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Lab Manager General Lab Product Survey

Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Freeze Dryer

Learn the most common applications and more from our latest freeze dryer survey results

by Shane Downie

Freeze dryers use a combination of refrigeration and vacuum pressure to meet the lyophilization needs of a variety of research and manufacturing environments. They are commonly used for culture storage, food and pharmaceutical processing, and material stabilization. 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 Benchtop34%
Shelf Benchtop20%
Dry Ice Benchtop14%
Manifold Console14%
Shelf Console11%
Non-Sterile Production9%
Sterile Production5%

Freeze dryer applications as reported by survey respondents:

Material stabilization and/or storage49%
Food processing18%
Starters and cultures16%

Nearly 42% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new freeze dryer. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

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

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

Ease of use81%
Product performance for intended application74%
Reliability under high performance67%
Low maintenance/operating costs67%
Service and support63%
Accurate vacuum control58%
Ease of installation52%
Vacuum or filtered stoppering49%

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

See previous survey results: