🇺🇸 Retired veteran, father, rock-climbing expert & rosin connoisseur.
Freeze drying utilizes the process of sublimation to remove moisture from wet objects. Most commonly used for drying and preserving food, freeze dryers also work great for drying loose resin, or bubble hash. While it’s possible to allow wet hash to air dry loose resin through the process of evaporation, sublimation inside a freeze dryer speeds up the process, reducing oxidation and preserving more terpenes.
Freeze dryers work by first deep freezing the wet hash, then slowly allowing it to warm inside a vacuum sealed environment. As the hash thaws, the moisture inside turns from its solid form as ice directly into a gas. This water vapor is pulled out of the hash thanks to the vacuum environment inside the freeze dryer, basically sucking the moisture right from the loose resin in a very efficient and low-impact way.
Thanks to this efficiency and thoroughness of drying, hash maintains its light color and high terpene content. Freeze dryers also prevent mold from growing in the hash while it’s drying, which is a risk when the hash is air drying. For these reasons, freeze dryers are the best way to dry bubble hash.
But not all freeze dryers are created equally.
We recommend the Harvest Right brand of freeze dryers for drying bubble hash. More specifically, the pharmaceutical grade, rather than the regular home grade. So what’s the difference between home and pharmaceutical?
Let’s compare the small home version and the small pharmaceutical version.
Size of the Freeze Dryer
The home version of Harvest Right freeze dryer only comes with 3 shelves. The dimensions are 16.5″ W x 18.5″ D x 25″ H.
The pharmaceutical version of Harvest Right freeze dryer comes with 5 trays, a significant advantage over the 3 trays with the home version. Each tray is 7.75″ W x 14″ L x 0.75″ H and the dimensions of the whole machine is 16.5″ W x 18.5″ D x 25″ H.
The shelf temperature of the home version only gets down to 125 degrees Fahrenheit. This is much too warm for your hash. These temps will damage the resin and degrade your final product.
One way around this is a software update, which requires a thumb drive to download the software from a computer, then an upload to the home version machine.
The pharmaceutical version gets down to 35 degrees Fahrenheit without the software modification, or firmware. This temperature is recommended for freeze drying bubble hash.
Learn more about the correct settings for freeze drying bubble hash in How To Use a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer.
The home version of the small size Harvest Right freeze dryers is currently $2395.
The pharmaceutical version of the small size Harvest Right freeze dryers is currently $2895. Although the price difference isn’t negligible, you do get the benefit of more shelf space and the built-in software settings that are already perfect for drying your loose resin.
Note on the Vacuum Pump
Both the home and pharmaceutical versions of the Harvest Right freeze dryers come with vacuum pumps, which create the vacuum environment inside the machine. These pumps require oil to function. Part of the maintenance is to replace this oil frequently, which will increase the lifetime of the pump.
However, you can also upgrade to oil-less pumps, which don’t require this maintenance, and they also run much more quietly. If this makes sense with your budget, this vacuum pump upgrade is definitely recommended.
Firmware for Harvest Right Pharmaceutical
If you decide to purchase the home version instead of the pharmaceutical version of the Harvest Right freeze dryer, be sure to download the firmware so that you can adjust the shelf temperatures down to 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
We wrote an article to walk you through the process:
Harvest Right freeze dryers have earned their place in the most discerning hash maker’s lab. With the process of sublimation inside a vacuum chamber, freeze dryers quickly and thoroughly extract moisture from wet, freshly-collected loose resin. But only the pharmaceutical version of Harvest Right freeze dryers come preloaded with the correct software to create the right temperatures with plenty of shelf space to effectively dry bubble hash.
The home version of Harvest Right freeze dryers don’t have the ability to achieve shelf temperatures low enough to avoid damaging bubble hash during the drying process. With the home version, a firmware upgrade is necessary.
Although they’re sold at a higher price point, we recommend purchasing the pharmaceutical version of Harvest Right freeze dryers for drying bubble hash.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How many trays does the Harvest Right home version freeze dryer come with?
The home version only comes with 3 trays.
How many trays does the Harvest Right pharmaceutical version freeze dryer come with?
The pharmaceutical version comes with 5 trays.
How low will the shelf temperature go on the home version Harvest Right?
The shelf temperature in the home version only gets as low as 125 degrees Fahrenheit, which is still much too warm for drying hash. You should aim for 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
Can you use a home version Harvest Right to dry bubble hash?
Yes, but you need to download the pharmaceutical firmware.
How can you download the pharmaceutical firmware upgrade for home version?
See our article Harvest Right Pharmaceutical Firmware 4.0.56 - Required Update For Home Freeze Dyers for instructions for installing the firmware in the home version.