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Food dehydrator? – Good Quality and Quiet?

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  • #257393
    Vanessa
    Member

    I’d like to get a dehydrator, I know the sunbeam ones seem to be fairly readily available, but I have read that they are quite noisy and dont dry evenly, meaning that the trays need to be shifted throughout the process.

    I have heard that the excalibur ones are the “be all and end all” of dehydrators but also at the upper end of the price range.

    I have also heard of quite a few people who are happy with the Fowlers Vacola one.

    Looking at the prices of around the $370 mark for the 5 tray Excalibur and around $200 for the Fowlers Ultimate 4000 with 4 trays (expandable to 12)

    I’d like to do the normal dried fruit, and tomatoes, but also try to do some jerky (we have friends from South Africa who make their own Biltong, which is always much appreciated when they share some with us on camping trips, but it would be good to make our own)

    I’d also like to try to do some dehydrated meals, like soups for camping and emergency (or cant be bothered cooking) meals.

    I’d also like to do dog treats, dried liver and fish and that sort of thing (i have tried in the oven with some success, but also a fair bit of failure)

    Would love to hear other peoples opinions.

    For those who have the Fowlers how adjustable is the temperature, and I have read that its max temp is 63 degrees whereas the excalibur is 68, how important is that extra 5 degrees?

    Vanessa

    #528820
    Lady Bee
    Keymaster

    I’ve got the Fowlers Vacola one and am quite happy with it. I suspect they’re all noisy just because of the sheer logistics of moving the warm/hot air around the unit. I can’t say whether mine is very noisy or not as I have a food preserving ‘kitchen’ in an outdoor shed, so I can leave it on without disturbing the peace and tranquility of the house.

    #528821
    Jarn
    Member

    I have a sunbeam, and the only noise is from the fan which I would not describe as noisy but you can definitely hear it. But the report you have had regarding the need to switch the trays around for even drying is spot on, we have to do this every time. I am use to it now but it is a negative, other then that it does a great job.

    cheers Jarn

    #528822
    Bel
    Member

    I’ve got a Fowlers too. It works a treat – can’t say about the max. temp cos I never need it to get that hot! I normally make fruit leathers and dried fruit in mine and it does a really good job. Occasionally if I’m using all 8 trays, the top couple dry quicker, but I just take those off and leave the others for a bit longer. I certainly don’t have to juggle the trays around. I also use mine outside where the noise/hot air don’t annoy me inside. Given that I dehydrate mostly in summer when fruit’s in abundance, I don’t need any more hot air in the house! The extra Fowlers trays and accessories are also pretty cheap to buy online like at OzFarmer on E-Bay.

    #528823
    Robyne
    Member

    I have a fowlers and have had it for over 20years still going strong.

    The fan is a bit noisy as I have an open plan lounge/dining room/kitchen. so the noise does travel

    When I have a lot to dry I do it outside on the table outside. Good when drying onions

    OZ farmers have a simalar to the expensive ones cheaper I don’t know what they are like :shrug: or

    how noisy they are.

    As for juggling I do move food around as some dry quicker depending on the thickness.

    As they dry I put hte new ones to the bottom and mvoe the others up to the warmer area.

    #528824
    Dennis
    Member

    I made my own. I made a wooden box that holds 6 trays 300 ml square and used a fan heater fitted to the back the heater is fully adjustable for heat as well as fan speed. No noise and it works great, Sorry cant tell you much about bought ones because of making my own. The other way I dry is to use the slow combustion stove. Leave the oven door open a bit to keep the temp down and end for end the trays. Also made a stand to sit over the hot plate about 200 ml high above and place a sheet of stainless steel mesh on that. I dry a lot of sliced fruit and veg on top of this.

    Dennis

    #528825
    Vanessa
    Member

    Thanks for the feedback, I think I am leaning towards the Fowlers one.

    Is there any issues with the trays or sheets taking on the flavours? (I’m thinking that onion flavoured apples wouldn’t be all that apetising)

    #528826
    chester
    Member

    Hi Vanessa, I have a Sunbeam and slso find I need to swop trays around. Next time I would look at something else. Don’t know the fowler but the Excalibar is great I hear. :nice:

    #528827
    Lady Bee
    Keymaster

    I haven’t noticed any take up of flavours in my FV one, I’ve even done sliced garlic and there was no residual smell, so guess there wouldn’t be any flavour either.

    #528828
    Bel
    Member

    I’ve got mesh liners for regular dried fruit and the flat liners for fruit leather. They and the trays wash really well. No problems with flavours mixing.

    #528829
    Robyne
    Member

    I keep 3-4 trays seperate for only using for onions and garlic.

    I haven’t noticed anything but a friend said once she had garlic flavoured Apples.

    I have just dried over 30kilos of onions when they were cheap.

    Apples are drying at the moment as Grandy loves them in her lunch.

    I also dried over 20 kilos of oranges and lemons I had given to me. I will use them for hot drinks in winter,

    #528830
    GirlFriday
    Member

    I have an easidry which is similar to the FV. I wouldnt say it was noisy. I have used it to dry herbs/ liver for dog treats/ tomatoes/ soup for my boys’cadet camps/etc etc

    Never had any issues with transfer of smells.

    Its one thing I would purchase again if mine broke.

    #528831
    GirlFriday
    Member

    Dont forget to check ebay and the like. I picked up one for $65. I only wanted the extra trays and gave the unit and two spare trays to a friend of mine.

    #528832
    muckey
    Member

    Hi! I’ve had a Harvest Maid dehydrator for over 20 years and it still works well.

    I use it to make jerky, fruit leather and dried onions etc.

    To dry onions, I use the dryer outside and place a small square of flyscreen mesh over the top hole to stop any beasties flying into it.

    They are all going to make some noise due to the fan that blows the warm air.

    I do rotate the trays to dry the food evenly. The top trays naturally tend to dry first as hot air rises.

    I use both the mesh and the leather trays when I make jerky. It helps stop any marinade dripping throughout the dryer.

    #528833
    Penny A
    Member

    I have an ezidry and tend to use it in the laundry so havent particularly noticed that its noisy. I have done garlic, onions, fruit, veg and have not noticed a flavour transfer.

    On an aside. I have a friend who has been on a station which relies on generator power and commented that hers was power hungry. It actually made the generator work noticibly harder. I now wonder about the eco and cost friendliness of them. I have put in an order for a solar dehydrator. 🙂

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