View Full Version : what type (brand) of dehydrator to buy?

06-23-2014, 11:23
Hello all,

I live in CA and I do a lot of the back country here. I am currently looking for a Dehydrator and I did try searching the forums on which one to buy, however only 3 threads show up for dehydrator and that really sucks. I have looked on amazon and noticed a lot of them out there. I am wanting to do a few things.

1. dehydrate my own jerky. I mean strips of meat not paste, I eat a lot since it is a high source of protein.
2. dehydrate fruit
3. dehydrate other meats
4. my wife wants to make her own fruit roll ups.
5. start dehydrating sauces.

Any help would be appreciated since I really don't know what I am doing. I have researched a few trays I keep seeing Nesco and Excalibur. What are your suggestions?

06-23-2014, 11:37
First, search Whiteblaze from Google using this syntax: dehydrator site:whiteblaze.net

You'll find lots of threads.

I have a 5-tray Excalibur dehydrator that I have used for everything you have listed, and more. I've been very pleased with it.

Tipi Walter
06-23-2014, 11:37
TSM 5 tray stainless steel with 5 Excalibur silicone sheets---



Sure it's expensive but it'll save thousands of dollars in food costs if you go out alot---if not just stick with those little round plastic jobs. Plus, serious home drying will significantly lower your overall packed food weight.

06-23-2014, 11:38
Are you pretty certain you will use it regularly?

Excalibur. I got the 5 tray with thermostat and timer, wish I would have gotten the 9 tray, not that much more money.

Not sure you will use it, just want to try it out and budget is a big deal?

Nesco gets good reviews, but I've never used one. If you end up liking it, my bet is you will eventually want an Excalibur.

06-23-2014, 12:08
We do just fine with our $59 square Nesco. Maybe we will get an Excalibur someday, but right now, don't see any reason to!

Tipi Walter
06-23-2014, 12:49
We do just fine with our $59 square Nesco. Maybe we will get an Excalibur someday, but right now, don't see any reason to!

It only matters if you're drying enough in a single week to supply you for an upcoming 3 week trip. The bigger the trays the better. And the Excalibur silicone sheets are excellent as I use them 90% for everything including soups, smoothies, tomatoes, bananas, etc. Using the sheets keeps me from having to clean the wire frame trays, always a hassle.

Rocket Jones
06-23-2014, 14:27
I used my Nesco for many years. The biggest complaint is that I had to custom cut parchment paper (round with a hole in the middle), which was a pain. Got an Excalibur 9 tray last year and love it!

06-23-2014, 15:12
I have a Nesco and a giant Excalibur 9 tray. I use the Nesco much more frequently. We have 8 trays for it, fruit rollup inserts and tray liners and it can easily dehydrate everything we need for a week in the woods with 6 people in just a few days. It fits comfortably on my counter and stores easily later. Not knocking the Excalibur at all. For doing Jerky it reigns supreme. But for dried fruits, veggies and proteins the Nesco is my go to. But you're going to want more trays so search for a used one on ebay or craigslist. I scored mine with all the trays for $30 on Craigslist. Suhweeet!

02-11-2015, 17:13
Nesco is cheap but works just fine. I've combined trays from 2 different Nesco stackable dehydrators to make a big tower of trays and one unit works just fine to dry all those trays on the few occasions that I manage to fill them all.

If you don't fill all the trays, put them in the stack, anyway as the Nesco stackables actually work better when more trays are stacked on.

02-11-2015, 17:40
I think I will purchase this one: $99


It has special inserted covers for the trays. It provides for 12 trays. It has the top-mounted fan. It has 95-160 F temperature range. The timer will turn it OFF.

It doesn't take up all the counter space in a small kitchen.

02-11-2015, 18:15
I have a 5 tray nesco that I added trays to and paid 44$ for. It works fine.

02-12-2015, 12:25
I found 2 Nescos and a Mr.Coffee (Yes...they make dehydrators, too!) dehydrator at yard sales for a total cost of $12. Added a $3 Harbor Freight timer. All work fine.

You can combine the trays from 2 Nescos and run just one unit for big batches.

I bought some plastic liners on-line for a few bucks to make the fruit leathers. Total investment about $20.

02-12-2015, 12:43
For those on a budget, you can make great jerky without a food dehydrator using your oven. Here is how:


Just Bill
02-12-2015, 15:45
Nesco for me- excaliber is better but I don't have one. I am busy saving for one of these- http://harvestright.com/home-freeze-dryer-machine/

http://www.amazon.com/Nesco-American-FD-80-Square-Shaped-Dehydrator/dp/B00179DCCQ/ref=sr_1_12?s=appliances&ie=UTF8&qid=1423770134&sr=1-12&keywords=nesco+dehydrator (http://www.amazon.com/Nesco-American-FD-80-Square-Shaped-Dehydrator/dp/B00179DCCQ/ref=sr_1_12?s=appliances&ie=UTF8&qid=1423770134&sr=1-12&keywords=nesco+dehydrator)



02-12-2015, 17:40
Then, check this out: $79

Farr Away
02-13-2015, 14:08
I have one of the Nesco FD-80 square dehydrators and really like it.

I bought 2 extra trays and fruit leather insert trays with it, but I made my own clean-a-screen sheets from plastic craft canvas. (YMMV and I wouldn't be surprised if somebody posted to tell me I'm going to die because the canvas isn't food-grade. I don't know if it is or not, but I can't see paying $5 for a clean-a-screen sheet when I bought the craft canvas for 30 cents a sheet. Also, the clean-a-screens weren't available when I purchased my dehydrator. Anyway, make your own decision; I'm happy with mine.)

Depending on what I'm drying, I've also just used parchment paper instead.


02-20-2017, 10:20
Bringing this back from the dead to say I bought a cheaper unit and hated it. Returned it to Amazon within 2 weeks and dropped the cash on a 9 tray Excalibur and never looked back. This thing is the KING!!!

02-20-2017, 10:27
I have 2 round Nesco dehydrators and they work just fine for me. I would like to have a square one just because the round can be a little awkward sometimes but I have learned to navigate it and even though I dehydrate pretty regularly, I still can't justify an excaliber. Plus I like being able to add on trays if I need more or less at a time.

03-10-2017, 23:26
If going with a cheaper dehydrator, make sure it has a fan. Some of the really cheap ones only have a passive heating coil in the bottom and they don't dry near as fast or efficient. The expandability of the nesco type is hard to beat. People sure do love those Excaliburs though.

03-10-2017, 23:47
all depends on how much food and how frequently you want to load it up. also, how much counter space do you have? I own a 9 tray excalibur which currently resides in storage but for various reasons. most notably I switched to a home freeze dryer unit instead. I always felt "bad" about running the excalibur only partially full but eventually got over that. I will still use it come this fall for dehydrating tomato sauce and making jerky. And then it has to live on my dining room table when I haul it out of storage. Meanwhile my Freeze dryer has it's own "kitchen cart" and runs pretty constant right now.

Unless you are doing huge batches it may be best to get an expandable Nesco type thing.