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2016 Freeze Dryer Survey Results

Find out readers’ purchasing plans and more from our latest freeze dryer survey results.

Trevor Henderson, PhD

Trevor Henderson BSc (HK), MSc, PhD (c), is the creative services director at Lab Manager.  He has more than two decades of experience in the fields of scientific...

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Freeze dryers find use in a variety of research and manufacturing environments and are commonly used for material storage, food and pharmaceutical processing, as well as for less common applications such as taxidermy and document recovery. With a wide variety of options available, there is much to consider when purchasing a new freeze dryer.

Top 5 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Freeze Dryer

  1. What solvents are you using? A temperature differential between the sample’s eutectic temperature and collector temperature of 15–20 degrees is required. If solvents such as acetonitrile are used, a cascade freeze dryer is required.
  2. How much sample in liters will you run? When choosing a freeze dryer, vendors recommend loading 1/2 of the listed capacity. For example, a 6L freeze dryer will hold 3L during the run.
  3. Do you want to freeze dry in flasks, tubes, or bulk? Many drying accessories are available. On a manifold or drying chamber, flasks can be placed on each port. Test tubes and serum vials can be placed inside of the flasks for multiple samples per container. If samples are bulk, a tray dryer would be a good choice.
  4. Do you need to stopper under vacuum? Accessories can allow you to stopper under vacuum or nitrogen without using compressed gas.
  5. Is this a shared freeze dryer? A hybrid pump is recommended to prevent damage to the pump.

Types of freeze dryers used by survey respondents:

Manifold Console 41%
Manifold Benchtop 26%
Shelf Benchtop 18%
Dry Ice Benchtop 11%
Non-Sterile Production 7%
Sterile Production 7%

Freeze dryer applications as reported by survey respondents:

Material stabilization and/or storage 52%
Other applications 30%
Starters and cultures 15%
Pharmaceuticals 15%
Food processing 7%
Nutraceuticals 7%

Nearly 46% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new freeze dryer. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

Setting up a new lab
Replacement of an aging system
Addition to existing systems
First time purchase

Top 10 features/factors respondents look for when purchasing a freeze dryer:

Product performance for intended application 89%
Ease of use 81%
Reliability under high performance 81%
Low maintenance/operating costs 73%
Accurate vacuum control 59%
Service and support 57%
Ease of installation 43%
Price 43%
Warranty 40%
Minimum utility required 38%

For more information on freeze dryers, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

See the most current survey results here