I purchased this dehydrator last year (2004) mainly to make beef jerky. Upon testing it I found that the actual operating temperature inside was 25 deg lower than the setting on the thermostat stated.
Recommend this product?
If you're making beef jerky, you need to maintain a drying temperature of 145 to 160 deg to ensure food safety. However, when I set the thermostat to 155 deg (max setting) the unit would only warm up to a maximum of 130 deg.
I also tried it at a different settings 95, 115, and 135 deg. The results were the same. The unit was always about 25 deg down from where it should be.
The test was done with a digital cooking thermometer probe placed inside the unit with 4 empty trays and ample time was given for the unit to warm up completely.
Armed with this knowledge, I have dried herbs, fruits, vegetables with good success by turning the temperature control up by 20 deg from where it should be. For example, for fruits I set the control to "Jerky" (155 deg) instead of "Fruits" (135 deg).
Anyone looking to buy this unit should be aware that this unit has an inaccurate and inexpensive mechanical thermostat. For safety reasons, get yourself a dehydrator with an electronic/digital thermostat.
Also, the manufacturer states that the unit is rated as 500watts. This is the total power rating, and includes the fan motor. The rating of the heating element is quite a bit less than 500watts. The manufacturers claim that you can stack 12 trays on this product seems very far fetched.
One other thing that surprised me. This unit has no power switch! I have to pull the plug out of the wall to turn it off. You should see the sparks fly! Also, the trays are dishwasher safe but the lid is not. Strange.
The only good things I can tell you about this product are that it has very even distribution of air and the price is reasonable.
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