Do you enjoy saving money in the kitchen?
And how about the peace of mind that comes with knowing your family is enjoying healthy snacks made with natural ingredients, free of any additives or preservatives?
If you’ve answered yes to either question, then you might want to check out the advantages of dehydrating your own food. Economical and easy to do, preserving foods through dehydration is another healthy method to complement canning and freezing.
Dehydrating food comes with a particular advantage over other preserving techniques. Drying foods results in a loss of weight and volume, making them easy to pack and carry. Perfect for the briefcase, lunch pail, backpack or taking on a road trip.
In this post we’re going to take a close look at the Presto 6301 Dehydro Digital Electric Food Dehydrator – another very popular stacking dehydrator. Let’s determine if this model is going to deliver the advertised goods as promised.
The Presto Dehydro uses a stacking six-tray system for drying fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices as well as making great-tasting jerky and fruit rolls.
The heating element and fan are located in the base of the unit, along with the clear digital display panel. Expandable to 12 trays for added drying capacity, the trays also nest when not in use, offering a clever solution for storage and reducing its operating size by over 40%.
With a Stop/Start button, a programmable timer and an adjustable thermostat, this model offers convenience as well as efficient operation.
The 750 watts of power effectively produces enough heat and air circulation to evenly dry all ingredients on the BPA-free, food-safe plastic trays.
Features and Benefits
Set the adjustable digital thermostat to temperatures between 90 and 165 F to regulate the exact amount of heated air flowing over the trays for consistent and even drying, with no need to rotate trays.
The convenient plus and minus (+/-) buttons will increase or decrease the temperature at any time with one touch controls.
The electronic timer can be set for 30 minutes to 48 hours. It gives precise drying times and will automatically shut off the dehydrator when done – you can set it and forget it, with no need hover over this model. If more time is needed for drying, simply reset the timer.
A convenient Stop/Start button means one finger operation without the hassle of having to plug in and unplug the unit whenever you want to check its progress.
The bottom-mounted fan and heating element provide consistent air flow for optimum drying, with no rotation of trays needed. And the base unit also includes a niche for cord storage.
The Dehydro includes six drying trays, as well as two fruit roll-up sheets and two nonstick mesh screens. It can expand to hold up to 12 trays, and a see-through cover on the top tray lets you monitor drying as it progresses.
This model will automatically shut off after 48 hours to prevent any overheating problems from arising.
Trays are dishwasher safe on the top shelf, with air drying only.
The Dehydro also has a well written and comprehensive User’s Manual, with useful tips to prepare and create the best dried fruits, vegetables and jerky.
It also comes with Presto’s limited 1-year warranty. And, it includes starter packs of jerky cure and spices. Pick it up on Amazon, save some cash and have it delivered to your door with minimal hassle.
The Presto Dehydro measures 14.5 x 15 x 7” out of the box with the trays nested, and weighs 8.5 pounds. With the trays assembled in drying position, the total height is 15”.
Each of the drying trays has a surface diameter of approximately 12”, minus the 2” cut-out in the center.
Trays can be washed in the dishwasher on the top shelf only, on the gentle cycle and set to air dry – no heat. Or, wash in warm soapy water and wipe the electrical base clean with a damp cloth.
The following is a summary of the most common points found in the many customer reviews on Amazon, both good and bad:
- Satisfied shoppers report that the easy operation of this model makes it a pleasure to use, and its design makes it very functional – easy to set up, operate and clean. And, the even air flow produces the desired dried delectables without needing to rotate trays.
- The adjustable thermostat is another feature that is mentioned favorably, with reports of it being very user friendly. The ability to adjust temperatures with one touch as drying progresses makes operation simple.
- The timer gets big kudos – it’s easy to set, and allows you to go about your business while the dryer works. And it’s programmable for up to 48 hours, which is more than ample time for even the most difficult pieces to dry.
- Another positive feature is the relatively small footprint on the countertop and in the storage cupboard, and users appreciate the storage savings provided by the nesting trays.
- The entire unit is easy to clean, as the trays can go in the dishwasher on gentle (top shelf) and the base wipes down easily with a damp cloth.
- In general, food dehydrators are not the quietest pieces of kitchenware as the fan needs to run constantly to maintain adequate air flow. The consensus with the Dehydro is that fan noise is noticeable, but not overbearing – comparisons are made to a hood fan over the kitchen range, or an exhaust fan in the bathroom. Many customers set it up at night and let it run while they sleep to reduce the impact of the noise.
- Of the unhappy customers, most report the fan or heater stopped working shortly after purchase. Annoying to be sure, but Presto’s customer service seems to take care of exchanges promptly, with quick and easy replacement.
- The manual contains guidelines and drying times for a variety of foods, but these guidelines apply in optimal conditions. Expect some trial and error for drying times to compensate for local conditions such as air temperature, humidity, the size of food being dried, etc.
- Prepare the trays after dinner and let the drier run at night while you sleep. Most pieces will be done in the morning when you wake, and it’s a good way to minimize the impact of fan noise.
The Presto Dehydro seems to have earned its high marks on Amazon. An efficient and reliable dehydrator that performs well with minimum supervision, this appliance also has a convenient size that’s suitable for the home food drying enthusiast.
- Included Accessories
- Build Quality
A good machine for the price with great customer service from the manufacturer. The warranty period could be longer. Buy this machine if you are are on a significant budget or need something for occasional use - it may not be the best choice for a heavy user.
The 750 watts provide all the heat and air movement needed to dry the ingredients thoroughly when fully loaded, although it may struggle some if additional trays are purchased and fully loaded as well. Load it up, turn on the timer, and go about your business – this hassle-free and efficient model from Presto will take care of the rest.
The only real negative with this product? It doesn’t have the most robust construction. Expect three or four seasons of use and be prepared to replace it. We prefer the more pricey Excalibur 3926 series for the best bang for your buck, in terms of price in comparison with longevity. The Excalibur is a product that’ll last for 20 years or more.
Want more choices? Check out all of our food dehydrator reviews now!
About Lorna Kring
Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.