ARS vs. FB racks

So I’m looking to pull the trigger on around 6 levels of a rack system soon. Price wise assuming I can pick up from a show they’re fairly comparable.

For those of you that use ARS hybrid or FB pro line racks, which would you recommend? I know there’s an older thread on here regarding the regular racks, but didn’t see much talk about the cheaper racks they offer.

Seems one “pro” to fb over ARS is that you can get an adapter to stack the smaller frame racks on top of the large frame racks, If you aren’t planning to run a full stack of one size.

I’m open to being swayed one way or the other, as my mind isn’t set yet. Thoughts?


This might not be relevant to your situation or climate, but—
Are you set on pre made? It is more convenient, true.
But for me i find them not very energy efficient in holding in heat in my cold winter climate.
My melamine racks (plastic covered chip board) with just one side open. they really retain heat well.
Even if the snake room is cold in winter the warm back stays hot enough for thermoregulation. They just keep away from the front on really cold winter days.
I guess it depends on your local climate and snake room/house insulation dynamics.
I live in a cold winter country so melamine racks with just one side open really work for me regardless of snake room ambient temperatures in winter.


I have an ARS 5040 rack, looking to replace it with an FB setup next year. My reasons are:

better tubs, cups are set back further
can change the tops for diff humidity (but also can remove them for more thorough cleaning)
can get a pull out tray

The tops thing is a big deal for me. To do a really good deep clean of my ars its almost a full disassembly. Also, the heat panel on the bottom row of my rack sags in the middle and unless braced it pretty much wastes 2 tubs as unusuable. Not sure if FB has the same problem.

But either is better than melamine. And arguably PVC given that PVC enclosures seem to running almost the same price as FB or ARS on a per-tub basis (up here). I also have a vision rack and a bunch of PVC stuff and my long term goal is to move everything but the hatchling racks over to FB (or if I stumbled on to a used ARS or 4 I would do that).

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My reptile room is heated with a space heater, so I think I’m good on the heat front. Plus the weight of the melamine racks is a huge turn off for me. I currently have one and they’re just unnecessarily heavy lol.

Otherwise I agree, they can be very good at exactly What you need them for.

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Are you using a normal 5040 or the hybrid model?

I know the smaller frame models have non removable tops, I didn’t know it was that much of a hassle to clean though. I think the 5540/7030 have removable tops making that part a bit easier.

Based on my math I’m seeing this too. Larger tubs like 28 qt and 41 qt are almost equal price per tub. It’s insane to me.

Are you considering fb pro or the commercial line racks?

Hey Nathan,

I have both an ARS hybrid and a FB Pro-Line rack side by side in my ball python room.

The FB is the better option in my opinion, here’s why:

  1. Stainless Steel frame material
  2. More space efficient. Both racks have 10 levels but the FB has a pull out shelf and they are exactly the same height. This is because the stainless steel metal frame is slightly smaller compared to the powder coated steel in the ARS (I think). Despite this I don’t see any functional compromise in strength.
  3. Option for the must-have shelf. I use this every day and highly recommend it.
  4. The rails on the FB extend all the way to the front of the rack. On the ARS they are back a few inches. When a very heavy snake is sitting towards the front of the tub (my ARS rack is a 70 series, for my biggest girls) it will pop out of the rails on one side of the ARS rack when you slide it out. I feel the need to support the bottom of the tub on the ARS rack if they are up towards the front. This happened to me once feeding live and it wasn’t fun trying to deal with a large striking ball python, rat in my hand, and trying to pull the tub out completely to get it back in the rails.
  5. Frame joints are welded together with FB, this applies to pro-line and the fully welded versions. ARS is joined together using plastic inserts. The rails and top inserts are the only parts that are plastic with the FB (pro-line).

I’m split on the tub quality. The water bowl placement is better in the FB but the ARS has a better water bowl design in that when the cups overflow it spills out onto the substrate into the tub. With the FB it spills internally into the cup holders. With the ARS I basically never have to clean out the insides of the cup holders because water never gets in there. Having said that I think FB has recently done a redesign fixing this issue, but I’m not 100% on that. I also like the lighter grey of the ARS tubs better color wise.

One thing I do not like that is supposedly an upcoming change with the FB Pro-Line is they are going to be doing the ventilation holes in the tubs instead of the tops. They say this is to keep the price down and they will no longer offer ventilation holes through the top inserts for the pro-line. I hate holes in the tubs. I keep my tubs very clean and like to wipe out the entirety of the tub. When there are holes a build up of feces, bacteria, cleaner, etc can get inside and it’s more difficult to clean. If they end up going this route I will not be getting anymore of the pro-line, I’ll splurge for the more expensive welded version.

Another benefit I would give to ARS is there is less variance in tub tightness. The rivets of the FB have a small amount of play and even though I tried very hard to keep them tight against each other during the install some tubs have more resistance than others. The ARS rack seems more consistent.

They’re both a bit of a pain to put together. For the FB I would recommend getting a cheap compressor from Harbor Frieght with rivet gun to go with it. I used the Freedom Breeder hand powered rivet gun and it took a long time and was a pain. My hand was sore for a few days as well. You can get a compressor setup for sub $100 from Harbor Frieght, one time investment to make that job much easier. If you have a compressor the FB is easier to put together, without one the ARS is easier I think.

I think that’s about it. If you have any questions feel free to ask. Both are great companies and are the best options for professional level racks.


I am looking at a mixture, although if they change to perforated tubs on the larger sized ones that will impact that decision. Ideally the pro line but the boa racks I want are commercial.

My ARS is a hybrid.


Being on the east coast shipping from Fb was ridiculous, that pretty much decided things for me. The wait time was the other major factor. I really wanted the pull out tables, but it just didn’t make sense for me. There is still a part of me that wishes I had gone Fb, just for the tables. I love my hybrid though, but I miss the tables. If you go the ars route, get yourself a decent rubber mallet.

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I haven’t looked into what shows fb offers pick up at, do they only do shipping or are there no shows in that area? I might’ve mail an assumption that isn’t true

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On the east cost they do the Daytona show. That’s where I picked mine up at.

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I haven’t forgotten to reply to your very helpful in-depth answer, waiting until I’m at a computer and can quote parts of it much easier. I appreciate the time giving so much detail!

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What exactly do you use the pull-out shelf for? I’ve seen so many people talk highly of it, but just want to make sure I understand.

I didn’t realize that they differed between the two companies, thats interesting to know. I saw a comment on another thread of you having the tub pop out with a 4kg female and can imagine that would be a lot to deal with.

Do you notice a difference in stability between the two racks? or are they both pretty equal?

I think i’ll need to go look up some comparison photos to see the difference in placement of the water bowl. Didn’t realize there was much of a difference, but it makes sense.

Oh, I hadn’t heard of this. That definitely would turn me away from considering FB racks. I want to get away from the look of having holes in all of my tubs (granted yes I know, they’ll look better than the ones I’ve done using my soldering iron, but still!).

That was something I found interesting when comparing the two, that you have to rivet the parts together. I supposed one “pro” I can see for FB on this is that the 1040 and 1070 they both are sent with the same frame. So you’d just have to drill out the rivet and redo the rivet at the right location for the desired tub size. I do have a compressor currently, so would just need to grab a neumatic rivet gun and I’d be set if I were to go this route.

Do you know if FB offers pick ups at shows like Tinley? Im likely moving in 6 months and I’d like to try to square my choice away before we move, so I don’t have to worry about not being near a pick-up location. IF FB doesn’t do pick-ups at any shows near me, that may narrow it down to ARS for me as they’re approximately a 2 hour drive from my current home lol.

I use it for pretty much everything. Anytime I pull a tub out I set it on the shelves. I clean tubs on them. Set my cleaning supplies and paper on them when I’m cleaning. It basically takes the place of a cart making more available space in the room. I store all my items I use for cleaning etc on top of a PVC rack (FB10’s).

The rail design is definitely superior on the FB. Another thing that is more difficult with the ARS because of this is lining the tub back up into the rails. You can’t see the rails when you slide an ARS tub in, it’s very easy and obvious with the FB rails.

No difference in stability. They’re both rock solid.

The water bowl holders are sharper edged on the ARS and go up completely to the rim of the cup whereas the FB holders are very rounded at the top. I initially thought I would like the FB rounded edges better, more “comfortable” to clean, but its annoying when water gets inside there every time they spill any water out. But again, I’m pretty sure they fixed this with a recent redesign.

If it could be a deal breaker for you, as it is with me, I would definitely consider the fully welded versions. They’re more expensive but probably worth it. After using the shelf so much I want one on every one of my racks. As numbers increase every bit of efficiency matters and the shelves are another big advantage.

While that is a bit of a pro for the FB side, I dont personally see myself ever doing this. The potential is there regardless.

I’m fairly certain both companies deliver to Tinley.

Another con for FB is that they’ve been throwing out the idea of charging a fee for show deliveries. They were thinking around $200 range but haven’t implemented it yet as far as I’m aware.

If you have anymore questions feel free to ask. Happy to help!

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Any reason I don’t see many people talk about using ars5540 for adult females? Seems they’re about 40 quarts, which is the standard size a lot of other manufacturers use.

Trying to figure out how I want to go forward with my tubs and make sure I’m getting the right set up.

I have adult females in both 5540 and 5570 tubs. They do fine in the 40s, for the most part. Just that the 40 gets a little crowded at breeding time, and when your girl gets big and starts wandering around to get the right temps for egg development, they look abit cramped. Also can be harder to keep the humidity up in the 70 tubs if you have a female who’s picky about that and she may decide to reabsorb on you.

The 40, in my opinion, would be a little small for a bigger breeder 2.5k + so I graduate them up to the 70 at around 2k. That said, I have had clutches dropped in the 40 tubs before, just usually from smaller first time girls.

Mostly, I use the 40 tubs for adult males and older growouts/hold backs. Currently, I go 6qt to 10qt to 40 to 70+ size wize, with sale animals rarely making it past the 10s and most adults stopping at the 40s with only the bigger breeder girls going to 70. Seems to work for me ok. The trick is not to move them up in size too soon, they stress and go off feed when the space is too big and need hides and clutter to make them feel safe again.

Note, that all that is for ball pythons, the numbers change with other species. Boas for instance will mostly need way more room, retics obviously, bull snakes need way more room, carpets need taller spaces, etc. Though with the 70s, you could keep some larger animals, just not sure they’ll be happy, probably need to look into the 80s with the window for them, if you want to use a rack.

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Thanks for that insight. (Edited to add: I’m only keeping ball pythons currently. That’s the only thing I have in my racks) I have a gargoyle gecko and a leopard gecko, but they have their own enclosures

I’ll give a little more context about where I’m coming from and why I’m questioning it.

I’ve got 6 females that are breeder size. 1500-2700g for the largest. I’ve got in total 6 females that I’m growing up right now, that will be future breeders.

For the males, I’ve got 4 adult size breeders and 4 juveniles

I’ve got 2 cserpents hatchling racks (36 tubs total) I’ve got a 5 high 16qt/28qt combo rack that is made out of melamine that I’d like to replace, and I’ve got a 7 slot 41 qt rack that is not my favorite that I’d like to replace. The tubs are way too tight, it’s older and been through hell. It’s made out of acrylic I think, or at least the shelves are as they’re clear/frosted looking.

I was initially thinking of doing 3 levels of a 7030, and 3 levels of a 5540, but not sure if that’s my best route. I don’t see myself having 30+ breeder female anytime soon. Any advice on what route I should go for my rack setups?