Are you interested in getting started with dehydrating foods without spending a ton of money?
If you've been looking into dehydrators, you've probably seen the Excalibur dehydrators touted as the best ones out there. (And they are, in my opinion.)
But they're also expensive.
If you're not willing to invest hundreds of dollars in an expensive dehydrator that you might end up not using very much, then you should take a look at the Presto Dehydro 06301.
It's not my favorite dehydrator under $100, but it's a close second.
Keep reading if you want to learn all the details about the Presto 06301. By the end, you'll have the information you need to decide if this is the right model for you.
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What are the features of the Presto 06301 Dehydro ?
The Presto Dehydro has some nice features that you might be looking for in a dehydrator. Here's what it has going for it:
How much drying space do you get?
This dehydrator comes with 6 trays, and each tray has an area of about one square foot. So that gives you a total of about 6 square feet.
That's enough space to dehydrate almost a whole 3-pound bag of sliced apples or 5 to 6 pounds of jerky meat.
You can fit quite a bit of food on 6 square feet, but if that's not enough, you can add more trays. They come in packs of two. (Check the current price at Amazon.)
It can accept up to 12 trays, so the maximum potential drying area is 12 square feet.
How big is the Presto 06301?
The dimensions are 15 x 14.5 x 7.25 inches.
7.25 inches is the storage height, with the trays nested inside each other. When you're using it, it will actually be taller, depending on how many trays you're using.
It's not the biggest dehydrator out there, but it does take up a good bit of counter space. You're probably not going to want to leave it out all the time, so you might want to give a little thought to where you're going to store it when it's not in use.
How do Presto dehydrators work?
It's a simple setup. The fan and heating element are located in the bottom of the dehydrator. Warm air circulates through the unit to dry the food.
Now, the fact that the electronics are located in the bottom of the unit does present a problem. If you are dehydrating something juicy, like meat, you're going to have juices dripping down through the trays and onto the electronics.
That's not good.
One solution is to put one of the solid fruit roll sheets on the bottom tray to catch the juices. That gives you one less square foot of drying space, but it prevents a big mess.
The digital controls are easy to use, and they're more precise than the models that use control dials.
To use it, first you press the buttons to set the temperature and timer, and then press the Start/Stop button to turn it on.
You don't have to use the timer, though.
If you press Start/Stop without setting a time first, it ill just start and run until you turn it off. In this mode, the display will count up the time, so you'll know how long the food has been drying.
How high does the timer go?
You can set the timer anywhere from 30 minutes to 48 hours.
Having a built-in timer means you can run the dehydrator at night while you're sleeping. Just put the food in, turn it on, and go to bed without worrying about it.
The count-up timer goes up to 48 hours, too. While in count-up mode, the unit will automatically shut off after 48 hours. That's a valuable safety feature that many other brands of dehydrators don't have.
What is the temperature range?
The Presto Dehydro has a temperature range of 90-165°F.
There is temperature guide printed on the lid, so you don't have to rely on your memory or scramble for the user manual every time you want to dry something.
Do you have to rotate the trays?
Under ideal conditions, no, you shouldn't need to rotate the trays.
But sometimes you might find that the food on the upper one or two trays might not be drying as fast as on the lower ones. That's because the fan and heat source are on the bottom of the unit.
Where are Presto dehydrators made?
According to Presto customer service, the product is designed in the US and manufactured in China.
So, if you want an American made product, this is not the dehydrator you're looking for.
Can you wash it in the dishwasher?
Some parts are dishwasher safe, and others are not.
The trays and the lid can be washed in the dishwasher, but the solid sheets and mesh screens must be washed by hand.
Some sticky foods, like fruit, tend to get stuck to the trays and don't wash off easily. Although they're supposed to be nonstick, you may want to lightly spray the trays with cooking oil before using them.
Is the Presto Dehydro BPA free?
Yes. All the parts that come into contact with the food are made of BPA free plastic.
What do you get with it?
You get the complete Presto Dehydro dehydrator with 6 drying trays.
Also included are:
- 2 solid fruit roll sheets
- 2 nonstick mesh screens
- 2 packs of jerky spices and cure
- 1 instruction booklet with helpful information and recipes
Can you buy more mesh screens and fruit roll sheets?
Yes, you can buy more screens and fruit roll sheets. They come in packs of 2.
Check the current price of the fruit roll sheets at Amazon.
What are the pros and cons of the Presto 06301?
Here's a summary of the common likes and dislikes among Presto owners:
Presto 06301 Dehydro Pros and Cons
What People Like
Don't Like So Much
What's the difference between the Presto 06301 and 06302?
The main difference between the 06301 and 06302 is that the 06302 doesn't have digital controls.
Instead, the 06302 has a dial to set the temperature. The lowest temperature on the dial is 95°, but there's also a "Low" marked below that. And the highest temperature is 160°. So the temperature range is comparable, but not identical, to the 06301.
And you just plug it in to start it. There is no on/off switch.
There's no timer on the 06302, either.
The difference in price is negligible. You'll only spend a few dollars more to get the 06301 with digital controls. Most people think it's worth it.
I'm not quite sure why anyone would rather have the stripped down model, except that maybe it's less likely to break. But, if you'd like to check the current price of the 06302 at Amazon, you can find it here.
How does the Presto Dehydro compare to the Nesco Snackmaster Pro?
The Presto 06301 is similar to the Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro dehydrator. Both are round and use similar type trays. They're also close in price.
But there are some important differences:
**You can use this free calculator from the US Department of Energy to figure out exactly how much it will cost you to run the dehydrator.
Does it come with a warranty?
Yes, it has a one year limited warranty. Under normal household use, if there's a problem with the Dehydro in the first year, Presto will repair or replace it.
Where can I get a good price on a Presto 06301 dehydrator?
You can find this dehydrator at several different online retailers.
A lot of people (including me!) like to shop at Amazon because of their competitive prices and free shipping with Amazon Prime.
If you want to see what the current price is at Amazon, click here.
Verdict: Good choice for beginners
The Presto Dehydro 06301 is worth considering if you're just getting started dehydrating or you don't want to sink a lot of money into an expensive high quality dehydrator like the Excalibur.
If you end up not using it much, then you won't be out a lot of money.
It's inexpensive, but it's not a piece of junk. It does a fine job of drying foods, and the digital controls are a great feature.
Why would it not be a good choice for you?
Number one - It's big, even with the trays nested for storage. If you're in a small apartment or have a tiny kitchen with limited space, it might not want it. Unless you're really passionate about dehydrating, that is.
Number two - The noise. It's loud. If the sound of a loud fan bothers you, and you don't have a place to kind of hide it away while it's running, it might not be the best pick for you.
But, if the size and noise aren't an issue, then you might want to give it a shot. It's a decent entry level dehydrator for beginners or for those who don't anticipate doing a lot of dehydrating.
Ready to get started on your dehydrating adventure?
Click here to shop at Amazon.
You can learn more about how the Presto Dehydro compares to other popular dehydrators in my Best Food Dehydrators Buyers Guide.
Last Updated on July 2, 2023