In recent weeks we have had a look at some higher end dehydrators, but now it is time to look at a dehydrator aimed at the average consumer – the L’Equip Dehydrator. With a modest retail price of under $130, this machine is aimed at anyone who is looking for a reliable and affordable dehydrator. But how does it compare to some of the competing dehydrators in that price range? Read on to find out more.
The L’Equip Dehydrator is a 6 tray stack-able model, which is powered by a 500 watt motor. The 6 trays provide a range of 12 square drying feet, which should be more than enough for the average home user. You can buy extra trays for this model, and it can have 12 stacked on top of each other in total. This model comes with a bottom mounted fan, so we are somewhat skeptical about the drying performance of this machine, having tested similarly structured machines with less than stellar results. We should note though that the top of the fan is somewhat well covered, so food dripping into the fan or heating element shouldn’t be a major concern. The dehydrator comes with an adjustable temperature control, ranging from 93F to 153F. Since the machine is rectangular in shape, it doesn’t take up quite as much space as some of the round type dehydrators. The machine will still occupy a fair amount of counter space though, measuring in at 17″ x 12″ x 10.5″. Along with 6 standard drying trays, you will also receive 6 mesh trays for drying smaller items such as flowers or herbs, and two fruit leather trays. A booklet is included with the package, which contains recommended drying times, and also several recipes you can test out. Unlike some of the other cheaper models, this machine comes with a on/off switch on the side. The temperature of the machine is monitored 60 times a second according to their website, which helps to create a stable and effective drying environment. This particular technology is referred to as the “Solid State Temperature Control”.
The entire unit is gray in color, with the base being a matt black. The gray and black combination looks quite good, and it certainly won’t show the dust as much as a white unit will. There is a small vent on the top of the machine, and the on/off switch and temperature control are located on the left side of the unit. Overall it is a decent looking machine, and certainly looks like it is well made. As we all know, looks don’t mean a thing if the performance can’t match the promising design, so lets have a look at how the unit actually performs.
We always like to begin with a round of beef jerky, and we decided to test out a full 6 trays to begin with. Since this is a stack-able model with a bottom mounted fan, we had to give it a full 6 tray test to see if any rotation was required during the drying process. Estimating that it would need around 7hours to full dry the jerky, we left it for 3 hours to see how it would cope with a full machine load. After 3 hours, the beef had stiffened a bit, and the bottom trays were looking quite promising. The top trays however were a little softer than the bottom ones as we had suspected they would be. We left it for another two hours, and had more or less the same results – bottom trays were looking good while the top ones looked like they would need longer to finish. After the full seven hours we had a look at the progress again, and the bottom two trays were more or less done. The top trays were then placed at the bottom, with the middle tray being placed at the top. After another 90 minutes or so, the other four trays finished drying. The jerky did taste very good, but we could see that having to rotate the trays would be necessary to maximize the efficiency of the machine. Not the best start to our testing unfortunately.
The next day, we did the same test for seven hours with six trays of jerky. However 3 hours into the test we swapped the bottom trays with the top ones. After the seven hours were up, we looked at the results. All seven trays were more or less evenly dried this time around, with no sign of under or over-drying between them. Following this we decided to test out a range of fruit to see how it would cope with that. Again we loaded up a full six trays, comprised of 6 x trays of apple slices. We stuck to apple slices on their own to see if they would all dry evenly or not. With a rough timer of 8 hours in mind, we left the L’Equip dehydrator to do its work. 4 hours in we checked on the progress, and so far the apple slices at the bottom were looking promising, while the top ones were somewhat softer. Judging by this, we could tell that the top trays were not going to finish at the same time as the bottom ones. Having this in mind, we swapped the top ones with the bottom ones, then left the machine for another four hours. After 8 hours in total we came back to check the progress. It looked like the apple slices were done, and they certainly tasted very good. The dehydrator had done a good job of locking in the flavor, and the drying time was fairly decent.
Lastly we tested the machine with two trays of fruit leather. Our choice of mix was a yummy apple and cinnamon blend, as this almost always turns out very nicely. Having left the machine for a good 7 or 8 hours, we pulled out our fruit leather which seemed to be done. Both trays were firm enough to eat, and we peeled them off the trays. The flavors were great, and the dehydrator had done a good job of these.
Cleaning up the dehydrator is not too much work, and certainly no more difficult to clean then any of the competing models we have tested. The removable trays and parts are not dishwasher safe, so you will need to clean everything by hand.
So what is our verdict on the L’Equip dehydrator? Like most top and bottom mounted dehydrators, this one does have problems with drying out all the trays evenly. We assumed this would be an issue from the start, and unfortunately we were right.
This is a common issue with top and r ear mounted fans, so it is hard to take away too many points seeing as it is a design flaw of these cheaper machines. On the other hand, you do get other cheaper models such as the Nesco American Harvest which don’t suffer from this problem quite as badly as the L’Equip does. So with that in mind is is difficult to really recommend this one, as there are other cheaper models out there which seem to work better. If rotating trays is not an issue for you, then the L’Equip will do a decent enough job drying your food. It does however come with a very decent warranty of 12 years for the accessories, and 12 years on the base unit.
- Looks decent
- Includes everything you need to make a variety of dehydrated foods
- Good instruction book with recipes
- 12 Year warranty
- Have to rotate trays
- Not dishwasher friendly
- Little pricey
Summary: The L’Equip is a somewhat standard dehydrator. It does an ok job at dehydrating food, but you will need to rotate the trays if you are using most of the trays at the same time. With a recommended retail price of under $130, it is perhaps a little overpriced. However it does come with a very good 12 year warranty, so it is a safe choice. You can check the latest pricing and availability of this model on Amazon over here.