10 Marvelous Food Dehydrator Reviews - Your Perfect Choice in 2018

MAGIC MILL Professional Food Dehydrator MachineThese handy kitchen appliances are popping up in the homes of many lately. While at one time the options for dehydrators were pretty standardized, today's home dehydrators offer a number of smart, tailored options.

Here is a look at our top 10 contenders for favorite food dehydrator, the best features of each, and a look at what you might consider in your own home dehydrating appliance. Read on, and we are sure homemade fruit jerky will be in your future as well.

Tap into your inner homesteader, save a few bucks on food storage, and discover the wonders of food dehydration!

What Is a Food Dehydrator?

Food dehydrators are kitchen appliances that work by heating and circulating air around food on mesh or wire racks to eliminate all the water from them. They can be used to make dehydrated fruits and vegetables, jerky, dried meat for pet treats, and more.

Product NameImageTraysOverall RatingDetails
Presto 06301 Dehydro Digital Electric Food Dehydrator 6 10 Check price
Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator 5 9.5 Check price
Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator 4 8.5 Check price
Excalibur 3926TB 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator 9 9 Check price
Nesco FD-61WHC Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator All-In-One Kit with Jerky Gun 5 8 Check price
Cuisinart DHR-20 Food Dehydrator 5 8 Check price
Excalibur 3900B 9 Tray Deluxe Dehydrator 9 9.5 Check price
Hamilton Beach 32100A Food Dehydrator 5 8 Check price
Gourmia GFD1950 Digital Food Dehydrator 9 9 Check price
MAGIC MILL Professional Food Dehydrator 6 9.5 Check price

Presto 06301 Dehydro Digital Electric Food Dehydrator

Presto 06301 Dehydro Digital Electric Food Dehydrator

This digitally programmed dehydrator is great for learning the wonders of dehydration!

If you're looking for a dehydrator on a budget, and one that has digital features like a programmable thermostat and an auto-off switch, this is a great option for you.

Presto 06301 six-tray round system is a fantastic way to discover all the tasty foods that you can cook in a way that doesn't require a lot of your attention once it's started. Best of all, it costs a bit less than the professional versions.

Who is it for?

This is for those who like round dehydrators, beginners on a budget, and anyone who insists on a digital program option for temperature and time.

Features:

  • 6-tray system
  • Spice mixes for meat, seafood, and poultry
  • 90 to 165 degree temperature range can be set through digital thermometer
  • Digital timer
  • Can expand up to 12 trays
  • Comes with fruit rollup sheets and 2 nonstick screens
  • Dishwasher safe trays

Conclusions

This digital dehydrator has a lot to offer for a fraction of the price!

This is a nice, compact, sleek dehydrator that can go 6 to 12 traysfrom . The digital functionality means that Presto can be programmed easily. The price means that it's great on a budget.

 

Defenitely a perfect number of functions and perfect price won't hit your budget!

PROS:
  • Small, round, sleek, and good looking
  • Programmable thermostat
  • On-off timer
  • Expandable from 6 to 12 trays

CONS:
  • Can be loud
  • Replacement trays are expensive

Presto® Dehydro™ Digital Electric Food Dehydrator

Video about Presto® Dehydro™ Digital Electric Food Dehydrator

Manual

 Presto® Dehydro User Manual

Presto® Dehydro User Manual

The following important safeguards are recommended by most portable appliance manufacturers.

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Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator

Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator

Will this sleek little number win your heart?

Sleek and white, round and clean and minimalist, the Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator has the look and size of a rice cooker. The opaque sides of this food dehydrator for home use are specially designed to protect the nutrients in the food from destabilizing UV rays.

How many trays does it have?

The system is expandable; it comes standard with five trays but expansions can be added to a total of as many as 12 stacks. It is just over a foot tall in the 5-stack configuration, which makes it easy to fit beneath cabinets.

  • Product
Features:

  • Adjustable thermostat lets you set the proper range for different foods; it goes from 95 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • 120 Volts and 600 Watts
  • Coverga-Flow System
  • Comes standard with 5 trays but expansion trays up to 12 can be purchased
  • Machine is opaque to avoid nutrient loss due to UV light
  • The airflow system works by directing air downward through the outside of the system and not across the trays; this avoids flavor mixing or the need to rearrange trays.
  • Assembled in the United States from a blend of globally sourced and domestic pieces.
  • Comes with 5 stackable trays, 2 clean-a-screens, 2 sheets for fruit rolls, 3 spice packets for homemade jerky, and a combination instruction and recipe book.

Conclusion

Is this not only the first but the best?

This is a solid entry into the contest for the best dehydrator. It's small enough to fit on a countertop. For those who like a clean, minimalist look, both the rounded design and the opaque form help to complete this. The two biggest advantages of the Nesco are that it doesn't need to have the trays rearranged and it is expandable.

Who is it good for?

Overall, this is a great choice for someone who has varied amounts of food to put in the dehydrator. It's also great for someone who wants a machine with a small footprint that will look great on the countertop.

PROS:
  • Sleek, minimalist look
  • Fits well in small spaces
  • Stackable expansions available
  • No rearranging trays
  • Adjustable thermostat
  • Quiet

CONS:
  • Some trouble getting the machine to high temperatures, especially with expansions
  • There's no auto-off feature

Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator Review

Video about Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator Review

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Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator

Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator

Not ready to make a price commitment to a professional-level dehydrator?

This budget-friendly intro device may be just the ticket. Try the Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator.

What does it come with?

The setup is pretty no-frills. It comes standard with four trays and can stack up to four more. Extras that other dehydrators offer, like roll-up sheets, jerky mixes, and mesh, are not standard but can be purchased separately. It offers a single temperature setting and doesn't have a timer, so what you can do with it is good, but limited to high-temperature dehydration.

Features:

  • 4-tray system
  • Transparent top cover
  • Bottom-mounted fan and heater
  • Drying trays are dishwasher safe
  • Trays nest and cord stores in base for compact storage
  • Four trays standard; can expand up to eight trays
  • One temperature setting of 165 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Works at 600 Watts, 120 Volts, 60 Hz

Conclusion

Great for anyone who wants lots of fruit and jerky but not a large startup cost

Of all the dehydrators on the list, the Presto is the least expensive and the simplest. This makes it great for beginners, those who only make one thing at high temperatures (pet owners who only make pet jerky love it!) or those who prefer to spend as little as possible.

What should you consider when choosing the Presto?

The tradeoffs with simple are all about the amount of effort you want to put into dehydration, as well as the amount of customization/versatility. If you don't mind watching your food to keep it from overcooking and setting your own timer to check on the food at appropriate intervals, then you've got a great dehydrator.

If you want to be able to do some subtler dehydration, such as for tea herbs, then you'll need a choice that offers low-temp settings. If you are busy and you want to set it and forget it, then you'll either need to plug it into a timed outlet or choose a different model.

PROS:
  • Simple, no-frills machine
  • Inexpensive
  • Can go from 4 trays to 8 with expansion kit
  • Accessory items available for purchase
  • Compact storage
  • Good, hi-temp performance

CONS:
  • No auto-off or timed function
  • Only one temperature setting, at high.

Manual

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Please make sure to read and understand this manual before use.

Pro Tip

Some fruit rollup recipes can be smoothies in the morning and rollups by the next day


Maria
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Excalibur 3926TB 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator with Temperature Settings and 26-hour Timer Automatic Shut Off

Excalibur 3926TB

Looking to step up your dehydration game a notch?

The Excalibur 3926TB 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator is the first option on this list that fits the professional dehydrator quality level. This industrial food dehydrator offers a number of great features, from nine roomy trays to a large fan, an adjustable thermostat to an auto-off timer.

What can you do with it?

This is a great dehydrator for anything from delicate teas to raw jerky. The heat setting is hot enough to meet the safety standards for slow-cooking meat, so you know your product will be both safe and delicious. This Excalibur model steps up a notch when it comes to customizable settings, as the specs clearly show.

Features:

  • The nine drying trays boast 15 square feet of drying space
  • On/off switch has an adjustable timer that can go for up to 26 hours
  • Thermostat adjusts between 105 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Comes with a flexible screen to keep wetter foods from dripping and sticking to the machine
  • No need to rotate trays during dehydration
  • 7-inch circulation fan
  • 110 Volts and 600 Watts
  • Dimensions in inches are 12-1/2 H x 17 W x 19 D

Conclusion

The perfect choice for farmers, hunters, bargain hunters, and others who like to dehydrate large quantities of items at a sitting.

It goes without saying that the Excalibur 3926TB has a lot going for it, but we're going to say it anyway. Plenty of room, adjustable heat, an auto on/off, and a price that is, while definitely costlier than the entry-level options, still pretty economical.

Overall, it's an excellent choice in dehydrators for anyone who will be regularly using them in the kitchen for the average price of many small appliances.

Who should and shouldn't get this?

This is a great choice for anyone with the kitchen space for a larger dehydrator or the cupboard space to put it away when not in use. It's great for large quantities at once, but a bit too much for those who are only doing small volumes once in a while.

One additional note- the fan can be a bit loud, so if you're doing high-volume jerky or fruit roll-up production, you may want to consider moving your operation to the garage. The good news is that it'll shut off all by itself.

PROS:
  • Large, 9-tray dehydrator is great for large crops and the spoils from hunting and fishing trips.
  • Adjustable timer offers up to 26 hours of automatic timing for foods
  • Choose your temperature to work with delicate, low-temp drying or high, safety-conscious items like jerky.
  • 7-watt lower fan blows across all trays with enough power that no tray rotation is needed
  • Machine can be used for bread or yogurt in addition to fruit roll-ups, jerky, or dehydrated fruit

CONS:
  • Very large and not styled for attractive looks in the kitchen
  • The fan has been reported as loud

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Nesco FD-61WHC Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator All-In-One Kit with Jerky Gun

Nesco FD-61WHC Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator

This medium-sized, all-in-one kit comes with plenty of accessories for the adventurous to use and explore with.

There is a lot of fun to be had with the Nesco FD-61WHC Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator All-In-One Kit. With 5 trays, 500 watts of drying power, and fun accessories like a jerky gun, there are a lot of opportunities to try new things for a minimal cost.

Who is this dehydrator good for?

This is a great choice for the entry-level cook, anyone adventurous who wants to try a lot of different options, those with small kitchens and limited counter space, and those who don't want to spend a lot on this appliance.

Features:

  • Top-mounted fan
  • Temperatures and circulation for fruit, vegetables, and jerky
  • Comes with a 5-tray setup and a jerky gun
  • 500 watts of drying power
  • Also includes a fruit roll-up sheet, clean-a-screen for herbs, and a recipe book
  • The US made

Conclusion

A good basic dehydrator with few frills; the jerky gun is a bonus if this is your goal.

This small, countertop dehydrator has a lot going for it. It offers a lot for the beginner or dabbler. It's small in size, fits well on a countertop, and is round and stylish for those who care about the look of their dehydrator. It offers lots of room with 5 stacks, but the top-mounted fan means that things dry best with the periodic rearranging of the trays.

Who is it good for?

This is great for anyone who wants to experiment without spending a lot or anyone who wants to do small batches once in a while with a compact, easy-store device.

PROS:
  • Small, sleek, compact, and good looking
  • Fun accessories to try
  • Good for fruit, veggies, and jerky
  • You can purchase fruit roll-up trays and expansion packs

CONS:
  • No on-off switch. You must plug and unplug the dehydrator to turn it on and off.
  • Trays must be rearranged

Manual

Nesco FD-61WHC Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator User Manual

Nesco FD-61WHC Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator User Manual

ОПИСАНИЕ МАНУАЛА

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Cuisinart DHR-20 Food Dehydrator

Cuisinart DHR-20 Food Dehydrator

A contender from a well-known kitchen appliance brand; do its stacking trays stack up to the competition?

While many of the brands offered on this list are from companies that specialize in dehydrators, Cuisinart is a high-quality brand that offers a wide variety of kitchen appliances. The reputation of this brand is definitely upheld by the Cuisinart DHR-20 Food Dehydrator.

What does it offer?

It offers a powerful bottom fan, four temperature settings, and an upper vent for even air circulation. The stacking configuration comes with five trays but fits up to nine trays.

Features:

  • Four temperature settings: fan only, low, medium, and high
  • Five stacking trays come standard; can be expanded to nine
  • 620-watt motorized bottom fan and heating element with top vent
  • Comes with fruit rollup sheet
  • 13.4 x 15.6 x 12 inches in size
  • 7.8 pounds

Conclusions

How does this Cuisinart stand up to the competition?

If you are someone who stands by a quality brand, this is an excellent choice in dehydrators. The bottom fan/top vent configuration is good, and the top vent makes it great for drying without rotating trays.

Who is it good for?

Reviews for this piece are overwhelmingly positive, and it seems like many of the purchasers are those in the market for a medium-sized dehydrator that is easy to use. Many of the people who use it are looking for a regular machine to use with small batches of food.

It hits the middle ground between something that is used regularly and something that is more for home use than large-scale bulk food processing.

PROS:
  • Quality brand
  • Four heat settings
  • Medium capacity
  • Expandable
  • Round ventilation system for added air flow

CONS:
  • Loud fan
  • Trays need some configuration to snap together
  • Plastic trays can be fragile

Food Dehydrator Demo (DHR-20)

Video about Food Dehydrator Demo (DHR-20)

Manual

Cuisinart DHR-20 Food Dehydrator User Manual

Cuisinart DHR-20 Food Dehydrator User Manual

For your safety and continued enjoyment of this product, always read the Instruction Book carefully before using.

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 Excalibur 3900B 9 Tray Deluxe Dehydrator

Excalibur 3900B

Bulk food production is a step away with this gem of a dehydrator

With the Excalibur 3900B 9 Tray Deluxe Dehydrator, large crops and harvests can be securely prepared one large bunch at a time.

Who is it good for?

This is not a small machine; if you want something that is easy to store in a small kitchen, this is probably not the machine for you. However, if you want something that works well, has lots of power, and you've got the space for large-scale dehydration, you can't do much better.

Features:

  • 9 food dehydrator stainless steel trays with 15 square feet of space to dry
  • 110 volts of power and an automatic on/off switch
  • Adjustable thermostat
  • Polyscreen inserts for the tray
  • 12-1/2 H x 17 W x 19 D (inches) in dimension

Conclusions

Definitely a showstopper for those who want large-scale dehydration capabilities!

If you need to do large-scale dehydration for craft, farm, business, or homesteading purposes, this is definitely the machine for you. It offers the room you need for large batches, the heat you need for safe drying of meats, and the quality that comes with a company known for dehydration.

Any tips on using Excalibur?

The machine works better if you have a lipped tray to put food on. Without it, there is some dripping down the back of the unit at times. Lipped cookie sheets and pizza trays are good things to use.

PROS:
  • Large capacity
  • Hot with a highly adjustable thermostat
  • On-off switch is built in
  • Easy to see all the trays
  • Strong, durable trays
  • 10-year warranty
  • Auto on-off timer

CONS:
  • Needs a drip tray for liquidy foods
  • Loud motor

Manual

Excalibur 3900B 9 Tray Deluxe Dehydrator User Manual

Excalibur 3900B 9 Tray Deluxe Dehydrator User Manual

Please make sure to read and understand this manual before use.

Pro Tip

Slice your food evenly and choose things with similar dry times for best results when loading up your machine.


Maria
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 Hamilton Beach 32100A Food Dehydrator

This small, countertop dehydrator is loaded with features!

From a 48-hour autotimer to a compact, rectangular design with clear lid, there's a lot to say about the Hamilton Beach 32100A Food Dehydrator. This little machine looks great on the counter and has a lot of the higher-tech features that people miss in the entry-level models.

What are some of the highlights?

At a whopping 500 watts and a drying temperature range of 100 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, there is a lot of power and versatility in this countertop appliance. Five stackable trays and accessories like fruit rollup sheets are just some of the extras you'll find with this particular model.

Features:

  • 500 Watts
  • Adjustable thermostat range from 100 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 13 x 10.5 x 11 in and 8 pounds
  • 5 stackable trays
  • Bottom fan and heating element
  • Clear top for easy visibility
  • 48-hour timer with auto shutoff feature

Conclusions

One of the most feature-packed small dehydrators on the list.

If you like the size and the look of the smaller dehydrator and you don't have space or food volume to justify a larger one, then this might be just the thing for you. This is doubly true if some of the starter dehydrators miss features you want, like an on-off switch, a programmable timed power option, and 500 powerful watts of heating functionality.

Who is this best for?

This is good for those on a budget who can't live without the tech features. It's great for those who want a smaller dehydrator that looks good on the countertop and stores compactly away when you're done.

PROS:
  • Small and compact
  • Packed with tech features that other small dehydrators don't have
  • Set it and forget it for up to 48 hours
  • Looks good on the countertop or stores away compactly
  • 5 trays
  • Quiet fan

CONS:
  • Short power cord
  • Only one drying temperature which doesn't work great for things that require the highest temps

Manual

Hamilton Beach 32100A Food Dehydrator User Manual

Hamilton Beach 32100A Food Dehydrator User Manual

Please make sure to read and understand this manual before use.

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Gourmia GFD1950 Digital Food Dehydrator - 9 Drying Trays Plus Fruit Leather

Gourmia GFD1950 Digital Food Dehydrator

A large-scale dehydrator with heavy-duty components

The Gourmia GFD1950 Digital Food Dehydrator is another dehydrator that is large enough to suit those who are doing large-scale drying projects. Homesteaders, fishermen, hunters, and farmers will all find that this offers the room that they need and a number of great components to boot!

Like what?

In addition to 9 drying trays with 360-degree airflow and a transparent door, there is a thermostat with 8 temperature options. The product is certified to be free of ETL and BPA chemicals, a concern with many heated plastic materials. The drying racks are made of oven-grade wire mesh, an option that can be easily cleaned, won't warp or transmit chemicals when heated to high temperatures.

Features:

  • Nine wire racks of drying space
  • Comes with fruit rollup sheets and a drip tray
  • Certified ETL and BPA free
  • 360-degree airflow for even and complete dehydration
  • Transparent door for easy visibility
  • LCD panel with digital countdown timer
  • Temperatures range from 95 to 158 degrees
  • 17.8 x 13.5 x 16 inches and 18.9 pounds

Conclusions

A quality, high volume dehydrator at a reasonable price for what it is.

This dehydrator offers a lot of the features of those that cost twice the price. It even offers additional features that some of the others do not. A word of warning; you can't pass the health requirements to make things like jerky in a commercial capacity at 158 degrees, the top temperature for this machine. You can still make it for home use, but it takes longer than some of the hotter machines.

Who is it good for?

This is great for anyone who wants a large-volume dehydrator at a lower price. If you're concerned about some of the chemicals that the machines can be manufactured with, it's another good reason to choose this dehydrator. The pieces are heavy-duty, the functionality is smart and intuitive, and the price can't be beaten. It really fits the food dehydrator commercial style well.

PROS:
  • Free of harsh chemicals
  • Easy LCD touch-button display
  • Large, open mesh shelves with 360-degree airflow
  • Easy to clean
  • Transparent door
  • Half the price of other dehydrators of the same size and functionality

CONS:
  • Not great for jerky because only goes to 158 degrees
  • 19 hour timer is not always enough to fully dehydrate an item

Manual

Gourmia GFD1950 Digital Food Dehydrator User Manual

Gourmia GFD1950 Digital Food Dehydrator User Manual

Please make sure to read and understand this manual before use.

Pro Tips

Save even more by buying the food on clearance that's about to spoil and then drying it.


Maria
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MAGIC MILL Professional Food Dehydrator

MAGIC MILL Professional Food Dehydrator Machine

Commercial dehydrator functionality at home dehydrator prices

If you want to do what the pros do but you want to pay prices that are more along the line of home food dehydrators, the MAGIC MILL Professional Food Dehydrator Machine is an excellent choice that mirrors a professional food dehydrator.

What are some of the benefits?

This machine offers all the best things that pro-level dehydrators have. This includes a clear front door that allows you to see all the trays at once, pull-out (as opposed to stacking) trays, wire drying trays, an adjustable thermostat, and a countdown timer that turns the machine off when done.

Features:

  • The front door that is transparent for easy visibility
  • Adjustable thermostat with 9 temperature setting choices from 95 to 158 degrees
  • Nine large (13 x 12 inch) drying racks
  • Rear-mount fan
  • 19.5-hour countdown timer
  • BPA free
  • Comes with two silicone oven mitts, mesh, and fruit leather trays

Conclusions

Pro-level size and function, cheap price, and many bonus items

This is another great choice if you want to do a lot of dehydrating but you don't want to pay professional dehydrator-level prices. It costs a bit more than the Gourmia, which is probably its closest comparison, but Magic Mill also comes with enough extra bonus features that it makes it pretty even.

What should you know?

Like the Gourmia, the top temperatures are a bit lower than what you'd want if you decide to do jerky. But overall, it has overwhelmingly positive reviews and will be a great choice for anyone looking for a quality, BPA free food dehydrator that can do a lot at once.

PROS:
  • Spacious dehydrating capacity
  • The transparent front door makes it easy to see the food
  • Nine settings for adjustable thermostat
  • 19.5-hour countdown timer
  • Wire racks that are BPA free

CONS:
  • Mesh is a bit too large for smaller items like peas
  • Does not reach the 160-165 degree temperature range recommended for jerky

Magic Mill Food Dehydrator

Video about Magic Mill Food Dehydrator

Manual

MAGIC MILL Professional Food Dehydrator User Manual

MAGIC MILL Professional Food Dehydrator User Manual

Please make sure to read and understand this manual before use.

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How To Choose the Dehydrator – Buyer’s Guide

Most of the options range from opaque versions that claim to save nutrients to those that are clear to help you better watch the process. Some are one size and others can be stacked with expansion trays. Some require reshuffling tray order while others have a vent system that lets you set it and forget it.

But the main criteria are size and power. You can choose the simpler model if you are planning to use it from time to time or make an investment in one of the top machines that are listed above.

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10 Health Benefits of Food Dehydrators

  1. Preservative-free snacks: It's hard to buy snack foods that are without chemicals and preservatives. With a dehydrator, it's easy to make your own.
  2. Healthy pets: On the same note, you can make your own jerky treats.
  3. More fresh foods: Many are afraid to buy too many fresh foods and waste them. This allows you to keep them long after they'd expire.
  4. Lower sugar options: Commercially dried fruit and fruit leathers are often packed with sugar. You can make your own without adding a bit.
  5. Learn to love veggies: Dried vegetables like beets and carrots can be surprisingly sweet and addictive.
  6. Healthier air: Make your own potpourri without any of the questionable chemicals that others have.
  7. Herb power: Dry your own herbs and take advantage of their powerful health benefits more often.
  8. Crunch without oil: Love the crunch of chips but don't want the salt or fat? Try dried veggies and your heart will thank you.
  9. Great workout food: Love to backpack? This light, tasty food is a great way to learn a healthy new sport without spending a fortune on food.
  10. Sweet desserts without the calories: Dried fruit can be a wonderful dessert that is lower in calories and higher in fiber than a lot of other options.

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How To Use Food Dehydrator

Can you use them a lot of different ways?

  • Dried Fruit or Vegetables: Simply slice thinly (if needed) and put them in the dehydrator. The more watery the fruit, the longer it takes. For items like apple, you can add a dash of lemon to keep them white while they dry.
  • Jerky: Mix your meat and seasonings together. You can do this by slicing the meat paper thin and adding dry rub spices or by mixing the meat and spices in a blender and squirting it onto a tray with a jerky gun.
  • Fruit rollups: Blend your fruit or fruits in a blender or food processor and spread onto fruit roll sheets. Dry, peel, and eat.
  • Dried Herbs: Simply place on a sheet and dry quickly
  • Potpourri: Add scent from essential oils to your herbs or flowers and dry at low heat to mix.
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What Food Can You Make?

The best thing about a dehydrator is the versatility!

Whether you're buying a dehydrator for herbs, a meat dehydrator, a fruit dehydrator, or you want food dehydrator jerky, you can accomplish it all with the same machine.

Get a food dehydrator for backpacking snacks and easy meals. Make snacks for kids lunches or simply ensure that nothing in your refrigerator gets wasted ever again.

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Main Components

Food dehydrators all have the same basic components:

  • Fan

This can be mounted in the back, on the bottom, or on the top. It is usually paired with the unit's heating element. You will need a food dehydrator with fan if you don't want to constantly rotate trays. There are also fan non electric options available.

  • Heater Element

This heater can have a single temperature or a range that is set by way of a programmable thermostat. A food dehydrator with temperature control gives you more range as far as what kinds of foods and items you can make safely and effectively.

  • On/off switch

With simpler models, the only on/off capacity is through the plug. More sophisticated models have programmable timers with shut-off capacities. Many will specifically look for a food dehydrator with timer.

While none of the items on this list can be considered a non-electric food dehydrator, drying racks for the sun are available if you want a cheaper, lower-tech option. Some of the drying trays can also be used as an oven food dehydrator.

  • See-through window

Many of these dehydrators have a window to allow you to watch your progress. And control the cooking by yourself.

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Accessories Available For Your Food Dehydrator

What kind of food dehydrator supplies are there?

From food dehydrator liners to jerky guns, there are a lot of different kinds of supplies to consider using. They can do a lot to help make your dehydrating experience even better. This includes:

  • Expanding: Extra racks can replace broken ones or add space to stacking dehydrators.
  • Protecting: Smaller mesh allows you to dry tinier things like herbs, peas, and berries.
  • Forming: Fruit roll trays allow you to put liquidy items like eggs, fruit roll blends, and jerky blends on a drip-free surface.
  • Blending: Jerky guns let you blend and squirt mixtures evenly for easier drying
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Food Dehydrator Size and Capacity

What size of tray do you need? Depends on how you use it.

When searching for the right dehydrator no mater electric or non-electric one, your intended purpose will tell you a lot about what size you should consider.

A 5 tray dehydrator is a compact, home dehydrator that will be great for small batches and fit compactly in storage. They are great for small batches. If you're uncertain if you will do much with it, this size is often expandable.

A 7 tray dehydrator is good for those who are doing small to medium batches regularly.

A 9 tray dehydrator is the most commons starter size for professional/commercial/industrial level machines. These are larger machines that are often used in garages because they have louder fans. They're great for big jobs like garden harvest, hunting and fishing processing.

What should you consider with a size of dehydrator?

  • Counter and/or storage space: How much room do you have to keep it?
  • Size of harvest/recipe: What are you making? Does it need to be done at once or can you spread it out?
  • Style/aesthetics: How does it look if it's left out all the time?
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Food Dehydrator Recipes

What kinds of recipes are available?Here is the 

Many of the featured machines have books full of food dehydrator ideas. These will offer tips on how to blend different jerkies, how to make fruit leathers (and which fruits blend well), how to make potpourri, and tips on the size, temperature, and drying time of different fruits and vegetables.

In some cases, they will also offer recipes that you can make with dehydrated items, like pasta with sun-dried tomatoes.

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Top Food Dehydrator Brands

Here is the list of the popular and reliable brands that you could trust: Excalibur, Nesco, Ronco, Hamilton Beach, Presto, Ambiano, Cuisinart, Cabelas, Oster and Mr. Coffee.

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Convenient Features

Not all dehydrators are alike.

What features are a convenience?

While all dehydrators will dry your food, there are some things that will make the experience nicer for the owner. This includes:

  • Rotation-free drying: Any system where you don't have to keep rearranging trays to get even drying is definitely a plus on the low-maintenance side.
  • Adjustable thermostat: Being able to set your temperature offers versatility.
  • Timer: The ability to turn off the machine through a timer is a definite plus.
  • Window: Your things will dry more quickly if you don't keep opening the dehydrator to check. A window lets you do this while still checking regularly on the food.
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Noise

Fan noise is a definite consideration.

What do you need to know?

Fans can range from quiet to loud. However, does it matter to you if the fan is loud and the machine works well if it's in the garage? This is definitely a personal choice.

Loud fans may mean powerful fans, which can mean more food dried more quickly. Quiet fans can mean longer dry times but may be more pleasant if your only location for dehydration is in your studio apartment.

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Design

Cuisinart DHR-20 Food DehydratorThere are two main design styles of dehydrators.

Which is your preference?

Sliding trays with clear front door design has a toaster-oven style that allows you to dry quickly. They are typically big, professional-style units that take up a lot of space and dry loudly.

The stackers can range in shape from round to rectangular, from clear to opaque, and from small to large. These will typically come with 5-7 trays standard and have the ability to expand to a larger number, around 10-12 trays.

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Warranty

What should I know about warranties?

Warranties can range from limited (on a specific number of parts) to full. The details will have everything to do with the company, and the specifics vary greatly even within this list. Be sure to register your dehydrator when you get it so that you can take advantage of the warranty if you need later on.

Are manufacturer warranties the only way to get a return?

Absolutely not. You can often get a purchase guarantee if you buy it from certain stores, and even credit cards may offer a limited time warranty on purchases.

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FAQ

What makes the best food dehydrator?

So on our list, there are two main kinds of dehydrators. There are large, pro-style machines that are designed for huge batches of jerky and full harvests. There are also small, sleek, stackable countertop versions designed for smaller homes and smaller batches. Each comes with their own overall pros and cons.

The pros of the big styles are that they dry hot and evenly and come with lots of extra features like temperature control and shutoff timers. But they are large, loud, and expensive. Smaller versions are sleek, take up very little space, and are easy on the wallet. However, they may not dry every rack as evenly, don't hold a lot of items, and may not have some basic features like an on/off switch.

What additional things do I need to start cooking?

A sharp knife and cutting board (or mandolin/meat slicer), a spatula, blender, and strainer.

What features affect dry time of an item?

The water and sugar content in the food, the thickness of the slice, the size of the fan in the dehydrator and the temperature it's set at will all affect dry time.

9.5 Total Score
Final Verdict

Presto 06301 Dehydro Digital Electric Food DehydratorReady to find out our top choice?When choosing the best of the bunch, we looked at several features:

  • Capacity (and expanded capacity)
  • Price point
  • Features available
  • Cleanup
  • Accessories included

Based on this, we ready to announce the winner. It is Presto 06301 Dehydro Digital Electric Food Dehydrator.

We loved that it had six trays (over 5 for most stackers), that it came with all the inserts you needed for any style of recipe, and that you could expand it to 12 trays.

It is quiet and small enough for a kitchen and still had the digital programming capabilities of the big boys. Overall, this model seems to offer the best of both big and small machines.

Was this your favorite, too? 

Price
10
Capacity
8.5
Durability
10

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