I'm looking to buy a food dehydrator, as the tomatoes and peppers are rolling in faster than I can use them. I see that there is a huge price variation among dehydrators -- anywhere from $40 at Walmart to $400. What does the price difference get me, and is it important? What do you use and how does it work for you?
I own an Excalibur 2900 9 tray dehydrator and LOVE IT. I use it a lot more than I thought I would... I make everything from dehydrated fruit and trail mix to granola and yogurt.
When you get one of the less expensive units, they are usually set up like a tower, where the heating unit is on the bottom and the heat rises (sometimes with the aid of a fan to speed up drying times and more evenly distribute the heat). The Excalibur is set up so that the heating unit and the fan are in the back, so the heat is distributed across whatever it is you're drying... so you don't get things that are really dried on the bottom and not so dried on the top. I have purchased one for my mom and for my brother.
Check out eBay for refurbished units... 179 + free shipping + 5 year warranty.
I hope this helps. Happy drying! :)
There are several threads on this subject, so check them out if you like. My advice is if it does not have a fan to circulate air don't buy it. If it doesn't have a temperature control, don't buy it. Sure, some designs are more efficient that others, but the main thing you pay for with the expensive models is extra capacity. I had a $200 L'Equip model that died and now use that $40 Walmart unit and they both did the job.