A food dehydrator is a machine used to take out all the moisture from food to help preservation. All food items consist of a certain percentage of water in it. Particularly in fruits and vegetables the percentage of water is high. A food dehydrator is used to suck out that water content.
Drying food is an old technique to preserve food items, such as – veggies, fruits, meat and some dairy products. Earlier the process was performed using drying the food items in sun. But as the new technology evolved, it gave birth to a device called – Food Dehydrator. The device has a basic work process – it has a source to heat up the food item and a source of blowing air to remove the water that is evaporated by the heat. The normal water content in different food item is very high, though there is no constant percentage of water in all items.
The typical water content of veggies and fruit vary between 80% to 95% and beyond, whereas a different type of meats contains almost 50% to 80% water in it. The water is a matter that is necessary for different types of bacteria to grow on the food. That is why the water is removed from the food, and when all the water content is removed no bacteria can no longer spoil the food. And the dehydration process has more effects on food items – dehydrating foods can reduce the weight by a huge percentage. That makes it easy and convenient to carry them. Basically food dehydrator is used to preserve foods by extending their shelf life.
There are several types of food dehydrator available in the market. Food dehydrators vary on source of power they use. Some food dehydrator uses electric as its power source whereas some uses solar energy as its power source. Food dehydrators are available in different sizes to fit every users needs. There are large sized commercial food dehydrators to dry out large quantity of foods; along with there are small ones for day to day domestic usage. Most of the dehydrators use a temperature range of 55°C to 57°C for dehydrating foods like – veggies and fruits but they use a higher scale of temperature to dehydrate meat products.
The common temperature used to dry out meat and meat products is 68°C to 70°C. The extra temperature added while processing meat and meat derivatives is to prevent bacterial infection. Solar food dehydrators uses solar energy and they designed accordingly, but the drying process is absolutely different from direct sun drying. Solar dehydrators are known to dry out foods in comparatively lower amount of time. Using solar dehydrator is a good way to save energy and protect the environment from global warming, moreover it eats no electric.
Types of Food Dehydrators
No matter the type of food that you are looking to dehydrate, you can rest easy knowing that with a little perusing, you can find a type of dehydrator that will suit your needs. From low budget to high budget and heavy duty to standard, all it takes is a little looking around and a little know how. Here’s some insight on some specific types of dehydrators that you may be looking for to better help suit what you need.
1. Horizontal Flow Dehydrators
A dehydrator that is incorporating horizontal flow may be one that is considered on the higher end of the spectrum, given that they tend to be more expensive than vertical flow. Along with being a touch pricier, the horizontal flow dehydrators can also take up more space. This type of dehydrator allows the hot air to distribute evenly across all of the trays and your food; severely minimizing the intermingling of flavors when you are attempting to dry more than one food item.
2. Vertical Flow Dehydrators
When the fan and heating element of your dehydrator is on the top or the bottom, that’s usually a good indication that what you have is a vertical flow model. These are standard in the world of dehydrators because that type of heat distribution is the most efficient, as heat naturally rises. These do work wonderfully if the items that you are drying simultaneously all require different dehydrating times. For example, if you have a top-down unit then the food closest to the top will dry faster than the food at the bottom. Due to the fact that the hot air does pass directly between trays, there is always the chance of flavor crossovers between your favorite foods.
3. Standard Trays
These trays prove beneficial if you dehydrate small batches of food and the types of foods that you dry are on the simpler scale and less frequent. The standard trays are all the same in size, slide out and provide you with a measured understanding of just how much room you have to work with.
4. Expandable Trays
Dehydrators with expandable trays are best suited for those who are dehydrating in large amounts, frequently or those who have larger families. These trays allow you to adjust the size, thus making them larger or smaller depending on what your needs call for and they are also stackable.
Looking into the criteria that you need your dehydrator to meet, will ensure that you end up searching out the right type for you as they are more than just a brand name and a model. Consider the foods that you are interested in, how much of the product you want to dry and how often, how much kitchen space you need and your price range. These are all key factors when learning about the pros and cons to each type of food dehydrator but knowing them will also make sure that you aren’t spending unnecessary money or working with a unit that is larger than what you require.
Check out the 10 Best Dehydrators on the market right now:
#1. Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator
- Dehydration is the healthiest, easiest, and most economical way to preserve foods
- Load the trays and set the temperature, the Excalibur dries the contents of all trays evenly so everything’s done at once
- Dehydration concentrates the natural flavor, sweetness, and aromas of your food
- Leaving you with a flavor that’s far healthier than high-fat snacks and high-sugar candies that are filled with chemical preservatives
- The Excalibur 9-Tray Large Dehydrator provides 15 square feet of drying space making this the biggest and best there is!
- Ideal for large families, large gardens, craftspeople, and sportsmen
- This unit includes flexible polyscreen tray inserts to prevent foods from sticking to trays, 7″ fan, built in on/off switch, adjustable thermostat, and a convenient 26 hour timer
Pros: fast shipping, fantastic dehydrator, really well built, top notch, nothing compares to the quality of this, best quality home dehydrator you can buy, just the right size, tons of room, simple to use, perfect for large batches of kale chips, perfect for beef jerky, love the timer feature, time setting for up to 26 hours is a great option, would recommend it to anyone who is dehydrates …
Cons: no complaints …
#2. LEM Products 10 Tray Food Dehydrator with Digital Timer
- LEM Products 1010 10 Tray Food Dehydrator with Digital Timer has everything you need in a countertop dehydrator!
- You can have the best features of commercial units, sized to fit on a kitchen table or counter
- Their exclusive design incorporates the best food drying technology in an affordable unit for any household
- This 10 tray unit has a fast drying 800 watt, rear mounted heating element to get the job done
- With LED digital timer, 15″ square trays (for 360 degree rotation), and innovative air flow door design, these units make food drying easy and affordable
- Food grade, shatter proof, ABS trays and steel reinforced housing ensure long lasting use
- Includes complete instruction manual
- Thermostat adjusts from 85 to 155 degrees
Pros: great dehydrators for the price, easy to use with digital settings, high quality, tons of space to dry, low noise levels, gets the job done quickly and efficiently, great for making deer jerky and drying fruit, square trays let you rotate 90°, the racks are removable for cleaning, recommend to any who wants to do a considerable amount of dehydrating …
Cons: too big for the counter …
#3. Aroma Professional 6 Tray Food Dehydrator
- Enjoy all your homemade dried favorites with the Aroma Food Dehydrator
- Perfect for everyone from outdoor hobbyists to the health-conscious, this dehydrator is designed for efficient, even drying. Fruit leather
- Trail Mix. Custom potpourri. Dried Herbs and Spices
- Prepare all this and more with the flip of a switch!
- It handles everything from fruit slices to beef jerky on six spacious, height adjustable trays
- The automatic fan promotes even drying and prevents the overheating that eliminates food’s vital nutrients while the adjustable thermostat ensures that all foods are dehydrated at their optimal temperature
Pros: large capacity, it makes great dehydrated foods, great for jerking your meat, can regulate the temperatures very easily, heats up very well, dehydrates quickly, doesn’t make a lot of noise …
Cons: it does not have a timer, the trays are a little big for the sink …
#4. L’Equipe 528 6 Tray Food Dehydrator, 500-watt
- There are many advantages to creating your own home-dried foods
- Home prepared snacks have no preservatives-you have more control about what you eat
- Dried snacks are perfect for travel and have more flavor as it becomes concentrated
- Buying foods in season also help you save money
- With many choices on the market, the L’Equip Dehydrator offers many features only found in more expensive models: With over 24 square feet of drying space, you can stack up to 12 trays
- It dries food uniformly and consistently with its solid state variable temperature control-you’re assured precise results
- The L’Equip Dehydrator features a micro-processor controlled heat sensor for stable drying environment
- Its unique and timeless design is easy to clean and use, making it a welcomed addition to any kitchen
Pros: good size for home dehydrating, best feature are the stack-able trays, expandable to 12 racks, quiet while running, energy efficient, easy to use, the parts are light and trays easy to clean, temperature control is great, recommend to anyone looking for a dehydrator that can take on meat to fruit …
Cons: wish it had a timer, wish it was dishwasher safe …
#5. TSM Products TSM Harvest Food Dehydrator
- Excellent for raw food cooking
- Easily makes great tasting natural snacks like jerky, fruit leathers, apple chips or any of your favorite dried fruits or vegetables
- Motor 110V/ 600W with adjustable thermostat; temperature ranges from 84º – 155ºF
- Comes with 10 polyscreen trays providing over 10sq. ft. of drying space
Pros: large capacity is great for large batches, love the 10 trays on this dehydrator, love the long square trays, great for raw food, really like the temperature adjust feature, dry quickly and evenly, makes very little noise, trays are super easy to clean …
Cons: wish it came with a door …
#6. Nesco FD-1040 1000-watt Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator
- Dry fruit and vegetables, herbs and flowers, granola or strips of jerky in hours instead of days with this 1000-watt food dehydrator
- Top mounted fan eliminates liquids dripping into the heater chamber
- New Digital Time is programmable for up to 48 hours
- Expands up to 20 trays allowing you to dry large quantities all at once
- Drying pressure adjusts automatically to the number of trays
- Patented Converge-Flow forces heated air down the exterior pressurized chamber, then horizontally across each individual tray, converging in the center, for fast, even and nutritious drying
- Flavors don’t mix, and there’s no need to rotate the trays. 2,400 RPM fan motor is four times faster than dryers with no fan or motors
- The unit’s adjustable thermostat ranges from 90 degrees to 160 degrees F, providing the flexibility needed to ensure excellent results
- Vita-Save Exterior features an opaque exterior which blocks light to retain more of the foods nutrients and vitamins during the drying process
- Includes: 4 trays, Fruit Roll Sheet and a Clean-A-Screen
- Additional trays sold separately
Pros: great dehydrator at great price, looks nice on the kitchen counter, like the expandable feature, amazingly efficient and quiet, 1000 watts makes a difference, makes good beef jerky, dries peaches to perfection, works great for fruit and vegetables, love the timer and auto-shutoff, comes apart very easily for cleaning …
Cons: it should bring more trays …
#7. Waring Pro DHR30 Professional Dehydrator
- Make your own dried fruits, herbs, vegetables – even beef jerky and fruit roll-ups!
- Waring Pro makes it easy with a big 5-tiered, 620-watt Professional Dehydrator
- An adjustable thermostat includes Fan Only, Low, Medium and High settings for more options, and a top-venting system efficiently draws moisture up and out for excellent results
- Make snacks or preserve naturally nutritious homegrown foods to use in recipes all year long
- Dried foods are expensive, and fresher is always better!
Pros: the price was reasonable, doesn’t take up to much space on the counter, large capacity, easy operation, trays are dishwasher safe, love the different temp setting, great for jerky and dried fruits or vegetables, makes great dried kale chips …
Cons: its a little noisy, would be perfect if it had a timer, wish there was an option to add more trays as 7-8 would be better …
#8. Good Cooking Electric Professional Grade Food Dehydrator – Dries 30% Faster
- Dehydrator – Quick Dry Food Dehydrator with Four Trays by Good Cooking: Now you can create healthy snacks at home with 100% natural ingredients for a fraction of what grocery store dried snacks cost
- This dehydrator is easy to use. Just slice, dry, and store
- Four tries allow you to make big batches or a variety of foods at the same time
- They also nest to reduce the dehydrator height by 1/3 for easy storage
- The adjustable time and temperature settings allow you to choose the perfect dry time for the kind of food you select
- The curved base design allows for easier air flow, which means your food will dry two to three times faster
- The turbo fan circulates hot air, producing evenly dried food
Pros: easy to use, convenient, small footprint, dry quite a bit faster than then the other dehydrator, great for saving money on dried snacks, dried fruit and vegetables were good, comes with 4 nice sized trays, the trays are very easy to remove and clean …
Cons: it is noisy but not too loud, directions say nothing about recommended temperature, it didn’t have instructions for jerky …
#9. NutriChef Kitchen Electric Countertop Food Dehydrator
- Simply insert your food into the trays and hit the switch to activate a new and healthier level of food preparation
- The NutriChef Kitchen Dehydrator effectively works to remove moisture, drying your food and reducing spoilage
- The multi-level trays allow for enhanced air-flow that dehydrates for prolonged food shelf-life & preservation
- Your food will last longer and the removal of moisture content is far more beneficial than canning or freezing
- Dehydration with the NutriChef retains up to 97% of the food’s nutritional value and is scientifically tested to reduce spoilage times — and best of all, it will still tastes great!
- Once dried, your food will retain original vitamins, minerals and flavor!
- The simple one-touch button operation makes it even easier to prepare foods like meat, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables and more!
- Save time, save money and save valuable cabinet space since the dehydration process shrinks your food, making it great for food storage or stocking up for the winter
- It works great with a wide variety of food groups and is perfect for making healthy, oil-free veggie chips for the kids — or hardy beef jerky for dad
- Reduce spoilage and enjoy enhanced food preservation with the NutriChef Kitchen Dehydrator
Pros: reasonably priced, comes with an awesome recipe book, comes with 5 trays and a lid, convenient, easy to use, fairly quiet, the jerky came out amazing, the trays are easy to take off and clean …
Cons: you can stack up to 20 trays at a time but only 5 trays are included, doesn’t have variable temperature setting, no timer …
#10. Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator
- Dehydrates fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices
- Makes fruit rolls and jerky too Four-tray system for dehydrating foods at a fraction of the cost of commercially dehydrated foods with no additives or preservatives
- Can stack up to 8 trays. Additional trays sold separately
- See-through cover lets you monitor drying process
- Easy to clean. Drying trays and cover are fully immersible and dishwasher safe
- Bottom-mounted fan and heating element provide consistent airflow for optimum drying
- No tray rotation needed. Easy to store Drying trays nest for compact storage
- 600-Watt 120 volts, 60 Hz only
Pros: quick delivery, the price is right on, nice and compact, doesn’t take up so much storage space, great starter dehydrator, super easy to use and clean up, dry out food quickly, perfect for making beef jerky and fruits, minimal power usage …
Cons: did not come with at least one tray to make fruit roll ups (sold separately), it’s loud and puts out a lot of heat …