Suggestion for Food Dehydrator?

After tasting my friend’s home made jerkies and dry fruits, I started considering to get a food dehydrator. My friend’s one is too expensive ($1k+) for me to copy, and I am looking for one cheaper than that. I looked around the online reviews but I cannot find the decent reviews. All seems to be the stealth marketing to me, and not legit. I cannot also find anything in Choice, so I am hoping to find out the real feedback. Some of the points I want to know are;

  • Do you like it?
  • How much did you pay and when?
  • How long it takes to dry?
  • Noise?
  • Pros and Cons?

Thank you very much in advance!!!

I’ve not used a food dehydrator before but I love the sound of them! (I’m a huge fan of veggie crisps - so I’d love to make my own!)

Does anyone else have any experience with a food dehydrator? @valjeff @mark.kasprzyk @paul_b.d - I saw you were chatting kitchen appliances in another thread.


I use a Eurolab KN-128E dehydrator. I can’t remember how much I paid for it, or even where I bought it, maybe 6-8 years ago. It was a lot less expensive than many units on the market.
It consumes about 250W with electric heater and fan, and it takes about a day to dry all the trays full of home grown tomatoes, so uses ~6kWh of energy to do that job. This is a fairly significant amount of energy, as we are off-grid here, so food drying is only usually done in reasonably sunny weather.

I have to rotate and change the stack order of the trays several times during the process, as drying rates are not even throughout the stack. The fan is reasonably quiet, not really noticeable in a large room with a bit of ambient noise.

I haven’t had any problems with it, and have put quite a lot of home grown produce through it, mainly tomatoes, apricots, Granny Smith apples (yummy when crisp, my wife eats them almost as fast as I can produce them!) and cherries.

The main issue is lack of capacity, when I have 10 or 15kg of tomatoes or apples to process, it just takes too long as it can only do a few kg at a time, so I’m thinking about building my own drier to use solar heating during the day, which will cut down on energy use a bit.

I had a Sunbeam food dehydrator (a basic model). After a few goes I was not happy with it:

  1. quite noisy
  2. takes a long time to get fruit to a good level of dehydration
  3. even worse in high humidity - fruit starts to stew and ferment!

I compromised by dry roasting my fruit (peaches and apricots) to remove much of the water, then I packaged them and froze them. When defrosted the fruit largely retains its shape and texture and has a more concentrated taste. Very nice with ice cream!

Hi @gordon, @rachelbee
After trying several smaller dehydrators, we were disappointed with their capacity and the amount of time it took to dehydrate.

Finally some 7 years ago we bought an Excalibur 9 Tray dehydrator with temperature setting and an analogue timer. It has a large capacity (9 shelves of 38x38cm), and works brilliantly and consistently.

Use the guide to set the temperature for what you are dehydrating, set the timer, and leave. With experience you learn how long and what temp to use to get the results you want. It is even possible to make fruit roll-ups using solid silicon mats which can be purchased. Delicious results every time.

There are newer versions of this on the market now. Ours is not that flash, but it just works as it should every time. Highly recommended for larger volumes.


Wow! I did not think I can get so much valuable feedback in the short time!

@rachelbee More I look into the drying food by myself, I really want to do it! I always hesitate to buy the packed dry fruits and vegis becauase of the additives, oil and sugar. Much healthier to do.

@gordon Very intersting point about the electricity consumption as I was not considering too much. I guess drying out in sun a little before putting into the dehydrator would probably save a lot of electricity. Was your dehydrator the square one or the round one? I heard the square one dry more evenly and no need to rotate trays as much.

@mark.kasprzyk That’s what I read in some of the reviews. Noisy, takes time etc, but I didn’t realise about the humidity affects inside the machine too. Intersting method about the freeze dry at home. I freeze lots of fruits but I normally use as ingredients for baking rather than eating alone.

@meltam Thank you for your suggestion. I had a quick look at your suggestion of Excalibur 9. That’s similar to the one I was looking at - BioChef Arizona. I will definitely look into further!

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Mine is the round one. Re putting fruit in the sun- you need the heat but not the light, as it will make the fruit go very dark in colour. I dried a huge quantity of apricots underneath my bare colorbond shed roof many years ago, and that worked brilliantly, although it took a few days to finish.

Thanks @gordon for the suggestion. I was thinking of getting the fruit drying net but very good point about the heat. Lucky I am in Qld. :grin: I may also use the solar oven I bought a few years ago. (I paid money for the cardboard paper with alfoils on. :sweat_smile:

I bought a Sunbeam one a few years ago, and although a bit noisy, i have had a lot of success with it, made Kale chips and dried fruit, vegie leathers.

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I too have an Excalibur dehydrator but the 5 tray version. I bought it in 2012 for $390 direct from the company in Mt Molloy, Central Queensland. They were quick and easy to deal with.
I use mine for making bushwalking food which it is great for. I also bought a book of recipes at the same time from Excalibur.
The machine is a bit noisy and usually takes longer to dry than the book suggests but the results are great. And I freeze my pre-packaged meals until needed.
From memory, Excalibur recommended the larger model if you had fruit trees and lots of fruit but for someone like me who dries smaller amounts, the 5 tray was recommended.
You can so buy sheets to put on your trays for wet meals so it doesn’t seep through. I bought 3 though in hindsight 5 would have been good as all my meals need to be on such sheets. However, I use baking paper which also works.


Hi There I am possibly a bit late getting my response in .
I also have an excalibur and love it . We are plant based eaters and I have lots of nuts and raw food so it supports my life style and I use it lots . Unlike the round ones like sunbeam you can put trays anywhere so it allows you to do larger things like macadamia cheese for example - yum ! I would recommend getting one that allows this flexibility. Its worth saving up and paying more for this and the times .



I bought a dehydrator about 30 years ago. It cost about $250 at the time and now sits on the top shelf of a cupboard. I didn’t like having it in the kitchen during summer as it raised the temperature in the room. I didn’t mind the rushing sound of the air - it smelled delicious as the fruit was drying. The drying process took far longer than I had expected, thus the electricity used could cost more than I was saving. I would now be considering a solar dryer diy. I still have the dryer - should maybe try it again - I wouldn’t buy another but perhaps the newer models are much better. This was a round one with several trays and a flat puree sheet for fruit leather. Am waiting on son to text me the brand, will send it on when he replies.

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I also have an excalibur 5 tray, purchased for under $400 from Melbourne Naturopath on Ebay. I tried 2 others before this that I bought from ebay for under $200 and they both stopped working after a couple of years and also took a lot longer to achieve the same result. I keep mine in the laundry not in the kitchen as they take up too much room. I mostly use it to dehydrate activated pecans and make 4 seed crackers as well as drying strawberries when I am producing too many to eat. I recommend this brand.

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Thank you very much everyone. I am now convicted that Excalibur is the one I need to get! Very interesting to read all of your experience and suggestions. We have a few fruit trees, so I should get the big one. I always spoil Mangoes and bananas. No matter how much I share, once it starts ripening they go so quickly and my freezer are full by the time. So the dry fruits seem to be the perfect solution for me!

This is truly wonderful forum.

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Good choice @yuki.garrett
I got an excalibur after a friend suggested it. I love it.

When they’re in season, try drying out thin slices of watermelon. They turn into a sweet fruit strap. It’s delicious.

I’ve also tried drying out olives until they’re quite crisp. You can then use them for seasoning, perfect for pastas.


I use an EZIDRY Made in NZ Great for around 2 kg of wet produce
I use it to make kangaroo jerky

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Some kitchen ovens can also be great dehydrators…cheaper as one already as the appliance. May not work with all foods, but worth a go.

Just Google ‘use oven as a food dehydrator’


I’ve an Aldi one. Very cheap but seems to work well. I’ve dehydrated figs, strawberries and chicken stock paste to powder.
I would put it in the garage perhaps to avoid the room heating up too much and the noise. It’s not excessively noisy but it would be a background noise. You can’t beat models such as Excalibur but for me who doesn’t use it very often. I’m quite happy with this Aldi product.


Wow! Watermelon? I didn’t think that. I will definitely try that when I finally get one. Thanks for the tip!

@ted.arnold ted.arnold I got a huge leg of Kangaroo in my freezer which I got from my friend, and that was the very reason I started thinking about the drying food in the first place! :slight_smile:

@phb Thanks for the tip. I was actually thinking to use the oven until I get the dehydrator. I am trying to get the second hand one since many people seems to be giving up after buying the expensive machine!

@book_cook Wow. ‘Chicken Stock Paste’ to powder? I didn’t think that, but it sounds very smart way of creating the safe dry food. I am thinking to put in the laundry or garage. Thanks for the tip. :wink: