By the 24th century, replicators seem to be included all around a ship (based on the Enterprise-D), but what about non-starfleet places. Are replicators a standard part of the average human's home in the 24th century?

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    It should probably be noted that there are different types of replicators. Small food replicators seem to be very abundant and accessible, but industrial replicators are clearly a scarce resource as depicted in DS9. Also, other cultures, like the Klingons, don't seem to be as reliant on replicators. Apr 28, 2014 at 8:29
  • @Lèsemajesté - are you referring to when the Federation loaned industrial replicators to the Bajorans? That might not indicate they are scarce within the Federation itself - only that the Bajorans are not yet Federation.
    – HorusKol
    Apr 28, 2014 at 23:09
  • @HorusKol: Yes, but the Cardassians also needed to borrow Federation industrial replicators. And, presumably, if they weren't scarce, the Federation would have loaned Bajor more than just 2, which I recall Kira seemed to indicate was insufficient for their needs. Also, the theft of the 12 industrial replicators bound for Cardassia seemed to be a pretty big deal. Apr 29, 2014 at 1:36

3 Answers 3


Very accessible. In DS9 "Blaze of Glory" we hear Eddington ranting about food replicators.

EDDINGTON It may look like chicken, but it still tastes like replicated protein molecules to me.

SISKO If you don't want it, don't eat it.

EDDINGTON Remember that Thanksgiving dinner you cooked for the senior staff last year? How many months did it take you to grow all those vegetables in the hydroponic garden? Every ingredient fresh... real. Though you did put too much tarragon in the stuffing.

SISKO I wasn't aware you were a food critic.

EDDINGTON: I wasn't. Until I joined the Maquis and started eating real food. Food that I'd grown with my own hands. Fresh corn. As sweet as a baby's smile. And tomatoes. Do you know how hard it is to grow tomatoes? There's always too much rain... or not enough. It's too hot, it's too cold. I wonder what happened to those tomato plants. Probably burned to the ground along with everything else.

It seems, replicators are so common you'd have to join the Marquis if you want "real food".

  • Yea, I always got the impression that, while real objects were clearly available and likely used as the prototype for many replicator patterns, they were much harder to find than replicated items. So while some people did tend gardens and slaughter real meat, it was considered unusual (like eating organic). Apr 28, 2014 at 8:27
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    I bet Eddington couldn’t tell the difference in a blind taste test. Apr 28, 2014 at 9:58
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    @Einer: true, but according to Memory Alpha, he was trying synthehol, as opposed to an attempted replication of the actual whiskey he would have been used to. Apr 28, 2014 at 11:58
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    @Einer: maybe. It’s just the the other stuff is replicated food, i.e. an atom-by-atom recreation of actual food, whereas synthehol is an attempt to produce something like, but different from, alcohol. So you’d expect synthehol to behave differently, whereas there’s no reason to think replicated food would. One day we’ll see an actual blind taste-test of these entirely fictional foods, then we’ll know for sure. Apr 28, 2014 at 12:29
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    As an officer who possibly spent the last several years of his life on deep space missions, this could just mean he couldn't remember the last time he ate non-Starfleet-provided food. Perhaps a better example is "Paradise", where the civilian colonists say they had "only eaten replicated food before they got here".
    – nmclean
    Apr 28, 2014 at 15:05

I don't know of any explicit mention in canon, but the EU might expand - but I'd say, within the Federation at least, that replicators are abundant.

As an indirect indicator - Kako is very surprised to hear that O'Brien's mother cooked actual meat rather than replicate meals.


Available enough that their economy has been sufficiently cornered to the point that they can't/don't use money to buy any good or service, let alone food.

It's implicit evidence, but the notion that the Earth of the future has all but sworn off money for internal commerce is directly tied to the prevalence of replicators of all varieties. It's one of the founding principles of a post-scarcity economy; everything, from food to clothing to raw energy, is so freely available and so easily reproduced that there is no longer any reason to engage in financial exchange, because you only need to buy one thing. After that, you implicitly have 99%* of the material items you would ever need.

*...Of course, some things are still rare and precious, and there are those who appreciate hand-made items, or 'real' food from 'real' food sources (animals, grown veggies/fruits, properly brewed beer, etc...) but on the whole, the regular food/water/clothing thing is handled.

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