Hey guys. Me & my girlfriend are just getting into the hobby. We want to breed soon. So we were looking at different rack systems such as Freedom Breeder & ARS etc… What is the difference between a high quality rack system such as the ones mentioned compared to a more low grade option with the clear plastic tubs. I know you can add on therms & heating as extra options etc. Would appreciate any input on what you think is best & why + differences.
Freedom Breeder and ARS racks are considered the industry standard for steel racks. There are quite a few smaller companies that make plastic racks (usually PVC). Steel racks will last forever. Plastic ones may sag or lean eventually. Especially if they get pushed and twisted excessively during a move etc. Usually they will be fine and last pretty much a lifetime if properly care for though. Plastic racks are sometimes fully enclosed which helps retain heat and humidity better. The cost per tub in a full sized steel rack isn’t much more than purchasing plastic racks in smaller quantities. If you plan to properly heat your reptile room and have the funds to get a full sized quality steel rack it is a no brainer. Another option is to just get a few levels and add on as funds allow. If you need maximum heat retention a fully enclosed plastic rack may be your best bet.
For me, someone looking to invest into this for the long run, steel racks are a no brainer. ARS vs Freedom Breeder is tough one. ARS are a great value and there used to be a larger price gap between them and freedom breeder. But freedom breeder just in the last couple days announced a refined design with plastic clips that reduced their cost per full size rack by $250 - $300. For me Freedom Breeder is the way to go for steel racks at this point. Their advantages are removable top inserts, optimal water bowl placement in the tubs, and stainless steel. Compared to the more affordable ARS hybrid series they also pack more tubs into a smaller area. They also have the ability to add on a stainless steel shelf which everyone who gets one swears by.
For plastic racks I’d take a look at two newer offerings. The go-to place used to be TGR, because they use superior freedom breeder tubs. They recently went out of business due to covid and “Texas Rack Systems” and “Next Level Displays” both designed new rack systems that look great. I like Next Level Displays because their heat tape is recessed into the material and the design looks superior. I have a 16 tub fb10 rack being built right now from them for my quarantine room.
Hope this helps!
If you are considering a PVC rack I would also recommend Animal Plastics. All of mine are AP and I absolutely love them. There lead times right now are very long but most everyone is that way. You do have to put them together when they arrive but it’s a breeze. The quality is top notch and there ability to customize is great. All of my racks are made for Freedom Breeder Tubs. Even my hatchling rack uses the FB-5. Just my two cents.
Awesome. Thanks for all the advice guys. My last thing, this all really seems to come down to personal preference. In terms of going stainless or pvc. There are advantages to both but nothing that makes me wanna pick one or the other. Can this be seconded?
Really it comes down to heating a whole room. I don’t want to heat an entire room which is why I like PVC. A lot of that comes down to where you will be setting up your racks. It really is just what works for you.
Like morphmaker said, you’ll be able to get away with lower ambient temperatures with fully enclosed PVC racks. I used boaphile plastics fully enclosed PVC cages for 15 years or so and loved them (pic). They will also hold humidity better. If you live in a dry climate and/or want to run a lower ambient fully enclosed PVC may be the best option.
If you have the space and funds then ARS and Freedom Breeder, as others have mentioned are the way to go.
If PVC is more in your range, Reptile Basics hands down. Better quality, price, customer service, and modular design. Boaphile a close second.
Thanks guys!! Will definitely take all this into consideration. Stay safe!
I haven’t see CSerpents mentioned…this is going to be your fastest option. Boaphile and Animal Plastics take a ridiculous amount of time to ship. CSerpents will ship your rack in about 10 days.
I was in this boat for a while as we began building our collection from “pets”, to “future goals of breeding”.
We started with Reptile Basics racks for their professional appearance and the ability to buy little-by-little.
Our goal has now gone on to include freedom breeder racks for ball pythons. One complete setup with one thermostat to house 40 adult females is really hard to argue with.
I advise to figure your long term goals because my Reptile Basics racks, as much as I love them, cost more to house 40 adult females in buying 8 of their super 70 series racks. The extra heat tape involved will need more thermostats as well. Factor in my preference with built-in water bowls from freedom breeder tubs (that fit the Reptile Basics 70 series rack beautifully), it got pricey.
I plan to expand my reptile basics racks for a colubrid room, and revamp my ball pythons into freedom breeder setups.
To each their own, but the two companies I talk of, both have amazing products and amazing customer service to back it up.
Quality is not going to be a major concern, just ask yourself how many animals you hope to house.
Get the FB start right finish right they will last forever!
Ars racks and FB are the best
ARS worked best for us. We started off with a few levels and have added more since. Jason worked with us creating a rack that we could benefit from using limited space. We got the idea from @cornfed_constrictors and ran with it. What makes it work even better is the 5540 and the 7030 levels are 100% compatible. We even added our cserpents hatchling rack to the bottom of our 10 series rack.