Food Dehydrator Review: Five Things To Look For When Choosing A Home Food Dehydrator
This food dehydrator review is intended to help you select the best home food dehydrator by letting you know what features of a dehydrator you need to look for.
There are so many home food dehydrators on the market. Most people start their research by checking dehydrator prices. Everyone has a budget these days.
But did you know that there are five other important parameters that will define whether you will be able to make a full use of your dehydrator?
Brand nonwithstanding, there are things to look for in a dehydrator, and you usually discover these things after you start using the appliance. At that time, it is too late to return it. Many people told me that they own a dehydrator but don't use it because it is a hassle.
Read on as I walk you through my experience of selecting a home food dehydrator. I will describe factors I considered. You can decide for yourself how important these factors are for YOU. Hopefully, you will select a dehydrator that you will love to use.
Top five factors to consider when choosing a home food dehydrator
Five important factors when choosing a home food dehydrator are:
Timer, Temperature Controls, Size, Drying Time and Quality, Convenience of Use And Cleaning.
- Having a dehydrator with a timer enables you to set it
and forget it. It is astonishing that most dehydrators come without a
timer. For a device that needs to be left on for hours, timer is a
Let’s take a real life example: You’ve decided to make dried apple snacks. They are delicious. Kids LOVE them.
It takes about 20 hours to make perfect crispy apple chips. If you make them in the morning, you will have to wake up in the middle of the night to turn off your dehydrator. If you made them right after you came back from work, you cannot turn your dehydrator off on time the day after because in 20 hours you will still be at work.
So what happens? You end up drying your food longer than needed, waste more energy, and have an imperfect product at the end. You now need to remember to turn off your dehydrator. You end up worrying too much or simply forgetting to turn it off. In short, instead of making your life worry-free, you have just added another stressor to it.
- Fruit and veggies should be dehydrated at a lower temperatures than meat jerky. If your dehydrator doesn’t have temperature controls, you will experience higher loss of vitamins and enzymes in your fruit and veggies because they will be overheated.
- I highly recommend not only getting a dehydrator with temperature controls, but also the one that shows proper ranges of temperatures for meat, fruit, herbs and yogurt. I usually don’t keep these specifications in my mind and I suspect that you won’t either. So it helps when temperature controls clearly display ranges of temperature to use for different types of food.
Size, Volume of Food Porcessed
- Higher volume dehydrators are preferable even if you think that you won’t dehydrate a lot. And here is why. You save time on food preparation and you save energy when you dehydrate bigger batches of food at once. Before dehydrating your food, you need to process it first. You need to wash, clean and cut your fruit or veggies. Sometimes, you need to blanch them. If you are making dehydrated treats, like raw food snacks, you need to prepare them by mixing all the ingredients. Guess what? After you spread your food on the dehydrator tray, and after it reduces in volume as a result of dehydration, you are left with very little food. And if you have a small dehydrator, you need to repeat the whole food preparation process again. Then you need to dehydrate again, wasting more energy and increasing your hydro bill.
Drying time and quality
- It doesn’t matter how cheap was your dehydrator, it
shouldn't take twice the time to dry your food in comparision to what
was promised in the demo or described in its manual. Here
are some reviews from Amazon customers:
“I know others have rated this item high, but I didn't have a positive experience - I found that it takes wayyyyyyyyy to long for items to dry - I placed thin banana slices and after 30 hours they were still really moist - I thought it was this particular batch of banana's so I tried another batch - same results -Not sure if it was my particular unit - it's possible it just wasn't working correctly”
“I purchased this dehydrator to dehydrate slices of lemons for tea and other uses. I have had difficulty drying them sufficiently so they do not rot when put into baggies. I talked with NESCO customer support and their recommendation was to buy a food saver. They explained that they do not have people in-house to test their products with the various foods to be dehydrated and to check the web.I understood when purchasing that this device would dehydrate citrus fruits such as lemons. I did not understand that an additional piece of equipment was needed to keep them. I dried the lemons as per the user manual at 135 degrees and they burned. I then had to do my own research to find out that it was necessary to lower the temperature. They still take over 48 hours to dry when thinly sliced with a mandolin.”
All dehydrator demos display succulently looking bright pieces of fruit – but do all of them deliver? No, not at all.
- If a dehydrator is not drying your food evenly, you will end up shuffling trays around. Cooking time gets longer, too.
Convenience of use and cleaning
- Consider noise level as your dehydrator will be running all night. If you don't have space for it in your basement, you really need to check customers' reviews to see whether those people who set up their dehydrators at their kitchens were bothered by their noice.
- Consider how easy it is to pull out a tray to check
your food is ready. Some dehydrators, such as Excalibur, are easy to
open and pull out a tray. Others, like some Nesco models I have
reviewed, need to be taken apart because trays are stacked on top of
Here is a customer’s description:
“I have never used a dehydrator before and was swayed by all the wonderful reviews this item received. After attempting to use it for the first time, I learned the error of my ways. This machine is huge. The screens and trays won't even fit in my sink to wash. The machine has no see-thru capability and therefore, no way to discern how well the drying process is coming along. In order to make that determination, you have to what?...unplug the machine, take it apart and remove all the trays one at a time while setting the other trays somewhere, because they don't swing out? The manual never tells you THAT. It just says to check on the food and remove the pieces that have dried, which means you have to go through this "take the machine apart" hassle repeatedly until all your food is dry. Also, to all you newbies out there, how much time do you have to wait for your food? 12 hours? Are you going to be at home and awake for a 12 hour stretch to make sure your food dehydrator doesn't catch on fire? Cause I can tell you, this baby HEATS up. I didn't feel safe going to bed or leaving the house and leaving it on.”
All these factors come in play when you, a busy person, start using your home food dehydrator.
What dehydrator did I choose and what was my experience?
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Check out Dehydrating fruit and my Excalibur Home Food Dehydrator page
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