Are you a passionate gardener looking for ways to preserve your produce longer without compromising freshness? Or maybe you’re the explorative type with a taste for camping and want to bring along tasty and healthy snacks on your trips? Well, there’s a machine making its way into the market that helps you do both of these things. You must’ve seen it on cooking shows; it’s called dehydrator.
Today we’ll talk about the best food dehydrator you can get in Australia to dry out various food items and naturally increase their shelf life. Interested? Let’s dive right in:
Our Method for Shortlisting Electric Food Dehydrators
Even in this day and age, food dehydrators are considered a novelty – they’re not easy to find. So what we did is we went to one of the biggest gadgets and product reviewing platforms in Australia; ProductReview.com.au to learn what Aussies are saying about dehydrators.
And quite impressively, there were heaps of testimonials on all kinds of dehydrators from varying brands ranging from Snackmaster to BioChef. So we did what we do the best – scrolling, lots of it! We went through different models and shortlisted the ones that had the best reviews.
Best Dehydrator for Food in Australia – Our Top 6 Picks
1. BioChef Arizona
The most talked-about Arizona range by BioChef is quite impressive because of the incredible value it offers for an affordable price of just $249. It comes in three variants:
· 6 Tray Food Dehydrator
· 8 Tray Food Dehydrator
· 10 Tray Food Dehydrator
BioChef has kept tight control over the quality and safety of its dehydrator range by using BPA-free plastic and stainless steel trays in the manufacturing. Plus, it’s got an option to adjust the thermostat between 35-75 °C, providing the user with control over how fast or slow they want the food to dry out. This is necessary because some produce items need less heat and more time to lose moisture completely and not have a burnt taste.
The BioChef Arizona food dehydrator boasts a 24-hour digital timer and a display screen making it easy to adjust the settings precisely. It also comes with a worry-free warranty of 3 years; dry out as much food as you want, your money is safe for three years.
Users of BioChef Arizona have been raving about it on 3rd-party review websites like ProductReview.com.au. It has 70+ reviews on the platform with an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 for all three models. What most Aussies love about the product is its ‘set & forget’ function in the timer. They’ve also spoken highly about its ability to make very low noise even when it’s in full swing.
BioChef Arizona is indeed a versatile machine that comes equipped with a range of useful features, including a non-stick slip surface of the trays for easy removal of food, especially when doing roll-up recipes. Furthermore, there are fine mesh sheets if you want to dry smaller food items like nuts or grapes.
Best For: People who are looking for a mid-range flagship dehydrator at an economical price.
2. Excalibur 9 Tray 4926T
We know the name seems like of an android straight out of a sci-fi movie, but it’s great at dehydrating by changing temperatures automatically throughout the cycle (more on this in a bit). The Excalibur is a very popular dryer among food enthusiasts, and most of them agree it deserves a spot in the list of best dehydrators in the world. That said, it can be quite challenging to get your hands on these bad boys because the 4926T are always in shortage – maybe because of high demand.
Excalibur 9 Tray 4926T is a well-built and well-designed model that features a 26-hour timer and straightforward control panel with easy-to-understand guidelines. The temperature range for the thermostat is between 40-75 °C and leverages Parallexx airflow technology for fast drying without the loss of nutrients.
What sets this dehydrator apart from others is the revolutionary Hyperwave technology. And no, it’s not just a marketing gimmick to sell more units. It changes temperature over the drying process to eliminate moisture while keeping the bacteria, mould, and yeast from growing. According to the user reviews, it has a big belly, enough to hold a large quantity of produce. Excalibur’s fan is also really quiet, and there’s also no need for tray rotation which is a plus. However, the price point is double of what’s charged for BioChef, but if you’re a true food nerd who knows the difference proper dehydrating can make, you’ll get this one.
Best For: Those who want their food to dry without losing its tasty bits or the nutritional value.
3. EziDri Snackmaker Drier
Need something compact and portable? Try out EziDri Snackmaker with a vertical design equipped with five stackable trays (you can buy more separately), one mesh sheet, and one solid sheet. The best part is, you can add five to 15 items in a single cycle while the separate drying racks ensure your dehydrated food doesn’t mix. The machine features a 24-hour timer and a screen for clear digital display. Plus, the thermostat temperatures range from 30 to 60 °C.
Aussies seem very happy with this dehydrator and rated it a solid 4 stars in around 20 reviews. Although most users mentioned it being a reliable machine, a few stated their unit had some faults. The best part is, EziDri Snackmaker is easily available at major physical as well as online stores like Amazon. The only drawback we’ve found is a $200 price tag which is a little high for something that’s very basic.
Best For: Those who just want dried food items like jerky or fruit roll-ups on the go.
4. Sunbeam Food Lab
Best dehydrator on the market if you need something horizontal at an economical price. The machine is readily available throughout Australia at an affordable price of just $199. The prominent feature for the price point is its electronic temperature control that comes with 7 settings, offering a wide range of temperatures to choose from. Plus, the thermostat ranges from 35 to 70 °C. You also don’t need to rotate the trays, but the shelves are made of plastic, which is a bummer.
Aussies have rated this one 3.5 out of 5 on ProductReview.com.au with around 10 reviews, which is not bad considering the range of settings for the price point. However, we noticed two complaints about it during our research; machine faults and plastic trays. Some mentioned cleaning them is a tiring chore, while some pointed out they snapped after some time.
Best For: Those looking for a budget horizontal dehydrator.
5. EziDri Ultra Digital:
Another one from the EziDri lineup, the Ultra Digital, is a fancier sibling of the Snackmaker that we reviewed above. It comes with a digital timer controlled by a microcomputer and can stack up to 30 trays – 15 more than its less fancy counterpart. Although vertical machines take less space on the kitchen counter, they’re more useful for drying out delicate items like berries or herbs. You can set the timer and forget for up to 48 hours; the machine will keep doing its magic.
EziDri Ultra Digital’s thermostat temperatures range from 30-70 °C, and it comes with a 2-year warranty, which is a nice offering. Furthermore, right out of the box, you’ll find 5 trays and mesh and solid sheets for smaller items and roll-ups. You’ll have to buy extra trays if you want to stack the tower high with more produce items.
On review platforms like ProductReview.com.au, this machine has scored a full 5-stars rating, and the highest-rated part about it is customer service. Since there are no prominent complaints from the users, it’s safe to assume there are no faults with this one like the Snackmaker. However, with a price point of $399, it might not be the best hydrator on the market.
Best For: Those shopping for a top-notch vertical dehydrator
6. Sunbeam DT5600
Last but not least, the DT5600 by Sunbeam is the cheapest dehydrator you can find on the Australian market, with a price tag of over $100. Plus, you can find them at some of the major retailers in Australia as well. However, the below-average price point is clearly visible in its features; it only has three heat settings. That said, the machine is perfect for people just starting out as it comes with 5 stackable trays and one fruit roll tray – just what a beginner needs to pass the learning curve.
But keep in mind, it has only 2-star rating out of 5 from over 60 Aussies – not a good sign if you are looking for great quality. It’s the most basic machine, sort of like a blow drier sending hot air from bottom to top.
Best For: Someone who needs the lowest-priced dehydrator
Things to Look For When Choosing a Food Dehydrator:
· Space: If you just need something to dry fruits and nuts for lunchtime snacks, a 5-shelf dehydrator would do. However, folks who make frequent camping trips or those with big orchards may want something that has at least 10-shelf capacity.
· Digital Timer: Having a digital food dehydrator that has a timer will notify you when the food’s drying process finishes. Make sure it is a digital one so you can know how much drying time has passed – useful if you like to keep an eye on the progress.
· Price Point: If you need a good food dehydrator – the one that won’t bother you with faults or has a good number of useful features, don’t settle for anything less than $250. That’s the starting point of a good machine; the more you add, the better models will be in your reach.
· Temperatures: We’ve mostly reviewed food dehydrators having adjustable thermostats from 30 to 70 °C; some even surpassed 70. Since different types of foods need different temperature settings to dry properly, getting a dehydrator with a broader temperature range will be optimal.
· Dimensions: Food dehydrators are bulky machines that can take up a big chunk of space on your kitchen counter, making it difficult to store them. If this concerns you, opting for vertical models instead of horizontal ones might be a good choice. Plus, you can always stack up more trays for more capacity.
· Tray Rotation: Some food dehydrators would require you to rotate the trays to ensure heat reaches everywhere. However, with models like Excalibur and EziDri Ultra Digital, you don’t have to do that. They have special heating functions with alternate temperatures and airflow to change heat positions throughout the drying cycle.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dehydrators:
Should I Buy a Food Dehydrator?
A food dehydrator is not among the general use kitchen appliances like toasters, air fryers or juicers, so not every kitchen has them. However, if you’re someone who loves to eat healthy and tasty snacks or has a big orchard, you’ll find them quite useful. Dehydrating your produce is a great way to preserve fresh fruits and veggies to be used after their season. If you’ve ever enjoyed late summer mangoes, you’ll find great value in a dehydrator.
If you’re careful with your spending, you’ll get great benefit out of them as you can buy bulk produce at cheap and preserve it, so it doesn’t go bad. Drying your produce doesn’t affect the flavour but keeps it fresh – a great way to add healthy food to your diet. Plus, you don’t need to put any additives or preservatives in your food before putting it into the dehydrator. You’ll naturally increase the shelf-life of your food and enjoy it for a long time.
Furthermore, if you go on tramping and camping frequently, having a food dehydrator is a good idea. According to reviews on ProductReview.com.au, people have dehydrated almost everything edible, from beef jerky to hummus. So you can save heaps of time and money dehydrating food at home before your next trip. Plus, it gets rid of water content, making the food lighter, which will also take less space in your backpack.
What is the difference between Horizontal and Vertical Food Dehydrators?
If you hit the Australian retail or even online market, you’ll mostly find these two models; vertical and horizontal. The key difference between both is how they operate. Vertical food dehydrator blows hot air from bottom to top or vice versa, while their horizontal counterparts send warm air from the sides.
Horizontal ones are typically larger and pricier than their vertical siblings, but they usually have longer guarantees and warranties. Also, with horizontal dehydrators, the heat is well distributed throughout the trays. Think of them like mini ovens operating with varying temperatures ranging from 30 to 70 °C. Plus, they come with sturdy trays with see-through glass doors so you can see the magic going on inside.
On the other hand, vertical dehydrators have a fan on the base that sends warm air to the top, passing through the stacked trays in the middle. These are more affordable machines and perfect for delicate produce like herbs and berries because of their gentleness.
However, they’re no match to horizontal dehydrators when it comes to even heat distribution. Most vertical models require the user to rotate trays for an even supply of heat which can be a tiresome chore for many. Lastly, drying foods like meat might not be the optimal thing to do in vertical models as these items require more heat.
Can I Wash Dehydrator Trays in My Dishwasher?
That would be a NO. Unless it’s specifically mentioned in the instruction manual, it’s not a good idea to put the trays in a dishwasher. There are a few reasons for this, but the main one is the dishwasher’s heat.
The temperatures of most dishwashers can go as high as that of an oven, while the trays are not designed to bear heat over 70 °C, so you can end up damaging or at least warping the trays.
What Kind of Produce & Food items Can be Dried in a Dehydrator?
Almost any kind of edible item can be preserved using a dehydrator. Some of the main uses include making dried fruit roll-ups like apples, berries, mango, tomatoes, apricots or raisins. While you cannot freeze-dry food items using these machines, you can, however, dehydrate orange or lemon peel to be used as seasoning or baking. People have also dried crystallized ginger, and some even have had success with hummus.
You can also leverage food dehydrators to dry meat, but according to food safety guidelines, you should cook the meat at 75 °C first before putting it in the dehydrator. Aussies have had success making dog treats, beef jerky, salami, and even potato flakes. If you’re thinking of dehydrating raw foods like meat, the best dehydrator will be the horizontal one as it has evenly distributed heating elements and a better flow of air.