-80 freezers

MICHAEL L SULLIVAN mlsulliv at facstaff.wisc.edu
Wed Apr 21 10:02:02 EST 2004

A couple weeks ago I asked for input regarding -80 freezers.  Some others of you posted that you also were interested in information on this subject.  I posed the question of "which -80s are best" to the building manager of the facility I used to work at.  He's been the building manager there for quite some time, and has seen a lot of freezers come and go.  I thought some of you might find his comments helpful,so I've appended them below.  Please note that neiter he nor I have any affiliation with any of the companies mentioned.


Hi Mike--

        You are correct when you note that I have bought a lot of So-Low over the years.  What I like about So-Low is that the cabinets are very well made.  We do not have the door/inner door problems with them that we do with Revco.  Their refrigeration system is the same as Revco, pretty much, and they are less expensive, on the order of $5,000.  The down side of the So-Low is the fact that they are quite noisy.  

        For those people who have more cash, I now recommend the Forma at about $8,000.  They are much quieter than any I have heard.  They also now have a lower and upper OUTER doors so that when you open the freezer, you are only opening one half of it.  This limits the frost build up and also, I would think, the temperature fluctuations inside the box.  My -80 repairman likes the refrigeration system design that they employ.  I do not yet have adequate experience to forecast whether or not they will run longer between compressor changes than the comparable So-Lows.  Ask me in about 3 or 4 more years.

        As for reliability, a wise man (not me, that's for sure) once said:  "the question is, not IF, but WHEN your -80 will fail".  Most upright units run pretty well for about 5 years, and then need a compressor change for about $1200.  Chest units do much better, but require enormous amounts of floor space which no one really ever has.  

        So there you are.  I hope this helps...



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