Revco Ultra-Low Temperature Freezer Buyer's Guide

Table of Contents

A Brief History of Time Revco

Generation 1: The Classics, Circa 1999

    Generation 1.2

    Generation 1.3

Generation 2: The "Plus" Series, Circa 2007

Generation 3: The -XF Series, Circa 2011

Generation 4: Basically Gen. 3 But Better, Circa 2014

Generation 5: The "Model-Numbers-Just-Got-Complicated" Series, Circa 2017 

Used Revco ULT Freezers for Sale at New Life Scientific

Revco Ultra-Low Temperature Freezer Buyer's Guide

A Brief History of Time Revco

With the number of acquisitions and iterations that the brand has undergone, piecing together exactly how Revco has evolved may seem to warrant a Hawking-level intellect. 

OK, that's a bit dramatic. But sifting through that information to find a Revco worth your purchase is difficult. That's why our market researchers curated the following information defining the differences between the various iterations of Revco freezers; we hope that this data will help you find the right pre-owned Revco easier than ever before.

We've sectioned the Revco timeline into five approximate generations, all the way from the pre-Kendro days of the '90s to the current day. Each generation is defined by the release of new models under the Revco brand. Contained in each section is information on specific notable models, some estimates of fair purchase prices, and considerations on the right buyer for each model type.

Generation 1: The Classics, Circa 1999

The earliest Revco units covered in our guide were released by SPX Corporation in the 1990s. Three notable models include the Value, Elite, and Ultima II (presumably there was an Ultima I as well, but we were unable to find any information on it). With these models, SPX supported labs whose needs varied widely in budget, capacity, and complexity. All three models came in both upright and chest variations.

Ultima II: Designed for "the most critical material storage", SPX pulled no punches with the Ultima II. It had integrated surge suppression, extensive monitoring capabilities, and chest-height controls for comfortable usage. The Ultima II was the only one of the three that ran the IntrLogic microprocessor control, which gave it the most comprehensive configuration and monitoring options.

Elite: Resting beneath the Ultima II is the mid-tier Revco Elite. While lacking IntrLogic and a chest-height control panel, the Elite still offered a decent monitoring system and alarm capabilities identical to those of the Ultima II.

Value: Last in the Generation 1 lineup is the Revco Value. As the name suggests, the Value is the easiest on your wallet. While not suited for storing critical samples as it lacks a monitoring system and offers only basic controls, the Value still has the same high-quality construction and Legaci refrigeration system found in the other two freezers.

It's important to note that some freezers identical to the Ultima II, Elite, and Value units don't actually have those titles printed on them. If a freezer you're eyeing is one such incognito unit, you can identify which model they are with the following model number schema:

  • Ultima II: XX86-9 format

  • Elite: XX86-5 format

  • Value: XX86-3 format

Generation 1.2

Revco’s parent company, SPX, purchased Kendro in 2001 and decided to bundle Revco into the newly-acquired Kendro brand. SPX continued producing the same line of the Revco freezers under the Kendro brand, but the branding is quite subtle -- it's marked only by a label printed with "Kendro" on the left side of the unit.

Generation 1.3

Before the “Plus” generation of freezers explained below, Thermo, having recently acquired Kendro/Revco from SPX, simply continued producing the same line of freezers.

Considerations When Buying Generations 1-1.3

In our experience, the most reliable used Revco freezers were always labeled Kendro -- that is, Generation 1.2 and beyond. 100% of the Kendro systems in our facility worked, while none of the pre-Kendro, pre-2001 Revco systems cooled to acceptable temperatures. As such, we recommend that you do not purchase any Revco freezer that does not have Kendro or Thermo branding on it, as that would mean it's from Generation 1.0 and thus more likely to fail.

If your budget is especially tight, then a freezer from Generation 1.2 is about the oldest and cheapest you could go while still having confidence in your purchase.

So who should buy a Generation 1 freezer? Given their age and consequent unreliability, Gen. 1 Revco freezers should only be purchased by those who have simple refrigeration needs and for whom saving money is the #1 priority.

We do not recommend these freezers for a buyer who is highly risk-averse and cannot afford a freezer breakdown.

Pre-owned Price Estimates

The below prices are what we would consider a “fair price” for a fully-functional freezer guaranteed by the seller. For freezers with less assurance, you should pay less than our estimated prices.

If you can land one of these freezers for less with a guarantee, consider it a good deal!

Ultima II: Units in fair to excellent condition should run between $3,750 and $5,000.

Elite: These freezers are worth between $3,500 and $4,500 depending on their condition, accessories, and other factors.

Value: At the bottom of the bracket are the Values, which go between $2,700 and $4,000. This range overlaps heavily with the Elite's, so sometimes it may be wiser to simply opt for an Elite.

Generation 2: The "Plus" Series, Circa 2007

In 2005, Thermo Scientific acquired Kendro/Revco and carried on the Value, Elite, and Ultima II units. Then in 2007 they released the "Plus" variants of those systems. While most of the specifications are identical to the non-Plus versions, these new units carried a "patented refrigeration system and new robust electronics platform", which improved the overall efficiency of the freezer.

The Plus series also added enhancements to the control technology, alarms, monitoring platform, power management system, and even the construction. All of these additions are documented under "Innovative Features and Rewarding Benefits" in this brochure.

With the Plus series came some significant subtractions as well. For instance, they are only available in upright configurations and all of them cool to -86°C -- no -40°C models.

The Ultima II Plus, Elite Plus, and Value Plus are the oldest models we can confidently recommend unless you buy from a trusted dealer that has tested and guarantees their freezers.

Considerations When Buying Generation 2

Gen. 2 freezers don't pose the same amount of risk as Gen. 1 freezers, but they still offer excellent savings that attract budget-conscious buyers. They also have several enhancements over their predecessors, such as on-board diagnostics, low-voltage surge protection, and more. You can learn more about what was introduced in Gen. 2 on page 5 of this brochure.

This generation does have some drawbacks, though -- for one thing, there are fewer capacities available.

So who should buy a Generation 2 freezer? Gen. 2 freezers would be best for those with limited budgets, but who are too risk averse to gamble on a Gen 1. freezer. Like Gen. 1 buyers, however, Gen. 2 buyers should have relatively simple refrigeration needs (e.g., no need for digital data logging, USB exports, etc.) or else they risk wasting money on an insufficient freezer.

Pre-owned Price Estimates

Ultima Plus: A decent Ultima Plus will generally run from $5,000 to $6,500.

Elite Plus: A used Elite Plus should go for $4,500 to $6,000

Value Plus: The Value Plus clocks in between $3,500 and $4,500.

Generation 3: The -XF Series, Circa 2011

Around 2011 Thermo Scientific expanded the Revco brand with the debut of the following models:

UxF: This is the top-of-the-line unit of Gen. 3. It had the widest range of capacities, on-board datalogging, and log file exporting via USB. Though it was designed for power users, Thermo made a point of designing the UxF to be as compact as possible, making it accessible to smaller sized labs. Its various capacities take up less floor space than their ExF counterparts.

CxF: The CxF is a chest freezer that comes in both -40°C and -86°C configurations. Its 4 supported capacities range from 85 to 566 liters. Given its orientation, the CxF would be best suited for labs that will open it frequently. This is because chest freezers are inherently faster at recovering to a set temperature than upright freezers as warm air rises out and away from the chamber.

ExF: The ExF can be seen as the simpler, less costly version of the UxF. It comes in 4 sizes and has a larger footprint than the UxF, as well as no data logging or exporting. That said, it still offers the same efficient refrigeration capabilities as the UxF.

DxF: The DxF is the -40°C option of this generation's upright freezers. Like the ExF, it has no data logging or exporting capabilities. It has the fewest options for capacity as well -- just 368, 490, and 651 liters.

Considerations When Buying Generation 3

If you want easy, intuitive usage and flexible data logging capabilities without paying for a brand-new system or even a more recent used system, then a UxF or CxF would be the freezer for you. These systems were the first to include large touchscreen displays and USB exporting of data logs, features that are now standard on modern ULT freezers. Given that they're priced only $1,000 to $2,000 more than an Ultima Plus, you can have these features at a pretty decent bargain.

If you don't need all the bells and whistles offered by the UxF and CxF, though, you could always pick up an ExF or DxF for no other reason than they're fairly recent and bound to have more life left in them than freezers from Generations 1 or 2.

So who should buy a Generation 3 freezer? Gen. 3 Revcos are the sweet spot between budget, features, and age. They're not so old that they're prone to fail soon after you buy and they have many of the same features as current Revco systems, but they're still significantly cheaper than current systems. Gen. 3 units, then, are perfect for those looking to save a big chunk of cash without compromising on useful features or reliability.

Pre-owned Price Estimates

We don't have enough data on the DxF or the CxF to determine estimates we're confident in, but here are some estimates for the UxF and the ExF:

UxF: Because some dealers appear to be underselling them, the UxF has an abnormally wide price range on the used market: $5,500 to $8,000.

ExF: We expect ExF freezers to go for somewhere between $5,000 and $7,000.

Generation 4: Basically Gen. 3 But Better, Circa 2014

Thermo Scientific released the TS series and Forma 8600 chest freezer. Thermo used the TS series to expand on certain features originally debuted in the UxF, such as expanding onboard storage space (fun fact: these freezers can store up to 15 years worth of logs) and adding a touchscreen interface to the TSU. In most ways, however, the TS systems are virtually identical to those of Generation 3. The TSE's specifications correspond with the ExF's and the TSD's corresponds with the DxF's

Thermo also unveiled the Forma 8600 series of chest freezers which, while not branded "Revco", are functionally identical to Revco systems. They come in both -40°C and -86°C variants.

Considerations When Buying Generation 4

With the oldest models of this generation not even a full decade old yet, most Gen. 4 freezers will continue to work for several more years provided they're maintained properly. They also have many of the same features as current-gen freezers, so you won't be missing out on functionality if you purchase from Gen. 4.

So who should buy a Generation 4 freezer? Gen. 4 units are best suited for buyers who are a bit strapped for cash but still wish to prioritize longevity. They offer a great ROI thanks to their youth.

Pre-owned Price Estimates

Due to the rarity of the other models on the market, we were only able to produce an estimate for the TSU. We expect a fair price to be  $8,500 to $10,000.

Generation 5: The "Model-Numbers-Just-Got-Complicated" Series, Circa 2017

While not branded "Revco", every member of the Thermo TDE, Forma FDE, and HERAfreeze HDE lines are virtually identical to the Revco RDE -- all the way down to the specification sheet. (This also applies to the Revco RLE, Forma 89000, HERAfreeze HLE, and Thermo TLE series -- in fact, they even share the same operation manual.)

So what do they bring to the table?

For one thing, all of these systems are powered by H-drive technology, which allows them to, in the words of Thermo, "save up to 25% in energy usage and heat rejection over conventional refrigerant ultra-low freezers." These are Thermo's most eco-friendly freezers yet.

Both the Revco RDE and the RLE, along with their non-Revco equivalents, are offered only in upright formats.

Considerations When Buying Generation 5

If you're looking to buy used lab equipment, you're already wanting to save money. Nonetheless, if your budget isn't too limited, opting for a current-gen freezer may be your best bet if you want the best possible lifespan and the newest features. You're all but guaranteed to get another 10+ years out of a used Gen. 5 Revco. Additionally, the Revco brand is more efficient than ever thanks to these freezers -- their aforementioned H-drive systems will save time and help your lab be more environmentally friendly.

So who should buy a Generation 5 freezer? Pre-owned, current-gen freezers are typically in excellent condition and have lots of life left in them, but they're also the most expensive. They'd be best for the well-funded but frugal buyer who prioritizes lifespan and featureset above all else.

Pre-owned Price Estimates

All Generation 5 Revco freezers are ultra-rare on the used market due to how young they are. As such, we don't have sufficient data on any one model to produce an estimate.

Used Revco ULT Freezers for Sale at New Life Scientific

Here at New Life Scientific, we’re constantly buying freezers to test, service, and make available to any facility that needs one in a timely manner. Our freezers all undergo thorough inspection, testing and, if warranted, service so that you receive the best possible product.

Additionally, all of our working freezers are backed by at least a 90-day warranty. Contact us online or call us at 567-221-0615 if you’d like to place an order or ask a question.

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