We allotted our Best Buy Award to the Hamilton Beach 32100A as it is an inexpensive product with a decent amount of tray space that renders reasonably consistent, quality results. While this dehydrator suffered in our temperature regulation and ease of use evaluations, the marks against it are not disqualifying. Counterbalancing these shortcomings is a design that is one of the easiest to clean.
Hamilton Beach 32100A Review
Pros: Easy to clean, economic, simplistic controls
Cons: Poor temperature regulation, flimsy trays
Manufacturer: Hamilton Beach
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Hamilton Beach 32100A is a unique dehydrator in that it is the only rectangular stacked tray model in this review. While this model isn't a top performer, it delivers reasonably good dried food and has some features — like flexible, easy to clean trays and an intuitive interface — that counteract its deficiencies. Moreover, it has a very competitive price point.
Quality and Consistency
The 32100A ranked among the bottom in our assessment of the food flavor, texture, and evenness. However, the spread amongst the models in this evaluation isn't that wide, and it did better than most in the beef jerky taste tests. Additionally, this machine had relatively inaccurate temperature regulation, particularly at lower temperatures. So, it might not be the best if you intend to dry out herbs on the regular.
Easy of Use
We found the Hamilton Beach to be quite easy to use. The temperature and timer controls are intuitive, and simplistic — which is what you want. We will say that it is a little weird that the timer's readout rounds up to the nearest hour during the countdown. The timer is accurate, but it's unclear how much time is left within each hour. On the other hand, the trays are flexible, making sticky food removal much more manageable. All and all, we believe that this machine is pretty darn easy to use.
Easy Clean-Up? You Betcha!
When it comes to dehydrator clean up, stackable trays are way better. They break apart into panels that can be easily held over a trash can to be wiped out. They can be soaked in a sink and washed individually. Finally, there is no box that the trays drip down into that has to be wiped out. Despite these advantages, some stackable dehydrators are still a pain to clean. Not so with the Hamilton Beach 32100A. The clean-up of this machine is amongst the easiest in our review.
We think that the 32100A is a value product. One simply gets more for the dollar with this model than any other here reviewed. While it is true that this machine has some shortcomings — albeit minor ones — they are certainly outweighed by its price point and other positive attributes.
Are there better performing dehydrators than the Hamilton Beach 32100A? Yes. However, no other model can claim the same level of performance at an equivalent price. This machine produces quality food, and while it's thermostat and timer are a little wanky, it's super easy to clean. If you're looking into dehydrating food, but don't want to spend an arm and a leg, then look no further.
— Nick Miley and Michelle Powell