Presently a vast variety of robust robotic arms are available commercially, some of which are extremely reliable in precision and repeatability. This makes them an ideal tool for research focused on manipulation. However, there is a lack of an easily accessible comparative analysis that can assist researchers in choosing an arm that fits their research objectives. With an objective to provide such an analysis, this paper provides a comparative survey of the state of the art in commercial robotic arms - classified based on their price, performance and suitability for research on manipulation. These arms are categorized into four classes: cheap educational arms, low price industrial arms, research oriented arms and modular light weight arms. Within each classification, some typical robotic arms are analyzed in detail to provide an overview of the functional capacities of the arms in that particular class.