Best Freeze Dryer of 2023

Canning and dehydrating are great, but if you want to make the longest shelf-life food you’re going to need a freeze dryer. Freeze-drying at home is one-third the cost of store-bought freeze-dried food but still brings the quarter-century shelf-life.

Preserve your garden and homestead harvest with a freeze dryer, or stock your pantry to prepare for emergencies. Use one to freeze dry candy or dog food- there are many uses to explore or even make a small business around. Just a few years ago they were only available commercially. As of 2023, there are now several brands and models of freeze-dryers to consider.

This is where we come in. We’ve researched the best freeze dryers, and now the results are in: the overall best, a budget option, and an upgrade option. If you need a freeze dryer that can help you stock the pantry with the longest shelf-life food out there, one of our picks will get it done.

Contents (Jump to a Section)

Harvest Right Home Pro Medium Freeze Dryer

The Best Freeze Dryer

Home Pro Medium

Best Selling, Mid-Capacity, and Consistent Quality

The Goldilocks of freeze dryers can churn through enough food to stock a small community.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

The Home Pro medium model from Harvest Right (still the clear leader in freeze dryers) is an updated version of their best-selling model. The capacity it provides has been almost doubled and is perfect for small families.

Your friends, families, and community will inevitably come calling when they learn you have the best freeze dryer, and this bad boy can pump out the vittles to make them happy.

  • 3 color options: white, black, stainless steel (adds $200)
  • 10-15 lbs of food per batch (3,000 lbs per year)
  • 5 tray
  • 110 V (20A circuit recommended)
  • 19” W x 25” D x 29″ H
  • 119 pounds

With solid construction, perfect capacity level for the cost, and easy operation… the Harvest Right Home Pro Medium Freeze Dryer takes our top spot.

Harvest Right Home Pro Small Freeze Dryer

Budget Freeze Dryer

Home Pro Small

Small, Easy-to-Use, and Effective

Get started with freeze drying with the most inexpensive option ready to stock your pantry.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

You won’t find a freeze dryer cheaper or smaller than this option, but it still boasts the quality and effectiveness of our other picks. Even inferior models from new freeze-dryer manufacturers cost more than the Small Harvest Right.

The main drawback is the capacity here. If you plan on using your free drying appliance occasionally or as a hobby, then this model will more than fit the bill.

  • Stainless steel (only color option)
  • 6-10 lbs of food per batch (1800 lbs per year)
  • 4 tray
  • 110 V
  • 17.4” W x 21.5” D x 26.8″ H
  • 98 pounds

The Harvest Right Home Pro Small Freeze Dryer is the budget choice that can get your family started down the freeze-drying path.

Harvest Right Home Pro X Large Freeze Dryer

Upgrade Freeze Dryer

Home Pro XL

High-Capacity, Powerful, and Commercial-Grade

A new (and bigger) commercial-grade freeze dryer for the serious planner or entrepreneur.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Almost as big as a clothes dryer, this thing will pump out some serious shelf-stable food. With this, you can easily freeze dry a two-year supply of food for a family of four in less than half a year.

It’s easy to use and maintain and comes with the option to select an oilless pump.

  • Stainless steel (only color option)
  • 40-50 lbs of food per batch (10,000 lbs per year)
  • 7 trays
  • 110 V NEMA 5-20 outlet (20A circuit required)
  • 24.4” W x 37.4” D x 35.6″ H
  • 258 pounds

Harvest Right Home Pro XL Freeze Dryer is what you want if you are stocking food for a community, a side job, or just have a massive pantry.

Everything We Recommend

Harvest Right Home Pro Medium Freeze Dryer

Home Pro Medium

The Goldilocks of freeze dryers can churn through enough food to stock a small community.

Where to Buy

$2,895* at Harvest Right

*at time of reviewing

Harvest Right Home Pro Small Freeze Dryer

Home Pro Small

Get started with freeze drying with the most inexpensive option ready to stock your pantry.

Where to Buy

$2,295* at Harvest Right

*at time of reviewing

Harvest Right Home Pro X Large Freeze Dryer

Home Pro XL

A new (and bigger) commercial-grade freeze dryer for the serious planner or entrepreneur.

Where to Buy

$4,995* at Harvest Right

*at time of reviewing

The Freeze Dryers We Compared

Our research narrowed the field down to the several models that we reviewed from Harvest Right, Cuddon, Fisher Scientific, Wave, 4Patriots, Blue Alpine, Stay Fresh, and more.

You can see our full list of review criteria below in the What to Look For section, with an explanation for each.

We focused on freeze-drying machines designed for home food preservation rather than laboratory-grade pharmaceutical models and massive industrial models. Of course, those are useful for their purposes but our review is focused on increasing food storage shelf-life.

We’re always looking for new and better equipment, so if you have a freeze dryer that you swear by let us know in the comments. We review most of our roundups annually, so we can always try to coordinate testing one before the next roundup and see if it makes the cut and beats out our top picks.

What to Look For

The best freeze dryer for home food drying has several important features to look for:

  1. Value
  2. Effectiveness
  3. Capacity
  4. Size & Weight
  5. Durability

When you get the right blend of these, you can find a reliable freeze dryer that will stock your pantry with a massive shelf life for decades. Below, we break down what each of these features means for the freeze-dryer models that set themselves apart.

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

The amount of money you spend on something like a freeze-dryer shouldn’t blow out your entire budget, but that can be tough with these price points.

You may want to go the pre-packaged route if your budget and time resources don’t make sense for owning your own machine. Freeze-dried food kits are still a great idea for maximizing your emergency food shelf-life.

You never want to spend too much money on one resource, especially something like a freeze-drying appliance. There is a sweet spot where you get high value without overspending, which is where our top pick sits.


Freeze dryers need to run a vacuum and get very, very cold in order to preserve the food. It uses a lot of energy to do this and can take a long time to freeze-dry a batch of food.

All of our picks use similar pumps and all get down to -40 degrees to effectively freeze dry the food within a reasonable amount of time. Industrial freeze dryers can do this more quickly but are of higher capacity and are much larger.


The capacity of the freeze dryer isn’t necessarily how much you can fit inside, but also includes how long it takes to freeze-dry a batch. Harvest Right recently doubled (at least) capacity and added a tray to every model.

Here are the Home Pro capacity limitations:

  • Small: 6-10 lbs of food per batch (1,800 lbs per year)
  • Medium: 10-15 lbs of food per batch (3,000 lbs per year)
  • Large: 18-27 lbs of food per batch (5,000 lbs per year)
  • X-Large: 40-50 lbs of food per batch (10,000 lbs per year)

As you can see, the capacity more or less doubles with each model but the cost does not. The larger models use more energy to process the larger batches of food as well, so don’t neglect energy costs when you compare these.

Size & Weight

Each of our picks comes in different sizes and weights that affect how they can be used and where they can be placed. The Harvest Right Small can fit on a counter whereas the XL will need a dedicated spot. They also all come with external vacuum pumps that will need to be accounted for when you position the freeze-dryer.


Our picks have commercial-grade durability and a few of them have the option to upgrade to a stainless steel exterior for an extra $200. Harvest Right includes a limited three-year warranty if anything goes wrong, but the machines are simple to maintain.

The only maintenance required is oil changes on the vacuum pump, if you selected the oiled version (there is an oil-free pump available on larger models).

Is Freeze Drying or Dehydrating Better?

Both freeze-drying and dehydrating have benefits and drawbacks. For starters, freeze-drying equipment is much more expensive whereas dehydrators can cost less than $100.

But, freeze dryers can handle a wide range of food and retain nutritional value (and flavor!) much better than dehydrators. They also give the food a massively long shelf life, extending some perishable foods to over 25 years!

Dehydrating is simpler, faster, and works great for certain foods.

So, the answer depends on what you are trying to do. My opinion is that dehydrators are better for snacks- like jerky and dried fruit, whereas freeze-dryers are better for pretty much any long-term food storage. Both are pretty good at making candy as well. Why not try both, and decide for yourself?

How to Use a Freeze Dryer

Freeze dryers can be complicated to operate, but some of them are fully automated- like our top picks.

This way you don’t have to be a bioengineering scientist to run the thing, just follow the menu options and let it do all of the calculus for you:

Freeze Drying Candy

Freeze-drying candy is becoming immensely popular, and our picks happen to be the best to get it done. A lot of us with freeze dryers and extra capacity are turning to selling freeze-dried candy to fuel the craze.

It makes for a great side hustle, plus you can always enjoy the candy yourself. You can experiment with different types of candy, but some of the best candy to freeze dry include:

  • Skittles (both regular and sour)
  • Nerds Gummy Clusters
  • Gummy Worms
  • Peach Rings
  • Salt Water Taffy
  • Sweet Tarts
  • Lemonheads
  • Jolly Ranchers

Freez-dried Skittles are the most popular by far, but any of these is a fun way to use your freeze dryer. Kids love to get involved with anything involving candy, so it’s a good opportunity to share a hobby with them.

David shows how easy it is and how cool the transformation is on some of his favorite sweets he sells:

Who Needs a Freeze Dryer?

Freeze dryers are not a necessity, but can quickly let you break even if your food plan includes a lot of freeze-dried food. Freeze-dried food is one of the longest shelf life options making it ideal for fire-and-forget food storage plans.

Having one of the most sophisticated food processing machines for preservation is something that anyone can benefit from. Many people with freeze dryers end up supporting their community with them or turn freeze-drying into a side hustle once they’ve filled their own pantry.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We consult experts in the field for a better understanding of what makes the gear great. Hours on end are spent field testing gear in stressful conditions. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. You can support us through our independently chosen links, which can earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. After our review process, some of the items reviewed end up in our giveaways.

Sources and References

All of our experience and the testing we do to determine the best freeze dryer is useless without listing our research sources and references. We leaned on these for the book knowledge that we paired with our hands-on testing and practical prepping experience:

Bhatta, S., et al. (2020). Freeze-Drying of Plant-Based Foods. Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods. Volume 9. Issue 1. (Source)

Harper, J., et al. (1957). Freeze-Drying of Food Products. Advances in Food Research. Volume 7. Pages 171-234. (Source)

Ratti, C. (2001). Hot air and freeze-drying of high-value foods: a review. Journal of Food Engineering. Volume 49. Issue 4. Pages 311-319. (Source)

The Final Word

Food storage and long shelf lives can be hard to achieve with a variety of food, but high-quality equipment can make it happen. Freeze dryers aren’t for everybody, but if you take the plunge you may quickly find your pantry full and your preparedness groups and communities asking for more! There is no better preservation method, and the investment can quickly pay for itself.

Here are a few related articles our readers have also found helpful:

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our research and testing found Harvest Right Home ProMedium Freeze Dryer to be the best option given its value, effectiveness, capacity, profile, and durability.

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.

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The Best Freeze Dryer

Rusty Collins

I am an engineer, Air Force veteran, emergency manager, husband, dad, and experienced prepper. I developed emergency and disaster plans around the globe and responded to many attacks and accidents as a HAZMAT technician. I have been exposed to deadly chemical agents, responded to biological incidents, and dealt with natural disasters. Check out my full story here: Rusty's Story

2 thoughts on “Best Freeze Dryer of 2023

  • What is the benefit in pump styles? Oil free vs regular pump

    • For Harvest Right’s pumps, the oil-free is their best pump. It requires virtually no maintenance and is slightly quieter than the standard oil pump. Their ‘premium oil pump’ is quieter still but needs to have the oil changed around every 20 batches. The standard pump needs oil swaps every 5 batches.


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