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Some people aren’t aware of the versatility of dehydrators. You can make jerky, fruit leather, chips, crisps, dried mushrooms, and more all in a matter of a few hours. There is no end to the variety of dehydrators—small, large, high-tech, and stackable, they can provide you with a quicker, more efficient way to dry out your food for snacks.
A lot of dehydrators are extremely easy to use and they have some great features that make them fun to use as well. Some of these features include overheat protection, digital touch settings, and auto shut off. There are also options to expand the number of trays.
Looking for your next dehydrator? The Nesco FD-1018A Gardenmaster is our top choice.
Here's our list of the best food dehydrators on the market.
Best Overall: Nesco FD-1018A Gardenmaster
Dimensions (LxWxH): 17.25 x 16 x 17.5 inches | Weight: 19.4 pounds | Wattage: 1000 W | Number of Trays: 8 | Temperature Range: 95-160 degrees
Quick-drying and expandable, the Nesco Gardenmaster is a simple machine that can dry anything with consistency. That consistency of drying evenly comes from its Converga-Flow technology that forces the air up through a pressurized chamber and then across each individual tray. This makes it so there is no need for any rotation.
The 2,400-RPM motor gets the job done on its 8 dishwasher-safe trays. If desired, this can expand to up to 30 trays. It comes with a thermostat ranging from 95 to 155 degrees and weighs 19 pounds, making it somewhat heavy, but definitely manageable when it’s time to use or store the dehydrator. This full kit includes 8 fruit roll-up sheets, 8 clean-a-screens, a recipe book, and a jerky spice pack with cure.
Best Budget: Hamilton Beach Digital Food Dehydrator
Dimensions (LxWxH): 10.5 x 13 x 11 inches | Weight: 5.9 pounds | Wattage: 500 W | Number of Trays: 5 | Temperature Range: 100-160 degrees
With a digital timer and easy-to-read screen, the Hamilton Beach Digital Food Dehydrator is a great affordable option for making snacks. Although this dehydrator isn’t expandable beyond its five trays, it does have the ability to be timed for up to 48 hours with an automatic shutoff.
The other features of this dehydrator include constant airflow to guarantee no need for rotation, temperature controls from 100-160 degrees, and a fine mesh sheet for drying herbs, and a solid one from making fruit rolls. It's on the lighter side so it's easy to lift and store. The base is made with stainless steel, ensuring that the clean-up is simple and easy to complete after each use.
Best High Tech: Brod & Taylor Sahara Folding Food Dehydrator
Dimensions (LxWxH): 22 x 14.3 x 11 inches | Weight: 18.5 pounds | Wattage: 750 W | Number of Trays: 7 | Temperature Range: 85-165 degrees
Not only is this dehydrator powerful, but it is compact with its ability to fold for use and storage. This high-efficiency dehydrator makes sure that food is free from contaminants via a top-tier washable and reusable air filter. There’s an automated dual time and temperature control setting that can run at higher temperatures for fast drying that will automatically switch to a lower temperature to maintain nutrients in your dehydrated food.
The other features include the 99 to 198 hours of continuous operation, its 85-165 degree range, a quiet motor, and folding tech that can collapse to one-third of its size. A couple of downsides to this dehydrator is its weight at a little over 18 pounds, and that you will have to buy silicone mats if you want to dry herbs, make fruit leather, or use it for anything that might fall through the stainless-steel shelves.
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Best for Big Batches: Excalibur 3900B 9-Tray Deluxe Dehydrator
Dimensions (LxWxH): 19 x 17 x 12.5 inches | Weight: 20 pounds | Wattage: 600 W | Number of Trays: 9 | Temperature Range: 105-165 degrees
Interested in a large dehydrator that doesn’t need additional stackable trays? Then the Excalibur 3900B is a great choice because of its size and features that make it easy to use in a pinch. It has nine trays that have a total of 15 square feet and its hyper wave technology removes moisture from food through the proper air circulation.
This dehydrator temperature ranges from 105 to 165 degrees and comes with poly-screen trays that don’t need to be moved during operation. These screens also are designed to guarantee that foods won’t stick after use and are BPA-free. This dehydrator is large enough to fit your needs but it is on the heavy side.
Best Design: Tribest Sedona Express Digital Food Dehydrator
Dimensions (LxWxH): 19.6 x 12 x 14.5 inches | Weight: 22 pounds | Wattage: 470 W | Number of Trays: 11 | Temperature Range: 77-167 degrees
The Tribest Sedona Express may be large, but it has a sleek design that makes it nice to look at. It has a glass door and internal LED light so you can view the food drying along with a LED display for accurate temperature and easy operation.
This option has 11 dehydrating trays, but is compact because of its build, saving you space in the kitchen. Its powerful central fan has a washable and reusable air filter that makes it easy to use the dehydrator consistently. With overheat protection and continuous operation mode, the food dried in this machine will produce excellent results without a lot of work.
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Best for Jerky: Presto Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator
Dimensions (LxWxH): 15.5 x 15.5 x 9.5 inches | Weight: 7.5 pounds | Wattage: 600 W | Number of Trays: 4 | Temperature: 165 degrees
Sometimes getting a no-frills dehydrator is really all you need for your home, especially if you'll primarily be making jerky. The Presto Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator is a great basic dehydrator because of its size and design. It comes with four trays, though is expandable to eight trays. The top tray is see-through to let you monitor the drying process and has a 2,300-RPM bottom-mounted fan for consistent airflow.
What’s amazing about this dehydrator is that all of the trays and covers are dishwasher safe. It’s also pretty compact, so it’s to store when it’s not in use. One downside is that you'll have to make jerky at its preset temperature of 165 degrees.
Best Stainless Steel: Cosori CP267-FD Premium Stainless Steel Food Dehydrator
Dimensions (LxWxH): 13.4 x 17.8 x 12.4 inches | Weight: 21 pounds | Wattage: 600 W | Number of Trays: 6 | Temperature: 95-165 degrees
There are many great dehydrators, but not all of them are made from stainless steel. Of course, stainless steel appliances are easier to clean and aren’t prone to rust like other dehydrators may be. IF that's what you're in the market for, Cosori Premium Food Dehydrator will check all the boxes.
Its features include a temperature range from 95-165 degrees, a quiet rear-mounted fan so food can dry without added noise, and overheat protection. The built-in timer that measures in 30-minutes increments, for up to 48 hours, is operable via the digital control panel. When it comes to cleanup, the included trays are dishwasher-safe, with the tray liner top-rack safe.
We like the Nesco Gardenmaster (view at Amazon) because of its simplicity, but also because you can stack more trays so that you can have more capacity if desired. If you want an inexpensive food dehydrator, then the Hamilton Beach Digital Food Dehydrator (view at Amazon) is your best bet.
What to Look for When Buying a Food Dehydrator
How much space you have in your kitchen along with how much food you want to dehydrate will determine what size you should choose. If you live in a smaller space, then you’ll likely need to get a dehydrator that fits on your counter, but that doesn’t mean the smaller dehydrators won’t be as strong as the larger ones. Choosing a dehydrator with a larger capacity or one you can expand can also make up for the smaller size. People who plan on making large batches of dried foods will find that a larger capacity dehydrator is easier to use simply because of the time it saves.
For purely aesthetic reasons, design is a great way to determine which dehydrator is great for you. There are stainless steel dehydrators, dehydrators made of plastic, and some that have a mix between the two. Then there is color to consider. Most dehydrators stick to a stainless steel finish, or you’ll see them come in white or black.
It’s important to pick a dehydrator that has decent airflow throughout the appliance. Since the goal is to remove the water out of the food, a dehydrator should also have decent wattage as well. When airflow and wattage are combined, it’s a perfect match because they work together to dry your food. A dehydrator with a lower wattage will take longer to dry out food than a higher wattage, so you’ll have to keep it running longer than expected.
One of the most important things to look for is that the nutritional content is retained, so a dehydrator that can regulate its temperature with overheat protection is preferred. Analog temperature settings are easy to use, but digital touch settings and auto shut off allows for a semi-hands-off approach to using a dehydrator.
How do you store dehydrated food?
It depends on what you dehydrate, but tightly sealed is a rule. "Most fruits, grains, rice, and beans will last 1 year in an airtight container," says Carla Contreras, chef, food stylist, and health coach. "Veggies can last up to 6 months and meat will last up to 1 month. Vacuum sealing and freezing can make them last longer.”
Can you over dehydrate food?
It’s rare to get to that stage. "Drier is better for long-term storage," says Contreras. "This is also going to depend on your personal preferences in terms of texture for jerky and fruit leathers." She notes that “commercially dried fruits usually have preservatives to make them soft,” so don’t be surprised if yours result in a different texture.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Robin Mosley understands the importance of choosing the right kitchen appliances. She is always researching and testing the latest kitchen appliances, utensils, products as a food writer and recommending them to interested food aficionados.
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