best food dehydrators

Best Food Dehydrators: Preserving Flavor and Nutrition

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Get Smarter On Architecture and Design

Get the 3-minute weekly newsletter keeping 5K+ designers in the loop.

Enter your Email to Sign up

Side-bar-footer-forum

Food dehydration is a time-honored technique that has gained significant popularity recently due to its ability to preserve various foods' flavor, nutrition, and longevity. With many available options, selecting the right food dehydrator can be overwhelming. Our article will explore the best food dehydrators, considering their features, functionality, ease of use, and overall performance. Whether you're a seasoned food dehydrating enthusiast or a beginner looking to explore the world of dried foods, we've got you covered.

Let's get started!

When formulating a list of the best food dehydrators, we began with the COSORI Food Dehydrator for Jerky because of its generous drying space that provides 16.2 square feet of surface area across 10 stainless steel trays. We selected the NESCO FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrators for our second selection because it has valuable accessories such as two fruit roll sheets and two clean-a-screens. For our third-best dehydrator, we chose the Hamilton Beach Digital Food Dehydrator because it has five spacious trays, providing ample space for drying different food items simultaneously.

What Is a Food Dehydrator?

A food dehydrator is a kitchen appliance used to remove moisture from various types of food, such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, and meat, by circulating hot air around them. The dehydration process preserves the food by inhibiting the growth of bacteria, yeast, and mold, which require moisture to thrive.

By removing moisture, a food dehydrator concentrates the flavors of the food while extending its shelf life. Dehydrated foods are lightweight and compact and retain the most nutritional value, making them convenient for storage, backpacking, camping, and snacking.

Food dehydrators are versatile appliances that offer a practical and healthy way to preserve food, enhance flavors, and create various homemade snacks and ingredients.

1. COSORI Food Dehydrator for Jerky

COSORI Food Dehydrator for Jerky, with 16.2ft² Drying...
  • LARGE CAPACITY & STAINLESS STEEL: 10 stainless steel trays...
  • EVEN HEAT DISTRIBUTION: The rear-mounted fan dehydrates food more...
  • FOOD VERSATILITY: Precise temperature control lets you make beef...
  • EASY TO USE: The digital control panel has 4 precise one-touch...
  • SUITABLE FOR EVERYONE: Whether you love long-lasting snacks for...

The COSORI Food Dehydrator for Jerky is a versatile and powerful kitchen appliance designed to efficiently dehydrate foods such as herbs, fruits, meats, and yogurt. With ample drying space, precise temperature control, and a convenient timer, this dehydrator offered me a convenient way to preserve and enjoy my favorite foods.

Image credit: amazon.com

One of the standout features of the COSORI Food Dehydrator is its generous drying space, providing a total of 16.2 square feet of surface area across 10 steel trays. This ample space allowed me to dehydrate large quantities of food simultaneously, making it suitable for small-scale home use and more extensive food preservation projects.

The dehydrator has a powerful 1000W heating element, ensuring quick and efficient drying of various food items. The adjustable temperature control feature allows you to set the desired temperature between 95°F and 165°F (35°C to 73.9°C) to suit the specific requirements of different foods. This temperature range covers various drying needs, from gentle dehydration for herbs and delicate fruits to higher temperatures suitable for meat jerky.

The inclusion of a 48-hour digital timer adds convenience to the dehydrating process. You can set the desired drying time, and the dehydrator will automatically shut off once the timer reaches zero. This feature lets you start the dehydration process and continue with other tasks without constant monitoring.

Pros:

  • Sleek design.
  • Convenient timer.
  • Ample drying space.
  • Powerful and efficient.
  • Recipe book included.
  • Adjustable temperature control.

Cons:

  • No Wi-Fi or app connectivity.
  • Limited temperature range.
  • No Built-in air filtration.

2. NESCO FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrators

NESCO FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator, For...
  • EVEN HEAT DISTRIBUTION: 600 watts of drying power provides even...
  • ADJUSTABLE TEMPERATURE CONTROL: The adjustable temperature...
  • EXPANDABLE TO 12 TRAYS: Comes with five (13 1/2″ diameter)...
  • EXPANDABLE TO 12 TRAYS: Comes with five (13 1/2″ diameter)...
  • ACCESSORIES INCLUDED: (2) Fruit Roll Sheet, (2) Clean-A-Screens,...

The NESCO Dehydrator is a versatile kitchen appliance designed for drying and preserving various types of food. Whether you want to create healthy snacks, preserve fruits, or make your beef jerky, this dehydrator offers a convenient and efficient way. The sleek gray appliance added a modern touch to my kitchen countertop.

Image credit: amazon.com

One of the critical features of the NESCO FD-75A is its expandable design. The dehydrator includes five trays as a standard but can be expanded up to 12, providing a generous drying space. Each tray has a spacious surface area of 13.5 inches in diameter, allowing you to dehydrate a substantial amount of food at once. The trays are made of durable, BPA-free plastic and are dishwasher safe, making them easy to clean.

In addition to the standard trays, the NESCO Dehydrator comes with useful accessories such as two fruit roll sheets and two clean-a-screens. The fruit roll sheets were ideal for making homemade fruit leather and roll-ups, while the clean-a-screens were perfect for drying smaller items like herbs and spices.

The Snackmaster Pro utilizes a patented Converga-Flow drying system, ensuring an even heat distribution throughout the unit. This system eliminates the need to rotate the trays during drying, as the hot air is forced horizontally across each tray. It also prevents flavor mixing so that I can dehydrate different types of food simultaneously without any taste transfer.

Pros:

  • Versatility.
  • Expandable design.
  • Adjustable thermostat.
  • Even heat distribution.
  • User-friendly operation.

Cons:

  • No timer feature.
  • No on/off switch.
  • Limited temperature range.

3. Hamilton Beach Digital Food Dehydrators

Sale
Hamilton Beach Digital Food Dehydrator for Fruit and...
  • 48 hour timer with auto shutoff and clear lid so you can easily...
  • Adjustable digital thermostat lets you adjust drying temperature...
  • Continuous airflow provides even drying
  • Five stackable drying trays and powerful 500 watts
  • Includes one fine-mesh sheet for drying small food like herbs and...

The Hamilton Beach Digital Food Dehydrator is a versatile and efficient kitchen appliance designed to dehydrate various types of food, such as fruits, jerky, vegetables, and more. With its adjustable temperature settings, timer function, and auto-shutoff feature, this dehydrator offers convenient and precise drying process control.

Image credit: amazon.com

Featuring a sleek grey design, the Hamilton Beach Digital Food Dehydrator has five spacious trays, providing ample space for drying different food items simultaneously. The trays are stackable, allowing for efficient use of space while ensuring even drying throughout.

One of the notable features of this dehydrator is its adjustable temperature control. It allowed me to choose the ideal temperature for different types of food, ensuring optimal results. Whether I want to dry delicate fruits or jerky, I can set the temperature according to the specific requirements of my food items.

The dehydrator also includes a 48-hour timer, providing flexibility and convenience. You can set the desired drying time and let the dehydrator do its job while you attend to other tasks. Once the set time is reached, the auto shutoff feature kicks in, ensuring that your food doesn't over-dry and helping to prevent any potential safety hazards.

Pros:

  • Adjustable temperature.
  • User-friendly operation.
  • Stackable trays.
  • Timer function.
  • Auto shutoff.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Versatile.

Cons:

  • Noisy operation.
  • Limited tray capacity.
  • Lack of extra accessories.

4. OSTBA Food Dehydrators

Sale
OSTBA Food Dehydrator, Dehydrator for Food and Jerky,...
  • User-friendly: The food dehydrator is designed with simple...
  • Adjustable Temperature 96-158℉ control the Food Dryer...
  • 5 Food-Grade Trays: The dehydrator for food and jerky comes with...
  • Easy to Clean & Compact Design: Dishwasher-Safe trays and...
  • OSTBA Support & Services: Please contact us for support if you...

The OSTBA Food Dehydrator is a versatile and efficient appliance designed to help you preserve and dehydrate various food items such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, and jerky. Its temperature control and electric food drying capabilities offer a convenient way to extend the shelf life of your favorite ingredients while retaining their nutritional value and flavors.

Image credit: amazon.com

Featuring a compact design and 5 BPA-free plastic trays, this dehydrator provides ample space to dehydrate large batches of food. The trays are dishwasher safe, making it easy to clean up after use. Additionally, the dehydrator operates at a power of 240W, ensuring quick and efficient drying.

One of the key highlights of the OSTBA Food Dehydrator is its temperature control feature. It allowed me to adjust the temperature settings between 95°F and 158°F (35°C to 70°C), giving me precise control over the drying process. This versatility enabled me to dehydrate different types of food at their optimal temperature for the best results.

The dehydrator's electric food drying mechanism utilizes a fan and heating element to circulate warm air evenly across the trays. This ensures consistent drying and eliminates the need for manual tray rotation. The efficient airflow system helped remove moisture from my food, preserving its nutritional content and enhancing its taste.

Pros:

  • Versatility.
  • Even airflow.
  • BPA-free trays.
  • Efficient drying.
  • Compact design.
  • Temperature control.

Cons:

  • No adjustable tray height.
  • Limited tray capacity.
  • No timer function.

5. Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine

Sale
Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine | 7 Stainless Steel...
  • REAR MOUNT FAN FOR SUPERIOR HEAT DISTRIBUTION – DRIES FOOD...
  • DIGITAL THERMOSTAT AND TIMER- AUTOMATIC SHUT OFF WHEN TIMER DONE...
  • SPACIOUS ADJUSTABLE STAINLESS STEEL TRAYS – INCLUDED FRUIT ROLL...
  • EASY TO USE AND CLEAN - DISHWASHER SAFE TRAYS You want to dry...
  • SAFETY FEATURE / BPA FREE Overheat protection will activate if...

The Magic Mill Food Dehydrators are versatile appliances that dehydrate various food items efficiently. Whether you want to make jerky, dry fruits, herbs, cut- raw-meat, beef, or dog treats, this dehydrator offers a convenient and reliable solution.

Image credit: amazon.com

One of the standout features of this dehydrator is its construction using high-quality stainless steel trays. With seven spacious trays, I had ample space to dehydrate large quantities of food. The stainless steel material ensured durability and easy cleaning and helped maintain hygiene standards.

The dehydrator has a digital timer and temperature control system, allowing you to precisely set the desired drying time and temperature. This feature is essential for achieving optimal results with different types of foods, as each item requires specific drying conditions. The digital display made it easy to monitor and adjust the settings according to my needs.

The Magic Mill, Food Dehydrator Machine, is also ETL-certified, meaning it has undergone rigorous testing and meets the safety standards of Electrical Testing Laboratories. This certification ensures the appliance is safe and free from electrical hazards.

Pros:

  • Digital timer and temperature control.
  • Keep warm function.
  • Stainless steel trays.
  • Safety features.
  • ETL approved.
  • Versatility.

Cons:

  • Limited tray capacity.
  • Lack of adjustable airflow.
  • Lack of additional accessories.

6. Brod & Taylor SAHARA Folding Food Dehydrator

Brod & Taylor SAHARA Folding Food Dehydrator (Stainless...
  • Folds in seconds to 1/3 its size. Enjoy healthy and delicious...
  • Over 1 square meter (11 square feet) of drying area, stainless...
  • Automated dual time/temperature controls: Run at higher...
  • Fresh filtered air: A washable and re-useable air filter ensures...

The Brod & Taylor SAHARA Folding Food Dehydrator is a versatile and efficient kitchen appliance designed to preserve and dehydrate various foods. Its stainless steel shelves and compact folding design offer convenience, durability, and excellent drying performance.

Image credit: amazon.com

One of the standout features of the SAHARA dehydrator is its folding design. Unlike traditional dehydrators, which are often bulky and take up valuable counter space, the SAHARA can be easily folded and stored when not in use. This makes it an excellent option for those with limited outdoor kitchen space or who prefer a clutter-free countertop.

The dehydrator is constructed with stainless steel shelves, which offer several advantages. Stainless steel is known for its durability and resistance to rust and corrosion, ensuring that the shelves will last long and maintain their quality even with regular use. Additionally, stainless steel is a hygienic material that is easy to clean, ensuring food safety and preventing the accumulation of bacteria or odors.

The SAHARA dehydrator featured an adjustable temperature control, allowing me to set the ideal drying temperature for different foods. It operated within a range of 77°F to 167°F (25°C to 75°C), providing flexibility to dehydrate delicate herbs and fruits as well as tougher meats and vegetables. The precise temperature control ensured that I could achieve optimal drying results while preserving my food's flavour, nutrients, and texture.

Pros:

  • Adjustable temperature control.
  • Digital control panel and timer.
  • Compact and folding design.
  • Horizontal airflow system.
  • Stainless steel shelves.
  • Automated shut-off.

Cons:

  • Limited capacity.
  • Noisy operation.
  • No additional accessories.

What Are the Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Food Dehydrators

Food Dehydrators

Image credit: foodandwine.com

When buying a digital food dehydrator, several factors must be considered to ensure you choose the best one for your needs. Here are some important factors to keep in mind:

1. Heat Distribution and Airflow

Effective heat distribution and airflow are crucial for proper food dehydration. Look for dehydrators with fans and heating elements positioned at the back or bottom. This configuration ensures that air is evenly circulated throughout the unit, preventing uneven drying or the development of hot spots. An optimal airflow system helps maintain consistent temperatures across all trays, ensuring uniform food drying.

2. Size and Capacity

Consider the amount of food you plan to dehydrate regularly and choose a dehydrator size accordingly. Compact countertop models are suitable for individuals or small households with limited space. Larger dehydrators with multiple trays are ideal for families or those who want to preserve more significant quantities of food. Additionally, some dehydrators offer expandable options, allowing you to add trays as needed.

3. Temperature Control and Settings

Different foods require specific temperature settings for optimal dehydration. Look for a dehydrator that offers adjustable temperature control, allowing you to set the desired temperature within a suitable range. This flexibility ensures you can dry various foods, from delicate herbs to meat jerky, without risking under-drying or overcooking.

4. Drying Space and Tray Design

Consider the number of trays or racks with the dehydrator and evaluate whether it meets your needs. Some dehydrators include standard trays, while others provide specialized trays for specific types of food, such as mesh screens for herbs or solid sheets for fruit leather. Also, check if the trays are removable and stackable, making it easier to adjust the drying space and clean the dehydrator.

Food Dehydrators

Image credit: foodandwine.com

5. Timer and Auto-Shutoff

Dehydrators equipped with timers and auto-shutoff features offer convenience and peace of mind. A timer allows you to set the drying time, and the dehydrator will automatically shut off. This feature is handy when you want to leave the dehydrator running overnight or while you’re away, preventing over-drying and energy waste.

6. Energy Efficiency

Energy-efficient dehydrators save you money on electricity bills and contribute to sustainability. Look for models with energy-saving features such as efficient heating elements, insulated construction, or thermostatic controls that help maintain steady temperatures without excessive energy consumption.

7. Noise Level

Consider the noise level of the dehydrator, especially if you plan to use it in living areas or near bedrooms. Some dehydrators operate quietly, thanks to noise-reduction design elements like insulated housing or silent fans. If noise concerns you, check user reviews or product specifications to ensure the dehydrator operates at an acceptable noise level.

8. Ease of Use and Maintenance

Choose a dehydrator that is user-friendly and easy to operate. Look for models with intuitive controls and clear instructions, making setting temperature, time, and other settings effortless. Additionally, dehydrators with removable trays that are dishwasher-safe simplify the cleaning process. A transparent door or tray allows you to monitor the drying progress without interrupting the cycle.

Conclusion

Food dehydrators have become indispensable tools for health-conscious individuals, home cooks, gardeners, and outdoor enthusiasts. The top food dehydrators in this article offer various features and performance levels to cater to different needs and budgets. Whether you’re preserving seasonal fruits, making delicious jerky, or crafting nutritious snacks, these appliances can help you enjoy the bounties of nature all year round. Before purchasing, consider your requirements, energy efficiency, and available space to find the best food dehydrator that suits your lifestyle and culinary ambitions. Happy dehydrating!

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Related Articles
kitchen sink organizer

Best Kitchen Sink Organizer to Streamline Your Space

In today's bustling kitchens, maintaining an organized sink area is essential for efficiency and cleanliness. A well-structured kitchen sink not ...

unique kitchen island ideas

20 Unique Kitchen Island Ideas for Your Next Revamp

Today’s kitchen spaces are more than just a cooking space, but beautifully designed spaces where families can spend time and ...

best kitchen rugs

Best Kitchen Rugs That Are Affordable, Stylish, And Long Lasting

When you think about rugs, the living room, TV area, or bedroom suddenly come to mind. However, the kitchen could ...