In Star Trek, are food replicators also used by everyday people as a household items? Or is the technology only available to Starfleet?

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    From Enterprise (Episode called Home) " If you have the time, perhaps you could repair my food synthesiser." so it looks like replicators existed in some form during the time when Enterprise is set Jan 14, 2020 at 8:00
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    @SpacePhoenix They were still protein resequencers back then, the predecessor of the replicator.
    – Mast
    Jan 14, 2020 at 14:06
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    @SpacePhoenix Also note that in Dead Stop the crew were astonished to find an actual replicator, so there's evidently a stark difference between the two technologies. There was no indication that Starfleet's substantially improved over the following two years. Jan 14, 2020 at 15:08
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    Replicators existed during the TOS timeframe. It's hard to imagine that the technology would not have become commonplace by the TNG period. Microwave ovens only took about 20 years to become ubiquitous.
    – Barmar
    Jan 14, 2020 at 16:31
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    @Roland Please don't approve an edit that is answering the question, it should be an answer to the question not an edit made to it.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jan 15, 2020 at 11:09

2 Answers 2


Replicators are ubiquitous on Earth, not just in Starfleet facilities and on ships.

  • Miles O'Brien's mother didn't like them. This fascinates Keiko, who was born and raised in Japan.

    O'BRIEN: Oh, you'll love it, I promise. I can still remember the aromas when my mother was cooking.

    KEIKO: She cooked?

    O'BRIEN: She didn't believe in a replicator. She thought real food was more nutritious.

    KEIKO: She handled real meat? She touched it and cut it?

    TNG: The Wounded

  • Picard's brother Robert was fighting a running battle with his wife against getting one. Apparently it's been the norm to have one for at least 50 or more years.

    ROBERT: Yes, but sadly cooking is becoming a lost art. That's your wretched technology again.

    MARIE: Robert and I have had more than a few discussions about getting a replicator in the house.

    PICARD: I remember the same discussions between mother and father.

    TNG: Family

  • Many (most?) humans have never eaten non-replicated food.

    SISKO: (in uniform) Well, my father was a chef. He grew all his own vegetables. My brothers and I were sent out to the gardens every day.

    VINOD: Most of the others, they'd only eaten replicated food before they got here. The flavour of the foods we prepare, quite a surprise to them.

    SISKO: But not you?

    VINOD: My mother would never let me eat replicated food.

    DS9: Paradise

  • The Howard home seen in TNG: Sub Rosa contains an (unseen) replicator, according to the original screenplay.


    A large, open living area. The LIVING ROOM is adjacent to a SITTING ROOM... and there are doors to suggest other rooms. There is a stairway leading up to an offscreen second story. The decor should suggest an earlier time and way of life -- a warm Scottish country home from the early 19th century. Herbs and other exotic-looking medicinal ARTIFACTS can be seen throughout the house. And there are a few 24th century devices in evidence -- a replicator, computer terminal, etc.

  • Reg Barclay has one in his apartment in San Francisco in VOY: Pathfinder. He is, however, not an "everyday person" given that he's a Starfleet officer (who's also an engineer) but it looks like it's a built-in unit, and hence worthy of mention.

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    BARCLAY: Thanks. One scoop of chocolate ice cream [Replicator Sound]

  • 4
    Similar could be said of transporters; although not necessarily a household item, they are apparently a common means of commuting (it is mentioned that Sisko beamed home nightly during his first few weeks at Starfleet Academy). Although he was "in" Starfleet at the time, there's no reason to believe he would have been afforded any privilege over and above that of any civilian as a rookie cadet.
    – Anthony X
    Jan 14, 2020 at 2:06
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    @AnthonyX - I always read it the opposite. That SF Cadets have greater restrictions than the average citizen and that their use of replicators is restricted by a credit system to encourage them to remain on campus
    – Valorum
    Jan 14, 2020 at 2:16
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    @RemyLebeau - I excluded Sisko Sr. because his establishment is a restaurant. I also excluded the guy who offered Harry Kim a coffee when he was on Earth in Non Sequitur
    – Valorum
    Jan 14, 2020 at 8:44
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    "Most humans have never eaten non-replicated food." Technically, the quote does not support this claim (Vinod was talking about most humans on the transport ship) though, despite this, I don't actually doubt the claim at all Jan 14, 2020 at 15:10
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    @LightnessRaceswithMonica - Taken as a triad, the quotes support that thesis
    – Valorum
    Jan 14, 2020 at 16:35

Replicators appear to be in widespread use throughout the Federation, and in many civilizations outside the Federation regardless of their enlistment in Starfleet.

In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Family", Picard's brother, who is a farmer of a vinyard, and definitely not in Starfleet, says that he refuses to use a replicator, so logically that means that in fact it is normal for people on Earth to rely on them whether or not they are in Starfleet.

There are also surely various other episodes where you can see the use of a replicator by those not in Starfleet (nor working in a Starfleet facility, as is the case with Quark). One episode that jumps to mind is the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Survivors", where Picard and Worf actually give a replicator to the only apparent survivors on Rana IV, who are civilians, and definitely not members of Starfleet.

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    That event in The Survivors only shows that the civilians in question didn't have their own replicator. Jan 14, 2020 at 15:11
  • Your rationale about Family isn't quite right, either; I refuse to kill other humans but that doesn't mean everyone around me is doing it. Jan 14, 2020 at 15:11
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    Please point out where owning a replicator is a crime akin to murder... one of these interpretations of events is much more likely to explain the situation. :-D
    – nomen
    Jan 14, 2020 at 17:27
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    It seems reasonable that a vinyard owner would not like replicators. What's the point in doing the hard work to tend to the grapes if someone can just ask a replicator to make a glass of fine wine whenever they want? Robert would of course insist that wine made the old-fashioned way from real grapes grown from the hallowed soil of France would be better than that replicated crap, so why wouldn't he feel the same way about any other replicated food/drink? Jan 14, 2020 at 22:31
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    Related to wine, what we think about the wine we are drinking does affect the taste we experience, measurable from brains via MRI. Here's some reference about the price, same probably applies to thinking if wine is replicated or "real" wine: sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170814092949.htm
    – hyde
    Jan 15, 2020 at 10:20

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