The Nesco American Harvest FD-1018P 1000 is a classic circular, stacking dehydrator for people who are serious about dehydrating and want highly variable capacity. Trays only need to be added as needed, allowing you to dehydrate a small batch of food on a couple trays all the way up to a large batch on 30 trays (this unit ships with 8 trays, but additional trays can be purchased in sets of two and about $20/set). Each tray provides about 1 sq ft of drying space, so the maximum capacity of the unit is 30 sq ft (possible by buying 22 additional trays).
The design of the FD-1018P is based on function and performance. A fan and heater are mounted in the base, on which the trays are stacked. Heated air travels up the exterior walls of the unit, across each tray, and out through a circular chamber at the center. Each tray has a hole in the center that forms this core interior chamber. This airflow system is patented and referred to as "Converga-Flow". Because the air is moving across the trays (and not through them) the food dries evenly, and flavors do not mix. In addition, the trays do not need to be rotated - an important consideration since the dehydrator will often be running 8-12 hours at a time.
The FD-1018P has an on/off switch, and a temperature control knob that allows heat to be set a 95-150 F. With 1000 watts of drying and fan power, this unit is at the upper end of the power available in consumer food dehydrators and is able to dry food quickly and evenly. The base unit and trays are made of a light-blocking white plastic that helps preserver nutrients during the drying process. Each of the 8 trays included with this unit come with a solid sheet (for making fruit roll-ups) and a mesh sheet that keeps smaller items from falling through the trays and makes clean up easier.
Overall feedback is very positive. Amazon currently lists 83 reviews for an average rating of 4.3 stars. 62 reviewers gave the unit 5 stars. Positive comments include:
Critical feedback seems to be centered on problems with faulty units:
The Nesco American Harvest FD-1018P is based on a proven design that has been around for a long time. It has plenty of drying power and flexible capacity that can handle small batches and large batches alike. There have been enough reports of quality problems to warrant some caution. Make sure you are aware of the return policy and also that you are tracking the term of the warranty.
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