Foods like dehydrated fruit and beef jerky from the store are fantastic for healthy snacking at home, camping, long hikes and road trips. But what you don’t realize is all the preservatives and added sugars in what you think are these “healthy” snacks. The best way to actually get healthy dehydrated fruit and jerky is a DIY approach using a food dehydrator.
A food dehydrator is an amazing kitchen appliance that can make healthy beef jerky, dried fruit, fruit leather and foods like potato chips without all the oil, and salt. It’s even great for taking those spices from your garden and drying them out so they don’t go to waste. Speaking of not wasting — the dehydrating process helps preserve food for long periods of time, so all those apples, tomatoes and bananas from your local market, garden or grocery store won’t go to waste, either.
Food Dehydrators: What To Consider
Before you select the best food dehydrator for your kitchen, here are some things you should consider:
- Temperature range
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 2020
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 2021:
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 includes 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. That’s an impressive feat. What’s also impressive is the convenient digital timer allowing you to dehydrate food for specific times. 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. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Presto 06300 Dehydro
PLUG AND PLAY
The Presto Dehydro is the definition of simple. Plug it in and watch it dehydrate. This no frills machine has a preset temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit and no on/off button — if it’s plugged in, it’s on. It’s compact for easy storage and easy to clean thanks to dehydrating racks that are dishwasher safe. Plus, it’s really affordable. Sure, there isn’t a lot of versatility here, but the easy operation and price makes it a great option for novice dehydrators — just keep an eye on your food.
7. 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.
8. 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.