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best type of dehydrator???

bittbitt Raw Newbie

I am looking for a food dehydrator about $100 at the most. is that possible? The excaliber ones seem to be popular but what about the others? like ronco and nesco. are they decent? I would like to hear people’s experiences before I make this purchase.

topdehydrator

Comments

  • KrystaleKrystale Raw Newbie

    I have a Nesco from Bed Bath and Beyond, $60. I think it’s great. The important thing is to make sure it has a temp dial, because many without dials are just set to 140, which is like slow cooking. (Still better than cooking cooking.) The perk here is that if you get a coupon from one of their mailers, either in the mail or from someone who did and doesn’t want it, you can save 15% or $5 depending on the coupon. You can also get them from their online store. (I lucked out and got the shelf model for a reduced price AND used my 15% off, whoot!) In my opinion the temp gauge is the important part. Crackers aren’t perfect squares but I just make mine in little rounds anyway. I don’t like wild variations in the sizes of my food, I have OCD and raw doesn’t help with that. ROFL To recap… Nesco thumbs up! Adjustable temps, expandable and it comes WITH a sheet for fruit rolls or crackers.

    topdehydrator
  • bittbitt Raw Newbie

    I couldn’t wait! My husband found a good excaliber 4-tray and ordered it. any tips on how to use this would be appreciated.

    Feetopdehydratordeaf258Creativelycc
  • Sabrina1979Sabrina1979 Raw Newbie

    i ordered my excalibur on ebay, brand new for 109 and free shipping..i love it. I did not even read the instructions, i just go after what the recipe says..dehydrate on so and so for so and so long and thats what i do….

    topdehydrator
  • jsorensens2jsorensens2 Raw Jr. Superstar

    I had an old Ronco in the garage, so I started with that just to try out stuff when I first tried the raw food lifestyle. Within two weeks I knew I wanted to keep eating raw and I knew I wanted a more convenient dehydrator so I bought a 5-tray Excalibur with the timer. It was the best investment! The Ronco heats at only one temp – 115 – and it’s a pain to cut out parchment paper into rounds to fit in the trays. Plus I had to rotate trays to try to get even dehydrating, but it was impossible because I can’t be around every two hours to switch it. The Excalibur has been fantastic. Lots more room, easy, easy, easy with the paraflex sheets, and no need to rotate the trays. The only bad thing is that it’s really loud fan is disruptive, so after only 1 day in my kitchen it was moved to my garage where it has been happily dehydrating without any noise in my house. Lucky for me I have that option. If you don’t then there’s nothing you can do about the noise. Maybe put it in a room that’s not used as heavily and shut the door?

    topdehydrator
  • kevin7197kevin7197 Raw Newbie

    My only suggestion is to have it going all the time. The longer I have mine the more uses I find for it! I absolutely love my Excaliber.

    jsorensens, I had the same concerns about the noise when I first got mine. I guess I’ve gotten used to the noise, lol. But I only go to the kitchen as needed and it is furthest away from the main living area. It really doesn’t bother anyone at all!

    topdehydrator
  • sarawsaraw Raw Newbie

    I am getting the damn excalibur. My ronco sucks. It makes all my food smell funky.

    topdehydrator
  • MeditatingMeditating Raw Newbie

    Saraw – I would suggest you do some research and reconsider your decision to purchase an Excaliber dehydrator. Excaliber has done a wonderful job marketing their product to raw foodists. Those we consider our raw food gurus promote their products and make money doing so. We steadily, and often without question, believe in and follow their recommendations. For this reason, I would bet the majority of raw foodists that own dehydrators have Exclibers. However, based on what I have read, I believe Excaliber dehydrators are very dangerous to human health. But for the way they market their product, I suspect the raw food community would have otherwise revolted against Excaliber dehydrators.

    More and more, people are demanding their governments pay attention to the scientific evidence behind plasticizers like polycarbonate and phalates. Polycarbonate is a dangerous material that has become unavoidable due to its widespread use. Polycarbonate contains a chemical called Bisphenol A (BPA) which is an endocrine disrupter and zeno-estrogen. BPA is very dangerous and this is not in dispute. There is plenty of information about it on the web. Polycarbonate leaches BPA when it comes in contact with liquid (like moist food). It does so even more when heated. I read one study where a humane society tested animals housed in polycarbonate cages that tested positive for BPA after a few weeks from just sleeping in the cages at night.

    The Excaliber dehydrator is made almost entirely of polycarbonate. You are going to be putting moist food in it and heating it for extended periods. I can’t imagine what else you could be doing to increase the liklihood that BPA will transfer to your food,your family and yourself.

    There is a much safer option for dehydrating food: stainless steel. These dehydrators are primarily marketed to meat eaters and hunters who want to make their own beef jerky and sausage. A very different crowd who I suspect need the durability of stainless steel given the fat drippings they deal with. Also, stainless steel has a more “manly” and durable appearance, making it more appealing to hunters.

    With everything I have read, the best bets we have for keeping our food and water products safe is to use glass, ceramics, and stainless steel. I looked around for a good price and finally purchased a stainless steel dehydrator on ebay using Buy It Now. I paid a fair price for it and it has performed wonderfully. I suspect the overwhelming majority of raw foodists that have dehydrators puchased Excalibers, love them, and recommend them to others without realizing their toxic impact.

    One last thing to consider: teflex sheets. I can see why these are very popular and are widely used. They too are made from plasticizers. With a stainless steel dehydrator you have the option of teflex trays, chrome trays, and stainless steel trays. I chose the stainless steel trays for the reasons mentioned herein. These trays have a 1/2” grid that doesn’t allow you to do much more than dehydrate fruits and vegetables. Whenever I make breads, crackers, etc., I use parchment or wax paper over the stainless steel grid tray. To the best of my knowledge, this is the most non-toxic alternative I have found.

    topdehydrator
  • bittbitt Raw Newbie

    Thank you for bringing that up, meditating. I wish that we as consumers did not have so much burden to research every product to make sure it is healthy. I wish companies would take more of that initiative themselves. Of course, we live in a capitalistic society.

    Do you have a link for the stainless steel one?

    Thanks!

    topdehydrator
  • MeditatingMeditating Raw Newbie

    It appears to me that there is one OEM (original equipment manufacturer) for all these stainless steel dehydrators. They all look the same and have the same technical specifications. They may cost more than the Excalibers do, but I think the stainless steel construction is worth it absent the health issues.

    I looked on my ebay account, but the history doesn’t let me go back when I purchased it. I purchased it with Buy it Now and got a much better deal than the other sites I had been looking at. Also, the 5 tray is the same model as the 10 tray. The rails for the tray are already in the dehydrator. This guy let me buy the 5 extra trays for $15, which was far less than the difference between the two units.

    I didn’t see many of them on sale today on ebay. I suspect it may because they really come out at hunting seasons, which is also close to Christmas. I started my search by just googling “stainless steel dehydrator.”

    I you want to save a little money, opt for the chrome trays and use parchment paper with them.

    Good Luck to you.

  • evergreenevergreen Raw Master

    www.harvestessentials.com carries stainless dehydrators , and lots of other equipment you may like..also both www.canningpantry.com and www.pleasanthillgrain.com have stainless.you can also compare others at www.discountjuicers.com...check www.vitalityplus1.com and www.2-life.com for great prices

  • jenny2052jenny2052 Raw Newbie

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a very small dehydrator? I have a 9-tray Excalibur, but I

  • I have a Ronco. It’s worked fine for most things EXCEPT I made some potato chips and they tasted funky and horrible (as Saraw mentioned above… yes… I did notice a funkiness to it and to some other stuff I’ve made).. but strangely, other people didn’t seem to think so. I have a teflex sheet that came with it (God knows what horrible toxins are lurking in that thing!) and that’s worked for crackers and cookies. I really hope it doesn’t heat as high as I’ve heard people on this site say. I would say no because it takes just as long to dry things as I think they would in an excalibur. Of course I’d prefer an ex, but don’t have the $$ right now, so the ronco is working just fine for the time being and think it would for those who want a cheaper alternative. If you buy one, make sure you get a teflex sheet or even 2 with it. When I make big recipes, I can only dry 1/2 of it at a time!

    Saraw – Perhaps “deep” cleaning your Ronco would help (I think you’re getting an Ex though). Once I did that, it seemed to take the funkiness away (I cleaned all the trays in soapy water, and the bottom of the tray including wiping the heating unit). After all, it had sat in my garage for about 10 years before I started using it again…

  • I was looking into getting a stockli dehydrator in the next few months when I’ve saved enough. Is that any good as I don’t imagine I’d use it alot. I also like the size and shape of it. Is the excalibur really alot better? and how big is the smallest model?x

  • I was looking into getting a stockli dehydrator in the next few months when I’ve saved enough. Is that any good as I don’t imagine I’d use it alot. I also like the size and shape of it. Is the excalibur really alot better? and how big is the smallest model?x

  • việnvviệnv Raw Newbie

    Nesco Snackmaster Pro FD-75A is the best for you, some features you have to know:

    - Temp Range: 95º-160º F

    - Trays: 5, max trays: 12

    - Wattage: 700 watts

    - Warranty : 1 year limited warranty

    If you want more choice, you can read some reviews about good dehydrators in here. Good luck !

     

    topdehydrator
  • việnvviệnv Raw Newbie

    Nesco Snackmaster Pro FD-75A is the best for you, some features you have to know:

    - Temp Range: 95º-160º F

    - Trays: 5, max trays: 12

    - Wattage: 700 watts

    - Warranty : 1 year limited warranty

    If you want more choice, you can read some reviews about good dehydrators in here. Good luck !

     

  • sarahfsarahf Raw Newbie

    I chose a stainless steel dehydrator for a couple of reasons.   One is the concern about leaching plastic, the second is that the stainless steel ones are in components, so if something breaks, like the heating element or the fan, it can be repaired or replaced.  I plan on using this dehydrator for the rest of my days. So though it was over 500$  I consider it a real investment.  I have been using teflex, but now I am going to reconsider after reading the above post.

    I bought the dehydrator from the Sausage Maker.  It has performed well and I use it all the time. It has ten trays.  I also do a lot of fruit dehydrating during the fall harvest.  That is why I bought such a massive and durable one.  I have integrated it into the kitchen design so that it vents well and the kitties can't use it as their favorite napping spot. (yuck)

     

    If I didn't need such a large one, I would buy the 5 tray version from the same company.  That would work nicely for the countertop.

  • ClaireTClaireT Raw Master

    I like the stainless steel for the same reasons, Sarah, especially leaching plastic. There is enough of that in life already. I even have my giant 5 gallon water jugs in glass for the same reason (those were hard to come by). 

    topdehydrator
  • alc49alc49 Raw Newbie

    If you have concerns about this, you should also take a look at the Excalibur dehydrator and its use of Toxic Polycarbonate (BPA). I purchased one and returned it the same week because of this.... I finaly purchased the STX INTERNATIONAL Dehydra STX-DEH-1200W-XLS 10-Tray Stainless Steel Digital Food Dehydrator, 1200-watt off amazon. It was more expensive but worth it... I especially like that it is ALL stainless, has 10 trays, the heating elliment detatches so you can easily clean it from the front or back and all of the shelves come out as well. It appears to dehydrate better than the excalibur 9 tray as well.

    topdehydrator
  • alc49alc49 Raw Newbie

    BTW, excaliber now has an all stainless model but it is $1,000.

    topdehydrator
  • Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric food dehydrator reviews
    With a transparent that allow you look down through the 4 drying trays see how your product is dehydrating. This allows better control of the finished product and a more flavorful fruit roll-up, Jerky, as well as jerked chicken or beef. So, you can see this food dehydrator’s personal and with a few extra Allows you a full range of preserved products whether they are proved, vegetable, and meats as well as poultry or even fish for that matter.

    All this is facilitated by a bottom mounted heating and then you which provides the precise amount of drying to each and every tray, which gives you a uniform and consistent quality 1st time every time you use the Presto 6300.

    Open Country Dehydrator Trailmaster II 600 Watt 

    Open Country. One of the best names in quality food dehydrators has come up with another wonderful addition to your kitchen with their Trail Master II. With 600 Watts of power and a fully adjustable temperature range, which gives, you complete control over the dehydrating process. You now can drive vegetables, as well as meats, fish, and poultry to help preserve the produce you bring home from the grocery store or from your home garden. Meets can now last longer without freezing and the associated freezer burn, which often makes these products have a funny taste and detracts from the recipe.

     

     

  • KNsLJUVShDKNsLJUVShD Raw Newbie
    edited October 2016

    Nesco is good but I also like the budget presco dehydrator models. They work great with a variety of stuff... we use them for jerky and all of our gardens food as we typically grow quite a bit more than what we can eat right away

    TammiTrue
  • jamesjjamesj Raw Newbie

    The Maxkon dehydrator at Crazysales is one of the most popular food dehydrators on the market, I think. Although is uses a stackable tray design, with its top mounted fan the performance is still exceptional, thoroughly and evenly drying food with ease. The fan is a beefy 700 watt unit, powerful enough to handle the stacked design.

    The Maxkon has 5 drying trays (but is expandable to 12 with optional, sold separately “Add-A-Trays”), and has an adjustable thermostat that ranges from 95 degrees to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Another feature we like about this model from Crazysales is that it comes with a handy reference labeling system that shows you the optimal drying temperature for specific foods.

  • jeanjjeanj Raw Newbie
    edited November 2016

    if you are looking for quality and money is no problem then i suggest the Excalibur 3926TB Dehydrator 

    • 95 - 155 in temperature  
    • up to 9 trays
    • and uses 900 watts

    but then again there are lots of other choices to look into take a look at this to help you find a good dehydrator since each person might have a different opinion

     

  • jacksanjacksan Raw Newbie

    There's inexpensive ones out there for sure. If you're just getting started dehydrating, you could even practice with your oven on a warming temperature setting with the door cracked open. Keep a thermometer there to monitor that the temp stays nice and low. Just to get familiar with the concept of dehydrating. Raw Crackers, Fruit Leathers, ETC. You don't want to spend big $$$ if you're not even sure this will be a good fit for you. If you already know you love dehydrating, I'd encourage looking for a used stainless steel one. You won't look back. Earlier this year, I saw a used Raw Rutes dehydrator (the same model I have) going on ebay for right around $280. I think it had a couple dents or something but still. There's others on there too. Deals are out there! :D

    TammiTrue
  • LindaLinda Raw Newbie

    Hi bitt,

    Yes. You can purchase good dehydrators under $100 but you might miss few features which come in high-end dehydrators. But still, you get the job with $100 dehydrators as well. 

    First thing, you need to decide what are your other requirements? If budget is the only concern? or do you need stainless steel features? there are many things you should consider. I recommend you to read our dehydrator guidelines here.  If in case you are looking for dehydrators under $100 you can check this post

     

    My suggestion don't buy Ronco dehydrators. They are not that good. You can read my review on my blog about ronco dehydrators as well. 

    ClaireT
  • lindyshellylindyshelly Raw Newbie
    edited November 12

    Recently my husband bought a Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro food dehydrator for me. It's cost near about $70. It works fine. Its features, performance, and ease of use is brilliant.

    ClaireT
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