Dehydrating your food for preservation is no longer a difficult job. Thanks to electric dehydrators, you can save your herbs, create your own fruit roll-ups, and make fun flavors of jerky. But do you know how to look for the best food dehydrator?
With the many brands of food dehydrators available on the market today, you can’t help it but be perplexed. You need to look at the features, performance, and specifications. Lucky for you, I get them all covered as I detail the top 5 picks and buyer’s guide below.
Top 5 Best Food Dehydrator Reviews
1. Editor’s Pick – The Best Product: Chefman Food Dehydrator RJ43-SQ-9
The Chefman RJ43-SQ-9 Food Dehydrator is a multi-tier food preserver that perfectly dries meat, fruits, and vegetables.
It features nine spacious adjustable BPA-free plastic trays to help you make different types of products in one setting. The transparent door and slide out tray make it easy to monitor the progress of the drying process.
This 600-watt dehydrator has a horizontal flow design to maximize airflow. This means even dehydrating leads to perfect results. I like its adjustable digital thermostat because it’s very easy to use.
It includes eight preset temperature settings ranging from 95 to 158 degrees F and a countdown timer to show how much time is left for dehydration. This horizontal flow unit comes with a one year warranty and access to Club Chefman recipes.
2. Runner Up/Alternative Pick – The Second Best Product: Magic Mill Pro Food Dehydrator
The Magic Mill Pro is a great alternative if you want a smaller food dehydrator but with the digital preset temperature settings and timer.
This horizontal flow model includes six stainless steel drying racks to accommodate a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and meat. A rear-mounted fan is built to prevent overheating and an automatic shut-off is integrated for ease of use.
You can set the timer up to 19.5 hours and the adjustable thermostat from 95 degrees to 158 degrees F. The transparent door allows you to check the progress without opening it. This 450-watt dehydrator comes with a one-year limited warranty and a set of oven mitts.
3. Budget Pick – The Best Product With Limited Budget: NutriChef Food Dehydrator Machine – PKFD06
If you want an affordable option, try the Nutrichef PKFD06 Food Dehydrator Machine which includes five stackable trays. This stackable unit works easily with just a click and features a temperature control system that goes as high as 180 degrees F. The PKFD06 is small and compact so it can sit in your counter space without taking much space.
This dehydrator machine is easy to clean because it’s stain resistant and doesn’t leave any smell behind. What’s best is it works without any noise so you can use it overnight without waking up the people in your house. This product is satisfaction guaranteed meaning that you can ask a refund if it fails to meet your expectations.
4. Upgrade Pick – The Highest Quality Product With High Price: Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator
If you want to spend more on a high-quality product, try the Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator. This shelf tray unit has a large capacity of nine trays and 15-square feet of drying space. This makes this unit ideal for large families and those who dehydrate large batches of food at once.
This 600-watt dehydrator has an impressive timer that can go as long as 26 hours. An adjustable thermostat can be set from 105 degrees to 165 degrees F. Foods don’t stick because this unit includes a flexible poly-screen tray insert.
5. Niche Pick – The Best Food Dehydrator For Portability: Nesco FD- 75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator
The Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro is a portable unit that you can carry anywhere, thanks to its built-in handle. It features an adjustable thermostat to dry various types of foods at accurate temperatures <95 degrees to 160 degrees F>. This stackable unit comes with five trays but you can expand it to 12 trays.
This 600-watt food dehydrator is designed with an opaque Vita-Save exterior to preserve the nutrients from harmful light. Aside from the trays, you also get two screens, two fruit roll sheets, three jerky spice packets, and a recipe book.
Types Of Dehydrators
When you begin to shop for the best food dehydrator around, you’ll notice that there are two types of food dehydrators that you have to choose: shelf tray and stackable unit. The two types of food dehydrators differ in orientation and function.
* Shelf Tray Food Dehydrators (Horizontal Flow)
This horizontal flow model has a heating source built in the back which makes it work similar to a conventional oven. Compared to the vertical flow models, this horizontal flow model dehydrates more evenly. This makes them ideal for dehydrating meat and tougher vegetables.
The shelf tray dehydrator is very easy to use because it requires no manual work once you got it started. However, these horizontal flow models tend to be more pricey. They’re also largely built which will need more space in your kitchen.
* Stackable Unit Food Dehydrators (Vertical Flow)
This vertical flow model has a heat source located at the top or at the base. It’s more affordable than the horizontal flow model, maybe because it doesn’t spread heat as evenly. Most stackable units do include a fan to help spread the heat, though.
Stackable units are small and compact, making them perfect for small counter spaces. They’re often extensible to accommodate larger batches of food. They’re also ideal for dehydrating vegetables and fruits, but not meat.
During the dehydration process, you need to switch trays around when you want to make meat jerky.
If you want to learn how to use a food dehydrator, watch this video:
Advantages Of Using A Food Dehydrator
Food dehydrators are rather a small investment that can reward significant benefits for you and your family. From money savings to healthier foods, there are several benefits you should expect from using a food dehydrator
* Retains Nutrients
Food dehydrators basically dry out foods while keeping all of the nutritional content. Dried vegetables contain high fiber and are naturally low in cholesterol, which is probably why dehydrating them is nutritional.
During dehydration, plant foods retain all the Beta-Carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
* Longer Shelf Life
Fruits and vegetables easily turn brown, molded, or bruised in a few days. With a food dehydrator, you can dry fruits and vegetables, and save them for about a year.
The shelf life is increased because 75% of the food’s moisture is removed. The remaining 25% moisture will be your only threat of going bad. This is why it’s recommended to over-dry the produce, rather than under-drying it.
Once dried, you can store the dried food in a moisture-proof container. Keep the container in a dark, cool place.
* Saves Money On Snacks
Retail dried fruits and vegetables are usually expensive in stores. You save a lot of money if you dry your own fruits and vegetables as snacks.
Since these dried foods can go as long as one year in a sealed container, you can dramatically reduce the amount you have to spend on groceries. Some great snack ideas include fruit rolls, beef jerky, and trail mix.
What To Look For Buying Your Best Food Dehydrator
* Power (Watts)
For maximum performance, look for a higher power. You should at least look for 500 watts of power. The higher the watts, the better because you can dry foods faster at a more efficient rate. The best food dehydrator has a power as high as 1000 watts.
* Timer With Automatic Shutoff
A timer isn’t a requirement but it’s a nice feature to have if you want more convenience. With the timer, you can prevent the food from over-drying and get burned, eventually.
You can also leave the appliance while operating because the timer will stop the appliance once the dehydration process is done. Make sure that the timer is digital so you’ll know how much time is left for your food to be done.
* Adjustable Thermostat
Consider looking for an adjustable thermostat when buying the best food dehydrator. The adjustable thermostat is usually used to maintain and moderate the temperature.
Thermostats usually range from 95 degrees F to 155 degrees F. You want the thermostat to be adjustable to adjust the temperature accordingly since food may need different temperatures to dry.
The capacity of a food dehydrator can be determined by its number of trays. Most food dehydrator models have four to 10 trays. If you want to do a lot of dehydrating, you probably want a larger capacity. For flexibility, look for an extensible large capacity so you can dry a larger batch anytime.
* Even Airflow System
The better models often have a fan and a heating element, even airflow built over the trays. The power of the fan and heating elements may vary from one model to another. In general, the appliance consumes between 300 to 1,000 watts of power. The size of the fans maybe 4-7 inches in diameter.
A warranty can usually represent the durability of a product. The longer the warranty, the more durable the product is. The manufacturer won’t offer a long warranty if it’s not confident that its product will outlast its warranty.
If you are interested in other kitchen gadgets, refer here: Best Choises
Taking everything into consideration, the best food dehydrator is Chefman RJ43-SQ-9 Food Dehydrator. This shelf tray unit dehydrates more evenly and it features essential features like a timer and adjustable thermostat.
The RJ43-SQ-9 also features a one-year warranty and a large capacity of nine slide-out trays. Compared to other models, it has one of the highest power at 600 watts and digital touch settings for convenience in use.
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