Food dehydration is the safest method of food preservation. This process removes all the water content from the food ensuring there is no bacterial growth, which considerably reduces the rate of food decaying. It also does not include preservatives and additives and retains all the nutrients and vitamins of the food. The NESCO FD-75A Snackmaster Pro and the Presto 06301 Dehydro Electric are two entry-level dehydrators that are highly rated for their exemplary performance. Offering a stackable tray system, these two appliances can be used to dry any food from delicate spices and herbs to more stubborn beef jerky. How does the Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster fare against the Presto 06301 Dehydro Electric? Stick around to find out.
Fan and Heating Element
A common problem with bottom mounted fan dehydrators is that food droplets tend to find their way to the fan and heating elements at the bottom, which makes it hard to clean them and also reduces their lifespan. The FD-75A has the fan and heating elements located at the top, which makes it convenient and very reliable. Aside from ease of cleaning, a top mounted fan also prevents blending of different flavors which is quite common in bottom mounted fans. This dehydrator also offers faster and even drying of food, although food on top trays dries quicker than the ones at the bottom. Therefore, rotation of trays may be required, especially when dealing with many trays. However, rotation is a breeze as you can quickly remove the upper trays to allow the lower ones to access the heat.
The Presto 06301 utilizes the conventional bottom mounted fan design. This does not mean however that it is less effective. Thanks to its compact design and a high-temperature setting, this dehydrator works surprisingly well and is able to heat all racks evenly. Tray rotation is therefore not necessary with this dehydrator when few racks are involved. Air flows vertically from the bottom to the top, and as a result, the bottom racks dry up faster than the upper racks. This disparity may not be evident with a few racks. With many racks it becomes evident, and rotation is necessary to prevent scorching of food on the bottom racks.
Conclusion: Both appliances are efficient. We are a bit biased against bottom mounted fan dehydrators. As a result, we feel the Nesco FD-75A is a slightly better dehydrator to work with, although there isn’t much difference between the two.
The FD-75A produces 600 watts of drying power, which is sufficient to dehydrate even the stubborn beef jerky. It features an adjustable thermostat that allows you to control the temperature output. The temperature ranges from 95?F to 160?F, which provides enough flexibility when handling foods with different drying requirements. The thermostat is easily operated by a dial control on top of the unit with different temperature markings to guide you. The Converga-Flow System that is patented by the Nesco Company utilizes a powerful top mounted 2100RPM fan that forces hot air down the pressurized chamber on the exterior end of the appliance and not through the racks. It is then released horizontally across each rack, and all the hot air eventually converges on the core of the unit. The Converga-Flow drying technique is super-efficient and ensures there is faster and even drying of food. This method also prevents flavor mixing, since hot air does flow through the racks.
The Presto 06301 also features 600 watts of drying power. You can use it to dry practically any type of food including fruits, vegetables, and even beef while retaining all their healthy nutrients. However, it does not feature an adjustable thermostat like the FD-75A. Instead, it comes with a constant temperature setting of 165?F. The powerful bottom mounted fan ensures the suspended food above it is quickly and evenly dried up. Although hot air is pushed through each tray, the Presto 06301 is still very effective thanks to its compact design.
Conclusion: Although both devices feature the same drying power, the Converga-Flow system keeps the Nesco FD-75A above its peers. The FD-75A also has a thermostat, which makes it a much convenient appliance to use. The Presto 06301 is also very effective, but the fact that it only features one high setting means that you will have to monitor it constantly, especially when drying delicate ingredients and foodstuffs to prevent them from scorching.
This dehydrator comes with five 13.5 inch trays, which is enough to cater to all your family needs. The trays are designed to be stacked on top of each other, without the use of any tools. If you feel the capacity is not enough, then you can always expand it to 12 trays, although you will have to purchase the extra trays separately. The opaque Vita-Save exterior surface of the trays prevents harmful lights from penetrating to the food, which retains most of the nutrients and vitamins during the dehydration process. In addition, the Nesco FD-75A comes with other accessories that make the drying process a stress-free affair. They include two fruit roll sheets that are used to dry semi-liquids like fruit rolls, soups, and sauces; two Clean-A-Screen flexible screens that are used to dry small ingredients, such as spices, herbs and potpourri; and lastly, three original jerky spice packets for preparing jerky. It also includes a 52-page recipe and instruction book.
The Presto 06301 features a four-tray system that is expanded to 8 trays for added capacity. The extra trays are also bought separately. It comes with a see-through top cover, which allows you to monitor the progress on the top tray. The trays and top cover are dishwasher safe, which takes away the need to wash them by hand. It is also super easy to store this device with the cable safely wrapped at the base and the trays nesting on top of each other to save on space. It also comes with fruit roll sheets, nonstick mesh screens, and jerky spice kits.
Conclusion: Both units are expandable and also come with various accessories to ensure the drying process is as smooth as possible. However, the Nesco FD-75A has more capacity and even includes a recipe book to guide you, which is very convenient especially if you are a newbie to food dehydration.
Both units are entry level dehydrators and will work perfectly for you if you are a newbie. While the Presto 06301 is very effective and will definitely give you value for your money, the Nesco FD-75A offers more features and practicality and is the clear cut winner. They both receive our seal of approval.