How does the Back to Basics Dehydrator compare to the bigger name brands?
The Back to Basics Dehydrator describes itself perfectly with its name. If you like to watch things dry, you can do it with this machine. Like the name says, it's a basic food drying machine.
Nice to look at, but not to dry with
The first thing you'll notice is the pretty design. While I prefer the square dehydrators, if you want something different, choosing one with see-through trays is one way to do it. But after that, it's all downhill.
Note: Dehydrating things with clear trays is nice to look at, especially if drying flowers or potpourri, but it's recommended that you dry food in a dark environment because exposure to light can affect the foods' taste and nutritional value negatively.
The second thing you'll notice is there's only one switch on it. It's the on/off switch. There's no adjustable thermostat, so you can only dry at one temperature. The FD600 will reach a maximum temperature of 135 degrees F.
There's no fan to move air around. It relies on natural air flow, so it takes longer to dry, and foods at the bottoms will dry faster. That means tray rotation is a must. Alternatively, you can place thicker items near the bottom and thinner items at the top. (I do believe you'll get better results with slicing evenly and rotating though.)
The Back to Basics out of the box is a 5-tray dehydrator. However, it is expandable to 12 trays. It does not come with fruit leather trays, but you can order them separately from the manufacturer. If you happen to have food dehydrator sheets, you can cut them to fit in these trays instead. Juices will drip on the fan in this machine, so if you do buy this one, I highly recommend buying the accessories.
It's hard to recommend this dehydrator when there are better alternatives available. At $70, plus the cost for fruit roll-up trays or sheets, the Back to Basics dehydrator is just not a good buy.