I absolutely love dehydrating food.
The benefits are, well, pretty much countless. You save money (and time!), decrease food waste, feel confident in the quality of your food, and add more delicious variety to your diet. There is really no losing when you bring this practice into your kitchen.
Plus, dehydrated food lasts a really long time, which is essential if you don’t have a lot of refrigerator or freezer space (and if you don’t want to spend time canning things).
Plus, dehydrating preserves much of the nutritional value of your food. There are lots of ways you can dehydrate food – like air-drying it and drying it in the oven – but really, using a food dehydrator is the way to go.
Are you intrigued and now in the market for your first food dehydrator? Or are you looking to replace your trusty old dehydrator with a bit of an upgrade?
No matter where you are in your food dehydration journey, we have you covered with this list of the best dehydrators on the market today.
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What to Look For in a Food Dehydrator
There are several types of food dehydrators to choose from. While it may seem overwhelming at first, all food dehydrators typically fall under two categories: Vertical Flow and Horizontal Flow.
These food dehydrators are often called a “stacked unit” because the heat source is typically found either at the top or bottom of the machine.
While these units may be more affordable, it is because they usually don’t heat as evenly. This means that you may find success in dehydrating fruits and vegetables, but may find it more difficult to dehydrate meat jerky in an even, uniform fashion.
Often called a “shelf tray” food dehydrator, the way in which these units function can be compared to a conventional oven.
These options tend to dehydrate food more evenly, as well as they, admittedly, are much easier to use. Therefore, this type of food dehydrator tends to be more expensive. But in my opinion, they’re worth it.
The biggest thing to consider in choosing which size dehydrator you want is to simply acknowledge how much food you are looking to dehydrate.
If you have a large garden and are looking to dehydrate the majority of it, inevitably you would want a unit that can support the large quantity of food. Keep in mind that Horizontal Flow dehydrators tend to be a bit larger than Vertical Flow dehydrators.
Amount of Trays
Besides how much space a food dehydrator will take on your counter, another feature to consider is the amount of trays a unit can hold. Often, a food dehydrator may come with 5-7 included trays, but can be expandable to 12-15 trays that can be purchased separately.
Most dehydrators contain about 600 watts of power. Inevitably, the higher the power the most effective and efficient the dehydration process.
Once again, consider how much food you are looking to dehydrate and how often you want to use it. This will help you decide if investing in a unit with higher power is worth it for you.
Ease of Use
Generally speaking, food dehydration is a pretty simple process. The right food dehydrator can make things even easier.
This includes taking the type of food dehydrator into account. Horizontal Flow units, due to their ability to more evenly distribute heat and uniformly dehydrate food, which means you likely won’t have to rotate the trays at any point in the dehydration process.
You can most likely throw in your food, set the timer, and walk away! Keep in mind that Vertical Flow units will likely require you to pay more close attention and rotate the trays during the process. Once again, this is not necessarily difficult, just a bit inconvenient.
The other component for easy use to keep in mind is the cleaning process. Are the parts dishwasher safe? Is there a drip-catcher? Everyone loves an easy clean up, so be sure to keep a look out for the cleaning description.
Since most units have a fan, it is likely many of them will be a bit noisy. Unfortunately, most manufacturers don’t list the decibels it produces, so you can likely learn about the noise level from the reviews and comments.
If this is an important factor to you, be sure to do a bit of the extra research to ensure your model fits your needs.
What’s the difference between a $20 food dehydrator and a $600 one? Well, a few different things.
From the power, to the size, special features, brand name and quality of heat distribution, many components contribute to the affordability of a unit. It is up to you to decide which features are most important to you, and let those help lead you into your best decision.
Adjustable Temperature Control
This is the very first thing most manufacturers advertise if their unit has it. This feature is so helpful because it allows for you to adjust the temperature based on what you are dehydrating.
If you are planning to dehydrate many types of food, keep on the lookout for this feature for sure.
Since food dehydration takes so long, the timer is a helpful asset so you don’t forget about your food! Of course, there are many other timer options (phone, oven, etc.), but it is convenient to have it all in one place.
This feature gives you the freedom to do whatever you want while your food is dehydrating. You can trust it will turn off when it is done. This is a great safety feature.
The 12 Best Food Dehydrators of 2020
The versatile and time-saving dehydrator that is a classic among dehydrator enthusiasts.
If you are looking to simply toss in your food, turn a knob, and walk away – then this might be the option for you. The NESCO FD-75A dries out meats, fruits, vegetables and more in a matter of hours, rather than days.
It’s equipped with patented Converga-Flow technology to ensure food is dried out evenly and quickly. This also prevents the mixture of flavors, which is essential if you’re dehydrating several types of foods at once.
- Adjustable 95º-160º F thermostat (in order to customize to different types of food)
- Ability to expand to 12 tray (comes with five) to dry higher quantities of food at once
- Top-mounted fan that prevents liquid drippings from entering the heat chamber
- Opaque Vita-Save exterior that blocks the harmful lights that destroys nutritional content of food
- Some people report the product has a “short life-span” of a few months to a year
An easy-to-use option that can dehydrate all types of healthy food.
This is essentially a grab-and-go dehydrator – it is that easy to use. You can store it in the corner of your pantry, start it up with a click of a button in a mere matter of seconds, and swiftly clean it with a quick scrub.
The automatic, electronically controlled 360˚ fan also ensures a reliable and quality dehydration each and every time.
- Ability to dehydrate various kinds of food to create beef jerky, apple and zucchini chips, dried herbs, and even dog treats
- Five easy to clean BPA-free trays
- Accurate temperature control (96-158℉)
- Trays are thin and may require to be handled with care
The affordable dehydrator that doesn’t sacrifice quality.
Those in the market for their first dehydrator may want to consider this option. Though there are no bells and whistles – like temperature control or a sleek design – for the price, it still gets the job done well.
- Included dishwasher safe four-tray system that can expand to eight trays
- See-through exterior that allows for close monitoring
- Easy to store
- No “off switch.” Turns on when plugged in.
An intuitive design that makes for quick and easy use.
This machine equips you with all you need for guaranteed food dehydration success! By effectively circulating hot air, food’s moisture is removed and bacteria is killed.
Extending the shelf-life of your favorite foods couldn’t be much simpler than with this option.
- Digital timer and temperature-setting (95ºF-165ºF)
- Comes with 5 BPA-Free Trays, 1 Mesh Screen, and 1 Fruit Roll Sheet
- Auto shut-off
- Extremely quiet
- Fragile top cover that may need to be handled with care
The travel-friendly option.
This dehydrator’s simple and relatively small design makes it suited for convenient travel. Whether you’re making banana chips or beef jerky, this option will provide acceptable results.
- Bottom-mounted fan that provides consistent air flow
- Adjustable thermostat (95 to 155)
- Five BPA-free trays
- Uses electrical heat (may extract more vitamins and minerals than other kinds of dehydrator technologies)
The real-deal, heavy-duty dehydrator for those who are truly invested in food preservation.
This dehydrator is hefty, yet still simple to use. Okay, maybe not just hefty – it’s huge (expandable to 30 trays) and powerful (1000-watts of power)! So if you are looking to produce large quantities of food in a brief amount of time, you many want to consider this option.
- Coverga-fan that reaches every tray evenly
- Comes with eight trays (expandable to 30 trays)
- Adjustable temperature (95°F – 160°F).
- Loud fan
The best dehydrator for multitaskers.
The best part of this dehydrator (besides its durable design) is the digital timer with automatic shutoff. You can set and forget about it. It’s reliable, easy to clean, and simply an all-around solid choice.
- Digital 30-hour timer with adjustable thermostat (95 to 155 degrees F)
- Ten square trays
- Large drip tray for quick clean up
- Reported “short life-span” of a few months to a year for some users
The dehydrator that looks as good as it works.
Finally. A food dehydrator that won’t cause you to cringe when it’s left out on the counter! Made of stainless steel, this product is safe (BPA-free) and reliable. It’s one of the best food dehydrators for cooks who don’t like looking at ugly machinery all day.
- Stainless steel body and trays
- Rear-mounted fan for even dehydration
- Digital settable timer with automatic shutoff
- Door may be flimsy
Simple, classic, reliable.
You can’t go wrong with this purchase. Truly! It’s affordable, easy-to-use, and capable of doing the job effectively. The provider even claims it retains “97% of the food’s nutritional value!”
- Five multi-tier trays aid in quality air flow
- Temperature control
- Removable parts making for an easy clean
- Durability of the machine may be weaker than other options
Ready to make fast and healthy snacks.
This is a quality product with little-to-no downsides. It’s nice looking, fast, and perfect for first timers.
- Transparent door made for easy, undisruptive checking
- ETL Certified
- 360º air flow circulation so there’s no tray rotation required
- Pre-set temperature settings
A versatile dehydrator that is modern and simple.
This is a basic, high- quality dehydrator that you won’t regret adding to your kitchen. An easy and cheap way to include more delicious and healthy snacks in your life!
- Timer and temperature adjustable
- Five large (BPA-free) trays
- Made from stainless steel
- Relatively small in size
Yes, another Nesco Gardenmaster! This dehydrator has a ton of benefits, namely that it dehydrates quite evenly. I’ve had dehydrators in the past that require you to turn and flip foods often. That’s not the case with this dehydrator – it offers high-quality performance that’s easily distributed among four separate BPA-free trays.
Made in the United States, this dehydrator is one of the best home food dehydrators for gardeners who want a quick and convenient way to preserve their harvest!
There you have it! A comprehensive review of the best food dehydrators out there today. As harvest season rapidly approaches, you’ll love the versatility that a great food dehydrator provides.
Want to learn more about farming? Be sure to take a look at these other articles.
- How to Cut Up A Chicken For the Freezer
- How to Make Your Own Sourdough Bread
- 20 Resourceful Recipes to Use Up Leftover Pickles
- 6 Absolutely Tantalizing Radish Recipes You Need to Try Tonight
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