Nesco Dehydrator Reviews: Which Is The Best For You?

Dehydrators are great kitchen tools for many reasons, many of which you must already know. Nesco happens to have several dehydrators that work in three main categories – their Snackmaster range, Gardenmaster range, and their many food and jerky options. 

Nesco Snackmaster Review

The Snackmaster series of Nesco’s dehydrators are some of their bestselling items. What makes them different from their other products is their stacked, expandable multi-tray design, allowing you to dry several foods at once.

FD-60 Snackmaster Express Dehydrator – Best Small Choice

Nesco Fd-60 Snckmstr Dehydtor Exprs
5 Reviews
Nesco Fd-60 Snckmstr Dehydtor Exprs
  • Nesco-American Harvest
  • FD-60
  • Kitchen Appliances

This Snackmaster dehydrator gives even heat distribution with its 500-watt power and adjustable temperature. You can keep this dehydrator at anywhere from 95 degrees to 160 degrees. It dries food at high speeds and is great for dehydrating jerky, fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

The FD-60 Snackmaster is one of the Nesco dehydrators with a Converga-Flow fan, which quietly and powerfully distributes the hot air across each of its four trays. You can also expand this one to 12 trays. It also includes a fruit roll sheet and two jerky spice packets.

Pros

  • Quick-drying technology
  • Converga-Flow fan
  • Adjustable thermostat (between 95 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 500-watts worth of drying power
  • Lightweight dehydrator

Cons

  • No on/off switch (only the plug)
  • Despite Converga-Flow, it can be louder than other dehydrators
  • No timer
  • Trays should not be washed in hot water, as it distorts them

You can find this product here.

FD-80 Snackmaster Square Food & Jerky Dehydrator – Best Overall

Nesco Food and Jerky dehydrator, 15.25 x 10.25 x 15.63 inches, White
1,758 Reviews
Nesco Food and Jerky dehydrator, 15.25 x 10.25 x 15.63 inches, White
  • Adjustable thermostat (95-160º F)
  • Powerful Top Mounted Fan. 700 watts of drying power
  • Expandable to 8 trays. (Outside Tray Dimension 14.5 x 14.5 x 1)
  • Patented Converga-Flow drying system forces air down the exterior pressurized chamber (not through the trays). The hot air is forced horizontally across each individual tray, converging on the core for fast, even and nutritious drying. No flavor mixing and no need to rotate trays
  • Includes: 2 Jerky Spice and Cure Packets 1 Clean-A-Screen

This dehydrator is often a top choice for people who are just not big fans of round dehydrators. The square unit is more comfortable to fit in with your other kitchen tools, provides more space in its trays than round models, and comes with a handle that makes it easier to put away.

It has 700 watts of power, an adjustable thermostat, and the Converga-Flow system.

Pros

  • Dries food quickly with the Converga-Flow airflow system
  • Top-mounted fan
  • Easy to fit in your kitchen and carry to put away
  • Expandable for up to 8 trays
  • Adjustable thermostat

Cons

  • It only comes with the instruction manual
  • No timer
  • No on/off switch

You can find this product here.

Nesco Gardenmaster Review

The Gardenmaster dehydrators are impressive. They tend to have higher wattage than other Nesco dehydrators, and some of them can be a good deal larger than some other models because of their tray expansion capability.

Nesco FD-1018A Gardenmaster – Best for Pros and Enthusiasts

NESCO FD-1018A, Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator, White, 1000 watts (Renewed)
30 Reviews
NESCO FD-1018A, Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator, White, 1000 watts (Renewed)
  • 1000-Watts of power dries foods in hours, not days.
  • Converga-Flow drying system pushes heated air up and across each tray.
  • Adjustable Thermostat (95°F - 160°F).
  • Comes with 8 dishwasher safe trays and expands up to 30 trays.
  • Includes (8) Fruit Roll-up Sheets, (8) Clean-a-Screens, (1) Recipe Instruction Book, (1) Original Jerky Spice Pack with Cure.

The FD-1018A Gardenmaster is one of the pricier options in Nesco’s lineup, as it costs over $100. But the price is worth it for some of us. This dehydrator has plenty of features to make up for the high price.

First, it has a high wattage of 1000 watts to dry your food efficiently. You can also expand this Gardenmaster’s eight trays to up to thirty! If you are a gardening enthusiast and you need plenty of room while you’re harvesting, or if you tend to buy in bulk (and several other reasons), you’ll love this model. 

Pros

  • High wattage of 1000 watts
  • Adjustable thermostat
  • Fast and powerful fan
  • Comes with many helpful accessories
  • Designed to block out damaging light

Cons

  • No timer
  • Can be noisy compared to other dehydrators

You can find this product here.

Nesco FD-1040 Gardenmaster – Best Hard Worker

Sale
Nesco American Harvest FD-1040 Gardenmaster 1000-Watt Digital Food Dehydrator
126 Reviews
Nesco American Harvest FD-1040 Gardenmaster 1000-Watt Digital Food Dehydrator
  • 1000 watts of drying power provides even heat distribution
  • Adjustable digital time & temperature control (90°F - 160°F)
  • (4) BPA Free trays with 1 sq. ft. of drying area per tray - Expandable to 20 trays
  • Proudly made in the USA of global and domestic components
  • Includes (1) Fruit Roll Sheet, (1) Clean-A-Screen, a sample of Jerky Seasoning & Cure, and a 52-page recipe & instruction book

What’s great about this Gardenmaster model is that it has incredibly similar features to the 1018A model listed above. The powerful wattage is the same, and the features are the same.

The one difference is, while this is still similarly priced, it has a smaller capacity. You can expand this model from four trays to up to twenty. It has fewer accessories, like one of the fruit roll sheets, Clean-A-Screen, and jerky seasoning.

Pros

  • Powerful fan
  • Prevents harmful rays of light from seeping in
  • No need to rotate trays
  • It has a timer for up to 48 hours

Cons

  • Trays may need more maintenance
  • Drying time is quite long compared to other products

You can find this product here.

Food and Jerky Dehydrators

This category of Nesco dehydrators means, at least for this review, the remaining models that don’t fall into the other more special categories. Below is one of their best.

Nesco FD-37A American Harvest Food Dehydrator – Best for Beginners

Nesco Food & Jerky dehydrator, 1, Speckled
1,582 Reviews
Nesco Food & Jerky dehydrator, 1, Speckled
  • 400-watts of drying power
  • Expandable to 7 trays
  • Clear top to monitor the drying process
  • Fan forced radial air flow means no tray rotation needed
  • All components dishwasher safe except the power head

This dehydrator is easy to use and great for beginners that are testing the waters. This 400-watt device has a pre-set temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit and has four trays that you can expand up to seven.

Its ease of use comes from its lack of complicated controls or features. Just plug this one in and let the top-mounted fan do the work.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • It has a clear top to help you check the process
  • Dishwasher safe trays that other dehydrators might not have

Cons

  • The fan is very loud
  • Non-adjustable temperature
  • Trays are not the most durable
  • Irregular drying times are a possibility

You can find this product here.

Best Overall 

I chose the FD-80 Snackmaster Square Food & Jerky Dehydrator as the best overall model thanks to its more reasonable price, shape, and overall its easy-to-use features. This item is also a big seller for Nesco, and it’s easy to see why.

Dehydrator Buyer’s Guide

Dehydrators are great for so many people, whether you’re interested in cooking, storing food, camping, or you’re just scientifically curious. If you’re shopping for one of these, here are some things to consider before buying.

Temperature Controls

If you’re not a beginner and are looking to have more control over your drying temperatures, it is important to have an adjustable thermostat. Temperature adjustment is necessary if you want to dehydrate foods with a much shorter (or longer) drying time.

Air Circulation

Airflow is necessary for a dehydrator, as it needs to circulate within the heated tray or container. If you do not have this airflow constantly circulating, you may not dehydrate any of the food you intended to dry.

Size

Size can be an essential factor for your dehydrator. If you have limited kitchen space or trouble with storage, it might be challenging to avoid the many large dehydrators on the market. It’s best to think about your own needs as well. Will you be using it often, or just occasionally?

Capacity

How much you want to hydrate at once is something to think about in terms of the dehydrator’s trays’ capacity. As most of the Nesco dehydrators come with expandable tray options, you’ll need to be sure of how many trays or compartments you need. 

Are four trays enough? Or maybe you’re a gardening pro and need those expandable up to twenty or thirty-tray models.

What Else to Look For

The science behind specific uses for different styles of the trays will affect what you are dehydrating. Some people might not realize that there are particular trays for fruit and other trays for meat and vegetables. Different types of trays can even dehydrate liquids.

Additionally, looking for timers to keep track of different drying speeds for different foods is helpful when you don’t want to coordinate all of your kitchen or phone timers. 

Overall, it always depends on your budget and your personal needs. Maybe even some health and safety tips will help with your dehydrating.

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