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Oil Vs Oil Free Harvest Right Pumps: What’s the Difference?

by Cliff Co June 25, 2024 3 min read

When it comes to drying with a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer, the type of vacuum pump you use matters. Both choices are excellent for freeze drying, but getting the right one can help you save a ton of bucks.

Harvest Right offers two main types of pumps: Oil-Based Vacuum Pumps and Oil-Free Vacuum Pumps. Oil-based pumps are a proven technology, cheaper but also higher maintenance. With oil-free pumps, they cost a bit more but are also more convenient.

Harvest Right Premium Vacuum Pump vs Oil-Free PumpPlaceholder Image

Article at a glance

Types of Pumps

Harvest Right offers two main types of vacuum pumps for freeze drying: Oil-Based Vacuum Pumps and Oil-Free Vacuum Pumps.

  • Oil-Based Vacuum Pump: Cost-effective and reliable with consistent vacuum levels, but requires regular maintenance, is noisy, messy, and uses more energy. Priced around $850.
  • Oil-Free Vacuum Pump: Low maintenance, cleaner operation, quieter, and efficient but has a higher upfront cost of around $1800 and may be heavier.
Comparison Summary
  • Oil-Based Pumps: Lower cost, higher maintenance, noisier, compatible with older models.
  • Oil-Free Pumps: Higher cost, minimal maintenance, quieter, may require compatibility check.
Decision Factors

Choose the oil pump for cost-effectiveness and reliability if you don't mind regular maintenance. Opt for the oil-free pump for convenience, lower maintenance, and quieter operation despite the higher initial cost.

Oil-Based Vacuum Pump

Harvest Right's Oil Vacuum Pumps are the traditional choice that comes with most older model freeze dryers. They're known for their reliability and efficiency in maintaining the vacuum necessary for the drying process.

Harvest Right Premium Vacuum Pump


Cost-Effective: An oil pump is generally more affordable, with a price of around $850.

Reliable Performance: It provides consistent vacuum levels, essential for the freeze drying process. Oil-based pumps also generally reach the required pressure faster due to oil's lubricating properties.

The difference in drying time, though, is minimal.

Long-Lasting: With proper maintenance, this pump can last a long time.


Regular Maintenance: Oil-based pumps require oil and regular user maintenance, including oil changes approximately every two weeks (every 4-5 batches).

Messy: Handling oil during an oil change can be messy and inconvenient.

Noise: These pumps tend to be noisier during operation.

Energy-Hungry: Oil-based pumps tend to use slightly more energy than their oil-free counterparts.

Oil-Free Vacuum Pump

The Harvest Right Oil-Free Vacuum Pump is a more recent addition designed to simplify the freeze drying experience. Oil free vacuum pumps offer the convenience of not needing oil changes, less maintenance, and lower energy consumption.

Harvest Right Oil-Free Vacuum Pump


Low Maintenance: The oil-free pump require less regular user maintenance, since oil changes are a nonissue.

Cleaner Operation: Without oil, the operation is cleaner and hassle-free.

Quiet and Efficient: These pumps tend to operate more quietly compared to their oil counterparts.

High Value: One oil-free pump costs $1800, but the convenience and low maintenance make it a worthwhile investment for many users.


Higher Upfront Cost: The initial purchase price is significantly higher than the standard oil pump.

Compatibility: Ensure that your freeze dryer model is compatible with the oil-free pump before purchasing.

Weight: Oil-free pumps can be heavier due to the different technology used


Oil-Based Vacuum Pumps Oil-Free Vacuum Pumps
Maintenance Requires regular oil changes and handling Virtually maintenance-free, no oil changes needed
Noise A little noisier (similar to a dishwasher running) Quieter
Cost Lower upfront cost (around $850) Higher upfront cost (around $1800)
Compatibility Compatible with most models of freeze dryers Compatible with most. May require an adapter on older freeze dryers
Operation Reliable performance with regular upkeep Consistent performance with minimal manual intervention
Convenience Needs to be changed every 4-5 batches Clean and relatively hassle-free

Harvest Right Product Line

Which One is Right for You?

Choosing between the oil and oil-free Harvest Right pumps depends on your priorities. If you prefer a lower upfront cost and don’t mind regular maintenance, the standard oil pump is a reliable choice. However, if convenience, lower maintenance, and quieter operation are more important to you, investing in the oil-free pump could be the better option.


Both the Oil-Based Vacuum Pump and the Oil-Free Vacuum Pump have their own set of advantages. Understanding these differences will help you make an informed decision that suits your freeze drying needs and lifestyle. Whatever your needs, Harvest Right has a pump that will work for you.

Have any questions or would like to place an order? We'd love to help! Chat with our friendly customer service team by calling 1-844-945-3625, chatting in on our website or email us at customersupport@wildoaktrail.com. We look forward to hearing from you! 

Cliff Co
Cliff Co

Cliff, a passionate storyteller and hardcore seller, here to share insights and knowledge on all things prep. He firmly believes in only selling things he'd use himself, making sure only the best get to his readers' hands.

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