If you’re going to live in the country you’re going to want to compare food dehydrators, purchase one and use it. This article is going to help you decide which unit, in which price range, might be best for your needs.
When I first started country living my intention was to live simple. To free myself from big city expenses and all the ‘stuff’ that we accumulate to keep up with the Jones. You could say I was an extremist at paring back the unnecessary extras but I’ve learned that not all possessions and expenses are evil.
A food dehydrator is the perfect example of one of the appliances I still keep and use regularly. My dehydrator has helped me to make money right before I needed some extra funds for Christmas gifts, has helped me store food at garden harvest that I didn’t have time or jars to can, has created some nutritious snacks for road trips, camping, and forest walks. It’s one kitchen appliance I don’t ever want to be without.
A lot of people don’t know about food dehydrators, so last week I created a mobile app for Android phones that you can download free from the Google Play store with your smart phone. See it here: Dehydrator Mobile App. There’s a video at the bottom of this page if you want to see it in action before installing on your phone or tablet.
The app provides some basic knowledge of dehydrating food, making jerky, and making crafts to give as gifts or to sell at seasonal craft shows or online. If the app becomes popular with good user reviews I plan to expand it with more detailed information and more photos.
Let’s Get To Dehydrator Reviews
I reviewed a total of eleven dehydrator. Six of these are contained within the Dehydrator Dashboard (the mobile app) so I’ll touch on those six lightly but provide a little more detail on the remaining five below.
These food dehydrators range in price from $40-$250. Variations are noted in materials used to make the dehydrator units, motor strength, drying space, and overall appearance. I know it may sound frivolous to be concerned with appearance but if this is going to be sitting on your kitchen counter year round you want it to look good. You also want it to take up as little space as possible – the reason why I love the rectangular units.
First Six Dehydrator Reviews
FD-37: If you just want to try out a dehydrator to see if you like it or will use it regularly, this is your best bet. At $40 (currently) to purchase new, you’ll save that money back just by using it 4-5 times drying your garden produce, making jerky or fruit leather, or drying herbs. This model is similar to the very first dehydrator that I had in my kitchen – although I purchased mine used and used the heck out of it for 3 years before I finally upgraded. Only 400 watts on this model, temperature cannot be adjusted, trays can be added (but I don’t suggest it), made of plastic. This unit also makes a good inexpensive gift to people who haven’t ever owned a dehydrator.
FD-61: This dehydrator is seriously under-priced, especially when you consider the innovation in design. What do I love about this one? The fact that light isn’t getting through to your food and robbing the vitamins and nutrients out of your drying foods. Also, the fan motor at the top of the appliance – makes a huge difference in evenly drying food across multiple trays (up to 12 trays at a time). Adjustable thermostat, 500 watts, made of plastic. $65 at time of writing this review.
Excalibur As is often the case, you get what you pay for. This model – although expensive at $250 – is everyone’s favorite. I only know 3 other people who own one (and love theirs) so I tried, and couldn’t find, an unhappy review online. Square, adjustable thermostat, 600 watts. A great dehydrator, but personally I’d save the $50 and pick up the more powerful LEM (below).
LEM 10 Tray: Although this may not be the most expensive dehydrator, it surely is a work horse! Made of excellent materials (steel and ABS) and innovation in design (square with a rear mounted fan). Adjustable thermostat, 800 watts. This is rated for household use but it is almost good enough to be considered commercial quality – and in fact a lot of people bought theirs for home-business commercial use. About $200 and worth every penny.
L’Equip: It’s hard not to love the 12 year warranty on this food dehydrator. At $120, rectangular shape, adjustable temperatures, computer sensor to maintain the temperature, and 550 watts, this appliance is one of my shining stars. Can be expanded to 20 trays – which can be purchased separately as can jerky and fruit leather trays.
Waring DHR30: Right now this unit is on sale, 50% off the regular price – usually priced at $140. I have heard some negative reviews on this unit but more often then not it seems to be the way people use the Waring than an actual problem with the motor. When this unit is on, you must provide lots of ventilation. This is one of the old-school round units, made of plastic. 620 watts, four preset temperatures.
Last Five Dehydrator Reviews
I will have to write the final food dehydrator reviews tomorrow. Company is coming for the weekend and my house is a mess.
The remaining reviews will be on the Excalibur 3500, Nesco FD 61, FD61WHC, the FD80 and the FD 1018P. I’m only doing so to help you make the best decision for your needs but I stand by my review that if you want to try one first and money is a concern, buy the FD-37. If you want to start with the best, or you’re ready to upgrade to a fantastic model, the LEM 10 Tray is my favorite.