Food Dehydrators - What Choices, What Options?
There are a lot of food dehydrators out there. Here are a few simple, and basic guidelines to assist in making your selections.
Entry Level Food Dehydrators. Entry level food dehydrators still dehydrate effectively. They are generally characterized by lower price, smaller size, and slightly (and sometimes significantly) longer drying times. Keep it in mind that a lower priced food dehydrator is not necessarily a poorer quality food dehydrator, but it will likely have lower power and fewer features. This might be the type of dehydrator to consider if space is a serious consideration, or if the intended uses will be undemanding and infrequent. Prices of such units are usually very attractive, and are often below fifty or sixty dollars.
Mid Level Food Dehydrators. The mid-range dehydrators are slightly more expensive than the entry level food dehydrators, but they are also generally more powerful, and have greater capacities. They tend to be a little more user friendly, and are better for slightly more ambitious dehydrating and food storage projects. Watch for higher wattages which translate into faster drying times. Expect to be spending in the sixty to one hundred dollar range.
Full Featured Home Dehydrators. To go to a full featured home dehydrator is not a matter of simply adding "bells and whistles". Yes, that dehydrator is likely to be a dehydrator with more features -- automatic timers, digital settings, and so on, but those features often translate into faster, more efficient, and more even dehydrating. These are usually the dehydrators for those who recognize the worth of food dehydrating, and plan to make use of them on a more frequent and regular basis. Their features make it easier for you to fine tune your dehydrating with precise temperature and timing controls. These are also great machines for those who dabble in food dehydrating, but who want quality, speed and simplicity when they do make use of them. You'll likely be spending $100 or more.
Commercial Food Dehydrators. Here you will find food dehydrators that are built for durability. Stainless steel construction is common. As might be expected, they are designed for continuous, heavy duty use. They may not have many more features than some of the better home models, but their life expectancy is much longer when put to this kind of demanding usage. These food dehydrators, however, are not inexpensive, generally costing several hundred dollars. At the present time, Store-It Foods does not carry such models.
Watch for the features you want. Most dehydrator manufacturers circulate air through the center of the food dehydrator. This means all trays will have a hole in the center to permit this circulation. An inconvenience? Many people do not find it so, but some might. Excalibur Dehydrators have a patented system that eliminates this need.
The number of temperature settings and wattage influence drying times. Will you be doing enough dehydrating for that to make a significant difference? Will you be doing lots of dehydrating? The possibility of adding trays and significantly increasing capacity might be worthy of serious consideration.
In other words, determine your needs as best you can, and then select a food dehydrator that will meet those needs. If some doubt remains regarding those needs, it may be wise to go to the next level in dehydrators to better assure that you will have a unit that will satisfy you for more than a few short weeks.