As a homeowner, buying a food dehydrator is one of the best decisions you will ever make – next to installing solar and smart home automation systems. As you already know, a great food dehydrator is essential for your home.
Not only will it help you dry your food but also it will extend the shelf life of the food as well as eliminate wastage. The problem is the market is currently flooded with models from several brands around the world. Choosing any one of these models is difficult especially if this is your first purchase.
So, how do you know which food dehydrator is good for you?
To help you purchase the best food dehydrator available in 2018, we have compiled a guide that includes factors you should consider before making your purchase as well as useful tips.
What to Consider Before Buying the Best Food Dehydrator?
Type of food dehydrator
There are two major types, namely:
- Horizontal flow food dehydrator
- Vertical flow food dehydrator
Horizontal flow food dehydrator
Also referred to as a shelf tray food dehydrator, it works just like a conventional oven. Simply put, the source of heat is located at the back and heat is distributed in and around the shelves allowing for consistency during drying.
The heat is able to dehydrate food at a stable rate which makes it the best choice for dehydrating meat. As the easiest to use, all you need is to arrange your food on the shelves and turn on the dehydrator. Compared to the vertical flow model, it’s large in size and the most expensive.
Vertical flow food dehydrator
Also referred to as a stackable unit food dehydrator, the source of heat can be located at the top or at the base of the dehydrator. As the most affordable option, it usually does not allow the spread of heat evenly in the dehydrator. To counter this, there are models fitted with a fan which helps to improve heat flow. The vertical flow model is suitable for dehydrating fruits and vegetables. If you are planning on dehydrating meat or jerky with this model, you will be in for a long wait.
Ease of use
Food dehydration is supposed to be easy. Thankfully, there are available models that help to ensure this is possible. In order to ensure that you don’t switch shelves around during dehydration, look for a model that works with the type of food you would like to dehydrate.
For instance, if you are dehydrating fruits or vegetables, the vertical flow food dehydrator is the ideal model. The good news is that you can still use the horizontal flow model too. Since the source of heat is at the back and the shelves are laid horizontally, heat will flow in and out while drying your food.
With the right model, you don’t have to keep on checking the progress of dehydration. Just set everything and walk away until it’s done.
Let’s face it. No one likes what comes after using a kitchen appliance – cleaning. When shopping for a food dehydrator, it is important to keep in mind how much effort will go towards cleaning the device. If the number of parts to clean are too many, then you can opt for other models. There are things you need to keep in mind especially when it comes to cleaning.
Are the parts dishwasher safe? Where is the fan located – top, back or bottom? Taking into account all the above considerations will ensure that you get to purchase a model that is easy to clean.
How much food would you like to dehydrate in one go? How much space is available on your kitchen counter to store the dehydrator? Is the available space close to a power outlet? Buying a smaller model means it will occupy less space in your kitchen but it won’t hold much. The good news is that it will be easier to store a small size dehydrator.
If you opt for a larger model, you will get to dehydrate a large batch at once. Problem is it will occupy more space on your kitchen counter and when it comes to storage; it will prove to be hard but doable. If you want to dehydrate more food, choose a larger model but have enough space in your kitchen. If you want to dehydrate a small batch for snacking, opt for a smaller model.
When shopping for a dehydrator, there are a few extra features that will make a huge difference. One of them is the auto shutoff feature. If you are dehydrating a large batch of food, you can take time to complete other chores inside or outside your home. With the auto shut off, the food dehydrator will shutoff once the process is complete.
Another feature you should look out for is the thermostat. Since different foods are best dried at different temperatures, food dehydrators with a thermostat can allow you to adjust the temperature to achieve the best results.
Lastly, you have the timer which works together with the auto shut off feature. Simply put, it will alert you when dehydration is complete.
Every model is priced differently. Prices can range from a few bucks to over $600 for commercial size dehydrators. Before buying a food dehydrator, you need to budget. This will eliminate the chances of overspending. In addition, it will ensure that you don’t break the bank and you will get to go home with the best food dehydrator.
There you have it – an informative guide to help you purchase the best food dehydrator. Just to recap some of the points highlighted above. When shopping for a food dehydrator for home use, consider the type – vertical flow or horizontal flow, ease of use, capacity, convenience, extra features, and size.