NESCO Snackmaster Pro FD-75A Food Dehydrator – 1st Choice

The NESCO Snackmaster Pro is (in my opinion) a first choice for getting into dehydrating food (or jerky). NESCO has really excelled with their food dehydrator product lineup! I hadn’t looked in awhile, but when I did, it surprised me!

Have a quick look, and continue reading for my opinion:
NESCO FD-75A
(amzn)

NESCO Snackmaster Pro FD-75A

Wow. The Snackmaster Pro is a combination of GREAT PRICE (comparative to when I first bought my own food dehydrator), a really nice tray stacking feature, and the way that their heater fan system works (details below).

I’ve written a number of articles here on the blog about various food dehydrator topics. Way back in the day, I always recommended a particular brand which really didn’t have much competition at the time in the home consumer space. It was (still is) expensive. I bought one. I like it, use it, and still recommend it today, “if” one’s budget allows the splurge…

Excalibur 3900B
(amzn)

However, today’s NESCO food dehydrator is a “no brainer”! Why? Well, the best reasons are as follows:

NESCO Snackmaster Pro FD-75A

I can’t list specific prices (they vary somewhat). But, I can tell you that you are probably not going to find a better food dehydrator price versus features on the market, in my estimation.

NESCO has a food dehydrator product lineup that includes 6 models that I’m aware of. But the NESCO Snackmaster Pro FD-75A is my 1st choice for getting into the fun of dehydrating foods.

The basic difference with the more expensive models is, well, the price. But that extra price goes to more features such as more trays (some up to 30!), a more powerful heater (up to 1,000 watts), timers, etc.. But most people will be perfectly happy with the feature set of the NESCO Snackmaster Pro. Read on…

NESCO Food Dehydrator | Stacking Trays

The FD-75A Snackmaster Pro comes standard with 5 trays. It is expandable to stack 12 trays. Each tray is 13.5 inches in diameter and will hold about 130 square inches of food product.

The 5 trays will hold about 4.5 square feet, while all 12 trays will dehydrate nearly 11 square feet. Each tray is individually removable depending on how much you need to process. Extra NESCO trays can be purchased separately (here).

NESCO Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator Fan and Heater

This NESCO food dehydrator model has a top mounted fan. The FD-75A Snackmaster Pro has a 600 watt drying fan. There are two things I like about their drying fan. Top mount, and the way it circulates the air. “EVEN heat distribution”.

The adjustable temperature control (95°F -160°F) gives you the flexibility to get the best results when drying different foods that need varying temperature settings.

NESCO Top Mounted Fan

I’ve seen food dehydrators with fans on the top, bottom, and rear of the unit. There are competing brands that have the fan on the bottom. A bottom fan is not preferable in my opinion because drippings may find their way into the fan unit (gravity). This may be especially problematic with grease/oils (e.g. meats).

The NESCO fan is mounted on top. There’s little to no chance that food residues will get in there.

NESCO Patented Converga-Flow Drying System

This is pretty neat. You could have different types of food in the dehydrator (one type on each tray for example) and the air flow will not intermingle. In other words, flavors of one won’t get into another while drying because of the way the air flow method works.

Here’s a picture of the NESCO Converga-Flow diagram:

NESCO food dehydrator Converga-Flow diagram

The Takeaway

Yes, you can get a more expensive food dehydrator which may be better, due to features, capacity, etc.. However this particular NESCO Food Dehydrator FD-75A not only is a great entry point, but one that will likely provide your needs going into the future.

I wrote this article with food preparedness in mind. Dehydrating foods are one of many ways to preserve. It’s fun too (and great snacks!). I felt that this well-priced food dehydrator might be inexpensive enough to entice some of those who may be “on the fence”.

If you were wondering, yes, it’s made in the USA (“from global and domestic parts”). Reviews on amzn indicate that some parts come from China (as most everything today – just saying).

[ Read: Food Dehydrator Basics ]

[ Read: 5 Methods of Home Food Preservation ]

18 Comments

  1. Switched to the Excaliber from Nesco (older model) years ago. Ehh different strokes different folks. Nesco does seem to make jerky faster however.

  2. I have a Nesco dehydrator (don’t remember model #) it can be expanded to 30 trays. The one I have puts out 1000 amps/watts ??? It dries my jerky in 4 hrs. instead of 8,12 hrs.
    I just did 8 trays (two bottom round roasts) of jerky last weekend; it was dry and ready to eat in 4 hrs. Now I have to make some more, me and the wife ate it all in a week (course she says it was all me).

  3. Ken, “A bottom fan is not preferable in my opinion because drippings may find their way into the fan unit (gravity).” I disagree, the dehydrator I have the fan is on the bottom. The air flow vents are around the outside edge of the dehydrator. When I do jerky I pat the meat dry to take off any excess liquid before I put it in the dehydrator, I did put the meat in wet once and it did make a mess but, no liquid came close to the fan. I know, I know, to each their own.

  4. One of these Nesco FD models was my 1st dehydrator back in the day. I agree, fantastic entry model. Bought one for the daughter when she started a number of years back. Can’t begin to tell you how much jerky and fruit I’ve put through over the years. I recommend buying and using the perforated plastic mats, they make clean up much easier than trying ti clean dried food off the trays themselves. I still run this dehydrator next to my big Magic Mill job that I need to process fruit crops quickly at harvest.

    1. Minerjim, I agree with getting the plastic mats. I bought mine about ten years ago and certain things, like watermelon, really need the mats. I must have put twenty gallons of apple slices through that thing. Mine looks just like this one. It may be slowing down a little. I noticed this year that the herbs I put in it took longer so I turned it up a little. Cheaper to throw small paper bags of herbs under a bed. Just don’t forget they are there. Agree with Ken, good starter machine, easy to clean and lightweight.

      1. Ariel,
        Mine seemed to slow a bit too after 10 years, and one day it just quit, no heat, no fan. I was able to take the top appart and do some checking. There is a silver thermister in the wiring that is put in to protect fir overheating.(short,1″ long silver tube with wires out each end) They go a long time but do degrade after a pile of cycles and years. Do some looking online and you can buy 10 replacement thermostats fir under $15, just match the thermister’s model numbers on the side.pretty easy fix,but if you can’t do it a handy man could. Fix it, rebuild it, make it last.

  5. Jerky,
    I make a LOT of venison jerky. My nesco is 30 years+ old and just keeps going. I have 8 trays and if I’m using all of them, I rotate the trays once at the half-way point. May not be necessary, but I’ve noticed the difference if I don’t rotate. Some of the trays are losing a few of the plastic spoke things. Hey, it’s old and it doesn’t affect anything. I spray ’em down with Pam or similar before use. Makes clean-up easy.

    I make my jerky with ground venison, no fat at all. May not work quite as well if using muscle meat cut thin. I’d give the nesco an A+. Magic dust is the secret.

    1. Plainsmedic,
      I bought a ‘jerky shooter’ years ago fir my venison/elk jerky. Uniform, quick and uses ground meat. Did this fir my old Uncle who enjoyed it so, but his teeth could not handle cut jerky anymore. So I started “shooting” ground , marinated venison.(he liked Mr Yoshida’s Teriyaki marinade) and stuck with it for my own jerky. My Daughter reminded me I used to use paperclip and hang cut jerky in the oven over night to dry before I could afford a dehydrator. Used to put a chunk in the kids lunch sacks as a treat the next morning.

    2. I’ve dehydrated all kinds of fruits and vegetables, but I’ve never tried to make jerky. Is it made only from ground meat? How do you prep the trays and meat? I guess I wasn’t sure meat could be dehydrated well enough to be safe.

      1. NW Gal,
        As Kula mentioned, buy a jerky kit for your first efforts. Has the seasonings and the cure, plus instructions on how-to. Prep the trays: I spray ’em with Pam, a spray fat. You don’t have to use Pam, but it makes the clean-up much easier. It’s a two day process. Mix the meat/seasonings/cure and let it marinate overnight. As Minerjim noted, I too use a jerky shooter. It’s basically a refillable caulking gun for ground meat. Shoots out consistent little strips of marinated meat. I do a circular pattern on each tray to fully utilize the space.

        After ya do a few batches, you can experiment with the spices. Give it a try. The wife and I are hooked on venison jerky. I use magic dust (dehydrated jalapeno ground into a powder) as a part of my recipe. Safety? I’ve been making/eating venison jerky for 30++ years and never had an issue. Good luck and enjoy.

        1. I second the jerkey shooter
          Can get some pretty good ones on Amazon inexpensive, are kinda nice with the different tips too, mine has a fat round one for breakfast sausage or meat sticks
          😎🤙🏻
          Fun stuff

      2. NW Gal,
        When making jerky you should use the leanest meat possible.(this is why venison is used a lot) Very lean ground beef can be used I suppose.( fats can go rancid quickly, so avoid) Marinating the mix in the refrigerator helps the cure prior to dehydrating. Use the “meat” setting on the dehydrator (160F on most I believe). Dehydrate to your choice of texture. Degree of dryness determines how you long you can keep it. Store jerky in refrigerator or freezer until you use it.

      3. NW Gal
        I take ‘eye of round’ slice it thin with the meat slicer. Then put it into zip lock bags, use a recipe that you happen to like, marinate your meat. I keep mine in the fridge for at least 24 hours then put into the dehydrator for processing. I am getting ready to load up the dehydrator this morning, then put my next selection of meat through this same process.
        Will vacuum seal the meal after it is finished. Yes, I will taste test it before it goes in to the freezer for longer storage. Small travel packages which are vacuum seal bags will go into the vehicle that I drive the most as a backup.
        I have never process venison meat this way as we usually ate it. nummy ☺

  6. NW Gal
    Its really quite easy, if you really want the jerky to be safe it would be best to use a cure. You can buy mixes from places like LEM or make your own with #1 pink curing salt AKA Prague Powder
    Its a very small amount that you use but makes your jerky infinitely more safe to store longer than a week or so.
    I use mixes from LEM but what do i know

  7. Thanks for the article Ken! The article and folks comments are enough to get me to hop off the fence and get one. With over 6 feet of snow over the last 2 months and temperatures well below zero it looks like a good time to do some indoor work!

  8. Thanks for the info on making jerky. Turns out my DH already got a good deal on a jerky shooter from Goodwill, so I won’t have to search for that. I also have a spice kit he bought. Now I need to find some low fat meat at a decent price. It was my dad who was the hunter and fisherman in our family, and he’s been gone a long time. I can’t think of anyone near us who still hunts game. So, no venison for us. My hunting will be at the store.

  9. The first time I made it, using this dehydrator and the shooter kit, I kept it in quart jars in the pantry….BIG MISTAKE! I needed to keep it in the fridge. Good news was that the ten year old boy across the road loved the stuff and ate a lot of what I made, before it hit the jars. His dad helped devour some of it. He was the first one over to our yard when a hurricane came through. We always helped each other out. Good neighbors are well worth feeding! Just don’t poison them:(

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