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The Best Food Dehydrators

Last updated on May 8, 2024
food dehydrators

Our Review Process

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Our Picks For The Top Dehydrators

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

COSORI Stainless Steel Food Dehydrator Machine

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Stainless Steel Food Dehydrator Machine

This food dehydrator has a stainless steel housing that allows it to stand up to plenty of use. It looks great on most any countertop and operates with quiet efficiency. There are several temperature control and safety features, all of which are easy to navigate.

Overall Take

Sturdy, Usable DesignWith steel housing and a host of features, this model was built to last.

 Works Quickly

NESCO FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator


FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator

Create healthy snacks for the entire family using this high-quality food dehydrator. The unit comes with four trays, but home chefs can purchase additional trays, as the unit can accommodate up to 12 at a time. The temperature control adjusts from 95 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing you to dry everything from meats to fruits to herbs.

Overall Take

Dries FasterSince this food dehydrator has a 600-watt motor, it's able to dry your foods much more quickly.

 Runner Up

Hamilton Beach 32100A Stackable Clear Lid Dehydrator

Hamilton Beach

Stackable Clear Lid Dehydrator

Thanks to its ease of use, this food dehydrator is a great choice for beginners. It has a powerful 500-watt motor and five trays for drying everything from strawberries to beef jerky. The digital thermostat is fully adjustable and the timer can be set for up to 48 hours.

Overall Take

Affordable OptionThis food dehydrator has a budget-friendly price tag.

 We Also Like

Nesco Gardenmaster Pro Expandable Food Dehydrator


Gardenmaster Pro Expandable Food Dehydrator

The Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator's expandable design means you can squeeze in a large quantity of food without taking up storage space in your home. The 1,000 watts of power also pushes air evenly over food, ensuring quick, even drying that takes hours, not days. One downside: You can't remove the trays and use the dehydrator to proof bread o...

Overall Take

Expands EasilyAn expandable design with 1,000 watts of power makes this dehydrator a top pick.

Buying Guide

Everyone seems to be trying to eat a little healthier these days. But some of the best foods have a very limited shelf life. It’s frustrating to spend your hard-earned money at the grocery store, only to have it go bad within a few days of purchase. If you have your own garden, you may find that your kitchen is overloaded with produce during the warm months, but find yourself missing those foods when it’s cold outside.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

The first thing you’ll likely think about when considering a dehydrator is size. You probably already have limited counter space, so you’ll need a place to store your appliance when it’s not in use. You may also worry that it will end up stuck in the corner of your closet or pantry, gathering dust. There are some food dehydrators that are smaller in size than you may expect, so shop the different models before assuming you’ll have a space waster.

Even some smaller dehydrators pack a surprising amount of space for dehydrating. You’ll find it’s all in the number of shelves since stacking foods is the key to squeezing more in. The larger the capacity, the more food you can dry at once, which saves time. But if you’re dehydrating different types of foods, you’ll also want to make sure that the unit doesn’t allow juices to drip to the trays below, combining flavors. You don’t want that stack of citrus fruit to drip into your shelf of cabbage.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Cleanup is also an important factor in a dehydrator. Some have shelves you can simply slip out and insert into the dishwasher, while others require hand washing. You may also want to check for a non-stick finish on the shelves of the unit you’re considering since that will make a big difference when you’re cleaning.

Controls are also important in a dehydrator. Some have no timer, which means you’ll pretty much have to babysit your food. Others have an automatic shut-off so that when your food reaches the end of its drying, you don’t have to worry about being nearby to cut the power. This is a safety feature that can make a big difference.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Speaking of safety, BPA is a concern for some consumers. Since your food will be directly touching the shelving, you may want to search for a dehydrator that promises BPA-free construction.

What to Look For

  • The biggest differentiator with the Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator and Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator is their design. Unlike other dehydrators, those two models have an expandable, stacked setup that allows them to dry multiple layers of food in a small space. It’s a unique, almost spiral look that makes it easy to insert items.
  • The build of a dehydrator makes a big difference in how it works. The Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator uses 1,000 watts of power and a setup that ensures food dries quickly and evenly. You don’t have to worry about rearranging trays throughout the process. Like the Nesco Gardenmaster, the Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator features an expandable design that accommodates levels of food without adding bulk. But the Snackmaster Pro only has 600 watts of power.
  • The Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator uses something called Hyperwave Fluctuation technology, which involves maintaining a low temperature to ensure foods retain their enzymes without the spoilage you see when they aren’t dehydrated. Horizontal airflow means that food dries evenly and brings fast results.
  • It’s important to consider the types of food you’ll be dehydrating before you buy. If your plans include drying out chunky items like beef, you’ll need a dehydrator with enough space between trays. The design of the Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator and Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator mean you’re limited on the height of each item. You also won’t be able to use it to proof bread. The Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator, on the other hand, has removable trays that let you proof bread, dry flowers and even make yogurt. This can add an element of versatility to your dehydrator that may have you using it more often.
  • Capacity is also important. The Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator provides 15 square feet of drying space. That beats the Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator, which features up to 12 square feet of drying space if you purchase extra trays. However, the Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator can expand up to accommodate up to 30 trays, so if you’re interested in drying bulk amounts of food at a time, that might be the best model for you.
  • With a timer, you can set your dehydrator to work and focus on other things. The Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator and Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator don’t come with a timer. The Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator has a timer that you can set for up to 26 hours. Once you reach the end of that timeframe, the unit will shut off.
  • One downside to the Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator is that it doesn’t have an on/off button, which means you’ll have to unplug the entire unit when you’re finished.
  • Although you can make foods like dehydrated yogurt in the Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator, you’ll need a special solid mat, which you’ll have to purchase separately.
  • One common issue with dehydrators is dripping liquid. The Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator keeps that from happening, which means you can dry a wide variety of foods without worrying about flavors blending.
  • Dehydrators range widely in price. No matter which one you choose, you’re sure to find one to fit your budget.
  • Once your food is done, you’ll have to worry about cleanup. The Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator and Nesco’s dehydrators must be hand washed.
  • If you’re going for a hand-washable dehydrator, the Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator’s trays have a nonstick surface that makes them easy to clean. Nesco’s dehydrators have trays made of fine mesh that may require a little extra scrubbing. The good news is, non-stick dehydrator drying sheets are available that will save cleanup time.
  • For those who are limited on storage, the Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator and Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator both have space-saving designs. The Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator, on the other hand, is bulky and heavy, weighing in at 22 pounds.
  • Although many kitchen appliances are noisy, a dehydrator runs for hours at a time, so the noise factor can become a nuisance.
  • For those who are new to dehydrating or just want to get some ideas on different foods to try, a recipe book can come in handy. Both the Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator and Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator come with large recipe books. You’ll also receive some fruit roll sheets and jerky spice packets to get you started.
  • Many consumers are concerned about bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical contained in some plastics.
  • If warranty matters, you may want to stick with the Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator, which covers you with a 10-year warranty. The Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator and Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator only provide one year of coverage.
  • If you plan to dry meat to make jerky, allow extra time. Whereas you might find items like fruits complete in 10 hours, meat can take an extra couple of hours to finish. It’s also important to note that some are disappointed that their dried meat doesn’t have the smoky flavor you get when you purchase jerky from a retailer. That flavor comes from drying meat in a smoker, not a dehydrator.

More to Explore

Should you get a food dehydrator

From dried strawberries to beef jerky, food dehydrators can save you time, money and energy, and who couldn’t benefit from getting a little help in the kitchen from time to time? While we know this small appliance probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about picking up a new kitchen appliance there are multiple ways to use a food dehydrator and tons of perks to having one on hand.

If your first thought about buying a food dehydrator is “what about just using your oven?” Unfortunately, depending on the age of your oven, there’s a chance it might not offer the ability to set it to the same low temperatures that a dehydrator can reach, such as 140 degrees. You really do need a dehydrator.

Aside from making the usual go-to items like fruit leather, these mini workhorses are powerful little wizards that can help you make homemade potpourri, dried pasta and breathe crispy life back into stale cookies and crackers. If you’re curious how one might fit into your life, here are seven food dehydrator benefits to consider.

Extend The Life Of Your Produce

Ever reach for an apple only to see it’s got a big soft spot on it? Frustrating, I know! Dehydrators use circulated low-level heat to extract moisture in food, which helps prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and year. This small but mighty act extends the shelf life by months. Packaged dried fruits and jerky are also costly, so doing it yourself is a double-win.

Buying fruits and vegetables in bulk when they are in season (and then dehydrating them!) can also help you keep more hard-earned dollars in your pocket.

Get Out Of A Food Rut

When moisture is pulled out of food, flavor intensifies. Fruits become sweeter, and herbs become brighter. Make granola exactly how you like it, or if you have a sweet tooth, you can create your own nutrient-dense dried berry mix or coconut-mango topping to sprinkle on yogurt.

Cut Back On Food Waste

The longer food stays fresh, the greater the chance that you’ll be able to eat it. If you tend to overbuy food, a dehydrator can help stretch your food budget by ensuring items don’t go to waste. Since dehydrators use less electricity than a traditional oven, they can also save you on energy costs.

Make Homemade Preserved Food

If you’ve ever taken a minute to read the ingredient list on a package of dried mangos or bananas, you already know that it can be hard to find options where sugar, oil or preservatives haven’t been added. When dehydrating food at home, you can keep the ingredient list limited to only one ingredient.

Go Beyond The Basics

Sure, you can dehydrate most fruits and vegetables (except for olives and avocados), but did you also know that you ferment yogurt, make dog treats and re-crisp stale crackers with this handy little device? Additionally, you can dry fresh pasta and create DIY art projects, like paper mache, with the little ones in your life.

Have Versatile Food Options

Food dehydrators can be the perfect companion to the all-or-nothing home cook. The beauty of these devices is that you can dry multiple items simultaneously, which is perfect if you’d like to stock up. Whether you spend one weekend a month or a quarter preserving meats and the like, it will pay for itself tenfold right out of the gate.

Create a Well-Stocked Pantry

A lot of things can be dehydrated. And we mean a lot. Aside from the obvious fruit options, like strawberries, bananas and apples, there are also protein options, like beef, chicken and salmon, herbs, beans, pasta entrees and more. Having a well-stocked pantry with whole-food ingredients can help you feel more prepared to cook on a whim. Plus, it can help you save money in the long run.

Pro tip: Evenly cut food into small pieces and make sure to leave space on the tray before dehydrating. If you prefer a chewy texture, dehydrate for a shorter amount of time.

by Emily O’Brien

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