Are you fond of dried food snacks from sliced apples to bananas, home-desiccated strawberries, apricots and mushrooms, etc.? Love dried mangoes, raisins, or beef jerky? But if you spend a lot of money buying these delicacies from food stores, isn’t it an expensive deal? Yes! So, if I say you can now prepare your favorite dried food items at the convenience of your home, even at an affordable price, how do you feel? Thanks to the Food Dehydrator Machines that let you do it all with ease.
For everyone who loves cooking, I am sure like to have a great collection of useful kitchen appliances in his/her kitchen. Many latest kitchen gadgets like microwaves, toaster ovens, air fryers, hand mixers, and blender, etc. are there, saving a lot of time and effort of you.
Food dehydrators are one such best countertop appliances that sucks out the moisture from the food and helps in easy preserving of them. It is perfect for drying vegetables, fruits, seeds, herbs, meats, and fish, etc. Now, get more deeply into it.
What is a Food Dehydrator?
Dried foods are a favorite of everyone. And dehydrating food means preserving the food items through drying techniques.
Food dehydrators are small-sized appliances used for drying fruits, vegetables, herbs, seeds, and even meats converting it into fully dehydrated versions. This way, it not only preserves them but also enhances their flavor profile.
These machines combine the power of heat and airflow to do the whole process of drying. The food dehydrators help you to make easy snacks like beef jerky, oil-less potato chips, and a lot more. Even if you are fond of seasoning on your snacks, the food dehydrators let you dry up various herbs like basils, tarragon, lemon balm, and mints, etc., and spices to form terrific seasonings easily.
Now, Head to our Comprehensive Buying Guide for getting in-depth details on Food Dehydrators.
List of Best Food Dehydrators
|Preview||Food Dehydrators||Power||No. of trays|
|COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator|
|600 W||6 stainless steel trays||Buy on Amazon|
|Chefman Food Dehydrator|
|480 W||6 BPA-free plastic trays||Buy on Amazon|
|Gourmia GFD1650 Premium Electric Food Dehydrator|
|600 W||9 BPA-free plastic trays||Buy on Amazon|
|NESCO FD-77DT Digital Food Dehydrator|
|500 W||4 BPA-free plastic trays||Buy on Amazon|
|Hamilton Beach 32100A Digital Food Dehydrator|
|500 W||5 BPA-free plastic trays||Buy on Amazon|
|Cuisinart DHR-20 Food Dehydrator|
|620 W||5 BPA-free plastic trays||Buy on Amazon|
|Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine|
|480 W||7 Stainless Steel Trays||Buy on Amazon|
|Rosewill Countertop Food Dehydrator|
|250 W||5 BPA-free plastic trays||Buy on Amazon|
|Presto 06300 Food Dehydrator|
|600 W||4 BPA-free plastic trays||Buy on Amazon|
Best Food Dehydrator Reviews
Now get the in-depth reviews of our best picks of food dehydrators and choose your preferred one.
1. COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine
The Cosori Premium food dehydrator machine is our top pick for its outstanding performance and a lot of good customer ratings. Modern and aesthetic look with premium food-grade stainless steel construction makes this the best choice for all.
Whatever snacks you are looking for, whether it is beef jerky, fruit leathers, bread crumbs, crunchy veggie, or fruit snacks, etc., you can make it all with ease. Also, you can preserve herbs, flowers, and much more using this appliance.
Even with a lot of useful features, the appliance is great for both newbies and pros. The machine includes 9 sq. ft. of drying space with six food-grade stainless steel trays that allow you to dry food in bulk per batches. The capacity of this food dehydrator makes it an excellent choice for any small and big families.
The appliance also comes with a free mesh screen for finer items, such as herbs, and a fruit leather sheet for more convenience.
Time and temperature customization is one of the best things about this machine. You can easily adjust the drying temperature from 95 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. It allows the drying of the finest herbs to the thick beef slices with full perfection. As the same, you can control the drying time by setting the timer from 30 min to 48 hrs, depending on the requirement.
The wire racks can be easily removed, soaked, and rubbed for easy cleaning. Moreover, the smooth interior and exterior are easy to wipe to remain it ultra-shiny. Super quiet operation, auto shut off feature, durable construction, and affordable price make it a worthy alternative.
- Horizontal flow food dehydrator
- Stainless steel construction
- Six dishwasher safe stainless steel trays
- Glass front door for easy monitoring of the process
- Power 600 W
- Adjustable thermostat from 95 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit
- Built-in timer up to 48 hours
- Free mesh screen and fruit leather tray
- Automatic Shut Off
- Overheat Protection
- Memory function to recall previous settings
- Easy to clean
- FDA Certified
- 2 Years Warranty
- Nice quality product with great features
- Sturdy built
- User-friendly features
- Super quiet operation
- Clear door on the front ensures easy monitoring of the food dehydration process
- Temperature and timer settings are awesome
- Very easy to clean
- No downsides noted yet
Specialties of Cosori Premium Food Dehydrator Machine
Cosori premium food dehydrator machine is a solid product with sturdy construction. With its budget-friendly price tag and high-quality design, it can be a great addition to any modern kitchen. You will surely love this food dehydrator for its easy cleaning feature as well as an easy interface that ensures ease of use. The model delivers consistently good results and comes with a free recipe book with more than 50 recipes.
2. Chefman Food Dehydrator Machine
This food dehydrator machine from Chefman is a perfect combination of style, elegance, and functionality. Make healthy dehydrated snacks from the convenience of your home using this amazing dehydrator.
Chefman food dehydrator is a reasonably-priced machine that comes with many more smart features like highly-priced appliances.
This square-shaped unit is compact and takes a little space on your kitchen countertop. Therefore, it can be the best choice for those who are tighter on space.
With six spacious trays made up of food-grade BPA-free material, it offers enough space to dry out your favorite food in bulk per batch. Even the appliance’s optimal heat flow ensures that you don’t need to rotate the trays during the drying process. Plus, the trays are easily removable, which is again a convenient feature too.
The model also comes with an adjustable digital thermostat. This feature offers the users to choose from eight different temperature presets, depending upon the drying requirement.
One of the best things you will surely like about this food dehydrator is its easy and intuitive control panel. It is present on the top of the device with simple operational buttons. So that not only a pro but also a novice can easily handle it.
The appliance has a clear transparent door for easy viewing and monitoring of the drying process. Moreover, the auto shut off, and the timer feature makes the appliance more handy.
- 6 spacious and adjustable BPA free plastic trays
- Digital temperature preset ranging from 95º F to 158º F
- Timer feature for up to 19.5 hours to provide accurate drying
- Optimal airflow for even and uniform drying
- Auto shut off
- Transparent door for easy monitoring of the process
- Power 480 W
- 1 Year Warranty
- Sturdy construction
- Looks appealing in elegant black color
- Excellent performance-great for veggies and meats
- Compact size fits easily to any countertop
- Easy to use
- Quiet operation
- Trays have plastic construction and are not dishwasher safe
Specialties of Chefman Food Dehydrator Machine
For the price and performance, the appliance is absolutely a great valued product. With the thermostat’s temperature range of 95ºF -158ºF, you can easily dry meat, fruit, veggies, herbs, and many other food. It allows even and quick dehydration of a variety of food in just a couple of hours. Moreover, with a more spacious room, you can dry in bulk in one batch.
3. Gourmia GFD1650 Premium Electric Food Dehydrator Machine
Gourmia, the brand, is always the most preferred choice for its quality and innovative kitchen appliances and food products. So, now say no to store-bought processed junk. Bring home this Gourmia GFD1650 electric food dehydrator and make more flavorful, nutrient-rich, and preservative-free dried food snacks.
This dehydrator looks impressive and comes with a lot of drying space. Including nine adjustable drying shelves, you can easily put a pound of food for dehydrating. One biggest benefit we found is that the shelves are also height-adjustable, so you can easily keep food items of different heights for convenient placement.
You also have the option to select the six trays dehydrator depending upon your requirements. The trays are made of high-grade plastic as well as BPA free material, absolutely safe to use and, most importantly, pretty easy to clean.
The digital thermostat feature of this appliance allows you to dehydrate a variety of food items within a temperature range of 95°F- 158°F. Moreover, there are eight preset temperature settings making your job much easier. As a bonus, the timer feature provides you a great relief from overheating of the food.
Another great feature of the appliance is its noiseless airflow circulation. It integrates the airflow and temperature within the dehydrator for even drying of the food items placed in it. So, no more stress of rotating the trays between the process.
You can say it is a multi-functional appliance as the function is not limited to drying foods; you can also make cakes, muffins, cookies, etc.
- 9 adjustable BPA free plastic trays
- Easily removable and height-adjustable trays
- Includes: Fruit leather sheet and drip tray
- 8 preset temperature settings
- Temperature range from 95°F- 158°F
- Back-mounted fan for silent operation
- Transparent door for easy viewing of the dehydration process
- Built-in countdown timer
- Auto shut-off
- Comes with a recipe book
- Well constructed and durable unit
- Nine adjustable racks are an excellent option to create more and more dehydrated foods in one go
- Very easy to use and clean
- Noiseless operation
- The dehydration process is long and tedious
Specialties of Gourmia GFD1650 Premium Electric Food Dehydrator
A lot of drying space is the most valuable part of this dehydrator. It is a two-in-one machine that dries up food and is also used for baking muffins, cookies, and other desserts. Though the machine is quite expensive, for features and functionalities, it is surely a great choice for dried food enthusiasts.
4. Nesco FD-77DT Digital Food Dehydrator
This model from Nesco is among the most modern units and comes with all the amazing features you search for in a good food dehydrator. Its competitive price doesn’t mean that it lacks smart features, though it offers professional results every time.
The most elegant feature is its futuristic design with a great color combination of white and black. Moreover, the compact footprint allows easy placement and storage of the appliance, no matter the tighter the space you have.
It comes with a powerful 600W motor and a powerful top-mounted fan to ensure even and quick drying of the food items. Therefore no need to rotate the trays in between the process.
The model also boasts an adjustable thermostat and timer feature for your convenience. So, no matter whatever food you are dehydrating from soft and juicy fruits or veggies to toughest meats, everything is dried perfectly at precise temperature settings. Moreover, you can also set the digital timer anywhere for up to 24 hours, depending upon the food you are going to dehydrate.
Now coming to the drying racks, this food dehydrator comes with four stackable and adjustable trays. It is also expandable up to 12 trays that you need to purchase separately if you want a more drying room.
One more thing you will surely love about this product is a carrying handle at the top. It allows you to easily lift and carry the device wherever you want.
- Patented coverage – Flow drying technology
- Powerful 600 W motor
- Adjustable thermostat
- Programmable digital timer for up to 24 hours
- Includes 4 drying trays that can be extended up to 12 trays
- Air circulation system for fast and even drying
- Auto Shut-off feature
- Ensures optimal drying for a variety of food items
- No need to rotate the trays in between the drying process
- Digital timer is a nice feature
- Compact and portable design
- Reasonable price range
- The recommended temperature is not precise always
- Takes longer to dry food items
Specialties of Nesco FD-77DT Digital Food Dehydrator
This food dehydrator works exactly as a professional-grade unit and also very easy to use. Well, with a fully adjustable thermostat, the recommended temperatures for different food items are present under the temperature screen. This feature surely adds a lot of convenience to you. Easy to clean and maintain, with precise functions, it would be a great choice for any dried food lovers.
5. Hamilton Beach 32100A Digital Food Dehydrator
If you are searching for an affordable food dehydrator with plenty of impressive features, the model is best to go with. This Hamilton Beach food dehydrator comes in a rectangular shape to offer you maximum drying space. One more plus point of this shape is that it nicely fits on counters, taking up less space.
The model includes five stackable drying trays to dry a variety of fruits and veggies, and even make beef jerky. For your convenience, it also comes with a fine mesh sheet to easily dry out herbs and other delicate food items. As a bonus, you also get a solid sheet to make fruit rolls, etc.
This food dehydrator features a powerful 500 W motor and continuous airflow inside. So, it relieves you from the hassle of rotating trays again and again during the drying process. Moreover, the feature also ensures even, uniform and quick drying of the food items.
Featuring the digital thermostat feature, the appliance allows you to dehydrate meats and other toughest food items easily. It includes the temperature range from 100 degrees -160 degrees F so that you can dry everything from delicate foods to thick pieces of jerky.
Even more, the 48 hours timer with auto shut off feature adds more convenience while drying the food items. So set it and forget it. The clear lid of the appliance allows you to check the drying process, so you can stop the drying process as soon as your foods are ready.
Cleaning is also a breeze as the trays include heavy plastic construction with lining, so you can wash them easily. The smooth exterior allows easy wipe down to make it bright and shiny always.
- Five stackable drying trays
- Adjustable digital thermostat ranging from 100-160° F
- 48 hours timer
- Continuous airflow for even and uniform drying
- Auto shut off
- One fine-mesh sheet for drying small food like herbs
- One solid sheet for making fruit rolls
- Clear lid to easily check on food
- Power 500 W
- 1 Year Warranty
- Budget-friendly product
- Timer and adjustable temperature are excellent features
- Great in terms of performance
- Easy to clean
- User-friendly control
- A bit noisy
Specialties of Hamilton Beach 32100A Digital Food Dehydrator
The model 32100A from Hamilton Beach is extremely affordable. Plus, it’s easy to use functionality, and precise temperature controls make it an excellent choice for any homemaker. You will love its plenty of drying space. Though the model is a bit noisy, it always ensures even and uniform results. Moreover, the accessories included with it, allow you to easily create fruit leather, and preserve fresh garden herbs.
6. Cuisinart DHR-20 Food Dehydrator
Again a budget-friendly product to make healthy and nutritious snacks in no time. The Cuisinart DHR-20 food dehydrator is a great choice for its excellent design, outstanding features, and competitive pricing.
It comes in round shaped design with five high-quality plastic trays. As a bonus, it is expandable up to 9 trays to create more room for dehydrating foods in bulk. With this multi-utility appliance, you can’t only dry fruits, vegetables, and beef jerky, but you can also prepare yogurt, dried herbs, homemade treats for your dogs, dehydrated fish and even dried flowers.
The best part of this model is that it naturally preserves food without compromising the taste and nutritional value of the food. So, now without spending much, you can make your favorite dried snacks at home.
It features a 620-W motorized fan with top vent that ensures uniform and quick drying of a variety of food items. Even the adjustable temperature control option, including high, medium, low, and fan, only makes it easier to customize the dehydration process. Though as a downside, it does not include a timer feature.
When it comes to cleaning, it is very simple as the trays, the fruit roll sheet and the lid are all dishwasher safe. Even the machine’s exterior and rest parts are also easy to clean using a wipe.
- 5 stackable and interlocking trays
- Expandable up to 9 trays
- Comes with one fruit roll sheet (for fruit leathers, liquids, and semi-liquids)
- Adjustable temperature; limited to only 5 settings: off, fan only, low, medium, or high
- 620 W motorized fan
- 3 Years limited warranty
- Compact design
- Large capacity
- Easy to operate
- Runs quietly
- Powerful 620-W motorized fan ensures quick and fast dehydration process
- Comes with a well-written user manual for clear instructions
- Limited temperature settings
- No timer option
Specialties of Cuisinart DHR-20 Food Dehydrator
The machine is durable, long-lasting, looks gorgeous, and even great in terms of performance. With an economical price range, it is a great choice for anyone. The appliance, with its compact footprint, fits comfortably and stylishly into any modern kitchen. Moreover, it is easy to use for both pro and novice.
7. Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine
For a professional-grade experience, this Magic Mill food dehydrator machine is a great choice. This high-quality appliance is suitable for drying meat jerky, fruits, veggies, and herbs in a perfect way, even without any hassle.
Having a powerful rear-mounted fan, this horizontal flow type dehydrator offers high-end performance. So it’s a great choice without spending much.
It comes in a shelf style design with high-grade seven stainless steel trays, so you can dry more and more food items in one batch. Additionally, it comes with a fruit leather sheet that allows you to dehydrate pureed fruits too.
The appliance also comes with a drip tray that you can easily place at the bottom of it to avoid any messy drips and drops slipping to the appliance.
With the smart digital interface, using various control options are ultimately easy to use. The digital thermostat is one of the best control features out there. It lets you create preset temperature depending upon the type of food you are going to dry. Moreover, the timer feature allows you to schedule the dehydration sessions for your convenience.
Another best feature is its see-through front window that allows you to watch the whole process of dehydration inside. Even more cleaning the exterior, inside corners, and grooves are super easy. The metal trays here are also super easy to clean and are dishwasher safe too enhancing the efficient cleaning experience.
- 7 stainless steel trays
- Adjustable trays
- Power 480 W
- 2 Fruit roll tray for fruit leather sheets
- Mesh tray for dehydrating smaller foods
- 2 Fine Dishwasher safe trays
- Rear-mounted fan for superior heat distribution
- Digital thermostat
- Timer feature
- Auto-shut off feature
- Build quality is extremely impressive
- Looks very stylish
- Stainless steel racks and meat trays are of superior quality
- Very nice performing appliance
- Runs quietly
- Very easy to clean
- No downsides noted yet
Specialties of Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine
The Magic Mill food dehydrator is a fully functional appliance that combines both superior performance and budget-friendly price tag. It’s super smart exterior, durable food drying trays, and easy to use controls makes the appliance so impressive. The intuitive controls of this dehydrator make it a good choice for those who are novice to dehydrating foods.
8. Rosewill Countertop Food Fruit Dehydrator
Looking for a clean yet simply designed food dehydrator with a compact footprint, the Rosewill food dehydrator is the best bet. Its rounded design with a classy white color gives an appealing look to your kitchen interiors.
There comes five beautiful and stackable transparent trays to keep a variety of food items for drying. Moreover, you will also get two fruit roll trays with the appliance. It allows you to make your own flavorful fruit rolls at home with a whole lot of convenience.
Drying a variety of herbs and spices is again a super-simplified task with its two herb trays included with the appliance. And finally, the transparent lid ensures easy viewing of all the process.
The appliance works on a bottom-mounted fan and heating element that provides consistent airflow for optimum drying of different types of food items. The best part is that you don’t need to rotate the trays in between as it ensures even and uniform drying without rotating the trays.
The dehydrator comes with an adjustable temperature range of 95-155°F, to dehydrate a variety of food at a suitable temperature setting. You can easily set the desired temperature range using a simple knob control option.
Not only a variety of fried food items you can make, but also create delicious and scrumptious yogurt with your favorite flavor and ingredients using this appliance. So, grab it now to create a variety of healthy homemade snacks.
- 5 food drying trays
- 2 Herb trays and two roll trays
- Drying Power 250 W
- Adjustable thermostat: 95 to 155 Degrees
- Bottom mounted fan and heating element for optimum drying
- Make yogurt
- Transparent lid
- On/Off switch
- Simple and lightweight design for easy portability
- BPA-free and safe materials construction
- Fast and quick-drying performance
- Great for starters
- Pocket-friendly price tag
- Very easy to use and clean
- No timer option is there
- A bit loud
Specialties of Rosewill Food Dehydrator
Compact, sleek, and elegant design with quality construction makes this a great choice for any modern kitchen. The machine works great to make a variety of dried foods yet makes yogurt too with ease. Even the competitive pricing of the appliance makes it an affordable choice for anyone who loves homemade dried snacks.
9. Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator
This model is an excellent choice for beginners with a pretty affordable price tag. With its compact design, it doesn’t take too much of your valuable countertop space. So, you can easily keep other more useful kitchen appliances without any mess.
The best feature of this food dehydrator is its easy to use interface that makes it very simple to get started.
This one comes in a stackable tray design with four food drying trays included. You will surely love its expandable tray option up to eight trays that will give you a lot of room if you want to dehydrate food in large quantities. Even more, the transparent top cover allows easy monitoring of the dehydrating process over there.
As a bonus, you will also get fruit roll sheets, nonstick mesh sheets, jerky spice kits, and a pretty awesome jerky gun. These all are great pieces of accessories to start with your homemade dried snacks.
To deliver a great performance, the model consists of 600 watts of power, the bottom-mounted fan, and heating element. This lets you dry a wide variety of foods no matter how tough or thick it is; you will get amazing results.
- Four stackable trays
- Expanded up to eight trays
- See-through cover to monitor the drying process
- Drying trays and cover are dishwasher safe
- Bottom-mounted fan
- Heating element with consistent airflow
- Power light
- 1 year limited warranty
- Compact and space-saving design
- Lightweight and portable
- Very easy to use
- All components are easy to clean and safe to use in dishwasher
- No on/off switch. The appliance turns on when you plug it in
- Lacks timer and adjustable thermostat feature
Specialties of Presto 06300 Electric Food Dehydrator
Though the appliance does not come with hi-tech features like the high-end models, it has enough features to start with. For anyone who are tighter on space and budget, this model is best to go with.
Food Dehydrators Buying Guide
Why Dehydrate food items?
Before getting into detail why food dehydrators are beneficial, let us first understand why to dehydrate food? The simple answer is there is no easier way to preserve different food items using the dehydrating technique.
From the past years, when there were no refrigerators, drying food was one of the best ways to preserve them. The same continues till now, even when we have a refrigeration option. By dehydrating food, you can enjoy your favorite dried snacks all when you want.
Dehydrating your food reduces the moisture content from them between 5% to 15%. And in that range, no bacteria develop in the food to decay it. This way, it extends the lifespan of your favorite foods. Also, these food items are the preferred snacks for a lot of you packed with essential nutrients.
Why choose a Food Dehydrator Machine?
Whether you are a health-conscious person, outdoor enthusiast, or frequent traveler, having a food dehydrator allows you the option of getting your favorite dried snacks in both a healthy and affordable manner. So, now you can simply say bye-bye to commercial snacks as they are very unhealthy due to chemicals added to fruit snacks and dehydrated snack options.
You don’t need to worry about the aroma, flavor, or nutrients after dehydrating as it retains all. Even the dehydrated foods are much more healthier than high-fat snacks you find in commercial stores. The Food dehydrator at your home simply allows you the option to dehydrate a variety of food in a hassle-free way.
Even many of you follow the food dehydration process by hanging it out in the sun on a hot and dry day. But sometimes, due to moisture in the air, the dehydration of food doesn’t take place well. Eventually, it slows down the dehydration process and sometimes spoils the food before it dries out.
It is where a food dehydration machine comes very handy. No more worrying about the spoiling of the food. These are compact machines with a lot of drying room. And the plus point is that it maintains a low temperature that ensures optimal drying of the food items.
Benefits of Food Dehydrators
1. Preserves Food with enhanced flavor
The dehydrated food elongates the shelf life of it, so you can enjoy them for a longer time. A food dehydrator machine sucks out all the moisture from it, discouraging the removal of mold and bacterias. Thus, it preserves food for a longer duration. Plus, it also enhances its flavor as the flavor gets more concentrated in the lack of moisture within the food.
2. Easy to use with no spoilage of food
Unlike the food dried in the sun, the heated air circulation of food dehydrators offers the perfect way to dry food in the fastest and easiest way. The food dehydrated in the sun wastes so much food due to spoilage in between the process. But using a food dehydrator machine, no wastage occurs.
3. A Healthy Alternative
Using a food dehydrator machine at home, you can dry up your favorite food without using any artificial ingredients or preservatives. Even there is no change in taste or aroma, that’s why it is a healthy alternative for all health-conscious people. With the homemade dried food, you can also create a healthier version of your favorite snacks.
The best part is that dehydrating food is a wholly natural process that retains the natural content of the food. Even without additives and preservatives, it offers a lot of value.
4. Used for Various Applications
The usage of food dehydrators is not limited to drying up the food only. It can be used for various purposes, including:
- Those who grow their own fruits and vegetables can easily dry them in the season if they have a food dehydrator. For their safe storage, they even don’t need any electric power like they do by freezing them. And these food items will get safer for a longer duration, even when there is no power.
- For campers, hikers, and outdoor travelers, they can easily pack the dried food items in a small and lightweight package to consume whenever they need it.
- Those with pets who want to offer some homemade treats to them will get a lot of use from a food dehydrator.
- Commercial food dehydrators can dehydrate a large quantity of food items for bulk batches.
5. Reduces wastage
It increases the shelf life of leftover fruits and vegetables for up to two years. So, you can easily store them for years without worrying about the wastage. If you have a garden of herbs, fruits, and vegetables, you can easily manage them by preserving them using a food dehydrator.
If you buy them from a food store in bulk, it although saves your money, but there are more chances of wastage. Having a food dehydrator at home allows you to create healthier treats and snacks from fruits and vegetables.
6. Ensures easy storage of food
The dried food takes very less space than their original counterparts. You can easily store them in clean and dry sealed containers and vacuum-sealed bags to access them later. Even they are also easy to carry around, whether on camping, trekking, or picnics.
7. Lightweight and Compact
Being lightweight and compact, food dehydrators are easily portable. Therefore, it matches the lifestyle of Americans who prefer frequent traveling.
8. Energy Efficient
The food dehydrators are also very much energy efficient as compared to ovens and microwaves. This way, it saves a lot of energy consumption, so no more worrying about the electricity bills.
How does a Food Dehydrator work?
Food dehydrators work very simply by having a heating element, fan, and tray or racks on which you keep the food for dehydrating. To start with, first, keep the food on the tray and turn on the appliance. The appliance then starts distributing heated air slowly throughout the mesh-covered trays.
This gentle hot airflow dries the food evenly, uniformly, and slowly, preserving the essential nutrients present in the food items. The best part is that it avoids the case hardening on the outside of food, so you will get the best results at all.
Case hardening occurs when the food is dried out too fast at a high temperature. So, keep in mind to dehydrate the food items slowly and at the required temperature depending on the food items you want to dehydrate. One more important thing for the best dehydration results is that remove as much water as possible in the drying process.
Note:- The thick and dense foods like meat take longer to dry as compared to soft food items like fruits and vegetables.
Different Types of Food Dehydrators
Food dehydrator machines come in two different styles:
1. Vertical Flow Food Dehydrators
Vertical Flow Food Dehydrators, also known as stackable food dehydrators, comes with adjustable interlocking stacked trays for the storage of food to dehydrate them. In these types of dehydrators, there comes a fan that works as a heat source and is located at the top or base of the appliance.
The positioning of the racks in these dehydrators is one over the other in such a manner that heat does not escape from the appliance. Moreover, the vertical airflow in these machines divides the warm air into each tray individually, ensuring complete and proper dehydrating of the food.
The best part is that the vertical flow food dehydrators come in a compact footprint and are very economical.
- Small and compact design saves a lot of kitchen space
- Interlocking stacked trays allows more room to add a few more trays for dehydrating more foods in one go
- Stackable trays are easy to clean and easily store when not in use
- It works great for drying vegetables and fruits
- Their capacity is not as big as horizontal flow dehydrators.
- Not work best on drying thicker foods like beef jerky, meats, etc. You need to put some extra effort by rotating the trays in between the process. It allows uniform air distribution across the trays for proper dehydrating of thick foods.
2. Horizontal Flow Food Dehydrators
The horizontal flow food dehydrators are also known as shelf food dehydrators. These look much similar to a convection oven and also work the same way, having a heat source and fan present at the back of the unit. The best part of these units is their uniform and even heat distribution that ensures proper dehydrating of food.
If you are fond of beef jerky, these types of food dehydrators are best to go with.
- It provides an even and uniform heat distribution across each tray
- Great for drying meat, chicken as well as tougher fruits and vegetables
- It takes very less time to dry foods
- More versatile as you can remove trays to make room for bigger food items
- Very easy to use
- These are expensive over vertical food dehydrators
- Take more space than vertical flow models
- You can’t add more trays to it
How to dehydrate food in a Microwave?
Yes, it is possible to dehydrate food in microwaves also. But this works good only if you have a small amount of food to dehydrate.
- For this first slice out the food items, you want to dehydrate.
- Arrange them on the glass tray. Make sure it is completely dry.
- Then set the Defrost mode and microwave it by setting the timer depending upon the food items you are going to dehydrate.
- Keep an eye on the process, and also flip the food at regular intervals for perfect results.
- For drying of herbs, the microwave takes only 2-3 minutes.
- When done, allow the dehydrated food items to cool and dry out completely on a drying rack for a few hours.
Why are Dehydrators better than ovens in dehydrating foods?
Dehydrators are always good for food drying and better than microwaves. Not all the microwaves, though certain high-end combination microwaves come with temperature and humidity control features to dry out the food completely. But still, dehydrators are the best choice for dehydrating the foods.
Food dehydrators are much more energy-efficient than microwave ovens.
Also, the temperature limits of microwave ovens fall between 150-200 degrees F that is considered too hot for drying many food items. It results in loss of flavor and nutrients too. This is where dehydrators are proving to be more effective that gives the best results with uniform and even dehydration of food items.
What to Look for Before Buying a Food Dehydrator?
Food dehydrators come in various designs; the one you choose depends on your personal preferences. It comes in either round or rectangular shape. If you are short on space, you can choose the rounded models having stack-on trays. These also come in compact and larger units that you can choose depending upon the space to store as well as the quantity of the food items you need to dehydrate in one go.
The rectangular units take a little more space, but for larger amounts of food to dry up in a short time, these are very best. Plus, the slide-out trays of these models ensures ease of use and cleaning.
Size and Capacity
How much do you prefer to dehydrate food in one go? But obviously, if you live alone or with your partner, a smaller dehydrator model would be enough for you. For large families as well as commercial usage, the bigger one with huge capacity would be ideal.
But it doesn’t mean that the bigger one will always deliver in bulk. It is better to opt for a smart design that delivers the good value of bulk as well as drying volume.
Choosing the right size and capacity of the food dehydrator also depends upon your available kitchen space. Make sure to select the dehydrator that is going to fit in the space you have.
Though the smaller models, mostly vertical flow ones, save a lot of space due to its compact and smaller footprint, for bulk dehydrating, these are not a good choice.
One more important thing if you want to dehydrate food in bulk, go for the model having stacking trays. Here you can adjust and stack trays one over another and also remove them when required; you will get more room for large batches. Some models also come with an expandable trays option. So, you can buy more trays according to your requirements and add them to the dehydrator for drying a large batch of food.
Adjustable Thermostat or Temperature Control
Many models come with the fixed temperature setting. As you know, different kinds of foods need different drying temperatures. That’s why for perfect dehydrating, we recommend you to opt for the model having variable temperature control settings. So you can easily change the temperature according to the food you want to dry.
Even heat distribution and Airflow
Even heat distribution and airflow inside the dehydrator is very much important for perfect dehydrating of foods. It is recommended to always research what manufacturers say about heat distribution and airflow for each model before you choose.
The model with a timer feature proves to be very convenient when you need to dry a food at a specific temperature for a certain amount of time. Also, food dehydrating is a time-consuming process, sometimes you literally forget about that. Here, the timer feature comes very handy, as it alerts you when the dehydrating process is over.
Auto Shut Off
If you are a multi-tasker, believe me, this feature is a great add-on. It allows the dehydrator machine to shut off automatically when the drying process is over. It is also very convenient to dry foods overnight, so they are ready to use the next day, without over-drying them.
With the fan present in the food dehydrators, some noise is obvious while the machine is in operation. And surely, this noise will bother you a lot. The noise level of each model differs from one another. Check for the decibel of the model before you buy to make sure it is as quiet as possible.
The wattage or power of the food dehydrator ensures how effectively it works. Simply, the higher wattage models heat up very fast and are more powerful in doing their job. But on the downside, they are expensive and consume more energy. On the other hand, the lower wattage models are, by the way, less expensive and consume less energy, but they take a long time to heat up. The food dehydration process is also slow in these models.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is another most important consideration before buying any appliance for your kitchen. It is advisable to opt for the one with simple features and an easy-to-use operation so that you know it better how it works? Some models require your attention during the process, while some can work well by just starting the on button.
If you are seeking for the food dehydrators for your home use, the good quality products range anywhere around $30 up to $300. So, you can choose it depending upon the features you want as well as the capacity of the unit. On the other hand, the commercial food dehydrators are priced at well over $600.
Some More Smart Features to Consider
Air Filtration System
The models having an air filtration system purifies out any dust, or allergens on the food during the dehydration process. So, it ensures you will get only healthy dehydrated food items to consume.
Digital Operation Vs. Knob Operation
Some models of the food dehydrators include wholly digital function (touch control) that offers a lot more convenience to you. These include a timer and temperature control that lets you dry the food items perfectly. You can easily set the timer and temperature settings and monitor their progress without keeping an eye on a clock. Even they also come with an alarm feature to notify you that the dehydration process is complete.
Some models are manually operated, having a manual control knob to adjust the timer and temperature. However, it requires some manual effort but reduces the chances of a malfunction that digital control panels generally do.
It is best to go for the dehydrator units having transparent doors. It allows you to monitor the progress of the food items under dehydration. Therefore, it avoids you opening the door frequently to check the progress of the food item. Moreover, frequent opening and closing of the doors variates the temperature, which in result affects the dehydration process. Having the one with transparent doors allows fast and effective food dehydration.
Interior Micro Heat Processor
If you opt for the model having an interior micro heat processor, it helps in regulating the internal temperature. Thereby, it prevents the overheating or underheating of the foods under dehydration. So, you will always get the best results.
Plastic Vs. Stainless Steel Racks
It is always better to opt for the stainless steel racks for so many reasons. These are dishwasher safe and are more safer to use over plastic trays. These are also durable, long-lasting, and withstand long when exposed to high temperatures for an extended period.
On the other hand, plastic trays are more reasonable and affordable over the stainless steel racks. These are also easy to use and clean. On the downside, they lose their shape or melt due to high temperature. Also, you can not dehydrate poultry or meat in these units as these food items require high temperatures for dehydration. These are also noisier.
Who doesn’t love to get extra pieces with the model of food dehydrator they are going to purchase. Fruit roll trays, fine mesh mats, non-stick drying sheets, replacement trays, etc. are proving to be very handy while you dehydrate a variety of food items. Some manufacturers offer these accessories free with the dehydrator, while for some, you have to pay extra to get these.
Tips and Tricks for Successful Food Dehydrating
Successful food dehydrating requires a lot of patience and practice. Though with the following tips and tricks, you will surely achieve the best results.
- Make sure to choose the right temperature and time depending upon the food you want to dehydrate as well as the type of dehydrator you choose.
- Never be in a hurry while dehydrating food. Let them dehydrate at an adequate temperature, no matter how long it takes to dehydrate. If you raise the temperature to make the process quicker, it will leave the moisture content inside of the food, making it spoil in a few days.
- Also, avoid over-drying of foods.
- For proper storage and increasing the shelf life of food items, make sure to dehydrate them at least 95 percent.
- Always choose a dry and warm place away from air vents and windows to set up your dehydrator for perfect results.
- Make sure that the food you want to dehydrate is completely dry.
- Steam all the low-acid vegetables for 10 minutes before dehydrating.
- Slice all the food items to equal size and thickness to get the best results.
- Like you do in a convection oven, make sure to turn on the dehydrator to warm it at a required temperature before adding food for dehydrating.
- All food dehydrators come with an instruction manual with specific timings and temperature settings for each ingredient. Check the instructions carefully to use it properly.
Dehydrating your own foods is far much better than the ready-made processed foods. It lets you create delicious and finger-licking snacks and foods without any added preservatives or junk. Having a food dehydrator at home ensures the food drying process is much easier and more convenient than drying in the sun.
Hoping the blog covers all the necessary details to get your preferred pick of food dehydrators to use at home. Well, the reviews we have covered for the top-rated models will surely make your purchasing decision easier. So, what are you waiting for? Pick your new food dehydrator now to enjoy healthy and delicious snacks!
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