Suggestions for the best dehydrators

Hi everyone!

I'm looking to purchase a dehydrator so I can dry out my herbs and some garden produce (mainly tomatoes.) I'm fed up of having trays everywhere, and I can never quite get the temperature right when I try to dry things in my gas oven.

Does anyone here have any experience with dehydrating food? If so which model of dehydrator would you recommend for a reasonable price?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!


  • DeeperEating
    DeeperEating Posts: 63 ✭✭✭

    I LOVE my NESCO American Harvest dehydrator. I don't go wild with it (small batches of fruit leather, herbs, jerly etc) and it's not the biggest one out there so if you want to dehydrate big batches it may not be the perfect one for you, but it's worked well for me. It was a gift so I'm not sure how much it was when it was purchased for me 8 or so years ago. But now it looks to be around $75 new these days.

    I like that it's square and fairly short so it fits well in the space I have to store it and fits ok just left out on a counter to do it's thing.

  • anita.toler73
    anita.toler73 Posts: 24 ✭✭✭

    I also have a Nesco dehydrator - I think I paid about $60 about 7 years ago. It has 5 trays for lots of room and has a temperature gauge in case you want to have it higher for jerky or lower so you don't ruin medicinal qualities of herbs. Mine is stackable and round so you can take trays out if you only have one or two. I love it!

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,541 admin

    I have had an Excaliber for decades... love it. 9 trays, has low temps for drying and keeping nutrition and vitality in. Just simple and easy.

  • chimboodle04
    chimboodle04 Posts: 286 ✭✭✭

    We have been dehydrating for a few years now and just upgraded to a 9 tray Excalibur this year - absolutely love it!

  • MaxFax
    MaxFax Posts: 10 ✭✭✭

    I just have to put a plug in for my dehydrator, which really uses the sun oven I have owned for many years now. The same racks that can be used to bake cookies works perfectly to dehydrate. I leave the door cracked and avoid direct sun. Within a few days everything is dried nicely and naturally.

  • Gardennan
    Gardennan Posts: 47 ✭✭✭

    I have a Hamilton Beech 32100A digital dehydrator. It is rectangular has 5 trays has a 48 hr timer and temperatures a can range from 100*-160*. I've had it for several years and it works great and it's only $49.00 on Amazon!

  • merlin44
    merlin44 Posts: 426 ✭✭✭✭

    Excalibur is excellent, makes yogurt as well.

  • sarah121
    sarah121 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    Thank you everyone for all your wonderful suggestions. I'm just headed off to Amazon to check out prices and compare! I'll definitely report back once I've purchased and tried out the winning model!

  • sarah121
    sarah121 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    Well to my surprise, my partner went ahead and purchased a VonShef! Although not the model I had in mind, the first trial went rather well. We made a nice batch of dehydrated tomatoes which we basted with a small amount of olive oil and oregano. They were delicious! The only problem was that they took about 8 hours to dry and only 5 minutes to eat! I have a feeling we're going to end up with a very large electricity bill!

    Does anyone have any experience dehydrating mushrooms? I'm looking at trying this with Reishi. I've made a tincture with it in the past, but my new idea is to dry and then powder. I would appreciate any tips.

  • Karyn Pennington
    Karyn Pennington Posts: 71 ✭✭✭

    Be sure to check Craig's List, etc. - I just found a $250 Excalibur rarely used because of lack of time for $100. Thinking of getting it as I keep hearing it's best to have a second one for onions and garlic. I did onions in the oven this year and didn't find it that bad, but would be nice to set it outside to run.

  • sarah121
    sarah121 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    @Karyn Pennington I never thought to look there. That sounds like a really good investment.

  • sarah121
    sarah121 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    @Leslie Carl thanks for sharing this valuable resource. It never even occurred to me to make my own! I must admit I'm not very handy in the woodwork department, but I'm sure this would be of interest to my husband who is always on the look out for a new project.

  • silvertipgrizz
    silvertipgrizz Posts: 1,990 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have an excalabur and I am pleased with it but the only one I have to compare it too is a much cheaper one I had a long time ago that I did not like.

    A special note on dehydrating:

    I burnt my hands to the point I though I was in H.....

    My fault....I had loads of jalo's and did not wear gloves. I had no idea there was no way to stop the burn once it set in but to have good ice pads and until recently I had seen no help in sight. Some one stated that mustard helped. I saw that when my hands were on fire and it only helped minimally and only temporarily. I do not know why it worked for her and not when I used it unless I didn't apply enough and keep doing that until it had more time to work.

    Wear gloves! Someone had even written that they called their local Emergency Room and all they were told was that they would have to ride it out. At some point we will figure it out and if anyone knows how to put this fire out please post it.

    The best to you all.

  • JOBallinger
    JOBallinger Posts: 15 ✭✭✭

    I have an Excalibur and also a LEM which is so similar I tend to think they are made by the same company. The LEM has one more tray than the LEM. I bought both of mine used on Craig's List and they both work wonderfully.

  • sarah121
    sarah121 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    @silvertipgrizz what a horrific experience for you! Thanks for sharing this story as it's such an easy thing to do. When I very first started out I made a "deep heat" salve with chillies. The salve itself turned out really well, but during the making process I neglected to wear any gloves. Despite washing my hands over and over, I just couldn't get rid of that chilli! Although the capsaicin didn't burn my fingers, it did get up my nose and in my eyes as I had scratched them. The sensation of heat lasted for ages. This is NOT a nice herbal experience to have! I guess the moral of the story is to always have protection when working with powerful chillies!

  • Annie Kate
    Annie Kate Posts: 680 ✭✭✭✭

    I know it's way too late@silvertipgrizz and @sarah121, but in case it happens again, high fat yoghurt helps quite well and banana peels are OK-ish.

    I had this when my littles were small and my 4 year old had to change the baby's poopy diaper because I didn't dare touch her bottom with my burning hands.

  • Annie Kate
    Annie Kate Posts: 680 ✭✭✭✭

    After reading Marjory's book I realize that I have way too many good weeds that could be medicinal that I keep composting, and I needed a new dehydrator for fruit and herbs anyhow because my current one has no temperature setting and keeps getting too hot. So I just bought a 9 tray Excalibur. Thanks for the recommendations.

  • Annie Kate
    Annie Kate Posts: 680 ✭✭✭✭

    And I've just started using it--lovage is the first thing. We use it in soups and it is scrumptious.

  • frogvalley
    frogvalley Posts: 675 ✭✭✭✭

    I bought an Excalibur at a William Sonoma Outlet for a really great price and my husband loves it. I love the pineapple bits he does! He runs it overnight in the kitchen in the winter, so it takes the chill off when we get up.

  • Annie Kate
    Annie Kate Posts: 680 ✭✭✭✭

    So, really stupid question:

    On the Excalibur with timer, which way do you turn the timer? Is it like a kitchen timer where you start at zero and go UP through 1,2,3, and so on until you get where you want to be, or is it like a dryer where you start at the high number and turn DOWN until you get where you want to be?