Best Food Dehydrator Reviews – 2018 Food Dehydrator Guide

Food experts have outlined that the best and healthiest methods of food preservation to add up extra variation and quality to a diet, is by using a food dehydrator; which have become common among many consumers in the recent years. Indeed, the best food dehydrator convey a variety of health benefits which can help your body to resist certain harmful toxins and chemicals. When looking for the best dehydrator, it's important to consider factors such as size, shape, heat, air passage, portability, material quality and above all, the price.

Getting the best dehydrator means finding the most simple food preservation method to make your diet even better, healthier and tastier.

Ultimate Food Dehydrator Guide

So What is a Dehydrator Exactly?

Drying vegetables, animal proteins and fruits among other foods is a way of preservation. So, what is a dehydrator? It is a device designed to remove moisture from food and help to preserve it. It uses heat source as well as an air flow system that aids in reducing water content in foods.

In most vegetables and fruits, water content is usually about 80-90 percent and 50-75 percent in meat. When water is eliminated from food, bacteria that spoils food cannot grow. Also, the removal of water helps to lessen the weight of food. Therefore, food dehydrators are generally used for food preservation to extend the shelf life of different foods.

There are some food dehydrators that require heat using solar or electric power as source of energy and their form ranges from large scale dehydration schemes to commercial appliances for home usage. Basic commercial food dehydrators usually consist of parts such as fan, heating element, air vents to enhance circulation of air and food trays that food is laid upon. Vents, fans and the heating element in a dehydrator works concurrently to eliminate moisture from various foods. The heating elements of the dehydrator warms food to release its moisture, the fan blows the moist, warm air out of the device through air vents and this process continues until food is totally dried.

How Does a Food Dehydrator Work?

Not so many are familiar with process of food dehydration and how the appliances works. Generally, food dehydrators removes moisture and air content from certain foods like fruits, vegetables and meat to help preserve them. When food is dehydrated, it can be eaten in that state or else rehydrated and preserved for future use. However, various models of food dehydrators operates differently to achieve the maximum results.

Common food dehydrators uses the heating element, trays and air vents in the process of food dehydration. Within the dehydrator unit, there is a tray where food is laid on and can be either fixed or removable. Some devices feature rotating trays to facilitate even better drying. The heating element heats the food to allow moisture to be released from food then the fan propels and pushes the moisture through the air vents which releases the moisture out of the dehydrator.

The three basic component works together to circulate air and eliminate all the water content from your food. In the best rated food dehydrators, air circulates either horizontally or vertically. The vertical airflow food dehydrators have their fans on top or at the bottom of the device. Horizontal airflow dehydrators usually features a rear mounted fan to push excess moist out through the vents.

What are the Benefits of Dehydrating Foods?

One of the most powerful tools you can have in your kitchen is a food dehydrator , as it is the most popular device for drying your fruits, vegetables and even meat. Individuals who use food dehydrators are able to quickly and easily make things like kale chips, fruit rolls and enjoy many other nutritious dehydrator recipes to enhance a healthy living. Definitely, food dehydrators helps you to live a high quality life free from harmful toxins and chemicals in undried foods.

You don’t need any chemicals additive or preservatives when using food dehydrators. The food you are drying is the only ingredient you need, thus producing 100 percent natural food product. Also, food dehydrators help to enhance storage by reducing both weight and size of the food. Dehydrators are also cost effective because you can buy food in bulk and preserve for future use.

Food dehydrators helps to make food at temperatures less than 115° F which is the ideal temperature for maintaining nutrients and enzymes. Additionally, when food is dehydrated, it helps to save for future use those that would otherwise go to waste. Drying food is practical and fun and has unlimited possibilities as you can extend the quality and life of your food for future.

What Should I Look for or Consider When Selecting a Good Dehydrator?

If you have made up your mind to get the best rated food dehydrator, there are some important features you must consider before purchasing one. Some of the most expensive models are designed in a special way with features that makes the drying process easier and faster. However, a basic food dehydrator only helps you to get the job done without all the extra features. Here are some of the features and things to consider when looking for the best rated food dehydrator as outlined in most of the food dehydrator reviews:

  • Heat Element – the source of heat should be located at the top of the device to avoid cases of any liquids dripping on it. Additionally, it must be noted that best dehydrators uses larger sources of heat that enhances even heat distribution throughout the chamber.
  • Fans – the fan has two major purposes. It circulates heat to enhance even dehydration of food. High speed fans speeds up the drying process. There are also dehydrators with vertical airflow systems and horizontal airflow system which both have their pros and cons.
  • Alarms & Timers – most of the modern models dries food faster, though certain foods take much longer hours to dry completely. A good dehydrator should have a standard alarm and timer system.
  • Sealed/Unsealed Trays – if you have to dry more than one food item at once, it’s ideal to go for a sealed tray food dehydrator. Sealed trays helps to keep air circulation separate, for instance, it prevents the smell of meat and that for fruits from blending together
  • Price – if you want a quality product, you must be ready to spend a little more to obtain that quality. The price of a dehydrator will vary depending on the features and parts it has. For instance, horizontal airflow dehydrators are obviously a little more expensive than vertical airflow dehydrators. However, there are some affordable dehydrators starting as low as $30, and then you may find some ranging from $100, $200 and even $400 and up. What you will spend, will depend on your overall needs and the quality you’re looking for.

Vertical Airflow Food Dehydrator vs Horizontal Airflow Food Dehydrators

Typically, dehydrators are meant to dry your fruits and vegetables and to help preserve it for a longer time. Formerly, people used pickling and canning methods in preserving their foods. Dehydrators come in vertical and horizontal airflow systems and both have their good and bad sides.

Vertical Airflow Dehydrator

The fan in a vertical airflow dehydrator is positioned at the lower end of the machine (Bottom). The device has both up and down orientations plus a heated base which is usually mounted at its bottom. Some of the most affordable dehydrators with vertical airflow systems include Waring Pro DHR30 and Presto 06300.

Dehydrators with the vertical airflow systems are cheaper than horizontal airflow dehydrators. Additionally, they are best for items that are delicate such as fish, peaches, herbs, strawberries and raisins. If you remember to rotate their trays, you can expect perfect results.

However, they have been noted to be giving uneven heat distribution because the fan is mounted at its bottom making it even harder for certain food items to dehydrate uniformly. For instance, meat jerky, bananas or chicken.

Horizontal Airflow Food Dehydrator

The horizontal airflow systems are found on stackable models such as Excaliber Stainless Steel dehydrator and the Nesco Gardenmaster dehydrator. They are most suitable for individuals with rather busy routines. While using horizontal airflow dehydrator, you can just turn it on, then sit back and wait for your food to dry.

The good thing about these appliances, is that they offer an even and uniform heat distribution across each and every tray. It takes much less time drying food with horizontal airflow dehydrators than other types. It can be used to make steamed walnut leaves and fruit leather rolls.

What holds people from acquiring these appliances is the price which is much expensive than those with vertical airflow systems.

What is the Best Dehydrator to Buy?

People use dehydrators for various purposes, some use them to spruce up gardens and their homes. Others use these devices to dry food that help in cutting off extra weight. Several individuals use dehydrators to preserve food for future use, but regardless of what you do with your food dehydrator, it equally important to know the best dehydrator on the market. So, going by brands, what is the best dehydrator to buy?

  • Excalibur – it has a firm commitment and dedication to reliability and quality. It specializes in food dehydrators, offering manufacturer’s guarantees and pocket-friendly prices. There best-selling products include 9-Tray Stainless Steel and Excalibur 3926TB.
  • Nesco – it was established in 1930 and specializes in a number of kitchen appliances including food grinders, ovens and food dehydrators among others. Their dehydrators and most products are cost friendly and their best-selling food dehydrators are FD-28JX Jerky Xpress, FD-80 Square and FD-1010 Gardenmaster.
  • Presto – their products ranges from bacon cookers, plethora to food dehydrators among other appliances used in the kitchen. It has some of the most reliable food dehydrators on the market. Some of their popular dehydrators include Presto Dehydro and Presto 06301 which come with a thermostat or without.

Our Top Four Dehydrators Picks

Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator

It dries all the content of its trays evenly. Its dehydration process focuses on and maintains the natural sweetness, flavor as well as the fragrance of your food. Excalibur 9-tray food dehydrator offers a 15 square feet drying space making it the biggest and the best dehydrator on the market. It is ideal for larger families, sportsmen, craftspeople and larger gardens. It has a 26 hour timer system, an adjustable thermostat (105°F – 165°F) and is safe for drying fruits, vegetables raising bread, herbs, art and crafts and meat. Its trays are removable.

Excalibur 9-Tray Stainless Steel Dehydrator

It features a stainless steel panel which is interleaved into a black case. The case interior is made of polycarbonate while the exterior made of stainless steel. It is also designed in a horizontal air-flow system as well as HyperwaveTM fluctuation technology which provides the most efficient food drying combination on the market. It has a 26 hour timer system which allows you to set it, sit back and forget as it does its work. It also has 9 15”X15” stainless steel trays and an adjustable thermostat (105°F – 165°F) and when it’s in use, the system starts automatically.

Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator FD-75A

It is one of the newest food dehydrators in the history of Nesco/American Harvest products. It features 700W drying power generating the maximum speed and quality required to dehydrate foods such as fruits, beef jerky, vegetables and venison jerky. It works in a matter of hours, unlike the ordinary dehydrators that take days. The model comprises of 5 drying trays, 2 clean-A-Screens, 2 fruit roll sheets, 3 original jerky spice packets and it doesn’t mix flavors when drying different foods.

Waring Pro DHR30 Food Dehydrator

Waring Pro DHR30 is fitted out with topmost venting system, meaning it can for air across the trays horizontally, thus ensuring even drying of food and elimination of constant rotation.  It comes with 5 interlocked trays stacked over each other giving an extra counter space. It also features a thermostat with 3 adjustable temperature levels (low, medium and medium). Its temperature ranges between 110°F – 165°F.

Many of the dehydrators highlighted here can help you dehydrate your foods, and get the job done pretty well. But we find that the Excalibur line is certainly an excellent choice for you to consider when it comes to selecting the best food dehydrator. 

As you continue to explore this wonderful world of food dehydration, you can explore your goals further, and easily decide on the specific product that is ideal and perfect for your needs. Determining the exact set of requirements and choosing the best food dehydrator based on them, will help you to significantly enjoy your device and the dehydrating process.​