If you want to provide your family with healthier snacks to eat, then it might be a good idea to consider purchasing a food dehydrator. Instead of munching on junk food such as chocolate, potato chips, cake, and candy, you can use your dehydrator to make nutritious and delicious foods including jerky, dried fruit, fruit roll-ups, trail mix, and more.
You do not need to make a major investment, either, as most of the best dehydrators are rather inexpensive. You will save a lot of money on snacking and avoid wasting too much food, as you can easily use any of your leftover produce to make a delicious snack. In addition, dehydrators will allow your food to maintain its nutrients, so you will be able to stay healthy while eating tasty treats.
In this article, we will answer all of the questions you have about food dehydrators, including what the best food dehydrator is, whether it is worth buying a food dehydrator, and what makes a good food dehydrator. In addition, we will provide you with the best food dehydrators according to customer reviews.
Types of Best Food Dehydrators
As you begin to shop for the best food dehydrator, you will notice that they tend to fall under two main types.
- Vertical Flow Food Dehydrators: This is the more affordable option of the two, but vertical food dehydrators don’t tend to heat your food as evenly as horizontal flow food dehydrators, so that’s something worth keeping in mind. They have a fan that is either on the bottom of the top to help with heat distribution. These are best if you want to dry fruits and vegetables, but these tend to be more difficult if you want to be working with meat jerky. You can also expand the dehydrator and fit more trays if necessary. So, this might be the better option for you if you don’t plan on working with meat but still want a high-quality dehydrator.
- Horizontal Flow Food Dehydrators: Most of the options on our list fall under this category.They heat your food evenly and quickly and they are the best option if you want to prepare meat jerky. These types of dehydrators are easy to use. All you have to do is turn the device on and you won’t have to do much more work until your food is prepared. It is energy efficient and you can use these to make a variety of different recipes. They are a bit larger than vertical food dehydrators and they do cost more, but these tend to be the more efficient option.
- NESCO: Undoubtedly, Nesco is the best brand when it comes to food dehydrators. Its products have received thousands of positive reviews from many customers. For example, the Nesco Snackmaster Pro has been considered to be the best food hydrator on the market by many reviewers. But, in addition to dehydrators, Nesco also produces roaster ovens, slow cookers, stainless steel pressure cookers, and other small kitchen appliances.
- Presto: Presto is another one of the best brands that is worth looking into when it comes to small kitchen appliances. Aside from food dehydrators, the brand also makes stainless steel pressure cookers, which it is also very well-known for, canners, air fryers, coffee makers, deep fryers, egg cookers, and other kitchen appliances.
Top 5 Best Food Dehydrators
The Nesco Snackmaster is considered to be the best food hydrator on Consumer Reports. It is easy to use and features a temperature range of 95 to 160 degrees. It offers temperature control for you to maintain the temperature you need.
The Nesco Snackmaster Pro has an opaque exterior to ensure that your food maintains its nutritional content while being dehydrated. The Snackmaster Pro also has a mounted top fan and it comes with 5 trays.
However, you may extend it to 12 trays. The Corvega-Flow system will force air downwards through the chamber but not through the trays. Then, this hot air travels horizontally across the trays to provide even drying.
This means that there is no need for you to rotate the trays. The Nesco Snackmaster Pro comes with trays that have 0.8 square feet of drying space.
This Presto dehydrator is also considered to be one of the best food dehydrators. One thing to keep in mind is that this electric food dehydrator does not have an off switch, so it turns on and off when you plug it in. It has four trays to allow you to dehydrate multiple foods at once.
The dehydrator also has a see-through cover so that you can monitor the drying process. The fan is mounted on the bottom to allow consistent air flow to ensure even drying.
This dehydrator can be used for drying fruit leather, jerky, and other foods. It comes with fruit roll sheets, nonstick mesh screens, and products for making jerky. It is easy to store and it operates at a temperature of 165 degrees.
Like the Nesco Snackmaster, this Nesco dehydrator is another product that many people love and consider the best for making jerky and other dried foods. It can be expanded up to 7 trays and the dehydrator has a transparent top so you can make sure that the drying process is taking place as necessary.
It has radial air flow so you don’t have to worry about rotating the trays. It is easy to use and you can wash most of the parts in the dishwasher. In addition to beef jerky, you will be able to dry a lot of different foods such as turkey jerky, trail mix, fish jerky, trail mix, banana chips, dried fruit, apples, soup, and more.
It has a 400-watt powerhead to ensure that your food will be dried at maximum speed without having to sacrifice flavor or nutrients. There is an on and off switch for easy temperature control as it operates using a regulated setting.
The trays provide 0.75 square feet of drying space. And, to make the experience memorable, you get sample jerky seasoning to make your beef jerky taste even better.
This next product from Presto has a six-tray system that will dehydrate your foods quickly and at a fraction of the cost. It is possible to expand the dehydrator to accommodate 12 trays. You don’t have to worry about any additives or preservatives in your food, either.
Some of the foods that you will be able to dehydrate include jerky from seafood, meat, and poultry, as well as fruits, herbs, and vegetables. The electric food dehydrator comes with jerky spices. It also has sheets if you want to make fruit rolls.
It has a digital timer and thermostat and the dehydrator will shut off automatically when finished to prevent your food from overdrying. The temperature range is between 90 to 165 degrees and it will dry your food for up to 48 hours at a time.
The fan is mounted on the bottom and it provides consistent air flow to make sure that all your food is dried evenly. It operates on 750 watts and the dehydrator can be stored easily in your kitchen.
The last product on our list is another best dehydrator from Nesco. It operates using 1,000 watts of power and it only takes a matter of hours to dry your food.
Like the Snackmaster Pro, this dehydrator also has the Converga-Flow system to push air up and across the trays horizontally to prevent the need to rotate the trays and to ensure that your food is dried evenly.
This product offers temperature control between 95 and 160 degrees. This dehydrator provides the most space out of all the others on our list; it comes with 8 trays, but you can expand it to suit up to 30 trays if needed. You get 8 fruit roll-up sheets, 8 clean-a-screens, jerky spice and cure, and a recipe book.
The dehydrator is easy to clean and you can put the trays in the dishwasher. It is quiet and you can use this dehydrator to make all kinds of foods in as little time as possible.
Even More Dehydrators
- Electric Food Dehydrator Machine, Professional Multi-Tier Kitchen Food Appliance
- COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine
- COSORI Food Dehydrator Machine, 5 BPA-Free Trays with Timer
- Commercial Chef CCD100W6 Compact Dehydrator
- VIVOHOME Electric 400W 8 Trays Food Dehydrator Machine with Digital Timer and Temperature Control
Here are some other factors that you may want to consider when shopping for the best food dehydrator.
- Ease of Use: In general, food dehydrators are not all that difficult to use. But there are some models and types that are easier to use than others. You want to make sure that your food dehydrator will cook food evenly so that you don’t have to spend too much time rotating and switching the shelves. You also may want to make sure that the food dehydrator is easy to clean. Many of them have parts that you can simply throw in the dishwasher when they need to be cleaned. And if you choose a stainless steel option, cleaning may be even easier.
- Heat Distribution: Food dehydrators work by keeping foot at a high temperature to dry out all the moisture. This is not a difficult task in theory, but if the dehydrator does not dry your food evenly, then it can make using the dehydrator much more difficult than it needs to be. You will want to do research on the air flow and what people have to say about how evenly the heat is distributed. As we said, horizontal food dehydrators tend to dry food more evenly.
- Size: It is important to also check on the size of your dehydrator. This is not only to make sure that it will fit well in your kitchen and that you will be able to store it properly, but you also want the dehydrator to make as much food as you need. Generally, they can fit a few trays and can be expanded to fit nine trays or even more. If you tend to make larger batches of food, then you will want to get a larger dehydrator.
- Features: The features that your dehydrator should have will ultimately depend on your preferences. For example, you may want the dehydrator to have a thermostat that will allow you to control the temperature range instead of having a preset setting. Some also include timers and automatic shutoff. You may also want to check out the accessories they come with and how loud the dehydrator is while operating. If you want a commercial dehydrator, these offer some features such as stainless steel and a glass door.
- Price: Food dehydrators are not as expensive as some other kitchen appliances, so this is not something that you will need to break the bank in order to get. With that being said, there are undoubtedly some food dehydrators that are more expensive than others, such as ones with a glass dor. Commercial dehydrators, for example, are the most expensive. Generally, however, the more you pay, the more features your dehydrator will have. You generally will have to spend between $50 and $150, though we have options on our list that cost less than that.
If you want to be able to make the best, tastiest, and healthiest snacks for your family, it might be worth looking into a decent food dehydrator.
As we said, the best food dehydrators are not difficult to use and they generally do not cost too much. In this review, we provided a list of the best food dehydrators according to customer reviews and a multitude of other factors, such as ease of use and temperature range.
These can be used to make many foods, such as dried fruit, jerky, trail mix, and more. Now, you will be more informed while shopping for your next kitchen appliance and you can stay healthy while snacking, too.