Wondering if a dehydrator is a worthwhile investment for your kitchen?
In some cases, a dehydrator may be worth purchasing. I found that after dehydrating sixty items (an apple, for example, is one item) you should have made back your investment on a dehydrator which retails for around $40. This is inclusive of the cost of electricity.
In this article, I’ll cover how I came up with this number as well as the ways you can save money on a dehydrator or use a different appliance inside your home (which you may already have) to dehydrate foods.
History of Dehydrators
Dehydration was used in prehistoric times and has long been a way for people to preserve food. However, this form of food preservation was only turned into an electrical appliance in the 1970s.
During this time major appliance firms such as Excalibur began making food dehydrators and selling them to housewives across the world. By the 1980s these appliances had gained such popularity they were being made by multiple different household appliance manufacturers.
Over the past 20 to 25 years the popularity of food dehydrator has decreased significantly with fewer people growing and cooking their own food. However, there’s still a relatively large market for these machines and for many they still prove to be an incredibly worthwhile investment.
How Much Dehydrators Cost?
While industrial dehydrators cost between $2,000 and $5,000, small household electronic food dehydrators can be purchased for between $30 and $100.
The difference between a $30 and $100 dehydrator is relatively minimal as these appliances offer limited to no versatility (but they are incredibly good at what they do). In fact, the only major notice you might see between the two price points is capacity and manufacture/brand.
That said, the brand/manufacturer can speak volumes as to the reliability of the appliance and it’s overall look and style.
Are Dehydrators Worth It?
I believe that to truly understand whether a dehydrator is worth it you have to determine how much you plan to use the appliance and whether you have the space to store and use it in your kitchen.
Some of the benefits you should consider when deciding if a dehydrator is right for you are;
Reduces Food Waste – One of the primary benefits to using a food dehydrator is the appliances ability to preserve and extend the life of fresh fruits, vegetables and other nutritious ingredients.
Saves Money – Pre-packaged dehydrated snacks are incredibly expensive (often retailing for around $2 per pack). It’s significantly cheaper to dehydrate your own foods at home and bag them yourself to snack on as and when required.
Natural – It’s a very natural way to preserve food and by doing it at home you have full control as to what goes into the process.
However, some drawbacks to owning and using a dehydrator are;
Takes Time – This is a process that requires some preparation and a lot of time. The average time it takes to dehydrate food is around eight hours. Which makes this unsuitable for some with busy lives.
Changes The Taste – The change in taste and particularly texture isn’t something for everyone and may take some getting used to, or be something that some people are unable to adjust to entirely.
Noisy – Dehydrators are relatively loud appliances (similar to an oven). This wouldn’t be too much of an issue if they were only used for an hour or so, however with the average dehydration time totalling eight hours this can become somewhat of an annoyance.
If we approach this question from a numbers standpoint we can see the following;
Assuming that you dehydrate five pieces of fruits or vegetables once a week instead of disposing of them you’re likely saving around $4.00 a week in food value from the trash (of course this varies significantly depending on what you dehydrate).
Most food requires 8 hours in the dehydrator on average. We know from our research into how much money it costs to run a dehydrator that this would cost around $0.64.
That’s an average of $3.36 worth of food saved from the trash each week. Considering you can purchase a dehydrator with great reviews for just $40 you can pay that investment off with the savings from your food alone in just under 12 weeks.
In other words, if you manage to save more than 60 items of food from the trash by dehydrating them instead you should be in profit.
There are a couple of different appliances (some of which you might already own) that you can use to dehydrate foods. These include;
Oven – An oven can dehydrate foods at a faster speed given the fact the oven is able to reach higher temperatures than a dehydrator.
However, this higher heat can result in damaged food and using an oven isn’t always economically viable as the appliance is so large so unless you can fill it with foods you may want to dehydrate it may be a waste of electricity.
Toaster Oven – You can also use a toaster oven to dehydrate food which may be preferred as an alternative over a traditional oven as it’s smaller and less required (something to consider given the long dehydration times).
How To Save Money On A Dehydrator
There are a number of ways you could look to save some money on a dehydrator;
Buy Second Hand
You could look to buy the appliance second hand. The majority of second-hand appliances retail for around 50% less than the original RRP.
Buy The Display Model
You can also ask for the floor model, in certain stores they’ll have a floor model or demo appliance which is used to help incentivize people to purchase the item.
When new models are released or stores are redesigned these models are often sold off with a discount of between 10% to 25%. While this is often a ‘right place, right time scenario’ it’s something to consider during your search.
Buy During A Seasonal Sale
You could aim to buy the appliance during Black Friday or during the Boxing Day sales. In this case, you’ll still be buying a new appliance but may save up to 25% as a result.
The problem with this solution is that you may be waiting months for your new appliance (i.e. if you’re looking to replace your refrigerator in June then November is a number of months away, will your fridge last this long or has it already stopped working).
Finally, if you have to buy your kitchen appliances brand new and are unable to wait for the sales then I suggest shopping around and using coupon codes where possible. The majority of stores will offer a ‘best price guarantee’ so you can ensure that you’re getting the best possible retail price.
On top of this, you can use coupon codes which are advertised on the site, directly delivered to your inbox or found online through the likes of Honey to save anything up to 30%.