So, you’ve decided to get a food dehydrator! Whether you’re interested in making your own jerky or turning healthy veggies and fruits into potato chip-like snacks, there’s surely a lot of benefits to getting into dehydrating foods. The thing is, there are so many models available.
In this part of the guide, we’ll go over the different types of available dehydrators, and we’ll talk about things like the noise each type of dehydrator makes, and how much power they use. Finally, we’ll talk about how much space they take up in the kitchen, and whether they would be a good buy or not.
The first ‘’style’’ of food dehydrator we’ll profile is the “stackable dehydrator.” These are some of the most common types available, and unless you’re a heavy “power user,” they’re probably your best bet. Their design is extremely efficient because they allow you to dehydrate a fairly large amount of food in a pretty small space.
The only real issue is basically with the design of these machines; the trays that are closest to the heating element dry out quicker than the ones farthest away. This means that it’s a smart move to rotate your trays every couple of hours to ensure an even dehydration schedule.
Whether you’re talking about cheaper stackable fan units or the more expensive “shelf” brands such as Excalibur, they may be loud. Unfortunately, there’s not really a lot you can do about it; this noise is part of the design.
Some quick tips about muffling the sound: If your machine doesn’t have vents on the bottom of the device, you can usually put the whole machine on top of something soft. Grab a towel or big washcloth, or something, and put your dehydrator on top of it. This will absorb and muffle some of the sound waves coming out of the device.
The problem again is that this is how these devices are designed, so it’s difficult to really change them or make them quieter without affecting their operation.
Also, make sure to not put a towel down there if your machine has vents or air escape channeling beneath the unit; you want to allow the machine to do what it was designed to do.
Obviously, another option is very basic but might also be a good idea; place your food dehydrator somewhere where the noise won’t bother anyone, like a closet or basement if you have one.
Another idea might be to research models that are made to operate in a quiet manner. One we’ve found that is very quiet is called the VegiKiln by a company called Weston. It has a double-walled design that provides for a bit of insulation and damping with the fan and engine mechanisms.
Another brand that’s known to be fairly quiet is the L’Equipe range of dehydrators. They have a similar insulation and sealing system with their machines, and many people have remarked about how quiet and efficient these machines are.
Finally, another unit that’s known to be quiet is the Samson Silent Dehydrator. It’s not the largest of the bunch, and it costs a bit more, but if quiet operation is something you’re interested in, it will fit the bill.
Before you can really pick apart dehydrators, you have to understand the differences between them. And sadly, knowing the differences between the two doesn’t really ensure that your model will be nice and quiet.
Either way, we’ll go over the two different kinds because you need to know and because one kind is usually a bit quieter than the other.
As you may or may not notice, most of the quiet dehydrators we listed above aren’t the circular “stackable” kind, which is usually made of plastic and therefore, usually not the best at insulating noise and vibration. The better type of dehydrator, both for noise and general use, is a ”box-and-shelf” dehydrator.
Why would this second kind be better? Well, two reasons. The first is that these ”box-and-shelf” devices evenly heat all of your veggies or meats, so there’s no need to turn or rotate your racks.
The fan units are usually spread across the rear of the unit, which allows for all of your goods to be affected by the dehydration process basically in the same way.
These box units are generally much better insulated and have at least a dual-wall design, not unlike a small refrigerator. As you would think, more insulation and a more robust design = less noise.
It may sound obvious, but you can also usually quiet down your food dehydrator if you place it in your kitchen the right way. Basically, don’t place the dehydrator in a corner, or in a small contained nook or area.
If you do that, the walls nearby will simply amplify the hum of the heating element and the fan, considerably increasing your noise levels.
Think about what happens when you place a mobile phone playing some music or a small speaker inside of a large bowl. It gets louder, right? That’s because the bowl turns into a speaker of sorts, catching all of the sound waves, bouncing them around, amplifying them, and pushing them all out in a more concentrated direction. This same thing happens if you place your food dehydrator in a corner.
To recap, resist the urge to place your dehydrator in a cubby or in a corner if you’re concerned about noise, and if you want to dampen its vibrations (and you’re not blocking any air vents) go ahead and place it on top of a towel or something.
Of course, these types of ”box-and-shelf” units are generally larger and bulkier than the stackable fan style, but they’ll also usually last longer and be more efficient as well.
Good luck on your hunt to find a quiet food dehydrator. Hopefully, the criteria we’ve outlined here can help you find the best one for your needs.