Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food & Jerky Dehydrator – REVIEW

High Quality, Powerful & Affordable
Overall
4.3
  • Drying effectivenes
  • Ease of Use
  • Features
  • Build Quality
  • Extendability

Summary

The Nesco FD-75A is a very capable machine at a very affordable price when compared with some other brands. The biggest negative point in our opinion is the lack of a timer which can lead to some over-dried results if not careful. Assuming you manage the timing yourself, this dehydrator will allow you to make jerky, dried fruits and vegetables, fruit rollups, sauces, herbs, flowers, dog treats and much more for years to come.

Pros

  • No need to rotate the trays
  • Fast and effective drying
  • Large drying capacity out the box
  • Extendable to up to 12 trays
  • Adjustable thermostat
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • No power button, controlled by plug
  • No shut-off timer
  • Can be noisy
  • Power unit made in China

Introduction

Nesco have been in the dehydrator business for over 30 years and in that time they have produced a wide range of models which have steadily improved year upon year.

Key Features

 

Converga-Flow Air Flow System

The way in which air flow is directed inside of a dehydrator unit is an essential factor in the quality of the finished product. Many dehydrators suffer from a drawback where the heat is higher at one part of the unit than another, resulting in the user having to basically ‘babysit’ the unit and rotate the trays every half an hour or to ensure even drying.

Nesco have patented their ‘Converge-a-Flow’ air flow system which consists of a fan mounted at the top of the unit and air-flow holes strategically placed throughout. This forces the air to flow around the entire unit evenly so that you can just switch on and leave it unattended and come back to perfectly even food!

Adjustable Thermostat

Different kinds of food require different temperatures. For instance, delicate herbs, flowers and other kinds of leaves would need to be dried at a much lower temperature that water-rich foods such as many fruits and vegetables. An even higher temperature is required for effectively drying dense meats for making the oh-so-popular jerky products!

The FD-75A has a thermostat which you can set anywhere between 95º and 160º Fahrenheit. To make things even easier there is a handy chart on the top of the unit which tells you where to set the temperature for various kinds of foods that you might be drying. This will be very useful if you are a newcomer to the world of dehydrated foods!

Adjustable thermostat and a handy reference chart

Fast and Powerful

The unit runs at 600 watts and what this means is that it can dry even meat that has been marinated in liquid in just a few hours. There are some models on the market today that can take close to 24 hours to work! Nobody wants to leave their appliances plugged in for that long.

Also, as mentioned above, the top end temperature of 160º is good for meats meaning that this is an excellent machine if you wish to make your own jerky.

Highly Extendable

The basic unit comes with 5 drying trays, each measuring 13.5 inches in diameter. The standard trays are a large mesh (see the picture above) and are suitable for drying larger items.

In addition, it comes with two solid sheets which have a curved lip on the inside and outside of the ring. These are great for drying liquids and purees such as for making fruit leather, or drying out a liquid such as spaghetti sauce. This is great if you are going camping – you add a little water and then reconstitute the sauce back into its original form.

There are also two sheets with a fine mesh which are useful when you are drying something with small pieces that could fall through the holes of the standard trays. These are typically used for small herbs, spices, peas, corn, seeds and so on.

What is particularly useful about this model is that you can separately purchase more of all of these items. The unit will accommodate up to 12 trays stacked high which would offer 10 square feet of drying space for the same amount of counter space being used up! This is a super efficient use of space and awesome if you need to dry a lot at once but don’t have the room for a large model.

Technical Specifications

  • Power: 600 watts / 120 volts
  • Temperature: Adjustable from 95º to 160º F
  • Capacity: 5 x trays, 13 inches diameter each
  • Warranty: 1 Year manufacturer guarantee

The Pros

No Babysitting

The thing we like most about this model is that the way in which the air is circulated so evenly around the unit means that you can set it up and then just forget about it until the job is done. You don’t have to rotate the trays, or turn them around, or even check on it. You just leave it to do it’s job and come back to perfectly dehydrated food.

A batch of beef jerky made with the Nesco dehydrator

Build Quality

All of the plastic is BPA free so you can be sure it is safe for your food. In addition, Nesco use a special type of casing called ‘Vita-Save’ which blocks out light. This means that even if you use the dehydrator in a very bright room, no light is able to get to your food and compromise its integrity.

All the trays are easily washed in warm soapy water and can also be put into the dishwasher so after use, it is very easy to clean.

Large Capacity

If you want to make up a large batch of jerky, which is one of the more popular uses of this machine, depending on how thickly you slice the meat and how neatly you lay it out on the trays, you would be able to dry out around 2-3lbs of raw meat using the 5 trays that come with the machine. The finished product usually reduces in weight by about half to one third depending on how dry or moist you prefer the finished result.

And of course with the availability of the additional trays, you can truly dry out a lot in a single batch if you need to.

However, do be aware that the speed at which it operates will depend on your climate. If you are in a very humid area it will take longer than if you are in a dry area.

It’s Fast

The fan mounted at the top of the unit really speeds up the drying process. You’ll be able to dehydrate almost anything in just a few hours. This is great if you have a lot to do and need to work with several batches.

The Cons

 

No Power Switch

Once your food is sufficiently dry, the only way to stop the drying process is to unplug the machine from the mains; there is no actual on/off switch which is a little strange. While not a huge deal, it’s annoying if you want to check on the progress and you have to unplug from the outlet each time.

No Timer

The great thing about this machine is that you can set it up and forget about it, but the big downside is that there is no timer so it will just keep on drying forever until you switch it off! So you will have to set yourself a manual timer so that it doesn’t turn all your food into dust! This could be a nuisance if you start your dehydration process in the evening and it is likely to complete at some point during the night when you would be sleeping.

One way around this is to attach the plug to a timer socket and set the timer up that way.

It’s a Bit Noisy

This one is somewhat subjective. Some people say that they can hardly hear it and they can be watching TV quite happily with the dehydrator running in the background. But other people have complained that they’ve had to move it out to a garage or other location far from the living area because it made so much noise! So whilst it will depend on your personal tolerance level, be aware that many people find it to be noisy in its operation!

One user actually tested it and found the noise level to be 57 Decibels, which is about the same volume as a voice conversation.

Partly Manufactured in China

Whilst the majority of the machine is indeed made in the USA, the power unit is actually manufactured in China. It might not bother everybody but we’ve listed it as a negative point as the packaging boasts “made in USA” which is not 100% true.

Conclusion

The Nesco FD-75A is a very capable machine at a very affordable price when compared with some other brands. The biggest negative point in our opinion is the lack of a timer which can lead to some over-dried results if not careful. Assuming you manage the timing yourself, this dehydrator will allow you to make jerky, dried fruits and vegetables, fruit rollups, sauces, herbs, flowers, dog treats and much more for years to come.

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