The dehydrator that didn’t cost me a fortune

When I first started my whole-foodie journey, the discovery of activated nuts changed my life. I used to love munching on almonds, but they never really agreed with me, until I found activated varieties and my relationship with the humble nut family changed for the better. 


Nuts are high in protein, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and the all important omega 3’s. They make the perfect snack on the go however, many people are unaware of the fact that raw nuts contain “anti-nutrients” or ‘enzyme inhibitors’, that can cause major digestive discomfort and prevent our bodies from absorbing all that goodness they have to offer. 

To overcome this problem, we activated nuts and break down these ‘walls’ to enable better digestion of this wonderfully nutritious food source. For a step by step guide on how to activate your nuts, click here. 


Activating nuts were one of my non-negotiables, but to be honest, drying them in the oven for 12-24 hours on the lowest temperature wasn’t something I was thrilled about (nor did I have the time to do it). To overcome this problem, I used to spend a small fortune purchasing activated varieties from the health food store.

For those of you who have purchased activated nuts, you will know that they aren’t cheap. A 400g packet of activated almonds can set you back approximately $20 (that’s $50kg!). But at this point in time, I had no choice, so I sucked it up. This system worked well until I moved in with my partner. Being an elite athlete, it’s fair to say that he is an eating machine and there was no way I could have continued down this path – he was going to send us broke on the consumption of activated nuts alone. I knew I had to find another solution. I started to do some research on dehydrators. 


When it comes to purchasing a dehydrator, the most recommended variety can set you back anywhere between $400-$900. Now, I don’t know about you, but that’s enough to make me use my oven! So, I set out to do some research. 

When it comes to which dehydrator is going to work well for you, many people told me that I needed to answer the following questions: 

  • What foods are you interested in drying?
  • How much product do you want to dry and how frequently will you use the dehydrator?
  • What is your price range?
  • How much counter space can you devote to the unit?
  • How versatile do your drying specifications need to be? 

My answer to the above questions were really quite simple:

  • Because I don’t really enjoy dehydrated food (it just doesn’t agree with me), I would only be using the dehydrator to activate nuts.
  • Because I would activate bulk nuts at a time, I would only be using a dehydrator around once a month.
  • I didn’t want to spend a fortune (I had my Thermomix to save for)
  • I didn’t want a huge item on my bench-top 
  • As long as my dehydrator trays would hold nuts without them slipping through the cracks, I would be happy. 

I spoke to friends, relatives and the like and they all came back telling me that the Excalibur range of dehydrators were the best, but of course they were the most expensive (some are known to set you back $600+!). 

A friend suggested I check eBay for some second-hand gems. It was here I unexpectedly found my brand spanking new dehydrator for a mere $45. I was a little reluctant to share this information with my readers (way back then), as I thought my find was a little too good to be true, but alas, 1 year on, he is still going strong. 


These are the things you need to know about my find. 

  1. I purchased the ‘Maxkon Food Dehydrator with Adjustable Trays’. You can buy it on Amazon. 
  2. There is no timer, I just use an old fashioned clock or reminder on my phone to time the process. 
  3. It’s temperature ranges from 35-75 degrees Celsius 
  4. It uses a vertical flow heating system which means the heat rises from the bottom up. According to reviews, those dehydrators that use a vertical flow system can transfer the taste of your various products between trays, since the heated air passes directly between layers. Again, I’m just using this to activate nuts so it isn’t a problem. In addition, reviews of various dehydrators also state that the models that use the horizontal heat distribution method are meant to be the best for even distribution of heated air across foods, again, I haven’t noticed. 
  5. My dehydrator is 34cm tall by 25cm in diameter and sits perfectly on the laundry bench. 
  6. If you were going to dehydrate anything smaller like seeds or fruit puree, you would need to chase down some of the fruit drying sheets. 
  7. I can’t remember if the trays are dishwasher safe or not, but they are easily cleaned in some warm soapy water. 

Now I know there are going to be a whole host of better brands out there and I am sure there will be plenty of other features other brands offer when compared to my inexpensive find however, this blog post wasn’t designed to sell you a top of the range dehydrator, it was designed purely to let you know a dehydrator for activating nuts doesn’t have to be expensive 🙂 and no… for those of you wondering, I am not receiving any kick-back for sharing this information. 

STILL NOT SOLD? If you want to meet middle of the road (somewhere between Excalibur and my Maxkon) one of the other best selling brands is called Nesco and they retail for about $79+. It is much easier to obtain the fruit drying sheets for this brand. You can also find this on amazon. 

Do you have a dehydrator? Which one did you choose? What do you recommend? I would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations! 


  1. Rana

    I chipped in with my siblings to purchase my mum an excalibur dehydrator for her birthday. It was the only one that she had her heart set on so it liked like a good present idea. She manages to get plenty on use out of it, using it for fruit, activated nuts, veggie chips and to make meat jerky. I agree with you, I’m not about to spend ~$500 on a dehydrator, nor do i want an additional piece of equipment taking up space. So i get around this by borrowing mums dehydrator occasionaly, i take it home and set it up in my laundry so that its out of the way. I make the most of this time and do a big batch of dehydrating. Win Win :-).

  2. Alyse

    Sounds like a great solution!

  3. Ania

    Lyse I have a giant big black dehydrator on our kitchen counter and I would just love to do something yummy in it, (aside from activated nuts and yoghurt) have you got any more dehydrator recipes you’d care to share!? Hoping for a healthy snack I can feed to Seb!
    Ps. Loving your site and blog!!

  4. Alyse

    Leave it with me babe, I will put something together shortly and let you know x

  5. Steph Sage

    Hey Love! Stumbled across your site whilst researching this dehydrator. I need your help! I want to get this dehydrator so I can use it to ferment, but to do that I need to have it on a temperature of 20-25 degrees. Would it work to set the temperature dial to below the first marking (the 35 marking) to roughly get a 20-25 degree temperature? Thanks Alyse

  6. Alyse

    Hi Steph! I’m currently away from our home, but I will have a look first thing when I am back tomorrow and let you know!

  7. Alyse

    Hey Steph, it doesn’t go any lower than the 35 degree marking! Sorry!

  8. Peta

    I had a dehydrator setting on my oven, an AEG. I have since moved house, and I didn’t actually use it. But it is certainly worth checking your oven manual to see if it has that function before going out to buy a dehydrator.

  9. Alyse

    Hi Peta! This is great information – thank you! I had no idea some ovens had this capability!

  10. Peace

    I use my trusty Ezi-Dry, which cost me about $120 brand new. It’s a round style one with a hole in the middle. I’ve never had a problem with that… And it has three temperature settings, so I can dehydrate all my fruits, crackers, pizza bases, seeds and nuts totally raw with all the enzymes and vitamins still active.

  11. Alyse Co-cliff

    Sounds like a great find to me Peace! x

  12. Rosie

    I just purchased a Dehydrator from Aldi for under $35.00. I’m activating my first batch of almonds at the moment. It has a timer, temperature control, and 5 racks. I’m just wondering what temperature is best for drying almonds.

  13. Alyse

    Hi Rosie,
    What a great buy! I like to dehydrate mine at 40C, but it depends on the individual. Try not to use high temperatures (greater than 40C) as some people believe this can alter the nutrient content of the almonds. 🙂

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Meet Alyse

I’m a qualified Nutritionist who believes an evidence-based approach to modern nutrition is severely under-rated. Patients are so often left in the dark when it comes to health-care and as a firm believer in the old saying “knowledge is power”, my ultimate goal is to provide my readers, students and patients with clear and actionable advice that ultimately helps you reach your full potential.