Pros: Simple to use, dries effectively, easy to clean, inexpensive.
Cons: No bells and whistles, not very durable, noisy.
I own the Oster Food Dehydrator, Model FPSTDEH0101. I am looking at the manual as I type. The description of this product at Epinions lists the device as a five-tray dehydrator. It is actually a four-tray dehydrator.
The Oster Food Dehydrator has a white base, which includes a built-in fan, simple on/off switch and power source. The unit comes with four clear plastic drying trays and a clear plastic lid. The trays stack on top of each other and can be switched during drying. You can use as many of the trays as you want or need for your dehydration project.
The Epinions database shows the Oster Food Dehydrator listed at Amazon.com for $39.99. I spent forty-two dollars on my unit at Wal-mart. With the cost of shipping from Amazon.com, I may have come out a few dollars ahead. Either way, this unit can be found at the low end of the spectrum of food dehydrators, around forty dollars. These units can easily run up into the hundreds of dollars.
The construction of the Oster Food Dehydrator is fairly simple. The fan is included as part of the hard plastic base unit. There are no settings to worry with, and no ability to set a pre-determined time limit. The unit operates with a simple on/off switch located on the base. The clear hard plastic drying trays and lid are constructed with plenty of slots for air circulation. The trays themselves are not the most durable, but can stand up to moderate use. They are also dishwasher safe. This unit is intended for hobbyists more than hard corps users. If you plan on making pounds of beef jerky, you may want a more substantive unit.
The Oster Food Dehydrator comes with an instruction booklet that provides guidelines for placement of items on the drying trays as well as suggested drying times for a variety of products (from herbs to meat). Obviously, the less moisture requires shorter drying times. Fruit can take the longest at over twelve hours, while herbs can be done in as few as five hours. I have used this unit several times and find the biggest drawback to be the noise. The fan generates quite a bit of noise, which is irritating at times.
The Oster Food Dehydrator is priced right for light use. The low pricetag comes with some drawbacks. The unit seems durable enough for my use, but does feel kind of cheap. The noise is a factor that bothers me, but is tolerated. The unit dries items to my satisfaction. The simplicity of the unit can be a plus, although a timer might be useful. At this price point, I guess I am lucky that it works. Overall, an inexpensive but cheaply constructed dehydrator adequate for light use. Three stars.