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Choosing the Best Food Dehydrator

Best Food Dehydrator

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If you’re on the hunt for the best food dehydrator out there, look no further. This list contains some of the most highly rated dehydrators currently on the market. Best of all, these dehydrators come in a variety of sizes at several different price points, so no matter your budget or your needs, there is one on this list for you.

When purchasing a dehydrator, remember that you will need to set the unit to different temperatures, depending on what foods you are dehydrating. With that in mind, bigger isn’t necessarily better. You may have a 10-tray dehydrator, but if you’re only ever dehydrating two trays’ worth of veggies at a time, you don’t really need the additional trays. However, if you do a lot of bulk dehydrating, you are going to want a larger unit.

7 of the Best Food Dehydrators

7. Jayetec Food Dehydrator

Jayetec Food Dehydrator
Jayetec Food Dehydrator
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*10 Stainless steel trays

This 10-tray dehydrator from Jayetec features a digital thermostat and timer that make operating the unit a breeze. Simply select your desired temperature, input the duration, and hit “start”. The machine does the rest and automatically shuts off after the timer hits the zero mark.

The see-through door allows you to check on your food without having to open the unit and expose the food to moisture during the dehydration process, and with a temperature range between 95 and 158 degrees Fahrenheit, you can work with a tremendous variety of foods. The unit also features a two-way horizontal and vertical fan for even heat distribution.

6. Ostba Food Dryer

Ostba Food Dryer
Ostba Food Dryer
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*Includes recipe book

With easy-to-set rotary knobs, this five-tray dehydrator from Ostba is a budget-friendly option for those looking to get started with food dehydration. The 96 to 158 degree Fahrenheit temperature range is designed to accommodate a variety of foods including fruits, veggies, meat, and herbs. There is also an included recipe book that you can flip through for inspiration.

The individual trays are flat and take up minimal storage space when not in use. They are also BPA free so there is no need to worry about harmful chemicals leaking into your dehydrated food. You can even wash the trays in the dishwasher. Also, at only 240-watts, this unit draws minimal power while in use.

5. Nesco Gardenmaster Dehydrator

Nesco Gardenmaster Dehydrator
Nesco Gardenmaster Dehydrator
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*Dries food in hours not days

If you are looking for a powerful food dryer with ample storage space, consider the Gardenmaster from Nesco. At 1000 watts, this dehydrator can dehydrate food quickly and efficiently for those in need of a fast turnover. Thanks to the unique design, the Gardenmaster is also expandable. The base option comes with eight trays, but you can purchase additional ones– the unit can accommodate up to 30 trays at once. There are also a variety of accessories out there, from fruit leather trays to clean screens. The unit can easily be set to various temperatures between 95 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit using the adjustable knob and the Converga-Flow System helps distribute heat evenly throughout the dehydrator.

4. Magic Mill Food Dehydration Machine

Magic Mill Food Dehydration Machine
Magic Mill Food Dehydration Machine
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*Digital thermostat & automatic timer

Sleek and modern looking, this dehydrator from Magic Mill is both versatile and easy to operate. It is sold with ten drying trays, a hanging rack that is perfect for jerky, two silicone gloves for removing hot trays from the unit, two non-stick trays that are ideal for fruit leathers and other stickier foods, and a mesh sheet. You can use the arrow buttons to easily adjust both your temperature and time, or select one of the pre-set options– “fast” automatically sets the unit to 165 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 hours while “raw” defaults to 115 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours. The trays are also dishwasher safe, meaning that clean-up is easier than ever.

3. Excalibur 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator

Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator
Excalibur Food Dehydrator
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*Includes a guide to dehydration

Designed for a low and slow approach to food dehydration, Excalibur’s dehydrator features 600 watts of power. The temperature can be adjusted between 105 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The manufacturer though recommends sticking around 115 degrees in order to preserve as many nutrients from the food as possible. With nine trays, you can dry up to 15 square feet of food at one time and the built-in fan helps circulate air evenly throughout the unit. Excalibur has a reputation for quality in the dehydrated foods community, so while this unit may be at a higher price point than some of the other options, you are getting a solid dehydrator that will last for years.

2. Elechomes Food Dehydrator

Elechomes Food Dehydrator
Elechomes Food Dehydrator
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*Overheat protection feature

With a unique design, this dehydrator from Elechomes allows you to see a 360-degree view of your food as it dehydrates. The unit comes with six stackable trays as well as a fruit leather tray and a mesh screen. It also features an easy-to-set timer that can be adjusted between 30 minutes and 72 hours, depending on what you are dehydrating. You can also adjust the height of the trays, allowing you to dehydrate food in a variety of different sizes. As with other dehydrators, this unit has an adjustable temperature between 95 and 158 degrees Fahrenheit. It is only of the more highly-rated budget-friendly models out there.

1. Cosori Premium Food Dehydrator

Cosori Premium Food Dehydrator
Cosori Premium Food Dehydrator
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*Stainless steel with glass front

If you are looking for quality at a reasonable price point, consider this dehydrator from Cosori. The trays are made from food-grade stainless steel, making them both durable and easy to clean. In addition to the included six trays, the unit also comes with a mesh screen, a fruit leather sheet, and a recipe booklet.  You can set the timer between 30 minutes and 48 hours and the temperature can be adjusted between 95 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The unit also features automatic shut-off, in the event that it overheats. The included rear-mounted fan also helps ensure even heat distribution throughout the dehydrator.

Tips for Dehydrating Food

Once you have selected your dehydrator, there are a few things to keep in mind for the best results.

  • Slice your food thin. The thinner your fruit, veggies, etc., the more evenly they will dehydrate. Cutting your food too thick will result in longer dehydration times and an end result that may still be moist in certain spots.
  • Be mindful of temperatures. Veggies dehydrate at different temperatures than fruit, which is going to dehydrate at a different temperature than jerky. Only dehydrate “like” foods together.
  • Condition your food after dehydrating. Conditioning is a process that involves placing the dehydrated food in a glass jar and sealing the lid. Shake the jar every day or so and store it in a cool, dark place for a week. Every time you shake the jar, check for signs of condensation or mold. If you notice moisture inside the jar, remove the food and return it to the dehydrator.
  • Store your food properly. You can certainly put your dehydrated food in a sandwich bag and pop it in the fridge for several days. If you want your food to last for months, however, you are better off either vacuum sealing the food or investing in a heat-sealable mylar bag.

For more information on dehydrating fruit and vegetables see my article “The Complete Guide to Dehydrated Food Storage“.

In Conclusion

Dehydrating food is an excellent way to preserve your garden’s bounty or to simply stockpile extra food. The options above, in our list of selected dehydrators, are the finest on the market today. I hope that this will help you to select the best food dehydrator for your needs. Choose a unit and get dehydrating.

Edward Norris

I am passionate about gardening and I have created this site to share the best information and tips on producing your own food. I hope that you will soon be enjoying healthy, nutritious and better tasting food that is easier on your wallet and the environment.

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