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What Is the Difference Between a Freeze Dryer and A Dehydrator?

Cannabis has been used for its healing properties for ages, but it’s only recently that it became legal to grow for various purposes in many parts of the world. This led to an increase in demand for high-quality cannabis products, which brought about advancements in drying and preservation techniques. 

Two main methods are commonly used to dry cannabis: freeze drying and dehydration. Both techniques have their benefits and are suitable for different purposes. We’ll examine the differences between these two methods and why freeze dryers are the best option.

Although different procedures are performed, freeze drying and dehydration are both techniques used to remove moisture from materials. Dehydration, also known as air drying or sun drying, involves exposing the substance to warm air, which causes the water to evaporate. Dehydration can lead to nutrient loss, especially in heat-sensitive vitamins, but this is often minimal compared to other preservation methods like canning. 

However, the component is frozen in freeze drying, and the ice crystals are sublimated using vacuum pressure. Freeze dryer machine for cannabis are used for this purpose. 

What Is the Difference Between a Freeze Dryer and A Dehydrator

What Is a Freeze Dryer?

Freeze drying, sometimes referred to as lyophilization, is a process in which cannabis is frozen and then subjected to a vacuum, which efficiently removes the water through sublimation. This method preserves the most sensitive plant chemicals well. This function is performed by a machine called a freeze drier.

Freeze drying produces products free of residue because it doesn’t require chemicals or solvents like other drying techniques. Those who use cannabis medicinally or who are chemically sensitive should pay attention to this method.

Advantages of Using a Freeze Dryer for Cannabis Drying

Following are a few perks of using a freeze dryer for cannabis:

Preservation of Terpenes and Cannabinoids

Freeze drying offers the best preservation of terpene profiles and cannabinoids, which are pivotal for the aroma and effects of cannabis.

Longer Shelf Life

Cannabis’s superior dehydration means it can have a significantly longer shelf life than other methods.

Lower Chances of Microbial Growth

Rapid moisture elimination reduces the time and water activity available for microbial spoilage.

Harvest Right Freeze Dryer

What Is a Dehydrator?

Desiccation, another name for dehydration, is the process of removing water from cannabis by heating it and circulating air through it. This is done by a machine called a dehydrator.

Advantages of Using a Dehydrator for Cannabis Drying

The benefits of using a dehydrator are as follows: 


Dehydrators are usually more affordable than freeze dryers, making them a more accessible option for smaller-scale operations.

Ease of Use

Dehydrators are typically user-friendly, with most models only requiring the adjustment of a temperature control knob.

Faster Processing Times

Dehydration can be quicker than freeze drying, though times vary based on the specific model and variables like plant density.


The Magnitude of Functioning of Freeze Dryer and Dehydrator

Both freeze dryer and dehydrator are used at different scales, and these scales are mentioned below:

Commercial Scale

For large-scale operations emphasizing quality and long-term storage, a freeze dryer machine may be the best choice for cannabis. Commercial freeze dryer cannabis is used for large-scale operations. 

Small-Scale and Home Growers

Dehydrators are suitable for smaller operations or home growers where cost and space may be limiting factors.

Difference Between Freeze Dryer and Dehydrator

Following are a few key differences between both techniques: 

Quality Preservation

One of the main differences between freeze drying and dehydration is the result of the dried product. Dehydrated cannabis tends to have a darker color and a more shriveled appearance, whereas freeze-dried cannabis retains its original color, shape, and texture. This is because freeze drying’s low temperatures retain the structure of the plant cells, resulting in a higher-quality final product. There are specialized machines called freeze dryer machine for cannabis. They ensure the quality and aroma of dried cannabis are intact.

Time Required for the Process of Freeze Drying Cannabis

The other significant difference between these two methods is the time it takes to dry the cannabis. Dehydration can take a few hours to a few days, whereas freeze drying can take several weeks. This longer process time is due to the careful and gradual removal of moisture through sublimation in freeze drying, which results in a more evenly dried product.

Controlled Operation on Cannabis

Freezer dryers also offer more control over the drying process and generate a superior-quality end product. While dehydration relies on exposure to warm air, which can degrade certain compounds in the cannabis plant, freeze drying allows for precise temperature and pressure settings that are better suited for preserving the delicate compounds and flavors of the plant. This makes freeze dryers the preferred method for drying high-quality cannabis products.

Effect on Budget

Cannabis freeze dryers may have higher buying costs and operating expenses than dehydrators. This is due to the advanced machinery and precision required by freeze dryers. However, this investment pays off in the long run, as freeze drying maintains the quality of cannabis at a much higher level compared to dehydrators. 

While dehydrators are more affordable, they may require extra effort and attention to maintain the desired quality of cannabis. This can include regularly monitoring temperature and humidity levels and potential risk for mold or mildew growth if improperly maintained.


The other major difference between freeze-drying and dehydrating is their impact on shelf life. Freeze dried cannabis has a longer shelf life as compared to dehydrated cannabis as it contains less moisture. Insufficient moisture ensures no mold or bacteria can grow, making it ideal for long-term storage.

Dehydrated cannabis, while still having a longer shelf life compared to fresh cannabis, does not have the same extended shelf life as freeze-dried cannabis. The presence of some moisture in dehydrated cannabis makes it more prone to mold and bacterial growth if not stored properly.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, while freeze drying and dehydration are methods of removing moisture from a substance, they significantly differ in their end results and processes. While dehydrators and freeze dryers have benefits, the decision ultimately comes down to priorities and particular demands. 

Freeze dried cannabis is known for its superior quality, color, texture, and flavor compared to dehydrated cannabis. Also, freeze dryers offer more control over the drying process and can preserve delicate compounds in the plant that may be damaged by exposure to warm air in dehydration. Therefore, when it comes to drying cannabis, freeze dryers are considered the best option for achieving a high-quality final product.

Disclaimer: This material is for informational purposes only and should not be relied on for legal, medical, financial, or any other form of professional advice.

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