Food dehydrators are among those kitchen appliances you don’t realize that you need until you finally get one. You will then be left wondering how on Earth were you dealing with dehydrated ingredients up to that point. With the help of a dehydrator, you can prepare not only fruit leathers and jerky but a wide variety of other dehydrated ingredients which you would otherwise have to purchase at the store at great expense. That said, let us then find out what are the ten best food dehydrators the market has to offer and what to look for when buying one.
Best Food Dehydrators – Top List
10Aroma Housewares AFD-815B
An ideal choice for anyone from the health-conscious folks to the outdoor enthusiasts, the Aroma Housewares AFD-815B is made for even, efficient food drying. It is simple to use and dries anything from beef jerky to fruit slices on its 6 spacious, height variable trays. It also features an automatic fan that enhances even drying while preventing overheating to preserve food nutrients. It also benefits from an adjustable thermostat that offers greater food dehydrating control than most dehydrators out there.
9NutriChef PKFD06 Food Dehydrator Machine
NutriChef’s PKFD06 Kitchen Dehydrator removes food moisture effectively and safely, drying the food while keeping the nutrients. In a compact unit, its multi-level tray system ensures improved airflow for greater food drying results. It is a better and healthier way of preserving your food than going for processed foods. The dehydrator preserves up to 97% nutritional value of your food and also its taste.
8Hamilton Beach 32100A
Another top performance food dehydrator, the Hamilton Beach 32100A features an adjustable digital thermostat to allow you set the ideal food drying temperatures. It is designed to generate continuous airflow for even drying, while its 5 stackable food drying trays offer versatility and greater capacity. It is also ideal for drying smaller foods like herbs, and provides a 48-hour timer convenience.
7Gourmia GFD1950 Digital
Using the Gourmia GFD1950 Digital Food Dehydrator will help you depart from the unhealthy processed junk and get into your home-made, nutrient-rich, more flavorful, cheaper and chemical-free healthy snacks. From chewy beef jerky to sweet pineapple, all at an ultra-low cost. It has 9 trays for your vast room to adventure the recipes. A digital timer and thermostat allow you to set your desired level of precision.
6Nesco FD-60 Snackmaster
Featuring top-mounted fan plus 500 watts of drying energy, this is a great dehydrator that provides optimal speed and efficiency for dehydrating veggies, fruits, as well as jerky in a matter of hours. It has 4 trays but can work with up to 12 trays, with its drying pressure auto-adjusting depending on the number of trays you use. Its adjustable thermostat gives you control over drying various foods with precision temperatures, while unique Converga-Flow Drying System ensures even distribution of heat for more impressive results.
To easily create delicious, nutritious dried snacks such as meat jerky, veggie chips or fruit roll-ups, choose the Cuisinart DHR-20 food dehydrator. It features a powerful fan with a top vent for letting heat evenly and efficiently circulate, ensuring faster and more excellent food drying results. Its adjustable thermostat offers different temperatures for different food drying precision. It has a large and versatile dehydrating capacity, featuring 5 interlocking trays for placement convenience.
4Presto 06301 Dehydro
Make ideal jerky from poultry, meat, or seafood with the duly functional Presto 06301 Dehydro. This high-performance food dehydrator has a 6-tray system for drying foods fast and easily yet preserving most of the nutrients. It features a digital thermostat and also timer for precision dehydration temperature and time setting. Its bottom-mounted heating element and fan offer consistent airflow for maximum drying efficiency.
With no less than nine quality trays, adjustable thermostat temperature control, and a versatile 26-hour timer, the Excalibur is a great food dehydrator that doesn’t burn the nutritional content of your dried food. Its heating element, thermostat, and fan are strategically featured for the best action and results. Excalibur-exclusive Parallex Horizontal Airflow helps in faster food dehydration while retaining more nutrients and flavor.
2Nesco FD-61WHC Snackmaster
Also by Nesco, this is another Snackmaster series food dehydrator model with a top mounted high-efficiency fan. It evenly dries vegetables, fruits, or jerky foods fast. The unit is simple to disassemble for thorough washing in the dishwasher. Its opaque exterior prevents harmful UV from destroying your dehydrated food’s nutritional content. It utilizes a proprietary fan that delivers great airflow action for speedy, even food drying.
1Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro
The Snackmaster Pro is among the newest and most improved, most popular dehydrators the market has to offer at this point in time. It features a sleek, modern design in grey and marble themes to choose from for an aesthetic boost. Its top mounted fan and 600 watts of power provide excellent speed performance for dehydrating vegetables, fruits, venison jerky or beef jerky in a matter of hours. It is also guaranteed to work over extended periods of time without showcasing any signs of damage.
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What To Look For In A Food Dehydrator
Like we said, there are many reasons for getting a food dehydrator if you haven’t already, but finding a good one isn’t as easy as you would believe. We say this because food dehydrators are obviously not all built to the same standards and because each device comes with its own particularities. Not to say that you can expect any dehydrator to do more than what’s expected of one, although some have a much wider range of uses. With this in mind, here is what you need to consider when buying a food dehydrator:
Perhaps the first thing to consider is the purpose of the device and what you plan on doing with it. You see, some dehydrators are best used with specific ingredients while others are designed for a more versatile use. If you plan on using it for a diverse range of foods, then you need a dehydrator with an adjustable thermostat. The reason for this is because some ingredients dry at 145 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit while others dry at a little over 90 degrees.
Judging by how long it can take to process a big batch of ingredients, you should perhaps invest in a timer with a programmable timer function. This enables you to attend to other tasks that need your attention while the dehydrator does its job in the background. These devices can be set to turn themselves off after a specific amount of time. As such, they can work for up to five or six hours with little to no intervention on your part.
Another thing to consider is the processing capacity of a food dehydrator, mainly how much it can handle in a single batch. If you are the type of person who has a vegetable garden or if you’re simply the type to eat a lot of dehydrated goodies, then you should be willing to pay that extra buck for something a bit bigger. If, however, you plan on using the device on rare occasion, then perhaps a smaller device would suffice.
You should also pay attention to a unit’s versatility upon making a purchase, not necessarily for its range of dehydrating capabilities but more for long-term planning. Some people prefer to use dehydrators to prepare yogurt or fruit leather. If this is what you’re after, then perhaps you should invest in a dehydrator with non-stick sheets instead of the classic stackable trays model. That said, we should point out that even with a mesh tray food dehydrator you can still prepare fruit leather or bark if you really know what you’re doing.
Types of Dehydrators
In terms of how they operate, dehydrators can be split into two main categories – fan dehydrators and convection dehydrators.
Fan Dehydrators – Like the name suggests, these dehydrators function on the basis of a fan at the bottom or back of the unit that blows hot air to dehydrate the foods. Upon turning it on, it blows hot air across the food, thus evaporating the water within. Throughout this process, the food becomes gradually drier until it becomes completely dehydrated. As you would imagine, such a device can make quite a bit of noise.
Convection Dehydrators – Unlike fan-powered dehydrators, these devices make use of convection heat to dry the foods. They generally employ a heating element at the base of the machine that allows heat to rise through the machine. As such, the heat passes through the trays of food placed inside, dehydrating it in the process. The biggest advantage convection dehydrators have is the fact that they use less electricity and make virtually no noise to speak of. This does, however, comes at the price of taking twice as long to get the job done.
Things To Know About Using Dehydrators
Dehydration takes time – One crucial aspect of food dehydration is how lengthy the whole process can be. For instance, the foods that take the shortest to dry can still take up to three or four hours to dehydrate entirely. This is precisely why you should ensure to dehydrate foods without over-drying them in any way. You do this so that you can rest assured that you are in full control of the process at all times.
You can rehydrate foods at a later time – This is an important fact not many people who use dehydrators know, the fact that you can rehydrate foods at a later time if you wish to. A key element of this practice is the use of marinades or the like, processes that can rehydrate previously dried foods. If done correctly, this process can give the rehydrated foods the same taste they had before they were dehydrated.
Dehydration doesn’t ruin nutritional value – While some may be inclined to think that dehydration takes something away from foods, they couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, the only thing a dehydrator does is take the water out of the ingredients, whereas most of the nutritional value lies in the pulp of the fruits/vegetables. the only real thing you can lose in during the dehydration process is a small amount of vitamin C which is sensitive to temperature changes.