RotoVap brand comparison/experiences?

We’re pricing out rotovaps for our build-out, and having a hard time deciding between the same amount of money on a single Heidolph or Buchi system, two Across systems, or four china systems.

Are the Heidolphs/Buchis really >2x as good as the Across systems? And four times as good as the cheap china ones?

Are there other brands at other price points we should be considering? They’re primarily going to be for the final stage of solvent removal prior to distillation.

Only possibly somewhat relevant thread I could find here:

Edit: We’re in Canada, if that changes anything.

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How long are you planning to have and operate this equipment?
Your 4 china, or two across rotos is a nice option because it allows you to not completely halt production when one of those eventually breaks. You’ll find yourself spending a lot of time ordering parts and fixing AI / China options. For some, it is not a bad path to go down and I am often sending folks that way. Fair disclosure, I sell Heidolph, and haven’t found a bad thing to say about them. They have a solid 10-14 year life before things start deteriorating vs 1-3 years from China, if you’re lucky. Support and ordering parts is also often a nightmare. This is based on customer feedback who are replacing those units with ours.

Specifically Heidolph vs Buchi - Heidolph pairs a more effective chiller, on-board flask management so it’s harder to break glass, 20L in stock right now, 3 year warranty vs 1, on-site installation and training included, and the ability to pair it with a Distimatic Automatic Module(20L) (Automatic Evaporation Flask Filling, Evaporation Flask Emptying, Condensation Flask Emptying) that increases the throughput to that of a 50L + 24/7 unattended operation. Heidolph will also come out annually for site visits during term of ownership. We stock all the parts here in the USA and don’t hesitate to send a tech if something goes wrong. The level of service is phenomenal.

Heidolph is normally 80k on sale for $77,500, 112k with the automated module. Buchi I think is closer to 100k, they don’t share on their site. The difference is the Buchi can auto fill the evaporation flask and cannot empty it. With the automatic module you can fill and empty the evap flask, and empty the condensation flask automatically.

Both are great units, but the Heidolph has Buchi beat on service and pricing vs features. They are both pharma grade equipment made for precision control.

As always, GoodLifeGang members get a SUPER sweet discount.
We ship to Canada (Do you have a broker?)
Just give us a call 503-847-9047 x1

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We’re sold on the quality of the Heidolph equipment, no doubt. Unfortunately our pockets are not infinitely deep right now - we got quoted a hair under $150k CAD for a 50L with the distimatic system. Without checking my budgetary numbers, I believe that puts it at pretty close to the single most expensive piece of equipment for us.

I’m currently leaning towards starting with a handful of cheap china ones to get us rolling and then moving to the Heidolph units once our cashflows are stable.

We’d love to be (lifetime) GLG members and get those sweet sweet discounts, but being in Canada and not having a US account makes it a bit of a pain - international wire transfers are generally expensive (and you get hit really hard on the exchange rate), and crypto purchases are problematic as well. We’ve been waiting for the CC option to be come available again.

That’s about right. Current online pricing is 112k for the Heidolph 20l and Distimatic - (direct) USD exchange is 145,875.52 CAD.

If someone gets you a steal on cheap ones, that might just be the right path to go down. Especially in the beginning if you have one or two fail and have ANYTHING to back up on is huge. Higher end units don’t just break down, but shit happens. On the other hand people find doing it right the first time will save headache, R&D, and come out less costly in the long run especially if you’re not a fly-by-night operation. I would be extremely surprised if the AI/China rotos come with a UL listing or any close equivalent. Be mindful of what your fire guy is gonna have to say about non-certified equipment.

As far as GLG: $250 for a yearly membership at an outrageous 100% CAD>USD exchange rate ($500 total) will be a drop in the bucket compared to the 5% discount ($5,604) I’ll get you :wink: Not sure if you mean your CC, cascades, or GLG, but we (Cascade) take credit cards (usually the cheapest exchange rate possible I’ve found).

If you decide to lean this way, PM me and we can talk about deeper discount for getting you something lab grade the first round. Shipping to Canada is an expensive pain usually so we try to compensate for our brothers up north.

I can tell you that the ai rotos (any roto really) can be tweaked to perform better than the specs say. My 10 liter roto is supposed to do 1.5 gal per hour. I had it do 2 gal per hour before i tweaked it and now that I’ve added larger collection pot, prechilling and preheating i kinda had to remove the preheating cause it’s literally vomiting out etho so fast out looks insane. 3.5 hour runs for 5 gal is down to around 2 hours, give or take. Out depends on how good you are at keeping it full, temps and whatnot.


Are the cheap 1000.00 5L ebay rotovaps a good starting point for a pauper at home medical caregiver lol. I want to get into refinement but I only process what I grow myself here.


That’s what I have. No need for a ferrari type of roto for a beginner. Imo


Depending on your production needs it could be wise to get one that can be filled while running. Auto feed system. Other than that go to the “optimize your rotovap” here on the forum to get your tweak on. Then you’ll be good to go.


Anyone know how big of a evap and receiving flask I can use with a buchi r114? Do all buchi or heidolph use the same joints within their own product lines? I’m looking at used Ebay units and many are missing glass.

I’m guessing I would want a “distribution head” for filling of the evap flask without breaking vacuum but I wouldn’t call it “automatic” lol

Also for small batch processing (10-20lbs biomass every month or two starting out) is a cold finger condenser or coil condenser preferred? The cold finger seemed much simpler for my needs, fill with dry ice or ice water vs getting a chiller recirculator

the dry ice was always a pain in the ass, not to mention it can overflow and make a mess if you have a cryofluid. I prefer coil condensers for ease of use and long duty cycle.


the part you want is called a distributer with feed inlet tube. ground glass joints spherical or conical will fall into a industry standard, the only part that may vary is the glass flange on the condenser that mates with the rotery seal.
if you want flasks just look at the joint size that is printed near the joint.

I don’t think I would ever have any long duty cycles I’m merely trying to outfit as cheaply and simplistically as possible for a small scale. I may not even plunge into a rotovap seeing as I have technically have enough distillation gear to reclaim the ethanol from my winterized mix. I was hoping a 1k dollar rotovap might add to the quality and ease of my production but once i start talking about a chiller and running new electric service to power it all it I get glossy eyed lol. I figured I’m getting dry ice already to winterize a little more to power the rotovap condenser is no big deal. I’m only qwet’ing 10lbs or so every couple of months

1k is perfectaly do able!

Is there a standard joint measurement per manufacturer? Like can I throw a pyrex 5 liter 24/40 flask on the evap side of a buchi R114?

if the rotery evaporator has a 24/40 then any 24/40 flask will fit.

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Well I scored a buchi r114 with b490 water batch, distribution head, and dewar style “CR” condenser for 1k shipped. Once I get it I’ll check with vapor tube its using and get (think its 24/40) a 5L evap flask. I’m hoping it fits but the manual shows flasks can be bought up to 3L through ace and buchi for it. Also found a 3L collection flask with drain. This setup should let me feed and drain the unit while still under vacuum.![s-l400|400x400](upload://neqm47y0NkDvnuvXe8wrg7gRH2R.jpg)

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put a parastalic pump on that bitch!


Would the dosing pump be needed for both feed and drain or just feed?

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I’m afraid my idea is far more rudimentary then utilizing a peristaltic pump. V distribution head has a plug valve that will close off the collection flask that coupled with the drain being plumbed to a carboy that is all under vacuum should allow me to simultaneouslyFill and drain

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