Dehydration is one of the oldest ways of preserving food for weeks and even months. The most familiar dehydrating food method is hanging it under the sun or storing it in a cool, dry place. With modern technology in place now, food dehydrators were invented to keep food dry using electricity.
Unlike the traditional method that takes days and weeks, food dehydrator has made the drying of food achievable within hours. It hastens the drying process.
A food dehydrator is a compact kitchen appliance used in drying meats, veggies, seeds, fish, and fruits. It utilizes hot air to drain out moisture from the ingredients. Dehydration intensifies the flavor of your fruits, vegetables, and herbs such as thyme, rosemary, and pet foods.
Let’s look at the Top 7 food dehydrators on the market that are easy to use.
Top 7 Best Food Dehydrator – Reviews by Consumer Reports
Top 1- NESCO FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator
Topping this list is a model from Nesco. This budget-friendly food dehydrator has a super fan mounted at the top with 600 watts of dehydrating energy that dries food within a couple of hours. The fan keeps the fluids from trickling into the heating chamber.
The secured Converga-Flow drying system forces air down the exterior pressurized chamber. This product comes with 5 trays, a recipe book, a manual, 2 Fruit Roll Sheets, a free sample of jerky flavoring with a cure, and 2 clean screens.
The 5 trays are stacked together and can be expanded to 12 trays. The outer opaque vita-save compartment prevents toxic rays from penetrating the interior. It ensures the food does not lose its nutritional value when being dehydrated.
Features a customizable heat regulator that allows you to dry various ingredients within a suitable temperature ranging from 95º to 160º F. The heat is being circulated horizontally over each tray, meeting in the center for rapid and even drying.
When using this food dehydrator, you wouldn’t have to worry about pivoting the trays or flavor mixing. It generates even heat. The drying trays are made from premium quality food-grade plastic material, free of BPA and other toxic substances.
- Extra accessories
- Even heat circulation
- Expandable drying racks
- Adjustable thermostat
- No inbuilt timer
- No LED light
Top 2- Excalibur 3926TB 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator
Excalibur’s 9-Tray electric food dehydrator has an ample drying surface of 15 square feet with an automatic shut off setting that helps regulate the dehydration. It includes an adjustable regulator setting and a 26-hour timer. This product is an excellent option for large families and outdoor activities.
The temperature setting ranges from a minimum of 105 degrees to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The lowest temperature preserves all the nutrients and active enzymes in veggies and fruits. The highest temperature provides you with the best option for dehydrating jerky.
The 7-inch fan enhances the even circulation of hot air. It comes with a flexible poly screen tray that prevents the foods from sticking to the surface. Even without the tray rotating, the heat gets distributed equally within the dehydrator. It comes with a 10-year warranty.
This product utilizes a horizontal parallax and Excalibur patented Hyperwave tech that is exclusive to only Excalibur products. It ensures that all the liquid gets drain from the food with consistent and efficient dissemination of thermostatically-controlled warm air across the inner chamber. This system enables the food to get dried out quicker and hold more nutritional value.
- Adjustable thermostat
- Spacious interior
- Auto shut off
- Easy to operate
- Built with plastic
Top 3- COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine
Are you looking for a food dehydrator that produces less noise?
Cosori Premium is the best choice for you. This product is whispering quietly when in use. It operates with 120 voltage and 600 watts of power. Constructed with high-quality food-grade material, and is listed under ETL and FDA complaints.
The digital temperature setting allows you to set the dehydrator with a timer of 30 minutes interval up to 48 hours. The temperature ranges from 95 to 165 degree Fahrenheit. The thermostat allows you to set and forget. This powerful workhorse includes a cookbook, an instructional book, a mesh screen, a fruit roll sheet, and 6 Stainless Steel trays.
The tempered glass door allows you to monitor your food as it dries. You have full control of this product with 4 simple buttons. It has a memory function that stores the previous setting.
This model is designed with built-in safety features such as an auto shut off and overheat protection function to conserve more energy and offer optimal safety. These features prevent the dehydrator from overheating and your foods from getting burnt. The heater and fan are mounted at the back and supply rapid, even heat. All the 6 trays get even circulation of hot air. The tray and mesh liners are safe for the dishwasher. It is easy to maintain
- ETL certified
- Built-in safety features
- Dishwasher safe trays
Top 4- Excalibur 2400 Electric Food Dehydrator
Looking for a compact food dehydrator that can be easily moved and stored after use. This is one of the best on the market. The patented Hyperwave tech is built to dehydrate veggies and fruits at a lower temp, retain the nutrients, and turn your beef into jerky at a high temp, preserving the active enzymes. It comes with a five years warranty.
This product from Excalibur comes with 4 removable trays. Although the trays are flat and smooth at the top, the bottom’s ridge design makes it difficult for hand washing. The drying space is limited and cannot take much at once. The temperature for the different types of food is controlled with a knob. Utilizes a horizontal airflow that distributes air across the tray.
The thermostat is precise and adjustable, which produces excellent results and efficient drying. The 4-inch fan and heater eliminate all the food’s liquid content and ensure the hot air dries the food equally and evenly from the top layer to the bottom layer. The trays are BPA free and easy to clean. The flexible poly screen tray prevents the meat, veggies, and fruits from getting stuck.
- 5 years warranty
- Compact design
- Adjustable thermostat
- Even drying
- No timer
Top 5- Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator
This round shaped food dehydrator is portable, yet larger than it looks with its expandable trays. The racks can be doubled to accommodate more foods. The transparent lid allows you to see through as your food dehydrates.
This compact dehydrator is a powerful workhorse with easy to use features and takes less countertop space. Additionally, this product comes on when plugged into a power source and has an indicator that shows when it powered on. It has no switch for regulating the temperature. You need to stay close-by when in use since it doesn’t feature an auto stop or timer.
The trays are safe for the dishwasher. The heater and fan are located at the bottom for a consistent supply of hot air within the interior for maximum drying and even heat distribution. It comes with a fixed temperature of 165 degrees, which is a bit high for some foods. This product requires no flavoring, preservatives, or addictive. It retains the natural nutrients contained in the food. The trays don’t need to be tuned for even heating. The cord is heated stored at the base.
- Dishwasher safe
- Transparent lid
- Easy to use
- No timer
- Gets too hot for other foods
Top 6- COSORI Dehydrator Machine
Featuring 5 plastic trays and extra accessories such as a mesh screen, fruit roll sheet, and a cookbook. This versatile dehydrator is an excellent option for different foods such as jerky, dry fruits, veggies. It helps you make no addictive feed for your pets.
Easy to operate without expertise. The time setting ranges from 30 minutes to 48 hours. The temp ranges from 95 to 165 degree Fahrenheit. The LED screen allows you to see the temperature setting and time. The touch control panel allows you to adjust the timer with a 30 limited increase at the interval.
The trays are dishwasher safe. The stop feature prevents food from overcooking, and the memory function stores the previous setting. The recipe book gives you ideas on how to cook other meals and guide you through it.
The digital thermostat allows you to set and forget. It produces little or no noise when operating. The tray is made from non-toxic material and safe for use. The auto turn off function prevents overheating and helps you keep your food in check. Cleaning the base is as swift as a breeze with only a wet cloth or sponge. The fruit roll sheet helps in collecting drips when placed at the bottom tray.
- Safe for dishwasher
- Additional accessories
- Digital control
- Automatic shut off
Top 7- Tribest Sedona Express SDE-S6780-B Digital Food Dehydrator
The Tribest Sedona dehydrator has an elegant design that suits any kitchen decor with ample space for all your dehydrating needs. This is the first food dehydrator with an optimum temperature of 167 degrees Fahrenheit. With this product, you don’t have to preheat your beef in an oven when making jerky.
The Sedona middle fan ensures a fast and even flow of hot air within the chambers. You can adjust both the timer and thermostat to suit your preference with the digital control system.
TST precision control ensures that you get an accurate drying result without guesswork. The raw and fast features ensure efficient drying results. This product is designed in a way that automatically reduces the temp towards the end of the dehydrating process to prevent overcooking. Features additional functions such as raw, fast, and combo.
The transparent door allows you to monitor your food easily. The debris tray at the base aids cleanup. Built with a food grade plastic material that is free of harmful chemicals. It produces less noise when in use. The temperature ranges from a minimum of 77 degrees to a maximum of 167. The capacity of this product is large enough to accommodate 11 trays at once. It is an ideal choice for large families.
- Transparent door
- Internal LED light
- Ten years warranty
- Debris tray
- Noiseless operation
- Not budget-friendly
Types Of Food Dehydrator
There are two categories of food dehydrator, which is based on airflow circulation. They are the vertical airflow dehydrator and the horizontal airflow dehydrator. Let’s look at the difference between these two food dehydrators.
Vertical airflow dehydrator.
The designs of this type of food dehydrator are simple. The trays are stacked atop each other, which makes it easy to double in size expandable. The fan that circulates heat within the inner chamber is often mounted either under the unit or on top. This type of dehydrator is suitable for small ingredients because the trays are stacked together and cannot hold large bits of beef.
Horizontal airflow dehydrator
This type of dehydrator is highly versatile because the racks can be detached to accommodate bulkier items. They are designed in the form of a box that looks like an oven. The heater is mounted at the back and distributes heated air over the slide in racks. It takes up more counter space.
Buyer’s Guide: What To Look For When Buying A Food Dehydrator
There are vital factors to consider before buying a food dehydrator. No two dehydrators are the same. The features and construction are always different. This guide will help you identify them based on your need and preference. Here are some of the things to look for:
Hot Air Circulation
A good food dehydrator evenly circulates air within the food chamber. However, some dehydrators will require that you rotate the trays during the drying process for even result and effect.
Ensure you know the airflow system that the dehydrator utilizes before buying. The dehydrator’s design and the location of the heat source will determine how well the hot air gets circulated. The heat distribution within the interior will determine how dry the food gets. Besides, some food dries faster and requires a low temp.
Space and Capacity
The appropriate size of a dehydrator is dependent on your preference and need for one. If you have a big garden with plenty of veggies and fruits that require dehydrating, you will need a bigger or an expandable dehydrator. But if you occasionally dehydrate your snacks, a smaller dehydrator is the best option for you.
Questions like will the drying capacity be enough for your drying needs, or will the dehydrator take a lot of counter space will cross your mind before purchase.
There are tons of dehydrators with various capacities to suit your needs. Some come with extra trays. Always remember that having many trays is better than having a few ones because there are days you will need them, except you don’t like to dehydrate your foods often.
Additional Features and Functions
These additional functions ensure maximum safety when the dehydrator is in use. Because the drying process could take long hours, these functions come in handy. Extra features such as an alarm, interior LED indicator, auto shut off, tempered door or lid, and overheat protection help you to get efficient results with less monitoring.
The alarm will remind you when the food is done, and the automatic turn off prevents the food from overcooking and shuts the dehydrator from working if it exceeds the heat limit.
Temperature And Timer Range
Most of our top 7 products come with a thermostat that ranges from 95 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit, which is an ideal range for most food. Some of the dehydrators have fixed temperature settings, and others are adjustable. Every food has a different temp requirement for efficient drying. Buying a dehydrator with customized settings for various foods will relieve you from guesswork.
You can set and forget with a timer without bothering about your apartment getting burnt or your food over-drying.
A dehydrator is often constructed with either plastic or stainless steel or a combination of both materials. All the components of most horizontal dehydrators, including the shelves, are made of plastic.
The stainless steel trays are safe for the dishwasher, making it an excellent choice for those who dislike handwashing. The plastic racks require hand wash and are not always suited for dishwashers.
Some dehydrators make lesser noise when in use. And others make too much noise. Check out for the noise rate before buying to avoid getting one you are not comfortable with.
Additional accessories such as mesh mat and roll sheets aid clean up. They reduce drips and ensure the food chamber is not messy after use. Fine mesh mats prevent smaller foods from falling off the tray. Fruit roll trays are ideal for drying fruits and vegetables.
The main reason for dehydrating is to get all the liquid out and keep the food dry. It helps you reduce food spoilage and wastage. Dehydration changes the form, taste, and color of foods. Food dehydrators help you produce healthier snacks and foods for dieters and those cutting down on calories. Dehydrated foods are best for most outdoor activities such as hiking and camping.