Modern kitchen appliances always impress us with their convenience. Food dehydrators are just an example. They help us prepare different foods and snacks through dehydration. Before the creation of dehydrators, dried figs, jerky, and other treats were produced in ovens.
You are likely confused between a dehydrator and an oven if you like to prepare these snacks at home. Typically, you are looking for the most effective option for dried snacks.
We will help you figure out what you need in this blog post. We’ll break down all the elements of the dehydrator vs oven comparison. We’ll help you better understand their differences and decide which is best for your needs. So, stay tuned!
What is a Dehydrator?
As the name suggests, a food dehydrator is an appliance that dries food. This machine removes all water from the food item to successfully dry food. I
nside a dehydrator, the air circulates at low temperatures that usually exceed 70 degrees Celsius. The machines do this job successfully by giving you dry meat or fruit that has not hardened while exposed to heat.
Since dehydrators produce dehydrated foods, they are less likely to burn them. Moreover, proper dehydration maintains the nutritional value of the foods and protects them from spoiling.
When you buy a dehydrator, you will dry veggies and fruits properly and have your oven constantly free to bake and roast other dishes. Also, a dehydrator is easier to clean and maintain than a gas or electric oven.
What is an Oven?
Drying food in ovens has been going on for decades. Using an oven as a dehydrator relies on lighting it and keeping it at a low temperature. This should get you your desired dried snack. However, things don’t usually go that easy. Ovens usually struggle to maintain low temperatures.
Additionally, It is essential to turn on the oven fan for circulation. Otherwise, excess moisture from food will remain in the food, and the dehydration won’t be fully successful. The lack of air circulation will prevent the food from drying up adequately.
Also, conventional ovens take much longer to remove all the moisture without burning or hardening the food. Moreover, ovens usually pose a risk of burning or overcooking this type of snack. Since everyone has an oven in their kitchen, you do not have to spend an extra dime on a particular appliance.
However, the constant use of ovens for food dehydration will increase your energy bills. Ovens won’t be as energy efficient as dehydrators due to the extended cooking time. Correct oven drying requires opening the door more frequently to allow the excess moisture content to leave the oven. Moreover, you can support the door with a prop to keep it slightly open.
What are the Differences Between a Dehydrator and an Oven?
Despite doing the same function, a dehydrator, and an oven are very different. The dehydration process is possible in both appliances, but the result differs.
1. Power Source
Ovens can run using different power sources. For instance, you can find electric and gas ovens. On the other hand, you will only find electric dehydrators if you shop for these items.
2. Cooking Time
The cooking time is one of the most distinctive differences between an oven and a dehydrator. Drying foods in the oven will consume so much time that you may have to wait up to 12 hours to enjoy your favorite beef jerky. A dehydrator with a built-in thermostat will speed up the process to be done with it within a couple of hours.
3. Energy Efficiency
Since dehydrators are faster in drying food, they are more efficient in energy consumption. So, the cost you might pay for the new appliance will significantly reduce your energy bill. You will notice such a difference if you are drying food frequently.
4. Counter Space
If you have a small kitchen with limited storage space on the counter, a new dehydrator might not be your best solution. It will need some space to be placed on the countertop. On the other hand, an oven won’t need a dedicated space, as it is already part of your stove.
5. Temperature Setting
Ovens are designed to cook food in hot temperatures. This is against the way any dedicated dehydrator operates. Ovens are designed to give higher heat that exceeds 400 Celcius. On the other hand, many dehydrators maintain a steady heat that does not exceed 78 Celsius.
An electric dehydrator can maintain steady heat throughout the whole drying process. On the other hand, an oven faces difficulty maintaining a stable temperature throughout the cooking process.
6. Other Uses
A commercial dehydrator is not designed to provide any other function than dehydrating foods. An oven, on the other hand, is used for different functions. This includes roasting, grilling, and baking purposes. So, if you want a multi-functioning appliance and are not into drying foods, an oven is perfect for cooking and baking.
Commercial dehydrators come in a wide range of prices. They are less durable types that cost less and are suitable for infrequent users. They might cost anywhere between $50 and $70. However, fancier models with built-in thermostats and better temperature controls can cost hundreds of dollars.
So, the cost of purchasing a plastic electric dehydrator will be much less than buying a reliable electric oven. Also, a whole gas stove with a built-in oven will cost much more than a separate dehydrator.
Bear in mind that they are more expensive models of dehydrators, though. These models provide better airflow and steadier performance.
8. Supervision Requirements
This is another point where a dehydrator beats an oven. Running a dehydrator requires Minimal supervision as opposed to an oven which needs constant supervision. With an oven, you need to open the door now and then or at least prop it with a stick to let out some moisture.
Dehydrator vs Oven: are they the same?
Both appliances are different even if they do the same function. An oven is primarily made to cook food and bake pastries. Drying foods is not the primary purpose of an oven. On the other hand, a dehydrator is made explicitly for this purpose. So, it does this faster, more efficiently, and with better results.
If you are a dedicated fan of drying meat, fruit, and veggies, you should not hesitate to buy a dehydrator. This will spare you the cost of overloading your oven for extended hours.
Also, using an oven for dehydration will increase gas or electricity bills. On the other hand, a dehydrator is more energy efficient due to using lower temperatures for fewer cooking hours.
Drying food in an oven won’t give you the same result as drying them in a dehydrator. The oven will gradually increase the heat, which results in burning the food and retaining some moisture. So, the result won’t be perfect compared to what you will get from a dedicated dehydrator.
Lastly, Drying food in the oven requires constant supervision to avoid burning. But with a dehydrator, you can forget about it and let the machine do its job. Remember that a dehydrator can accommodate more food than a single oven. So, you will end up with more produce compared to an oven.