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Harvest Right vs Blue Alpine Freeze Dryer

Choosing a suitable home freeze dryer comes with many considerations and choices along the way. After all, buying a freeze-dryer is an investment. You want to make the most of it and maximize every dollar spent buying it. You want to make an informed decision, as you wish, about what fits your needs the most, especially as the freeze-dryer market has a different take on preservation.

Harvest Right has been a long-standing name in the market. It’s carved its name into the industry as a popular name in food preservation. While in the market for a while now, it has had its share of success and challenges when meeting the needs of its customers. But another brand, Blue Alpine, is a relatively new player out to shake the market with its solutions to homes needing food preservation.

 

Product Range and Options 

Harvest Right Freeze Dryer Range

Harvest Right stands out for its diverse product range, offering tailored solutions for various needs. The lineup includes models designed for home use, commercial applications, and scientific research. Whether you're a health-conscious individual looking to preserve organic snacks at home or a researcher requiring precision in a laboratory setting, Harvest Right provides a freeze dryer to match your specific requirements. The update in July 2023 brought improvements like increased tray counts, faster processing times, enhanced software, and improved energy efficiency. 

Blue Alpine Freeze Dryers

Blue Alpine's product range is not as comprehensive, as it focuses on two freeze-dryer models, although they do have some exciting features to meet the needs of its market. What makes them unique is their size offerings, which can be more significant than the Harvest Right. Because of this, the Blue Alpine freeze dryer is suitable for home and small business use. 

 

Technical Specifications

Since the Blue Alpine has a limited product line, let’s take their medium and large freeze dryer and compare it with their counterparts at Harvest Right. 

Specification Harvest Right Medium Blue Alpine Medium Harvest Right Large Blue Alpine Large
Tray Space 675 sq. in. 585 sq. in. 1107 sq. in. 1170 sq. in.
Tray Size 7.5" x 18" 9" x 13" 9" x 20.5" 18" x 13"
No. of Shelves 5 5 6 5
Capacity 15 lbs 15 lbs 27 lbs 25 lbs

 
The Large Harvest Right Freeze Dryer boasts a tray space of 1107 square inches and can handle up to 27 pounds of material per batch. The Medium freeze dryer, meanwhile, features a tray space of 675 square inches and can handle up to 15 pounds of material. Regarding shelving, the medium has five trays, while the large has six. 

The Medium Blue Alpine has a tray space of 585 square inches and a 15-maximum load. The large Blue Alpine has a tray space of 1170 square feet and can handle up to 25 pounds of material per load. Both freeze dryers have five shelf spaces. 

Comparing both brands, the Harvest Right gains an edge with its medium freeze dryer with its tray space and maximum load with its large freeze dryer. The Large Blue Alpine Freeze Dryer has an edge with the tray space and uses standard-sized trays, which makes getting extra units easier. Both are equal regarding the maximum weight load of their medium freeze dryer. 

Although Blue Alpine has a larger tray space in their large model, Harvest Right's advantage in the medium model's capacity and the additional shelf in their large model give them a slight overall edge in terms of technical specifications.

Result

  • Harvest Right: 2 points
  • Blue Alpine: 1 point

 

What's Included in the Box

Harvest Right Freeze Dryer Included Accessories
Harvest Right (Medium) Blue Alpine (Medium)
1x Impulse Sealer 1x Impulse Sealer
1x Premier Vacuum Oil Pump 1x Premium Vacuum oIL Pump
1x Vacuum Pump Oil 1x Vacuum Pump Oil
50x Mylar Bags 50x Mylar Bags
50x Oxygen Absorbers 50x Oxygen Absorbers
5x Stainless Steel Trays 5x Stainless Steel Trays
Oil Filter
Guide to Freeze Drying (physical) 5 Silicone Mats

 

Both Harvest Right and Blue Alpine equip you to start freeze-drying right out of the box. They include essential accessories like an impulse sealer, vacuum pump, pump oil, oil filter (Harvest Right only), stainless steel trays, mylar bags, and oxygen absorbers.

Harvest Right caters to those who prefer a physical reference with their included "Guide to Freeze Drying" book. Blue Alpine, on the other hand, prioritizes versatility with silicone mats included for liquids and high-moisture content foods. These silicone mats are typically an additional purchase with Harvest Right.

The inclusion of an oil filter with Harvest Right is also worth considering. While not essential, it can extend the lifespan of the pump oil, potentially saving you money in the long run.

Result: Tie

 

    Build Quality and Durability

    Both Harvest Right and Blue Alpine take pride in using stainless steel trays for their freeze dryers. They also use cylindrical chambers for their freeze dryers, which allow them to withstand pressure during the freeze-drying process better. Their doors are also made of plexiglass.

    But the line is drawn when it comes to their structure. Harvest Right maintains its stainless steel or powder-coated steel for its outer frame, while Blue Alpine sticks to reinforced aluminum for its body. The brand takes things a step further with barbed fittings to prevent vacuum leaks and a thread locker to seal all threads, which reflects how they pay attention to such detail for quality. However, the hose seems weak, as it has no clamps and can be challenging to clean.

    Both brands demonstrate strength with stainless steel components. Harvest Right gains a slight advantage with their more robust frame, while Blue Alpine shows potential weakness in their hose choice. 

    Result: Harvest Right

     

    Ease of Use

    Harvest Right offers user-friendly interfaces across its freeze-dryer range. Featuring a touchscreen interface, users can easily navigate through settings for precise freeze-drying conditions or use presets if unfamiliar with what works. With the available pharmaceutical firmware update, you can enable lower temperature settings on your home freeze dryer. This firmware can be uploaded via USB.

    The Blue Alpine also offers a simple interface that is friendly for beginners. You can press start or use any of the six preset recipes. You can also edit these presets based on your desired results. For the most part, both freeze dryers are at par with each other regarding ease of use.

    Although Blue Alpine has a larger tray space in their large model, Harvest Right's advantage in the medium model's capacity and the additional shelf in their large model give them a slight overall edge in terms of technical specifications.

    Winner: Tie

     

    Innovative Features

    Harvest Right and Blue Alpine have their respective takes on offering something unique.  On the side of Harvest Right, they offer firmware updates that you can load via USB. This allows you to address any bugs or expand the capabilities of their freeze dryers. For Blue Alpine, it offers improved PIDs, which are proven to have longer lifespans. 

    Harvest Right also offers an upgrade to their oil pumps, which you can get for around $1495 when you purchase the freeze dryer or $1795 when bought separately. When choosing a pump, it's important to consider longevity and maintenance requirements. The founder of Blue Alpine highlights the difference:

    Our pumps have a lifespan of at most three years, while oilless pumps are failing at the year mark or even before. Oil pumps, on the other hand, if you are vigilant about keeping the oil clear of water, will last you somewhere between five and eight years. After years of studying pumps and their longevity, we recommend the oil pump because it's not prone to failure. The oil pump is a very robust system, capable of maintaining its seal even with small discrepancies.

    The brands diverge in their approach to innovation. Harvest Right focuses on software-level flexibility with firmware updates, allowing for potential new features and bug fixes. Blue Alpine emphasizes hardware longevity with improved PIDs. Neither approach is inherently superior, so this category is subjective and results in a tie.

    Result: Tie

     

    Performance and Efficiency 

    Both freeze dryers have similar power requirements, particularly with current draw. Considering the power load, they are best plugged into a dedicated power outlet. 

    One of the more popular recipes in freeze drying is candy. They add a new dimension of flavor and texture to it. Putting the Harvest Right and Blue Alpine to the test revealed exciting results. 

    The Harvest Right can freeze dry candy anywhere between 4 - 12 hours, depending on the type of candy and the desired results. The Blue Alpine can do anywhere between 2 - 4 hours. 

    One thing that can be annoying with Harvest Right’s freeze dryers is the noise they emit during use. As freeze drying can sometimes take longer and extend until the wee hours, some users will find this noise irritating. Blue Alpine, meanwhile, runs with minimal noise and can be more bearable. 

    Blue Alpine takes the lead here, thanks to its noticeably faster freeze-drying times for candy and significantly quieter operation. Faster drying means more efficient use of time and lower electricity costs, while less noise enhances the user experience.

    Result: Blue Alpine

     

    Price and Value for Money

    Brand Size Base Price Oil-Free Pump Upgrade Warranty
    Harvest Right Medium $2895 $1500 1 year (full); 3 years (limited)
    Blue Alpine Medium $2995 NA 1 year (full); 3 years (limited)
    Harvest Right Large $3595 $1500 1 year (full); 3 years (limited)
    Blue Alpine Large $3995 NA 1 year (full); 3 years (limited)

     

    The Harvest Right Medium Freeze Dryer has a base price of $2895, while the large version starts at $3595. Both will come packaged with the Premier Oil Vacuum Pump. You can upgrade to the oil-free vacuum pump upon purchase for an additional $1500 or purchase separately later for $1800. The oil you’ll use is another matter, as the six-bottle pack of Harvest Right’s mineral oil can cost you around $100 but is suitable for around nine oil changes. Don’t forget to factor in the oil filter changes, although this is also applicable to the Blue Alpine.

    The Blue Alpine Medium Freeze Dryer is slightly more expensive at $2995, while their Large Freeze Dryer costs $3995. Both freeze dryers have payment plan options available, spanning 12 months. Notably, Blue Alpine doesn’t offer an option for an oil-free pump, but it is interesting to note that these pumps are compatible with Harvest Right freeze dryers.

    Both Harvest Right and Blue Alpine offer comparable warranties. Each has a 1-year full warranty covering all components and a 3-year limited warranty for the sealed refrigeration system.

    Harvest Right gains a slight advantage due to its slightly lower base price for the medium model and large models. While Blue Alpine's models are slightly more expensive, factors like faster drying and the currently positive customer experience could outweigh the cost difference for some users.

    Result: Harvest Right

     

    Customer Reviews and Feedback

    Customer experience makes or breaks the overall reception of a brand.While Harvest Right has stood firm in the market for a while, the customer experience doesn’t tell a fairy tale. Many have complained about terrible after-sales support, even resorting to full refund requests. While there have been prosperous times of support, others remained unsatisfied. It took others to contact the executives at Harvest Right to get a full refund. 

    It is not note that as a retailer of Harvest Right freeze dryers, we stand by the quality of the product. We understand the importance of excellent customer support and are committed to being here for our customers, working to expedite any issues or requests that may arise.

    Blue Alpine is fortunate that there have been no negative reviews about them, which can be attributed to them being new in the industry. Perhaps because the brand had studied competitors like Harvest Right so that they could rectify mistakes made by rivals and solve their problems. However, Blue Alpine admits that one of its weaknesses is its turnaround time, which can take at least a week. They are looking to address this and have, at most, a two-day turnover, hopefully.

    Blue Alpine has the upper hand, primarily due to the absence of any significant negative reviews at this time. This could be attributed to its relative newness in the market. Conversely, Harvest Right's mixed reviews, particularly concerns around customer support, are a major red flag for potential buyers.

    Result: Blue Alpine

     

    Certifications and Warranty 

    Both Harvest Right and Blue Alpine do not come with any certifications, although it is worth noting that they use industry-grade materials in each of their freeze dryers. That said, these freeze dryers are worth looking into. 

    Winner: None

     

    Closing Thoughts

    Choosing the suitable home freeze dryer involves thorough consideration, and Harvest Right and Blue Alpine present distinct options for consumers. Harvest Right, an established name, offers a diverse product range catering to various needs, with recent upgrades emphasizing performance and efficiency. Blue Alpine, a newer player, focuses on simplicity and offers size variations suitable for homes and small businesses.

    Overall winner: Harvest Right

    Ultimately, the decision hinges on your individual priorities. In this comparison, Harvest Right emerges with a slight advantage in the overall point tally. However, it's essential to consider that Blue Alpine excels in areas like performance and customer reviews. Weigh the strengths and weaknesses of each brand carefully to determine which aligns best with your specific needs and preferences.

    Ready to take the plunge? Choose the freeze dryer that best suits your needs:

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