Best value on a dehydrator ...
I see some threads that mention dehydrators but none that make any recommendations on specific dehydrators (and if such a thread exists, I didn't see it).
There are any number of dehydrators available online. Some are really inexpensive and then they go up in price. I'm wondering if anyone who has a dehydrator would recommend the one they have or if anyone knows of one that is a good value.
i see no one else has weighed in on this one so....
i got my excalibur 9-tray dehydrator at a thrift store years ago. (it cost me $11.95: had to be the BEST deal ever made in a thrift store!) Prior to that, I had one of those compact, round, multi tiered dehydrator - one of those that you can pick up easily, even from TV.
I would definitely recommend my excalibur for several reasons.
1. i can replace just about any part of it with parts from excalibur
2. many many recipes (for raw dehydrated foods) are geared to a square, large dehydrator
3. there is a thermostat. I have found this to be invaluable
4. Teflex sheets which fit on the dehydrator- about 1/2 my recipes need teflex sheets to keep everything clean, and wetter foods from leaking through the mesh grids. This is not only cleaner, but also extends the range of products I can produce in the dehydrator, beyond just drying fruits and veg.
I have a pretty small kitchen, and, although I might be able to set up the dehydrator in the garage, I find that it's worth it to clear the (large amount of) space needed for the excalibur footprint when I am drying something. The quality of my dehydrated foods is much superior to the round dehydrators - basically the round ones are comparing apples to oranges next to an excalibur.
excalibur has been around forever: I think they are still a family-owned American company. they ARE expensive.. but if you are going to be doing any amount of dehydrating, they are definitely worth your investment. I have a 9 tray - i rarely load it fully, so I can see where a 4 tray might be useful if you are worried about cost. However, When making kale chips I find that I need the extra height of the larger unit, even if only putting in a few trays (those kale leaves are tall!).
There is also another new brand of square dehydrator on the market. I'd encourage you to look up discountjuicers.com -they have a zillion videos comparing juicers, but also dehydrators. The guy that does the videos seems pretty straight forward and thorough. Good luck!