Sometimes, food tastes just as good dried, if not better. Dried mangoes? Beef jerky? Forget about it. They’re excellent as non-perishable road snacks and perfect for packing in your backpack on a long hike or backpacking trip. The problem with dried foods of all kinds from the store? They can contain all kinds of sugars and preservatives in them, which sort of defeat the purpose of eating a “healthy” snack in the first place. Thankfully, there are at-home food dehydrators you can use to create your own healthy snacks at home without all that unnecessary junk.
Food dehydrators are easy-to-use, convenient kitchen appliances that not only make delicious, dried fruits and other snacks, they can also help dry herbs from your garden, or preserve leftover produce so it doesn’t go to waste. Typically, they consist of a large chamber you put your food in and temperature and time controls that let you customize the drying process to your liking. Many of them operate quietly and are easy to store as well. Keep reading for a few factors to consider before purchasing your food dehydrator, as well as some of our favorite food dehydrators of 2022.
What to Consider Before Purchasing a Food Dehydrator
Before you select the best food dehydrator for your kitchen, here are some things you should consider:
- Temperature range
- Noise level
If you don’t need to dehydrate a lot of food, or you don’t think you’ll be doing it too often, a small and affordable option like the Hamilton Beach or Presto food dehydrators are great options. Each has a small footprint and is cost-effective. For larger dehydrating needs, look for something with at least seven or more trays like the Excalibur 9-tray Food Dehydrator.
Food dehydrators with a wide temperature range can dehydrate a variety of foods. Temperatures around 95 to 105 degrees are great for safely dehydrating herbs while higher temps around 165 are great for dehydrating meat safely and efficiently.
Timers are a great way to ensure your food doesn’t get too dried out. If the food dehydrator doesn’t have a timer, or an automatic shut-off, you will need to watch your food throughout the process to prevent over-drying.
The Best Food Dehydrators For Sale in 2022
When you’re ready to extend your food’s shelf life, reduce food waste, and create snack foods that are actually healthy for you, a food dehydrator is the right kitchen appliance for the job.
Below you’ll find our recommendations for the best food dehydrators for sale in 2022:
1. Nesco Gardenmaster
Food dehydration can be a lengthy and involved process. But the Nesco Gardenmaster dehydrates food quickly and doesn’t require rotating the trays to get full and even dehydration. Dehydrate herbs and spices safely at 95 degrees Fahrenheit, or quickly make jerky at 160 degrees. Plus, it comes with eight dishwasher-safe trays that include a fruit roll-up tray and trays for herbs, fruit and meat to provide users with plenty of dehydrating variety and versatility. This dehydrator is consistent, convenient and affordable.
2. COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator
It’s safe to say the Cosori Premium Food Dehydrator is a fan favorite. This dehydrator boasts an impressive 4.8-star approval rating with over 3,000 ratings, although some users have complained about how easily it stains. If you want to dry meat at the maximum setting, it can struggle to maintain 160-degree temperatures. However, the easy controls, timer and auto-shutoff feature, combined with the transparent front door, make this appliance one of the best food dehydrators for beginners. It even has a memory function to quickly dehydrate at the push of a button. It’s also quiet, which many aren’t. Sure, it’s more expensive than our best overall, but you can’t go wrong with either the Gardenmaster or this Cosori food dehydrator.
3. NutriChef Food Dehydrator
NutriChef is another affordable no-frills option. Plug it in, turn it on, and it’s ready to go. This also means you’ll need to watch your food a little closer since there isn’t an automatic shutoff feature. But unlike the Presto Dehydro, the temperature is adjustable and can reach up to 180 degrees to quickly dehydrate meats like jerky, so there is some temperature versatility here. It comes with five stackable racks to dehydrate plenty of food in one session. And for only $50, it’s a decent investment even if you only dehydrate food every so often.
4. Hamilton Beach Digital Food Dehydrator
Although it’s compact, it can still dehydrate plenty of food in one session thanks to five dehydrating racks. A fine mesh sheet is great for drying herbs and small foods, and a solid sheet can be used for making fruit roll-ups. Along with tray variety is an abundance of additional features such as a digital 100 to 160 degree Fahrenheit thermometer and an adjustable 48-hour timer. When the timer goes off, the machine automatically shuts off so food doesn’t overdry. This is food dehydrating made simple and affordable.
5. Excalibur 9-Tray Food Dehydrator
When five or six tray dehydrators aren’t going to cut it, the Excalibur 9-tray Food Dehydrator answers your large capacity needs. The adjustable temperature ranges from 105 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and evenly distributes heat around the 15 total feet of dehydrating space (that’s a lot of area for food). This large food dehydrator can cut down the amount of times you need to dehydrate food per week or month, saving you a lot of time and effort in the long run.
6. Nesco Snackmaster Pro
Just over a foot tall and a foot wide, this food dehydrator doesn’t take up much real estate in your kitchen, but still has enough space for five dehydrating trays. That being said, it can be expanded to hold up to 12, making it a much taller dehydrator, and giving users more space for larger batches. It’s simple to use — close the lid and select the temperature. There’s even a helpful guide on the lid to let you know what temperature is best for certain types of food. If you want something a little smaller and cheaper than our best overall pick, this is a solid option.
7. Tribest Sedona Express
This is like the Rolls Royce of home food dehydrators. It has a massive capacity that can fit 11 dehydrator trays to dehydrate a lot of food in a single session. All of the controls are digital making it simple to set the time and temperature. Speaking of temperature, the 75 to 167 Fahrenheit range is the widest temperature range compared to all others in this list. So, what’s the catch? Like a Rolls Royce, you’re going to shell out a hefty chunk of change for this food dehydrator.
8. Elite Gourmet Food Dehydrator
ADJUSTABLE TEMPERATURE RANGE
This Elite Gourmet food dehydrator is a smaller version of the large capacity one above, and has a wide temperature range from 95 degrees Fahrenheit all the way up to 158 degrees Fahrenheit, so that foods can be dehydrated at their optimal temperature and airflow distributes the heat evenly. The food dehydrator has a base mounted fan that promotes even drying across the platform, and the large viewing window enables you to watch the drying process in action. It’s been safety tested for home use and the removable parts are all dishwasher safe.
9. COSORI 5 Tray Food Dehydrator
BEST SAFETY FEATURES
This food dehydrator from COSORI comes with five BPA-free trays for drying foods as well as a mesh screen, fruit roll sheet, and a bunch of recipes to try. It’s got a digital timer and adjustable temperature controls that make it easy for beginners to find the ideal range. It runs quietly in the background, and comes with safety features like automatic shut off and overheat protection in case things get too toasty. It’s also easy to clean and has a memory function that remembers your previous settings, so you can easily make the same recipes again and again.
10. Commercial Chef Food Dehydrator
This food dehydrator from Commercial Chef takes it back to basics, with one simple dial that controls the entire machine, and five layers of translucent trays so you can track the progress of your dried goods. It’s designed to remove moisture while locking in flavors, and is equipped with 280 watts of drying power so it can handle everything from fruits to vegetables, meats and even herbs. It weighs only 3 pounds and is super easy to store and clean.
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How We Chose the Best Food Dehydrators
Our home and kitchen writers have tested and reviewed air fryers, kitchen knives, juicers, sous vides, and tons more kitchen gadgets. When selecting the best food dehydrators for your kitchen, we examined the five criteria listed above: size, temperature range, timer/auto-shutoff features, noise level and wattage. Where specific appliances fall short of their promises, we detailed cons and complaints to help you make the right decision. Finally, we looked at the number and quality of the racks provided with each appliance, as these components are critical to proper functioning.