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What Is the Best Harvest Right Freeze Dryer For You?

Freeze dryers are an excellent investment for anyone who wants to extend the shelf life of their food without compromising on quality. With the right freeze dryer, you can preserve fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, and even complete meals, all while maintaining their original flavor and nutritional value. But which size Harvest Right freeze dryer is right for you?

A woman standing behind jars of freeze dried fruit with two freeze dryers behind her.

Whether you’re a home cook looking to preserve your garden surplus or a business owner in need of a reliable food preservation solution, you can use this guide to help you make an informed decision.

Why I Love Freeze Drying for Food Preservation

I remember when freeze dryers first became accessible for home use, and I confess I was a skeptic. With my love of canning for food preservation, the freeze dryer had its work cut out to win me over. I doubt I ever would have purchased one, but when Harvest Right reached out to us and offered to give us a machine for our honest review, I decided it was worth a try. 

Fast forward a few years, and I am now singing the praises of freeze-drying and Harvest Right. In fact, I was so surprised at the ease it brought to our harvest season that we found ourselves purchasing a second (and third) unit. Remember, we do have 13 people in our family and are often feeding crowds of 15 or more at any given meal.

Most days of the year, you will find one or more units humming along, preserving in-season fruits and vegetables such as freeze-dried apples or freeze-dried corn and products from our livestock such as freeze-dried chicken, freeze-dried milk, or freeze-dried eggs. In times when production begins to slow down, we even experiment with fun ideas like freeze-dried coffee, freeze-dried dog food, and even freeze-dried water! (Yes, that was a joke, but check out the post anyway for information on storing water and more freeze-dried tutorials!)

Trays of fresh berries in a Harvest Right freeze dryer.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer

If you are attracted to the idea that the freeze-dryer preserves food to provide a shelf-stable way to stock your pantry, you will need to consider a few points before purchasing one.

Capacity

One of the first things to consider when choosing a freeze dryer is its capacity. Think about the volume of food you intend to freeze dry at a time. If you’re a home user, the small Harvest Right freeze-dryer might be sufficient. 

However, if you plan to freeze-dry food in larger quantities, you may want to consider the large or even extra-large Harvest Right options. My recommendation is to go with the largest unit you can afford. In my experience, you’ll always find things to place into the empty trays when running a batch.

A woman standing in front of two Harvest Right freeze dryers.

Available Space

Harvest Right freeze dryers come in a range of sizes, from small to extra-large. Before making a purchase, carefully consider the dimensions of the machine and ensure that you have sufficient space available to accommodate it. It’s important to allocate enough room for the machine to operate smoothly, including proper ventilation.

Power Requirements

Next, consider the power requirements of the freeze dryer. Be sure that you have the necessary electrical capabilities to support the machine. Harvest Right freeze dryers typically require a dedicated electrical circuit due to their energy demands. 

Before purchasing a Harvest Right freeze dryer, it’s crucial to make sure your electrical infrastructure can support the machine’s power needs. Consulting with an electrician may be necessary to determine if any electrical upgrades or modifications are required.

Settings for extra time on a Harvest Right freeze dryer display.

Features and Accessories

Pay close attention to the features and accessories that the freeze dryer offers. Look for features that align with your specific needs, such as programmable settings, adjustable temperature controls, and user-friendly interfaces. 

Additionally, consider any additional accessories that may be required or available to optimize the freeze-drying process.

Trays of broth stacked in a freezer.

Additional Parts

Find out if the freeze dryer comes with any additional parts or accessories, such as trays or containers. These can enhance the functionality and convenience of the machine.

Harvest Right has quite a few accessories to choose from, including tray stackers for the freezer (pictured above), silicone divider trays for freeze-drying in cubes, non-stick tray liners and more.

Price

Price is always a crucial factor when making any purchase. Thankfully, the price of home freeze dryers has come down significantly in the past ten years. Compare the prices of the various sizes and find one that fits within your budget while still meeting your requirements. 

Remember, it’s important to strike a balance between affordability and quality. For those who can’t make the purchase up front, Harvest Right also offers layaway options.

Yogurt on a freeze dryer tray going into a freeze dryer.

Durability (Life Expectancy)

When investing in a freeze dryer, it’s important to think about the life expectancy of the machine. Understanding how long your freeze dryer is expected to last can help you make an informed decision and ensure you get the most value out of your purchase.

The typical life expectancy of a freeze-dryer can vary depending on several factors. Here are some key factors that can affect the durability and lifespan of a freeze dryer:

  • Quality of Construction – A well-built freeze dryer made from high-quality materials is likely to have a longer lifespan compared to a machine with cheaper components.
  • Frequency of Use – The more frequently you use your freeze dryer, the more wear and tear it may experience. If you plan to use your freeze dryer on a daily basis, you may want to consider a model designed for heavy-duty use.
  • Maintenance and Care – Proper maintenance and care can significantly extend the life of your freeze-dryer. Regular cleaning, lubrication, oil changes and following manufacturer guidelines for maintenance tasks are essential to keep your machine functioning optimally.
  • Environmental Factors – The conditions in which you operate your freeze dryer can impact its lifespan. Extreme temperatures, excessive humidity, and exposure to dust or other contaminants can accelerate wear and deterioration.
A woman putting the insulation cover onto a Harvest Right freezer dryer.

To maximize the longevity of your freeze dryer, here are a few tips:

  • Follow Manufacturer Guidelines – It’s important to adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for proper operation, maintenance, and storage of your freeze dryer.
  • Keep It Clean – Regularly clean and sanitize your freeze dryer to prevent the buildup of debris or contaminants that may affect its performance.
  • Inspect for Wear and Tear – Conduct regular inspections of your freeze dryer to check for any signs of wear, such as loose components or damaged parts. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage.
  • Store It Properly – When not in use, store your freeze dryer in a clean, dry, and well-ventilated area. Protect it from extreme temperatures and humidity.

Warranty

Check the warranty coverage and customer support offered by the manufacturer. A reliable warranty and responsive customer support can provide peace of mind and assistance if any issues arise with your freeze dryer. The great thing about Harvest Right is they stand behind their product. They have a fantastic warranty, including a full one-year warranty and a limited three-year warranty.

Shipping Costs

Home freeze dryers can be bulky and heavy, resulting in potentially high shipping costs. Take the time to research shipping options and costs associated with delivering the machine to your location, especially if you live outside the U.S. continental 48 states. 

For more information on cleaning/maintenance, capacity, affordability, rehydrating foods, efficiency, and more, check out our Harvest Right Freeze Dryer FAQs post.

Jars of freeze-dried chicken pot pie being sealed.

What Is the Best Freeze Dryer for You

When it comes to freeze dryers, Harvest Right is a brand that stands out for its exceptional quality and performance. Harvest Right offers four sizes of freeze dryers designed to meet specific needs and requirements.

They also offer commercial and pharmaceutical freeze dryers. However, in this post we’ll just be focusing on the four Home Pro Freeze Dryer options.

Harvest Right Home Pro Freeze Dryer

The Home Pro Freeze Dryer is perfect for individuals and families who preserve food at home effectively. It offers a compact size that fits well in any kitchen and provides ample capacity for freeze-drying a wide variety of foods. 

The Home Pro Freeze Dryer is designed for ease of use, with user-friendly controls and a convenient touchscreen interface. It also includes a highly efficient vacuum pump to ensure efficient and consistent freeze-drying results. The Home Pro Freeze Dryer, size large, is what you see in the pictures in this blog post.

Here is a table summarizing the key features and specifications of the four sizes of Harvest Right’s Home Pro freeze dryers:

Home Pro Freeze Dryer (Size)Key FeaturesSpecifications
Small– Compact size for home use.
– User-friendly touchscreen interface.
– Efficient vacuum pump with the option for an oil-free pump (at an additional cost).
– Preserves 6-10 pounds of food per batch.
– Capacity: 434 sq. inches of tray space.
– Dimensions: 17.4″ W x 21.5″ D x 26.8″ H
– Power Requirements: 110 volt (NEMA 5-20) outlet. A dedicated 20 amp circuit is recommended.
Medium– Compact size for home use.
– User-friendly touchscreen interface.
– Efficient vacuum pump with the option for an oil-free pump (at an additional cost).
– Preserves 10-15 pounds of food per batch.
– Capacity: 675 sq. inches of tray space.
– Dimensions: 19″ W x 25″ D x 29″ H
– Power Requirements: 110 volt (NEMA 5-20) outlet. A dedicated 20 amp circuit is recommended.
Large– Compact size for home use.
– User-friendly touchscreen interface.
– Efficient vacuum pump with the option for an oil-free pump (at an additional cost).
– Preserves 18-27 pounds of food per batch.
– Capacity: 1107 sq. inches of tray space.
– Dimensions: 21.3″ W x 27.5″ D x 31.3″ H
– Power Requirements: 110 volt (NEMA 5-20) outlet. A dedicated 20 amp circuit is recommended.
Extra-Large– Compact size for home use.
– User-friendly touchscreen interface.
– XL Premier Industrial Pump with the option for an oil-free pump (at an additional cost).
– Preserves 40-50 pounds of food per batch.
– Capacity: 2251 sq. inches of tray space.
– Dimensions: 24.3″ W x 37.4″ D x 35.6″ H
– Power Requirements: 110 volt (NEMA 5-20) outlet. A dedicated 20 amp circuit is recommended.

If you are still considering whether or not a freeze dryer is right for you, I encourage you to check out my one-year review of the Harvest Right freeze dryer and read the FAQs on freeze-drying

For those of you who are ready to get started, I’m excited to announce that my book on freeze-drying will be available soon (stay tuned)! In the meantime, you can check out all of my freeze-drying recipes in our Freeze Drying archives.

Hands holding a handful of freeze dried eggs.

FAQ

What is the best freeze dryer for home use?

The best freeze dryer for home use depends on your specific needs and requirements. Some popular options for a home freeze-dry machine include the Harvest Right Home Freeze Dryer and the Harvest Right Home Pro Freeze Dryer. It’s essential to consider factors such as capacity, power requirements, and available features when choosing the right freeze dryer for your home.

Can I freeze dry dairy products?

Yes, you can freeze dry dairy products. However, it’s essential to note that not all dairy products will freeze dry well. Some commonly freeze-dried dairy products include milk, cheese, ice cream and yogurt. It’s crucial to follow proper freeze-drying techniques and consider the fat content of the dairy product to achieve the best results.

How long does freeze-dried food last?

The shelf life of freeze-dried food depends on various factors, including storage conditions and the type of food. In general, properly freeze-dried meals can last anywhere from 25 to 30 years when stored in a cool, dry place with minimal exposure to light and oxygen. It’s important to follow proper storage practices and regularly check the quality of your freeze-dried food for optimal longevity.

Do I need a dedicated electrical circuit for a freeze-dryer?

Yes, freeze dryers require a dedicated electrical circuit to ensure safe and efficient operation. These machines often draw significant power, so it’s essential to have a dedicated circuit to avoid overloading your electrical system. Consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or an electrician to determine the specific electrical requirements for your freeze dryer.

What are the additional parts or accessories needed for a freeze-dryer?

While most freeze dryers come with everything you need to get started, there may be some additional parts or accessories that can enhance your freeze-drying experience. These can include extra trays, oil or filters for the vacuum pump, or specialty attachments for freeze-drying specific types of foods. It’s best to consult the manufacturer’s recommendations or reach out to their customer support for guidance on any additional parts or accessories you may need.

What is the warranty for a freeze dryer?

The warranty for freeze dryers can vary depending on the brand and model. Typically, freeze dryers come with a warranty ranging from one to three years, covering defects in materials and workmanship. It’s important to review the specific details of the warranty provided by the manufacturer before making your purchase.

How much does shipping a freeze-dryer cost?

The cost of shipping a freeze dryer will vary depending on factors such as the weight and dimensions of the machine, as well as the shipping destination. Some manufacturers may offer free shipping as part of their package, while others may charge additional fees. It’s best to check with the manufacturer or retailer to get an accurate estimate of the shipping costs before finalizing your purchase.

Freeze dried potatoes on a freeze dryer tray.
A man and wife smiling.

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