TEMP. RANGE (°F)
– Distribution of heat
– Energy efficiency
– Low price
– Quick clean-up
– No thermostat
– No timer
– Uneven drying
– Sometimes noisy
Dehydrating food at home has become quite popular in recent years. But, the benefits to your health are not the only reasons behind this increasing trend. Most deserving of this are cheap and easy to use appliances.
Now that there are many inexpensive units to choose from, more and more people are trying and liking dehydrated produce.
One such model is the NutriChef Kitchen Electric. This is an affordable food dehydrator good for beginners, but don’t let that fool you. You might very well, end up using it more often than you planned, and coming up with new and tasty ideas for healthy snacks. Before we move on to our full review, let’s take a look at some of the details.
TEMPERATURE RANGE: Fixed, up to 180°F
AIR FLOW: Vertical
ON/OFF SWITCH: Yes
NUMBER OF TRAYS: 5
MATERIAL: Metal (base), plastic (trays)
WEIGHT: 8.3 lbs.
WARRANTY: 1 year
DIMENSIONS: 7.5 x 12 x 13″
Simple To Use
With only an on/off button on this food dehydrator, using it couldn’t be any easier. Once you’ve prepared your produce and line the trays, all you have to do is flip the switch. From there on out, it slowly achieves its top temperature of 180°F and dries almost anything you put in it.
Versatile Five Tier Trays
Along with this unit comes a total of five plastic plates which stack on top of one another. Made out of food-grade plastic, they are completely safe to use with any vegetable, fruit, or meat. Each of these trays has a mesh surface that improves airflow and prevents produce from falling through. There’s also drip tray which prevents juices from dripping into the heating element.
When it comes to drying thickly sliced items, this NutriChef model doesn’t disappoint. With standard stacking, this unit accommodates thin slices of meats, veggies, and fruits. But, if you want to try larger pieces of jerky, there are special tabs that expand the total height of each tray.
Smart Lid Vertical Airflow
The final part of the equation is a perforated lid which has carefully placed openings. These holes do two things: help this food dehydrator keep an even temperature and let out moisture. With this design in place, you can expect better results in comparison with other vertical models.
Easy To Clean
All the plastic trays that come with this unit are dishwasher safe. After you finish dehydrating food, they can be washed along with the rest of your kitchen utensils in the dishwasher. Furthermore, the trays, as well as the base, are stain resistant, which adds to the ease of cleaning.
Things We Liked
For the price, it’s hard not to like this food dehydrator, even though it has limited features. Here are some of the good things we noticed about it during our review:
Although this isn’t a large unit, the five trays included with it have a combined area of about 5 square feet. That way you can fit a lot into this unit and cut down the need for multiple drying sessions.
Distribution of heat
Despite this being a model with vertical airflow, we found it fairly good at keeping an even temperature. This reduces the need to check on your batches and rotate trays.
At 250 watts, the heating element on the bottom uses an insignificant amount of power. You won’t have to worry about a bump in your electricity bill, even if you use this food dehydrator often.
Without the need to invest a lot of money, this unit gives people the ability to make fruit chips, jerky or dried herbs. It may not have many features, but this model is a good starting point.
The trays that come with this kitchen food dehydrator are dishwasher safe and easy to clean. However, if you have extra sticky fruit or jerky stains, you can soak them in hot water before washing.
Things We Didn’t Like
Without a thermostat, you will be stuck with one temperature. While 180°F is good for drying meat and tougher vegetables, it won’t be suitable for everything. The solution to this, although not ideal, is to check on the unit every hour or so.
It is not unusual for models in this price range to come without a timer. But, it would still be a useful feature, if for nothing else, then to remind you to rotate your trays. This brings us to our next point.
Before we expand on this, everyone should know that vertical flow models, especially at this price, require you to rotate trays. If you’ve put a batch of meat into this food dehydrator, don’t make any plans, because you’ll need to check on it.
We don’t think this is a big issue, but some people report that this unit can be somewhat noisy while working. If you have a tiny apartment and an open kitchen, the sound the fan produces might bother you. We were in a busy kitchen, so it wasn’t a significant downside. After all, there are many models out there that are worse in this regard.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I make fruit rolls with this machine?
No, but you can buy separate trays for that use. You could also try parchment paper or aluminum foil, but your results may vary.
2. Does this work with 220V?
No, it’s only for 110V.
3. Are the plastic parts BPA free?
Yes. All the trays are safe for use with food and without the presence of BPA.
4. How many trays can this model stack?
The limit is 20, but that will reduce the drying time of top trays. To solve this, put the food that takes longest to dehydrate on the bottom and go from there.
5. Where is this food dehydrator made?
It is made in Taiwan.
With a good amount of space, the NutriChef Kitchen Electric Countertop Food Dehydrator can do a lot for the money. The airflow and temperature are not ideal, but there’s a remedy. With consideration to what goes where and some tray rotation, you can achieve good results with this unit.
As far as features go, there’s no timer, auto shut off, or thermostat. This model only has an on/off switch and a fixed temperature, but that doesn’t mean it’s a one trick pony. On the contrary, this unit can do many things and works with different recipes. You can make fruit snacks, vegetable chips, and meat jerky, but with more of a hands-on approach.