ARS vs Freedom Breeder window tubs & enclosing

I am considering investing in an ARS or FB rack but I am curious if anyone has first hand experience or informed advice on which brand may be the better option for me.

I like being able to see my snakes but I also want sturdier bins with stable sizing and supply. I noticed both now offer tubs with a window. Is one better than the other? Are they easy to clean? Do they have any issues I should be aware of?

Additionally, has anyone tried, or do you think it would be possible, to enclose the back and sides of the rack to help with heat retention? Currently I do not have a separate snake room so the ambient temp fluctuates with human comfort levels. I would like to be able to enclose the rack to help stabilize their temperatures as much as possible. I am thinking pvc or melamine could be mounted to the rack somehow but I haven’t seen either in person so I’m not sure how realistic that would be.

Any insight is appreciated!


If you are looking at fully enclosing the rack anyway I’d look at just getting a pvc rack with window tubs or the ars tubs that are very clear, they’re either acrylic or polycarbonate.


It really depends on your preferences. Both are fantastic rack systems. I don’t believe one is necessarily better than the other. I personally have an ARS and I love it. But I also live 2 hours away from Indiana and picked it up locally to save on shipping.

The main differences differences are material, and how the racks are assembled. ARS is made from powder-coated steel and Freedom breeder is Stainless steel. The ARS racks need to be assembled and Freedom breeder comes 90% assembled. Freedom breeder also has a handy dandy slide out tabletop built into the middle of the rack. The turnaround time for ARS is time is 8-10 weeks and Freedom breeder is 20+ weeks.

I do agree with @teddydalton. It doesn’t seem worthwhile to enclose the rack. If you’re thinking of enclosing it, you might as well just go for a system made from PVC. Animal Plastics, Cserpents, Boaphiles and Reptile Basics all make some nice PVC racks


I was under the impression that the non-hybrid models from ARS also come 90% assembled. I thought that the reason that the hybrids were so much cheaper is because you supply the labor to put them together. Do you know if this is the case?

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That… is a excellent question. I personally have a hybrid so I can’t speak for non-hybrid units. I’m looking at the pictures now and it does look like the original systems are solid and don’t use the plastic connectors. You could reach out to ARS directly to confirm. Brian and Jason are quick to respond and fantastic to work with.

LOL, I already bother those guys enough. I’ll wait until I’m ready to pull the trigger on the 1075 and then ask them what the difference is.

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I do have a rack from Reptile Basics and I have previously used an Animal Plastics rack. I don’t see any options on their sites that accommodate the ARS or FB window tubs which is why I am considering going with one of their racks and attempting to modify it to fit my current space until I relocate.

Has anyone tried both styles of tub that can offer insights about them? Also, I assume the fully clear bins from ARS are the hard plastic like in a refrigerator crisper drawer? So they would crack over time? What are the semi-clear made of?


It’s a bit off-topic, but if anyone is interested in reading a little bit about polycarbonate tubs in racks, HERE is a thread that would be relevant.


I have ARS & the black pvc vision open units and live in a cold winter climate. I cut 3/4" foam insulation board and taped it to the sides, back and if needed bottom it works great. I also have melamine (very heavy w size) & pvc good for juveniles (less durable & not necessarily much better insulated). I use Vision 300/400/600 series individual enclosures for larger species.

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