A food dehydrator is an appliance that should be found in every kitchen. They are easy to use tools that make it easy to prepare tasty and nutritious snacks that will last. How much food goes to waste when you forget about it in your refrigerator or cabinet? By removing the water from fresh food, you can ensure that it lasts as long as possible. The most popular use for dehydrators is making jerky, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You can use a dehydrator to prepare fruit leather, fruit chips, crackers, cookies, dried herbs, and even arts and crafts projects. It’s the quick and easy way to prepare raw foods without losing any of their crucial nutrients.
At one point in time dehydrators were expensive and bulky but that’s no longer the case. You can find compact and high-quality dehydrators at extremely affordable prices. The most difficult thing about shopping for dehydrators today is choosing from the wide selection of quality options on the market. If all the choices available are making your head spin, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve prepared this guide as your one-stop destination for finding the food dehydrator that suits your individual needs.
We looked at all of the top dehydrators on the market and found all the information available. Hours of research across dozens of sites along with firsthand experience have all been condensed into one compact guide. We believe that online shopping shouldn’t be a hassle, why hunt for useful information when you can find it all in one place? We take pride in providing you with information that is reliable and useful. We hope that this guide helps you find the perfect food dehydrator for your kitchen. A new way to prepare healthy and tasty food is waiting.

TOP
  • Excalibur 3926TB
  • Price: See Here
  • Spacious
  • Well built
  • Protected by standard warranty and optional extensions
BEST VALUE
  • Nesco FD-75A
  • Price: See Here
  • Portable
  • Quiet
  • Easy to use
  • MAGIC MILL
  • Price: See Here
  • Spacious
  • Plenty of accessories
  • Good quality assurance

TOP 5 FOOD DEHYDRATORS

EXCALIBYR 3926TB FOOD DEHYDRATOR

FEATURES

Fits nine drying trays that add up to 15 square feet of drying area.

 Adjusts between 105 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Built-in 26-hour timer.

Designed to dry meat, fruit, vegetables, and craft projects.

Includes 600 watt, 7-inch fan.

110-120 volts.

12.5 inches high, 17 inches high wide, and 19 inches deep.

Available in black and white.

Weighs 22 pounds.

Made in the USA.

Covered by one-year warranty.

Three and four-year extended protection plans are available.

CONS

Runs a bit loud. If you want a completely quiet kitchen, this might not be the model for you.

Not particularly small. Excalibur had to make a rather large appliance to fit nine trays and 15 square feet of space. If you live in a small apartment or if your kitchen is already tight on space you might want to look for a smaller dehydrator.

Heavy. At twenty pounds this dehydrator is not very portable.

Problematic timer. Some people have issues with the timer running the wrong way or failing entirely.

PROS

Built to last. Excalibur is a trusted name in the dehydrator industry and their products are known for their longevity. Their well-constructed dehydrators run well for years.

Packs in plenty of drying space. With room for none trays that each have 1 2/3 square feet of cooking space you can dry plenty of food at one time.

Designed to be as compact as possible. Without any extraneous parts, it packs plenty of cooking space into a machine that won’t take up much space in your kitchen.

Cook as long as you need to. The 26-hour internal timer allows you to cook for over an entire day. That’s more than enough to dry any food item or craft project while still shutting it down if it’s left unattended for too long.

The thermostat allows you to pick the perfect temperature. Choose from 60 degrees of drying heat, reaching up to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Pick the perfect temperature for your project.

Uses parallex horizontal airflow to keep air flowing evenly so that every item that gets dried is handled correctly.

Trays are made using BPA-free materials for a healthier cooking experience.

Easy to clean. The trays are dishwasher safe.

Available in both black and white. Pick the design that fits your kitchen.

Choose between the base model and a bundle that includes five additional non-stick sheets.

Comes with a one-year factory warranty. If you want to invest in an even greater level of protection, you can add on a three or four-year protection plan. A ten-year plan is advertised by the manufacturer, but you have to contact them directly to take advantage of it.

If you only look at one dehydrator, you should give the Excalibur 3926TW 9 Tray Dehydrator your full attention. This is dehydrator that can get the job done. With 15 square feet of drying space, you can cook for a large family at once. No matter what you need to cook or prepare, the Excalibur offers the size and customization necessary to get things done correctly. This is also a well-built appliance; you can trust yours to run correctly for years. Excalibur dehydrators are well known for being some of the best on the consumer market, but you should know that this kind of quality doesn’t come cheap. This dehydrator is a great investment at its listed price, but it is far from the cheapest models available. If you are a bargain hunter, you might want to look elsewhere. On the other hand, anyone who is serious about food and wants the best dehydrator for their money will find the Excalibur to be a smart choice. It all adds up to earn the Excalibur 3926TW 9 Tray Dehydrator our top option award.

Melissa

Editor, Cooking Expert

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NESCO FD-75A SNACKMASTER PRO

FEATURES

Comes with five drying trays but fits up to 12.

 Adjusts between 95 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Built-in 26-hour timer.

 Designed to dry meat, fruit, vegetables, and craft projects.

600-watt fan built into the top.

110-120 volts.

12.5 inches high, 17 inches high wide, and 19 inches deep.

Available in black and white.

Weighs 9 pounds.

Made in the USA.

Includes five drying sheets, two mesh screens, two fruit sheets, three spice packets, and a book filled with instructions and recipes.

Made in China.

Covered by one-year warranty.

Three and four-year extended protection plans are available.

Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro

CONS

No timer. If you don’t pay attention to this dehydrator, it could pose a danger to your kitchen. Make sure you don’t leave it on for longer than it should be.

Limited heat settings. It only has seven different temperature settings, which may frustrate people who want more precise control over their dehydrating.

You have to use at least four trays. Given the modular design you should be able to dehydrate just one or two trays if you want to, but that’s not a possibility with the Snackmaster. If you only have one tray worth of food to dehydrate you still have to run it with at least four trays in place.

Bland design. It looks nice but it comes in a basic gray and speckled white design that won’t stand out in any kitchen.

Slow. Even basic dehydration seems to take longer than it should. Be prepared to dry for longer than the time listed in most recipes.

The real temperature doesn’t always match the listed temperature. After careful examination, we discovered that in some cases the dehydrator might run around 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit below the temperature on the dial. As such you should be careful when preparing delicate items that need to be prepared at a precise temperature.

PROS

Modual design. It comes with five trays but you can continue to add up to seven more trays. Use as many trays as you need for the job at hand.

Modual design. It comes with five trays but you can continue to add up to seven more trays. Use as many trays as you need for the job at hand.

Converge-a-Flow technology makes even dehydration as easy as possible. No need to continually check up on the process and rotate the trays to ensure each item is dried properly.

Each tray is separated from the others so that you can dehydrate different food items at the same time. No need to worry about the taste of one food contaminating whatever you’re preparing on the tray above or below it.

Simple controls. There are no unnecessary complications to make the process of selecting the right setting any more difficult than it has to be.

Quiet. If you want to dehydrate in peace you can use the Snackmaster without having to listen to it work.

Nesco produces a variety of accessories so you can easily find accessories and add-ons to help expand your cooking capabilities.

Comes with jerky spice packets so you can start making delicious jerky as quickly as possible.

Comes protected by a one-year limited warranty, with an available option to extend that protection for up to three more years.

Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro

The Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator isn’t a fancy appliance, but it doesn’t need to be. This is a dehydrator for anyone who appreciates an elegant dehydrator that gets the job done with minimal muss or fuss. Just load up the trays, put them in place, and select the temperature you want it to run at. It’s that simple. For some people this might be too simple, the main drawback of the design is the fact that it doesn’t have a built-in timer. Still, the limited feature-set allows Nesco to sell the Snackmaster at incredibly reasonable prices. It offers the best balance of affordability and quality on the market. You can find cheaper dehydrators but they don’t offer the power, dependability, or portability. The Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator’s perfect balance of cost and construction earns it our selection as best buy option.

Melissa

Editor, Cooking Expert

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MAGIC MILL FOOD DEHYDRATOR

FEATURES

Fits nine drying trays that add up to 9.7 square feet of drying area.

Adjusts between 95 and 158 degrees Fahrenheit.

Built-in timer can run for up to 19.5 hours.

600 watts of power.

20.2 inches high, 19.4 inches high wide, and 15.4 inches deep.

Available in black and white.

Weighs 18.2 pounds.

Made in the USA.

Includes mesh sheet, two nonstick sheets, a hanging rack, and a pair of oven mitts.

Covered by one-year limited warranty.

Three and four-year extended protection plans are available.

CONS

This is a large appliance. It’s almost two-foot-tall and takes up 2.07 square feet of countertop space. It’s not the best choice for anyone with a small or crowded kitchen.

The larger model is only available in black. If you want the white model, you need to accept a downgrade to just six trays.

Limited temperature selection. Choose between increments of 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Less accurate than some competitors.

19.5 hours of dehydration might not be enough for some people. If you need to dry food for longer you will need to restart the dehydrator.

Noticeable fan noise. Not terribly loud but easy to hear in quiet rooms. May cause issues for people who need absolute silence.

Slow. It takes a while to dehydrate food with this dehydrator. Anyone in a hurry might want to invest in a more powerful option.

Transparent doors might lead to issues if you leave the dehydrator facing out towards the sun.

158 degrees may not be enough for some. Cooking some dishes requires a dehydrator that runs at 165 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

PROS

Nine trays means that you can dehydrate a lot of food at once. The trays all add up to almost 10 square feet you can place fruit, vegetables, and meat on.

Digital readout makes it easy to read. You can clearly see the time and temperature at a glance.

Even heating. The air circulation driven by the fan means that every item placed inside of it is dried evenly without the need to move the trays during the process.

Makes it easy to observe drying process. The transparent front of the design allows you to look in at your food as it dehydrates to make sure things are going correctly.

Makes it easy to observe drying process. The transparent front of the design allows you to look in at your food as it dehydrates to make sure things are going correctly.

Built using safe plastic. The plastic used in constructing the Magic Mill Food Dehydrator is all BPA free.

Includes a built-in drip tray that gathers fat, juice, and other drippings for easy clean up.

Rectangular design makes it as compact as it can be given its size and feature set.

Made in the United States. Quality dehydrators are made across the world but there is a special level of attention you can expect from a company that is willing to work with the rules and regulations imposed by the United States.

Affordable. This dehydrator is one of the more budget-friendly options on the market, especially when you compare other dehydrators with similar drying capacities.

Ships with accessories to help you prepare a wide array of dishes without making an additional purchase.

This 9 Rack Food Dehydrator from Magic Mill is an excellent choice for anyone who needs to dehydrate a good amount of food simultaneously. The appliance comes with nine different drying trays. Altogether, the trays can fit up to 9.7 square feet of food that need to be dried. You can dry enough snacks to last a month in one dehydration session. This package also comes with plenty of accessories. You get a rack for hanging meat, nonstick sheets to keep food from sticking to the trays, and even oven mitts that will allow you to comfortably handle the trays right after drying. The only thing that holds this appliance back is its large size and heavy weight. Of course, this dehydrator needed to be bigger to be able to hold as much as it does. If you have enough space for this dehydrator, you’ll find that it’s one of the best options on the market if you want plenty of drying space at an affordable price.

Melissa

Editor, Cooking Expert

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GOURMIA GFD1850

FEATURES

Fits ten drying trays.

Adjusts between 104 and 158 degrees Fahrenheit.

Built-in timer can be set between 1 and 48 hours.

Control with digital touch screen.

550 watts/120 volts of power.

10.25 inches high, 15.5 inches high wide, and 15 inches deep.

Available in black and white.

Weighs 15.3 pounds.

Made in the USA.

Includes cookbook and meat hanging rack.

Covered by one-year warranty.

Three and four-year extended protection plans are available.

CONS

Doesn’t come with solid trays. If you want to make items like fruit rolls you need to purchase separate paper sheets that will keep the liquid ingredients from dripping down into lower levels.

Limited temperature control. You can increase and decrease temperature by 9 degrees. This will work in most situations but it isn’t as accurate as some might want.

Counts down in a confusing way. The screen doesn’t count down the last hour by the minute, it simply shows 00H for the entire hour. This makes it difficult to know when you need to be there to pull out your finished food.

Relatively low maximum temperature. It only reaches 158 degrees Fahrenheit, while other dehydrators can reach temperatures of 160 or higher. Make sure you can dehydrate everything you want to at 158 before purchasing this.

The window only shows a third of the interior. You might miss out on problems that could occur in the other two-thirds.

The rip tray isn’t removable. You cave to clean up grease and other drippings while they are still in the dehydrator.

Uneven drying. Food in the middle doesn’t get dried as quickly as food at the top and bottom. For proper dehydration, you need to either rotate shelves periodically or stagger yourself as you put items in.

PROS

Dry ten trays at once. That’s ten different layers you can dry food on at once.

Built in widow for observing food. The window allows you to look in at the trays without exposing the entire appliance to potential sun damage.

Perfect for cooking meats. Comes with a tray that’s equipped with rods you can hang met on for drying.

Magnetic door. Keeps the dehydrator securely closed to prevent accidents.

LCD screen displays all necessary information. This makes the Gourmia GFD1850 easy to use even in the dark.

The internal timer can be set for up to 48 hours. Dry food for two days straight without having to touch the dehydrator.

UL listed. This means it has been independently tested and certified by the company known as Underwriters Laboratories, a product testing company that has been looking out for consumers since 1894.

Comes in both black and white. Choose the right model to match the rest of your kitchen.

Ships with a combined cookbook and manual. Learn how to cook delicious snacks with your new appliance as quickly as possible.

The included meat rack helps you cook items like jerky and sausage easily.

The LCD screen isn’t just accurate and easy to read, it’s also perfect for use both day and night. With analog options, you can only see what the temperature is when there’s enough light, but the screen on this dehydrator provides its own heat. In addition to the many valuable features, it’s also worth noting that this appliance has clearly been put together with care. It’s a durable device that is built to last. The thing that keeps this dehydrator from winning an award is its uneven cooking. Food at the top and near the bottom dry out quicker than items in the middle. The difference isn’t that large, but it’s still noticeable. Still, if you are willing to work with this issue, you will find a lot to like about the Gourmia GFD1850 Food Dehydrator.

Melissa

Editor, Cooking Expert

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NUTRICHEF ELECTRIC FOOD DEHYDRATOR

FEATURES

Includes six adjustable drying trays

Reaches up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

7.5 inches high, 12 inches high wide, and 13 inches deep.

Available in black and white.

Weighs 6.9 pounds.

Made in the China.

Covered by one-year manufacturer warranty and a 30-day money back guarantee.

Three and four-year extended protection plans are available.

CONS

Too simplistic. The one button controls make it easy to use but impossible to customize. Many cooks will find the design to be too restrictive.

No temperature control. You can only dehydrate food at one temperature, 180 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is too high for some recipes. You will have to adjust accordingly or risk burning your food.

No timer. You need to use your own timer to make sure that you don’t leave your food in for too long and burn it.

The tray design is a bit awkward. Because the five trays sit one on top of the other you have to remove the top four to get to the tray on the bottom. You have to plan ahead if you want to dry multiple different items at one time.

Trays aren’t the sturdiest. They will work for a while but if you are hard on them they will break or become distorted after a few months and require replacement.

Not made from top-shelf parts. This dehydrator is the most prone to failures. They say you get what you pay for and that seems to be the case with this dehydrator, the cheapest on our list.

PROS

Simple to use. You can operate it by pressing a single button. Start dehydrating as quickly as possible.

High maximum temperature. It’s built to reach up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it the most powerful dehydrator on this list.

Powerful. If you want to dry out food as quickly as possible this is a good dehydrator to choose.

Safely cooks chicken and beef. Many other dehydrators can’t make chicken jerky because it should be dried at 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If you love chicken, this dehydrator might be your best choice for safe cooking.

Compact. Stands less than 8 inches tall and weighs less than 7 pounds. Very easy to move around.

Easy to clean. All of the trays can be easily disassembled and cleaned.

Clear design. You can always look in and see how your food is doing. Perfect for drying without a recipe, where you need to check back regularly to see if the dehydration is finished or not.

Highly affordable. As of writing, this is the lowest-priced dehydrator on our list.

Covered with a solid warranty. You get a one-year limited warranty in addition to a month.

Additional coverage is a bargain. You can get three more years of protection at very reasonable prices. This is a dehydrator you can purchase with confidence.

Available in black and white. Pick the perfect color for your cooking area.

This dehydrator may not have the most features, but it is the most affordable dehydrator on our list. It’s designed to be simple, powerful, and affordable. It’s safe to say that it delivers on all of those levels. With just one button to turn it on and off, you can’t get any simpler than this. When you turn it on it starts heating up to the highest temperature available on this list, 180 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows you to safely cook beef and chicken jerky, which require temperatures of 160 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. This simplicity can be a double-edged sword; it’s easy to use but impossible to customize. If you would prefer a longer dry at a lower temperature, then you should consider a different dehydrator. Still, if you are willing to keep an eye on everything you dry out you can get a lot of power at a great price by choosing the NutriChef Electric Food Dehydrator.

Melissa

Editor, Cooking Expert

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HOW TO DISTINGUISH A QUALITY FOOD DEHYDRATOR FROM A CHEAP ONE

 New or used

Everyone who shops online looks for the lowest price available, but the cheapest option isn’t, always the best. Even if you know that a particular model is the best on the market you have to be careful to purchase it new, rather than used. Buying used is a tempting thought but when it comes to delicate machinery like the sort inside a dehydrator use can severely cut into the machine’s life expectancy. You don’t know how the last owners treated their dehydrator, interior damage isn’t always easy to spot and it’s even harder to find when all you have to go off of is a small digital image. If you want a dehydrator that will last as long as possible, you should buy new.

 Power

Check to see how much power the dehydrator draws on to dry food. Cheaper dehydrators tend to use less powerful parts and require a longer time to dry food out. You want to make sure that the fan is powered by at least 4 00 watts. With less than that even the quickest dries will take longer than a day.

 Brand

One way to make sure you’re getting a quality appliance is by looking at the brands behind the machines. While big companies sometimes make mistakes, and produce disappointing products, in general, a company can only stay, in business for decades at a time if they consistently produce quality products. Buying from businesses with no reputation is going to be a gamble. If you want to make sure you get a quality food dehydrator you should buy from a trusted manufacturer.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN PURCHASING A FOOD DEHYDRATOR

 Size

There are two things to consider when looking at a food hydrator’s size, how much space it will take up in your kitchen and how much food it can handle at once. You need to pick a dehydrator that fits your kitchen. Try and decide where you will put it ahead of time and measure out the available space so you aren’t hit with an unwanted surprise when your new dehydrator arrives. It’s also important to consider how much food you will be preparing at one time. If you have a large family or if you plan on drying out food for large groups then you should invest in a larger dehydrator. The smaller the appliance is, the more batches you will have to prepare, and it’s common for recipes to call for more than 10 hours of dehydration.

Compartmentalization

Not all trays are created equal. You might find that two different dehydrators advertise that they have five different trays but that doesn’t mean that they offer the same drying opportunities. You want to find out how the different trays are connected. If you plan on drying more than one type of food at a time then food contamination can become an issue. Imagine drying meat on a hook at the top of the dehydrator. Grease can drip off of it and seep down into the lower trays if they have holes in them. If you want to keep your flavors separate as you dry make sure you get a dehydrator with barriers between the trays.

 Opacity

Dehydrating food can be like any other form of cooking, sometimes all you need to do is follow the instructions while at other times you need to follow your instincts and eyeballs. As you dry out your food, you might want to check in on it to see how it looks, and that might be easy or difficult depending on the opacity of the dehydrator. The word opacity refers to how clear something is, ranging from completely opaque objects that won’t let you see anything to completely translucent objects that you can see right through. No one level of opacity is the right choice.

 Safety Features

One of the most basic features to look for is a built-in timer that has a limited running time. Most people have no reason to run a dehydrator for more than 48 hours straight. Manufacturers understand this, when dehydrators are left on for extremely long times, it’s usually because the owner forgot to turn them off. That’s the downside of a machine that can run quietly in the background for days at a time. Accidents are more likely to happen if the dehydrator is left running unattended, so top brands include an automatic shut-off feature that turns the dehydrator off if it runs for too long. This is the basic kind of protection you should look for.

 Temperatrure range

The temperature settings on your dehydrator will control what sort of recipes you can prepare. For example, if you want to cook meats like chicken and beef you need a more powerful dehydrator. If chicken is dried at temperatures below 165 degrees Fahrenheit, then bacteria might be allowed to survive the process and make anyone who eats the undercooked jerky sick. On the other end of the spectrum, some recipes call for items to be dried at low temperatures for long periods of time. If the dehydrator only works on high, you’ll have to try and find a way to cook it for a shorter period at a higher temperature, which can lead to burning and other damages. You should also consider how precise the temperature controls are. Some appliances let you set the temperature down to the degree while others might have just a handful of settings.

 Accessories

It’s an unfortunate fact that most dehydrator accessories are designed to work with specific makes and models. That means that you can’t buy just any dehydrator tray, there’s a good chance it won’t fit in your particular appliance. If you want to make sure that your accessories will work with your dehydrator then buying an appliance that comes with all the necessary appliances is a good idea. Beyond that, you should also look to see what sort of accessories the manufacturer offers so you know what you’ll be able to buy in the future. This is especially important if you want to cook fruit rolls or jerky since both foods really benefit from unique attachments.

 Quality assurance

If you want to feel truly confident in your purchase, you need to get some sort of promise in writing that the manufacturer stands behind their product. Make sure you read the warranty to see what is covered, most of them only cover factory-related defects. If you want even greater protection, you should consider getting an extended warranty. They cost more, but they can ensure that you will still be covered even if something happens to your dehydrator after more than a year of use. Also, please note that most warranties only extend to the person who made the original purchase, if you buy a used dehydrator you will probably have trouble getting it replaced or repaired without spending a good amount of money.

 Style

This is the last thing you should consider, but it’s still worth thinking about. With so many great dehydrators on the market today you should try and look for one that fits the overall look of your kitchen. The two most common colors are black and white, and many models come in both colors.

 BEST FOOD DEHYDRATORS BRANDS

Excalibur

Excalibur is a dehydrator manufacturer operating out of Sacramento, California. When they started out they made dehydrators in America and to this day they make most of their appliances in America. This includes our top option, the Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator. They’ve been making dehydrators since 1973, and to this day they remained focused on this particular type of appliance. Beyond the dehydrators, themselves Excalibur produces a wide range of accessories and add-ons to help cooks get the most out of their dehydrators. These accessories include drying sheets, trays, clear doors, and tools for preparing meat so it can be turned into delicious jerky. If you buy an Excalibur product you don’t have to worry about finding compatible accessories, they have you covered.
Excalibur has developed two unique technologies to improve the heating process, Hyperwave Fluctuation Technology and Parallexx Horizontal Airflow. These two features ensure that food dries out as quickly, safely, and evenly as possible in Excalibur dehydrators. All Excalibur dehydrators purchased from authorized Excalibur retailers come with a one-year limited warranty. This is a sign of their dedication to customer satisfaction.

EXCALIBUR

Nesco

Nesco is an appliances company operating out of Two Rivers, Wisconsin. They’ve been making cooking appliances for over 90 years as of writing. They released their first appliance, the Nesco Roaster, in 1932. Since then they’ve gone through many changes but even as they added more products to their catalog they’ve maintained a focus on helping people prepare food. Today their dehydrators are one of their trademark products, along with their roasters.  

Nesco also produces a variety of accessories. Some include add-on trays, fruit roll sheets, clean screens, vaccum sealers, jerky guns, jerky seasoning, and cookbooks to help you put everything to good use. Nesco is dedicated to helping you get the most out of your dehydrator, so that you can enjoy the taste and health benefits that dehydration offers.

Nesco

Magic Mill

Magic Mill is an American company that specializes in smaller kitchen appliances. In addition to their dehydrators they also make crepe makers, hot trays, toaster ovens, slow cookers, and more. Their business plan is built around producing high-quality products and maintaining them. They are focused on delivering quality products to their customers, which is why they have a 30-day return policy that allows shoppers to buy their products with confidence. Magic Mill is part of a larger group of brands that includes Isra Heat, Wahl, Bosch, LeChef, and Royal Lux.

 Gourmia

Operating out of Brooklyn, NY, Gourmia is a company dedicated to making cooking easier. They believe that everyone deserves professional-grade equipment that can help them make delicious and nutritious meals for themselves, their friends, and their family. They accomplish this goal by producing an array of products. These include their dehydrator, sous vides, vacuum sealers, milk frothers, and more. They produce just about every small appliance you could want in your kitchen.

The company was founded by Heshy Biegeleisen, who had been helping to make houseware for three decades before he started his own company. He used his experience selling appliances directly to families and small businesses to design products that cater to the needs of real people. This shows in their Gourmia GFD1850 Food Dehydrator. Gourmia’s big contribution to the dehydrator is Cuircusmart 360 Air Flow Circulation Technology. This allows for the even movement of airflow throughout the dehydrator without producing the sort of loud noises that previous models made.

Gourmia

 NutriChef

Nutrichef is a small appliance manufacturing company. In addition to dehydrators, they also make pizza makers, sous vides, oil presses, rotisserie ovens, and more. If you want to cook something up in your oven NutriChef would be happy to help you out with their appliances and accessories. Their products are produced in Taiwan.  

Despite the wide range of products produced by NutriChef it can be hard to find out much about them. They seem to be related to Pyle Audio, an electronics company that was started in the 1960s to produce woofers for audio playback and now produces a huge variety of consumer electronic products. NutriChef operates under the Pyle Home umbrella, a brand dedicated to producing products to help out around the home.

Please note, there are two different NutriChef corporations out there. NutriChef, the cookware manufacturer, should not be confused with NutriChef NYC, the meal delivery service operating out of New York City. This NutriChef doesn’t deliver food to you but they do make it as easy to cook as possible.

Nutrichef

HOW TO FIND THE BEST FOOD DEHYDRATOR FOR YOUR NEEDS

 Cooking space

Take a moment to think about how many people you will be dehydrating for. The process of drying food is time-consuming, it can take a full day to properly dehydrate even simple food items. As such, it can be difficult to dry large amounts of food with a smaller dehydrator. The more people you need to cook for the larger your dehydrator should be.

 Size

When shopping for any appliance you need, to think about where you will store it ahead of time. Most personal dehydrators are fairly compact, it’s rare to find models that are larger than 1.5 cubic feet. Still, it’s worth measuring out your available room before shopping for appliances. The tighter space is around your kitchen the more, important this consideration is.

 Power

You need to find a dehydrator that packs enough power to do the work you want it to do. We’ve mentioned this earlier in the guide but it can’t be stated enough, you need to prepare meat at the proper temperature if you want to eat it safely. Anyone planning on making beef jerky needs to invest in a dehydrator capable of reaching temperatures of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and if you want to make chicken jerky it’s important to reach 165 degrees. It’s also worth noting that less powerful dehydrators tend to take longer to finish the job.

 Controls

To dehydrate properly, you need to take into account things like how hot the temperature needs to be and how long the item needs to be dried for. Some recipes are flexible while others require exacting specifications. If you want the most accurate dehydration possible, you need to look for a food dehydrator that has sophisticated controls. The two main things to look for are a temperature control and a timer. The temperature controller will let you select the temperature the dehydrator will run at. Some let you narrow things down to the specific degree while others will have a handful of options that are spread out along the appliance’s temperature range. Things are similar with the timer; you need to consider how long the timer can run for and how it can be set. If you aren’t too picky, you might save money by getting a dehydrator with more limited controls, but usually it’s worth investing in an appliance that allows you to choose specific settings.

 Noise

Dehydrators work using two key features, a heating element, and a fan. If you’ve heard a dehydrator at work you’ve probably heard the fan, they always make at least some sound as they work. But not all dehydrator fans are created equal; some run almost silently while others can get quite noisy. How quiet do you like your kitchen to be? If you value peace and quiet, you should make sure that your new dehydrator isn’t too long. Remember, dehydrating food usually takes hours, so it’s common to have the dehydrator running overnight. If you live in a small apartment with thin walls, it’s especially important to invest in a quiet dehydrator, so it won’t keep you up late at night.

FOOD DEHYDRATOR ACCESSORIES AND PARTS

There are many different dehydrator accessories and parts on the market, but it’s important that you choose carefully. Two, dehydrators might look the same at first glance, but subtle design differences might mean that accessories from one dehydrator don’t fit the next. The best thing to do is shop for accessories made by the company that produced your chosen dehydrator, and even then, you should double check to make sure that the accessory is compatible.

 Extra trays

The tray is the part of the dehydrator that food actually sits in. It’s the most vulnerable to wear and tear, and so there’s a good chance that this will be the part that needs to be replaced first. It’s always worth having an extra tray or two on hand for this reason. That’s not the only reason; some dehydrators allow you to add on additional trays. That’s right; you might be able to expand the capacity of your dehydrator by investing in a few extra trays.

-Nesco LT-2SG Add-A-Tray for Dehydrators FD-61/FD-61WHC/FD-75A and FD-75PR, Set of 2

Replacement Trays For NutriChef (Models: PKFD12, PKFD14BK)

Nonstick Sheets

Dehydration is one of the easiest ways to prepare food, but there are still some potential issues. One thing you need to know how to handle is food sticking to the tray. Some foods are naturally sticky when they’re heated up, and if you don’t plan ahead, you might find your fruit grabbing onto the tray and falling apart as you try to pull it off. To keep this from happening you can invest in mesh screens that rest on the tray and prevent sticking. These sheets are made with materials that are made using materials that don’t allow food to gain traction and ensure that every time you dry out food, it peels off nice and clean.

-Nesco LM-2-6 Clean-A-Screen Tray for Dehydrators FD-28JX/FD-37/FD-60/FD-61/FD-61WHC/FD-75A and FD-75PR, Set of 2

– Pack of 9 Premium 14″ X 14″ Non-stick Dehydrator Sheets- For Excalibur 2500, 3500, 2900 or 3900

Fruit Roll Sheets

One of the most popular items to make with a food dehydrator is fruit leather. It’s a tasty and healthy snack that is very easy to make, but you need to have the right accessories. Many dehydrators use trays that have holes in them, and when you pour the fruit ingredients onto the tray it can leak through the holes and drip down to the lower level. If you want to prevent leaks and ensure that the finished fruit leather comes off cleanly then you should invest in some fruit roll sheets.

– Nesco LSS-2-6 Fruit Roll Sheets for Dehydrators

– 3 Silicone Non Stick Sheets fits Magic Mill Pro Dehydrator 6 Tray fruit roll up crackers Teflon-Free

A Cookbook

If you want to learn how to use your dehydrator, you should take lessons from someone experienced. Your dehydrator should come with a manual but the instructions can be hard to follow, and if it includes recipes the number will probably be limited. To understand the full potential of your new dehydrator, it’s worth investing in a cookbook written with this particular appliance in mind. We recommend The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook: The Complete Guide to Drying Food, Plus 398 Recipes, Including Making Jerky, Fruit Leather & Just-Add-Water Meals.

– The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook: The Complete Guide to Drying Food, Plus 398 Recipes, Including Making Jerky, Fruit Leather & Just-Add-Water Meals

 

 TIPS, TRICKS AND ADVICE

 Preparing

-Plan Ahead

To get the most out of your dehydrator you need to think ahead. Don’t wait until a craving hits you to start dehydrating. The great thing about these appliances is that they prepare food so it lasts for months. Think about what food you’ll want in the future and start trying it now.

-Invest in A Non-Stick Surface

Even if your dehydrator is advertised as being non-stick it’s still worth investing in an extra level of protection. There are plenty of affordable sheets and mats on the market but make sure you buy one that is compatible with your particular dehydrator model. If you’re short on cash you can also

-Coat the Surface To Prevent Sticking

If you don’t want to buy an additional sheet or if you want some extra protection against sticking consider spraying some vegetable oil on the drying surface. You don’t have to spray very, a light coat will prevent sticking without impacting flavor.

 

 Cooking

-Don’t Rush Things
Dehydrating food takes time. When you’re hungry you probably don’t want to wait for your food to dry out. That’s understandable, but don’t think you can speed things up by turning the heat up. Whenever possible you should follow instructions as closely as possible. Trying to rush the process will lead to the outside drying out and sealing in the water and juices in the middle. It might feel fine at first touch but eventually it will spoil. Fight the temptation, slow and steady wins the dehydration race.
-Set a Timer
Some dehydrators come with built-in timers, but even if your appliance doesn’t have one you still need to set up a timer. You don’t want to just let your dehydrator run and assume that you’ll check up on it at the right time. The longer a dehydrator is left running the more likely it is that an accident will happen, make sure you know when to turn it off for the good of your cooking and the safety of your kitchen.
-Check on Food as it Dries
Don’t just set it and forget it, especially if you’re trying out a recipe for the first time. Around half way through the drying process you should consider opening up the dehydrator and checking to see how things are going. Sometimes recipes are imprecise and your food might be done sooner than you think. You might also find that your dehydrator isn’t drying food evenly and it might need to be rotated for a proper drying.

 

Making Jerky

-Watch out for Grease
Jerky is a dehydrator favorite but it can get messy. Fat is released from the meat in the process and drips down into the tray. It can be hard to remove so take steps to deal with fat ahead of time. To begin with, try and find lean cuts of meat that have minimal fat. It’s also possible to cut fat off the meat that you get. You should also consider laying some sort of material underneath the meat or at the bottom of the dehydrator that will catch fat. Once again, wax paper is a good choice if you want something cheap to catch fat.
-Invest in Seasoning
If you want the great jerky taste that everyone knows and loves you should know that it takes more than just meat. Good meat is a must-have but if you want truly flavorful jerky you need some seasoning.
-Don’t Overcook
Making jerky is a delicate process. Obviously it’s better to cook meat for too long than it is to cook it too quickly, because the most important thing is removing water and killing bacteria. Still, if you let it dehydrate for too long it will lose flavor and become less enjoyable to eat in general. Check from time to time to see if it’s becoming brittle or too easy to snap apart. If that happens you should remove it as quickly as possible.

Finishing Up

-Test Food to Make Sure It’s Done
Don’t just assume that all of the moisture has been removed by your dehydrator. Even if the dehydrator is the best there is people can still mess up writing recipes and list the wrong drying length. To get a sense you need to touch it and crack open a piece of whatever you dehydrated. Checking in the middle will let you know if you’ve let any moisture remain in the middle, which is a common issue that’s easy to miss.

 

-Store Food Safely
The dehydration process removes all the moisture from food but it doesn’t necessarily prevent moisture from creeping back in. To keep this from happening you need to wait for food to cool down before storing it and when you do store it you need to put it in a dry area.
-Take Notes
Dehydrating food isn’t always precise. Sometimes the actual temperatures inside a dehydrator don’t exactly match the temperature they’re set on. Also, sometimes recipes aren’t exactly right. That’s why it’s helpful to take notes if dehydration takes longer than it should or if it finishes too quickly. If you write down how long each dehydration takes you’ll know just how to set your appliance in the future.

Dehydration may seem complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder how you lived without it. Any of the dehydrators that we looked at will help you get started, but we have to say that two particular models stood apart from the crowd. If we could recommend just one model, we’d have to go with the Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator. It earned our top option award thanks to its spacious cooking area, trustworthy quality assurance, and attractive pricing. For bargain hunters, we recommend the Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator, with its quality construction and affordable price. With that being said, the other three dehydrators all have attractive features.

If you’ve made it this far and you still haven’t made your mind up don’t worry. With so many quality options choosing isn’t easy. Consider taking a moment to figure out what your top priorities are. If you have a large family, you might focus your attention on the bigger dehydrators. If you love jerky, you might want to rule out the options that have low maximum temperatures. If you can’t decide which dehydrator is right for you, then you can try and eliminate the ones that don’t fit your needs. Soon you’ll have fewer options, and it will be easier to compare the remaining choices. If you’re not sure what to look for consider going back to the section labeled “Choosing the Best Food Dehydrator for Your Needs.” Our guides don’t need to be read in order, keep bouncing around to the sections that you need.

We hope you found this guide to be helpful. Buying a dehydrator shouldn’t be difficult, there’s no reason to dig through dozens of web pages for the information you need when you can find it all in one guide. That’s our philosophy, and it’s an approach we’ve applied to a wide array of products. If you like this guide, you should check out a few of our other guides. We have many out already, and we’re always looking to add more. It’s our hope that we can be your one-stop destination for all your online shopping needs.

Melissa

Editor, Cooking Expert