Skip to content
Home Dehydrator Vs. Home Freeze Dryer: Which is best for you?

Home Dehydrator Vs. Home Freeze Dryer: Which is best for you?

When it comes to preserving food, there are many methods to get the job done. There’s canning, drying, cooking, and more. Today we’re going to take a deep dive into two methods that are extremely useful and popular among preppers: dehydration and freeze-drying. Preppers each have their own different opinions and preferences, so it’s important to look at the individual benefits and drawbacks of both freeze-drying and dehydrating at home. Doing this will help you to decide which method will work best for you and your family.

Let’s go through the process of each method, and then take a look at some of the similarities and differences. This way you can start to decide what will be the best method and investment for your situation.



Dehydrating has been used for thousands of years according to many historians. It originated in prehistoric times, as the people would dry their seeds out in the sun. People would often also use fire to dry and smoke out food to dehydrate it. A more familiar version of dehydrating food was invented in 1795 in France which used hot air to dehydrate food. Now we have machines that make this process much more efficient.


Modern home dehydrators use hot and dry air to remove the moisture from the food. Once that is complete, the moist air is dried to ensure that the least amount of water possible remains in the food. The temperature sits at the perfect heat to evaporate any water without cooking the food. The dehydrating process causes the food to come out withered and hard, but delicious, nonetheless.

Foods to Dehydrate

Most food can be dehydrated. It just needs to be stored properly afterward to retain its value. It’s a good idea to go through the food pyramid and pick out meals and food items that will provide you with what you need, that your family will enjoy.
  • Fruits (apples, bananas, cherries, grapes, pears)
  • Vegetables (Beets, Carrots, Corn, Onions, Peas, Turnips)
  • Meat (best option is lean beef, but any can be dehydrated with the right process)

Freeze Drying


Freeze drying is much more modern than dehydrating. It requires high-tech technology. This technology can be pretty expensive, but it’s a great investment if you decide that this is the best process for preserving you and your family’s food. It’s been used for many things, from preserving food for the astronauts to take to space in the 1960s to commercial use for restaurant chains at the turn of the century. Then Harvest Right produced the first affordable freeze dryer for use in the home. Now freeze-dried food is luxury that many preppers can use to preserve their food.


  1. Place food on a tray and in the freeze dryer.

    1. Collect a list of recipes that people have tried to freeze-dry and had success with. Start off with something simple to get the handle of the freeze-dryer.
  2. The freeze dryer has a Smart Freeze technology that can sense when the food is ready to be taken out. Once it’s done it will beep.
  3. Once the food is done, take it out and store it properly. Often this requires putting it in an airtight container with an oxygen absorber.

Foods to Freeze-Dry

Almost any kind of food can be freeze-dried. It’s a good idea to go through your list of what your family likes and decide on what should be freeze-dried.
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meats
  • Full meals – Full meals can be freeze-dried, which is really nice. Make sure to make a fresh batch of whatever meal you want to be preserved. Then let it cool down all the way before drying it.

Time to Compare

Now that we’ve looked at each of the processes separately, let’s talk about how they stack up next to each other.  The Ready Store does a fantastic job of discussing some of those similarities and differences between dehydrating food and freeze-drying food.



Both dehydrated and freeze-dried food is stored similarly. When you are preserving your food, whatever method you choose, the food needs to be stored in an airtight container with an oxygen absorber. If any excess air gets into the food, it could ruin it. Whether the packaging is a can, bag, or container, it all has to be airtight.

Storage Requirements

Food preserved from either method has to be stored in a dry cool place. Again, it must be airtight. Other than that, there is a lot of freedom as to where to store the food.


These processes of preservation can give a sense of security as the world runs rampant. The preserved food will be there during a natural disaster, power outage, riot, hard times, disease, and more.


As for the differences, there are many. Let’s talk about some of the facts you’ll want to know before deciding which method is best for you.

Shelf Life

Freeze drying has a longer shelf life between the two. Dehydrated food lasts from 4-10 years while freeze-dried food can last up to a whopping 25-30 years.  It all depends on what kind of food has been preserved, and the storage it has been kept in.

Moisture Content

The less moisture there is, the longer it will last on the shelf without going bad. Dehydration usually removes anywhere from 90-95 percent of the moisture from foods while freeze-drying removes anywhere from 98-99 percent of the moisture. That slight difference is what makes the shelf life so different between dehydrated food and freeze-dried food.

Nutritional Content

Freeze-dried food not only gets rid of the majority of the moisture but retains most of the nutritional value of the food. Of course, not every vitamin is retained, even in freeze-dried food. Some of the more acidic vitamins, such as vitamin C, break down extremely fast and don’t last long in the food. But those freeze-dried oranges will still taste great, even if they don’t have all the nutrition they once had.

Dehydration, on the other hand, does break down a lot of the vitamins. It can’t retain Vitamin C of course, but it also tends to break down Vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin to name a few.

Appearance and Composition

Dehydrated food and freeze-dried food look very different from each other. As previously mentioned, dehydrated food tends to whither and become hard. Freeze-dried foods actually maintain their appearance and are soft and melt in your mouth. It has a light, almost foamy texture to the food. Dehydrated food also weighs more than freeze-dried foods, which is something to be aware of, especially concerning packing up for a bug-out location.


Dehydrated food needs to be cooked because it requires moisture and heat to become edible most of the time. Of course, there are dried fruits and vegetables that can be a yummy quick snack. But many dehydrated foods take from 15 minutes to 4 hours to prepare.

Freeze-dried food only needs water. Many things can be a fun unique treat or snack when freeze-dried. For example, ice cream and fruits are delicious snacks to try freeze-dried, straight from the freezer. But to restore to its original condition, most freeze-dried food just needs water added to it. Within 5 minutes it’ll be ready to consume.


Cost, of course, is something to be aware of when deciding which method to go with. As for the initial cost, a home dehydrator is going to be much cheaper than a home freeze dryer. A home dehydrator will cost anywhere from $40-$100 on average while a freeze dryer will be anywhere from $2,000 - $4,000. So, a little bit of a price difference. But, if freeze-drying is something that you believe will benefit you and your family, it is worth the investment.
Each family and prepper will have different needs and opinions on the two methods, but either one will help you take a step towards being prepared for whatever may happen. Hopefully, this article was helpful, and you’re closer to knowing which method is best for you. Stay safe and happy prepping!

Cart 0

Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping