One of the most basic skills that many survivalists, campers, preppers and hikers learn is food preservation. When it comes to the method of preserving food, it’s known that drying is the oldest one. Early settlers have learned to dry foods such as fruits and meat as a means to preserve food.
For dehydrating food, some people might prefer the old, primitive methods. There are also others who choose to devise their own food dehydrators.
If you happen to be in the group that don’t want to bother with all of those, you always have the option to buy a food dehydrator. In this article, we will review some of the best food dehydrator products that money can buy.
Our Top Picks
|Product Name||Watts||Weight||Trays||Best use||Price|
|Nesco FD-60 Snackmaster||500||5.7 lb||4 (expandable to 12)||outdoor survival, camping, hiking, fishing, hunting||Check price on Amazon|
|Waring Pro DHR30||620||7.6 lb||5 (expandable to 9)||hiking, camping, fishing, hunting||Check price on Amazon|
|Presto 06302 Dehydro||750||8.5 lb||6 (expandable to 12)||camping, hunting, hiking, fishing, outdoor survivalist||Check price on Amazon|
|Nesco FD-80A||700||9.2 lb||6 ( expandable to 12)||hunting, camping, hiking, fishing, outdoor survival, food preparation||Check price on Amazon|
|Excalibur 3926TB||600||22 lb||9 (expandable to 12)||hiking, fishing, camping, hunting, outdoor survival, raw food diet||Check price on Amazon|
|Nesco FD-1040 Gardenmaster||1000||8.9 lb||4 (expandable to 20)||outdoor survival, fishing, hunting, raw food diet||Check price on Amazon|
|Della Deluxe||850||18 lb||10 large trays||raw food diet, hunting, camping, fishing, hiking||Check price on Amazon|
|Ivation Electric Food Dehydrator||400||13.4 lb||6 trays||hiking, fishing, outdoor survival, food preparation, raw food diet||Check price on Amazon|
|Gourmia GFD1650||400||11.5 lb||6 drying trays||outdoor survival, hunting, hiking, fishing, camping, raw food diet||Check price on Amazon|
Features to Consider Before Buying
When you begin to do some research in regards to the purchasing of food dehydrators, either on the web or at a shopping mall, you may run over a wide variety of items with a lot of various features. It turns out to be very complex for you to choose the best item.
While the fundamental usefulness is similar in any food dehydrator model, there is an assortment of features that differs one from the other. An essential thing is the capacity to dry food equally, but additional features can likewise be helpful. Here are some important features to consider before buying a food dehydrator:
Direction of Air Flow
The greatest distinguishing factor in the design of dehydrators is the way air flows among the trays: vertically or horizontally. Each design will effectively dehydrate food, but consistency and usability may vary from one model to another.
Horizontal air flow means a huge box and a huge fan blowing crosswise over trays that will slide all through the box (especially like a little convection oven, yet with less heat and more airflow). A horizontally designed airflow implies that there is oxygen coming off the fan and hitting every tray directly.
You can likewise remove some of the trays so as to get more space for big items. Vertical air flow means a fan at the base or top with trays present in a stack. Stacking layouts take advantage of the way hot air actually rises, so (hypothetically) the fan doesn’t have to work as difficult to do a similar task.
You can likewise purchase additional trays and just add them to the stack so as to enhance the machine’s ability. There are drawbacks to each design.
The horizontally designed airflow engross more counter room than the other, while the vertically designed airflow usually has a vent opening amidst the tray that requires creativity while dehydrating some items such as fruit leather, sheets of cracker, etc.
Size and Space
It is quite important to purchase a food dehydrator which has a size that fits the available space in your home. If you don’t have much space, you may select stacked food dehydrator. Such dehydrator kind, needs 12-30 racks that can be positioned on each other according to your prerequisite of food storage.
However, if you have sufficient space, then choosing a box and shelf dehydrator will be ideal. Whatever sort of dehydrator you pick; it will definitely be a long time investment for your kitchen.
Another vital feature to consider before buying a food dehydrator is the power to be generated by each model. Extending from around 125 to 1000 watts, bigger units require more power to sustain the temperature. The majority of the units, move up to 160 degrees, however, some can only get to 130 degrees.
The amount you can dry at a go is the greatest variable while choosing a particular food dehydrator model. You can actually get greater capacity at a lesser value with a vertical stack dehydrator since extra trays cost not as much as an additional machine.
All those trays will still be moderately small unlike the trays in a horizontally-designed airflow machine, however, and any worries about uneven dehydrating will just deteriorate with additional trays in a vertical stack machine.
If you require more capacity, LEM and Excalibur offer machines with 9-10 trays unlike some 5-tray designs, and that makes the machines more expensive and taller. They come with heating elements and bigger fans, so you will get the same drying execution to the 5-plate dehydrator models.
If you need to dehydrate larger food pieces, you need to remove the racks from the food dehydrator and this kind of feature is accessible in box and shelf food dehydrator. It guarantees that all foods, dry uniformly. Nonetheless, this advantage is impractical in the stackable models due to the fact that here the racks are placed with intention on each another.
A vital distinguishing factor is whether the food dehydrator utilizes shelf trays or stackable trays. We lean intensely toward suggesting shelf tray dehydrators. This is due to the fact that they generally heat equally due to the nature of the horizontally-designed air flow.
In any case, we are not saying that there aren’t a couple of amazing stackable food dehydrators on the market that can be relied upon to dehydrate food efficiently.
This is also one of the basic features that need be considered before getting a food dehydrator. Most people usually enjoy carrying their food dehydrator with them while going on a journey. During such circumstance, a stackable food dehydrator, due to its little size can be ideal to carry along on the journey.
It is very light in weight and doesn’t create alerts at metal sensor passages. Alternatively, a metal dehydrator is too big and is likewise not permitted to take along with you in aviation routes because of the metallic material.
A few of the more expensive food dehydrator models have all the whistles and bells. These incorporate digital thermometers, inside lighting, automatic timing and here and sometimes they accompany kits that incorporate things like special non-stick mats and jerky guns.
Some food dehydrator sets will incorporate recipe books or handbooks with their units.
Top Product Reviews
If you are still lost as to which food dehydrator to buy, we have provided reviews for some of the most popular food dehydrator products in the market. With these reviews, hopefully you can find a food dehydrator that’s right for you.
Nesco FD-60 Snackmaster
Price: Approx. $60
Weight: 5.7 lb
Dimensions: 13.6 x 9.8 x 13.5 inches
Specific features: 500-watt 4-tray food dehydrator, top-mounted fan, converga-flow drying system, includes fruit roll sheet and 2 original-flavor jerky spice and cure packets
Best use: Outdoor survival, camping, hiking, fishing, hunting
Description: Arguably, the Nesco FD-60 Snackmaster is one of the most popular dehydrators that you can buy. It features about 500 watts of drying power which provides great speed and quality for dehydrating fruits, vegetables and jerkies.
It differs from most dehydrators because its heat distribution comes from the top to bottom. It works by forcing air down the exterior pressurized chamber as opposed to being blown through the trays. The air is then forced horizontally for an even faster and nutritious drying.
This process provides two great advantages: flavors will not be mixed and there’s no need to rotate trays. Trays can be adjusted easily and the model can hold up to 12 trays. If you’re dehydrating larger foods, you need to adjust the trays to give more space.
The machine is perfectly quiet and you can even leave it overnight with no issues. If you are in the least bit interested in food dehydration, this product is a must-have.
- Works easily
- No guess work required
- Very easy to make hamburger jerky.
- Works quicker.
- Includes more tray
- Supportive guide
- A nice addition
- Automatically turns off
- A bit noisy
- Difficult to clean the tray
Related: If you want a food dehydrator that provides the flexibility to guarantee an excellent result, you can check out the Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator.
Waring Pro DHR30
Price: $114 – $130
Weight: 7.6 lb
Dimensions: 14.7 x 12.4 x 11.8 inches
Specific features: 5 stackable, interlocking trays, fruit roll-up sheet included, new fan system promoting better air flow, adjustable temperature
Best use: Outdoor survival, hiking, camping, fishing, hunting
Description: If you want a food dehydrator with a more professional capacity, look no further than the Waring Pro DHR30. With its 5-tiered, 620 watt power, this dehydrator certainly packs quite a wallop.
We’ve thrown in cherry tomatoes and sliced grapes, and it’s ready within just two hours at high settings. Fruits like apple and orange take longer and about 7-8 hours. In that case, you can just leave it overnight with no problem.
There are four settings in the adjustable thermostat which are Fan Only, Low, Medium and High. It’s really easy to set up and use and you’ll dehydrate food in no time. There are 5 trays and you can easily stack and remove them for easy cleanup.
Another thing we like is the overall look of the dehydrator which should be a great complement to your kitchen counter. Overall, it’s a really solid dehydrator for a fair price.
- Easy to utilize
- Easy cleaning
- Wider mesh
- Fixed tray height
- No timer
- No automatic shut-off
- Difficult to clean
Related: Now that you’ve found the right dehydrator for you, we suggest that you also check out the Dehydrator Bible, a cookbook with over 400 recipes for tasty dried foods.
Presto 06302 Dehydro
Price: $57 – $90
Weight: 8.5 lb
Dimensions: 14.5 x 15 x 7.2 inches
Specific features: Six-tray system, adjustable thermostat, bottom-mounted fan and heating element, drying trays nest and cord stores in base for compact storage
Best use: Camping, hunting, hiking, fishing, outdoor survivalist
Description: The Presto 06302 Dehydro with adjustable thermostat is one of the most highly rated dehydrators and for good reason. You have a spacious 6 tray system which is expandable to 12 trays. This ensures faster dehydration of foods with no extra fillers, additives or preservatives.
For total temperature control, there’s an adjustable thermostat that you can use to dry your foods from 95 to 160 degrees. There’s a bottom-mounted fan that provides consistent air flow which makes for optimum drying.
The dehydrator is made of plastic parts, but surprisingly the cleanup is a breeze since the food pieces (like beef jerkies) don’t stick. Another thing worth noting is that this system is quite space efficient since the trays and the cord can be stored in the base. Overall, this is a very basic and affordable dehydration system and is perfect for beginners.
- Six trays give a lot of drying space
- Expandable to 12 plates
- Include cord storage and trays nest to save some storage space
- Adjustable thermostat
- Include two nonstick mesh screens
- Somewhat loud
Related: Need a 6-tray food dehydrator at a small amount of the value of commercially dried foods? If yes, then you can check out the Presto 06301 Dehydro Digital Electric Food Dehydrator
Price: $60 – $100
Weight: 9.2 lb
Dimensions: 15.2 x 10.2 x 15.6 inches
Specific features: Air-circulation system ensures fast, even drying, adjustable thermostat, bale handle dishwasher safe parts, easy-to-use dehydrator, top-mounted fan
Best use: Hunting, camping, hiking, fishing, outdoor survival, food preparation
Description: Here’s another hydrator from Nesco and you can expect this one to deliver. The Nesco FD-80A utilizes the same Converga-Flow Action which forces heated air downwards through the outer ring and then horizontally across individual trays, then converging at the core.
This ensures not just faster results, but you are rest assured that the food will be evenly dried. Unlike many dehydrators, you will not need to keep an eye on this model and no need to rotate the trays as well. It packs a powerful 700-watt motor that guarantees fast drying times in just hours.
It also comes with an adjustable thermostat ranging from 95 degrees to 155 degrees F which means flexibility for the user. This model was able to handle everything we’ve thrown at it including fruits, vegetables, herbs, and jerky.
Another main selling point of the FD-80A is its price point which is only more than $50 (current sale price). Another solid product from Nesco.
- Littler footprint enables unit to fit serenely on your counter.
- Flexible thermostat – permits proper temperature for every category of food
- Has square trays which have greater capacity and are easy to load
- Quick drying
- Difficult to turn off and on due to the absence of on/off switch
- Not as expandable as other expensive dehydrators
- No timer implies you have to monitor unit more precisely
Related: If you need a similar product from the same manufacturer, then you can check out the Nesco Fd-60 Snackmaster Express 4-Tray Food Dehydrator.
Price: $250 – $285
Weight: 22 lb
Dimensions: 19 x 17 x 12.5 inches
Specific features: 9 large trays, 15 sq ft of drying space, flexible poly-screen tray insert, 7-inch fan, 600 watts, built in on/off switch with 26 hour timer
Best use: Hiking, fishing, camping, hunting, outdoor survival, raw food diet
Description: Are you in the market for a high end food dehydrator? Well, you’re looking at the biggest and baddest food dehydrator in the market, the Excalibur 3926TB. If you’re looking for a smaller, portable food dehydrator, you might want to look elsewhere because this thing is huge.
Fortunately, its bigger size means that it can hold more contents for dehydration. You have 9 trays and 15 square feet of drying space. This utilizes a horizontal airflow distribution which as mentioned, helps in evenly drying the food which in turn eliminates the need for rotating trays.
This dehydrator is different from other models because its fan is located to the side, as opposed to the bottom or top.
One feature worth noting is the Hyperwave Fluctuation Technology which aids in keeping the temperature low enough to preserve the enzymes but still hot enough to effectively dry food. Again, this is a high end dehydrator and is recommended for more experienced users.
- Incredible for fruit and jerky
- No need to pivot the trays
- Include an inbuilt timer
- Offers a big amount of drying space
- Absence of lips on the edges of the tray
- The plastic could be more grounded
Related: If you want a perfect food dehydrator for large families, craftspeople, large gardens and sportsmen, then you can check out the Excalibur 2900ECB 9-Tray Economy Dehydrator.
Nesco FD-1040 Gardenmaster
Price: $100 – $150
Weight: 8.9 lb
Dimensions: 15.5 x 15.5 x 9.5 inches
Specific features: Programmable digital dimer, 1000 watts of drying power, patented converga-flow air flow, adjustable temperature control, expandable to 20 trays
Best use: Camping, hunting, outdoor survival, fishing, hunting, raw food diet
Description: For the price range of $100 to $150, many consider Nesco FD-1040 Gardenmaster food dehydrator to be a bang for the buck considering the value you’ll be getting. The fan is top mounted and eliminates the problem of liquid dripping into the heating chamber.
Again, this model features Nesco’s patented Converge-Flow, which means that heated air is forced horizontally and then it converges in the core, making for some evenly dried fruits, veggies and jerkies.
The powerful 1000-watt motor ensures faster results, but it can also create quite a bit of noise. One thing many people will like is the programmable digital timer which means you can just set it and forget it.
The dehydrator packs 4 trays by default, but it can be expanded to 20 trays so you can dry more quantities of food. It’s a great option for first-time dehydrator buyers who are looking for heavy duty performance for a good price.
- It’s larger in size, thus giving space great drying
- It is expandable thus enables the user to adjust it
- Features a digitally controlled unit which eliminates any dripping liquids
- Comes with just 4 trays thus making the customer to buy extra trays
- It is somewhat costly compared to other models.
- A little bit noisy
Related: If you want a similar model that is less expensive and with high performing features, then you can check out the Nesco Fd-80a Square-Shaped Dehydrator.
Price: Approx. $100
Weight: 18 lb
Dimensions: 16 x 22 x 16 inches
Specific features: Specially designed tray fronts, built in on/off switch, multiple clear trays, adjustable thermostat from 95ºf-155ºf, attached lcd display timer
Best use: Raw food diet, hunting, camping, fishing, hiking, outdoor survivalist
Description: Hardcore Survivalists and outdoorsmen want a dehydrator that can deliver in terms of performance. Many of them would recommend the Della Deluxe Electric Food Dehydrator.
For starters, this dehydrator comes with whopping 10 large trays which means that you have enough space and can dry great quantities of food at the same time while keeping them separated and organized.
It’s also nice that the trays are clear because you can easily check what’s being dried, although they can be a little fragile. Cleanup is a breeze though. The drawers feature a Heat Retaining Lip Design which removes the need to deal with bulky front panel doors. The built-in digital timer and analog temperature means that you can just set the system and leave it for the rest of the process.
It is an 850-watt system so it packs a lot of power under the hood. Overall, we’re really pleased with this product from Della.
- There is much space inside it for drying out the vast size of foods
- It is easy to clean
- It’s furnished with digital and analog temperature for easy use
- The initial five plates don’t do dehydration compared to the base trays
- Absence of drip tray on the base of the apparatus.
- It requires longer time for the whole drying process
Related: if you want a food dehydrator that works perfectly for both commercial and home use, then you can check out the DELLA 048-GM-48175 Commercial Food Dehydrator.
Ivation Electric Food Dehydrator
Price: $90 – $100
Weight: 13.4 lb
Dimensions: 13.6 x 12.4 x 17.7 inches
Specific features: 6 removable, height adjustable racks, digital thermostat, digital timer with automatic shutoff, includes 1 solid and 1 mesh sheet, rear-mounted fan for even drying, overheating safety protection
Best use: Hunting, camping, hiking, fishing, outdoor survival, food preparation, raw food diet
Description: More doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better and that’s true when it comes to food dehydrators. Case in point, Ivation Electric Food Dehydrator comes only with 6 drying racks and a 400-watt rated power.
However, it’s hard to argue with results because this model passes with flying colors. It comes with a digital timer and thermostat which equates to almost hands-free dehydration process because you can literally set it and forget it.
There are only 6 trays, but at 13 x 12 inches, they sure are more spacious than most multi-tray dehydrators. The fan is mounted at the rear of the device to ensure even drying results and no rotation.
As for the noise, there is practically none at all and is probably equivalent to an electric forced heater. Another convenient feature that we love is that it can shut itself off after drying instead of manually unplugging the unit.
- Rectangular shape expands space
- 6 drying racks provide a lot of space to dry much food
- Temperature regulator ranges from 95-158F
- Accompanies 1 strong sheet and 1 mesh for drying fragile foods and creating fruit rolls
- Takes up a great deal of counter space
Related: If you want your dried food to keep its shape and not stick to the trays, we suggest checking out the Silicone Non Stick Sheets by Bright Kitchen that perfectly fit Ivation dehydrators.
Price: $100 – $120
Weight: 11.5 lb
Dimensions: 17.6 x 13.5 x 12 inches
Specific features: Digital thermostat and timer, cuircusmart 360 air flow circulation technology, 6 capacious 6.5 square feet drying space
Best use: Outdoor survival, hunting, hiking, fishing, camping, raw food diet
Description: If you are looking for a hassle-free food dehydrator with basic features, Gourmia GFD1650 Food Dehydrator is definitely worth checking out. One look at the model and you can tell that it’s a high quality product.
It has a pretty nice design and should go well with any kitchen counter. As for the drying technology, it utilizes Cuircusmart 360 Air Flow Circulation along with the top-mounted fan for an even drying minus the noise and need for rotating trays.
There are not too many trays (6 drying trays) but each individual tray measures about 13 x 12 inches, giving you plenty of space for those fruits, nuts, herbs, jerkies, veggies and more. The digital timer and thermostat gives the user total control of the drying process and is extremely easy to use.
The price sits at around $100 to $120 which is a fair price considering how solid this unit in terms of performance.
- It is simple to operate
- It has adjustable trays
- It is controlled by 400 watts and can warm up to 158F
- It has a digital thermostat which is both useful and easy to understand
- Timer is topped at a maximum of 19 hours 30 minutes
Related: if you want a ten-tray food dehydrator that will allow you to make numerous batches of dehydrated meals at once, then you can check out the Gourmia GFD1850 Food Dehydrator.
All of these dehydrators are some of the best in the market ranging from entry-level machines to high end units. Regardless of your purchase, make sure that you read the instruction manual that comes in the box. Not only will you set yourself up for success when drying, you will also learn proper usage, which will extend the life of your machine.
Food dehydrator is one of those machines you don’t know that you need in your life. Once you read all the benefits of dehydrating foods, it’s hard not to be tempted to own a dehydrator machine. Hopefully this article informed you everything you need to know about shopping for food dehydrators.
What do you think of the practice of dehydrating foods? Have you used a dehydrating unit before? Let us know in the comments. Please do share this post in your social media food to let people know just how awesome food dehydration is.
Our Waring Pro DHR30 Professional Dehydrator was such a perfect addition to the kitchen. It is easy to use and handles a wide variety of foods. We have used it to dry bananas, pineapples, apples, mangoes, plantain and pumpkin. If you are planning a camping trip, the Waring Pro DHR30 Professional Dehydrator is a worthy addition to your preparation list.
Thanks for this David! It is a lovely addition to any kitchen! I definitely love the looks of it and the multi- tiered feature makes dehydrating food faster. You won’t have to worry about packing your food for camping from now on! 🙂
Our Nesco FD-60 Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator is always busy drying all sorts of fruits but gets even busier when we are preparing for camping. Our old one finally broke down after over 8 years of use. The new model is just amazing and makes tasty beef jerky. Oh, and this model has the motor on top which is a big plus.
It’s quite spacious, right? I love dehydrators since I get to eat food that are out of season and preserves the full flavor, too. The Nesco FD-60 has a powerful motor, too. Thanks for dropping by Matt!
Hey, thank you for this article.
Food dehydrators are a blessing.
If you are able to dry your food properly, all the taste will remain in the food. This is why it is important to have a procedure before you start and follow it religiously.
You may think that if you start dehydrating food, you will lose the taste. What really happens is that the taste becomes more concentrated. Consequently, when you dehydrate food, you are removing the water and preserving the flavor.
You are absolutely right! 🙂 Thanks for the comment! Much appreciated!