I have had several dehydrators over the years and some of them have been better than others. One thing I learned early on about them is that price doesn't mean much. You can spend a couple hundred dollars on a unit and it turns out to be loud or doesn't completely dehydrate food. Most dehydrators are round and have stacked trays, the Excalibur is square so it takes up less space on a kitchen counter and the trays are easier to slide in and out of the front of the unit. One of the nicest features of this dehydrator is the timer; you can set it to turn off at a specific time or have it run for a certain duration. When I dry vegetables like peas and grapes they require less time than thick cuts of meat used to make jerky. The trays slide in and out of the unit perfectly; there's no wrong way to insert them because they are all the same size. As far as cleaning goes, the outside can be wiped down with a sponge. I strongly suggest that you leave the trays out of the unit once you have processed a batch. You can shake out the dehydrator the same way you get crumbs out of a toaster in case pieces curl and come off of the tray. I prefer a square dehydrator because of the space that they save; the trays are usually more durable than round trays. You can buy replacement trays for this one if you crack one of them but five is the limit of trays that you can have.