When looking for the best jerky dehydrator, you have several options to choose from. Nesco, Excalibur and L'Equip dehydrators earn the best customer ratings because of their efficiency and ease of use. Currently the three best food and jerky dehydrators on the market are the Nesco FD-80, the Excalibur 3900 Deluxe and L'Equip 528.
The Nesco FD-80 is a counter top kitchen appliance that makes delicious gourmet foods. It has 700-watt drying power with a fully adjustable thermostat. The thermostat ranges from 95 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit. The heating source and fan are built into the unit's lid which is called a "Coverage-a-Flow" drying system. The unit comes with four trays, but is expandable to eight. The rectangular shape makes it easy to line up long or short rows of jerky. The trays are an inch deep which makes it easy to dehydrate thicker pieces of jerky. The exact dimensions are 14-by-14-by-2.2 inches. The Nesco FD-80 typically costs $60.00 and each additional tray costs $15.
Excalibur 3900 Deluxe
The Excalibur 3900 Deluxe food and jerky dehydrator is a professional grade dehydrator designed for home use and the most expensive on this list, costing $314.99. The large 600-watt motor and fan are mounted on the back of the unit instead of top mounted like the Nesco. It features nine 15-by-15 inch rectangular trays for a total of 15 square feet of dehydrating space. Each tray is easy to remove making it simple to monitor the progress of an individual tray. It's easily the largest counter top dehydrator on the market. The thermostat is fully adjustable with a range of 85 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, the dehydrator includes a 24-page recipe book that includes popular jerky recipes.
The L'Equip 528 is a mid-range food and jerky dehydrator, priced at $120.00. It includes six 17-by-11-by-1.5 inch rectangular trays and is expandable up to 20 trays which gives a total drying space of 7.2 square feet. Each additional tray costs about $17.00. It has a computer-automated sensor that checks the temperature multiple times each second to ensure even drying. The 550-watt heating unit and fan are bottom mounted unlike the other two designs. It features a fully adjustable thermostat that ranges from 93 to154 degrees Fahrenheit. The trays are ease to stack, but need to be rotated at least once during the dehydration process.
When purchasing a dehydrator, you'll be faced with overwhelming amount of choice. If you're specifically going to use it for jerky, purchasing a dehydrator with square trays, rather than circular trays, will make it easier to maximize the drying space. Never purchase a food dehydrator that doesn't have a fan because heat distribution will not be even, and therefore, drying will not be even. A fan increases the efficiency of a dehydrator which means less dehydrating time and less waste of electricity.
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