Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator
Last updated date: July 30, 2019
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We looked at the top 1 Dehydrators and dug through the reviews from 4 of the most popular review sites including New York Times Wirecutter, Dehydrated Foodz, How Daily and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Dehydrator you should buy.
The Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator's expandable design means you can squeeze in a large quantity of food without taking up storage space in your home. The 1,000 watts of power also pushes air evenly over food, ensuring quick, even drying that takes hours, not days. One downside: You can't remove the trays and use the dehydrator to proof bread or dry large items. In our analysis of 63 expert reviews, the Nesco Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator placed 3rd when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.
Editor's Note August 13, 2019:
Checkout The Best Dehydrator for a detailed review of all the top dehydrators.
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From The Manufacturer
The FD-1018A Gardenmaster Dehydrator features 1,000-watts of drying power that generates maximum speed and quality for dehydrating fruits, vegetables, herbs and jerky. A quiet, 2,400-RPM motor and specially designed 4 1/2-inch fan mean faster, more nutritious drying. An adjustable 95-160°F thermostat provides the flexibility to achieve the best results when drying foods at different temperatures. The Converga-Flow drying system forces air up and across the trays, converging in the center for fast, even and nutritious drying. There is no flavor mixing and no need to rotate trays. The opaque Vita-Save exterior is designed to block light which helps retain more of the food's nutrients and vitamins during the drying process. Cover and trays are dishwasher safe. The FD-1018A GardenMaster Dehydrator comes with eight trays and can expand up to 30 trays. Includes eight Fruit Roll-up Sheets, eight Clean-a-Screens, one recipe instruction book and one NESCO Original Jerky Spice pack with cure. (Additional Trays sold separately)
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An Overview On Dehydrators
Everyone seems to be trying to eat a little healthier these days. But some of the best foods have a very limited shelf life. It’s frustrating to spend your hard-earned money at the grocery store, only to have it go bad within a few days of purchase. If you have your own garden, you may find that your kitchen is overloaded with produce during the warm months, but find yourself missing those foods when it’s cold outside.
The first thing you’ll likely think about when considering a dehydrator is size. You probably already have limited counter space, so you’ll need a place to store your appliance when it’s not in use. You may also worry that it will end up stuck in the corner of your closet or pantry, gathering dust. There are some food dehydrators that are smaller in size than you may expect, so shop the different models before assuming you’ll have a space waster.
Even some smaller dehydrators pack a surprising amount of space for dehydrating. You’ll find it’s all in the number of shelves since stacking foods is the key to squeezing more in. The larger the capacity, the more food you can dry at once, which saves time. But if you’re dehydrating different types of foods, you’ll also want to make sure that the unit doesn’t allow juices to drip to the trays below, combining flavors. You don’t want that stack of citrus fruit to drip into your shelf of cabbage.
Cleanup is also an important factor in a dehydrator. Some have shelves you can simply slip out and insert into the dishwasher, while others require hand washing. You may also want to check for a non-stick finish on the shelves of the unit you’re considering since that will make a big difference when you’re cleaning.
Controls are also important in a dehydrator. Some have no timer, which means you’ll pretty much have to babysit your food. Others have an automatic shut-off so that when your food reaches the end of its drying, you don’t have to worry about being nearby to cut the power. This is a safety feature that can make a big difference.
Speaking of safety, BPA is a concern for some consumers. Since your food will be directly touching the shelving, you may want to search for a dehydrator that promises BPA-free construction.
DYWM Fun Fact
Depending on the hydrator you choose, you can expand your unit well beyond drying out meats and fruits. In addition to cooking yogurt and proofing bread, you can make ornaments, potpourri and even paper. If your home seems to be dry, put a bowl of water in the dehydrator and start it up. The moisture will be distributed to the air in your home, cutting some of that dryness. In the wintertime, if you have small items like gloves that need a quick dry-out, pull your dehydrator out of storage and put it to work. You can even use it as a kiln to dry clay quickly for craft projects.
The Dehydrator Buying Guide
- The biggest differentiator with the Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator and Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator is their design. Unlike other dehydrators, those two models have an expandable, stacked setup that allows them to dry multiple layers of food in a small space. It’s a unique, almost spiral look that makes it easy to insert items.
- The build of a dehydrator makes a big difference in how it works. The Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator uses 1,000 watts of power and a setup that ensures food dries quickly and evenly. You don’t have to worry about rearranging trays throughout the process. Like the Nesco Gardenmaster, the Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator features an expandable design that accommodates levels of food without adding bulk. But the Snackmaster Pro only has 600 watts of power.
- The Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator uses something called Hyperwave Fluctuation technology, which involves maintaining a low temperature to ensure foods retain their enzymes without the spoilage you see when they aren’t dehydrated. Horizontal airflow means that food dries evenly and brings fast results.
- It’s important to consider the types of food you’ll be dehydrating before you buy. If your plans include drying out chunky items like beef, you’ll need a dehydrator with enough space between trays. The design of the Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator and Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator mean you’re limited on the height of each item. You also won’t be able to use it to proof bread. The Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator, on the other hand, has removable trays that let you proof bread, dry flowers and even make yogurt. This can add an element of versatility to your dehydrator that may have you using it more often.
- Capacity is also important. The Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator provides 15 square feet of drying space. That beats the Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator, which features up to 12 square feet of drying space if you purchase extra trays. However, the Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator can expand up to accommodate up to 30 trays, so if you’re interested in drying bulk amounts of food at a time, that might be the best model for you.
- With a timer, you can set your dehydrator to work and focus on other things. The Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator and Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator don’t come with a timer. The Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator has a timer that you can set for up to 26 hours. Once you reach the end of that timeframe, the unit will shut off.
- One downside to the Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator is that it doesn’t have an on/off button, which means you’ll have to unplug the entire unit when you’re finished.
- Although you can make foods like dehydrated yogurt in the Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator, you’ll need a special solid mat, which you’ll have to purchase separately.
- One common issue with dehydrators is dripping liquid. The Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator keeps that from happening, which means you can dry a wide variety of foods without worrying about flavors blending.
- Dehydrators range widely in price. No matter which one you choose, you’re sure to find one to fit your budget.
- Once your food is done, you’ll have to worry about cleanup. The Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator and Nesco’s dehydrators must be hand washed.
- If you’re going for a hand-washable dehydrator, the Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator’s trays have a nonstick surface that makes them easy to clean. Nesco’s dehydrators have trays made of fine mesh that may require a little extra scrubbing. The good news is, non-stick dehydrator drying sheets are available that will save cleanup time.
- For those who are limited on storage, the Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator and Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator both have space-saving designs. The Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator, on the other hand, is bulky and heavy, weighing in at 22 pounds.
- Although many kitchen appliances are noisy, a dehydrator runs for hours at a time, so the noise factor can become a nuisance.
- For those who are new to dehydrating or just want to get some ideas on different foods to try, a recipe book can come in handy. Both the Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator and Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator come with large recipe books. You’ll also receive some fruit roll sheets and jerky spice packets to get you started.
- Many consumers are concerned about bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical contained in some plastics.
- If warranty matters, you may want to stick with the Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator, which covers you with a 10-year warranty. The Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator and Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator only provide one year of coverage.
- If you plan to dry meat to make jerky, allow extra time. Whereas you might find items like fruits complete in 10 hours, meat can take an extra couple of hours to finish. It’s also important to note that some are disappointed that their dried meat doesn’t have the smoky flavor you get when you purchase jerky from a retailer. That flavor comes from drying meat in a smoker, not a dehydrator.