on January 1, 2012
I bought this for my wife for all her raw food endeavors. She hated it because she wanted the Excalibur or Sedona units. Those machines are double, and triple the price of this one, and they have faults whether it be an under-sized heating element, lack of a timer control, or premature failure of critical components. This LEM unit, on paper, was better than either of those. So I told her "Fine! I'll take it then". And that's what I did.
So far I've done apples, berries, all manner of citrus and it works great. Interestingly, LEM markets this primarily as a "jerky maker" and meat dehydrator yet this machine does a fantastic job with fruits and vegetables.
It is a little bit noisy, enough to keep me awake at night. So plan on setting aside some space in a far part of the house if you will use it frequently.
on December 15, 2012
I have both a 9 tray excaliber and now the LEM. The LEM has some advantages, first tray size is a little smaller and you get 10 not 9 as excaliber has. The door fits very well compared to excaliber and the digital timer can't be beat. Now the cons: the timer when it goes off (cooking done) beeps horribly loud and for a few minutes so if you let it run overnight it will wake you. The drying is not as good as the excaliber, but the excaliber is not great either. The fan (in both units) will dry items located on the center of the fan diameter, trays on the edges of the diameter hardly dry at all (hours behind) especially in the LEM as compared to excaliber. On the LEM I regularly have 4 trays that are about an hour or more behind the trays located in fan center.
The price is good on the LEM but if you do a lot of dehydration you'll spend more time with the LEM. As for the timer issue I went to home depot and purchased outlet timers for appliances for $10. Now my excaliber has a timer and the LEM will shut off without having to hear that horrid alarm (sounds like a box truck backing up). I
on June 17, 2012
I have now owned this dehydrator for over a year. I make and sell about 10 lbs of jerky a week with this... every week. Needless to say mine hardly ever gets a break. Still going strong... trays are easy to clean just put them in the dishwasher and then air dry or put them in the machine and let it dry them. Digital timer is a life saver... i have a habit of loading it up turning it on and going to bed. Perfect jerky every time at 155 degrees for 3 hours and 45 minutes ... then it shuts itself off. Love it!
on January 6, 2013
This is the third dehydrator I've owned, and by far the best. In the past I'm had the common round counter-top models (One is an old Mr. Coffee branded and the other is an older Nesco model), which work well for most small batches. As for the Mr. Coffee model I own, it only has a on/off switch - no temperature control. The Nesco has an on/off switch and temperature control (although it only goes to 145 degrees F, not good for meats if that's your thing) This LEM model has on/off, temperature (up to 155F), and a timer function. That's the simple difference....
The LEM also has a more than sufficient heating coil and fan, and when the front cover is off, the air seems to be coming out fairly equally between each tray. I also like that after the timer runs out, it alerts you (beeping for a minute) and turns itself off. It also reminds you (not sure on exact time) ~12 hours after completion if the main power hasn't been turned off, in case you forgot about something you made. The good/bad of a set it and forget appliance. Most other brands you can add trays (some up to 12) but they have a 700W heater, and in my opinion cannot push the amount of air that this unit can. So, if you plan on doing larger batches of goodies, I'd rather have peace of mind of higher wattage and air flow. That being said, this thing is big. It makes my other dehydrator look like a hobbyist tinker toy. However, if you do plan on doing large batches, this is great.
I'm foraying into more homemade goods and making more raw foods - to which I recommend the book "Practically Raw" by Amber Shea Crawley. One immediate advantage over the other models I've used, it's internal vertical space. I've made kale chips, and since kale leaves (at least until they're dehydrated) take up a decent amount of space. I was able to remove every other tray, allowing for more vertical space, which is not really possible on most other counter-top models since there are no spacers to add height. In all fairness - the two other dehydrators I own allow the trays to have added height by aligning them on tabs that match up on the tops/bottoms of the trays, but only add maybe a little more than a 1/4", Also having the shelves slide out independently, as opposed to having them stack on one another, it's easy to remove/rotate any tray at will. This unit does heat fairly uniformly, so rotation isn't a major deal.
One thing I would change (but does not affect function) is that the door just hangs on the front, but is a common design to these type of units. It would just be nice for a more secure attachment of the door. Again, this is not a negative for me, just a mention of design. The other units also have more readily available and exact fitting non-stick trays and mesh screens. However, a few large folding cutting mats and food safe plastic mesh aren't that hard to find. Do make sure they are dishwasher safe because chances are that if they are not, they cannot handle 155F heat blowing on them for hours, and could possibly soften and release nasty plastic goodness (being cheap is not good for your health, but being frugal is).
So far with this unit I've made - kale chips, tofu jerky, raw vegan "cheez itz", power bars, apple leather, banana chips, and apple chips. My wife has dehydrated celery, carrots, green onions, and asparagus for soups. I currently have plain tofu dehydrating for future use.
on January 20, 2013
I spent too much time to remember trying to decide on which damn dehydrator to buy. I researched, read reviews, watched youtube videos and finally chose this one. I looked at the stainless steel ones from LEM, other manufacturers, Craiglists, etc but couldn't cost justify the purchase. I looked the Excalibur and other brands in this style as I wanted a rear mounted fan with 8-10 trays. I couldn't tell what the difference in designs where other than some had 9 trays and other had 10 and this one had a timer. Temperature all seamed to be the in the same range to 155deg.
I purchased this a while back and used it extensively for the first few months that I had it. I made jerky, sweet pototates, bananas, apples, kale and more. I noticed that the top half and bottom half use a pin system and glue to hold it together. This started to separate and I called LEM immediately as i didn't want outside air coming into the dehydrator and messing with temps. I got them on the phone in seconds in within 3 minutes they told me they would mail be a return slip and send it back. I RMA'd it and no out of pocket expense to me but just didnt' have it for a couple weeks. They sent me another or same one back and I enjoy using it as much as possible.
I would recommend this as I believe having a timer is absolute must unless you get a timer into your outlet instead. The trays are easy to clean in the dishwasher. I just leave them all on top of one of other and put some on the top and bottom of the dishwasher. It does the job well as my sink isn't big enough to hand clean them. Time will tell if I have the same problem with the sides as before but I know LEM will take care of its customers and I am not worried one bit. I recommend this...
on July 30, 2011
It has all the features of Excalibur's high end model, however this LEM has one more tray and a digital timer which is very nice, and is about fifty dollars cheaper. It performed well drying some string beans. I would recommend it to anyone.
on February 24, 2014
So I am new to all the Dehydrating but I done a lot of research of reviews on this machine. Most were good, and compared it too the Excalibur brand which is like the bible belt I assume in dehydrators. But anyways the first thing I noticed after receiving my dehydrator and checking it out that I did not see in the reviews is this. The picture here is not the one I received it is black and plastic which is the one I ordered so again, after taking I tout of the package I looked at the trays the holes in the screen are too large for corn, peas, beans...etc. That's the only thing I was disappointed in, the manufacture's know that people not only use these for meat, but for fruits and vegetables as well. I bought like screen door screen and taped it to the corners of the trays that way i can remove it when I am dehydrating meat. But the small screen works well for smaller vegetables, as it allows the air to flow still. Hope this helps
on October 24, 2012
Wife bought this for me since I make a lot of venison jerky, and hated having to rotate trays constantly with my old dehydrator.
Nice even drying distribution means no more rotating trays.
Electronic timer and auto-shutoff means you can walk away if necessary and you don't have to babysit it. Frequently put meat in to be dried into jerky, and then leave for work. By the time I return the dehydrator is done and has shut itself off. Plus my house smells amazing! :)
Very quiet, so even though our bedroom is near the kitchen I can have this running and go to sleep as well.
I had worried a bit about the quality of the trays, especially considering the price of this unit. I worried it would be the cheap plastic that would break right away. Didn't have to worry. They are solid and I haven't had a single one show even the slightest of wear after a year of use.
Unless you need an industrial sized unit, this is your dehydrator. Good product, good price, good results.
on November 7, 2011
The design is great because it holds so much and is very quiet when it dries, It also comes with a booklet that tells you what temperature and how long to dry almost anything you can think of. It fits on the countertop but is light enough to move easily when your ready to store it. LEM makes great and reliable products
on November 16, 2014
Arrived yesterday. I ran the unit for about 30 minutes on high to burn off any "smell" or "odor" that may have come with the machine. After one reviewer that claimed their birds died due to odor this was important, however, I didn't smell anything after the "seasoning run".
I also ran a thermocouple probe into the unit to verify the temps, and the 155 degree setting ran about 153 at the bottom, by the door seal (the last place for heat to build).
My first batch of jerky was in and out the dehydrator today. Product came out perfectly.
My first run, noted above, was for 4 hours on the 155 degree setting. I left the until on my kitchen counter for a few days, when I sliced a bunch of apples to try for my second run. This is when I noticed that the trays looked crooked and the door was not sitting square anymore. The unit has begun to warp. I can push it square, but it goes right back to not being square any longer. There are gaps where the door meets the unit, causing me concern for heat retention. This unit may last a long time (which is why I gave it 2 stars), but seeing it warp as it did within a few days and this being my second run, I decided to return it to Amazon.
For the record, I love LEM products. I chose this dehydrator over the Excalibur brand, not because of the lower cost, but because I have so much equipment from LEM that is amazing (grinder, sausage stuffer, scales, lugs). I am so disappointed in this product! I would have tried another, but going to LEM's site, I see a few reviews of the trays warping and one of the case separating. I didn't want to take the chance with another unit and also stepping outside the Amazon return policy.
I have ordered the Excalibur now, which arrives tomorrow. I am glad to be drying foods, but sorry that it wasn't with LEM.