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Harvest Right vs. The Cube: In-Depth Freeze Dryer Comparison

Navigating your choices for freeze dryers can be daunting, as there aren’t as many choices available. Each freeze-dryer brand offers its take to provide you with innovative solutions for your preservation needs. The market has limited options, and with the cost of freeze dryers, making an informed decision to maximize your investment becomes imperative. 

For this article, let’s look at two famous freeze-drying brands today: Harvest Right and The Cube by Prep4Life. Both brands offer their take on freeze drying, but let’s see how they stand out. 

 

Product Range and Options 

Harvest Right Freeze Dryer Range

Harvest Right Freeze Dryers carve a niche with a comprehensive product range, spanning Home, Pharmaceutical, Scientific, and Commercial models. This extensive lineup ensures a tailored solution for various users, from personal to scientific and commercial usage. Notably, the Home Freeze Dryers received a significant upgrade recently, featuring an augmented tray count, accelerated processing times, and enhanced software for a more efficient and user-friendly experience. 

The Cube Freeze Dryer

 

Meanwhile, The Cube freeze dryer is a versatile option catering to home and professional users. The Cube currently has one freeze dryer model in the market, which can directly compete with the medium-sized Harvest Right freeze dryer. While having a single model, Prep4Life instead focused on adaptability through specialized modes such as Candy Express and Jar Seal, which proves that it is more than just a one-trick pony. By focusing on technology to cater to culinary enthusiasts and business owners alike, The Cube becomes a more obvious choice for those seeking versatility and performance in a single package.

Result: Harvest Right
While both brands offer capable freeze dryers, Harvest Right's extensive range across home, scientific, pharmaceutical, and commercial models provides the most flexibility. If you need a highly specialized size or features for professional requirements, Harvest Right is more likely to have the perfect solution.

 

Technical Specifications

Harvest Right features a wide array of options for freeze drying with its product line. Each freeze-dryer model comes with their respective capacity. For instance, the small home freeze dryer allows you to freeze dry up to 10 pounds of food in one run, while its medium home freeze dryer can do up to 15 pounds. The large home freeze dryer can preserve up to 27 pounds of material; the extra large model, considered commercial-grade, can do up to 50 pounds.

Specification Harvest Right Medium The Cube
Tray Space 675 sq. in. 1250 sq. in. (w/ extended rack)
832 sq.in (w/o extended rack)
Tray Size 7.5" x 18" 9.25" x 18"
No. of Shelves 5 4
Capacity 15 lbs 14 lbs

 
Meanwhile, The Cube focuses on a single model that offers four tray spaces. You can expand this with the optional tray expanders that double the tray spaces, although the expansion is meant for smaller chunks of food. All in all, it can handle up to 14 pounds of material per run.

Regarding build quality, both the Harvest Right and The Cube freeze dryer feature similar materials. Each features powder-coated steel shells and stainless steel trays. If you’re keen on aesthetics, the Harvest Right has three color options (stainless steel, white, and black), while The Cube only comes in one color: black.

The Harvest Right uses a tube/cylinder design that gives it some advantages. For one, if ice capacity matters to you, a tube chamber allows for more ice surrounding it. Plus, it can withstand pressure better due to the curved distribution. The Cube, on the other hand, uses a Cube chamber (hence its name). This means less ice for sublimation and can handle less pressure in the freeze-drying process due to pressure being pushed in the corner.

For tray space, The Cube offers 1250 square inches of tray space, with the help of the extended rack, or around 832 square inches without it. Meanwhile, the medium-sized Harvest Right Freeze Dryer offers around 675 squae inches of shelf space. That gives The Cube an edge, even without the extended racks.

Result: Tie 
Both brands use quality materials and have comparable capacities within their target size classes. However, the choice between Harvest Right's cylindrical chamber (better for pressure distribution) and The Cube's square chamber (potentially more tray space) depends on your needs.

 

What's Included in the Box

Harvest Right Freeze Dryer Included Accessories
Harvest Right (Medium) The Cube
1x Impulse Sealer 4x Stainless Steel Trays
1x Premier Vacuum Oil Pump
1x Vacuum Pump Oil
50x Mylar Bags
50x Oxygen Absorbers
5x Stainless Steel Trays
Oil Filter
Guide to Freeze Drying (physical)


Harvest Right offers more immediate value, since it gives you everything you need to freeze dry out of the box. The Cube also allows you to freeze dry upon purchase, but you'll still need to purchase additional items, such as sealers, Mylar bags, and oxygen absorbers. While the Cube does offer the advantage of a built-in oil-free internal pump (considered an add-on for Harvest Right), this convenience comes with a higher starting price. To get the same inclusions as Harvest Right, you'd need to purchase The Pro Bundle for the Cube, which adds over $700 to the initial cost.

Result: Harvest Right

 

Ease of Use

Harvest Right ensures that even those without extensive technical expertise can operate their freeze dryers effortlessly, making them accessible to many users. For one, they feature a user-friendly interface on its full-color touch screen. Loading and unloading trays are made easy, streamlining the freeze-drying process for efficient use. Maintenance is also easy, although your mileage may vary.

If there’s any downside to the Harvest Right freeze dryer, its firmware can be easily updated via USB. That means you must download the firmware update on a computer and load the file afterward. But that’s not bad, considering that the Harvest Right allows you to load the pharmaceutical firmware onto the home freeze dryer, which expands its capabilities.

The Cube further simplifies ease of use with smart capabilities, offering users an easy and convenient experience. Its varied modes cater to different food preservation needs, allowing for a customized approach to freeze-drying. The user-friendly touch screen simplifies the operation, ensuring a seamless interaction with the device. On top of that, this freeze dryer has firmware updates you can download wirelessly without needing a computer to load the file.

Additionally, The Cube’s minimal maintenance requirements contribute to a hassle-free user experience, mainly as it uses an oil-free pump, unlike Harvest Right, which needs an upgrade to have this feature. This makes The Cube an attractive choice for those seeking both convenience and versatility in a freeze dryer. On the side of Harvest Right, maintenance is also straightforward, and does not need any special cleaning material.

Winner: The Cube
The Cube focuses on a simplified user experience. Its intuitive interface, wireless firmware updates, and minimal maintenance requirements (thanks to the oil-free pump) make it a more approachable choice, particularly for those who aren't as technically inclined.

 

Innovative Features

Harvest Right Freeze Dryers takes pride in its Smart Freeze technology to get the job done. You must press the start button, and the Harvest Right will do the rest. It automatically senses the moisture levels and adjusts as needed. Aside from that, you can upgrade the premiere oil pump to an oil-free solution, which can help you save money in the long run.

The Cube, conversely, features Moisture Sensing Technology that has similar functionality to Harvest Right. It’s a set-and-forget. However, The Cube takes this further with smart connectivity, allowing you to get notifications when the freeze dryer is done. On top of that, The Cube has modes you can choose from. You can set it to freeze dry candy or for canning purposes to eliminate any excess moisture in your bottles before sealing them.

Result: The Cube
The Cube With special modes for tasks like freeze-drying candy or sealing jars, plus the convenience of remote notifications. These features bring both versatility and ease to the freeze-drying process.

 

Performance and Efficiency 

The best way to check which freeze dryer stands out more is through a head-to-head comparison.

Pete on YouTube put The Cube and the medium Harvest Right Freeze Dryer to the test to freeze dry chicken broth. He put the same chicken bone broth in four trays in The Cube and the Medium Home Freeze Dryer of Harvest Right.

The Cube managed to freeze-dry the chicken bone broth in around 31 hours. Meanwhile, the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer took about 33 hours to complete the job. The results were similar when it comes to quality. The almost two-hour difference in doing the job is another matter.

In another video by Pete, he freeze dried candies using The CUBE and spent around 2:22 hours to run through the process The Harvest Right ran candies for around 2:25 hours, with a mere three-minute time difference. This can be attributed to the Candy Mode firmware update by Harvest Right, which, without it could have taken a day to complete.

Freeze drying vegetables yield different results. The CUBE can do greens in 16 hours, although 25 percent of the load had broccoli, which has more mass. The Harvest Right managed to do greens in just eight hours, sans broccoli.

Result: Tie
In these limited comparisons, neither freeze dryer demonstrates a clear, consistent advantage. The Cube shows faster times with certain foods, but Harvest Right excelled in other areas. It's important to remember that your results may vary based on the specific foods you freeze-dry. Ultimately, both options appear equally capable.

 

Price and Value for Money

Brand Size Base Price Oil-Free Pump Upgrade Warranty
Harvest Right Medium $2895 $1500 3 years
The Cube - $4895 NA 3 years

 
The medium Harvest Right freeze dryer has a base price of $2895 and includes the premier pump. Upgrading to the oil-free pump will set you back by $1495, which brings the total cost to $4390. Buying the oil-free pump later will cost $300 more, so it's best to make the upgrade decision before buying. 

As of this writing, the Cube costs around $4895, which already includes an oil-free pump inside the machine. Even if you decide to upgrade to the oil-free pump later, the cost of the Harvest Right still comes out cheaper by around $200. 

The Harvest Right has a slight edge for capacity, considering its five trays can hold a little more food. However, The Cube has a slight edge when looking at them per tray, which you can expand with the extended racks. Warranty-wise, both freeze dryers come with a three-year warranty. 

Result: Harvest Right
Harvest Right offers a more accessible entry point due to the lower initial cost and the option to avoid the oil-free pump upgrade. This translates to significant upfront savings and the ability to upgrade to an oil-free pump later on. While The Cube's all-inclusive package with its oil-free pump offers convenience, the potential servicing costs of its internal design must be considered since the entire unit needs to be sent back. For users who prioritize budget and are comfortable with standard maintenance, Harvest Right presents the more cost-effective freeze-drying solution.

 

Customer Reviews and Feedback

The user experience for a product is what can make or break a brand. After all, these experiences assess the brand’s value.

Harvest Right hasn’t exactly delivered the best user experience. Common complaints included vacuum leaks or pressure not reaching the desired levels. On top of that, many customers had issues dealing with after-sales support. While there have been some who have been very helpful, there have been a lot of instances in which many customers were disappointed in getting refunds if their freeze dryers failed and wouldn’t work anymore. Some have been fortunate to get full refunds, but these units were still under warranty.

One thing that still makes potential customers gravitate towards Harvest Right is its existence in the market. Compared to other freeze-drying players, Harvest Right has been in the field the longest. This brings us to Cube, which is a relatively new player in the industry.

While The Cube seems more efficient in the experiment versus Harvest Right, the design poses some issues in the long run. Since the pump is internal, this will produce heat under the cold trap chamber, needing more time to pull depth. Since it is oilless, it would need more power to maintain the vacuum depth. Now, you can’t replace the pump without modifying it. Even worse, if the pump breaks, you must have the whole freeze-dryer serviced. Harvest Right gains an advantage, as you can easily replace the pump when it breaks down.

There isn’t much to be said about The Cub on the after-sales support side since it’s relatively new to the market.

Result: Harvest Right
Harvest Right's lengthy market presence means more reviews exist, which unfortunately reveal concerns about reliability and occasional poor customer service. While The Cub shows promise, it needs more time for widespread user feedback to fully assess its long-term performance.

 

Certifications and Warranty 

Besides having three-year warranty coverage, Harvest Right and The Cube do not have any certifications or compliance. Notably, the pharmaceutical range of Harvest Right lacks it, considering the stringent demands on this side of the business.

Winner: None

 

Closing Thoughts

Deciding which freeze dryer is better can be overwhelming, given the limited options available. Harvest Right and The Cube by Prep4Life emerge as prominent players, offering unique strengths. Harvest Right's extensive product range and recent upgrades make it a versatile choice, especially for those with varying preservation needs. On the other hand, The Cube positions itself as a performance-driven option, excelling in efficiency and innovation for both home and professional use.

Technical specifications, build quality, and ease of use are critical factors, with both brands showcasing competitive offerings. Harvest Right's Smart Freeze technology and customizable options are at par with The Cube's Moisture Sensing Technology and smart connectivity. Performance tests indicate a slight edge for The Cube regarding efficiency and power consumption, providing an energy-conscious choice.

Price-wise, Harvest Right offers a lower initial cost for its medium-sized freeze dryer, while The Cube includes essential features like an oil-free pump at a slightly higher price point. User reviews shed light on experiences, with Harvest Right's more extended market presence establishing a reputation, though occasional issues in customer support and reliability are noted. The Cube, a newer entity, exhibits promise in efficiency and innovation, warranting further observation regarding long-term reliability and support.

Overall winner: Harvest Right

Deciding which freeze dryer is better can be overwhelming, given the limited options available. Harvest Right and The Cube by Prep4Life emerge as prominent players, offering unique strengths. While The Cube excels in efficiency, innovation, and offers an all-inclusive package, Harvest Right's extensive product range, lower initial cost, and established track record make it the overall winner. Especially for those seeking variety, price sensitivity, and a proven brand, Harvest Right stands out. However, potential reliability concerns should be investigated prior to purchase. Both brands offer capable solutions, ensuring users can make an informed decision and find the perfect fit for their preservation needs.

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