Do you love dried apples, but always wonder what hidden extras are included in the package you buy at the store?
With your own Nesco food dehydrator, you can create your own wholesome, nutritious, and delicious snacks in a jiffy.
But which unit should you buy? We brought together five of the most popular models and completed an in-depth Nesco food dehydrator review for each of them.
We’ve also given you some quick shopping tips so you will be able to find the one that will stand up to the demands of your busy schedule without breaking the bank.
Read on to get the low down on all the great features and benefits found in a Nesco food dehydrator. At the end, we’ll let you know which one is the best buy so you can snack happy and healthy.
Nesco Food Dehydrator Features Review
When reading through any Nesco food dehydrator review, or shopping for any quality dehydrator, there are a few features that you will want to find on your new unit. These include:
- An Adjustable Thermostat
- Different foods need different temperatures to prevent bacterial growth and to deliver a great texture. You will be disappointed with a unit that dries only at a pre-set temperature.
- Expand the Number of Trays
- When you want to dry bushels of apples, you will want more than a few trays to use while dehydrating your favorite snack. Your new Nesco food dehydrator should allow you to add extra trays for those oversized harvests.
- Made of BPA Free Plastic
- Not every manufacturer keeps their food-prep appliances BPA-free. All of Nesco’s food dehydrators feature BPA-free food surfaces, so you can feel confident about the safety of the snacks that you provide to your family.
- A Programmable Timer
- You don’t want to remember to unplug your dehydrator, especially when the jerky is due to finish drying in the middle of the night. A timer will shut off automatically, ensuring a perfect dried banana every time.
5 Best Nesco Food Dehydrator Reviews
We’ve collected some of the most popular Nesco food dehydrators and provided a quick, but in-depth review of all their benefits and drawbacks. You are sure to find the one that will fit your needs and budget in a snap.
|1|| FD-37A American Harvest Nesco |
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|2||Nesco Pro |
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|3|| Nesco FD-1040 |
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|4|| Nesco FD-80A Food |
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|5|| Nesco FD-61WHC |
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1. FD-37A American Harvest Nesco food Dehydrator Review
If you are looking to try adding some healthy, naturally dehydrated foods to your diet, you will find that any Nesco food dehydrator review will include this budget-friendly option.
Built as an introduction to the dehydrating lifestyle, this small model will let you test out a bunch of tasty recipes without blowing the budget. Simple to use, just slice up your fruits, place on the round trays, close the top, and plug it in.
A top-mounted fan draws the heat up from the bottom of the unit, so you never have to swap trays around to attain an even result.
Now, if you are leaping in whole hog, you should not expect the FD-37A to stand up to non-stop use without showing signs of wear fairly quickly.
Users report that the trays and center column will warp after a few months of steady use. It does not have an adjustable heat setting, so you will have to use a thermometer to determine if meats are being dried at the appropriate setting.
Overall, it’s a nice unit for drying a few bananas every now and then, but for a busy family, you may want to step up your game.
- Low price point
- Easy to operate
- Even drying temps on all levels
- Trays and center column warp after repeated uses
- No heat control
- No switch–you have to plug it in to turn it on
2. Nesco Pro Food Dehydrator Review
When hunting for a food dehydrator that still works with your wallet but offers all the extras and durability you need, the Snackmaster Pro might be the answer.
This unit amps up the power to 600 watts for faster drying, resulting in less loss of nutrition and flavor. The simple heat setting dial on the top also indicates which setting is right for the recipe you are working on.
As found in many Nesco food dehydrator reviews, the sides of the dehydrator are constructed out of Vita-Save opaque plastic, which blocks harmful light from removing vital nutrients during the process.
While it comes with five trays, it can easily be expanded to hold up to twelve able to accommodate your entire harvest in one fast shot. Built of sterner stuff compared to the FD-37A, users have not experienced warping even when drying jerky using temperatures up to 160F.
The patented air-circulation system pushes the dry/hot air to the outside walls where it is then drawn toward the center through the drying trays, reducing condensation at the top of the unit and preventing flavors from mixing. Make sure to verify the temperature when you first use the unit and make adjustments as needed.
- Adjustable temperature setting
- Easy to understand operation
- Expandable up to 12 trays
- Temperatures are not always consistent
- Can take up to 18 hour to dry some foods–not as advertised
3. Nesco FD-1040 Food Dehydrator Review
When you are really ready to start cooking vast quantities of jerky, nuts, cereals, and even dog treats, you may want to invest in the Gardenmaster.
This Nesco food dehydrator designed to hold up to twenty trays, you can dehydrate up to ten pounds of jerky at once. It boasts a powerful 1000-watt heating unit, which is better able to sustain higher temperatures to prevent bacteria from growing in meats and fish during the drying process.
Best of all, it includes a programmable digital timer, so if you know your apples only take 8 hours to dry, you can set the dehydrator to start working when you go to bed and it will shut off at the end, preventing over-drying of snacks.
Now, all that being said, bigger is not always better according to some Nesco food dehydrator reviews. When you compare drying times between the Gardenmaster and units that use 750 watts of power, there is not a noticeable difference in drying times but you end up using more electricity – so if you don’t truly need the huge capacity of the Gardenmaster, you might be able to save a few dollars on a less powerful unit.
- Huge capacity, holds up to 20 trays
- Programmable digital timer
- More consistent high temps for jerky
- More expensive, but not faster
- 30-day return policy
- Will have to rotate trays when stacking lots of trays to get even drying
4. Nesco FD-80A Food Dehydrator Review
Maybe you would like a little more power to achieve the higher temps needed for really good jerky, but want to save a few dollars over the fancy Gardenmaster.
The Nesco FD-80A might look like a bargain at first, but square pegs just don’t fit in round holes. This unit boasts a 700-watt heating element, which should achieve the needed 160F for healthy and safe dried jerky.
The square shape supposedly provides over 40% more space to dry more food in less time, but that shape also fights against the air flow system. When checking a Nesco food dehydrator review, some users report that not all the food reaches the same level of dehydration, especially in the corners.
Furthermore, this unit suffers the same type of complaints found on the least expensive version with loud fans and heating elements that are known for failing within just a few months.
So, if you want to try making your own fruit chews and don’t expect to use this unit often, it might be the right one for you.
- Square design offers more space for food using fewer trays
- Adjustable heat settings
- Stores neatly in cupboards
- Less even drying
- Quality control issues on this model
- More expensive without reliability
5. Nesco FD-61WHC Food Dehydrator Review
You might want to compare the Snackmaster Express against the Pro when looking for a dehydrator to make nutritious fruit snacks or some jerky to share with friends. The Express has a 500-watt heating element, instead of the 600-watt and is not expandable.
The Express uses five trays sized to fit only the Express lid, while other Nesco units can mix and match their trays. It does have an adjustable heat setting, with an easy to understand guide.
However, when you check any Nesco food dehydrator review, it is clear that this is a unit meant for occasional use, not heavy-duty drying of your orchard’s harvest.
Constant use seems to wear out the units in just a few months, and like other affordable versions, there is no power switch. You will need to keep an eye on the drying time and unplug it from the wall when you are done.
All food surfaces are BPA-free, so you are not introducing possible carcinogens into your organically prepared treats.
- Smaller size
- Adjustable heat settings
- BPA-free food surfaces
- Quality control issues
- Not expandable
- No off switch
Conclusion: Nesco Food Dehydrator Reviews
There is no doubt that if you are drying beef jerky, apples, nuts, cereal, dog treats, and even bananas almost every week, the Nesco FD-1040 Gardenmaster is the dehydrator for you.
Our Nesco food dehydrator review found that it had everything you might need and then some, with its programmable digital timer, adjustable heat, huge expansion capability, and powerful heating element. If you only want to dry an apple and test out the idea, the American Harvest will save you a few dollars.
We hope you found all the information you needed to make the best choice for your new food dehydrator with our product reviews and buying guide.
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