Food dehydrators are an asset to any household. Here is what to consider before choosing one along with my pics for the best food dehydrators to consider.
I know kitchen space can be a concern. You want to get the most utility out of any countertop appliance you own. What’s great about food dehydrators is they allow you to preserve food by removing most of the water content. This inhibits the growth of bacteria and mold.
Dehydrating food extends the shelf life of fruits, vegetables, herbs, meats, and other foods. They are also lightweight and portable, making them ideal for camping, backpacking, and emergency preparedness.
Why Buy a Food Dehydrator?
Dehydrating appliances are essential for creating emergency food options. In addition, they give your family a new way to enjoy meats to fruits and they are often more portable than their “fresh” equivalent.
With your own dehydrator, you can dry and dehydrate a wide assortment for whatever your needs.
If you wish to add one to your kitchen, below are five of the top models rated with 4 – 5 stars. They are easy to use and will prove to be quite convenient for preparing volumes of food.
Food Dehydrator Buyer’s Guide
Whichever model you choose, it should retain the nutrition of your foods as well as be efficient and cost-effective. There are several essential features to look for so that you can make the most out of dehydrating ingredients safely and reliably.
Below are the most important things that every top-shelf dehydrator should have:
We all know that kitchen space is one of the most precious commodities in your household. Therefore, you will want to make sure that you choose a dehydrator that easily fits your other small appliances.
Depending on how often you dehydrate your food, you might want to consider storing it in your pantry and only bringing it out when necessary, as many of these devices are substantially larger than microwaves, for example.
It’s vital that before you settle on a specific model, you take its measurements into account, as you will want an easily mobile appliance that you can keep on your counter, if possible.
When you have stacking trays included in the design of your food dehydrator, you will have far more space than those without.
This design allows you to stack trays of ingredients on top of each other, with a central fan to filter the air so that the ingredients are dehydrated effectively.
One of the things you’re bound to love about this design is that you can work with large or small batches, as it won’t affect the air circulation reliability.
Many homeowners also prefer to have dehydrators with stacked trays because they can save far more counter space than needing multiple single-level dehydrators.
Also, they are phenomenal for large families who enjoy eating a lot of dried fruits and vegetables.
Instead of stacked trays, you can opt for dehydrators that have individual shelves, which might be preferable.
As the trays are stacked directly on top of one another, it’s difficult to tell when the food has been sufficiently dried, which is where shelves come into play.
You will easily be able to slide the shelves in and out to see your ingredients’ readiness, allowing you to rotate food consistently for an even drier texture.
Many find that dehydrators with shelves dry evenly, as the fan is mounted at the back and pushes air forward, rather than from top to bottom or vice versa.
However, the most considerable disadvantage to dehydrators with shelves is that they are much larger and don’t offer as much space as stacked trays do.
An adjustable thermostat is more than a simple convenience when shopping for a dehydrator, especially if you want full control over the entire process.
You can opt to lower, increase, or maintain a particular temperature within the unit, depending on the ingredients you’re working with and how dry you want them to be.
By using the thermostat, you can typically choose temperatures between 95°F and 155°F, making it the perfect option for completing an assortment of recipes that might require different temperatures.
Another essential feature to keep your eyes out for is the airflow system, as this will determine how your ingredients will dry evenly.
You’ll find that some of the more expensive and higher-quality models will have a heating element, which allows the heat to be distributed evenly among the trays or the shelves, even though the power of the component will vary.
It’s also important to take note of the dehydrator’s fans, as they will be responsible for circulating the warm air throughout the device.
The more powerful the fans are, the quicker the dehydrating process will be, though it can also increase the amount of noise the appliance produces.
Most models will have up to 1,000 watts of power and fans that are as large as seven inches. This will allow you to work with large batches of ingredients at a single time.
Ease of Use
When you purchase a dehydrator, it shouldn’t feel like you’re learning about rocket science before you use it.
The instructions should be straightforward. You should have user-friendly features at your disposal, such as adjustable temperatures and shelves.
The best dehydrators will be so simple to use that you can get your kids involved in the process.
Best Food Dehydrator Reviews
NESCO FD-75A Snackmaster Pro
The NESCO FD-75A Snackmaster Pro is conveniently sized to sit comfortably on your counter and take up minimal space.
It has plenty of fantastic user-friendly features that you will love if you have been searching for your very first food dehydrator.
Snackmaster Dehydrator Highlights
Upon purchase, you get five trays with this dehydrator. Although you can expand the device to accommodate up to 12 trays in total.
It also has a top-mounted fan that offers up to 600 watts of drying power. This helps to minimize the length of time it takes to dehydrate juicy ingredients.
Also, you will love the adjustable thermostat on the top of the unit. It allows you to select the perfect temperature for an assortment of ingredients as it adjusts from 95° to 160° Fahrenheit.
With the addition of the special Opaque Vita-Save exterior coating, all harmful light will be blocked from the dehydrator while it is working. What this process does is that it helps to retain as much nutritional content as possible in your ingredients.
It also features the patented Converga-Flow drying system, which pushes air down through the chambers, forcing the hot air across the trays for a quicker and more even dehydrating process.
Fortunately, with the Converga-Flow technology, you won’t have to worry about rotating trays to get an even dryness throughout the machine.
Also, as expected, the trays are made from food-safe plastic and are free of BPA. It has up to 0.8 square feet of storage. In addition, you can buy fruit roll sheets to make fruit leather.
What to Like About It
- Quiet operation
- Perfect for jerky
- Good for fruit leathers
- Multiple tray inserts
- Saves plenty of flavors
You will love using the NESCO FD-75A Snackmaster Pro to preserve plenty of flavor with the ingredients you are dehydrating, especially when it comes to meats and fruits. It is one of the best options for jerky, especially if you season it properly before putting it into the device.
The multiple trays have different designs, so you can ensure none of your ingredients will fall through the grating.
Overall, you are unlikely to notice any excessive noise with this unit, as it has a gentle hum that can barely be heard from the kitchen.
What Not to Like About It
- Not ideal for herbs
- No timer
The most considerable disadvantage to the NESCO FD-75A Snackmaster Pro is that it doesn’t have a timer, which can be convenient for keeping track of your dehydration.
Also, this unit takes quite a while to dehydrate herbs, which may take up to 46 hours. If you are looking for another quality model from this brand, check out the Nesco FD-1040. It has more features but is more expensive.
COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator
Here we review the COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator. There are plenty of great features that you will love to put to use. This is especially true if you’re looking for an appliance that makes dehydrating easy and efficient.
Made from high-quality materials, this appliance is likely to last years, even if you use it regularly to make dehydrated foods.
COSORI Food Dehydrator Highlights
This product has six stainless steel trays that you can use at the same time. You will receive a mesh screen, a fruit roll sheet, a user manual, and a recipe book.
There is also an online video that you can use to learn more about your new dehydrator. One of the most considerable advantages you will appreciate is that it is made from high-quality food-grade stainless steel.
It also has an aesthetically pleasing glass door so that you can keep an eye on the progress of your dehydrating.
Families will easily be able to make dog treats, beef jerky, fruit leather, dried apples, dried herbs, and more in one convenient spot, even if you’ve never used a dehydrator before.
On the front panel of the device, you’ll find a digital screen that allows you to set timers at 30-minute intervals, up to 48 hours in total.
You will be able to make decently sized batches of foods and take advantage of the recipe book, which contains up to 50 unique pairings for delicious snacks.
It is also important to note that there is an adjustable temperature gauge that allows you to set the dehydrator anywhere from 95° to 165° Fahrenheit.
While in use, the COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator is whisper-quiet, making less than 48 dB of noise. Another convenience is that the tray liners do not contain harmful BPA.
Fortunately, once your timer ends, the appliance will automatically shut itself down, so you won’t have to worry about any electrical hazards. Another fantastic safety feature is the overheating protection, which will automatically power down the appliance if the internal temperatures get too hot.
What to Like About It
- Easy to clean
- Very quiet
- Evenly dehydrates
- Sleek and stylish
Maintaining your new dehydrator will be a breeze. This is thanks to the fact that the inside of the appliance doesn’t retain smells, and the shelves are very easy to wash.
You’ll also love how quiet it is while in use, as well as its sleek and stylish exterior that resembles a toaster oven more than a sizable clunky dehydrator. The most massive advantage is that with the rear heating and air circulation, each tray will dehydrate effortlessly.
What Not to Like About It
- Only one fruit tray
- Poorly sized trays
- No additional accessories
As there is only one fruit tray that comes with the COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator, it might not be the best option for fruit leather lovers, especially as there aren’t any additional accessories that you can buy.
Some users have also noted that the trays’ size is rather lackluster and, as such, limits the number of things that you can dehydrate at one time.
Excalibur 2400 Electric Food Dehydrator
The Excalibur 2400 Electric Food Dehydrator is easily one of the top-selling dehydrators that you can find. This is especially the case if you are looking for a high-quality device that is designed for heavy use.
With four separate trays, you will have a reasonable amount of space to dry your ingredients and impressive temperature accuracy for high-quality snacks and treats.
Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator Highlights
The four trays give you up to four square feet of space, which is far more than other dehydrators on the market.
You will find that after your first use, the entire unit is simple to keep clean, especially with the help of the poly-screen trays that help to prevent food from sticking to the surface.
Another huge advantage of the Excalibur 2400 Electric Food Dehydrator is that it is said to help maintain the nutritious value of your ingredients by cooking slowly at low temperatures. Typically, 145 degrees F is hot enough to remove the moisture from foods without burning or cooking them.
Like other dehydrators, you will be able to use the adjustable temperature knob on the top of the device to set the internal temperature from 95°F to 165°F for meats, fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Overall, it is one of the most popular options for beginners, as they are very straightforward and user-friendly.
The Hyperwave Fluctuation Technology works to keep your food at the perfect temperature to maintain enzyme activity while avoiding mold and yeast.
Another exciting feature is the Parallex Horizontal Airflow, which promotes even drying across all four trays. The element, fan, and thermostat are all located in the back of the unit, offering even heat distribution.
What to Like About It
- Very user-friendly
- Average dehydrating time
- Optional clear door
- Makes up to two batches daily
The Excalibur 2400 Electric Food Dehydrator offers plenty of conveniences. With this, you can work through two batches of ingredients daily, which is much more efficient than other similarly priced models.
You can opt to have a clear door installed on the unit to check in on the progress of dehydrating, which is very convenient. If you have never used a dehydrator before, you’re sure to appreciate its user-friendly design.
What Not to Like About It
- Difficult to clean
- No drip tray
- No timer
Unfortunately, this unit is challenging to keep clean, especially if any lightweight dry ingredients get stuck in the rear fan. You will also find that it doesn’t have a drip tray, which can add to the dehydrator’s mess, requiring additional cleaning time.
Another issue is that it does not come with a timer. This is something that’s somewhat of a necessity for this type of appliance, especially when you are dehydrating lots of food.
Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine
The Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine easily has one of the most modern aesthetics that you will love to have displayed in your home.
It is easy to see that this food dehydrator would look great along with your other high-end appliances.
With many of the same convenient features you would find in top-tier models, as well as the digital settings, it allows you to make the most out of the appliance with minimal effort.
Magic Mill Dehydrator
The rear-mounted fan effectively and evenly distributes heat throughout the dehydrator. You will love the transparent glass door, too, which will allow you to keep an eye on fruits, meats, and vegetables as they are dehydrating.
Also, there is a built-in digital timer that allows you to adjust how long the unit should run for in increments of 30 minutes, as it will automatically turn off once the timer has finished.
Another user-friendly feature of this appliance is the digital thermostat, which can be set from 95°F to 165°F.
There is a wide temperature range which is ideal for killing bacteria as well as working with different types of fruit.
Once the dehydrator has finished cooking, you can choose to engage the warm setting, which keeps your dry ingredients warm for up to 24 additional hours.
You will be able to fit up to 10 stainless steel trays in the device, which easily allows you to dehydrate up to 11 pounds of food at one time.
Users will love the overheating protection, which will shut the unit off if the internal temperatures rise to unsafe levels. Fortunately, the trays are dishwasher-safe, so you won’t have to worry about cleaning the entire appliance by hand.
What to Like About It
- Plenty of accessories
- Efficient dehydrating
- Good for drying herbs
You’d be glad to know that the Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine is incredibly quiet, so much so that you might have to double-check to make sure it is turned on.
You will also receive plenty of accessories, including oven mitts, to make the appliance even easier to use, especially as a first-time owner.
Overall, its performance can help you to make an assortment of recipes in under 10 hours, which is highly efficient compared to other units. This is a good model to dry basil and other herbs.
What Not to Like About It
During your first use, you might find the device may smell of plastic once it reaches a high temperature.
Also, the trays are difficult to remove, especially if you find that they are bowing in the center.
- May smell of plastic
- Trays are difficult to remove
Elechomes 6-Tray Food Dehydrator
This model is ideal if you are searching for a space-saving dehydrator for a small family. The Elechomes 6-Tray Food Dehydrator is one of the better options to have at your disposal.
It will easily fit onto your counter and take up minimal space, which can encourage you to use it for several delicious recipes.
Preserving fresh food has never been easier thanks to this appliance. You can use this food dehydrator to make beef jerky, dehydrated fruits and vegetables. In addition, you can make tasty fruit rolls for your kids, as it has a bonus fruit roll sheet.
In total, you will have six stackable clear trays that are BPA-free. Each tray has two adjustable heights so that you can easily manage the heat distribution throughout the device.
You’ll also appreciate the digital timer and thermostat, which allows you to set the temperature from 95°F to 158°F and time the dehydration in 30-minute increments for up to 72 hours.
All of the trays are easy to remove and are designed for the dishwasher, so the only part of the device you will have to clean by hand is the base.
Along with the six trays and fruit roll sheet, you’ll also receive a mesh screen, which can come into fair use for specific ingredients. This model is ideal for smaller fruit such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and cut up cantaloupe.
Lastly, with the addition of the 400-watt fan and its round design, there is 360-degree airflow circulation for faster and more efficient drying times.
What to Like About It
- Automatic shutoff
- Moderate noise
- Retains flavors
- Small and compact
- Good for blueberries
With the automatic shutoff feature, you’ll never have to worry about over-drying your ingredients or the device overheating.
The Elechomes 6-Tray Food Dehydrator isn’t the quietest dehydrator on this list. Still, it also doesn’t make too much noise to where it will be overly disruptive.
Its most considerable advantages are that it is small and compact but also retains plenty of flavors while dehydrating for tastier snacks.
What Not to Like About It
- Easy to overpack
- Minimal space
As the shelves are relatively small in size, they are easy to overpack. This can make the machine take far more time to dehydrate your ingredients.
Although it fits comfortably on your counter, it also doesn’t have a lot of storage space. Therefore, it’s not the most efficient option for large families.
Food Dehydrator FAQs
What is the best food to dehydrate?
By far, the best food to dehydrate is any type of fruit, as they are simple to work with and don’t need to be rehydrated before they can be enjoyed.
You can opt for many different fruits, such as apricots, apples, prunes, and pineapples. They all retain their nutrition and add a more flavorful twist when dehydrated.
You can also quickly dehydrate meats and vegetables to create perfectly preserved meals for the whole family.
Is a food dehydrator worth it?
Food dehydrators can be well worth the investment if you know you’re going to use them or are preparing for an emergency.
Otherwise, many households find that they don’t reach for it as often as they would hope, as they prefer to eat hydrating foods.
You will have to stay committed to the preparation, processing, and storage time required to dehydrate ingredients properly.
Is dehydrating food good for you?
Dehydrating food can be useful for you. It’s important the model you choose helps to retain most of the nutrition of the ingredients you are using.
When compared to store-bought dried fruits and vegetables, dehydrating ingredients on your own is far healthier. You won’t add extra sugars or preservatives that aren’t a part of a natural diet.
All in all, it’s an alternative option for healthier meals that contain less fat but still have plenty of protein, vitamins, and minerals when appropriately prepared.
Does dehydrator use a lot of electricity?
Determining how much electricity your dehydrator uses depends entirely on the model you have selected. Each will have a different power output than others.
The three main things to consider are the:
- Dehydrator’s wattage
- Number of hours your ingredients take to dehydrate
- Cost of your electricity
To calculate the cost of running your dehydrator, you can use these simple equations:
(Wattage x Dehydrating hours) / 1000 = Power consumption in kWh
Cost of Electricity
kWh x Cost per kWh = Local cost of electricity
(600-watt dehydrator x 12 hours of dehydrating time) / 1000 = 7.2 kWh
7.2 kWh x $0.12 (local cost of electricity) = $0.86
Can you leave a dehydrator on overnight?
Considering the majority of recipes will require a minimum of 12 hours to dehydrate appropriately, you can leave your dehydrator on overnight.
Many units also come with a fail safe to where the device will automatically power itself off. This will help prevent the likelihood of fires if the internal temperatures reach unsafe levels.
Also, if you are concerned about fire hazards, you could always start the processing early in the morning. You can have it dehydrate throughout the day.
Overall, the majority of dehydrators are safe to leave unattended for significant periods. They are specifically designed to dehydrate over 20 to 24 hours, if necessary.
Best Food Dehydrator Recommendation
My family owns the Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine. It is easy to use and has been reliable. There is also ample space inside, and all of the components are easy to keep clean. Lastly, its digital features are user-friendly, which makes it a fantastic solution for first-time users.