a university professor and ask to join their lab. If you show decent knowledge of chemistry they might agree to help you.

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    $\begingroup$ Feel free to comment your downvotes. $\endgroup$
    – sixtytrees
    Jul 17, 2016 at 18:33
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    $\begingroup$ I'm going to be working with basic chemicals like copper sulfate. $\endgroup$ Jul 17, 2016 at 19:01
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    $\begingroup$ I really doubt anyone would NMR in an amateur lab... $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Jul 17, 2016 at 20:04
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    $\begingroup$ You will need a hood. You will need a place to wash your glassware. Copper sulfate (2 g per human, 30 mg/kg) is roughly as poisonous as arsenic acid (15 mg/kg, 1 g per human). Organic solvents create a fire hazard. Fumes of HCl, chlorine, bromine, are deadly when inhaled. I would strongly recommend to find a summer camp to learn chemistry. $\endgroup$
    – sixtytrees
    Jul 17, 2016 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ If you google rotovap you will find that they start a lot cheaper than $5000. $\endgroup$
    – Technetium
    Jul 18, 2016 at 8:24

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