I have only had my Harvest Right Freeze Dryer for a few weeks but so far so good. I'm only giving 4-stars because there are a few negative things I want to start out with. First of all, when my freeze dryer was on the way, I received an ominous e-mail from Harvest Right about how they would not cover any damages if it was damaged in transport and that it was our responsibility to inspect the item first, and then refuse to accept the package. They clearly said if the item was damaged in-transit, they would not cover under warranty. I have a problem with that for several reasons.
First of all, this is the Christmas Season. No delivery driver is going to wait for you to open the package and inspect everything prior to signing off on it. I get it if the outside package is damaged, but if its not, and the item was damaged inside, that is a different story. But true to form, my driver was not waiting to have the item inspected. This should be an issue between Harvest Right and their transport service, not the customers issue. Thankfully, it was NOT damaged, and it works fine. However, I was so taken aback by Harvest Right's attitude in that e-mail, that I almost refused the package and asked for my money back. In the end, I'm glad I didn't, but it was not a good start to this whole thing. My second issue, was that the freeze dryer came with no owner's manual. There was no instructions on how to set this thing up.
When I called Technical Support, they wanted to just send me a digital manual, which I agreed to. But then when they e-mailed it to me, it was over 50 pages long and I wasn't happy about paying nearly $3,000 for an item that didn't come with any manuals when it clearly says that they do, and then having to print out a 50 page manual. I saw several other complaints where the same thing happened. I ordered this directly from Harvest Right so the issue wasn't 3rd party. When I did go through the manual, I found several contradictions that I still don't understand. The manual says that once you fill the vacuum pump with oil, never to tilt in or bring it off-level. But when you get to the part about draining the oil, it clearly says to tilt the pump to drain all the oil.
Also, it says to filter the oil every 20 cycles on one page, and a few pages later it says to filter it every 5-6 cycles. I still don't know which is right. However, once you figure this thing out, it works as advertised. It is easy to use and everything we have freeze dried has worked out perfectly. The touch screen literally walks you through everything step by step and the machine is very user friendly.
After freeze drying several times, I can already see the huge amount of time I will save in freeze drying items rather than canning them. This is especially true when canning fruits. No more adding sugar and various other ingredients when you are canning tomatoes. Fruits will freeze dry with no added sugars and last ten times as long (stored) and store much easier due to the weight difference in freeze dried vs canned. Tomatoes are another canning nightmare that will be so much easier by free-drying them.
If you are an avid canner, this is a must buy. I will continue to do canning, but less than I do now. This thing is going to be a huge time-saver. If I had to pick three selling points for this thing, I would easily say the time saved freeze drying vs canning. The storage/shelf life of freeze dried foods vs canned or dehydrated foods, and the time saved by doing so.