Food dehydrators are designed to dry and preserve vegetables, fruit, meat, fish and more, and they can be hugely beneficial as they can offer you savings, -and- a healthier lifestyle. Knowing which food dehydrator to pick can be a bit tricky, as there are a lot of different food dehydrators on the market, of various quality and price.
To help you save some time, we’ve done a lot of research, compared the various unit available on the market, and ended up with a list (reviews) of the top 10 best food dehydrators to buy in 2021.
What is a Food Dehydrator – How Does it Work?
A food dehydrator is a device that uses a heat source and a fan to dry and reduce the water content from the food. By using a light flow of hot air and removing water / moisture from the food, you’ll prevent the foods from spoiling as quickly as it normally would, and you’ll restrain various bacteria from growing and spoiling the food.
This preservation-process will retain the majority of the original nutrition value of the food, extend the shelf of life, and at the same time reduce the weight of the food, making it easier for you to store the food and carry it with you. Food dehydrators are very easy to use, and they are perfect for drying fruits, vegetables, meats, herbs, and fish.
The food is placed on a tray and the appliance will then slowly distribute the heated air throughout the trays. For optimal results, it is important that the machine generates a gentle heat, which dries the food at an even rate, to preserve the organic matter and to prevent “case-hardening” (comes as a result of heating the food too fast) on the outside. Removing as much water as possible is obviously very important in the drying process. Each food dehydrator will work on it’s own way, and the drying-rate of the food will vary accordingly. As you get more experienced, having worked with the machine for a while, you’ll come to learn what sizes you should cut your food to get the best results.
What Are the Main Benefits Of Making Dehydrated Food?
Dehydrated Foods Tastes Great – Removing moisture from foods like fruits, vegetables or meat gives a naturally concentrated and delicious taste to the food, as it’s not “watered” down.
It’s Less Expensive – Organic dehydrated foods are usually very expensive and over priced. There’s a lot of money to be saved in the long run, from buying your own dehydrator, buying fruits in bulk and start doing it yourself.
It Reduces Food Waste – Fruits and vegetables that are coming close to being spoiled can easily be sliced up, and put in the dehydrator, which will extend their shelf life for up to 2 years. Another good thing is that dehydrated food can easily be re-hydrated, just with water or by adding it to soups, sauces, stews, etc.
It’s Healthy & All Natural – By making your own dehydrated foods, you’re fully in control of what is in your food as there’re no additives / preservatives like there usually is in processed foods.
The Dehydrator is Very Easy To Use – All you have to do is slice up the food, put it on the trays, set on the timer and let the dehydrator do its job.
What Foods Can You Dry With a Food Dehydrator?
As already mentioned, fruit, veggies, meat, fish and herbs are the most commonly foods to dry and preserve with a food dehydrator, but there are also lots of other foods that can be dehydrated. This list of dried foods will give you some ideas of new foods to try in the dehydrator.
How To Choose the Best Food Dehydrator – What Features To Look For?
When choosing a good food dehydrator, there are some features that are more important than others. The dehydrator-fan is the most important feature of a food dehydrator. The fan is usually placed either at the back, on top, or at the bottom of the unit. It’s recommended to choose a unit that has got the fan in the -back-, as a back-mounted fan will allow your food to be dried evenly throughout the entire unit. Bottom and top-mounted fans may tend to dry the food first at the closest levels, and they tend to blow the scents from one level to meld with foods that are placed on another level.
An adjustable thermostat, heating element, a timer that shuts off automatically, and capacity are other important features that should be taken into consideration when buying a food dehydrator. Picking the right size should depend on how often you plan to use your dehydrator, and the amount of food you plan to dehydrate at once. Choosing a smaller dehydrator is obviously the best idea, if you don’t plan to dehydrate a lot of food at a time.
You should also check and compare the warranties on the products you’re looking to buy.
Reading and comparing customer reviews online is also a good way of finding the best products. If you like to save some time, we’ve researched and compared the best food dehydrators on the market. Below, you’ll find our list and reviews of the top rated food dehydrators in 2019. Our ratings are based on price, features, cooking ability and performance, ease of use, ease of cleaning ++. Hopefully we’ll be able to make it easier for you to make the best choice.
Top Rated Food Dehydrators
#1 Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator
Dimensions: 19 x 17 x 12.5 inches
Item Weight: 22 lbs
Temperature Range: 105°F – 165°F
Capacity: 15 square feet drying space (9 trays)
Timer: 26 hour
9.5 / 10Our Rating
High-quality built - large capacity
Excellent for cooking all kinds of "dryable" foods
10-year limited warranty
It's a bit noisy
Little bit expensive
The Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator is our pick for the best food dehydrator you can find on the market, that is meant for home use. This excellent food dehydrator comes with a temperature range of 105°F - 165°F, and with 9 trays (BPA free) and a total of 15 square feet drying space, that gives you the opportunity to dehydrate an extensive diversity of foods. The fan and heating element on the Excalibur 3926TB is placed at the back of the machine, and provides you with a horizontal airflow that helps the food to dehydrate faster and evenly, while retaining the taste, look and nutrition of the food. As a result of the continuous horizontal airflow, the trays on this machine does not need to be removed during operation. A flexible poly-screen tray insert is included, which prevents any foods from sticking.
This unit comes with a built in on/off switch, and with an adjustable thermostat with a 26-hour timer, that shuts the machine off automatically when the time is done. Another good thing about this dehydrator is that it is very easy to clean. Since this dehydrator is made of stainless steel, a wet cloth is all that you need. The trays are also very easy to clean, and all you have to do is to detach them and immerse them in warm soapy water for some time. The Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator also has numerous accessories that can be added (needs to be purchased separately) like a clear door, food dehydrator sheets, plus many other items. Excalibur offers an incredible 10-year limited warranty on this product, from the date of purchase, which is the best one offered on the market, and also normally a clear indication of a great product.
What Do Owners Say: The Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator is a very popular product, and it has got one of the highest ratings for food dehydrators on Amazon. This product has got almost nothing but positive reviews, and there are far between the negative ones. Most owners are very impressed with the cooking results, and they also report that this dehydrator is perfect for cooking basically anything that can be cooked in a dehydrator. A small percentage of the reviewers are reporting that the fan on this unit can be a little noisy.
Bottom Line: This is the best food dehydrator on the market, and a reliable appliance that we will highly recommend.
Excalibur vs Nesco comparison
#2 NESCO FD-1018A, Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator
Dimensions: 17 x 15,5 x 14 inches
Item Weight: 17 lbs
Temperature Range: 95°F – 160°F
Capacity: 8 trays, expandable up to 30 trays
9 / 10Our Rating
Easy to use
Dehydrates all kinds of foods evenly and with good results
Powerful (1000W) and quick
Easy to clean (dishwasher safe trays and cover)
Relatively short warranty period
No timer and auto shut-off
It is a bit noisy
Our runner-up is the Nesco FD-1018A Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator. This powerful unit comes with 1000W of drying power and are capable of dehydrating and drying any foods fast and evenly, while still maintaining the good taste and nutrition of the food. With 8 trays, and the possibility to expand up to 30 trays, you'll be able to make lots of dehydrated food at a time, and it comes with 8 mesh inserts that'll prevent the smaller bits from falling between / through the cracks, as well as fruit roll drying sheets made of plastic for each and every tray. The adjustable thermostat on the Nesco FD-1018A allows you to regulate the temperature ranging from 95°F - 160°F, and the Converga flowing system will make sure that the air is forced up and across the trays, without the need to rotate trays and without any mixing of flavors.
This unit does not have an adjustable timer or an automatic shut-off, and if you think these features are a necessity and don't want to attend if the food is done or not, you might want to go for another dehydrator (Excalibur, Chefman...). However, the Nesco FD-1018A is still worth its price, as it's very easy to use and also easy to clean, both for hand or in the dishwasher as the circular trays (and cover) are dishwasher safe. Another good thing about this appliance is the "Vita-Save"-exterior, which is designed to block light, which helps retaining the vitamins and nutrients during the dehydration process. The FD-1018A comes with a recipe/instruction book, a jerky spice pack and with a limited 1-year warranty.
What Do Owners Say: Like the Excalibur dehydrator, this product also has got a high rating on Amazon, and most of the reviews are mainly positive. Most owners are very pleased with the "cooking" results, and the majority find it very easy to use this dehydrator. Some however, are reporting that they miss having a timer and an automatic shut off, and a few are reporting that it is a bit noisy.
Bottom Line: Excellent dehydrator for home use.
Best Value For Money
#3 NESCO FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator
Dimensions: 13.8 x 22.1 x 13.9 inches
Item Weight: 7.75 lbs
Temperature Range: 95°F – 160°F
Capacity: 5 trays (expandable to 12 trays)
8.5 / 10Our Rating
Small footprint compared to other models
Easy to use and easy to clean
Useful accessories included
Quiet compare to some other models
No timer and auto shut off
Relatively short warranty period
If you're looking for a good budget food dehydrator, the Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster pro is our recommendation. This affordable and popular appliance is perfect as an entry level food dehydrator as it's very easy to use, and it is capable of dehydrating a variety of foods fast and evenly, thanks to its unique Converga flow-drying system. As the powerful (600W) fan is mounted on the top of the unit, the drying system forces the air down the exterior pressurized chamber. This forces the hot air horizontally across each tray and as a result it provides you with fast, nutritious and even drying, without the need of having to rotate trays. The Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster pro comes with 5 trays, but can be expanded to 12 trays if / when you need to dry large quantities of foods.
In addition to being relatively powerful and capacious, this dehydrator's adjustable thermostat allows you to regulate the temperature from 95°F - 160°F, which provides you the flexibility needed for getting the best possible results. As with the Nesco Gardenmaster, the Snackmaster Pro dehydrator has also got a "Vita save" exterior that ensures that any harmful light is blocked and that the nutrients and vitamins are retained during the drying process. The Gardenmaster Pro dehydrator comes with some useful accessories that include two fruit roll sheets, two Clean-a-Screen flexible screens, three jerky spice packets and a 52-page recipe and instruction book. In case of any defects on this product Nesco offers a 1-year limited warranty from the date of purchase.
What Do Owners Say: The Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro is a very popular appliance, and it is one of the most sold dehydrators on the market. It has also got a high rating on Amazon with lots of positive reviews, and most people seem to believe this dehydrator provides a lot of value for money. There are some that are reporting that the trays have started to melt a bit after a couple uses, but this does not seem to be a widespread issue.
Bottom Line: Perfect food dehydrator for the beginner
#4 Chefman RJ43-SQ-6T Food Dehydrator
Dimensions: 13.6 x 17.5 x 12.4 inches
Item Weight: 15.5 lbs
Temperature Range: 95°F – 158°F
Capacity: 6 trays
Timer: 19,5 hours
8.5 / 10Our Rating
Easy to use digital touch setting
BPA-free plastic trays
Good value for money
Trays are not dishwasher safe
The Chefman RJ43-SQ-6T food dehydrator comes with 6 spacious adjustable BPA-free plastic trays and with very easy to use digital touch settings that provides accurate drying times and temperatures. The integrated countdown timer goes up to 19.5 hours and shuts off automatically when the time is done, while the temperature can be adjusted precisely from 95 - 158 Fahrenheit. With the fan located at the back of the unit, and the built in innovative design for a maximum flow of hot air, you'll always have the food cooked evenly and without the risk of overheating. As this unit has a door with a transparent window, it makes the monitoring of the dehydrating process very easy.
The modern design on the Chefman Food Dehydrator is also something we really like, and it is an appliance that you can comfortably use on your kitchen counter top. This unit comes with a drip pan and a protective food sheet, that will collect any tiny residue and liquid that is coming out from the item and will make the cleaning easier. When you purchase a Chefman product you also get free access to hundreds of recipes online. If a problem should arise, this product is backed by comprehensive 1 year manufacturers warranty, and you'll get "after sales"- service support through their customer service team.
What Do Owners Say: People who have bought this product are generally very happy with their purchase, and this Chefman food dehydrator has one of the highest ratings for food dehydrators on Amazon. Most owners are impressed with the "cooking" performance, but there are a few that are reporting that it takes a bit more time than they expected to get the best results.
Bottom Line: Easy to use, modern and affordable food dehydrator
#5 Magic Mill Professional Food Dehydrator (6 Trays)
Dimensions: 19 x 13.5 x 15 inches
Item Weight: 15.6 lbs
Temperature Range: 95°F – 158°F
Capacity: 6 trays
Timer: 19,5 hours
8.5 / 10Our Rating
Easy to use and clean
Digital timer and thermostat
Fan is placed at the back, and the heat distribution is excellent
Stainless steel trays
Some reports of an occasional plastic smell
The Magic Mill Professional Food Dehydrator is a user-friendly and efficient device that comes with 6 (there are also a 9-tray model) stainless steel trays, and with 2 fine mesh sheets, 2 non-stick sheets and a set of oven mitts. This machine shares a lot of similarities with the Chefman dehydrator, as it has got a user-friendly digital thermostat (95°F - 158°F) with 8 preset settings, and a timer (19.5 hours) that shuts off automatically when the dehydration process is done. The fan on the Magic Mill Professional is located at the back of the unit and provides an even flow of hot air, which makes rotation of the shelves unnecessary whilst drying the food, yet you still get very good results.
A very convenient thing about this food dehydrator is the see through door on the front of the unit, which makes it possible to monitor the drying process from start to finish. This unit is also equipped with a drip pan, and it is very easy to clean, which is a huge plus when it comes to food dehydrators. Overall, this dehydrator gives you s lot of value for money, and the combination of a reasonably low price and excellent functionality makes this one of the best dehydrators on the market. If anything were to go wrong with this dehydrator, Magic Mill offers a 1-year limited warranty that starts from the date of purchase.
What Do Owners Say: People who own this device are mainly very pleased with the quality and "evenness" of the dehydrated food, and it has received a pretty high rating on Amazon. Amongst all the positive reviews, there are a few owners who is reporting that the dehydrator emits a slight plastic smell. This does not seem to affect the food, however, and does not seem to be an issue for most.
Bottom Line: Modern and solid food dehydrator that can dry all kinds of foods with great results.
Some are reporting that it takes longer than expected to dry some types of food
Gourmia's GFD 1950 Premium Countertop Food Dehydrator shares a lot of similarities with the two units (Chefman and Magic Mill) rated #4 and #5, as this dehydrator comes with an easy to use digital timer (19.5 hours) and thermostat (95°F - 158°F). The back-mounted fan on the GFD 1950 provides a consistent and even of heated air that makes rotating the shelves during the drying process unnecessary. When the timer has counted all the way down, the machine gives off a little bell-sound, and then it will shut off automatically. With 9 removable non-stick trays, the Gourmia GFD 1950 gives you plenty of space to dry all your favorite foods.
The case of this appliance is made of BPA-free plastic, which means it will not produce any harmful chemicals or toxins when you use it. This unit also makes very little noice when in use, and the cooking process can be supervised through the transparent door at the front at any time, which is extremely convenient. When it comes to cleaning, the shelves are not dishwasher safe, but they can be easily cleaned with just a wet cloth and some soap. As a protection in case something were to go wrong, you're covered by a 1-year limited warranty that starts from the day you purchase the appliance. If you feel the warranty is a little short, it might be a good idea to purchase extended warranty.
What Do Owners Say: This product has received a high rating from the people who have bought it, and the reviews are mostly very positive and people seem to be very pleased with the quality of both the product and the dried foods of all kinds. There are a few that thinks the power cord is a little short, and some are saying it takes longer than it should to make jerky.
Bottom Line: One of the best dehydrators in the “middle-range” segment.
#7 LEM Products 1153 Food Dehydrator
Dimensions: 23 x 19 x 19 inches
Item Weight: 15.4 lbs
Color: Dark grey
Temperature Range: 95°F – 155°F
Capacity: 10 trays
Timer: 31 hours
8 / 10Our Rating
Very large drying capacity
Back-mounted fan - horizontal airflow
Easy to clean (dishwasher safe trays)
Easy to operate
The holes in the trays are a bit too big for some foods
The fan is a bit noisy
Lack of accessories
If you're looking for a powerful unit that can dry lots of food at a time, The LEM Products 1153 Food Dehydrator is definitely one that you should consider. This robust device is built in solid aluminium and has 10 removable trays (15 square feet capacity) which is plenty of space to cover with food. The back-mounted fan on the LEM 1153 distributes air horizontally, which saves you the hassle of having to rotate the trays during the drying process. This unit has a digital timer that can be set for up to 30 hours and 55 minutes, and it turns itself automatically off when the time is done. The thermostat can also be adjusted by using the control knob and ranges from 95° - 155° Fahrenheit. In addition to being easy to operate, this unit is also very easy to clean, and the trays can also be washed in the dishwasher which saves you a lot of time.
As the LEM 1153 Food Dehydrator has a transparent door, you're able to check the status of your food without having to opening the door of the machine, which is very convenient. You should be aware that this appliance does leave a rather large footprint, and if you've got a small kitchen this device might a bit too big for your countertop. It does also make a bit of noise whilst dehydrating the food, and you might want to go for another food dehydrator if you plan to use it during the night, and close to where you sleep. With that said, this is still a great food dehydrator, and one that provides you with lot of value for your money. In case of any defects, LEM Products offers you a nice 2-year warranty from the date of purchase.
What Do Owners Say: Owners of this appliance are mainly very satisfied with the cooking performance of the LEM 1153 food dehydrator, and this product has got a high rating on Amazon. As we mentioned in our summary, this device is a bit noisy and a minority of the buyers reports they are not happy with the loudness of the fan.
Bottom Line: Solid food dehydrator, perfect for those who requires large capacity.
#8 BioChef Arizona Sol Food Dehydrator
Dimensions: 17.7 x 13.6 x 16.3 inches
Item Weight: 18.5 lbs
Temperature Range: 95°F – 158°F
Capacity: 9 trays
Timer: 19.5 hours
8 / 10Our Rating
Great dehydrator for large batch dehydrating
Doesn't make a lot of noise
Fan is mounted at the back - horizontal drying system
Durable and BPA-free - stainless steel trays
2 years warranty on motor & parts
Some are reporting some foods takes longer to dry than what they expected
The 9-tray Arizona Sol food dehydrator from Biochef is a great choice for those who needs a device that can do large batch dehydrating. With a nice and stylish white design (also available in black), this unit will also look good on your kitchen countertop. All 9 trays on the Arizona Sol food dehydrator is made of stainless steel and are easy to keep clean, and they are completely BPA-free and durable. Time and temperature can be easily set using the 19.5 hour timer and adjustable thermostat (95°F - 158°F) and viewed on the digital display, and the machine will turn itself off when the timer has counted all the way down. Like many of the other dehydrators on our list, this one also has got the fan mounted at the back, and the horizontal drying system that are used guarantees a consistent drying. It also operates very quietly, which is a huge plus.
The transparent door on the Biochef Arizona Sol dehydrator makes monitoring of the drying process very easy and hassle-free. In addition to this, you'll also get 3x non-stick sheets, 3x fine mesh sheets, a drip tray, an instruction manual with dehydrating tips, -and a nice two-year warranty on motor and parts. You should be aware that this appliance is pretty big, and if you've got a small kitchen and not a lot of space, you should probably go for a 6-tray (or less) model.
What Do Owners Say: The Biochef Arizona Sol Food Dehydrator has got a relatively high rating on Amazon and most owners consider this to be well worth the money they paid for it. A few people are saying their unhappy with the temperature setting which can only be moved in 9 degree increments, and that some foods take longer than expected to dry with a satisfactory result.
Bottom Line: Solid and nice looking dehydrator that is perfect for larger families
#9 Bestek KYS-323A Food Dehydrator
Dimensions: 13.8 x 13.8 x 11.8 inches
Item Weight: 8.4 lbs
Temperature Range: 95°F – 158°F
Capacity: 5 trays
7.5 / 10Our Rating
Rather small footprint compared to some other dehydrators
Comes with some useful additional accessories
The trays and the additional accessories are dishwasher safe
The fan is mounted at the bottom of the unit
If you're not willing to spend more than $50 on a food dehydrator, then the Bestek KYS-323A Food Dehydrator is one of the best options on the market. This affordable, nice-looking and well-made unit comes with 5 stackable trays, which gives you 5 square feet of drying space. The fan and heating element on the Bestek KYS-323A is mounted on the bottom of the unit and provide a constant flow of hot air, without the need of rotating the trays, according to the manufacturer and people who have bought this appliance. This dehydrator has no timer and you need to keep track of the time and turn it off yourself when the food is done and fully dehydrated. The temperature, on the other hand, can be easily adjusted between 95°F - 158°F in 9 degree increments, using the turnable knob at the front.
In addition to the 5 removable drying trays that comes with the Bestek dehydrator, you'll also get one fruit roll sheet, one mesh sheet, and cover, which are all dishwasher safe and easy to clean. As this is a rather new product, it doesn't have a lot of history behind it, and its hard to draw any conclusions about the expected product lifetime, but you do get a decent 18 months warranty from the date of purchase. If you'd rather go for a similar product with a bit more history, you should check out the Nesco FD-75A.
What Do Owners Say: As this product is rather new, there isn't many owners that has left a review. The few who has are all positive (at this point of time) and have given the dehydrator the best score.
Bottom Line: Affordable food dehydrator with a small footprint
#10 Presto Dehydro 06301 Dehydro Food Dehydrator
Dimensions: 14.5 x 15 x 7.25
Item Weight: 8.5 lbs
Temperature Range: 90°F – 165°F
Capacity: 6 trays
Timer: 48 hours
7.5 / 10Our Rating
Easy to use and clean (trays are dishwasher safe)
Comes with some useful additions
It's a bit loud
The fan and electronics are located at the bottom of the unit
The Presto 06301 Dehydro Food Dehydrator is a good alternative for those who's looking for a dehydrator in the under $100 segment. This unit comes with 6 trays, where each tray has an area of about 1 square foot, and it expands up to 12 trays of you need that many. The fan and heating element on the Presto 06301 is located at the bottom of the unit and produces a steady flow of hot air for the optimum drying. If you are dehydrating something that is juicy, you'll want to have one of the solid fruit roll sheets that is included, at the bottom tray, to prevent a mess. As for time (up to 48 hours) and temperature (90°F - 165°F), these settings can easily be regulated by using the buttons and digital display on the front of the unit, and the machine will shut off automatically when the time is done.
All parts on the Presto 06301 that comes in contact with the food are BPA-free. Also included with this dehydrator are 2 fruit roll sheets, 2 non-stick mesh screens, a sample packet of jerky spices and cure, and an instruction booklet with recipes and other helpful information. In addition to being easy to use, this machine is also very easy to keep clean, and the trays and lid can be washed in the dishwasher, whilst the mesh screens and solid sheets needs to be washed by hand. The warranty on this product is 1-year limited.
What Do Owners Say: People who have bought this appliance are mainly happy about their purchase, and the Presto 06301 Dehydro Food Dehydrator has a good rating on Amazon. Some are reporting that they find it a little loud, and some are reporting that it takes longer than it should to get the perfect drying results.
Bottom Line: This food dehydrator is a good alternative in the under $100 segment.
Food dehydrators are generally very easy to use, and dehydrating is a great way to preserve and store food. The health benefits and savings you’ll get from having a dehydrator definitely makes it worth it in the long run. Any of the machines we’ve reviewed will be a good addition to your household, and they are all capable of drying a variety of food to a satisfactory standard. We found the Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator to be the best pick of the bunch because of the combination of build-quality, features, ease of use and drying results.
Let us know your thoughts about the best food dehydrators to buy in 2021, and leave a comment if you agree / disagree with our reviews, or if there’s anything you’d like to share.
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