The Top 10 Best Food Dehydrators of 2019

A food dehydrator is typically a device that is used to draw out moisture from fruits, meats, vegetables, and other foods to create jerky, chips, fruit leathers, and powders that can be stored for a long period of time. If you’re looking to extend the shelf life of your food stockpile, a food dehydrator can certainly do the job.

But if you’ve already started looking at available food dehydrators, you were likely overwhelmed by the choices. How do you choose the best food dehydrator? What features are important and which ones are simply nice to have?

If you’re ready for some clarity to help you narrow down your options, we’ve scoured the Internet to find the top 10 food dehydrators for you to choose from for your food preservation needs.

dehydrator

Benefits of Dehydrating Food

There are many reasons that you might choose to use a food dehydrator. As a prepper, homesteader, or someone living off grid, the most pressing reason is extended shelf life and no need for refrigeration.

But here are some of the many other benefits of dehydrating food:

  • Nutrition Content Retained
  • Healthier Snacking
  • Cost Effective
  • Convenient
  • Avoid Wasted Food by preserving for later use
  • Preserve foods to eat out of season
  • Take advantage of seasonal sales and stock up
  • Create lightweight dehydrated snack bags or complete meals (great for your GHB or BOB)

What to Look For When Buying a Food Dehydrator

Choosing the best food dehydrator for your family is definitely a matter of personal preference. A family of just two will have entirely different needs than a family of seven. We’ve listed some of the factors to consider before you buy a food dehydrator. Later we’ll give our list of top 10 food dehydrators to check out first.

Ease of Use

When choosing from the top 10 food dehydrators, look for one that is easy to use. If it’s easy to use, you’ll enjoy using it more often. A timer feature on your food dehydrator means that you can set it and forget it rather than monitoring the drying process.

This is a must have feature for those with hectic work schedules or busy farms. Dishwasher safe pieces and an included drip tray make for easy clean-up so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time with family. Automatic shutoff will help prevent accidentally over drying of food if you let it run overnight and decide to sleep in a little.

Vertical Airflow or Horizontal Airflow

Interlocking Stacking Trays (Vertical airflow)

  • Better for flexible capacity
  • Fan mounted in center or in the base of the unit
  • Air filters through the core channel
  • No need to rotate trays
  • Can be adjusted for small and large batches
  • Typically more affordable
  • Airflow might not be as even as trays furthest from fan will dry slower
  • Better for vegetables and fruits. Harder to get beef jerky without manually switching trays
  • Compact Size and Easy to Store

Trays on Shelves (Horizontal Airflow)

  • Trays that slide in and out
  • Airflow mounted in back of unit and blows across to front
  • Better if you have to check progress of dried foods often
  • Can be more limiting as far as capacity
  • More space on each tray since no center channel for airflow
  • Typically more expensive
  • More even airflow
  • Great for dehydrating meat
  • Tend to be larger in size

Drying Power

Look for dehydrators that have a heating element, a fan, and uniform airflow throughout. Most dehydrators are between 300 and 1,000 watts of power. Most occasional users will be happy with a food dehydrator of around 500 of 700 watts of power.

If you intend to dehydrate large batches of food at one time, go for 1,000 watts of power or higher. Some food dehydrator models have dual fans but these can be louder than single fan models. Top or back mounted heating element and fans are typically best for even heating.

Adjustable Thermostat

Temperatures required for proper drying of different fruits, vegetables, meats, or other items vary. The ability to set or adjust temperatures is a key feature so you can set the proper temperature for different foods and avoid having to continually monitor to prevent over drying.

The less control you have over temperature, the more frequently you will have to monitor the drying process. Uneven drying also means you may have to interrupt the process to switch trays around so everything dries thoroughly.

Now that you know how to choose the best out of the top 10 food dehydrators, below are the ones that made the list.

Best Horizontal (Shelf) Dehydrators

Airflow moves from back to front and front to back in a horizontal or shelf style food dehydrator. Uniform drying is a critical element to the drying process. Nobody likes soggy banana chips. Uniform airflow can also help eliminate issues like mold and help make the final texture of your pieces more uniform.

Excalibur 3926TB

1. Excalibur 3926TB

(get it on Amazon)

Drying Power of Excalibur 3926TB

  • Back mounted 7” fan and heater
  • 15 square feet of drying surface
  • 600 watts power

Quality

  • Made in U.S.
  • Company in business since 1973
  • 10 year no fuss warranty
  • Made of Durable Plastic

Design and Features

  • 9 fully removable sliding trays (9.1)
  • Adjustable thermostat up to 160 degrees
  • Programmable timer up to 26 hours

Other Notes

  • Uniform drying
  • Can be louder than other models due to vibration
  • Easy to Use
  • Optional Silicone available separately for fruit leathers

Other Available models:

Tribest Sedona SD-P9000

2. Tribest Sedona SD-P9000

(get it on Amazon)

Drying Power

  • 12 square feet of drying space
  • Digitally controlled system
  • Dual fan system operate individually or simultaneously
  • 600 Watts power
  • Quality
  • BPA-free plastic trays
  • 5 year warranty

Design and Features

  • 9 Shelf Tray model
  • Accurate variable temperature control in Celsius or Fahrenheit
  • LED digital display
  • Timer for up to 99 hours with auto shut-off
  • Front mounted loading
  • See-through door
  • Option to dehydrate all 9 trays or half
  • Pause and Resume function
  • Detachable power cord
  • Energy saving night mode

Notes

  • Quality control and customer service may be lacking
  • May have longer drying times due to inaccurate temperatures
  • Easy clean up and storage

Other Available Models:

STX International STX DEH-1200W XLS Dehydra

3. STX Dehydra 1200W 10 Rack Stainless Steel Model

(get it on Amazon)

Drying Power

  • 1200 Watts
  • Horizontal Airflow
  • 10 trays for 16 square feet of drying space
  • Rear mounted 7” Fan

Quality

  • Stainless Steel Commercial Grade
  • 99.9% customer approval rating on 30,000 units sold
  • 1 year 100% fix or replace guarantee

Design and Features

  • Digital control panel with 15 hour timer
  • Drip tray for easy clean up
  • Variable thermostat from 95 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Removable parts for easy cleaning
  • Includes silicone mats for fruit leather

Notes

  • Made in China
  • Heavier than most dehydrators, nearly 40 pounds
  • Safe for beef jerky
  • May need mesh inserts for some items

Other Available Models

Aroma Housewares Professional

3. Aroma Housewares Pro Dehydrator

(get it on Amazon)

Drying Power

  • 400 watt power
  • Back mounted heating coil and fan
  • Uniform horizontal drying
  • 5.5 square foot drying surface

Quality

  • 5 year warranty
  • BPA Free

Design and Features

  • 6 tray 11” x 12”
  • Adjustable thermostat from 95 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Front loading trays on glides
  • Transparent door
  • Height adjustable trays to make room for larger items
  • Drip tray for easier cleaning
  • Square Design
  • Lit on/off power indicator
  • Top positioned control panel
  • Includes plastic sheet for fruit leather
  • Comes with mesh sheet for smaller items

Notes

  • Extremely quiet
  • Compact size
  • Does not expand for additional trays
  • Is not dishwasher safe
  • No timer
  • Not good for large families

Other Available Models

Gourmia GFD1950 Premium

5. Gourmia GFD1950 Premium

(get it on Amazon)

Drying Power

  • Back-mounted fan and heating element
  • CircuSmart 360 degree air-flow circulation system
  • 600 watt power

Quality

  • BPA-free ABS plastic
  • ETL Certified for efficiency
  • 1 year limited warranty

Design and Features

  • 9 nonstick removable and adjustable trays
  • Transparent door
  • 8 Preset temperatures from 95 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Select and Set controls up to 19.5 hours in 30 minute increments
  • Optional dehydrator sheets for fruit leather
  • Includes mesh insert for small items
  • Drip Tray for easy clean up

Notes

  • Quiet operation
  • Good for dehydrating meats, may take a bit longer
  • Easy to clean
  • Great for drying herbs
  • Bigger than most dehydrators

Other Available Models

6. Best Vertical (Stacking) Dehydrators

Airflow moves from bottom to top and top to bottom in a vertical airflow food dehydrator. These are typically round in shape, though not always.

The heating element and fan are positioned in the center core channel or at the base of the unit. The downside to vertical airflow dehydrators can be uneven drying which requires switching trays around during the drying process.

Nesco Gardenmaster

6. Nesco Gardenmaster

(get it on Amazon)

Drying Power

  • 1000 watts of power
  • Patented Converga-Air Flow
  • Top mounted fan and heater

Quality

  • Made of BPA-free plastic
  • Made in U.S.
  • 1 year limited warranty

Design and Features

  • 4 stackable trays expandable up to 20 trays
  • Small compact size
  • Adjustable thermostat from 90- 160 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Programmable digital timer up to 48 hours
  • Auto Shut-off
  • Includes no spill sheet for gooey substance like fruit
  • Ships with flexible mesh “clean a screen” for smaller items
  • Includes Jerky Spice Cure packet for beef jerky
  • Optional Jerky Works Kit

Notes

  • Great for vegetables and fruits
  • No switching of trays needed for smaller batches
  • More budget friendly than Excalibur

Other Available Models

Presto 06301 Dehydro

7. Presto 06301 Dehydro

(get it on Amazon)

Drying Power

  • 700 watt heater
  • Bottom mounted heating element and fan

Quality

  • BPA free
  • Food safe plastic trays
  • 1 year limited warranty

Design and Features

  • Vertical airflow
  • 6 10” diameter stacking trays expandable to 12 trays
  • User friendly one touch programmable timer from 30 minutes to 48 hours
  • Adjustable thermostat from 90 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Simple stop/start operation
  • Cord storage in base
  • Includes two solid sheets for fruit leather
  • Comes with 2 nonstick mesh screens for small items
  • See through top cover for monitoring progress
  • Auto shutoff
  • Small compact size

Notes

  • Easy to clean
  • Economical price
  • Ideal for smaller batches
  • Convenient one finger operation
  • Dishwasher safe trays (top rack air dry only)

Other Available Models:

L’Equipe 528

8. L’Equipe 528

Drying Power

  • 530 watts power
  • 12 square foot of drying space with 6 trays

Quality

  • 10 year warranty
  • BPA-free ABS Plastic trays
  • Food Safe plastic
  • Solid customer service and painless return process

Design and Features

  • 6 trays expandable to 12 trays if desired
  • Variable temperature control 90 to 155 Fahrenheit with heating sensor
  • Sleek, timeless design
  • Convenient on/off switch
  • Includes 6 mesh tray inserts for small items
  • Comes with 2 solid fruit leather sheets
  • Quiet operation
  • 24 hour auto shut off

Other Notes

  • Handwashing required but easy to clean
  • Dependable results
  • Rectangular shape unique for vertical airflow dehydrators
  • Retractable cord for storage
  • Smaller footprint than round stackable models
  • No timer
NutriChef Electric Food Dehydrator Machine

9. NutriChef PKFD12 Food Dehydrator

(get it on Amazon)

Drying Power

  • Bottom mounted heating element and fan

Quality

  • Users mention tray seem decent but not super strong
  • Consistently rated 5 stars on Amazon

Design and Features

• 5 removable stacking trays
• Holds only about 2 ½ to 3 pounds of meat
• One button operation
• Adjustable thermostat up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit
• Convenient drip tray

Notes

  • Budget friendly price
  • Manufacturer states safe for beef jerky
  • Dishwasher safe trays
  • No timer or temperature control

Other Available Models

  • NutriChef PKFD06
DHR30 Food Dehydrator Parts

10. Waring DHR-30 Food Dehydrator

(see it on their official site)

Drying Power

  • 620 Watt Power
  • Vertical airflow with top vent
  • Bottom mounted fan

Quality

  • Renowned Waring manufacturer
  • 75% of Amazon reviewers rate 4 or 5 stars
  • 5 year limited warranty

Design and Features

  • 5 racks expandable up to 9 racks
  • Adjustable temperature low (110 degrees Fahrenheit), medium, high (175 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Includes fruit leather sheet
  • Wide range of optional accessories including additional fruit leather sheets
  • Dishwasher safe trays

Notes

  • Some users commented trays are shallow and holes are big
  • Easy to Store
  • Great for all types of fruits and veggies
  • Makes a great gift
  • No Timer
  • May be difficult to clean

Additional Models

  • Cuisinart DHR20

Bonus: Solar Powered Food Dehydrators

Our top 10 food dehydrators all use electricity to operate. But what happens in a grid down scenario or if you just want to forgo electricity and save some money on that electric bill? We found a couple hanging drying racks available for purchase as well as some a DIY solar powered food dehydrator options.

Do you have a favorite that didn’t make our top 10 food dehydrators? Which of these might work best for your family’s food preservation needs? Share your thoughts in the comments below… and don’t forget to pin this for later!

best food dehydrators pinterest
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About Megan Stewart

Avatar
Born and raised in NE Ohio, with early memories that include grandpa teaching her to bait a hook and watching her mom, aunts, and grandmothers garden, sew, and can food, Megan is a true farm girl at heart. For Megan, the 2003 blackout, the events of 911, and the increasing frequency of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, spurred a desire to be more prepared for whatever may come along. Soon to be living off-grid, this mother of four and grandmother of six grandsons, is learning everything she can about preparedness, basic survival, and self-sufficient homesteading. She is passionate about sharing that knowledge so that others can be increasingly prepared to protect their families.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *