Originally designed for food preservation, freeze dryers eventually gained traction among herb enthusiasts & the growing community. In fact, the popularity of using freeze dryers for herbs has led Harvest Right to create a specialized freeze dryer for this purpose called the Pharmaceutical line.
With the prices of the Harvest Right Home and Pharmaceutical freeze dryers not too far apart from each other across model sizes, it's understandable to feel confused about what sets these units apart from each other. If you're in this position and want to learn more about the differences between these types of freeze dryers, keep reading!
What’s the difference between Home and Pharmaceutical Freeze Dryers?
The most noticeable difference between home and pharmaceutical freeze dryers is their application. Home freeze dryers were designed to take on food, while pharmaceutical freeze dryers were meant for handling oils, medicines, and other pharmaceutical materials.
Home and pharmaceutical freeze dryers also differ in capacity. Since laboratories often deal with smaller specimen samples, they don't need as much space as home freeze dryers. The latter has a larger capacity to process more enormous amounts of food for preservation.
However, while lacking in space, pharmaceutical freeze dryers make up for the number of shelves available. This is to allow users to store more samples for studies in laboratories.
When it comes to flexibility, home freeze dryers have an edge here. For those into cannabis curing, home freeze dryers work better at bud curing, with larger headroom between shelves. Pharmaceutical freeze dryers are also ideal for hash making but not for food due to the lack of space on each shelf. You can opt to remove trays to make room for food preservation or buy the food shelf attachment instead.
Another noticeable difference between home and pharmaceutical freeze dryers is the flexibility in operations. Home freeze dryers often have more straightforward controls, while pharmaceutical freeze dryers allow for more flexibility, which will enable you to conduct tests on specimens in laboratories.
Concerning controls, Pharmaceutical freeze dryers reach temperatures of 35 degrees Fahrenheit, which is more suitable for freeze-drying bubble hash. Out of the box, home freeze dryers have a temperature range of 40 - 125 degrees Fahrenheit, which isn’t recommended for freeze-drying bubble hash, as this can compromise the quality.
But that doesn’t mean your home freeze dryer can’t be used for hash. This can be remedied by flashing the pharmaceutical firmware into your home freeze dryer. Using this firmware will give you more options, including the ability to lower temperatures up to -40 degrees Fahrenheit and putting the home freeze dryer on par with pharmaceutical freeze dryers when it comes to capabilities.
Which one should you get?
In this article, one might conclude that the home freeze dryer is a more logical choice between the two freeze dryer types. But truth be told, either is a good option.
The pharmaceutical-grade freeze dryer is a better option if you don’t need to handle food preservation. The added shelves are a welcome feature, especially when dealing with larger specimen quantities for testing or bubble hash.
The home freeze dryer is a more logical choice if you’re looking to use the freeze dryer primarily for meat and secondary for pharmaceutical purposes. Freeze dryers are significant investments, and it’s best to get a multifunction machine if used in a home environment to maximize its use.
Harvest Right’s Home and Pharmaceutical freeze dryers have respective strengths, which puts them on equal footing. Ultimately, how you plan to use the freeze dryer will decide which machine to invest in. Remember also that both machines cost a hefty amount, so you have to be wise in planning to use the freeze dryer before deciding which one you should invest in.