What are the differences between a “cleanroom” and a “controlled environment?"

Answered By: Tim Loughran

Some of the same requirements for a controlled environment (also known as a critical environment) are the same for a cleanroom - they just don’t go as far.

When you’re looking at developing and building a critical environment you have to consider that the area needs to be segregated, so therefore you have to build it separately. It also has to maintain temperature control, so it will require an insulated panel. Finally it has to maintain pressurization so that you can keep the outside environment from getting in.

Single Pass Air Circulation design for clean rooms, cleanroom classification, cleanroom classifications, cleanroom types, cleanroom classification levels
modular walls for warehouse

These parameters are widely in applications requiring environmental control - for instance, packaging rooms, CMM (coordinate measuring machine) rooms and the like. In these applications you need some of the features of a cleanroom (but not all of the features), and you don’t want to pay for the those features that you do not need.


Simply put - all controlled environments are going to require the following:

  • Temperature Control (some applications may need humidity control as well, though most do not)
  • Segregation
  • Pressurization

The difference with an application requiring critical control is in a lot of instances is that you just don’t use the most expensive end of the products – you use the less sophisticated products to create the environment, and the highly sophisticated products for cleanroom applications - For instance, a pharmaceutical cleanroom or a microelectronics semiconductor cleanroom.

modular cleanroom, controlled environment with sliding doors

This website use cookies to improve our products and your experience on our website by evaluating the use of our website, products and services, to personalize content, to provide social media features and to analyze our traffic. We also share information about your use of our website with our social media, advertising and analytics service providers. By agreeing to the use of cookies on our website, you direct us to disclose your personal information to these service providers for those purposes.

For more information, please see our Privacy Policy and, if you are a California resident, our Privacy Notice to California Residents.