LabWare vs. LabVantage vs. QBench: Which LIMS is Best?

Modern labs looking to scale their operations, speed up their processes, and meet compliance standards would be wise to choose a LIMS, but which LIMS is best for you?

Between three industry leaders, QBench, LabWare, and LabVantage, you have excellent options to help your lab scale. In this article, we will compare QBench, Labware, and LabVantage to help you get a better sense of how these platforms stack up and which one is the best fit for your lab. 

What to Look for in a LIMS

Selecting the right LIMS for your lab can be a daunting process. If this is your first time, we recommend looking for the following: 

  • Configurable, not customizable: Somewhere in your search for a LIMS, you’ll come across two terms: configurable and customizable. Customizable LIMS often require custom code and development resources to set up and maintain while configurable LIMS offer no-code solutions in-app for any user on your team to create workflows in your LIMS.
  • Automation capabilities: The power of a LIMS lies in its ability to automate tasks, processes, and workflows for your lab. This automation saves time and reduces the room for human error (which can cause further delays or compliance issues). 
  • Speedy implementation: Look for a LIMS with a fast, thorough, and efficient implementation so your lab can get set up right away and get things done. 
  • Great support: Whenever you buy software, prioritize the support that you’ll get. A LIMS with great support gives you a safety net for your team that you can rely on should you have questions or encounter issues.
  • Custom fields and permissions: This is a big one, especially for certain industries and compliance regulations. Look for a LIMS that can adapt to your unique needs and use cases and provides adequate security measures to protect your data.

Now, let’s take a closer look at how these three LIMS platforms compare.

QBench

QBench is the leading option for labs of all sizes and many industries looking to get more done and scale.

QBench takes a unique approach to LIMS by creating a highly configurable and flexible LIMS. This puts the power to make changes into your hands. Since all labs operate and evolve differently, they need a flexible LIMS that adapts with them over time.

Many QBench customers have felt the pain of legacy LIMS and how vendor-created, code-driven customizations lead to slow, costly updates. Rather than slow you down, QBench’s deep workflow configurability and flexible, easy-to-use tools allow for quick workflow adjustments, report modifications, and automation tweaks.

It’s no wonder that QBench was awarded numerous badges in 2023 from G2, won even more badges from G2 in 2024, is now the Momentum Leader on G2’s LIMS Grid, and continues to rank #1 on G2’s Highest-Rated LIMS in North America list. 

QBench is privately owned by a group of families and software investors with over 30 years of lab experience and a long-term time horizon, meaning that they prioritize building the best culture, continuous innovation, and a business that drives value for customers for many years to come. This is a strong contrast to many of the LIMS owned by private equity firms, where there’s an explicit goal to cut costs, extract as much value from customers in a short time, and then resell the business in 3-4 years. QBench's employees are distributed globally to serve customers worldwide, but most employees (85%) are in North America (as of mid-2024).

QBench packs a punch with powerful tools for:

  • Configurable workflows
  • Reporting tools
  • Custom fields
  • A Customer Portal
  • No-code Automations
  • Inventory Management
  • QMS (Quality Management System)
  • Billing Management
  • A Robust API
  • Powerful admin controls & user permissions

And more!

With all this power, you won’t have to sacrifice ease of use, though. QBench is quick to implement and easy for your entire team to use. QBench is well-reviewed on G2 with 82 reviews and 4.6 out of 5 stars. Over 95% of QBench's reviews are from customers in North America.

QBench is a Momentum Leader on G2's Grid for LIMS (psst: we have the highest combined rank on that grid). QBench also ranks higher than the category average for Ease of Use, Ease of Setup, Ease of Doing Business With, Quality of Support, and Ease of Admin. G2 Summer 2024 LIMS category awards for QBench include Momentum Leader (#1 of 11), Best Results (#1 of 7), Best Relationship (#1 of 12), and High Performer Small Business (#1 of 9).

Here’s a sample of what customers are saying about QBench:

QBench reviews sourced by G2

LabWare

LabWare has been around for many years and boasts very high customer satisfaction. They excel at on-premises deployments and serve many large pharmaceutical companies. It is a solid option for labs looking to digitize the capturing of lab notebook data and also improve their lab efficiency thanks to LabWare’s connected  ELN and LIMS. It boasts many automation capabilities, QA/QC features, and instrument integrations. LabWare is customizable and even has its own programming language, LIMS Basic. They also offer regional technical support in more than 15 languages.

LabWare’s implementation and ongoing services costs can be significant (hundreds of thousands of dollars). If you have a large budget to pay LabWare to set everything up, write custom code to meet your lab’s unique workflow needs, and a future budget to pay them to modify workflows as your lab changes, then LabWare could be a great option for you. If you need support in multiple languages, a global support team, or if you have your own team of developers that can learn LabWare’s custom programming language, then LabWare might be a good option to explore.

Founded in 1987, LabWare has been around for a while and evolved over the years.  LabWare is privately owned and has roughly 31% of its staff in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, & Africa), 29% in North America, and 24% in South America, and 16% in Asia (according to LinkedIn and as of mid-2024). LabWare's reviews come from 62% of customers in North America, 19% in Europe, and 11% in Asia. LabWare is well-reviewed on G2 with 101 reviews and an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars. About 44% of LabWare’s reviews on G2 are from Pharmaceutical companies (as of mid-2024).

LabVantage

LabVantage is a solid option for labs looking to get started with automation and streamlining their operations. Like LabWare, LabVantage has been around since the 1980s (founded in 1981). Similar to LabWare, they excel at large, on-premises deployments and serving pharmaceutical companies.

The expenses for setting up and maintaining LabVantage typically add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. If your budget allows for a substantial initial investment for customization to suit your lab's specific workflow requirements, along with future allocations for adapting the system as your lab evolves, then LabVantage might be a match for you. If you operate around the clock, LabVantage may be a good option to explore as their helpdesk offers 24/7 technical and project support.

Over the years, LabVantage has evolved to offer a cloud-based LIMS and ELN solution with sample management, inventory management, LES (laboratory execution system), SDMS (scientific data management system), and reporting features, among its broader feature set. The Chatterjee Group owns LabVantage.

Roughly 61% of its staff are in Asia, 18% in North America, and 20% in the EMEA region (according to LinkedIn and as of mid-2024). LabVantage has 19 reviews and 3.8 out of 5 stars on G2. About 33% of LabVantage’s reviews on G2 are from Pharmaceutical companies (as of mid-2024).

QBench vs. LabWare vs. LabVantage: A Side-By-Side Comparison

For a deeper comparison of QBench, LabWare, and LabVantage, let’s walk through a side-by-side view of how they stack up.

QBench Labware LabVantage
Product Innovation & Update Cadence Monthly releases with new features Unclear – LabWare 7 was released in 2015, and LabWare 8 was released in 2020 About every 18 months (source). “LabVantage anticipates that releases will be made available approximately every (18) months. Customer’s environment will be upgraded no less than every two (2) years.”

LabVantage 8.7 was released in July 2021, and LabVantage 8.8 was released in December 2022.
How they meet the unique needs of each lab and adapt to workflow changes over time Highly configurable and flexible setup. No-code tools. Powerful admin controls. Native integrations to other best-in-class software. Custom code written in their LIMS Basic language. Ongoing professional services. Custom code. Ongoing professional services.
Deployment Method Cloud-based On-premises, cloud-hosted by LabWare (regionally available), cloud-hosted by a certified provider, cloud-hosted by you On-premises or cloud-based (Enterprise or Standard offerings)
Pricing SaaS price:
Starting at $249/user/month
Perpetual license GSA Advantage price from 2021:
$7,043.22/user + 14% maintenance fee of $986.05/user/year for continued patches and product enhancements after year 1 + additional costs for access to technical support + additional costs for hardware and IT staff if you choose on-premises deployment

SaaS price:
Starting at $300/user/mo.
Perpetual license GSA Advantage price from 2020:
$4239.29/user + 15% support & maintenance fee of $635.89/user/year for patches and updates/upgrades after the first 90 days + additional costs for hardware and IT staff if you choose on-premises deployment

SaaS price:
Rough estimate at 75% of the first year of the on-premises cost + 1st year maintenance, which would be
$(4239+$4239*15%)*75%/12 = starting at about $305/user/mo.
Pricing Source QBench Pricing Page GSA Advantage for on-premises price

Note: the price for a non-government lab is likely 20% higher (see note below table)

SaaS Price:
Capterra
GSA Advantage for on-premises price

Note: the price for a non-government lab is likely 20% higher (see note below table)

SaaS Price:
LabVantage post comparing their on-premises to cloud-hosted costs
Notable features Configurable, no-code automations
Reports and data visualizations
Inventory management
Sample management
Billing and invoicing support
Robust API
Integrated QMS
ELN
Automation capabilities
QA/QC features
Instrument integrations
Sample management
Reporting tools and data visualizations
Integrated ELN
Reporting features
Sample management
Data management
Data privacy and security
LES
SDMS
Industries served Materials & Manufacturing
Food & Beverage
Biotech & Life Sciences
Diagnostic
Agriculture
Environmental
Pharmaceutical
Bioanalysis
Biobanking & Clinical Research
BioPharma
CBD/THC
Clinical Diagnostics & Public Health
Contract Services
Food & Beverage
Forensics
Mining & Metals
Oil & Gas
Process & Chemical
Water & Environmental
Pharmaceutical
Biobanking
Diagnostics
Food & Beverage
Oil & Gas
Contract Testing
Cancer Research
Public Health Labs
Consumer Packaged Goods
Forensic
Government
Medical Labs
G2 Rating 4.6 4.5 3.8

According to limswiki.org, “GSA prices represent the lowest possible negotiated price. These prices aren't available to any entity outside of the Federal Government, and thus prices for non-government entities will be higher.”

It’s important for buyers to understand some key differences in how the software they are considering is deployed. Many legacy LIMS vendors (those that have been around for 20+ years) have built sizable on-premises install bases that come with big upfront perpetual license fees and annual maintenance + support fees. Since they charge a lot upfront for the perpetual license and implementations for their on-prem solutions, their incentives are to create vendor lock-in through complicated setups that need ongoing services when a lab needs to adjust its workflow. 

This approach to LIMS  gets them ongoing professional services revenue from existing customers but leaves customers feeling locked in and nickel-and-dimed for small changes. The legacy vendors now all tout their cloud offerings, but the truth is those product offerings are much much newer, much less developed, and much less powerful than their on-premises offerings. On-premises offerings often require purchases of hardware, physical space for servers, and the hiring of IT staff to maintain and upgrade the hardware over time.

LabVantage even states on their own website:

Upgrading traditional on-premises LIMS systems can be resource-intensive, requiring dedicated IT staff, time for testing, and potential operational downtime during implementation. Planning for frequent upgrades can be unpredictable, with unexpected costs arising from unforeseen expenses from customizations, training needs, and systems integration complexities. In addition, implementing upgrades may disrupt day-to-day operations, leading to productivity losses and end-user dissatisfaction.

Both LabWare and LabVantage highlight their ELN product in addition to their LIMS product. If your primary use case is an Electronic Lab Notebook, then LabWare and LabVantage would be better options than QBench. Be sure to check if using the ELN adds significant additional cost, though.

Three Essentials When Picking a LIMS Partner

Three additional essential considerations when picking a LIMS partner are:

  1. Their product innovation and update cadence.
  2. Turning customer feedback into new features.
  3. The quality of their support.

QBench outshines the industry on innovation, listening to customers, and quality of support.

  1. QBench releases product updates monthly.
  2. QBench has a customer feedback platform where customers can suggest features, vote on proposed features, and see the roadmap of customer-suggested features. Every QBench release contains features that customers ask for.
  3. QBench exceeds the industry average on G2 for quality of support and is one of the top things highlighted in QBench reviews.

All three offer a LIMS that can help automate processes and scale your lab, but as you can see QBench leads the pack with spectacular G2 ratings, an industry-leading rate of innovation, outstanding support, and the differentiated value of being the most configuration & flexible LIMS.

Why Labs Love QBench LIMS

There’s a reason that QBench is a consistent leader across categories on G2, labs can get more done with QBench LIMS.

Here are the top reasons why labs of all sizes love QBench LIMS.

  • No-code automations: Our no-code automations give you the power to design and create workflows to meet your lab’s needs without a line of custom code.
  • Robust API Support: Whether you want to integrate instruments or other systems, QBench comes with a robust RESTful API that can power your needs.
  • Ease of use: Despite having such a powerful and configurable platform, QBench consistently earns top marks for ease of use.
  • Built-in QMS: With QBench LIMS, you get a built-in, tightly integrated QMS experience as opposed to having to purchase and integrate a separate compliance management platform.
  • Integrates with dozens of popular software platforms: QBench LIMS integrates with dozens of popular software platforms, including CRMs, accounting platforms, business intelligence platforms, and more. And if QBench doesn’t have a native connection, the robust API allows you to connect anything you want.

QBench consistently earns high marks for its responsive and helpful support on top of its powerful software platform.

Choose A Robust Yet User-Friendly LIMS: Schedule a Demo of QBench LIMS Today

Between these three choices, it can be hard to determine which LIMS is right for your lab. If you’re stumped on features, we’d recommend taking a step back to review your lab’s needs.

 If you are looking for a LIMS that provides:

  • Robust integrations and API access
  • Automation
  • Reporting
  • No-code configuration
  • Ease of use
  • Excellent support

Then look no further than QBench.

Choose a LIMS that helps your lab work smarter with unparalleled flexibility to drive whatever the future brings. It’s one of the reasons we’re so proud that this commitment continually gets recognized by G2, and why QBench ranks among the best LIMS of 2024. Click the button below to schedule a demo and see for yourself.