You're in the right place to start drilling down into the specifics of your next purchase.
There's a wide variety of different brands that fall between the two main categories of vertical and horizontal flow units.
As with any area of product you've got some companies that are well known for providing quality units and parts, always at a price!
It's good to keep in mind all the way through your buying decisions what you actually need.
We discussed already the range of extra bells and whistles that dehydrators can have.
These include details like variable temperatures, fancy timers and digital displays among others. Some of these are justifiable additions to a standard dehydrator but you can also fall into the trap of buying a shiny unit with a lot of extras that you just never use.
While we go over the details of these different units and our own recommendation it's on you to keep present in your mind what you are looking for. If you aren't sure just yet make sure you take a look at our article describing the (hyperlink) differences between a vertical and horizontal flow dehydrator.
Considerations of the kinds of items you want to dehydrate and the variety and volume you expect to need to put through your unit should also be at the front of your mind.
We also recommend taking a look at some of the many University published guides on dehydrating food such as this article provided by the University of Georgia.
With that out of the way let's get started and look at some units. These recommendations come from extensive reviews and a lot of reliable accounts of personal use and will cover both vertical and horizontal flow units.
Cabela's is a fantastic brand when it comes to dehydrators. The Cabela's Commercial Food Dehydrator is a serious unit backed by a well known company. You're looking at a high price tag for this unit but if you have serious need to dehydrate a wide range of products at a high volume then you can't go wrong with this item.
There's some key features we'll go over in bullet points to give you the scoop.
- Wheeled base – easy to relocated and shift around a busy kitchen
- Fifty six square feet of storage! A mammoth amount of tray space to let you have a wide range of items on the go
- Easy slide out trays – effortlessly take out and put in trays to keep your unit at maximum capacity all the time. It's a great consideration for something like a professional kitchen such as a gourmet restaurant
- 24 racks total – in addition to being easy to remove an impressive 24 racks means you can have a huge potential for varied products in the unit at a single time. This makes it unbeatable for experimentation. You can make small alterations to a single recipe and put them all in for processing at once, saving a huge amount of time as you work out the kinks on that perfect product
- All digital – thermostat, timer and digital controls. Perfect accuracy in controlling temperature
- Auto shut off – once your timer and temperature are registered as completed the unit will turn itself off. That's invaluable for keeping it efficient. Try filling a full tray and coming into the kitchen in the morning stress free with a full set of perfectly dried racks
- Interior lighting – it's easy to see all the way inside the unit in any lighting condition thanks to its interior lighting system. Small quality of life features like this really bring a product up and Cabela truly provide in this case
This is a serious piece of kit. If you're playing around and dipping a toe into the world of dehydrating this might not be for you. If you're a head chef in charge of a busy kitchen and you need a wide range of items processed fast then look no further.
The L’equip 528 Expandable Dehydrator is a very interesting unit with some novel technology behind it.
It comes in at a lower price range than the monstrous Cabela's and is very well suited for a family kitchen full of food enthusiasts.
One of the most interesting points about this is the airflow. It's actually a vertical flow unit with a twist. While the fan and heating element are located at the bottom of the unit there is a specific channel located right in the middle of the units base that directs the air evenly across all levels of the unit
That means it's a vertical flow piece that avoids the usual problems these dehydrators have. Neat.
Let's talk features.
- 500 watt gives a great range and maximum temperature. No transferring to an oven with this one.
- Six trays in total giving twelve square feet of tray space for your foodstuffs. We find this is a perfect amount for a family unit that will be using this regularly
- A ten year warranty! L'equip products are manufactured by L'Chef, a consistent brand and company with some great customer support. An extensive warranty like this is proof of confidence in their dehydrator
- A fantastic instructional manual that includes some great starter recipes and advice on drying items that are specific to the unit and its capabilities
As mentioned above this is a fantastic unit for a flat or family house. If you live with a handful of other foodies and you're itching to try out a range of recipes but on a smaller scale you'll be overjoyed with this unit.It's great construction quality with a fantastic warranty and a novel way of avoiding vertical flow pitfalls via that ingenious air channel. Fantastic.
We've gone over some units now that are a little on the pricey side. They're fantastic products if you need that size, power and the advanced features but what about the one person wanting to get into the scene without breaking the bank?
We've got you covered. Look no further than this recent offering by Presto. A great company with a very accessible product.
The Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator is a great small scale unit that offers a cheap way to get into the world of dehydrating food. Don't let the price tag fool you, this is a perfectly functioning and serviceable unit.
You do need to be realistic about capabilities though. This is right at the low end of the price range for units we are happy to recommend and that means less space and less features. Let's go over what this unit can do for you.
- Unquestionable value for money while still working well. We won't recommend products we aren't confident in. Presto's machine does the core job at a knockout price
- See through cover on the top makes it simple to view the progress of your drying
- Storage is simple – the cord winds up into the base and the trays nest together for more compact storage of the unit and its innards• Four drying trays that can be expanded up to eight
You won't be having any advanced features like digital timers and auto shut offs with this. You'll need to know the recipes you want to work with and time them yourself.
What you will get is a dehydrator that does the job and has a little room to expand the tray count. It's a fantastic place to get started.
Once you use this for a while and try some recipes you'll know well what you need more. It might be more tray space or some features like auto shut off to let you put items in and leave it while you go to work safe in the knowledge you won't overdo things.
If you're still unsure about what you need and how much this is a great place to get to grips with dehydrating.