Class 4 vs Class 1 Sterilization Pouches

Successful sterilization of instruments is an integral part of infection control standards. It is one of the most important processes in the dental office and yet when it comes time to choose a sterilization pouch, most offices base their purchasing decision solely on price and the size choices available because they believe that all sterilization pouches are created equal. That is certainly not the case. Sure most pouches may LOOK similar, given the standard Self-Sealing Sterilization pouch designs, but the differences are in the quality, specifications and most importantly the validation of sterilization. 


Class 1 vs Class 4 Indicators

Many new pouches feature indicators not only on the outside of the pouch but also monitor the inside. In steam sterilization, these chemical indicators are used to monitor one or more of the sterilization process parameters: steam, pressure, temperature, and time. Even though some pouches provide internal and external indicators, traditional sterilization pouches only provide a Class 1 indicator. 

The only thing Class 1 indicators do is indicate that the unit has been exposed to the sterilization process NOT that proper sterilization has been achieved. However, Class 4 indicators are considered multiple variable parameters. They are designed to react with 2 or more of the sterilization process parameter which is why Class 4 pouches provide the highest sterility assurance possible.

Comparing Sterilization Pouches

Price is definitely a factor when comparing pouches but it should not be the only issue taken into account. Price, quality, consistency, sizes and sterilization validation should all be contributing factors to your purchasing decision. 

Compare the following pouches:

   Class 1 vs. Class 4 Sterilization Pouch
   Category    Class 1 Sterilization Pouch    Class 4 Sterilization Pouch
   Similar Features    Heat sealed rails, blue-tinted film, thumb notch and corner seal tacks.
   Key Differences
  • Class 1 indicators that only measure temperature
  • Requires adding separate multi-variable indicators to each pouch
  • Economical Alternative
  • Class 4 internal/external indicators that only change color when all 3 criteria for sterilization have been met
  • Eliminates time & need of adding separate multi-variable indicators to each pouch
  • Made in the USA
   Price Sample for Size 3 1/2" x 9"    $7.25 - 200 per box
(.036 ¢ each)
   $11.95 - 200 per box
(.059 ¢ each)


Proper instrument sterilization is one of the important processes in the dental office. By choosing the correct pouch you protect your patients, your staff as well as your practice. As you compare each pouch become aware of the different features that each pouch has and carefully consider all these differences when making your next purchase. 

There are a variety of pouch options available depending on your practice's needs. For the past 25 years here at Discount Disposables we have been helping customers like you find the sterilization products that best meet their needs. Call us to discuss the various pouch options available and we'll help you find the pouch you're looking for.