What to Look For in Buying a Food Dehydrator

Buying a food dehydrator is a great investment. Food dehydrators can be used to dry vegetables, fruits, and meats. They can also be used for drying and storing herbs and for creating materials for craft projects. They are great ways to have inexpensive, healthy snacks around the house that can save you both time and money.

Before buying a food dehydrator there are several things you will want to take into consideration. The type and size of food dehydrator you will need, the price, the tray and fan design, along with drying area, thermostat, and wattage.

Tips for choosing your food dehydrator:

- Drying area- How large is the drying area? Drying food can take anywhere from 12-36 hours. You should look for a unit with as many trays as you think you’ll need, and those trays should be large. This way, bulk foods can be dried at once.

- Thermostat- A thermostat is essential for obtaining high quality dried foods. The thermostat should be adjustable so that the dehydrator does not dry at a constant high heat. Doing so could cause the goods inside to dry out quickly on the outside, while leaving the inside soft and mushy and susceptible to moisture and bacteria growth.

- Wattage- The larger the food dehydrator, the more watts or energy it should take. The more wattage it takes, the more powerful the drying cycle, which allows for a faster and more thorough drying cycle.

- Fans- Do not even consider a food dehydrator that doesn’t have a fan. The fan circulates the air around which keeps the food at an even drying temperature. Look for food dehydrators that have the fan mounted on the top or side. Food drips during the dehydration process, and if the fan is located on the bottom of the unit, it can cause a mess. It’s also more difficult to clean.

- Walls- Metal and plastic walls are better than wood walls for both safety and for cleaning. You don’t want a wood appliance running for long amounts of time, and you don’t want to lose your food or your home to a fire.

- Tray type- Some food dehydrators have trays that slide in and out of grooves placed on the wall of the unit. Others have stackable trays. The types with the trays that slide in and out are nice if you are always going to be drying the same amount of food. The stackable trays offer the advantage of being able to use only the trays you need. Extra trays can be removed if not needed. You can also generally purchase more trays if you find yourself needing more than are provided.

Additional tips for choosing your food dehydrator:

1. Price- It is a good idea when buying your first food dehydrator to stay in the mid-range price level. You don’t want a cheap dehydrator that can tear up easily. However, you also do not want the biggest, most expensive one on the market until you know that you are going to use it on a regular basis.
2. Warranty- Look for a dehydrator that comes with an extended warranty. Even if you have to pay a little extra for this feature, it’s preferable to having your food dehydrator fail within the first two years of use.
3. Review and Research- Research customer reviews of the food dehydrator you are interested in buying. With the Internet, consumers who have had a good product experience are more likely to post their good reviews, and people who have had a bad experience will definitely post their review. By researching and comparing reviews, you can save yourself the trouble of wondering if you got the best deal possible.

Consider purchasing a recipe guide to go along with your food dehydrator. As you become more familiar with your food dehydrator you’ll feel more comfortable creating your own recipes.