Hailed by food experts as being one of the healthiest ways to preserve food and add some extra variety to your diet, food dehydrators have steadily gained in popularity over the years. Indeed, they carry a multitude of health benefits and can help you avoid the numerous chemicals and toxins that are often added in commercially-oriented dried fruits and vegetables. Recent studies have shown that these chemicals can cause quite a few medical conditions such as elevated blood pressure or- more dangerously- various forms of cancer. Therefore, a food dehydrator can help you effortlessly whip up your own organic treats without having to spend an excessive amount of money.
Still, quite a few people are unfamiliar with this gadget, which is why purchasing your first machine can be quite an overwhelming experience for many. Additionally, thanks to its recent rise in demand, more companies are launching their own brands of dehydrators which also adds to the risk of making the wrong choice if you’ve never shopped for this particular appliance before.
This is exactly why it’s important- if not crucial- to properly indulge in some research and read as many reviews as you can before investing in a food dehydrator, as this will not only save you quite a lot of time and money, but adequate research can also help you find the best appliance according to your personal needs, budget and expectations. So with the aim of helping you make the right choice, we’ve put together our list of the top 10 dehydrators on the market.
Top 10 Food Dehydrators
|Nesco FD-60 Snackmaster|
|Horizontal||95 - 160||4||12||500 watts|
|Waring Pro DHR30|
|Vertical||110 - 175||5||9||620 watts|
|Nesco Snackmaster Pro|
|Horizontal||95 - 160||5||12||600 watts|
|Vertical||135 - 145||4||8||600 watts|
|Nesco FD-80 Square|
|Horizontal||95 - 160||4||8||700 watts|
|Horizontal||105 - 165||9||9||600 watts|
|Horizontal||95 - 160||5||12||500 watts|
|Horizontal||95 - 155||4||4||220 watts|
|Horizontal||90 - 160||4||20||1000 watts|
|Horizontal||105 - 165||9||9||600 watts|
Why Buy a Food Dehydrator
This handy kitchen appliance is quite simple to use and can even encourage small children to increase their consumption of greens. In fact, you can even dehydrate your favorite summer fruits and snacks on it for all the winter. For example, fruits like peaches, strawberries, mangoes and prunes are very easily dehydrated and can provide fulfilling snacks during colder days when these fruits are normally out of season. Also, since these fruits tend to be quite expensive, it’s better economically speaking, to buy a large batch and dehydrate them for preservation. For example, instead of slaving away at the stove all day to make large batches of treats for a party, you can simply pop some produce into your dehydrator, set the timer and go on with your business while you wait for your selected meats, vegetables and fruits to dry out.
In fact, according to Brigham Young University’s Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Science, grains, rice, corn, fruits, vegetables, pastas and wheat can be dehydrated and stored for up to 30 years! As for milk substitutes and milk powder, they can easily last for 20 years after being dehydrated. These appliances can also be used to dry jerkies and meats to provide organic treats to humans or pets.
By the same token, these appliances are recommended to anyone who wants to lose weight. Indeed, instead of turning to chocolate, candy, crisps or any such fattening snack, you can even dehydrate your favorite fruit, sprinkle it with some sugar substitute and have guilt-free treats all day long. Dried sprouts and vegetables have also been shown to be quite high in fiber and low in bad cholesterol. Best of all, dehydrated food do preserve most of the important vitamins and minerals including Beta Carotene, Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and selenium.
Other than edible treats, customers can also use dehydrators to spruce up their homes and gardens. For example, several people like to use these appliances to dry out flower petals, pine cones, leaves, kitchen herbs, spices or potpourris.
Brands Reviewed on Our Website
On this website, you will be able to go through honest reviews of some of the best food dehydrator brands including:
- Presto: From bacon cookers to food dehydrators and a plethora of other kitchen appliances, Presto has quickly become one of the most reliable brands on the market. Their line of dehydrators includes popular items such as the Presto Dehydro and Presto 06301 that come with or without a thermostat control.
- Nesco: Established in 1930, Nesco specializes in various types of kitchen appliances including, but not limited to, roaster ovens, food grinders and slicers, jerky spices and kits as well as food dehydrators. Also, most of their products are extremely budget-friendly. Some of their bestselling dehydrators include the FD-1010 Gardenmaster, FD-80 Square, and FD-28JX Jerky Xpress.
- Excalibur: With a firm commitment to quality and reliability, Excalibur was first launched in 1973 and is now as one of the most popular brands on the market. Specializing in food dehydrators, this company is offers solid manufacturer’s warranties and affordable prices. A few of their bestselling products include the Excalibur 3926TB, and the 9-Tray Stainless Steel.
Things to Consider Before Buying
As packed as these machines are with health and financial benefits, it is still important to take a few things into consideration before indulging in your purchase. Indeed, there’s nothing worse than buying an appliance on the whim and then finding out that it’s entirely unsuitable to your lifestyle and personal needs. Therefore, potential customers should pay particular attention to the following points:
- Heat Distribution
- Other Features
Dehydrators are normally available with vertical and horizontal fans, with each model featuring its own heat distribution technique. Vertical fans have been shown to rapidly dehydrate any food placed on lower trays. While this can be quite an advantage if you’re in a hurry, it can create varying results if you use the upper trays at the same time. As far as horizontal fans are concerned, they provide a uniform effect on every tray but the food does take slightly longer to dry out.
Like most kitchen appliances, food dehydrators come in a variety of sizes, each with its own food capacity. If you’re short on space, you may want to look in expandable dehydrators that basically consist of trays stacked on top of each other. In fact, some models with vertical fans can even be expanded by adding up to 20 trays. On the other side, higher-capacity (not expandable) machines generally tend to be bulkier and more expensive, so they may not be your best choice if you have limited storage space or if you’re trying to stick to your budget.
These appliances are also packed with additional features to make easier the process of dehydrating. Not unlike regular ovens, some models come with built-in timers that can be quite helpful to anyone who has a busy schedule. Indeed, timers can certainly lessen the risk of over or under drying your food. Other models also include thermostats to help you select how dry and crisp you want your fruits and vegetables to be.
Of course, it goes without saying that food dehydrators come in various prices. The good news is that several brands do target to low-budget audiences which means that it is entirely possible for you to buy a reliable and basic appliance without having to go beyond your budget. Still, customers should keep in mind that cheaper models might not include more advanced features such as timers and adjustable thermostats. Also, budget-friendly machines mainly tend to come with vertical fans, but there are some inexpensive models that boast of horizontal ones as well.
Best Food Dehydrator by Price
If you’re on a limited budget, you’ll be glad to learn that food dehydrators come in several price ranges. Of course, the price undoubtedly reflects the appliance’s features and longevity but all in all, it is quite plausible to purchase a dehydrator on a limited budget. However, bear in mind that, like every other appliance, you do get what you pay for.
While cheaper models are quite reliable, they may lack a few features that are commonly available in more expensive brands. If want to dry large batches at a time or if you want options such as adjustable thermostats or timers, a pricier machine might be more suitable for you. To help you make a more adequate choice, here are some of the best food dehydrators by their price ranges:
Price Range: $30-50
Our Choice: Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric
Under $40, this particular appliance has amassed legions of positive reviews thanks to its ease of use and longevity. Indeed, this machine comes with a four-tray system that will allow you to dehydrate more fruits and vegetables in the same batch. Also, users will certainly appreciate the transparent cover that will help you keep a close watch on the dehydrating process, and this will also prevent you from under-drying or over-drying your food. As a nice addition, the appliance’s cover and drying trays can be submerged in water for easy cleaning. Dishwasher-friendly, this product can also be used to make meat or chicken jerky as well as fruit leather.
The product is also extremely easy to clean and does not emit a lot of noise during the dehydrating process. It’s also quite lightweight, allowing you to transport it to any desired room of the house. Extremely versatile, the machine can even be used for different purposes such as clay crafts or drying pinecones and flowers. A few customers did complain about the lack of temperature control but an overwhelming majority of people were extremely satisfied with the machine, especially considering its affordable price.
Price Range: $50-100
Our Choice: Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro
Priced between $70 and $80, this particular appliance is packed with features designed to optimize the dehydrating process. Measuring 13 by 13 inches, the machine is quite lightweight and compact, which means that you can easily put it away for storage. The packaging even includes additional items such as jerky spice packets, mesh sheets, solid sheets as well as a detailed recipe book to help you whip up delicious dehydrated food in no time at all. More importantly, the trays are carefully separated to prevent the flavors from mixing. Users won’t have to rotate the tray either because the top-mounted fan ensures even dehydrating.
Thanks to the top-mounted fan, you will also be able to avoid the typical spills and messes that normally accompany the dehydrating process. While the packaging includes five trays, users can also stack up to 12 trays in the same batch. Best of all, this particular appliance even features an adjustable thermostat that ranges from 95 to 160 degrees.
Now while a few customers were displeased by the lack of timer and on/off switch, most of them were quite satisfied with the Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster.
Price Range: $100-200
Our Choice: Nesco FD-1040 Gardenmaster
Perfect for users with budgets ranging from $100 to $150, this particular appliance is especially known for its exceptional 20-tray capacity. Entirely suitable for large gatherings and parties, this machine features a fully-adjustable temperature control, ensuring that your food is dried to perfection. In fact, it even comes with a professional programmable digital dimmer to facilitate the dehydrating process. With no less than 1000 watts of drying power, the dehydrator is made of plastic and is protected by a 1 year limited warranty. Other than fruits, vegetables and meats, customers can even use this machine to dry milk powder, pasta, grains or even pine cones and flower petals.
Best of all, the dehydrator even features a completely opaque exterior that prevents light from absorbing the nutrients, vitamins and minerals present in your food. The machine comes with a fine mesh tray, recipe book, jerky cure, jerky seasoning as well as a fruit roll insert tray. It comes with a Patented Converga-Flow Air Flow to ensure even drying across every single tray. One customer did have an issue with even dehydrating but an overwhelming majority of users found this product to be quite reliable and easy to use, especially considering its price.
Price Range: $200-400
Our Choice: Excalibur 3926TB
Priced between $200 to 300$, the Excalibur 3926TB is a highly professional dehydrator that will allow you to enjoy healthy and low-fat snacks anytime you want. Perfect for large gatherings, sportsmen and craftspeople, this particular model comes with an adjustable thermostat, giving you full control over the dehydrating process. It even includes a built-in on and off switch that certainly facilitates ease of use. In fact, this dehydrator also comes with a 26-hour timer, which means that you can very easily turn it on before going to bed and wake up to the sweet scent of dehydrated fruits and vegetables in the morning.
The dehydrator can also be used to dry jerky and meats. Its thermostat can be manually adjusted to any temperature ranging from 95 degrees to 155 degrees Fahrenheit. A few buyers found the machine’s bulky size to be rather cumbersome, but then again, its large size provides you with no less than 15 square feet of drying space and 9 solid trays. It is also enhanced by a horizontal airflow that ensures even drying over every single tray. Crafted from Plastic, the Excalibur 3926TB is available in black and is protected by a manufacturer’s warranty of 10 years.
Price Range: $400+
Our Choice: Excalibur Dehydrator Stainless Steel
Available between $400 to $500, this professional-grade dehydrator is undoubtedly on the more expensive side but it does live up to expectations. Perfect for large batches, the appliance boasts of an incredible capacity of no less than 15 square feet of drying space and 9 large trays. Quite unlike cheaper models, this particular appliance includes a plethora of commercial-grade features such as the Adjustable Hyperwave Thermostat to create a sudden rise in temperature and consequently enhance the dehydrating process. Therefore, you will be able to make up to 18kgs of dried fruits, nuts, vegetables, pasta, grains and meat in no time at all. The Adjustable Hyperwave Thermostat also makes the machine entirely suitable for busy households.
With stainless-steel trays, a polycarbonate interior and an appealing stainless-steel interior, the Excalibur Dehydrator has also been shown to aid in the preservation of enzymes, nutrients, vitamins and minerals of your fruits and vegetables. Featuring a horizontal airflow system, the appliance also comes with a dishwasher-safe feature to facilitate cleaning up. This machine includes a built-in on/off switch and is protected by a solid manufacturer’s warranty of 5 years.