Food & Nutrition

The 7 Best Food Dehydrators – [2020 Reviews & Guide]

Inarguably some of the best snacks around are dried fruit and jerky. They aren’t messy, they’re perfect for taking to the office or hiking or traveling, and they don’t get damaged easily during a commute.

However, they can get rather pricey if you’re purchasing bags of them all the time. If you want a fun, affordable solution then you need one of the best dehydrators for beef jerky!

We’ve spent the last few weeks with the arduous task of testing out countless models to bring you the best on the market today. Let’s get started!

Our 3 Top Food Dehydrators

 Ivation Food Dehydrator MachineExcalibur Food DehydratorNESCO Snackmaster Food Dehydrator
editorschoice
Temp Range:95 - 167 F90 - 105 F95 - 160 F
Trays:109Expandable to 12
Size:15.6 x 15.6 in19 x 17 x 12.5 in13.8 x 22.1 x 13.9 in
Other:Rear-Mounted Fan, Stainless SteelEasy to clean traysFlow Drying System, Opaque Exterior

Quick Answer: The 7 Best Rated Food Dehydrators For 2020

  1. Ivation 10 Tray Premium  Food Dehydrator Machine
  2. Excalibur 3900W Electric Food Dehydrator
  3. NESCO FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator
  4. Aicook Premium Food Dehydrator Machine
  5. Magic Mill Pro Countertop Electric Food Dehydrator
  6. Presto 06301 Dehydro Digital Electric Food Dehydrator
  7. Brod & Taylor SAHARA Folding Food Dehydrator

Our reviews to the top rated food dehydrators with our comparison table and buyers guide will help you choose the right dehydrators for you.


Food Dehydrators Reviews

Right away you can tell that the Ivation 10 Tray Premium Stainless Steel Electric Food Dehydrator Machine is made to impress.

The sleek, classic looks are the perfect visual and functional addition to any kitchen. However, it’s also one of the best performers regarding the products it delivers and how easy it is to use.

Equipped with a 1000W automatic fan, it provides more than enough heating power to make sure food is evenly dried no matter where it’s placed inside.

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The 10 spacious trays are perfect for entertaining and for large families! Preserve beef jerky, fruit, veggies, bread, and much more! You can even take out a tray if you have thicker slices that need accommodating.

It’s easy to adjust the machine to your liking, with a temperature range of 95 to 167 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also set the built-in timer to auto shut off in 30-minute increments for up to 24 hours at a time.

The stainless steel body and trays are not only durable, but all BPA-free, making them safe for use time and time again. Cleaning is a breeze, as the trays and drip tray on the bottom are removable and dishwasher-safe!

 

Ivation 10 Tray Premium Stainless at a Glance:

  • Temperature Range: 95 – 167 Fahrenheit
  • Trays: 10
  • Size: 15.6″ x 15.6″
  • Other: Rear-Mounted Fan, Auto Timer, Stainless Steel Body

One of the best dehydrators for kale chips currently out there, the Excalibur 3900W Electric Food Dehydrator is really something special.

If you want to preserve large volumes of food at a time and don’t want to sit around for days after days, then check this one out.

Coming with 9 removable trays and a 24-hour auto shut down timer, your options are practically endless.

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While the build is quite lightweight and easy to move around, it’s surprisingly durable. The shell, doors, and trays are made of a tough plastic but don’t let that fool you; various consumers reported theirs lasting well over 20 years.

The detachable door ensures quick and easy cleaning and makes removing the trays seamless. Once out, they’re also very simple to wipe down and clean – it’s rare that food sticks to them, too.

Even if you’re just starting out in the dehydrating food world, you won’t have to worry about messing anything up. Due to the built-in timer, you can adjust the settings to ensure the food in question is never over-dried.

The only “con” for us would be that it is a bit noisy. It’s not overwhelmingly loud, but you definitely notice when it’s on and running. Other than that, it’s an excellent option that will last you a long time.

 

Excalibur 3900W Electric Food Dehydrator at a Glance:

  • Temperature Range: 90 – 105 Fahrenheit
  • Trays: 9
  • Size: 19 x 17 x 12.5 inches
  • Other: Easy to clean trays

Next up, we bring you the crockpot-looking NESCO SnackMaster Pro FD-75A Food Dehydrator. Easily the best dehydrator for fruit if you’re on a tight budget, it’s a no-frills, high-capacity model.

It may be lacking a power button and a timer, but if you don’t feel you need them then definitely take a look here.

Not only does it work well with fruit, but beef, turkey, and more. Thanks to the two different types of sheets – solid and mesh – you have a lot of versatility with what you can do.

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Solid sheets are preferable for soups, shakes, making fruit rollups, etc. Mesh sheets are more commonly used, as they work to dry herbs, spices, meats, etc. With this model, however, you can use both at the same time to maximize your time!

Featuring a patented “Converge-a-Flow System”, air moves downward quickly along the sides, moving inward through each tray to make sure heat is distributed evenly and quickly.

The top-located fan aids in making it even more effective. The 600 watts of power it’s packed with lets you adjust the temperature with precision, making it energy efficient as well.

The casing is definitely unique, made of lightweight, tough materials to prevent any light from permeating through and risking the integrity of your delicious food items. Use it even in the brightest of rooms without worry!

 

NESCO FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator at a Glance:

  • Temperature Range: 95 – 160 Fahrenheit
  • Trays: 5 (expandable to 12)
  • Size: 13.75″ x 22.13″ x 13.87″
  • Other: Converga Flow Drying System, Opaque Exterior

A nice middle-of-the-road option, price-wise, the Aicook Premium Food Dehydrator Machine is sleek and works great.

The included 2-year warranty is perfect if you’re a bit hesitant about using it, as there’s virtually no risk taken by trying it out. However, we have a strong feeling that you’re going to love it just as much as we did.

While this sophisticated, attractive design is very compact and comes with a small footprint, it offers over 6.5 square feet of cooking space.

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The 6 stainless steel trays are perfect for an array of different foods, keeping them free of added chemicals and junk.

The best dehydrator for home use has a horizontal airflow system which provides excellent results in a short amount of time, with no need to rotate trays or mess with anything else. The rear-mounted heater and fan helps with this while making sure operation is smooth and quiet.

Adjust the temperature anywhere from 95 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, which is powerful enough for delivering safe and properly dehydrated food.

The automatic timer can also be set up to 19.5 hours in 30-minute increments, which gives you more control than most competitor options do while saving energy.

Finally, when you’re done, the trays and tray liners are all dishwasher-safe so you can toss them in the machine and quickly wipe down the housing.

 

Aicook Premium Food Dehydrator Machine at a Glance:

  • Temperature Range: 95 – 160 Fahrenheit
  • Trays: 6
  • Size: 6.4 square feet
  • Other: Programmable up to 19.5 hours, horizontal airflow system

The Magic Mill Pro Countertop Electric Food Dehydrator is one of the most high-quality models currently available on the market.

Right from the first glance, you can tell that it’s comprised of top-notch materials, with a tough stainless steel housing. However, where it really shines is how efficient it dehydrates and delicious it leaves food.

The BPA-free machine is perfectly healthy to use for you and your entire family, creating perfect alternative snacks to chips, cookies, and other processed foods.

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As the best dehydrator for meat, it includes 10 adjustable racks. You’ll get 10 stainless steel drying racks, 5 plastic fine mesh trays, 5 nonstick trays, and a set of oven mitts. What more could you want?

A horizontal air flow system with a rear-mounted motor ensure perfectly uniform, even drying to deliver excellent treats every time.

User-friendly digital temperature control lets you adjust the thermostat anywhere from 95 to 167 degrees Fahrenheit, along with a 24-hour timer.

While it does automatically shut off once the timer is done, you can also check on your food with the transparent door in the front.

 

Magic Mill Pro Countertop Electric Food Dehydrator at a Glance:

  • Temperature Range: 95 – 167 Fahrenheit
  • Trays:
  • Size: 15″ x 15″
  • Other: 24-hour timer, BPA-free

Another excellent budget-friendly option, the Presto 06301 Dehydro Digital Electric Food Dehydrator is one of the most attractive options out there.

The low-capacity model is the best dehydrator for herbs, so if you don’t need a lot of room this is the one to look at. Coming with 6 trays, you can also expand up to 12 trays if you need to in the future.

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While it’s not necessarily the most user-friendly machine we’ve tried, after the first couple of times using it, it becomes second nature.

Use your choice of meat, poultry, seafood, fruit, and more. The package includes special sheets for making fruit rollups and strips from canned fruit, too!

The adjustable thermostat lets you set it anywhere from 95 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, which is more than enough, no matter what you’re dehydrating. Results were pretty consistent, which was pretty impressive considering the price.

The only thing we would have liked to see improved upon is the ease of cleaning. The trays come with larger gaps between slats which makes it easier for smaller food pieces to fall through.

The tight corners can also make sticky material tough to wipe out completely. The upside is that the trays can easily be soaked in the sink.

 

Presto 06301 Dehydro Digital Electric Food Dehydrator at a Glance:

  • Temperature Range: 90 – 165 Fahrenheit
  • Trays: 6 (expandable up to 12)
  • Size: 14.5 x 15 x 7.25 in
  • Other: Timer

Lastly, we bring you quite possibly the most unique model we’ve had the pleasure of using.

The Brod & Taylor SAHARA Folding Food Dehydrator does just like the name suggests – folds to just a third of its original size when not in use!

This is perfect for limited counter space but great if you still need a large capacity for entertaining or for bigger families!

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While it is a bit more expensive than the others on our guide, it’s more than worth it when you take into consideration the extremely high-quality materials used to make it. It will easily last you for many years to come, even with regular use.

A dual heating system at a whopping 700 watts will easily power through even the biggest loads of fresh fruit, herbs, and meat. The system automatically moves over to low power to save energy when food is already partially dry.

Excellent air circulation is moved by a radial fan which ensures lower power usage as well. A washable/reusable air filter keeps dirt and contaminants out of your machine and food, too.

The timer and temperature controls are incredibly intuitive and user-friendly, letting you program two different timers and temperatures for exquisite control. You have the ability to set the time for up to 99 hours, too!

 

Brod & Taylor SAHARA Folding Food Dehydrator at a Glance:

  • Temperature Range: 90 – 165 Fahrenheit
  • Trays: 7
  • Size: 22”W x 14”D x 11”H
  • Other: Extremely Precise Timer, Foldable

Food Dehydrator Comparison Table

Food Dehydrators TempTraysDimensionsRating
Ivation Food Dehydrator Machine95 - 167 F1016 x 16 in4.5 / 5.0
Excalibur Food Dehydrator
90 - 105 F919 x 17 x 13 in4.4 / 5.0
NESCO Snackmaster Food Dehydrator95 - 160 FExpandable to 1214 x 22 x 14 in4.4 / 5.0
Aicook Premium Food Dehydrator Machine\95 - 160 F66.5 sq ft4.6 / 5.0
Magic Mill Pro Food Dehydrator 95 - 167 F1015 x 15 in4.0 / 5.0
Presto Digital Food Dehydrator90 - 165 FExpandable to 1215 x 15 x 7 in4.4 / 5.0
Brod & Taylor SAHARA Folding Food Dehydrator90 - 165 F722 x 14 x 11 in4.3 / 5.0

How to Choose the Best Dehydrator – Buying Guide

best dehydrator for beef jerky

Now that you’ve had the time to browse all about the food dehydrators for fruits, vegetables and meat, which one will you be selecting for your kitchen?

If you’re still unsure, there’s no need to be concerned. We understand that there are a lot of features to consider when purchasing one of these appliances, so you should take everything into account before deciding on one. To help you out, we’ve decided to go ahead and write up the comprehensive buying guide, below.

This guide will take you through each step of the process so that by the time you’re finished, there will be no doubt which is the one for you.

Size

Before you do anything else, you need to figure out the size of dehydrator you’re going to need. What are you going to be using it for? Are you just dehydrating some jerky for yourself or are you going to be doing it en masse for entertainment purposes?

This is even more important if you’re going to be dehydrating a lot of meat, as it is the product that takes the longest to dehydrate. You aren’t going to want to keep doing small batch after small batch, as this takes a lot of time and energy. Bigger units may be more expensive, but it’s worth it.

Airflow

You may have noticed that machines either operate with vertical or horizontal airflow. In certain occasions, you’ll see both in one model. Let’s take a look at each type so you can decide which one is best for you and begin to narrow down your options.

Vertical

These will have fans mounted at either the top or bottom of the unit, and are typically pretty budget-friendly. However, they’re going to be smaller as well. This may be ideal if you’re limited on space, but not so much if you’re planning on dehydrating a lot of food at a time. They’re also not quite as efficient as horizontal alternatives.

Horizontal

These have fans mounted on the back of the model, allowing each shelf of food to evenly receive air circulation. Air passes over the length of the food, improving moisture evaporation while further ensuring equal drying.

Ease of Cleaning

No one wants to purchase a kitchen device that’s difficult to clean, right? Even though it may seem worth it, if it’s a hassle to clean up the truth is you’re just not going to use it as much as you would otherwise.

You’ll want to look for a model with housing that doesn’t show fingerprints and stains easily, so you’re not constantly wiping them off. Stainless steel varies in how easy it is to clean, though the plastic models on our guide are generally quite easy to do so.

In addition, make sure to look into if the racks are dishwasher-safe or not. If they are, this will save you time and effort from having to soak and scrub them off in the sink yourself!

Temperature Settings

As you can tell from the aforementioned products, temperature settings can vary quite a bit from model to model. Temperature is important, particularly when making jerky, as the meat must reach at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit, unless it’s poultry, which must reach even higher, at 165.

You want to ensure that any harmful bacteria and enzymes are killed so that you and no one else gets sick from it. If you choose for a model without detailed temp settings, we encourage you to also use a temperature probe.

Timer Settings

The timer is also important, particularly if you’re someone who easily forgets things or gets distracted. You want to be able to just go set a timer for the appropriate amount of time and go on about your day.

The timer will then shut off the machine automatically to prevent over-dehydrating as well as any electrical hazards from occurring. The timer length varies quite a bit depending on the one you select, with some going up to an impressive 100 hours! Also pay attention to the increments you can set it at.

Some let you select the timer settings with such precision that you can choose to set it to an exact minute, while others go in 30-minute chunks of time.

Noise Level

Almost every single machine on our guide is very quiet and almost silent when in operation, however, there are some that are quite noisy due to the fan and flowing air. Try to consider if this will work fine in your household.

If you’re going to be using it at the late or early hours and may risk disturbing someone sleeping, then you’ll probably want to go with a more quiet choice. This is usually dependent on how much the machine costs, though this isn’t an absolute rule.

Price

How much are you willing to spend on a dehydrator for making healthy snacks? It’s definitely a wise idea to come up with a budget for yourself before you start shopping around so you can avoid spending more than you’d intended to.

However, no matter if you are on a tight budget or money is no matter to you, we have at least one solid option for you on our guide. Just know that when you move up in price, it will often pay for itself due to how much longer these higher-quality machines typically last.

Not only that, but they’ll typically feature more visually aesthetic housing, more high-tech control panels/display screens, and more variety of included racks and recipe guides.

FAQs About Food Dehydrators

Q: What are the best foods to dehydrate?

A: Beef, poultry, apples, pears, peaches, plums, apricots, bananas, cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries, carrots, celery, corn, green beans, potatoes, and tomatoes are all very popular ones. However, kale has recently taken off with the popularity of kale chips in recent years!

Q: What makes a good food dehydrator?

A: You want a machine that primarily dehydrates efficiently and evenly. You want it to be able to hold the right capacity of food for your needs, and operate silently so as not to disturb you or anyone else. Finally, you want it to be easy to clean so you’re not dreading using it!

Q: Is dehydrated food healthy?

A: Yes, it is! It works to retain the vast majority of nutrients our bodies love, while making sure there are no additives, chemicals, etc. that processed foods come with.

Q: What are the disadvantages of drying food?

A: Dried food isn’t going to taste quite as rich or flavorful as fresh food does, and if you happen to leave moisture in the food you’re drying, it can cause mold. On the other hand, if you’ve over-dried the food, it can make it very hard and tough to the point where they’re inedible.

Q: What are the benefits of dehydrated food?

A: It’s nutritious, easy to carry and store with you, great for plant-based diets, budget-friendly, and much more.

Tips For Choosing Food Dehydrators

#1: Make sure you’re using the right temperature for the certain food you’re drying.

If not, you could not only make those who eat the food sick, but it could take much longer to properly dry, you could overdry the food, and more.

#2: Don’t try to up the temperature just to dry foods quicker.

This will actually just seal moisture in on the interior part of the food, and make the outside dry, which isn’t going to be tasty and could be dangerous, depending on what the food is.

#3: Properly store your dried food after you’ve made it.

Storing it in the freezer is going to create ice crystals on the food, and storing it in the sun could further dry it out or even create mold. Vacuum-sealed bags are the optimal option here, as they’ll perfectly preserve your food while it’s waiting to be consumed.

Summary

Now that you know pretty much all you’ll ever need to about best food dehydrators, we hope that you’ve been able to decide on the right machine for you and your tastes.

No matter which one you select, you can feel assured knowing that you’re purchasing one of the top models currently available today. However, what’s most important is that you choose the dehydrator which suits your preferences and demands best.

We hope that our guide has helped you achieve exactly that. Thanks for tuning in and we’ll see you again soon. Happy munching!

Performance
Features
Quality

The Ivation is our Editor's Choice for the best food dehydrator with its combination of performance, features and quality.

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