There are many brands and models of food dehydrator available in the market so which one should you choose? Basically, food dehydrator should serve the most basic function- it should allow you to preserve food (i.e. vegetable, fruit, and herb) to be used later. It should also be practical in size and economical. Also, consider its performance and durability. Here are 5 quick tips on how to choose the best food dehydrator:
1. Always choose high quality material
High quality plastic makes the dehydrator durable and long lasting. Low grade plastic tends to dissolve or melt over time and the fumes emitted can be dangerous as it seeps into food. Whenever possible, go for brand names like Nesco, Excalibur, and L’Equip. Trusted brand names are usually tested for safety and will usually last longer.
2. Choose dehydrator with smooth air flow and even heating
Air flow (vertical or horizontal) used to be a major concern because it affects heat and air distribution. But, I have seen improvement in recent models in terms of design and air flow. Most models today are designed to give you even heat distribution. Some of the people I know are worried about mixture in taste of food if you choose a dehydrator with vertical air flow. If you’d ask me, I’ll say that’s not really a problem because the manufacturers have done their homework and they try to come up with better designs to minimize taste mixture during heating.
3. Shape is a matter of preference
Should you go for a round-shaped or square-shaped dehydrator? That’s the question I get asked very often. Well, I’m sure you’ve read different reviews about how square shaped seems to be better than round ones. Well, I’d say yes; and no. In a way, square-shaped dehydrators have larger surface and you can dry more food at any one time. But, if you are not planning to use dehydrator to make large batches of fruits or beef jerky, then shape doesn’t really matter. A round model can work just fine. Choose a model that you like and don’t let the shape be the main eliminating factor.
4. Go for a suitable size- neither too big nor small
Again, size relates to shape and as I’ve said above, it’s a matter of preference. Usually, you don’t need really large dehydrator if you are planning to make family-size snack portions. Bear in mind that the larger the area, the more heat or energy you’ll need to dry food evenly.
5. Choose a dehydrator with temperature control
Different types of food need different temperature to dry fully. A thermostat allows you to adjust temperature accordingly. Also, you got to consider the food quantity (the larger the quantity, the higher the energy capacity you need). As a rule of thumb, 500 watt should work well with 4 to 12-tray capacity.
Generally, a good food dehydrator should have all the qualities above. I’ve reviewed some models and you should check them out (Best Value for Money Food Dehydrator and Best All-In-One Food Dehydrator).
Here are also other tips for you: 6 Reasons Why You Need a Food Dehydrator and Simple Tips on How To Use Food Dehydrator.