The Best Food Dehydrator – Reviews and Comparison
The Best Food Dehydrator Reviews
If someone had told us before that food dehydrators can change our lives, we would have scoffed at them. Yet here we are, raving about it and telling you why you need one and how you can find the best food dehydrators in the market today.
But why do you need a food dehydrator?
Well, up until recently, nobody’s even heard of a food dehydrator. Now, it’s all the rave. Not exactly the main star but it’s up there. To start with, you get to extend your food’s shelf-life. That alone should convince anyone to get a food dehydrator. When done correctly, you can store dried fruits for up to a year and dried vegetables for up to six months. This is absolutely perfect for outdoor trips like camping or hiking with your kids. That also means you get to save money from having to replace spoiled fruits and vegetables.
Also, you eat healthier. Freeze-dried food tends to be more expensive and less healthy than when you dehydrate your food on your own. You can enjoy natural sugars from dried fruits that you can snack on (or use to top your waffles with) and natural fibers from the vegetables without added preservatives. Now, when choosing a food dehydrator, make sure you decide on a few things first. You can use it alongside your indoor grill to make snacks that are better for your whole family.
Do you prefer vertical or horizontal airflow? Vertical means the air flows in an upward / downward direction while horizontal means side to side. These two things can affect how evenly your food is being processed inside the dehydrator. Vertical airflow usually does the job well, but there are some exceptions to that rule. A few food dehydrators with horizontal airflow can also accomplish this and they are included in the list below.
Do you want to dry a lot of food at once or not? Some food dehydrators have a lot of room. You can remove one or two of the stackable trays if you’re dehydrating larger pieces such as meat for jerky. Rectangular trays work best for this kind of preference as you can maximize the space in them.
Does it have an adjustable thermostat? While most modern food dehydrators now have this feature, there are still some older models being sold without it. Check with the manufacturer first or read the manual before purchasing one because this might cause you issues in the future.
When you’ve made up your mind, go ahead and check out our list of the top 5 food dehydrators that we made just for you.
Best Food Dehydrator Comparison
19 x 17 x 12.5 in
13.8 x 22.1 x 13.9 in
14.5 x 15 x 7.2 in
14.7 x 12.4 x 11.8 in
11.2 x 5.9 x 12.8 in
Temp. Range (F)
105 - 165
95 - 160
90 - 165
110 - 175
100 - 160
No. of Trays
5 to 12
6 to 12
5 to 9
Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator Review
We got to hand it to Excalibur for making this amazing food dehydrator. You can have it in either black or white and has 9 large trays at 15 square feet each, which certainly makes enough room for a lot of food at a time. Owning something from Excalibur, knowing it’s one of the best food dehydrators your money can buy, is a great investment in itself. We don’t know a single soul who isn’t satisfied with this product.
The dehydrator has a flexible tray that prevents food from sticking and an adjustable thermostat that goes from 105 to 165 F and runs at 600 watts. The higher temperature range is best when dealing with meat when you plan to make jerky. Lowe range is better for more delicate food like herbs and vegetables.
We like how you can remove a couple of trays in order to make room for taller or bulkier food items. It also works best when you're trying to raise the dough. What sets this apart from the other items on this list is its 26-hour timer.
It utilizes the patented Parallex horizontal air flow that allows your food to dry evenly. How it works is it draws in cool air, heats it, and then distributes across all trays. Another great technology that they use is called the Hyperwave fluctuation technology that maintains a low enough food temperature to keep the enzymes active and a high enough air temperature to prevent yeast, mold, and spoilage. Most dehydrators simply use an unchanging temperature.
Aside from food, we enjoy using the Excalibur to make pet treats and dry flowers for potpourri, as the manual recommended. You can make healthy snacks like dried fruit which is better for when you’re trying to teach your kids to have healthier eating habits.
There is no doubt in our minds that this is one of the best food dehydrators. Yes, you do have to spend extra money to get it but since you don’t waste any food with its precise processing, it is very well worth the extra bucks. Plus, check out these recipes on their website to be able to get the full Excalibur experience.
Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator Review
Next, we have the Nesco Snackmaster Pro. It has a top-mounted fan and an adjustable thermostat that ranges from 95 to 160 degrees and runs at 600 watts. The exterior itself is Opaque Vita-Save which is good for blocking harmful lights that could affect your food preparation. We love it because the flavors inside don’t mix as compared to other food dehydrators. The package itself includes 4 sheets: 2 solid ones and 2 mesh ones, and 3 jerky spice packs. Plus, it has a book with food dehydrator recipes that will help you come up with delicious treats for your family.
The initial package that you receive is only 5 trays but you can purchase additional trays as it goes up to 12 stacks, depending on your needs. We also love that this is not as expensive as the Excalibur brand but works just as well.
Nesco has the patented Converga-Flow system that recognizes how different food types will have different drying times. It adjusts based on the amount and thickness of the food you use to make sure that the heat flows evenly. A piece of advice: if you do use this, fruits and thinly sliced veggies may stick to the tray. It’s best to use Clean-a-Screens to prevent this from happening.
As mentioned before, it uses Opaque Vita-Save exterior. The reason why we like this feature is because your food will not be stripped of its nutritional contents while being processed in the Snackmaster Pro. You may check the recommended temperature control settings written on the handle to make sure that your food is processed the right way.
One thing we didn’t like about it, though, is the absence of a timer and an on-off switch. You would need to connect it to a power source for it to turn on and disconnect for it to turn off. Despite minor issues, this still remains as one of the best food dehydrators in the market and a great contender that can keep up with more expensive brands.
Presto 06301 Dehydro Digital Electric Food Dehydrator Review
In third place, we have the Presto 06301 Digital Food Dehydrator. With this, you can dry your foods using 6 to 12 stackable trays. It has a digital interface where you can adjust both the thermostat and timer to ensure that your processing time remains precise. The temperature goes from 90 F to 165 F. The fan is mounted at the bottom and you don’t need to rotate the trays to make sure that your food gets heated evenly.
The package includes two fruit roll-up sheets, two nonstick mesh trays and a cover. All of its removable parts are dishwasher safe, so cleaning it up is faster and easier. We like the sample jerky packets of spice and meat cure. For those who wish to know, Presto has recently made all their newer dehydrators BPA-free.
The controls are pretty straightforward as well. It has a start/stop button, a temperature/timer button, and two buttons to decrease or increase the selected values. It’s very easy to operate.
It utilizes vertical airflow, which is good because that means your food is less likely to get their flavors mixed up or blended while being processed. Another plus is that the lid is transparent so you can easily see the condition of the food inside. Also, we think it’s one of the best compact food dehydrators there is. It is lightweight compared to others on this list and easy to carry around.
The stackable trays can be removed as please to make room for bigger food items. Each tray is about 1.25 inches high. It has undergone some huge improvements as compared to its 06300 predecessor.
For its price, the Presto Dehydro comes with a few minor issues. These are to be expected but all in all, it can certainly keep up with the best food dehydrators in our top 5 list.
Waring Pro DHR30 Professional Dehydrator Review
Here we have the Waring Pro DHR30 Professional Dehydrator with 5 stackable trays that interlock to keep them safely in place. It comes with a fruit roll-up sheet to make processing fruits easier. It works great for making beef jerky and drying herbs and fruits. It also has a fan system that is just great.
The controls are pretty straightforward. It has a knob to use for turning it off and choosing between 4 modes: Fan Only, Low, Medium, and High. The lowest temperature is 110 F and the highest is 175 F. The trays are removable to make room for bulkier food and you can add more trays. It can go up to 9 stacked trays.
We recommend this for new users as it’s very easy to operate. It’s a great tool to encourage your kids to eat healthier. The air flow system provides even heating all throughout regardless if you use the maximum 9-tray setup.
The adjustable thermostat is another great feature that makes drying food more flexible and you can use it to dry all sorts of food from herbs to beef. We also love how quiet this machine it while running, so you can use this any time of day without disturbing anyone.
A few things that we didn't like too much about the Waring Pro DHR30 are difficult cleanup, the absence of a timer, and some overheating issues. The fan is fixed at the bottom of the machine, so cleaning it can be a bit of a challenge. As for the overheating issue, you can work around it by rotating the trays at intervals. Nevertheless, this is still a great food dehydrator and deserves its spot as one of the best food dehydrators.
Hamilton Beach 32100A Food Dehydrator Review
Last but not least, we have the 32100A Food Dehydrator from Hamilton Beach. It is the best affordable food dehydrator that you will ever get and there are a lot of things to love about it aside from saving you a few bucks.
To start with, it also has a digital thermostat and timer control. The controls are simple and easy to understand. You have your start/stop button, your timer/temperature button, and your increase/decrease button, depending on which value you select. The temperature goes from 100 F to 160 F.
The timer is a helpful feature and it goes up to a 48-hour value. It allows automatic shutoff so that you won’t have to over process your food by accident. It’s great for busier parents because it lets you multitask while you wait for your fruits and herbs to dry.
Speaking of drying, it uses a continuous airflow process that helps dry your food evenly. The rectangular shape means you can utilize every bit of tray space – something that you can’t do with circular trays. It makes it easier to make fruit roll leathers, that’s for sure.
The package includes a book of recipes that you need to try in order to see the machine’s full potential. If you want to store your food for prolonged periods of time, you may want to check out some guides online for more information.
To Sum it Up...
Food dehydrators are a great investment, not just to health nuts and the campers. As you move along your experience with this kind of machine, you’ll learn that it can offer you so much more than just making healthy treats and making your food last longer. You can help boost your children’s appetite and you’ll actually discover a whole new area of culinary territory that you haven’t explored yet. That, in itself, is already a reward that both you and your family can benefit from.
Product Image Credits: Amazon.com