Whether you enjoy camping trips, hiking or just bringing powerful flavors to your meals, you will need to use a food dehydrator, and the good news is that some of the best dehydrators on the market today do not actually cost that much. Of course what types of food you are going to dry depends a lot on what you intend to do with it afterwards, and that in turn will govern your choice of a food dehydrator. The basic rule of thumb is that the more food you need to dry, the bigger and more complex your dehydrator should be, but it also matters a lot if you are going to use it for storage and home cooking purposes or to dehydrate food that you need to take with you on hiking adventures. For example, unless you are trying to make jerky, which is better done with a smoker anyway, meat is something most people tend to dehydrate so they can take on hunting expeditions. The problem is that meat takes a lot of time to dehydrate and, you need to have a lot of it, even in its dried out form, because it is a staple of hunting cuisine. However, if you just need to have some dried tomatoes as a perfect pizza topping, or some dried fruits for your favorite breakfast porridge, than you will not need a dehydrator that is as big. So we decided to put together the following list of the top 10 best food dehydrators on the market today, and right after the list you will find our in depth reviews where we detail our reasons for choosing that product as well as who its intended buyers really are.
1. Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator FD-75A
The best food dehydrator currently on the market, for both heavy duty users and for light stuff has to be the Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator FD-75A. It is not as big or powerful as other dehydrators we are going to look at further down below, but it is big enough for most jobs, and it is very reasonably priced. It is a 600W unit, which, as you will see is quite big, and it allows you to choose any temperature between 95 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Like all manufacturers do, they brag about the fact that the flavors don’t mix, and we were surprised to see that this time they were mostly honest. We still would not mix fruit rollups, particularly bananas because they absorb smell very easily, with beef jerky or onions, but as far as your mash potatoes picking up onion flavor, we did not taste any. You have 2 solid sheets, 2 meshed sheets, which will become your work horse for most of your drying needs, and 3 jerky spick packets. So you get everything you need to start dehydrating food right out of the package.
2. Nesco American Harvest FD-61WHC
If you need to save some money, a second excellent choice would be the Nesco American Harvest FD-61WHC. It is a 500 W unit, with 5 trays, although it can be extended to 12 trays if necessary. You only get 5 trays in the package and when used at its maximum capacity you do need to rotate the trays. We also believe that the relatively small difference in price is not reflective of the power drop, so we still believe the FD-75A we already featured should be your best choice. Still the Nesco American Harvest FD-61WHC, has one added bonus in that it is made in the USA so you would be supporting the US economy, and there is certainly something to be said about the high quality standards of products made here versus the ones made “off shore”. You also get a jerky gun, with 3 different tips, 5 cures and 5 seasonings.
3. Waring Pro DHR30 Professional Dehydrator
When it comes to dehydrators we believe Nesco has the very best products, but you do pay a premium for that brand and reputation. If you are willing to give up the brand title, you can buy the Waring Pro DHR30 Professional Dehydrator, which is a 620 W unit. Of course the 20 watts are more of a marketing gimmick, but it is none the less true that the Waring is an excellent dehydrator, with 4 temperature settings, Fan only, Low, Medium, and High. We were also pleased to note that it is a very quite unit, and it really works well with anything from fruits to jerky.
4. Nesco FD-37A American Harvest Food Dehydrator
Now that we have given the top 3 best food dehydrators on the market we can start talking about a real drop in price point with the Nesco FD-37A American Harvest Food Dehydrator. This is what you would call a vegetarian oriented dehydrator, because it only has a 400 W of power. It is still strong enough to dehydrate all the fruits and herbs you would want. Even at its maximum capacity it only has room for 7 trays. That is not to say you cannot use this food dehydrator to make the occasional beef jerky, but if you need a really heavy duty system, you will need to buy something more powerful.
5. Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator
On the same lines of finding a decent quality food dehydrator for peanuts money, you have the Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator. It actually uses a 600 W motor to drive the process, but the moment you take it out of the box, you will realize it is an overseas product. The manufacturing process is not great and it only holds 8 trays. On the other hand, if you are not going to use it on a daily basis, this is an excellent dehydrator to have in the back of the cupboard for those occasional herbs or fruits. That powerful motor also means you can comfortably make great quality jerky for very little money.
6. Presto 06301 Dehydro Digital Electric Food Dehydrator
We really believe that our top 5 choices are the best food dehydrator offers currently on the market, but there are some other products out there that drew our attention. The Presto 06301 Dehydro Digital Electric Food Dehydrator seems like an excellent product, particularly since it has a digital display of the temperature and it allows you a degree of accuracy that a simple dial dehydrator simply cannot afford. It also has the heat generator mounted on the bottom, and does not use any fan system, so it is incredibly silent and yet efficient since heat travels up and that naturally generates a flow of current.
7. Nesco FD-80A Square-Shaped Dehydrator
The Nesco FD-80A Square-Shaped Dehydrator is the most powerful dehydrator in their small to medium line that we are going to feature here at 700 W. It has a square shape so it may fit better on a counter top or in a corner, but we find that the square shaped dehydrators do not work as well, particularly with food that gets trapped in one of the corners. Still, it does have a top mounted ventilator, which, although noisy, does help distribute the heat evenly. It has dial thermostat so, while you do have an excellent control of the heat, it is not really the best you could have, which is why we have left if for the bottom part of our list.
8. Nesco FD-60 Snackmaster Express
If you need a small food dehydrator, that can be easily stored away and taken out only occasionally, your best choice is the Nesco FD-60 Snackmaster Express. It only handles 4 trays, but it uses 500W of power, so it will handle with ease anything from jerky to fruit. The combination of little space and a powerful heating engine, makes this an excellent choice for people who do not need to dry a lot of stuff, but they do want the very best results in the quickest of time.
9. Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator
The last 2 food dehydrators we are going to talk about are only meant for professional hunters or hickers, or for small businesses who need to dehydrate massive amounts of food. The Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator is the best of the 2, with its large 9 trays that make up 15 square feet of space. The heater is relatively small at just 600 W, particularly when you consider the given space, but the racks are all meshed so the heat is perfectly used. You also have the option of adjusting the thermostat to a maximum of 26 hours, which is more than enough for any type of food. It also helps a lot that the fan and heating element are placed on the back of the device so the heat is distributed evenly on all trays at the same time.
10. Nesco FD-1040 1000-watt Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator
The other great product for people with large appetites for dehydrated food is the Nesco FD-1040 1000-watt Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator. It has the same basic design as all the other Nesco food dehydrators, so we were not that impressed that they did not change the design for their most powerful product. Still, it does have a 1000 W heating element, a digital temperature control system, and a top end air flow system that helps distribute the heat.