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There is no better way to make the foods you love, last longer than dehydrating. Dehydrating foods had been a preservation method for a very long time. The process allows you to store foods without the risk of contamination from bacteria.
Not sure what foods you might want to dehydrate? Well let’s start with the obvious, jerky is the perfect way to make meat last a long time. Then there are dried fruits and veggies, and even herbs from your garden can be dehydrated.
Dehydrating foods is the great way to create a portable and healthy snack, while also preserving the taste and nutritional benefits of foods. Food dehydrators have become the go-to method for drying and preserving foods.
They are generally simple to use, and the speed up the process of dehydrating meats, fruits, veggies and herbs. For the cook that wants to get the most from their grocery list, a dehydrator is a must for cutting down on waste, especially fruits and veggies.
We’ve looked at a number of dehydrators on the market, and have created a list of our nine favorites. By far our favorite is the Excalibur 3926TB 9-Tray Electric food dehydrator. It has great options and makes dehydrating foods easy.
Our Top Choice...
Top 9 Best Food Dehydrators (2021 Reviews)
1. Best overall - Excalibur 3926TB 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator
If you’re looking for the best of the best, when it comes to food dehydrators, than an Excalibur dehydrator, is the one for you. These food dehydrators are reliable, highly functional and simple to use. All you have to do is fill the trays with food, and set the timer.
This is a big dehydrator. With 9 trays, there is plenty of space to dehydrate a variety of foods in less time than with smaller dehydrators. And while we love the fact that tons of food fit in this dehydrator, it can be a beast to store, so if you’re investing in this great dehydrator, make sure you have plenty of storage room.
With a temperature range of 105°F and 165°F, you can dehydrate a variety of foods, ranging from delicate herbs to jerky. This dehydrator doesn’t go as low as some other models, so you’ll want to adjust the drying time to compensate.
This dehydrator features a large, back mounted, 7-inch fan. This fan provides plenty of airflow that is distributed evenly through the unit. This means that you don’t have to worry about unevenly dried foods, or the pain of moving trays around to get even drying.
The 9 nine trays stack easily and provide you with plenty of space to keep foods separated, which is important for even drying.
The trays and mesh inserts are designed to make clean-up easy with this dehydrator. All of the trays dishwasher safe, and the flexible mesh inserts, while not dishwasher safe, allow you to easily dump dried foods into containers, and clean up with just a quick wipe down. The interior of this dehydrator cleans up easily with a washcloth.
In short, if being able to dehydrate large amounts of food is a high priority for you, the Excalibur 3926TB 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator is the clear winner.
The simplicity of the controls
9 BPA free drying trays with flexible mesh inserts
Large amount of cooking area
Stress-Free 10 year warranty
The noise level is high
Takes up a bit of room on the counter
2. Runner up - COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine
Not as large as our previous model, the COSORI food dehydrator is a great option, despite the smaller size. With 6 drying trays, this dehydrator still provides plenty of space for drying a variety of foods. And with a sleek design, this dehydrator will look great on your countertop.
This dehydrator is easy to use, and comes with a detailed user’s manual that includes simple instructions and recipes for making healthy snacks and treats. The easy to set timer provides a 48-hour maximum drying time and 30-minute timer increments so you can create the perfect drying program for a variety of foods.
This is a really quite dehydrator and can be set to run at night without disturbing your sleep. The temperature range of 95°F to 165°F, allows you to dehydrate everything from herbs to jerky. And the trays are dishwasher safe, so clean up is quick and easy
Easy to set up, program and operate
Stainless steel looks good on counter
Very low noise
Simple cleanup- dishwasher safe trays
Could use a few more fruit leather trays
3. Best for Beginners - Chefman Food Dehydrator Machine
The Chefman Digital Food Dehydrator is the perfect dehydrator for beginners. It is easy to use, and has 14 preset temperature and timer controls for error free dehydrating.
With 6, large adjustable trays, this dehydrator has plenty of space for any foods that you want to dry. This dehydrator has a temperature range of 95°F to165°F, allowing you the option to dry delicate foods like herbs or safely dry meats at higher temperatures.
You can even make your own yogurt or dried pasta in this dehydrator!
Ease of Use. Simple and precise programming
Durable and safe to use
The window to check on food
Door is delicate
Longer cook times
4. Best Stackable - Presto 06301 Dehydro Digital Electric Food Dehydrator
The Presto food dehydrator is our pick for the best stackable dehydrator. With ample capacity for plenty of foods, this dehydrator also has a small footprint for easy storage in cabinets or on the counter-top.
This dehydrator features a bottom fan, which is great for providing consistent and even airflow, for the best drying results, without having to move trays. The Presto dehydrator also features a broad temperature range (90°-165°F) for versatile food options. It’s a simple device for steam drying food within minutes.
The six drying trays, two fruit roll sheets and mesh screens are all dishwasher safe, so once you’re done dehydrating your tasty treats, clean- up is quick and simple.
Easy to program
Small footprint on counter
It's even heat circulation due to fan location
Versatile. Expands up to 12 trays
A tad too noisy
5. Best Professional - Magic Mill MFD-6100 Professional Dehydrator Machine
If you are looking for a high quality food dehydrator that takes you to the next level in food drying, then the Magic Mill food dehydrator is your answer. This dehydrator leaves behind the plastic trays and uses durable, heavy-duty stainless steel. Each tray comes with a fine mesh tray that holds even tiny herbs and seeds.
The stackable trays are adjustable so you can fit foods of all sizes. And the rear mounted fan provides even airflow distribution for consistent drying results, throughout the dehydrator. This is a larger dehydrator so it’s perfect for home gardeners, or for the fruit and veggie lover that doesn’t want good food to go to waste. Fruits like cherries can easily be stored for future use.
This dehydrator has a temperature range of 95°F to158°F, and an easy to set programmable timer, which is perfect for drying all of your favorite herbs, fruits and veggies. It may not be the best option if you are looking for a dehydrator for making jerky, since the high temperature is not quite enough for safe meat handling.
All of the trays that come with this dehydrator, including the mesh trays are removable and dishwasher safe, for easy, hassle free clean-up.
6. Best Value - Hamilton Beach 32100A Digital Food Dehydrator
If you’re looking to try out a dehydrator, and want an option that is easy to use, has plenty of features, and isn’t too hard on the budget, then the Hamilton Beach food dehydrator is your answer.
This compact, value dehydrator comes from a trusted name in kitchen appliances, so you know that it will be easy to use, and long-lasting.
This dehydrator features five, stacking trays that give you plenty of space to dehydrate a variety of foods. It has a compact footprint so it is easy to store and won’t take up a ton of space on your kitchen counters.
This dehydrator also comes with a solid, flexible insert for making homemade fruit rolls, which are a healthy snack alternative for your kids.
The Hamilton Beach dehydrator has a constant airflow feature which provides ample drying without having to move trays around. The easy to program timer has a variety of program options, and a temperature range of 100°F to 160°F making it perfect for dehydrating fruits, veggies, herbs and even meats.
Easy to use and program
A 48 hour timer gives plenty of time
Versatile easy to clean trays
Less precise heat distribution
It is a bit noisy for its size
7. Best Budget - Commercial Chef CCD100W6 Compact Dehydrator
Just because you’re on a budget, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to enjoy the benefits of a food dehydrator. The Commercial Chef compact dehydrator is a great option at a great price.
The small but spacious dehydrator stores easily, takes up minimal space on your countertop, but has more than enough room for what you need to dry.
This dehydrator is simple to use, and has more basic controls than many of the other dehydrators we’ve looked at. Simply fill the dehydrator trays with food, turn the temperature knob, and you’re on your way to healthy, dried fruits and veggies.
The temperature range of this dehydrator is a bit narrower than others, so you’ll need to adjust drying times for foods like herbs and meats. However, for the money, you can’t beat the Commercial Chef when it comes to features, reliability and affordability.
Simple, easy to operate
Lightweight but durable
Great, affordable dehydrator for your first one
No added accessories
Small batch drying only
8. Best Expandable - Nesco FD-1040 Gardenmaster Food dehydrator
While the Gardenmaster food dehydrator only comes with 4 trays, it’s not limited by this feature. The Gardenmaster from Nesco is our pick for the most expandable dehydrator because you can easily purchase extra trays, and it holds up to a whopping 20 trays at one time. This dehydrator gives you the most flexibility of the ones we’ve reviewed, from the capacity standpoint.
The top mounted fan provides good airflow and even drying. And with a temperature range of 90°F to160°F, there is plenty of opportunity to dry herbs to jerky, with ease.
Really easy to load and unload food
1000 watts of power
Expandable up to 20 trays
Is made of BPA free plastic
Its louder than others
Only comes with 4 trays
9. Best High-End - Tribest Sedona Express SDE-S6780-B Digital Food Dehydrator
Our final offering for food dehydrators is the Tribest Sedona Express. It is our pick for those people that don’t mind spending extra cash for a quality product. If budget isn’t a factor for you, this 11-tray dehydrator is the perfect option for your kitchen. Made from stainless steel, this compact but spacious dehydrator provides plenty of capacity for all of your dehydrating needs.
This dehydrator comes with the largest temperature range of all of the dehydrators we reviewed. It perfectly dries delicate herbs to perfection, but also makes great jerky, using the USDA recommendation for safe meat drying.
The easy to use control panel provides ample options for time and temperature, including pre-programed options, and sensor that protects against over-drying. This dehydrator is the only one we found that even has a light for easier viewing of your foods.
Stylish look and quiet operation
A transparent glass door and internal LED light are clear and bright
The compact design to fits in any kitchen
The 10 Year Warranty is the best on the market
Some sticking on trays
It is a bit pricey
Dehydrators are a great way to make healthy snacks, and can help your family cut down on food waste. After testing and reviewing, our favorite food dehydrator is the Excalibur 3926TB 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator.
It’s easy to use, has plenty of capacity and provides even drying. Its programmable timer lets you dehydrate your favorite foods overnight or while you’re away from home. It’s a great appliance for your kitchen.
If the Excalibur isn’t the right dehydrator for you, hopefully our handy buying suggestions, and other picks will lead you in the right direction.
That way, you’ll be making tasty jerky and healthy snacks for you and your family very soon.
It is also essential to take note that different fruits need to be prepared first. For example, you need to peel off the skin of a pineapple or a mango before they go to the dehydrator. Peeling can be done manually using a knife, but there are also convenient ways like using an apple peeler and corer to prepare apples.
Let us know if you have any questions or comments so we can help steer you in the right direction.
How to Choose the Best Food Dehydrator
If you want to make home made preserved foods and in the market for a food dehydrator, we’ve put together a list of considerations for buying. These will make picking the best food dehydrator for your needs, a piece of cake.
There are two size factors that you should consider. Total size and interior capacity. First we’ll discuss total size. When you’re shopping for a food dehydrator, think about the space you have in your kitchen and for storage. Don’t get a dehydrator that is so big that it won’t be easy to store or is too much to move around. Rectangular dehydrators are easier to store, and frankly have a larger dehydrator capacity.
If you have the space, a larger capacity dehydrator will save you time. If you dehydrate lots of food, invest in a larger unit. However, if you only work in small batches, or have a tiny kitchen, a small unit will work great too.
Sure, you can save some cash by purchasing the most basic dehydrator on the market. But we think it’s worth a little extra cash to buy one with a programmable timer. You can set it, and forget it, so to speak. Programmable timers allow you to avoid over drying your foods, and you can let them work when you’re sleeping or at work.
Look for dehydrators that have a larger temperature range. A dehydrator that will go below 100 degrees Fahrenheit for delicate foods like herbs and a high temperature up to 160 degrees, for meats is our preference. This gives you more options for foods and more control.
Look for dehydrators that have good reviews for drying consistency. The most consistent models will have plenty of trays, so you can spread out your foods.
Ease of use
Look for models that go together and come apart easily. Also, look for dehydrators that clean up easily. Ease of use also means that you don’t need a Ph.D. to program the thing. So look for intuitive and easy to use controls.
Making jerky is a bit different than just drying fruits and veggies. So look for dehydrators for beef jerky because not all dehydrators are equipped to make jerky. If this is a priority for you, make sure that the model you select is capable of making jerky.
Looking for other way to process your food? Check our list of the best food mill to mashing and sieving fruits and vegetables.