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Dehydrator - Generic Brand

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  • After a bit of research into food dehydrators i really couldn't bring myself to paying > $400 (and up to $700 for the really nice ones) for a unit so I went for a generic Chinese-made dehydrator. Was it a good choice.... read on...!

    I ended up buying this one off eBay for $130 with free postage. It was located in the same city as me (Brisbane, Australia) so it only took a couple of days to arrive.
    I noticed there were a fair few to choose from on eBay so it really came down to trying to pick one that had the most functionality and was geographically closest to me. I figure if it doesn't have to travel half the world to get to my doorstep then that's a good thing for the environment and also lessens the chance of damage en route.

    No idea! Really there is not one bit of branding on it or the instructions pamphlet that i can see. All I know is it was made in China and many of the components look awfully similar to many other models on eBay and even some that have a brand. I'm sure these things are all made in the same factory and then shipped out to different suppliers.

    It arrived in a massive cardboard box which led me to think I might have gone too big with 10 draws.
    It was well packaged with no damage and after removing it from the packaging I realised it was HUGE!
    The wife took one look at it and said '...that ain't coming in my kitchen!'. Needless to say it now lives in my garage where I visit it regularly to spend quality time with it. ;)
    Seriously though, I am happy with the size as it will come in handy on the big jobs. Better too big than too small. Plus it will keep my garage warm in the cooler months while I tinker around. It's a win/win really.

    Many of the units on eBay didn't come with a timer, or a variable thermostat (temperature adjustment) or even an on/off switch, or any combination of these functions. It took a while to find one that had all three in the right size, at the right price, and in close proximity to me.
    • Timer - this unit has a digital timer which is very easy to program in hours and minutes. It goes up to 40 hrs (apparently) but I haven't tested that yet. Once set via 3 little push-buttons the unit will run at the temp set on the dial and then turn the unit off once the time runs out. The digital readout is large and easy to read and counts down once you hit go. I think this is a must for a dehydrator. You could get around it with a external timer (on the elec plug) but it just wouldn't be as nice.
    • Variable thermostat - to adjust the temperature there is a simple dial that goes from 95F to 155F. Luckily there is a nice little placard with Deg F to Deg C conversions situated right next to the dial. Too easy really. Definitely a must-have on a dehydrator.
    • On/Off switch - self explanatory and sturdy. Pretty important I suppose although some units for sale didn't have one.
    • Overall: the unit is sturdy enough although never having actually seen an Excaliber dehydrator in the flesh I cant comment on a comparison. It doesn't feel like it will collapse into a heap any time soon.
    • Draws: the 10 draws are all plastic and probably my biggest concern when it comes to quality. I have only run one load of Biltong through it and the one draw I used did start to bow a little. I think over time the draws will bend and buckle and may need a helping hand from me to either repair or replace. The draws have a fairly close fit at the front which negates the need for a front door. (see Front Door point below)
    • Control panel: I am pretty impressed with the quality in this area. I have seen some cheap gadgets before that really skimp on the dials and switches but these seem to be ok. Again time will tell but they look good to start off.
    • Heating element and fan: this is the guts of the dehydrator and if these fail then its all over (red-rover). They appear to be solid enough and the fan is quiet which is one thing a friend warned me of with cheap units.
    • Front Door (or lack there of): all cheap units i found on eBay didn't have a front door including this one. It uses the front edge of the draws to close the drying area. It seems to work ok in the one test I have done but all draws need to be installed which is a bummer if you want to dry something larger than a draw height. If I find this a problem then I will probably make a door to hang on the front so that I can remove draws as required. I also think it may be a good idea to not subject unused draws to the heat each time i use the unit which may prolong their life somewhat and that is where a door will come in handy. I need to give this more thought.
    I have only really done one test so far as I have only had it a couple of days. This test was a load of Biltong using Marks recipe on this website. I think it worked a charm. Mark suggested 12 hours (give or take) and that is exactly what it took. It could have gone maybe another hour or two but I wanted to try it a little less 'baked' first up.
    The taste is awesome along with the texture. Amazing little machine (or not so little as my wife would say).

    So would i recommend a generic brand dehydrator? It may be a little early to definitively say but so far based on what I have seen I would say yes.
    The cost is probably it's biggest draw-card for me. I could buy 3 or 4 of these for the same price as a top brand model. True the top brand may last longer but sometime we just don't have the spare cash or can bring ourselves to dish it out.
    I personally think a generic brand model will basically do the same job as a top model. Maybe it's not as pretty or as well built but it seems to get the job done. Based on the time it took to do my test load it doesn't seem to be lacking in power or efficiency which is something I was most concerned about.
    Overall I think I would give it two thumbs up :twothumbsup:
  • Model: OL-028-10
    Power: 800W
    Made in China
    Tray height is 4.5 cm

    Not sure on its weight but it is very light for its size.
    • Overall frame/body seems solid
    • Lots of draws (10)
    • Draws have a system that holds the draws closed (interference fit) - this stops the draws from sliding open if you move or tilt the unit forward.
    • Quiet operation
    • Cheap
    • Easy stress-free and free delivery
    • Digital Timer, Variable Thermostat, On/Off switch - all of which are very handy
    • On my first test it worked flawlessly and as expected and described
    • No front door - makes it difficult to remove draws during operation as the heat will escape
    • Draws may be a little weak - they may bow and bend after constant and repetitive heat/cool cycles
  • I will try to add more information once I do some more testing so that a more long-term review can be done.
    Thanks for taking the time to read my showcase on my dehydrator.
Patty, William Welch, Rick G and 9 others like this.
  1. Hariyama
    i bought the food dehydrator at crazysales,it is very cheap and good,i try to dry meat,fish,sweet potatoes,it worked very good and food are delicious dry.Very very happy,recommend friends to buy it from Crazysales.Give you five stars feedback.Let me know how to give you five stars feedback.Fast shipping and the best seller.
  2. Hariyama
    The Maxkon Food Dehydrator was a great buy. It arrived quickly and was everything that was advertised. The price was amazing and the quality of the food we are getting from using it is fantastic. I would definitely recommend to anyone who is looking to by - great quality at a fraction of the price you would pay at other stores.
  3. Mary Playford
    I can't wait to get a dehydrator. I do waste food from my garden because I can't eat them all. Love to dry most of the greens and herbs, fruits and vegetables.
  4. Steve
    Honestly I haven't used my dehydrator regularly enough to tell if the power usage had gone up significantly. I use it enough but just not every day or week so I just cant tell.
    But now that you mention that it might be an issue I will try to do any future dehydrating predominately during the day so my solar power can foot most of the bill.
      Mary Playford likes this.
  5. ClissAT
    ok first thing to say is I don't like this new format!! It restricted the number of characters in my reply. I HATE facebook type short answer crap. It turns people into dills.

    Here is my reply to Sasha's previous comment.

    Oh I fully understand how you feel about the power bill, Sasha. Mine was like that too after the mango season.
    However I looked at it a little differently. For me the quality of the produce was uppermost. Since I grow the produce I know it from end to end & that is important for me.
    If I was to only eat based on cost, I would not grow a single leaf or fruit of anything. Every growing thing here costs more or at least the same as organic fresh food in the organic supermarket.
    But growing it helps to exercise me, I know where it came from & what is in it & there is NO PACKAGING!
    I can eat all week without creating any rubbish other than maybe 1 can & 1 milk bottle. If I could see my way financially to having a cow here I would. In time I will get 2 nanny goats for milk....after I fix the fences!
    So it depends what your priorities are.
      Mary Playford and Steve like this.
    1. Sasha Bushell
      For me; cost is definitely a priority, this one will be going and i will look at other options, such as different brands or perhaps even a sun propelled/solar dehydrator

      We are aiming to live off one wage, then once the mortgage is done, no wage... so costs are very important for us personally
      Sasha Bushell, Oct 2, 2016
  6. Sasha Bushell
    I NEED to post this.

    I bought a generic dehydrator. I thought it was absolutely marvelous and it does the job perfectly, but after 2 months of having it, and using it all the time; i have decided to sell.

    Why you ask? Great question... and i have a great answer. My electricity bill came in at double the normal cost.

    Jerky is cheaper for me to buy from someone else. Ill get the picture of mine.
      Mary Playford likes this.
  7. Director
    Good work Steve, but after hours of searching I fear you have snagged the last unit of this particular dehydrator. :)
    1. Steve
      Sorry mate it wasn't intentional.
      Steve, Apr 18, 2016
    2. Director
      yeah yeah....'sure' it wasn't. :)
      Director, Apr 21, 2016
  8. ClissAT
    I ended up buying a 10 tray with door last week & it should arrive any day now.
    It was either that one or a 12 tray with no door as they were basically the same price.
    In the end I was given a discount from ebay for the 10 tray making it cheaper per tray than the 12 tray with the bonus of the door.
    I already have heaps to put in it.
    I think I will end up with enough dried or semi dried produce to have a monthly market stall in Pomona or Cooroy.
      Mary Playford and Steve like this.
  9. Steve
    Hi ClissAt, yes it's still going strong with no issues.
    The trays do get a small buckle but nothing too bad.
    I found that if I kept swapping the trays around then the ones in the hottest part don't get smashed and I share the hurt around a bit. I guess eventually they will die but this is a long way off yet.
    I didn't bother with the front door as it really doesn't seem to need it.
    I still recommend it. :thumbsup:
  10. ClissAT
    I'm really interested to know how this dehydrator is going now.
    Is it still working, have there been any problems?
    Did the plastic trays warp or are they still holding up well?
    Did you finally make a front door for it?
    I'm contemplating the 12 tray version from a Brisbane seller on ebay with timer & variable thermostat & some other function.