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Store This, Not That! > Blog > Food Storage > Q&A: Which is the best dehydrator?
January 18th, 2012

Q&A: Which is the best dehydrator?

I get asked quite frequently “which is the best dehydrator?” And why not? There are so many wonderful things you can do with a dehydrator and they are so easy to use and there are so many to choose from.   Plus, when paired with a good Food Saver you can store your dehydrated products for a very long time making your own food storage! So how do you know which dehydrator you should buy?

Well in a perfect world these are the things you want to look for in a dehydrator…

  1. The dryer not on the top or bottom.  You see a dehydrator works by blowing warm dry air on the food allowing the water to evaporate from the product.  However, if you have the blower or dryer on the top or the bottom it won’t dry your food evenly.
  2. A dial that allows you to control the heat.
  3. A built-in on off switch

Um…so those are really the only things you want to look for in a dehydrator perfect world…where price is not an issue.  Fortunately, there is a dehydrator that has this…unfortunately it is only in one brand-The Excalibur.  Sounds fancy just in the name, doesn’t it?  There is a fabulous lady in my neighborhood that I work with who actually has a top dryer dehydrator (like a Nesco) and a back/side dryer (Excalibur) and put them to the test to see which worked best.  Well it isn’t surprising that the Excalibur dehydrator dried the food in a faster amount of time and created a better product that was evenly dried.

Now, if you have a Nesco (like me) don’t fear!  Nesco’s dehydrator (a top drying dehydrator) works-good enough.  Especially, if you’re not an avid dehydrating family.  However, I will admit that I am saving my pennies for an Excalibur.  Why?  Because my eyes have been opened to all the things you can do with a dehydrator…and honestly, it’s amazing. (READ: more great posts and videos on this to come!)

So in the meantime- if you’re looking for a great deal on an Excalibur you can

  1. buy it off Amazon-let’s be honest Amazon is always cheap plus you don’t pay sales tax or shipping.
  2. if you’re in Utah-I have seen them at Costcos in the Summer
  3. you can always check garage sales, family members, and ksl classifieds (if you’re in Utah)

Other options for dehydrators are…

  1. if you have a convection oven (not a conventional oven) you can use that as a dehydrator.
  2. you can also dehydrate foods in your Sun Oven!
amazing reviews click here


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  • Millenniumfly

    January 19, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Although I’ve never used any other dehydrator, I don’t think you can beat an Exaclibur. I’ve had mine for years and it still works flawlessly.


      September 7, 2016 at 12:37 pm

      I have two Excaliburs . One I bought, and one I got at a thrift store 25 years ago. The door was missing but it worked fine. So , I used a piece of cardboard at first for the door and then some plastic with velcro I stuck on it. It still works and I love them both!!! I don’t think you can beat them either.

  • Deborah Jennings

    January 19, 2012 at 11:41 am

    I have an American Harvester dehydrator for in the house, and have a big electric smoker/dehydrator with a thermostat outside. It is even bigger than the Excalibur. I haven’t as yet used the one outside, but I hope to this year when I dehydrate tomatoes and other vegetables. I do love food storage.  I especially love the making of it. I prefer homemade to store bought.  I did learn how to make instant mashed potatoes from dehydrated mashed potatoes.  I am planning on making some of those for cream of potato soup mix. I already make mine with coffee creamer. And I do use a bit of chicken bullion in it.

  • Piggyacres

    January 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Weston VegiKiln Tray Food
    Dehydrator  is just like the Excalibur for a lot less money.  Works the same way.

    • speedy

      March 25, 2015 at 2:40 am

      does it dehydrate as quickly as the Excalibur?

  • Johnna

    January 19, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Just do your homework and consider your needs and purposes. I rely heavily on consumer reviews. Weston Vegikiln simply does not have as quality reviews as Excalibur and many customer service complaints.  They simply do not support their product the way Excalibur does.The price difference is not that significant. Excalibur has a 10 year warranty. Just some of the reasons I have chosen Excalibur and still saving pennies so I will have before next harvest.

  • J Sloan

    February 23, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Excalibur is fantastic, which I know because I have one, just got it for Christmas. It is a nine tray which will replace two smaller dehydrators with the fan in the top.  One is round, the other square, and they can’t hold a candle to the Excalibur.  However, remember that the Excalibur is big, so make sure you have the room for storning it.  I ordered it from from Excalibur after ordering their (paper) catalog.  Additionally, if you are interested in dehydrating, get “The Dehydrator Bible”.  This has replaced most of the older books I had about drying and it has a lot of interesting recipes for backpacker/camper/etc meals. 

  • Chrissysue

    July 1, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    I had the Excalibur and sold it on Craigslist. It was just too loud. I have a small baby and a small house and that machine sounded like an air plain ready for take off! I recently got a Nesco FD 75PR and love it! It is so quiet. It does tend to take about 2 hours longer on stuff than my Excalibur did, but who cares, the whole family can actually sleep while it is running. 😉

  • Grace

    September 26, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I bought a Nesco because it’s one of the few dehydrators that gets hot enough to dry jerky properly. Most dehydrators don’t and you have to finish it in an oven. I’ve been quite happy with my Nesco and have dried herbs, fruit, veggies, made jerky and fruit roll ups.

    • Grace

      September 26, 2012 at 8:57 pm

      I forgot to mention that I bought a timer for it for $8 so it shuts off automatically. The heating element is on top so that no food or liquids drip into the motor.

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