Best Food Dehydrators

Food dehydrators are quickly becoming more popular. People are realizing that these kitchen appliances are quite versatile.

Not only can you make your own beef jerky, seasoned to perfection, just the way you like it – now, you can also use a food dehydrator as a method of preservation.

Fresh produce can be dried in a dehydrator and kept for years if properly stored. Unlike other methods of preserving produce, this method does not remove the nutrition.

Banana chips, crispy apple flakes, and dried meats are all easily at your fingertips. Just make sure you pick the right dehydrator. We will cover some of the best dehydrators on the market now. Plus, we will discuss some of the best features. Let’s dive in.

Dehydrator

Summary

​NESCO FD-75A

NESCO FD-75A

This dehydrator is easily stackable for quick construction. The labeled thermostat is great for helping you know what temps to use for what foods.

​Presto 06300

Presto 06300

Easy to clean and easy to use, you cannot go wrong with this simple dehydrator for all your food drying needs.

Editor's Choice

​Gourmia GFD1950

Gourmia GFD1950

This front view dehydrator is ideal for making multiple types of food at once. The digital timer and temp setting help ensure you never have over dried food.

​Gourmia GFD1680

Gourmia GFD1680

Six easy to slide trays make dehydrating several types of food at once so easy.

 MAGIC MILL Professional

MAGIC MILL Professional Food Dehydrator

This dehydrator has features and extras galore. You will have everything you need to start your dehydrating journey with this unit.

NESCO FD-1018A

NESCO FD-1018A

You will not need to purchase extra trays as this unit comes with 8 trays of 3 different varieties. No longer will you need to make multiple batches with only 1-2 trays.

COSORI Dehydrator Machine

COSORI Food Dehydrator Machine

You will be drying fruit in no time with this easy-to-use dehydrator.

Our Picks For Best Food Dehydrators

Pros

  • Lightweight construction
  • Very quiet
  • ​Easy to clean

​Cons

  • No on/off switch – you must unplug it to turn the machine off

More About The ​NESCO FD-75A

This NESCO dehydrator is made in the USA with 600 watts of drying power for drying food. The thermostat is adjustable with temperatures between 95-160 degrees Fahrenheit.

The patented drying system, Converga-Flow, ensures that air is forced through the exterior pressurized chamber. This means that the air isn’t forced through each tray vertically, but instead is forced horizontally across each tray, removing the need to rotate trays.

Everything about this dehydrator is made to create the best experience and food for you. The appliance comes with 5 trays. However, they can be extended to make 12 trays.

The exterior is made of opaque, BPA-free plastic. This blocks any light from entering while your food is inside. This prevents nutrient draining via harmful light.

>> Related Content: Best countertop Toaster Ovens

Shop Related Products

Electric Dehydrator

Electric Food Dehydrator

Chefman 

Chefman Food Dehydrator

​Magic Mill Commercial Pro

Magic Mill Commercial Pro

Excalibur

Excalibur 3926TB

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to clean
  • ​Simple to use

Cons

  • One preset temperature might not be best for all food types

More About ​Presto 06300

This Presto dehydrator comes with four drying trays and a clear top cover for easy monitoring of your food. The flow of the air is controlled from the bottom of the unit. A fan moves the air from the heating element around the appliance for consistent drying.

The preset temperature of this dehydrator sits at approximately 165 degrees Fahrenheit. With no temperature gauge or timer, this allows you to make foods your way, based on sight.

Shop Related Products

Electric Dehydrator

Electric Food Dehydrator

Chefman

Chefman Food Dehydrator

​Magic Mill Commercial Pro

Magic Mill Commercial Pro

Excalibur

Excalibur 3926TB

Pros

  • Comes with fruit leather sheet and drip tray
  • ​A front view so you can see all the trays at once
  • ​Digital timer and auto shutoff make cooking simple

​Cons

  • The bottom of the machine can collect food dust

More About ​Gourmia GFD1950

This Gourmia dehydrator really packs a lot for the price. You get nine drying shelves with a fruit leather sheet and a drip tray included.

This makes it easier for you to make more types of food along with making cleanup a breeze. You also get a recipe book with your order.

The temperature dial ranges from 95-158 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat circulation flows through the machine via a back-mounted fan. So, you do not have to rotate the trays.

The digital timer will ring, then shut off the appliance when it has completed.

The front view is see-through, and trays can be individually slid out, without taking the whole dehydrator apart.

Shop Related Products

Electric Dehydrator

Electric Food Dehydrator

Chefman 

Chefman Food Dehydrator

​Magic Mill Commercial Pro

Magic Mill Commercial Pro

Excalibur

Excalibur 3926TB

Pros

  • Adjustable timer/temp make this hands-off, easy drying
  • ​Wide shelves
  • ​Quiet

Cons

  • Some foods can take a long time to dehydrate fully

More About ​Gourmia GFD1680

This Gourmia dehydrator also comes with a recipe book and other quality features. It has a six-tray design and comes with a fruit leather sheet, as well as a drip tray. The 360-degree rotation ensures that your food dries uniformly without overheating.

A clear front door allows you to individually pull trays out, without interfering with other trays. The top of the machine has a digital display for the timer.

Shop Related Products

Electric Dehydrator

Electric Food Dehydrator

Chefman

Chefman Food Dehydrator

​Magic Mill Commercial Pro

Magic Mill Commercial Pro

Excalibur

Excalibur 3926TB

Pros

  • Adjustable racks
  • Lots of extras included with purchase
  • ​Digital timer and thermostat

Cons

  • Sides can expand after extensive use

More About The MAGIC MILL Professional

This Magic Mill dehydrator has nine adjustable stainless-steel drying racks. It also has two fruit leather trays, one jerky hanging rack, one fine mesh sheet, a recipe booklet, and two silicone oven mitts. This is everything you need to start dehydrating a large variety of foods.

The digital thermostat and timer let you choose how your food dries. The temperature is adjustable from between 95-158 degrees Fahrenheit.

Shop Related Products

Electric Dehydrator

Electric Food Dehydrator

Chefman

Chefman Food Dehydrator

​Magic Mill Commercial Pro

Magic Mill Commercial Pro

​Excalibur 3926TB

Excalibur 3926TB

Pros

  • Easily stackable
  • Comes with 8 types of each tray
  • ​Great customer service

Cons

  • Loud compared to other machines

More About The NESCO FD-1018A

This NESCO dehydrator has 1000-watts of power and promises to dry your food in hours, not days. Eight dishwasher safe trays are included, but you can expand this up to thirty trays.

Included with your purchase are eight fruit roll sheets, eight clean-a-screens, a recipe manual, and one original jerky spice pack with the cure.

The temperature is adjustable to between 95-160 degrees Fahrenheit, and the drying systems push heated air across each tray.

Shop Related Products

Electric Dehydrator

Electric Food Dehydrator

Chefman

Chefman Food Dehydrator

​Magic Mill Commercial Pro

Magic Mill Commercial Pro

​Excalibur 3926TB

Excalibur 3926TB

Pros

  • Two-year warranty
  • Stainless steel machine
  • Automatic shutoff

Cons

  • Large size for a small living space

More About The COSORI Machine

Made of food-grade steel with a built-in timer, this COSORI dehydrator also features an adjustable thermostat to 95-165 degrees Fahrenheit. You can safely cook most foods at these temperatures without transferring to an oven.

Six trays come with this unit along with a mesh screen, fruit roll sheet, recipe book, and a 2-year warranty.

Shop Related Products

Electric Dehydrator

Electric Food Dehydrator

Chefman

Chefman Food Dehydrator

​Magic Mill Commercial Pro

Magic Mill Commercial Pro

​Excalibur 3926TB

Excalibur 3926TB

Things to Consider

The flow of Heat and Air

Stackable racks have fans at the top or bottom of the units, which often leads to over-drying of your meat, fruits and vegetables. You can prevent this by moving the racks around throughout cooking.

However, if that is not something you’re interested in, invest in a shelf model.

Size

If you have limited space where you live, you will need to take this into consideration. Stackable racks are often easiest to store and offer sufficient drying space. Shelf models are box types, so you can’t slide the racks into available spaces, and you can rotate the trays for more space efficiency.

Determine the number of square feet you have available, then check the square feet your dehydrator takes up to determine the optimal amount of square feet for drying you'll be allowed to have.

Materials

All the above options are made with BPA-free plastic or stainless steel. Both are quality materials. If you plan on using your machine for long periods often, you might want to invest in a stainless-steel model to avoid the warping that can often happen in plastic models.

Adjustability

Many box-type hydrators have shelving units that can be adjusted, depending on the height of the food you’re putting inside. Take some time to peruse recipes and see what things you might want to dehydrate.

Temperature Control

As you may have noticed from our recommendations, some dehydrators have adjustable temperatures while others have one preset temperature to dry food.

Oftentimes, preset temperature units are cheaper – so, if you will mainly be drying foods with similar cooking temps, this may be the best option for you to consider.

How to Use a Dehydrator

Food dehydrators reduce the moisture that is stored within most foods, such as meat and vegetables. Most of the water that is stored up in food is made up of bacteria, so dehydrators are made to use the airflow within to reduce the water-to-food ratio. However, it keeps its protein content.

When the water is removed from certain foods during the drying process, they remain fresh for a longer period of time and the dry food becomes healthier to eat.

Listed below are instructions on how to use a dehydrator so you can have a better understanding of how they work.

Set the Correct Temperature

It is always important that you start by setting the correct temperature on your food dehydrator for the best drying process. The temperature will vary depending on what type of food you are drying, so make sure you know what the optimal temperature for drying that particular food is. Make sure your food is dehydrated by exactly 95% after the process is complete.

Arrange Your Food

Be sure to wash your food thoroughly and cut yet food into thin slices for optimal food dehydration, then arrange them properly onto the drying trays.

If some foods tend to turn brown in the process of drying, spritz them with lemon juice. Do not overlap the slices while putting them onto the drying racks, then place them inside of the food dehydrator.

Avoid Speeding up the Dehydrating Process

The dehydrating process may take hours to accomplish, but it will not be any good if you try to speed up the process at all.

Increasing the heat will cause your food to seal and keep the moisture inside, making complete dehydration impossible. This will make the food spoil while it is inside the dehydrator before you even have the chance to enjoy it.

Store Your Food

After your food has finished dehydrating, store it inside an airtight storage container. Place the container in a dark, dry place to avoid moisture sneaking into the container. If some of the food still has residual moisture inside of it after storing, dry it again for 1-2 hours.

Types of Food Dehydrators

Now that you are aware of the basics of how to use a food dehydrator, you will now receive information on the different types of food dehydrators. Each type works differently and this information will help you determine which one will work best for you.

Vertical Flow

Vertical flow dehydrators, also known as stackable dehydrators, have heat sources that are either at the base of the top of the dehydrator.

They are more affordable than horizontal flow dehydrators, but they do not distribute heat to your food as evenly. Vertical flow dehydrators are compact and easy to store and carry, and will not take up any counter space.

Horizontal Flow

Horizontal flow dehydrators, also known as shelf tray food dehydrators, work similarly to conventional ovens. Although they are more expensive than the vertical flow dehydrators, they do a much better job of dehydrating your food evenly.

Horizontal flow dehydrators are easier to use and will work exceptionally with meat and tougher form of vegetables.

Frequently Asked Questions about Food Dehydrators

People who have heard about food dehydrators and how they work still tend to have many questions about them. Below is a list of frequently asked and answered questions regarding food dehydrators that you may find useful.

What are Food Dehydrators?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions that people have prior to their purchase of a food dehydrator. Food dehydrators are kitchen appliances that use warm air flow to draw the moisture out of foods such as fruit, vegetables, and meat as well as other raw food. Dehydrating certain foods will make them last longer and bring out their true nutritional value.

Food dehydration has been a key process of preserving food since ancient times. The process has evolved with the use of food dehydrators and has made the process of dehydrating food much more convenient while still keeping the tradition alive.

Some dehydrators have multiple dehydrator trays. So, you can dehydrate as much as you want if your food does not overlap.

With this function, you will be able to dehydrate both meat and fruits at the same time without having to worry about cross-contamination, as long as you make sure to keep the trays clean after every use.

How Does Food Dehydration Work?

Food dehydration works by eliminating the moisture within certain foods to help preserve it longer. It removes any potential bacteria within it. Fungus and bacteria have a risk of growing inside of food with high levels of moisture, so dehydrating foods down to a certain moisture percentage removes that risk.

How Many Types of Food Dehydrators Exist? 

There are two main types of food dehydrators: horizontal flow (box and shelf) and vertical flow (stacked food). Horizontal flow dehydrators work by using detachable shelves and horizontal air flow from the sides or back to dehydrate the food inside of it. This gives it more of an even heat distribution.

Vertical flow dehydrators work by using vertical air flow with heat distribution to the stacking trays that are placed either underneath or on top of the heating unit.

The horizontal flow dehydrators have better insulation and do an exceptionally better job of providing even heat distribution to your food. Vertical flow dehydrators are more compact and easy to transport to different areas of your kitchen.

How do I Clean a Food Dehydrator?

You need to clean and maintain your food dehydrator to get rid of all food residue and odors. To clean it, remove the lid and the trays from the appliance and wash them in warm, soapy water with a soft brush.

Wash them until all of the stains are removed from the trays. Do not submerge the appliance in water. Instead, clean it with a soft, wet cloth.

How Long does the Dehydration Process Take?

The process of food dehydration can take anywhere from ten to fourteen hours. The amount of time it takes for certain foods to go through the dehydration process depends on their thickness or the moisture content.

Foods such as grapes or blueberries, for example, would need longer to dehydrate than many other types of fruit, due to their level of moisture.

It is important to remember that you should not attempt to speed up the dehydration process, as it can cause the moisture to become trapped inside the food. This will cause the food to spoil. So, it is best that you let the food dehydrator work for as long as it needs to.

Conclusion

Food dehydrators are gaining popularity these days, even though many people still don’t really know about its benefits and uses. With our detailed guide, you are now equipped with the knowledge of food dehydrators and how they function. You will need a food dehydrator that will work best for your needs. You may want a compact vertical flow one or a heavier, yet more effective horizontal model.

Food dehydrators will help you save money on snacking, provide you with healthier snack options, and help you avoid wasting food by preserving it longer.

Investing in a food dehydrator will be a great benefit to you in both the present and the future. With your food lasting much longer than it normally would, you will be able to have a supply of dehydrated food for as long as you’d possibly need it.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *