Chances are, if you are reading this article, you already know what a food dehydrator is and you are just looking for an opinion on which dehydrator to buy. I won’t let you down. In the comparisons I did, the Excalibur 3926TB came out on the top of the Horizontal food processors and the Presto 06301 is the leader in the vertical or stackable models. I feel for the features each has when weighed against the price, these two dehydrators stood out from their nearest competitor. You can scroll down for a more in depth review on these machines as well as side by side comparisons of the dehydrators I considered for this review.
If you aren’t familiar with dehydrators and you aren’t quite sure where to start with the process, take a look at my article: 9 Things to Consider Before You Buy a Food Dehydrator. If you need an even more basic overview of drying your foods and how dehydrators work, check out This article. Both of them are right here on prolongtheharvest.com. Now, On with the food dehydrator reviews.
Excalibur 3926TV vs. The Omega DH9090TW Horizontal Dehydrators
These two units are rated very similarly on Amazon.com. I took a closer look at the features of both and weighed the advantages of one over the other. In the instances where the features were identical or close enough that you wouldn’t notice, I defaulted to the price for the decision.* User rating and review numbers were as of the time of writing this article and may have changed.
Overall Ranking and User Ratings
These two units are very similar in the overall user rankings. I used the rankings found on Amazon.com. Any purchases you make from Amazon after clicking through from my site gives me a small percentage of your sale price. I like Amazon’s rating systems. They are straight forward and I feel give an honest representation of the overall user experience of a product. The Excalibur scored a 4.5 out of 5 star rating with 1271 ratings. vs. a 4 out of 5 with only 17 reviews for the omega. Obviously this is a lopsided battle. Either the Omega is a much newer model, or something else is going on. It could have something to do with the pricing of the Omega unit. I am going to put this section in the win column for the Excalibur.
Timer and Adjustable Thermostat
Both of these dehydrators have a 26 hour timer. This feature is great if you want to set your dehydrator and forget it. When the food is done the dehydrator will shut off whether you are in bed or out at the store. You don’t have to worry about it running when it doesn’t have to.
The important feature here, I think, is the Thermostat. The thermostat on the Excalibur goes up to 165ºF. The Omega only goes to 155ºF. It is only a 10 degree difference and that is not really an issue if you are only drying herbs and vegetables. But, if you are making Jerky, 155º will not cut it. Meat needs to reach a temp of 160º and Chicken needs to reach a temp of 165º to kill off all of the nasty little organisms like the botulism bacteria. If you want to make jerky in the Omega, it looks like you will need to add the extra step of bring your meat up to heat in the oven before placing in the dehydrator. Who wants extra steps? A win for the Excalibur.
The dimensions on the two units are almost exactly the same. They both can hold up to 15 square feet of food at a time using the 9 racks that come with the dehydrators.One nice feature of having shelves in these horizontal dehydrators is that you can remove shelves if you are drying bulky items or you can even use it to proof bread dough.
What if you need extra shelves so you can prep more food to go in as soon as your first batch is done? What if you want to upgrade the plastic drying racks to stainless steel at some point? You have that option with the Excalibur but not the Omega. To be honest, you might be able to make the racks for the Excalibur fit the Omega because of the similarity in size, but I just don’t know. Have to chalk this one up to the Excalibur as well.
Winner in the Horizontal Dehydrator Class: The Excalibur 3926TV
With the features like the timer to take the worry out of dehydrating foods and the Thermostat to cut down on unnecessary steps, The Excalibur is my choice for a home Dehydrator in the Horizontal class. I like that you can buy add-ons like the shelves and the versatility to do more than just dehydrate. With almost 1300 people rating the unit and giving it on average 90% overall satisfaction, I think it is a pretty safe bet. Check out the pricing on the Excalibur 3926TV and the Omega DH9090TW on Amazon for yourself. I think you will find the Excalibur wins that category as well making it the all around champion in this showdown.
Nesco FD-75A vs. The Presto 06301 Vertical Dehydrators
Here again, these two units are rated very closely, but there are some differences between the two that give advantages in some areas and disadvantages in others. Price was the deciding factor in categories too close to call. Vertical Dehydrators are sometimes called stackable dehydrators. They differ from the Omega and the Excalibur in that the airflow rises up through the system rather than from the back. Vertical units tend to be lighter weight and easier to store, but require a bit more work.* User rating and review numbers were as of the time of writing this article and may have changed.
Unlike the the horizontal dehydrators, these two machines each have plenty of reviews at the time of writing to go by. The Nesco has over 4000 reviews giving it an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars and the Presto has over 1000 reviews rating it 4.4 out of 5 stars. It seems that both of these brands have plenty of fans that back their quality and are willing to give them their recommendation.
Timer and Thermostat
As I discussed in the previous face-off, a timer is a great feature for peace of mind. It can shut off your dehydrator after the appropriate amount of time has gone by and your food is dried. This cuts down on unnecessary electric usage and gives piece of mind that your appliance isn’t burning your house down. Well, in this match-up, only the Presto has a built in timer. Not sure why Nesco wouldn’t have included this feature. Sure, you could use a vacation timer in the outlet, but that is added cost and those things are always a hassle. The Presto has a 26 hour timer just like the big guys.
Both the Nesco and the Presto have an adjustable thermostat, but it only reaches 160ºF. Fine for doing beef jerky, but not for drying chicken. If you want to dehydrate chicken in in these units, you will need to heat it in the oven first before placing in the dehydrator. Vertical dehydrators aren’t the best for making jerky anyway. The airflow isn’t as good as a horizontal dryer. They work great for fruits, vegetables and herbs, though. I guess you just need to know what your expectations are with a dehydrator. Placing this in the win column for Presto because of the timer feature.
Size and Expandability
The Nesco dehydrator comes with 5 racks and is expandable up to 12. Pretty good. The Presto comes with 6 racks and expands up to 12. Even better, right? Well, before we go handing this win over to the Presto, let’s take a closer look at the trays. The Nesco is a slightly larger unit. The 5 racks that come with it gives you almost 5 square feet to use for drying your food. Once you add on the other 7 trays you are up to almost 12 square feet. Because of the smaller diameter of the Presto, you lose about 6 square inches of drying space vs. the Nesco even though you have the one extra tray. At full capacity, you are down almost 3 square feet. This is clearly a win for the Nesco.
But, bigger isn’t always better. Don’t forget about storage. Chances are, you aren’t going to be using your dehydrator all the time. And if you are like me, you don’t have room for another freaking appliance on the counter. These stackable dehydrators tuck neatly inside of themselves for easy storage the this is where the Presto’s smaller size may be an advantage.
And the Winner Is…
Wow. This one was a really tough decision. I like the larger size of the Nesco unit for speed of production. and fewer parts mean easier cleanup. If you have red any of my other posts, you know how I feel about cleanup. But I also like the Presto for the size of storage and the timer feature. I have to go with the Presto 06301 Dehydrator on this one. Even though it has fewer reviews and slightly lower reviews than the Nesco, If I were making the decision for my own kitchen today that would be the one that ended u in my shopping cart. You can compare prices on the Nesco FD-75A and our winner the Presto 06301 by following these links to Amazon.
Thanks for stopping by and checking out the review. If you have any thoughts on these two units, or if you would like to see other units in the comparisons, please drop a line in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.