Easy to use
Simple, sleek design
Silent during operation
Compact and easy to store
Lacks temperature precision
No automatic shut-off
We purchased the NutriChef Food Dehydrator Machine so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
Food dehydrators aren’t exactly a household staple, but there are certainly benefits to having a gadget like the NutriChef Food Dehydrator Machine in your kitchen. These appliances allow you to make all sorts of snacks from fruit, vegetables, and even meat, and they can help minimize food waste, as you can simply dehydrate produce that you wouldn’t otherwise use. Plus, dehydrators can give some of your favorite—or not so favorite—fruits and vegetables a fun new flavor and texture—who knows, homemade apple chips might even be a hit with the picky eaters in your family!
To see if the NutriChef Food Dehydrator is truly a slept-on household appliance, we took it for a test run, drying out all sorts of produce to see if it’s worth your money. Read on for our findings.
Setup: Couldn’t be easier
The NutriChef Food Dehydrator is immediately ready to use once removed from its packaging. It comes with five trays made from transparent BPA-free plastic, and the shelves have a mesh structure that keeps food in place while allowing hot air to circulate.
One major appeal of the NutriChef is its compact size, which makes for easy storage. The unit measures 10.2 x 11 x 11 inches and weighs just 3 pounds when empty, so we were able to find space for it in our pantry quite easily. Even if you have a small kitchen, we don’t think you’ll have a hard time finding space for it.
Design: Simple and modern
Aesthetically, the transparent trays and crisp white base of the NutriChef Food Dehydrator was ideal for our kitchen. It’s simple and modern, and as mentioned, not so big that it’s cumbersome. Plus, the unit is incredibly easy to use straight out of the box. It has an on/off switch and a single dial that allows you to change its heat setting to high, medium, or low.
The trays are stain-resistant and easy to clean, and they stack on top of one another. There isn’t a locking mechanism for them, though, so it’s important to take care when moving the machine, and be sure to pick it up from the base.
Performance: Fast drying time
Unlike store-bought snacks that are often loaded with preservatives, added sugar, and sodium, homemade dehydrated food gives you full control of what exactly is going into your snacks. Additionally, food dehydrators have the ability to shrink food down to less than half its original size and weight while still retaining the majority of beneficial vitamins and minerals.
We would also be remiss not to mention the economic benefits of dehydrating your food at home: Namely, you can save money by skipping expensive store-bought snacks. Depending on the price of your unit, a food dehydrator could potentially pay for itself in as little as two or three batches.
The NutriChef’s temperature dial ranges from low to high with a maximum temperature of 180 degrees.
However, some products sound great on paper but fall flat in real life, so we wanted to see if the NutriChef Food Dehydrator would live up to our high expectations. We put the appliance to the test by attempting to make kale chips.
The NutriChef manual offers standard information on setting up the machine, how to use the dial, and suggested drying times for different produce, but we didn't know what temperature to set it to. The NutriChef’s temperature dial ranges from low to high with a maximum temperature of 180 degrees, and after doing research online, we were able to find information on suggested temperature settings for kale chips.
After tossing our kale in a simple seasoning of olive oil, salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast, we lined the trays evenly, taking care not to overlap too much to ensure even drying time.
With our first batch, we were able to dry a 10-ounce bag of kale on the unit’s five trays without overlapping, and thanks to the dehydrator’s transparent design, we never had to lift the lid or let out any heat to check on the progress of our chips. In three hours, the NutriChef had sufficiently crisped our kale, and this was actually 1 to 2 hours shorter than the time suggested online. (Granted, the NutriChef is a more compact unit than most.)
The biggest benefit in our book is how quietly the NutriChef operated. It’s literally silent. This is huge if you have to run the appliance while you’re home—something that may be necessary since the unit does not offer an automatic shut-off timer. We will say that if you’re more experienced with dehydrating, you might be disappointed with the lack of precision when it comes to the temperature gauge and timer.
Features: Essentials are missing
The NutriChef is definitely an entry-level food dehydrator, as it really doesn’t have any advanced features. Some buyers will appreciate the plug-and-play, single-dial style of this machine, but others may find the lack of customization and precision to be too rudimentary.
One feature we did miss was a timer and automatic shut-off, which would have allowed us to dry produce when we weren’t home.
Even though we didn’t mind the simplicity of the machine, one feature we did miss was a timer and automatic shut-off, which would have allowed us to dry produce when we weren’t home. We also would have liked if this food dehydrator included specialty trays. If you want to dry smaller items such as herbs, you need a finer grate, and if you plan to make fruit leathers, you’ll need a tray with a solid surface. If either of these snacks were in your plans, this might not be the best appliance for you.
Cleaning: Simple upkeep
The NutriChef trays are easy to wash by hand or in the dishwasher. Occasional scrubbing or soaking might be necessary for sticky fruits or marinaded meat, but otherwise, the trays are relatively easy to clean.
While the grid-like design of the trays is ideal for air circulation, it also allows marinades and smaller pieces of food to slip through the cracks, settling at the base of the machine. However, we found it was simple to clean. The only thing we could see becoming a problem over time is the two screws at the base, which are tough to clean out completely and will likely accumulate debris.
The NutrifChef is definitely an entry-level food dehydrator, as it really doesn’t have any advanced features.
Price: Easy on your wallet
At $48.99, the NutriChef is a budget-friendly option for individuals seeking a straightforward, small-batch food dehydrator. However, if you’re experienced in the art of drying food or want to make larger batches of dehydrated goods, you might be disappointed in this model’s limited capacity and lack of temperature control.
NutriChef Food Dehydrator Machine vs. Hamilton Beach Digital Food Dehydrator
The Hamilton Beach Digital Food Dehydrator is slightly more expensive than the NutriChef model, and it features a similar stacking design. However, the Hamilton Beach model is slightly larger at 10.5 x 13 x 11 inches, and its form is fairly bulky with a less aesthetically appealing design. Additionally, the NutriChef is silent during operation, which is wonderful compared to the Hamilton Beach Dehydrator, which makes enough noise to be distracting.
However, the biggest point of difference between the two is the Hamilton Beach Dehydrator has a digital panel at the base of the machine that allows you to set an exact temperature and timer. It also has an automatic shut-off feature, so you don’t have to manually shut it off once your food is ready.
- Product Name Food Dehydrator Machine
- Product Brand NutriChef
- Price $48.99
- Weight 3.1 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 11 x 10.2 x 11 in.
- Color White
- Item Model Number PKFD06
- Material Plastic
- Warranty 1-year limited