Dehydrating food is nothing new when it comes to food preservation. It is a method to draw moisture out of food so there is slowed bacteria growth. When food is dried well, it can last for an extended period of time. Learn more about the best dehydrator for jerky and fruits reviews.
You can preserve big batches of dehydrated food such as herbs, fruit, meat, and vegetables. Dehydrating will increase the taste of food, so herbs will be stronger and fruit much sweeter.
Dehydrating can be done the old-fashioned way by drying it in the sun or a dry place, but dehydrators work much quicker. Finding a good one means it will dry food quickly and evenly. You want one that has drying trays that are easy to put together, use, and then clean up, as well as a machine with a control panel that’s intuitive and clear. Here are some of the bests you can buy:
Top Food Dehydrators
Tribest Sedona Express
This product is a good dehydrator. It has 11 stainless-steel trays but doesn’t take up a lot of space. It has a glass door, so you can see how a batch of food is doing as well. Plus, it has a control panel that is easy to understand. It is one of the few dehydrators that have a light button. It dries a batch of beef jerky, fruit, or other food well and is fairly quiet. This Sedona product has different dehydrating modes, including fast, raw, and combination. Fast mode means the internal temperature can go higher than what is set, allowing food to dehydrate faster. Raw mode means that it can not go above the set temperature settings, so food won’t overheat, and it has precise dehydrating. This appliance has an adjustable temperature by 1° increment, a built-in timer that can be set from 1-99 hours in length, and dishwasher-safe trays.
Hamilton Beach Digital Food Dehydrator
Hamilton Beach offers a great dehydrator for those who are on a budget. It is small but mighty. It has five dehydrating trays that offer lots of drying space, as well as consistent drying. The top is clear, so it is easy to see how the process is moving along. The controls are simple as press and program. It has adjustable temperature controls that move in 5° increments between 100-160 degrees F. It also has a 48-hour timer, and the trays are safe for the dishwasher.
Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator
This small dehydrator packs a lot of power considering its size. It is easy to use and easy to store. You just turn the dial to the exact temperature and turn it on. It has five trays but can stack up to 12. It has two fruit leather sheets for food that is semi-solid and two mesh screens for smaller things like herbs or berries. Nesco also includes three packets of spice for a jerky recipe, whether it’s beef jerky or deer jerky. Along with these things, you also get a recipe booklet along with instructions. Its one downfall is there is no timer, so it has to be watched for overdrying. The temperature range is 95-160 degrees.
Chefman 6 Tray
This Chefman product is quiet and efficient. It is simple to use and has a great touchscreen for programming. The trays are plastic, won’t stick, and are easy to get in and out. It’s easy to watch the drying process through the glass window, and the digital timer is easy to set up to 19 hours and 30 minutes. One downfall is that the parts are not dishwasher safe, so you will have to get them cleaned up by hand.
Excalibur 9 Tray
If you are looking for lots of dehydrating space, then this is the machine to use. It is the best dehydrator for jerky, including beef jerky. It has 15 square feet of space to do fruits of all types, jerky, fruit roll-ups, meat strips, and more. It has temperature control and a timer with clear settings. Trays are easy to get in and out, so there’s no hassle when these larger batches are ready. The temperature control goes from 95-165 degrees and has a 2-26-hour timer. Dishwasher-safe trays for easy cleanup and lots of custom recipes are set up for the machine.
National Presto Dehydro Digital Electric Food Dehydrator
This machine is perfectly made for smaller areas. The trays reverse and can be stacked on top of each other, so they’ll take up much less space. It is a great jerky dehydrator, no matter what the batch size. Temperatures are listed in both Celsius and Fahrenheit, and you can see your food well. The time range is 30 minutes to 48 hours, so it’s very flexible. Drying times are accurate, and consistent airflow offers a great-end product. It can be left on overnight and is one of the best jerky dehydrators on the market.
Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator, Standard
While this unit is one of the more basic dehydrators on the market, it is small and easy to use. The cover is see-through, so you can see how the drying is going. It has a fan mounted in the bottom for vertical airflow to foods for optimal drying. It is perfect for both jerky and fruits as it has a fruit roll sheet, jerky gun, and jerky spice kits, making it great for beef jerky and deer jerky. It’s also easy to clean and store.
Things to Look for When You Choose Your Dehydrator
Make sure to look for the following when picking your appliance:
- Temperature range – You want a large temperature range, so you can control the dehydrating better. Lower is needed for herbs and higher for jerky. Small intervals are helpful as well.
- Programmable timer – This is a must if you want to use your dehydrator overnight, so you have an automatic shut-off. Otherwise, you can end up with over-dried food.
- Size and shape – A small footprint makes dehydrators easy to store, and a rectangular shape means more dehydrating space. Round units tend to lose space with a hole in the middle of the trays. Vertical space is preferred over horizontal for many when it comes to counter space.