Presto 06301 Digital Electric Food Dehydrator Review


The Presto 06301 Digital Electric Food Dehydrator is a great appliance for dehydrating a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, jerky, and fruit leathers. It features a digital thermostat and timer for precise drying times and temperatures, and it comes with six drying trays that can be expanded to 12 trays for added drying capacity. The trays nest when not in use for easy storage.

Technical Specs

  • Temperature range: 90° to 165° F (32°C to 74°C)
  • Timer: Up to 48 hours
  • Number of trays (depending on model): 4 or 6 (expandable up to 8 trays)
  • Material: Drying trays and base are BPA-free plastic
  • Additional features: Digital thermostat and timer, top-mounted fan and heating element, automatic shut-off

Overview of Presto 06301 Digital Electric Food Dehydrator

Unboxing Experience

There’s something genuinely thrilling about unboxing a new appliance, and the Presto 06301 was no exception. The dehydrator arrived snugly packed in its original packaging, although there was a slight hiccup – a minor dent was noticeable on one corner of the box. This initial concern was quickly alleviated once the unboxing commenced. Each component was meticulously packed, ensuring that the minor exterior damage hadn’t compromised the integrity of what was inside. The top tray greeted me first, sitting neatly above the rest of the contents, hinting at the user-friendly experience that awaited.

Person’s hands adjusting the lid of a white electric food dehydrator on a countertop

Peeling back the layers, the dehydrator revealed its full arsenal: two solid trays, a couple of mesh screens for finer items, and not to forget, the jelly roll trays for liquid-based foods. It was like unearthing treasures, each layer presenting a new piece of the puzzle. The inclusion of an instruction booklet was a thoughtful touch, promising a guiding hand for the assembly and operation that lay ahead.

First Impressions

First impressions can often be telling, and the Presto 06301 made quite the statement. Its design was both sleek and functional, boasting a clarity in its structure that promised ease of use. The transparent nature of the trays allowed for a quick visual check on the progress of your dehydrating endeavors.

Unboxing food dehydrator

The build quality felt solid, a reassurance of the device’s durability and longevity. What stood out was the digital control panel, a modern touch that indicated precision in temperature and time settings – crucial factors in the art of dehydrating food. This dehydrator wasn’t just a tool; it was a promise of culinary adventures, of homemade dried fruits, vegetables, and perhaps even jerky.

Features and Specifications

Capacity and Tray Design

One of the standout features of the Presto 06301 is its generous capacity, attributed to the six spacious trays it comes equipped with. This design choice not only allows for large batches of food to be dehydrated simultaneously but also provides the flexibility to dehydrate a variety of foods, from thick slices of apple to delicate herbs, without overcrowding. Each tray is designed for optimal air flow, ensuring even and efficient drying across all levels.

Person assembling a white food dehydrator

The tray system is intuitively designed, making it easy to add or remove trays based on the volume and type of food being dehydrated. This adaptability is especially beneficial for accommodating larger items or for when you’re working with smaller batches and don’t need the full capacity. The clear, stackable trays also allow for easy monitoring of the dehydration process without disrupting the internal environment, a small but significant detail that enhances the overall user experience.

Digital Controls

In an age where precision and ease of use are paramount, the Presto 06301 shines with its digital controls. The dehydrator features a user-friendly digital thermostat and timer, allowing for precise temperature and time settings. This level of control is crucial for dehydrating a wide range of foods, each with its own specific needs regarding temperature and drying time.

White digital food dehydrator

The digital thermostat can be set to specific temperatures, ensuring that delicate herbs can be dried at lower temperatures to preserve their oils and aromas, while tougher items like meat for jerky can be dehydrated at higher temperatures for safety and efficiency. The timer function adds an additional layer of convenience, allowing you to set the dehydrator to run for a specific duration, after which it will automatically shut off. This feature is particularly useful for overnight dehydrating or for those times when you’re multitasking in the kitchen.

Setting Up for the First Time

Assembly Process

The assembly of the Presto 06301 is designed to be intuitive, allowing even those new to food dehydrators to get started with minimal fuss. Upon unboxing, you’re greeted with the various components: the base unit which houses the heating element and fan, the stackable trays, and the additional accessories including the solid and mesh sheets, and the jelly roll trays. To begin, place the base unit on a stable, heat-resistant surface, ensuring there’s adequate space around it for proper air circulation. Start stacking the trays on the base, noting that the trays are designed to nestle into each other securely, creating a stable structure. If you’re planning to use the solid or mesh sheets, place them on the trays before stacking.

shows a hand lifting the top of a white, round, electric food dehydrator with digital controls

There’s no fixed order in which the trays need to be arranged, giving you the flexibility to adjust the number of trays based on the quantity and type of food you’re dehydrating. Once the trays are stacked, place the top cover to seal the unit, and you’re almost ready to begin. The simplicity of this process underscores the user-friendly nature of the Presto 06301, making it accessible to everyone from beginners to experienced users.

Initial Test Run

Before you dive into dehydrating your first batch of food, conducting an initial test run is a wise step. This not only familiarizes you with the device’s operation but also ensures that everything is functioning as it should. To start, plug in the unit and familiarize yourself with the digital control panel. Set a moderate temperature and a short timer for this test run—there’s no need to load the trays with food just yet.

White dehydrator with trays

As the dehydrator springs to life, you’ll hear the fan begin to circulate warm air throughout the unit. This is an excellent time to listen to the noise level and ensure it’s within a comfortable range for your environment. Feel the sides of the dehydrator to gauge the heat dissipation and ensure there are no unusual sounds or smells that could indicate a problem.

Performance and Usability

Dehydrating Efficiency

The Presto 06301 stands out for its ability to dehydrate a wide range of foods effectively, ensuring a long shelf life. Its six large trays offer ample space for various items, from fruits and vegetables to meats, promoting even dehydration without the need to rotate trays. This consistent drying process helps preserve the nutritional value and quality of the food.

Dehydrator with sliced fruit

Its digital controls enhance performance, allowing for precise temperature adjustments suitable for different foods, from delicate herbs to robust meats, ensuring safety and preserving flavors. The integrated timer further ensures that foods are dehydrated to perfection, automatically shutting off to prevent over-dehydration, making the Presto 06301 a convenient and reliable choice for preserving foods.

Table Comparison

FeaturePresto 06301NESCO FD-75A
Fan LocationBottom-mountedTop-mounted
Drying Power750 watts600 watts
Temperature ControlConstant high temperature settingAdjustable thermostat (95°F to 160°F)
Tray RotationNot necessary with fewer racksMay be required for even drying
Capacity4 trays, expandable to 85 trays, expandable to 12
Additional AccessoriesFruit roll sheets, mesh screens, jerky spice kitsFruit roll sheets, Clean-A-Screen flexible screens, jerky spice packets, 52-page recipe book
CleaningEasier due to bottom fanEasier due to top fan
Flavor BlendingPossible due to vertical airflowMinimized by Converga-Flow system


The Presto 06301 Offer 750 watts And The NESCO FD-75A offer 600 watts of drying power, making them capable of handling a variety of foods from fruits and vegetables to meats. The key difference lies in the fan location, with the Presto 06301 using a bottom-mounted fan and the NESCO FD-75A opting for a top-mounted one, which affects maintenance and potential flavor blending between trays.

The NESCO FD-75A stands out with its adjustable thermostat, offering more flexibility for different drying requirements, whereas the Presto 06301 operates at a constant high temperature. This could make the NESCO FD-75A a better option for those who dehydrate a wide range of items, including delicate herbs that require lower temperatures.

In terms of capacity and expansion, the NESCO FD-75A offers more space and potential for expansion, starting with five trays that can be expanded to 12, compared to the Presto 06301’s four trays, expandable to eight. Additionally, the NESCO FD-75A comes with a wider array of accessories and a recipe book, enhancing its value proposition for beginners.

Pros and Cons of Presto 06301


  • Easy to use with digital controls
  • Expandable drying capacity (up to 12 trays)
  • Compact design with nesting trays for storage
  • Affordable


  • Lacks some features of higher-end models (e.g., temperature range adjustment)
  • May require checking on food more frequently due to limited control

Final Thoughts

The Presto 06301 Digital Electric Food Dehydrator is a solid choice for those new to dehydrating or looking for a reliable kitchen tool. It’s straightforward with a bottom-mounted fan and consistent temperature, making it easy to dehydrate a variety of foods. With the ability to expand to 8 trays, it suits personal or family needs well. Its quiet operation and compact size make it a convenient addition to any kitchen, blending simplicity with effective performance.


  1. What types of food can I dehydrate with the Presto 06301?
    You can dehydrate a wide range of foods including fruits, vegetables, herbs, and meats for jerky. It’s designed to handle various food items, offering versatility in your dehydrating projects.
  2. Is the Presto 06301 easy to clean?
    Yes, the trays and top cover are dishwasher safe, making cleanup convenient. For parts that aren’t dishwasher safe, a simple wipe-down with a damp cloth should suffice.
  3. Can I expand the number of trays in the Presto 06301?
    The unit starts with 4 trays but can be expanded to 8 trays to increase capacity. Note that additional trays are sold separately.
  4. Do I need to rotate the trays while dehydrating food?
    Tray rotation is generally not necessary due to the efficient airflow design, but it may be beneficial for even drying when the dehydrator is fully loaded.
  5. How does the temperature setting work on the Presto 06301?
    The Presto 06301 operates at a consistent high temperature, optimized for efficient dehydration across a variety of foods, making it straightforward to use without the need to adjust settings.
  6. Is the Presto 06301 loud during operation?
    While all dehydrators produce some noise due to the fan operation, the Presto 06301 is designed to operate relatively quietly, making it less intrusive in your kitchen environment.
  7. Where can I find recipes or guidance on how to use the Presto 06301?
    The Presto 06301 comes with an instruction booklet that includes some basic recipes and guidelines. For more extensive recipes and tips, the Presto website or community forums dedicated to dehydrating can be valuable resources.
Joel Cunningham
Joel Cunningham
Forestry Author

I'm Joel Cunningham, an expert in pruning and weed management with over a decade of experience. My skills are rooted in formal training and extensive practice, focusing on advanced pruning techniques and efficient weed control. I'm known for my quality work, precision, and deep understanding of plant health and soil dynamics. My contributions extend to educational initiatives where I share sustainable practices and advice, establishing myself as a reliable and authoritative figure in the gardening community.


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