According to Micro eGuide, a water bath is used to keep water at a consistent temperature for incubating samples in a laboratory. Water baths are also used for food canning, according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
IHS GlobalSpec states that a water bath does not necessarily contain water. The fluid used depends on various factors, including the required temperature range and necessary viscosity of the fluid. Sometimes oil is used in a water bath, instead of water. Water baths can be dangerous when working with flammable substances, such as oil, so safety precautions must be taken, including using the water bath on a stable, level surface.