Buying a Home Freeze Dryer? What You Need to Know First

freeze dryers and freeze dried foods
My harvest right freeze dryer, the best freeze dryer for my family
My Harvest Right Home Freeze Dryer

I own my own medium-sized Harvest Right home freeze dryer and feel immense satisfaction, peace of mind, and enjoyment from being able to preserve a wide variety of foods for my family. For me, freeze-drying enough foods to build and maintain our emergency food supply, make camping meals, and a wide variety of snacks makes owning a freeze dryer well worth the cost.

I freeze-dry a wide range of foods including fruits and vegetables from my home garden, meats, eggs and dairy, herbs and spices, drinks, candy (skittles, gummy bears, and more), and even full meals. As you can imagine, my kids love eating the different candies that we freeze dry.

I’m surprised at how many people ask “Can you buy a freeze dryer for home use?” Of course, the answer is yes, Harvest Right sells freeze dryers that anyone can buy and are intended to use at home to preserve a variety of different foods. To get a full cost comparison & personal calculator, along with a detailed analysis see our article is buying a freeze dryer worth it?

Current Sale on Harvest Right Freeze Dryers

The premier provider of Home Freeze Dryers currently has deals saving $200 on small freeze dryers and $300 on medium, large, and extra-large freeze dryers (With FREE shipping in the United States and a premier pump is included).

If you are interested in buying a home freeze dryer please support us by using this link to visit Harvest Right’s website and order one soon to get the discount! We only recommend products we use and enjoy.

I will help you learn all that you need to know about freeze dryers and freeze-drying so that you can confidently know if buying your own home freeze dryer is right for you and which freeze dryer will fit your needs.

What is Freeze Drying? 

Freeze drying, also known as Lyophilisation or Cryodesiccation, is the process of dehydrating food through low temperatures and involves freezing the food, lowering pressure by using a vacuum pump, and then removing the ice through sublimation. Sublimation is the transition of a substance directly from a solid to a gas, without passing through the liquid state.

Freeze drying is different from conventional methods of drying such as dehydration which uses heat to evaporate water from a food item.

“Lyophilization or freeze drying is a process in which water is removed from a product after it is frozen and placed under a vacuum, allowing the ice to change directly from solid to vapor without passing through a liquid phase. The process consists of three separate, unique, and interdependent processes; freezing, primary drying (sublimation) and secondary drying (desorption)”

FDA, Food and Drug Administration
How to get started freeze Drying

How Does a It Work?

Today’s home freeze dryers make freeze-drying very simple. The way that it works can be summed up in the below steps:

  1. Select the food items, place them on the tray/sheet, slide the trays into the freeze dryer, and press start.
    • I like to freeze foods on the tray in my freezer before placing them in the freeze dryer to make the freeze-drying process more efficient, however, it is not required to do so.
  2. Freezing phase: the freeze dryer freezes the food to between -30 degrees and -50 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Vacuum Pump: Once frozen, the vacuum pump automatically turns on and creates a powerful vacuum around the food.
  4. Drying (sublimation) Phase: The trays gradually warm while the food is still frozen causing a process called sublimation to occur which removes water from the food and allows it to keep its original shape, flavor, and nutrition  
Harvest Right Freeze Dryer

How long does it take to freeze dry?

Typically, the amount of time that it takes to freeze-dry one batch is between 20 to 40 hours. Very dense foods and foods high in sugar take longer: fresh pineapple for example can take over 45 hours. However, placing food on the trays and freezing them in your freezer can cut the time down by several hours. The freeze dryer is equipped with sensors that sense when the food is completely dry and alert you when the process is complete.  

How to Freeze Dry at Home

How Much Does a Machine Cost?

A new home freeze dryer cost ranges from $2,495 – $5,090 depending on the size and type of pump (types of pumps include: oil, premier, or oil-free). Additionally, the ongoing cost of supplies and running the freeze dryer can cost as much as $30 – $40 a month. The original cost includes the freeze dryer, vacuum pump (oil-free pumps are available), vacuum pump oil, oil filter, trays, mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, impulse sealer, and guide to freeze-drying. 

See the below table for a detailed cost breakdown:

Freeze Dryer SizeCost (standard oil pump)Cost (Premier grade oil pump)Cost (Oil-free Pump)Batch SizeDimensions
Small$2,195$2,495$3,8904-7 pounds per batch16.5″ W x 18.5″ D x 25″ H
Weighs 61 pounds
Medium$2,695$3,195$4,6907-10 pounds per batch18″ W x 21.25″ D x 28.5″ H
Weighs 112 pounds
Large$3,395$3,895$5,09012-16 pounds per batch20.25″ W x 23.75″ D x 30.75″ H
Weighs 138 pounds
Extra-Large$5,09530-35 pounds per batch24.3“ W x 37.4” D x 35.6” H
Weighs 265 pounds
*The above prices are based on the Harvest Right freeze dryers because they are the main company that makes home freeze dryers.

I own the standard oil pump and it works great but can be annoying having to deal with changing or filtering the oil. My brother owns the oil-free pump so he doesn’t have to deal with changing the oil. If your budget permits, buying the oil-free pump can be worth the extra cost in convenience.

See current freeze dryer deals on Harvest Right’s website

Best Home Freeze Dryers for Any Circumstance (Harvest Right)

If you are looking for the top rated home freeze dryers then Harvest Right is the industry leader. Their home freeze dryers come in the following three sizes which should meet the needs of most people.

I own the medium-sized Harvest Right Freeze Dryer (with the oil pump) and have freeze-dried over a thousand pounds of various foods. It works great for our family of four! Check out the 3 available Home Freeze Dryers on Harvest Right’s Website to see which one fits your circumstances the best!

Which One is Right for You?

There are 3 home freeze dryers to choose from based on capacity and your budget. The below information will help you know exactly which one is right for you and your needs. Please support us by using one of the links on this page to Harvest Right’s website. We get a small commission that helps us continue to create more quality content. See Harvest Right Freeze Dryers and their current deals here.

Small Freeze Dryer

  • Cost: $2,495 – $3,890
  • Batch Size: Each batch is about 1 gallon (4 to 6 lbs. of food)
  • In a year, one can easily freeze dry 200 batches (200 gallons or 900 lbs. of food)
  • Dimensions: 16.5″ W x 18.5″ D x 25″ H
  • Weight: 61 lbs

Medium Freeze Dryer

  • Cost: $3,195 – $4,690
  • Batch Size: Each batch is about 2 gallons (7 to 10 lbs. of fresh food)
  • In a year, one can easily freeze dry 200 batches (400 gallons or 1500 lbs. of food)
  • Dimensions: 18″ W x 21.25″ D x 28.5″ H
  • Weight: 112 lbs

Large Freeze Dryer

  • Cost: $3,895 – $5,090
  • Batch Size: Each batch is about 3.5 gallons (12 to 16 lbs. of fresh food)
  • In a year, one can easily freeze dry 200 batches (700 gallons or 2500 lbs. of food)
  • Dimensions: 20.25″ W x 23.75″ D x 30.75″ H
  • Weight: 138 lbs

Extra-Large Freeze Dryer

  • Cost: $5,095
  • Batch Size: Each batch is about 30 to 35 lbs. of fresh food
  • In a year, one can easily freeze dry 200 batches (1200 gallons or 5000 lbs. of food)
  • Dimensions: 24.3“ W x 37.4” D x 35.6” H
  • Weight: 265 lbs

What’s included with each size of freeze dryer:

  • Small, Medium, or Large Freeze Dryer
  • Premier Vacuum Pump
  • Vacuum Pump Oil
  • Oil Filter
  • Stainless Steel Trays (set of 3 with the small, 4 with the medium, or 5 with the large)
  • Guide to Freeze Drying
  • Mylar Bags (50 ct)
  • Oxygen Absorbers (50 ct)
  • Impulse Sealer

Check out Harvest Right’s website to see which home freeze dryer is right for you.

Home freeze dryers by Harvest Right

Tray Sizes

It is important to note that each of the Harvest Right home freeze dryers has different tray sizes. See each tray size below.

Freeze Dryer SizeNumber of TraysTray WidthTray LengthTray Height
Small37.75 inches14 inches0.75 inches
Medium47.5 inches18 inches0.75 inches
Large59 inches20.5 inches0.75 inches
Extra-Large610.9 inches29.5 inches0.75 inches
The above chart shows how many trays and what size each tray is for each size of Harvest Right Freeze Dryers

Commercial and Pharmaceutical Freeze Dryers

In addition to consumer machines, Harvest Right also offers commercial and pharmaceutical freeze dryers that are designed to meet the needs of businesses and laboratories. They offer a range of features, including precise temperature control, high-speed drying, and adjustable shelf heights. They can process large batches of materials quickly and efficiently, making them ideal for those in the food, pharmaceutical, and laboratory industries.

Is a Freeze Dryer Actually Worth the Cost?

A freeze dryer is a good buy if you want to keep lots of different foods fresh for a long time without using a fridge or freezer. It keeps the taste and almost all the nutrients for up to 25 years. It’s worth the money if you use it often. See our detailed guide and cost calculator to decide if freeze dryers are worth it for you.

Ongoing Costs of Owning a Home Freeze Dryer

Supplies (Mylar Bags and Vacuum Pump Oil)

Mylar Bags for freeze dried food
Mylar Bags

The cost for 60 mylar 1-gallon bags with 60 300 cc oxidizer packets is $29.99 on Amazon (June 2021). The oxidizer packets are for one-time use, although the mylar bags could possibly be cut down and reused.

vacuum pump oil for freeze dryer vacuum pumps
Vacuum Pump Oil

The cost of vacuum pump oil starts at $10 a gallon on Amazon, although that oil can be filtered and reused.

*Pro Tip – to save money on vacuum pump oil I will drain the oil after every 4-5 batches that I run in the freeze dryer and use paper coffee filters to filter the oil and then reuse the same oil in the vacuum pump.

Do Freeze Dryers Use a Lot of Electricity? What’s the Cost?

After breaking down my electric bill and the bill of other family members that have their own freeze dryers I found that electricity costs for me, my parents, and my brother to run our own freeze dryers have consistently been between $10 – $20 dollars a month on average (roughly $1 – $3 a batch). We all live in different states in the Midwest and see similar electricity bills. 

Other reports on electricity costs have varied. One person who lives on the East Coast reported that her electricity bill increased $20 – $30 a month during her heavy usage time.

Electricity Bill Calculator for Freeze dryers

Calculate the cost to run a freeze dryer in your home using wattage and kilowatt-hours (kWh) in the below calculator. Search/Google for ‘cost per kilowatt-hour in my area’ or investigate your electricity bill to determine your current electricity cost per kilowatt-hour(kWh) in cents.

Are freeze dryers expensive to run?

Freeze dryers are more expensive to run compared to many common household appliances such as refrigerators, toasters, TVs, smaller microwaves, Dehydrators, and other smaller appliances. However, freeze dryers are roughly just as expensive to run as some larger home appliances including many washing machines, dishwashers, and larger microwaves.

Home ApplianceAverage WattageCost to Run
Compared to Freeze Dryer
Freeze Dryer (Small-Large)990 – 1500 watts(W)Comparable
Microwave600 – 1200 watts(W)Cheaper or Comparable
Refrigerator350 – 780 watts(W)Cheaper
Washing Machine400 – 1300 watts(W)Cheaper or Comparable
Dishwasher1200 – 2400 watts(W)Comparable or Expensive
Dehydrator450 – 750 watts(W)Cheaper
Freeze dryers cost of running vs. other common home appliances
How Much Electricity Does a Freeze Dryer Use and What Will it Cost You?

*Pro Tip – Placing food on the trays and freezing it before running a cycle in the freeze dryer is often better because it allows the freeze-drying process to be more efficient, saving time and electricity that is consumed at a higher rate by the freeze dryer.

The Cost of Freeze Dried Food: Store Bought vs. DIY

If you are unsure about buying your own freeze dryer, try buying packages of freeze-dried food from a food storage company. Check out our article and list of the best foods for long-term storage that includes freeze-dried items. Also, use our free food storage calculator to determine how much food you should store to feed yourself and your family.

Will Freeze Drying Enough Food Make it Worth the Cost?

Although difficult, I compared the cost of over 20 freeze-dried foods sold by food storage companies to the cost of buying the same non-freeze-dried product from the grocery store also adding in the cost of the freeze drier plus mylar bags, and found that with at least 5 batches a month you’d be saving on average about one third the cost.  See the example of freeze-dried strawberries below. 

Check out Harvest Right’s website to see which home freeze dryer is right for you.

Fresh strawberries 16 ounces (1lbs) from Walmart = $2.98


Small Harvest Right Freeze Dryer (lasting 10 years) $2,195 / 120 months = $18.30 per month / 5 batches per month = $3.66 per batch


50 1 gallon mylar bags on Amazon – 17.99 / 50 bags = $0.36 per bag


Total for 16 oz freeze-dried strawberries using a home freeze dryer = $7

Compared to buying freeze dried strawberries from a food storage company

Augason Farms 6.4 oz freeze-dried strawberries on Amazon – $23

Of course, this isn’t 100% accurate because there are added costs of owning your own freeze dryer such as electricity to run it and oil for the vacuum pump but these costs can be mitigated and are fairly inconsequential. Additionally, more than 1 pound of strawberries can fit in the home freeze dryer at a time which will give you a greater benefit to add to the cost of the freeze dryer. Also, you generally get more fresh foods in one purchase than you would from the company that sells freeze-dried foods.  

See current freeze dryer deals on Harvest Right’s website

The below table compares store-bought preparedness food to freeze-drying your own at home. These averages don’t factor in the upfront cost of the freeze dryer machine.

Food ProductStore-bought Freeze Dried Retail Cost AverageFresh Food Purchased at Store for Home Freeze DryingFreeze Dryer Electricity Cost per #10 CanMylar Bag & Oxygen AbsorberHome Freeze Dried Cost Equivalent
Beef$55 per #10 Can$11 $1.20$0.80$13
Chicken$50 per #10 Can$8$1.20$0.80$10
Peaches$35 per #10 Can$4$1.20$0.80$6
Pineapple$31 per #10 Can$7$1.20$0.80$9
Raspberries$30 per #10 Can$9$1.20$0.80$11
Corn$22 per #10 Can$4$1.20$0.80$6
Green Beans$27 per #10 Can$4$1.20$0.80$6
Blueberries$42 per #10 Can$4$1.20$0.80$6
Carrots$19 per #10 Can$4$1.20$0.80$6
Above prices are dollar averages and serve the purpose of giving a general price difference, not an exact difference. Click on the food product name to see the available item on Amazon.

Even though I own a home freeze dryer I still find it helpful to buy some freeze dried foods and full meals to add to my food storage. I have spent hours compiling a list of my favorite freeze dried foods that are available from reputable companies. Check out my article Best Freeze Dried Foods: Must-Haves For Any Circumstance. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning a Freeze Dryer


  • Preserve and store more food items – Freeze-drying works great for fruits and vegetables, but unlike other food preservation options, it also preserves meat, fish, dairy, eggs, candy, skittles, ice cream, and even fully-cooked meals. To see a more comprehensive list see my article What Foods Can and Cannot be Freeze-Dried: Complete Guide.
  • Longer shelf life – Freeze-drying food can be stored at room temperature in a sealed mylar bag, jar, or food-grade bucket for up to 25 years. 
  • Nutritional value – Freeze-dried foods maintain 97% of their nutritional value. Other food preservation methods, such as canning and dehydrating, will use higher temperatures that degrade the nutrition of the food. See our article Is Freeze Dried Food Healthy? An Expert Weighs In.
  • Simple and easy preparation
  • Taste – Freeze-dried foods rehydrate more fully than dehydrated products, so the taste and texture are closer to fresh with a freeze-dried product than with a dehydrated product. This also means that you can use freeze-dried foods as ingredients in your everyday cooking and rehydrate the food with excellent results.
  • Freeze-drying candy including skittles, gummy bears, and much more. However, pure chocolate, honey, syrup, and jam don’t freeze dry well.
  • Save money over time – The more you freeze-dry the more you’ll save. Beneficial to those who love to backpack, hike, camp, and have an emergency food storage.

See current freeze dryer deals on Harvest Right’s website

As you accumulate freeze dried food it is important to know the shelf life of different foods and how to store them to get the longest shelf life. See our article How to Store Freeze Dried Food: Extending Its Shelf Life.


  • Cost of the machine – It is expensive to get started because the freeze dryer’s entry-level price starts at over $2,000. This creates a roadblock for many who otherwise are interested in using this method to preserve food.
  • Size of the machine – Freeze dryers are not small machines, so it is critical to check the dimensions to make sure that it will fit well in the place that you’d like to store and run it.
  • Noise level – Freeze dryers are loud (almost as loud as vacuum cleaners) so they may not work in your current living space.
  • The temperature of storage and heat put off by the machine – Freeze dryers, like most machines, work best in ambient temperatures of 45 degrees to 80 degrees Fahrenheit The pump throws out heat, so it is important to put the machine in an area where there is plenty of ventilation
  • Slow process – Typical batch time is between 20 to 36 hours so it is a slow process.
How long will a freeze dryer last?

Is Freeze Drying Food Safe?

Freeze-drying food is safe as long as the two sub-processes of freezing and vacuum drying are done correctly so that the freezing process is complete within 1-4 hours and the vacuum process leaves only residual moisture. 

To test for appropriate moisture levels your food should be dried to a “crisp” or “breakable” texture, however, fruits and other foods that are higher in sugar may be flexible but shouldn’t be sticky.

It is also critical to employ proper food handling techniques while preparing the food before freeze-drying and storing afterward in an airtight mylar bag, jar, or food-grade container.

Does Freeze Drying Food Kill Bacteria? Freeze-drying food does not kill bacteria. Freeze-drying is not a food safety process so bacteria and other microorganisms can stay viable and dormant even after being freeze-dried. Before freeze-drying your food you will need to prepare your food by following proper cleaning and handling.

When home freeze-drying raw foods the bacteria on the raw foods will remain alive, then activate upon rehydration. Food items that are cooked before eating must also be cooked before eating as freeze-dried food. Examples include raw meats, raw eggs, and foods containing raw ingredients. More information on is freeze dried food healthy? An expert weighs in.

What Types of Foods Can be Freeze Dried?

  • Fruits 
  • Vegetables 
  • Meats
  • Eggs and Dairy
  • Herbs and Spices
  • Full Meals
  • Snacks and Drinks
  • Candy
  • And much more

To get a full list of foods that you can freeze dry and foods that don’t freeze-dry well check out our article What Foods Can and Cannot be Freeze-Dried: Complete Guide.
What Can Be Freeze Dried?

The amazing thing is that you can freeze-dry almost anything, from produce and meats to full meals and snacks. We like to freeze dry our leftovers like lasagna, taco soup, and much more. A great way to start is by trying out meals that are already favorites in your home.


So should you buy a home freeze dryer? 

If your goal is to stock up on shelf-stable foods that store for up to 25 years for camping, backpacking, family dinners, healthy snacks, candy, storing shelf-stable produce ingredients for cooking, and more than buying a freeze dryer is worth purchasing. Check out Harvest Right’s current deals on their home freeze dryers and start preserving your own food so that you can be self-sufficient even in uncertain times.

It could help to purchase some existing commercially freeze-dried food to taste test and get an idea of how you and your family would use freeze-dried foods. Check out this list of freeze dried food on Amazon

If you are interested in other types of food preservation methods it can be helpful to compare them. Check out my article comparing the differences between freeze drying and dehydrating: Freeze Dried vs Dehydrated Foods: Complete Comparison. Also, to know which food dehydrator is right for you check out our article Selecting the Best Food Dehydrator, Ultimate Buyers Guide.

Is a freeze dryer loud? if so how loud?

A freeze dryer is loudest when the vacuum pump is running and at its peak noise level reaches 62 to 67 decibels. To put it in perspective, a typical vacuum cleaner is about 70 decibels loud so a freeze dryer is slightly less loud than a vacuum cleaner. I have a brother that owns an oil-free vacuum pump and it is slightly louder than my standard oil vacuum pump.  

How Long do Freeze Dryers Last?

My freeze drier has lasted for over 7 years with no problems and still runs as expected. Harvest Right freeze dryers come with a one-year full warranty for buys in the United States and 3-year limited warranty. See more about their warranties on their website.

Colton Blair

I'm Colton Blair, co-owner of EZ-Prepping with my wife Kaycee. I value the safety, protection, and well-being of my family above all else. Finding easy and practical ways of prepping for emergencies or unexpected disaster has become very important to me.

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