Freeze-drying allows us to dehydrate food for long-term use easily. It’s an excellent tool for stocking home food storage, preserving food for hiking trips or outdoor adventures, and avoiding waste when products are near their best before dates. That’s why many people wonder if you could rent a freeze-dryer.
Freeze dryers can be rented for a fee, although there are several issues making renting a freeze-dryer difficult.
- Harvest Right, the only home freeze-drying retailer, sells units but does not rent them.
- Finding a rental unit from an individual owner takes work and knowing where to look.
- Units can also be rented from appliance rental companies, organizations, professional kitchens, and other facilities for varying fees (covered in the article).
- Most rental units are rented as-is and where they are. Renters will have to go to the unit’s location, rather than being able to take the unit home.
This doesn’t mean our freeze-drying rental dreams need to be over, though. We have investigated what we need to know to utilize freeze-dryer rental services and where we can find the best prices. So let me walk you through it!
Can You Rent a Harvest Right Freeze-Dryer?
It is possible to rent a Harvest Right freeze-dryer, but only through private owners. Harvest Right doesn’t offer a rental service. Some owners rent out their machines privately.
If we’re interested in freeze-drying, renting a machine from another user is a great trial run. It will give us a chance to test out the freeze-dryer. We can also see if it fits our needs and creates the end products we want.
We’ll also be able to talk with the renter and get some good advice for a seasoned freeze-dryer.
Renting a freeze-dryer is a clever idea if we’re only freezing a small batch of food infrequently. On the other hand, we can do a limited number of batches if we aren’t feeding a large group or have limited storage space. In this case, renting is a much more cost-efficient option.
As time goes on, though, I wouldn’t be surprised if more and more appliance rental companies decided to invest in a few units to rent out on a short-term basis.
Where Can I Rent a Freeze-Dryer?
General freeze-dryers can be rented from private owners, working kitchens, appliance rental companies, or freeze-drying facilities. To rent a Harvest Right freeze dryer, renting directly from individual owners is currently the most feasible route.
Facilities offer these services commercially and are designed for huge batches, which tend to be more expensive. Nevertheless, it’s worth reaching out to them to discuss discounts for smaller loads.
Some equipment rental companies offer freeze-dryers as part of their services. They stock assorted items from power tools to construction vehicles. Due to its increased popularity, we may be able to find an equipment rental company that has a freeze-dryer.
We could reach out to them if we know of a local restaurant or catering company that uses a freeze-dryer. They may provide rental services when they aren’t using their machine.
Some private owners rent out their freeze-dryers when they’re not using them. These renters can usually be found in several places. Here are the places I’ve found rental units before. Listings are always changing, though, so be sure to do a current search.
- In classified ads, like on Craigslist or a local classified ads section. Here in Utah, KSL.com has a huge classifieds section. I’ve seen 1-2 rental units on there, though the listings have almost always been for going to the owner’s home to use the unit, and not for taking the rental unit off-site.
- Online freeze-drying communities sometimes have listings for rentals. There are dozens of freeze-drying groups on Facebook alone. Rental listings there are still rare, but they do happen.
- Ask a friend who owns a Harvest Right unit. Most owners are more than happy to let you rent time and space in their unit, though they likely won’t let you take the unit to your home to try things out.
Why do most private owners only do on-site rentals of their freeze-dryers?
People who rent out freeze-dryers have invested a lot of time and money into their units. Renting out space in a load guarantees that the unit is taken care of, as it requires regular upkeep. Plus, units are heavy and hard to move.
If you want to be able to do a small rental, you’re going to have to deal with the owners who don’t want to move their units. It’s just part of the cost, so go ahead and expect it.
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If going to someone else’s house to rent a unit is a deal-breaker, I highly recommend you save up for your own Harvest Right freeze-dryer (click here to go shop their site and any current sales).
Then, go read this article I wrote about how you can make money with your new freeze-dryer to offset the cost.
How Do I Rent a Freeze-Dryer?
To rent a freeze-dryer, find a local service and organize a time to freeze-dry. Then, use online search engines, classified ads, or Facebook groups to find the closest freeze-dry rental in the area. Specific rental rules and guidelines depend on the owner’s rules.
When renting through a facility, restaurant, or private owner, we must take our food to the freeze-dryer. Freeze-dryers are heavy, and moving them could risk damage, so it’s easier for us to go to the dryer than to bring it to our home.
When using a rental company, the dryer will need to be delivered or picked up and brought to our home. We’ll need to make sure there is space for a dryer near a power source and that we can easily move it in and out of our home again.
The main thing that will impact any rental is the location. If we live in a more populated urban area, it should be easier to find a company that can rent to us. On the other hand, if living in a rural area, freeze-drying groups will be our best bet for finding a private owner nearby.
How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Freeze Dryer?
Freeze-dryer rentals vary depending on supply and demand. We can freeze-dry for $5 a tray with our own food and packaging equipment. However, for larger batches, or if a machine is required, prices can increase to $550 per week. Here are some estimated costs below, depending on the source.
Cost: Approximately $5 a tray, or $60 for the entire machine.
Each renter has a different way of calculating the costs for a rental. Therefore, prices will be subjective to the renter in the area, but quoted prices tend to be similar.
The good thing about private rentals is that we can speak with the owner and negotiate a price that works for us, depending on the type of use.
Some renters will also provide packaging such as mylar bags for an additional fee of around $10 for up to several bags.
In case you’re wondering, $5 a tray really is a steal of a deal, given how much it costs to run the whole machine each hour. You can read about How Much It Costs To Run A Freeze Dryer: The Complete Guide in the article I wrote. It’s at that link.
Equipment rental companies
Cost: From about $550 per week.
The providers we found were renting a Harvest Right freeze dryer for $550.00 per week. Considering this is one-fifth of the price of buying a freeze-dryer, it doesn’t make much financial sense unless we are in a bind or can maximize the one-week use for a large batch.
Remember, freeze-drying can take 20-40 hours to complete the process.
- In a week, you could get up to 7 loads done, if you make use of pre-freezing and maximize every load for speed.
- Getting 4 to 5 loads done in a week is more realistic.
Cost: Anywhere from $80 per 24 hours then $5 per additional hour.
We found quotes of about $80 for 24 hours of use, with an additional 8 hours available at a charge of $5 per hour. Depending on what we are freezing, this might not be enough time.
Also, there may be restrictions on what foods we can freeze-dry due to health and safety regulations, so always be sure to check this first.
And in case you’re wondering – the hourly fee isn’t much above the hourly cost for electricity to run the machine. You can read about how much I calculated that it costs to run a freeze-dryer here: How Much It Costs To Run A Freeze Dryer: The Complete Guide.
Cost: Variable, but usually more than the other options.
Contact the local facility for a quote. Many facilities use pharmaceutical, commercial, or lab-grade freeze-dryers rather than home freeze dryers.
If planning to do a large batch of freeze-drying, go ahead and contact any local facilities for a quote since these vary from place to place.
Key Takeaways and Next Steps
Renting a freeze-dryer is an excellent option for occasional users and small batches. In addition, it’s a perfect opportunity to connect with another freeze-dried food enthusiast. It also allows us to test out the equipment and product to decide if purchasing a machine is better.
Using the above tips, we should be able to find freeze-dryer rentals at a suitable price in our local area.
However, if you’re wanting to get the most out of a freeze dryer, it’s time to think about getting your own freeze dryer. But don’t you fret – there’s a way to get a freeze-dryer using a payment plan.
That article is coming soon, so stay tuned or subscribe to the newsletter so you know when it gets published!
It’s important to learn from your own experience, but it’s also smart to learn from others. These are the sources used in this article and in our personal research to be more informed as homesteaders.
- Contract Freeze Drying. (2022). Hudson Valley Lyomac. https://www.hudsonvalleylyomac.com/contract-freeze-drying.html
- Facebook marketplace and groups. (2022). Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/?q=rent.
- Harvest Right Freeze Dryer Rental rental, rent Harvest Right Freeze Dryer Rental in Redwood City, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara. (2021). AAA Rentals. https://www.aaarentals.com/equipment.asp?action=category&category=64&key=FREEZEDRYER.
- Renting a Freeze Dryer. (2021, November 12). Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/HarvestRight/comments/qs6ip0/renting_a_freeze_dryer/.