Nesco FD-80 Square-Shaped Dehydrator Review


Being the newest model from Nesco, the FD-80 Dehydrator is a culmination of state of the art engineering and hands-on expertise. The medium-sized “snack master” boasts a myriad of exceptional features that make it an unadulterated starter appliance for every home. This unit helps you dry your veggies and fruits within the shortest time possible.

The Nesco American FD-80 Square-Shaped Dehydrator comes with four trays, but it can also be expanded to 8 trays. It also boasts a patented top-down airflow system which allows air to infiltrate into the exterior pressurized chamber, then down the interior walls as it dries the products on every tray.

Unboxing the Nesco FD-80: Exploring its Square Tray Design

The anticipation built up as we unboxed the Nesco FD-80, revealing the square trays that make this dehydrator stand out. These square-shaped trays are practical and ideal for dehydrating larger items, as they offer ample space and more surface area compared to round trays. The Nesco FD-80 comes with four trays, but one of the remarkable things about this dehydrator is its expandability. You can purchase additional trays separately to expand the drying capacity up to eight trays, widening the range of foods you can dehydrate simultaneously. 

A closer look at the tray arrangement in the Nesco FD-80 reveals a unique design – an exterior pressurized chamber that supports the even and nutritious drying of food items. This system called the Converga-Flow drying system is innovatively designed to force hot air horizontally across each individual tray, converging on the core for fast, even, and nutritious drying. No flavor mixing and no need for tray rotation. 

The square style of the Nesco FD-80 allows for a higher capacity in the same footprint as other round dehydrators and makes this unit easy to store in corners or out of the way spaces. The square trays hold up to one pound of food each, making it easier and more efficient for drying larger quantities of food. 

An even heat distribution is ensured by the top-mounted fan that effectively eliminates the worry of liquids dripping into the heater chamber. The fan and heating element are combined in the power head that is placed right on top of the food, providing consistent drying power for all trays. 

The Nesco FD-80 square shaped dehydrator stands out not just by its unique shape, but also its performance and capability aspects.

Though structured with a slight novelty, the Nesco FD-80 setup is fairly straightforward and user-friendly. With dishwasher-safe parts that are safe to only wash on the top rack (make sure to remove from the dishwasher before the drying cycle), clean a screen for drying sticky fruits, or make fruit roll-ups and fruit leather, this dehydrator makes the process simple and easy, even for novices. 

Key Insights From Our Use 

Upon using the Nesco FD-80, we found that the device operates at maximum speed and efficiency while delivering consistent drying results. Its adjustable thermostat ranged from 95- to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing precise temperature control for dehydrating a wide range of food items, from beef jerky to fruit snacks. Even when working with varying temperature settings, the device seemed to perform efficiently without any noticeable power drop or increase in noise levels. 

One simple control knob adjusts the temperature, allowing for ease of operation. We appreciated that the device can dehydrate different foods, such as fruit, vegetables, and meat, at their correct thermostat setting, providing excellent results each time. The Nesco FD-80 made everything from drying fruit to making jerky a breeze, and we found it to be a versatile addition to our kitchen.

Unleashing Drying Power: How the Nesco FD-80 Excels

When it comes to drying prowess, the Nesco FD-80 Square Shaped Dehydrator truly excels. It’s impressively equipped with a powerful top-mounted fan and exterior pressurized chamber – a seasoned combination that assures consistent, efficient, and even air distribution, thus facilitating even heat distribution and drying. 

The unique fan eliminates the common problem found with other dehydrators: the need for tray rotation. Thanks to this clever design, hot air is forced horizontally across each individual tray, converging on the core for even, nutritious drying – no tray rotation needed. 

Powered by a hefty 700 watts, the Nesco FD-80 generates significant drying power. This strength, coupled with its patented Converga-Flow drying system, translates to speedy drying times. Whether you’re dehydrating great jerky, fruit snacks, or dried herbs, this workhorse ensures maximum drying efficiency. 

Making jerky has never been easier. This dehydrator works efficiently to transform meat strips into tasty jerky without the aid of additives or preservatives. Venison jerky, beef jerky – you name it, the Nesco FD-80 can handle it. Sample seasoning and a jerky gun are added bonuses for those interested in making jerky. 

The Nesco FD-80 also shines when it comes to fruit preservation. It dries fruit for wonderful fruit roll-ups. In addition, the appliance also comes with a fruit roll sheet – a nice dehydrator accessory that allows you to prepare different fruity snacks your entire family will enjoy. 

Note: To ensure safety and longevity of the Nesco FD-80 Square-Shaped Dehydrator, it’s recommended to strictly follow the user instructions.

Outstanding Features and Specifications

Motor and Fan

While the top-mounted fan ensures that there is a regular flow of air, the heating element which is connected to the motor ensures that the air is heated to the set temperatures for proper drying. The hot air then passes through the pressurized chamber on the inner walls of the appliance into the center of the trays. This means that there is no need to rotate them like in other dehydrators. The motor and fan are positioned on the top part which is also the cover.

Temperature Range

This appliance comes with an adjustable thermostat which boasts temperatures of between 95 and 160 degrees. Although the thermostat lacks a power button, it boasts a power code slider which allows you to set the temperature depending on the type of food you want to dry. With its 700 watts of power, the Nesco/American Harvest FD-80 dehydrator will satisfy all your needs whether you want to dry fruits, herbs, veggies, or beef jerky. For those who would like to know the temperature range for various foods, they are clearly displayed on the top cover of this unit.

Number of Trays

While the Nesco/American Harvest FD-80 Square-Shaped Dehydrator can accommodate 8 trays, it comes with four trays only. The stackable trays are positioned in a way that the hot air streaming down the system is evenly distributed in all plates. The trays border the outer pressurized chambers which collect heated air from the top of the appliance.

Storage Space

With a cubic-shaped design that resembles a picnic or fruit basket, the FD-80 Dehydrator uses 40% more space than the round-shaped models. The appliance is ideal for small families as it features four trays which collectively offer 5.6 square feet of drying space. However, the capacity increases to 11.2 square feet once you add four extra trays.

Construction Material

Nesco FD-80 Square Shaped Dehydrator

The Nesco FD-80 Square-Shaped Dehydrator is made of BPA-free plastic material.  While most people are concerned about the quality of the food dried in a dehydrator as it comes into direct contact with the plastic material at all times, this is a non-issue for the FD-80 since it is made using the ABS plastic which is a Bisphenol-A Free Plastic.

Product Weight & Dimensions

This appliance is easily portable from one point to the next and can be safely placed on any type of countertop. This is because it comes with a total weight of 9.3 lbs and its dimensions are 14-1/2 x 14-1/2 x 9-5 inches.

What Else Do You Get When You Purchase This Product

•    An Instruction Manual

This product comes with an instruction manual to help you operate the appliance efficiently with much ease. Besides, the Nesco/ American Harvest FD-80 Square-Shaped Dehydrator also features additional information such as the temperatures required to dry different kinds of food on the top cover.

•    Warranty

Once you purchase this appliance, it comes with a one-year limited warranty. This means that if your dehydrator malfunctions, you can have it repaired or replaced without incurring any additional costs.

•    SLD-2 Fruit Roll Sheet (set of 2)

•    T-2 Add-A-Trays (set of 2)

•    SQM-2 Clean-A-Screen (set of 2

Pros and Cons


1.    It comes with four trays that can be loaded easily and offer more drying space.

2.    Unlike other dehydrators in the market, the FD-80 allows even drying since hot air is introduced from the inner walls and not from the top.

3.    Gives you value for money since it is relatively affordable

4.    It ensures that the heating system is not destroyed by liquids dripping during the drying process by placing the motor and fan on the top cover.

5.    The Nesco FD 80 food dehydrator Comes with a one year warranty

6.     It is easy and convenient to use.


1.    It doesn’t have a power button or timer

2.    It can dry only a limited number of prominent foods

3.    The Nesco FD 80 square dehydrator is not suitable for large families

Tips and Tricks: Heat and Printed Guidelines for Foolproof Dehydration

Dehydrating food with the Nesco FD-80 is more than just switching it on and leaving your food to dry. To ensure consistent drying and flavorful results, we’ve compiled a few tips and tricks, especially for new users dipping their toes in the world of food dehydration

Understanding the Correct Thermostat Setting

Prior to drying food, it’s crucial to set your machine at the correct thermostat setting. The Nesco FD-80 comes with temperature control that ranges from 95 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. The simple control knob adjusts the temperature depending on what you’re dehydrating. For juicy and succulent beef jerky, a higher heat setting is recommended, while drying herbs and making fruit roll-ups would need a lower temperature. Always refer to the printed guidelines or instruction manual that comes with the Nesco FD-80 for the recommended temperatures for different foods. 

Effective Use of Square Trays

One of the unique selling points of the Nesco FD-80 is its square trays which offer greater drying space compared to round trays. However, the layout of your food on the tray matters. When drying fruits, for instance, ensure that slices are laid out in a single layer with no overlapping. This will guarantee even and nutritious drying and prevent flavor mixing. 

Rotate Trays for Efficient Drying

Although Nesco suggests that their unique air flow system alleviates the need for tray rotation, from our practical experience, rotating the tray’s positions periodically can promote more even drying especially for larger quantities of food. An easy trick to remember is to shift the bottom tray to the top and the rest upwards accordingly. This ensures a consistent hot air flow throughout, allowing air to circulate efficiently and speeding up the drying process. 

Additional Tips

  • Cleaning: The trays of the Nesco FD-80 parts are dishwasher safe, making clean up a breeze. Just remember, ensure to remove the trays from the top rack of the dishwasher prior to the drying cycle. 
  • Dry fruits at their peak: Fruits seasoned and dried at their freshest will yield the best-tasting results. It’s perfect for making nutritious dried fruit snacks or fruit roll-ups.
  • Making jerky: When making jerky using either beef, venison, or other meats, the meat strips need to be cut thin for optimal drying. Included in the package is a jerky gun, perfect for forming your favorite jerky with ease.
  • Keep space for air circulation: For effective drying, make sure not to overcrowd the trays. Leave some space to provide room for air to flow, this allows for more even heat distribution and faster dehydration.

Keeping these tips in mind, you’ll find that the Nesco FD-80 is a highly intuitive and user-friendly device, ideal for first-time dehydrators or seasoned users alike.

Comparison With OSTBA Food Dehydrator 9 Tray

When comparing the Nesco FD-80 to the OSTBA Food Dehydrator 9 Tray, some distinct differences become apparent. The OSTBA unit is characterized by its high capacity design, offering a total of 9 trays compared to the FD-80’s four. However, these extra trays do not increase the OSTBA’s overall drying surface area, which, unlike the Nesco FD-80’s square trays, are round and slightly smaller. 

While both dehydrators offer adjustable temperature controls, the OSTBA ranges from 95 to 165°F, providing a slightly narrower window than the Nesco’s 95 to 160°F. This may limit optimal results when dehydrating temperature-sensitive foods. The Nesco FD-80’s unique Converga-Flow system gives it an edge in ensuring even heat distribution and eliminates the need for constant tray rotation, a feature not present in the OSTBA model. 

The FD-80 also possesses a top-mounted fan which is a part of its exterior pressurized chamber for efficient drying while maintaining flavor integrity. This stands in contrast to OSTBA’s back-mounted fan design. On the matter of construction, both units boast a strong build. However, the Nesco FD-80’s sturdy design has a more compact and square shape, allowing it to fit more conveniently in a kitchen than the bulkier OSTBA model. 

Lastly, there’s a notable price difference. The OSTBA is a bit more expensive than the Nesco FD-80, but this price hike comes with added features such as the digital timer and 24-hour auto shut-off function. The Nesco FD-80, on the other hand, strips back any unnecessary frills and focuses on what it does best: efficient and even food dehydration. For those who appreciate simplicity and value for money, the Nesco FD-80 could be a more fitting choice. 

In conclusion, while both are respectable food dehydrators, each has its own strengths. The FD-80’s innovative features, such as its square tray design and top-mounted fan, may make it more appealing to users seeking more consistent and efficient drying results.

Final Verdict

A product is only great if it meets and surpasses the needs of the consumers. And as this article elaborates, the Nesco/American FD-80 Square-Shaped Dehydrator has proven to do just that. From its unique design that places the dry system on the lid to the one year warranty which allows you to return the product if it malfunctions, the FD-80 dehydrator is a highly recommended product for those who want to add a new item in their kitchen.

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