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11 Top Rated Dehydrators – In-Depth Reviews

I n the modern kitchen, the dehydrator is a must-have as it helps save a lot of time. Back in the day, when drying various types of foods like beef jerkies, fruits, greens, and herbs of all kinds, people had to wait around for days. Fortunately, this is not the case anymore as this popular kitchen appliance has made it possible to enjoy dry foods in a matter of hours, and without much effort on your part. Knowing how important a dehydrator can be in the modern kitchen, we made it our mission to round up the best models available. Here, we rated and evaluated them as accurately as possible to assure satisfaction with the purchase you make.

Top 11 Dehydrators Compared

Photo
Product Name
Power
Cooking Area
Temperature Range
Timer
Drying Trays
Dishwasher Safe Parts
Warranty
Price
Excalibur 3926TB Image
Best Overall
600W
15 sq. ft.
105°F – 165°F
Up to 26 hours
9
10 years
Excalibur 2900ECB Image
Best for Herbs
600W
15 sq. ft.
95°F – 155°F
9
5 years
Magic Mill 9 Trays SS Image
Best for Fruit
600W
9.75 sq. ft.
95°F – 158°F
Up to 19.5 hours
9
1 year
Nesco FD-1040 Gardenmaster Image
Best for the Money
1000W
4.8 sq. ft.
90°F – 160°F
Up to 48 hours
4
1 year
Gourmia GFD1950 ImageEditor’s Choice
600W
9.5 sq. ft.
95°F – 158°F
Up to 19.5 hours
9
1 year
Nesco FD-75A Image
Best for Jerky
600W
4 sq. ft.
95°F – 160°F
5
1 year
Presto 06300 Image
600W
N/A
165°F
4
1 year
Elite Premium EFD-313B Image
480W
6.5 sq. ft.
95°F – 150°F
Up to 19.5 hours
6
1 year
Hamilton Beach 32100A Image
Best with Timer
500W
N/A
100°F – 160°F
Up to 48 hours
5
2 years
Ivation IV-FD60RB Image
480W
6.5 sq. ft.
95°F – 158°F
Up to 19.5 hours
6
1 year
Chefman RJ43-SQ-6T Image
480W
6.5 sq. ft.
95°F – 158°F
Up to 19.5 hours
6
1 year

1. Excalibur 3926TB

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Specifications:

  • Power: 600 watts
  • Drying space: 15 sq. ft.
  • Drying levels/trays: 9
  • Temperature: 105°F – 165°F
  • Timer: Up to 26 hours
  • Dimensions: 12.5” x 17” x 19”
  • Weight: 30 lbs.
  • Warranty: 10 years


A box-style unit that is universally praised for perfectly drying all the foods you place inside it, this is the most sought-after product to date. The total cooking area of 15 sq. ft. is more than sufficient for large families. The acquisition includes 9 trays that you can take out and reconfigure their placement. Thus, if you want to dry larger-sized foods, just take out some of the trays to leave sufficient space for the cooking task at hand. The airflow is consistent to ensure all the food comes out the same.

The 26-hour timer presents a big advantage as it lets you program the exact amount of time after which the unit shuts off so that you won’t have to keep an eye on the cooking process. It even lets you program the temperature from 105°F to 165°F, so you have full control over the operating process.

It features a detachable door for effortless loading and hassle-free cleanup. Additionally, the manufacturer backs it during the first 10 years after you purchase it. Therefore, any issues that appear and are a result of defective parts or improper manufacturing will be handled free of charge.

PROS

  • The total cooking area is 15 sq. ft.
  • Nine trays for sufficient cooking space
  • Programmable timer – up to 26 hours
  • Temperature setting ranges from 105°F to 165°F
  • Backed by a 10-year guarantee

CONS

  • Tends to get noisy
  • Costly acquisition


VERDICT

As expected, the temperature range exceeds industry standard as you can set it from 105F to 165F. Additionally, it delivers a generous 15 sq. ft. cooking area, and it permits you to place food items at your own free will due to the 9-tray design. All of its features and specs, in combination with the reasonable asking price, make it a bang for your buck.



2. Excalibur 2900ECB

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Specifications:

  • Power: 600 watts
  • Drying space: 15 sq. ft.
  • Drying levels/trays: 9
  • Temperature: 95°F – 155°F
  • Timer:
  • Dimensions: 12.5” x 17” x 19”
  • Weight: 22 lbs.
  • Warranty: 5 years


Among the main highlights is that you can insert large-size food items in it with ease seeing how the trays can be taken out and positioned as needed to make this possible. You can even remove the door to have an easier time filling the trays and taking them out for cleaning when the cooking process is over.

To expand your food preparation possibilities, you have the freedom to choose the temperature that suits the task at hand from a 95°F to 155°F span. The total 15 sq. ft. cooking area is another bonus seeing how the volume indicates that you can fit generous amounts of food in it.

Unfortunately, it lacks an important feature that would have added to its convenience in use – the timer. Because of this shortcoming, it won’t automatically shut off after a set amount of hours, so you are required to keep an eye on it and shut it off yourself when the desired outcome is reached. On the bright side, a 5-year warranty is provided by the manufacturing company against defects in workmanship.

PROS

  • Fits perfectly in your kitchen as it measures only 12.5” x 17” x 19”
  • Tray arrangement can be customized according to the volume of food you intend to prepare
  • Can reach a peak drying temperature of 155°F
  • Great price to quality ratio
  • Exterior remains cool to the touch when it operates to enhance safety in use

CONS

  • Does not turn off in case it overheats
  • Does not feature a built-in timer function


VERDICT

While it might not be the most complete unit available seeing how it lacks the timer, this is still a worthy option as it provides a generous cooking area, and the selectable temperature range is quite extensive. When looking at the bigger picture and weighing what it offers performance-wise, we can only conclude that this is an investment worth making.



3. Magic Mill 9 Trays SS

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Specifications:

  • Power: 600 watts
  • Drying space: 9.75 sq. ft.
  • Drying levels/trays: 9
  • Temperature: 95°F – 158°F
  • Timer: Up to 19.5 hours
  • Dimensions: 15.5” x 18.5” x 19.5”
  • Weight: 23.8 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1 year


The timer adds to convenience in use as you can set it according to the specialty you prepare for added control over the cooking process. When the set time passes, the unit turns off on its own, guaranteeing that the food won’t over-dehydrate.

This is a 600W appliance that offers a 9.75 sq. ft. cooking area, which is sufficient for the needs of most households. In case the unit overheats, there is a safeguard set in place so that it turns off automatically to prevent irremediable damage. What it is most renowned for, however, is its fruit drying performance as it finishes quicker than most competitive models regardless of the fruits you insert.

The removable drip tray collects the residue that gets spilled. Therefore, it allows for a convenient and mess-free manner to dispose of these unwanted drippings. As the trays are non-stick, your food won’t stick to their surface, nor will you have a hard time cleaning them up after use. When it comes to warranty, the manufacturer covers it only within the first year.

PROS

  • A 600-watt appliance that rapidly dries the food
  • You can set the timer for up to 19.5 hours
  • Non-stick trays ensure food items will be easy to get off of the trays
  • Clear door lets you check on the cooking process at a glance
  • Removable drip tray allows an easy cleanup

CONS

  • The asking price is a bit high
  • Trays can be a bit difficult to take out and reinsert


VERDICT

Although it is a bit more expensive, we recommend you give this 9-tray model a chance as it the cooking area is quite large and the temperature range enables it to dry basically any food you can think of.



4. Nesco FD-1040 Gardenmaster

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Specifications:

  • Power: 1000 watts
  • Drying space: 4.8 sq. ft.
  • Drying levels/trays: 4
  • Temperature: 90°F – 160°F
  • Timer: Up to 48 hours
  • Dimensions: 9.5” x 15.5” x 15.5”
  • Weight: 8.95 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1 year


What differentiates it from the others that we previously talked about is the fact that it boasts a stacked design. Thus, its footprint is more compact without the performance being affected by its size. While when you open the package, you will notice that you have received 4 trays, know that you can broaden their number up to 20 if you have more heavy-duty use in mind. The Converga-Flow technology that it uses ensures a fast and even drying every time you use it so that all the food you prepare with it comes out tasting the same.

The digital LCD panel makes it an intuitive appliance, permitting you to easily interact with the settings even if you lack prior experience with units of the sort. What customers love about it most, however, is that the temperature can be programmed from 90°F to 160°F, so there are no limitations when it comes to the type of food you can dry with it.

The 48-hour timer is another standout as it suffices regardless of the specialty you prepare. When the set time runs out, the unit turns off automatically, so you won’t need to keep an eye on it until it is all over. It flaunts an interesting design element in the opaque Vita-Save exterior that blocks harmful light to ensure no external element can affect the food preparation process. When it comes to backing, the manufacturing company has it covered within the first year of acquiring it.

PROS

  • Features an industry-leading 48-hour timer
  • It allows you to broaden the amount of trays to a maximum of 20
  • Can reach a top drying temperature of 160°F
  • Exterior stays cool to the touch throughout the entire process

CONS

  • You cannot detach the door
  • The trays seem a bit flimsy in their build


VERDICT

The temperature range and 48-hour timer are only a couple of the traits that make it a worthwhile acquisition for anyone looking to preserve their food and eat more healthily as well. Moreover, the asking price is not bad at all, and it takes up little counter space to not pose an inconvenience.



5. Gourmia GFD1950

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Specifications:

  • Power: 600 watts
  • Drying space: 9.5 sq. ft.
  • Drying levels/trays: 9
  • Temperature: 95°F – 158°F
  • Timer: Up to 19.5 hours
  • Dimensions: 17.5” x 13.5” x 16”
  • Weight: 14.5 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1 year


Despite the fact that it is quite heavy-duty seeing how you can insert high amounts of food in it at a time, this unit does not take up much counter space. Thus, it makes for a viable option even in a small, cramped up kitchen. The transparent door lets you see at a glance how the cooking process is developing, so you won’t have to open the door and potentially affect the drying procedure quality when you simply want to check out how things are going.

You can program it from 95°F to 158°F, so you can pretty much prepare anything you like with it. The timer can set for 19.5 hours tops. When the time that you set passes, the units turn off on its own, so you do not have to be there to physically shut it off to prevent over-drying. This means that you can set it to start its program before you leave home and return to find your dehydrated treats ready to eat.

However, what makes it an interesting product is the Circusmart 360 Air Flow Circulation technology that ensures an even drying process so that all the food comes out the same. The convenient LCD panel makes it intuitive to use even for those who lack prior experience with these appliances. Lastly, the company has it covered against defects for 1 year after you buy it.

PROS

  • Can be set to turn off on its own after 19.5 hours of continuous operation
  • Transparent door for convenient monitoring of the cooking process
  • Features dishwasher-safe parts
  • Features an automatic circulator fan which ensures optimal dehydration times
  • Compact size – measures only 17.5 inches in height, 13.5 inches in width, and 16 inches in depth

CONS

  • Small drying area – only 9.5 square feet
  • Jerky preparation is problematic


VERDICT

It might not be the most complex appliance in its niche, but the affordable asking price, presence of important features that make a difference in the dehydration process, and ease of use position it among the best models to date. If you do not necessarily need the biggest cooking space, this is an option we recommend you seriously take into consideration.



6. Nesco FD-75A

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Specifications:

  • Power: 600 watts
  • Drying space: 4 sq. ft.
  • Drying levels/trays: 5
  • Temperature: 95°F – 160°F
  • Timer:
  • Dimensions: 13.75” x 22.13” x 13.87”
  • Weight: 7.75 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1 year


Rated at 600 watts, this unit is sure to swerve your food drying needs in record time as opposed to most of its competitors. What adds to its cooking speed is the combination between the 2100 RPM fan and the Converga-Flow tech. Moreover, the aforementioned technology ensures the preservation of the food’s nutritional value so that you get the most from the resulting product.

The trays measure 13.5″ in diameter, and the package comprises 5 of them. If this does not suffice, know that you can separately acquire another 7 trays maximum. One of the main perks of this unit is that the temperature can be set from 95°F to 160°F, which expands your possibilities when it comes to what foods you can dry with it.

If you lack inspiration or you just want to find out what else you can dry with it, foods that you likely never even thought of, you can check out the included recipe book. The recipes in it also provide you with the info you require to dry the food properly, like the correct temperature and cooking time. Additionally, the manufacturing company warrants it against defects for 1 year.

PROS

  • 600W of power ensure it will take little time for it to dry your food
  • Five trays are included
  • It can comprise a total of 12 trays
  • Converga-Flow tech forces the hot air horizontally over each tray
  • Set the temperature from 95°F to 160°F
  • Affordable acquisition

CONS

  • Trays can get difficult to clean
  • There have been complaints regarding its performance when drying herbs


VERDICT

The 2100 RPM fan and 600W drying power make it one of the fiercest compact food driers. Add to these two elements the cheap asking price, and you have an acquisition-worthy product on your hands.



7. Presto 06300

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Specifications:

  • Power: 600 watts
  • Drying levels/trays: 4
  • Temperature: 165°F
  • Timer:
  • Dimensions: 15.75” x 14.75” x 6.25”
  • Weight: 7.5 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1 year


It is a four-tray system that offers enough storage space to dry whatever food you like. The cooking area can be broadened with another 4 trays max, but you have to acquire these separately.

The clear covers provide you a convenient means to monitor the cooking process and make sure everything is going accordingly. To spare upkeep-related effort, the trays can be put in the dishwashing machine for cleaning. To save storage space, the trays can be nested and the cord can be placed in a special spot in the base.

You won’t need to switch the trays between each other for the food to dry evenly anymore as this unit is equipped with a bottom-mounted fan and heating element that cook it consistently from the get-go. This 600-watt appliance works at a temperature of 165°F. It weighs only 7.5 pounds when it is empty, so handling it will not be much trouble. Furthermore, there is a 1-year assurance provided for it.

PROS

  • Comes with 4 trays, but can be extended up to 8 trays
  • The clear cover lets you supervise the cooking process
  • Trays and cover can be cleaned in the dishwashing machine
  • The manufacturing company guarantees it to be free of defects for 1 year

CONS

  • Lacks temperature adjustment
  • Lacks the useful timer feature


VERDICT

Able to host up to 8 trays, available at an affordable price, and intuitive to use even for first-timers, this is a product you should seriously consider if you want a convenient means to prepare healthy food.



8. Elite Premium EFD-313B

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Specifications:

  • Power: 480 watts
  • Drying space: 6.5 sq. ft.
  • Drying levels/trays: 6
  • Temperature: 95°F – 150°F
  • Timer: Up to 19.5 hours
  • Dimensions: 18” x 13.5” x 12”
  • Weight: 3 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1 year


This is a modern option we recommend as it provides adjustability and control at the touch of a button. There are 7 preset temperature settings provided to pick between and these range from 95°F to 150°F, which is sufficient to ensure that you can basically prepare any dehydrated treat you like.

The 19.5-hour programmable timer with auto shut-off makes it so that you do not have to sit by its side to make sure that it terminates the program precisely when the food has dried to perfection.

It includes 6 stainless steel trays that measure 12” by 13” and that you can clean in the dishwasher for added convenience. The large viewing window at the front makes it easy to monitor the cooking process, all without having to open the door.

It is rated at 480W and boasts an even distribution of the trays to maximize airflow distribution. Aside from the trays, the package includes a fruit roll-up sheet and a drip pan. Lastly, when it comes to backing, the manufacturer has it covered on parts and labor for 1 year since the moment of purchase.

PROS

  • The rear-mounted fan guarantees consistent air circulation
  • The dishwasher safe trays make upkeep a cinch
  • There are 7 pre-set temperature settings to pick from
  • Backed by a 1-year assurance on parts and labor

CONS

  • Pricey acquisition
  • Does not allow precision temperature adjustment


VERDICT

Drying food does not get any easier than with the Elite Platinum, a heavy-duty appliance that any cook would be happy to work with. Sure, it isn’t the cheapest option you will stumble upon, but it is one of the higher-quality options to take into consideration since it is rated at a staggering 480 watts.



9. Hamilton Beach 32100A

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Specifications:

  • Power: 500 watts
  • Drying levels/trays: 5
  • Temperature: 100°F – 160°F
  • Timer: Up to 48 hours
  • Dimensions: 5.86” x 11.25” x 12.75”
  • Weight: 8 lbs.
  • Warranty: 2 years


What makes it a worthwhile purchase is a combination of the cheap asking price and healthy food preparation operation it provides. This vertical unit comes with five food-safe plastic stackable trays to broaden your cooking possibilities. The base is made with metal for added durability, it weighs 8 pounds altogether to make your job of moving it around when needed easy, and it measures only 5.86” by 11.25” by 12.75” so that it will not take up too much counter space.

This 500-watt appliance features an incorporated fan that pushes the hot air over the trays. The cover is equipped with a ventilation mesh. The role of these top openings is to allow the dampness to escape so that condensation won’t ruin the cooking process.

As expected, you can set the temperature setting you want according to the food you intend to dehydrate with the unit at that moment. The adjustable digital thermostat that this specific model is fitted with offers a selectable temperature range from 100°F to 160°F, so you can make anything you want with it, including delicious jerky.

Another worthwhile feature is the 48-hour timer that makes it possible to schedule the unit to turn off at the perfect time regardless of the food you are making. With the acquisition, you also receive a fine mesh sheet for herbs and other small foods, as well as a solid sheet that comes in handy for making fruit rolls. Furthermore, the manufacturing company backs it with a 2-year guarantee against defects to have you covered financially in case repairs are needed.

PROS

  • Features a 48-hour timer
  • Set the digital thermostat from 100°F to 160°F
  • Five stackable trays included
  • The clear lid lets you see how the process goes at a glance

CONS

  • Some users complain that it gets noisy
  • Temperature does not go high enough to cook certain treats


VERDICT

This product is one of the value deals to opt for at the moment. With five stackable trays to place the food and an impressive 500-watt power rating, it is bound to provide you with quality performance with each use.



10. Ivation IV-FD60RB

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Specifications:

  • Power: 480 watts
  • Drying space: 6.5 sq. ft.
  • Drying levels/trays: 6
  • Temperature: 95°F – 158°F
  • Timer: Up to 19.5 hours
  • Dimensions: 17.71” x 13.58” x 12.4”
  • Weight: 13.6 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1 year


It features six removable and height-adjustable racks that measure 13” by 12”. It measures 17.71′′ by 13.58′′ by 12.4′′ to occupy as little counter space as possible. The rear-mounted 480W fan and the airflow circulation technology it uses help promote consistent drying without the necessity to switch positions between the trays. As it permits you to regulate the digital thermostat temperature from 95°F to 158°F, you can utilize it to dry any food that comes to mind.

It can be programmed for up to 19.5 hours of continuous operation before it turns off on its own. Moreover, you can use 30-minute increments to set the timer so that you have full control over the cooking process and the outcome.

The trays are separable and you can insert them in the dishwashing machine for cleaning. With the purchase, you receive 1 non-stick mesh sheet to dry small foods and 1 solid sheet that you can utilize to make fruit roll-ups. In terms of backing, expect the company to have it covered during the first year after the purchase.

PROS

  • The timer is programmable up to 19 and a half hours
  • Trays are separable and safe to clean in the dishwashing machine
  • Temperature adjustment from 95°F to 158°F
  • Overheating safeguard prevents damage to the appliance

CONS

  • Noisy when it operates
  • The door tends to open a bit too hard at times


VERDICT

This 6-rack model is what a large household needs. Spacious, rapid, and effective, all while maintaining a cheap asking price, it comes as no surprise that it is among the more sought-after products available.



11. Chefman RJ43-SQ-6T

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Specifications:

  • Power: 480 watts
  • Drying space: 6.5 sq. ft.
  • Drying levels/trays: 6
  • Temperature: 95°F – 158°F
  • Timer: Up to 19.5 hours
  • Dimensions: 13.6” x 17.5” x 12.4”
  • Weight: 15.1 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1 year


For consistent results, the Chefman is your go-to option. Reasonably priced despite the provided performance, it is designed to optimize airflow so that it dries foods evenly without overheating. It is quite spacious seeing how it comes with six adjustable BPA-free plastic racks that you can place the food on.

It provides 14 temperature presets to select between, presets that range from 95°F to 158°F. It is a 480-watt appliance that is not only powerful, but that allows you the luxury of letting it do its job even when you are away from home as it features a 19.5-hour countdown timer with automatic shutdown.

The transparent viewing window lets you supervise the foods as they go through the drying process to make sure everything is in check. The warranty that accompanies the product is not bad either considering that it is valid within the first year of acquiring it. Use it as instructed, and it any issues appear that are caused by poor manufacturing, it will be repaired by the producing company free of charge.

PROS

  • Temperature range from 95°F to 158°F
  • Features 6 spacious drying racks
  • Provides optimal airflow to dry foods evenly
  • Backed by a 1-year guarantee
  • Transparent window for effortless monitoring

CONS

  • Instructions need improvement
  • Too loud when it runs


VERDICT

Quite budget-friendly as opposed to other entries, the Chefman provides you with six spacious racks to place the food on, and it ensures consistent dehydration of the food due to the optimal airflow provided.



Dehydrators 101


These appliances work by passing hot air over the food placed inside to dry it. Needless to say, they have become must-haves in modern households as these kitchen units encourage food preservation and prevent foods like meat, fruits, and veggies from spoiling.

Moisture or water content generally composes somewhere between 50 and 90 percent of any food item. Thus, you cannot store them for later consumption as the moisture causes the food to spoil. Through the process of drying the food, though, you can fix this issue and make food reserves that last for a long time.

These appliances are quite popular among people who grow their own herbs, fruits, and greens as sometimes harvests are a lot more generous than initially predicted. Thus, a lot of food is not used or consumed on the spot.

Instead of waiting days to dry the food, even weeks, like people used to do back in the day, dehydrators terminate the whole process in a matter of hours. Therefore, it is easy to see why these products are sought-after.

How they work: What they do is use electricity to run heating elements and fans that have the role of dehydrating the food. The heat source and the fan are positioned either on the top, on the bottom, or on the rear side of the unit.

Types

Stacked Models

These models are usually devoid of an outer shell. They are composed of stacks, each stack comprising a tray onto which you place the foods that you intend to dry. As these stacks are placed on top of each other, they become sealed, not allowing the heat to get out of the appliance. The fan then circulates the air to ensure that all of the food receives the same treatment, drying it evenly.

Pros: Generally, these appliances have a small, compact footprint that favors those with limited free space. Another advantage is that they can be extended to fit a bigger volume of food.

Cons: Periodic shuffling of the drying racks is required as the foods that are positioned closer to the heating element will dry faster than the others. But this is a downside that does not affect all stacked models as high-end models do not present this issue.

Box and Shelf Models

Box and shelf models work similarly to electric ovens. The fan that is positioned at the back of the appliance blows the hot air over the trays that have been inserted in a prearranged manner. They permit you to place bigger items inside for drying, foods that do not fit inside stacked models as easily. To enjoy this benefit, simply take out as many trays as needed to create sufficient space.

Pros: The insulation is highly superior to what stacked models offer. Thus, drying is bound to be more effective. When you position the trays in their predetermined spots, you also ensure that an even drying will occur as the fan is designed to focus on them equally.

Cons: Their main flaw is the fact that they are bulkier than stacked models. But this is not a major issue for those who have sufficient free kitchen space at their disposal. Additionally, regardless of the volume of food that you insert in them, they preserve their footprint.


5 Ways It Benefits You

  1. Reduced Food Waste: If you have a vegetable or herb garden, you know that the harvest differs each year depending on the weather conditions. Instead of being caught off-guard when there’s a bigger harvest, having to throw out veggies or herbs as they spoil if not consumed at the right time, you can dry and use them later. Even if you don’t have a garden you will benefit from this advantage as you will be able to buy various food products in bulk and deposit them for later use or consumption.
  2. Healthier Eating Habits: Drying foods only takes away the water in them, not their vitamins and nutrients. Thus, the foods remain healthy to eat even after the process. Even better, by drying fruits and veggies, you turn them into delicious, crunchy snacks that even the kids will love, improving the dietary habits of your family to help boost their health.
    If you want to adopt a truly healthy lifestyle, we recommend that you also check out the best air fryers that you can use to prepare meals without the use of oil.
  3. Low Risk of Spoiling: Other preservation methods don’t guarantee that foods won’t spoil and that bacteria won’t grow in them. But drying the foods promises this as the water content removed from them minimizes the risk of spoiling and bacteria growth. Thus, you can rest assured knowing that the food you dried and stored in May will be perfect for consumption when the cold and ruthless December arrives.
  4. Helps You Save Money: In the long run, it actually helps you save a lot of money as you won’t have to buy dry food from the store when the cold season comes just because you were in the mood to eat some tasty berries, jerky, or cucumbers. Considering how pricey dried foods are in stores, this is a benefit that certainly can’t be overlooked.
  5. More Efficient Storing of Foods: If you have the habit of storing large amounts of food for winter, you’ll love the appliance as it delivers a more efficient matter to store them. Dried foods take less than 1/6 of the storage space that they originally occupied, so you will be able to stack up more food for the cold season while occupying less space.



Buying Guide

Cooking Area

One of the first characteristics that you must look into. Obviously, the bigger the cooking area is, the better, as you can store more food products for drying.

Tray Placement Customization

If you go for a box-style model, we recommend that you check if the placement of the trays is modifiable or not. Being able to take out as many trays as needed will allow you to place large food pieces for drying. All high-end machines come with this feature, so you should not have trouble finding one that offers removable/modifiable racks.

Temperature Range

It is important to check for this characteristic prior to investing in a machine as it shows if it can be used for the specific drying tasks that you intend to perform.

Timer

Working with an appliance that allows you to set the time when it should automatically shut off is quite important as you will be able to leave home knowing that it will not ruin the food by over-drying it but rather stop the process at the perfect moment.

Dishwasher Safe Trays

After every use, you must clean the trays to not crosscontaminate the foods you later dry and to ensure proper upkeep so that you protect your acquisition. To have an easier time when it comes to this maintenance task, were recommend that you look into trays that can be inserted in the dishwashing machine.


Food Dehydration Tips

  • Tip #1: Never dry sweet and savory foods simultaneously. If you do so, the circulated air will cause the flavor of these foods to mix, ruining their taste.
  • Tip #2: In case you want to dry beef and prepare jerky, do so only if the unit can reach temperatures of 155°F to 160°F. Dehydrating machines that cannot reach these temperatures are not able to properly dry the meat, so you will end up ruining it.
  • Tip #3: Cut the slices or chunks in a similar manner size-wise. This way, all the food placed inside will be ready at the same time. If you are not careful with this step, the larger slices or chunks will take longer to dry properly.
  • Tip #4: Never place fruits or vegetables that are moldy inside it. The temperatures inside the appliance will kill the mold spores, further decomposing the foods.
  • Tip #5: When positioning the foods on the trays, make sure that they do not overlap. Otherwise, they will not dry evenly.



How to Use It

Drying Guide for Fruits

The optimal temperature to dry fruits is 135 degrees Fahrenheit or 57 degrees Celsius. Here is the guide to drying the most common fruits that people dehydrate for later use or consumption:

Food
How to Prepare
Preparation Time
Apples
Remove core, cut into 1/4” – 3/4” sized slices or rings.
4-15 Hours
Apricots
Cut in half and remove pit. Place with the dry skin facing down.
18-28 Hours
Bananas
Peel and cut into 1/8” – 1/4″ slices.
5-10 Hours
Berries
Leave whole.
9-15 Hours
Cherries
Cut in half, remove stems and pits, and place skin side down.
12-21 Hours
Figs
Leave whole.
22-30 Hours
Grapes
Remove stems, cut in half or leave hole, and place with the skin side down.
20-30 Hours
Peaches
Cut in 1/4″ slices, remove pit, and place skin side down.
7-16 Hours
Pears
Cut in half, remove core, peel, and cut in four equal slices.
7-16 Hours
Pineapple
Peel, remove core, and cut into 1/4″ slices or wedges.
4-18 Hours
Plums
Cut in half, remove pit, and pop the back.
8-16 Hours
Strawberries
Cut off caps and slice into 1/4″ thick slices.
6-15 Hours
Drying Guide for Vegetables

The optimal temperature to dry vegetables is 125 degrees Fahrenheit or 52 degrees Celsius. Here is the guide to drying the most common vegetables that people dehydrate for later use or consumption:

Food
How to Prepare
Preparation Time
Asparagus
Cut into 1-inch pieces.
4-6 Hours
Broccoli
Dry florets whole and cut stems into 1/4″ pieces.
8-14 Hours
Cabbage
Cut into 1/8” – 1/4″ strips.
6-11 Hours
Carrots
Trim tops, peel, and cut into 1/8” circles or cubes.
5-10 Hours
Cucumber
Slice into 1/8” – 1/4″ thick slices.
4-10 Hours
Eggplant
Peel and slice into 1/4″ thick slices.
4-9 Hours
Mushrooms
Slice into 3/8” slices from the cap through the stem end.
3-7 Hours
Onions
Remove top and skin, and cut into 1/4″ slices.
4-8 Hours
Peppers
Remove seeds and stem, and cut 1/4″ thick strips or rings.
4-8 Hours
Pumpkin
Cut into 1-inch thick pieces.
4-6 Hours



Rating Our Picks

Drying Space

Shows the maximum amount of food that you can dry in it at a time. It is obvious that this space should be as large as possible for you to not have to use the appliance too many times when drying fruits or veggies that you have harvested from your garden or bought from the store.

Temperature Range

Each type of food requires a specific temperature to sit in for it to dry. This is why it is important to check out the temperature range as it indicates whether or not you can dry the foods you want with the appliance at hand. It is recommended to opt for a unit with a wide temperature range so that you are not limited when it comes to what you can prepare.

Best option: Excalibur 3926TB
Timer Function

Allows you to set its operating time. This way, you will not have to turn it off yourself when the foods that you placed inside have dried. Just set this function for the operational time that you consider is needed, and leave for work or mind other chores without worrying about the appliance as it will shut down when the set time is reached.

Removable Trays

When you come into your own and get accustomed to the appliance and the dehydration process as a whole, you will start experimenting and trying out new specialties. Down the road, you might need to dry foods that are bulkier, so it is important for the trays to be removable so that you can reconfigure the setup as needed to fit them inside for the drying process.

Drying Performance

It is essential to compare the appliances from the point of view of their drying performance as this aspect shows how much time you will have to wait for the operational process to end.



Frequently Asked Questions



Is it healthy to dry food?
Yes, as the process requires you use only the food itself and no additives, it is 100% safe, the food being healthy for consumption as you receive all the natural minerals, fibers, and nutrients it has to offer.

Is it worth buying?
You are what you eat, few sayings are as true as this one. For this specific reason, it is indeed worth acquiring a dehydrator as it helps keep healthy foods in your diet year-round. During winter, for example, there are fruits and greens that you cannot find on the market anymore as their season passed. But since you dried provisions in time, you can enjoy your favorite healthy foods and treats all year long. Moreover, the appliance provides you the possibility to keep food good for consumption for a longer amount of time. For people who grow their own fruits and veggies, this means that even when the harvest was too large and they could not consume what they produced, they won’t have to let the food rot or throw it away.

Is freeze-dried better than dehydrated?
While the idea with both freeze-dried and dehydrated food is that you can preserve it for later consumption, the differences are huge. Dehydrated food is obviously dried, so it does not look the same, not does it have the same content moisture-wise. Frozen-dried, on the other hand, tends to taste better as it rehydrates better and maintains the old shape and texture. One is not healthier than the other, though, so what you prefer completely depends on your personal taste.

Is making beef jerky cheaper than buying it?
On average, 18 oz. of beef jerky cost $9.53 less if you make it at home instead of buying it from the store. Per year, you can save upward to $500 by making your own jerky. Not to mention, chances are that yours will taste better, and you can rest easier knowing that the beef it is made with is qualitative and fresh, a guarantee that you don’t always have with store-bought items.

How many watts should the appliance have?
The higher the wattage the better as superior power implies superior dehydration capabilities. What we recommend is that you opt for a model that provides at least 450-500 watts of power.

Does dehydrating meat kill bacteria?
If the temperature at which it is dried is high enough, any bacteria residing in or on the meat product will be destroyed.

Is it expensive to run?
This depends on the exact wattage of the appliance, but as a rule of thumb, it is likely to cost from $0.29 to $1.20 per 10 hours of continuous operation.

Do all the trays have to be filled?
No, you can just use as many of them as you need and take the rest out. You can even leave the empty ones inside, but when the food drying process is done, it implies that you have to clean them as well, which is pointless extra work you must do.



Conclusion

If you want to live healthily, one of the biggest keys to your success is integrating dried foods into your diet. Aside from the healthfulness implied by the process, there is the added benefit that the dried foods resist for longer times, so you can consume them at your own pace. Here, we have provided you with the best appliances this niche offers, and before we end, we would like to go over some of the standout products once more to help you make up your mind easier.

Best Overall: Excalibur 3926TB

This is our top recommendation as it provides a great price to quality ratio, its performance being impossible to top at the moment. The 26-hour built-in timer promotes convenience in use as it lets you program its operational span and simply mind other chores without worrying you might forget to shut it off at the right time, while the Hyperwave Fluctuation technology preserves enzymes active without affecting the drying process.

Editor’s Choice: Gourmia GFD1950

It is our personal favorite as it provides 9 drying trays where you can lay the food items, and it utilizes the Circusmart 360 Air-Flow Circulation feature that guarantees the food dries evenly with each use. The 15 sq. ft. of cooking space are another plus as you are provided with sufficient room to place as much food as you like to dry at once, saving time. We also liked the 5-year backing against defects provided by the manufacturer as it ensures the product’s quality and reliability in the long-run. Even on the off-chance that something happens to it, while the assurance agreement is active, it will be repaired free of charge.

Best Dehydrator for Jerky: Nesco FD-75A

With its 600 watts of power and the ability to provide heat upward to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, the Nesco is the go-to when it comes to preparing beef jerky. It includes 5 trays on which you can spread out the meat you want to dry, but you can extend this space to 12 trays by separately acquiring the rest. However, there is no timer, so you must keep an eye on the jerky so that you don’t accidentally crisp it to sheards.

Best Dehydrator for Herbs: Excalibur 2900ECB

There is nothing healthier than herbs and if you are a health-conscious person who appreciates the versatility of dried herbs in improving the taste and healthfulness of food, then you need this Excalibur appliance. It takes 4 to 6 hours for it to dry herbs if set at 125 degrees Fahrenheit, so there won’t be much time lost until you can take the herbs out and use them either.

Best Dehydrator for Fruit: Magic Mill 9 Trays

While it evidently does a more than a great job at drying herbs, veggies, and meats, what it excels in is drying fruit. With apples and bananas, it takes from 6 to 8 hours for it to get the job done, while to dry pineapple, you have to wait from 7 to 9 hours. Customers have universally praised the results it provides and the deliciousness of the dried fruit prepared with it, so we are sure you will enjoy the appliance as well.

Best Dehydrator with Timer: Hamilton Beach 32100A

One of the cheaper options at your disposal, despite the asking price, it actually features a 48-hour timer that you can use to set the appliance for as much time as you need so that you can make as many different dry foods with it as possible. Mind your chores while it works and at the end of its operation, delight yourself on the dried meat or fruits you love consuming so much.

Best Dehydrator for the Money: Nesco FD-1040 Gardenmaster

Of course, if you want to be smart when it comes to spending your money, your best choice would be this model that not only comes at a very affordable price but boasts numerous features that make it all the more appealing. Definitely, the one that stands out the most is the 48-hour built-in timer it features that exceeds industry standard.