Best Food Dehydrator Reviews
Many people seem to enjoy foods that are dehydrated (dried fruits, beef/fish jerky), but not all of them consider adding a food dehydrator to their kitchen. Since their friends or parents were not used to it, why should they? However, in the modern times, food dehydrators popularity seems to be rising – as eating natural food is considered to be important and storage space continues to decline. After reading this text, your life may just become better and your food tastier, as you consider buying a good food dehydrator. After all, selecting a product of good quality is the most important part of the job, since the dehydration process itself is rather simple. But how to go about buying one? You can find out from our reviews, where the best food dehydrator for the money is also reviewed, as an added bonus.
Brief rundown of Food Dehydrators:
Food dehydrators, as of now are essentially metal or plastic boxes to dry food in, with hot air passing through them. Moisture in the food is greatly reduced with the help of hot air. Now consider that 50-90% of the food’s weight consists from water content or moisture, and it helps the fungi and bacteria to flourish (water is necessary for their life), and you will understand that de-moisturing of food is often essential for its extended storage. Otherwise, if you try to store such moist food away, it gets “spoilt”, which poses significant risks to your health.
Removing water from the food is a decent solution. Of course we cannot remove the water completely (nor should we), but rather water to the protein content ratio in the foods should be around 0.75 to 1. Circulating hot air inside the food dehydrator serves as a way to make the food storage-worthy via removing any excessive moisture. This is good for seasonal foods, because it allows to consume them outside of seasons they are available in.
The first thing you should know before reading the best food dehydrator consumer reports below, is that there are two main types of food dehydrators:
1. Stacked food dehydrators.
This type of dehydrator is made up of racks and usually devoid of any outer shell. Each stack is comprised of vents on the circumference, and a tray for keeping foods. The stacks are placed on top of each other and in such way they can be sealed, preventing the heat from escaping the dehydrator. The fan, which circulates the air upward is located at the bottom of the product. The benefits of this type include its small footprint and the variable size based on volume of foods. But the periodic shuffling of racks is mandatory and of course the food located closer to heating element will dry faster.
- Box and Shelf Dehydrators.
This type of dehydrator is composed of an outer shell (the so-called “box”), and shelves/trays, which are inserted in a predetermined fashion. The principle of work is analogous to an electric oven, with fan being located at the back of “box”. Hot air is blown through the each tray and the food on it. The benefits of this type include better insulation and equal distribution of heat to all trays. But it’s also more bulky and the “box” occupies same space without regard to food volume.
The most important things to consider in food dehydrator reviews?
Before buying yourself a dehydration machine, there is a good reason to check out the things listed below. After all, even if not that complex, food dehydrators have their own range of functions and shapes they come in. So don’t forget to check these criteria in order to find which food dehydrator is the best for you:
- Size (and space you can offer)
This depends how much of a free surface your kitchen can provide. If the space on your countertop is limited, the best choice is a stackable countertop model, since it has minimal footprint and scales vertically instead via several dozens of racks based on the increase of your food. But if you have enough space to fit an oven, you should probably opt for box and shelf food dehydrators. Mind that box and shelf type of dehydrator is a kind of kitchen space investment that is permanent, whereas the stackable model can be used with only a few racks if needed, which effectively reduces is to the size of a lunchbox.
- Heat distribution.
The passage of hot air is an important factor, since when rack levels in a stackable model exceed a dozen, uneven heating occurs. To avoid any over-drying of foods, you can use rotating racks instead. But if food dehydration is something you need to perform constantly and for large quantities of food, your best choice must be a box and shelf model. Even if large, these have fans at the back (as opposed to top and bottom fans in stackable models) and provide equal heat distrubution to all the racks.
- Modifiability of equipment.
Stackable dehydrator provides better scalability which is useful when the amount of food to dry suddenly goes up or down. But as the racks of a stackable model fit closely one onto another, it will not be possible to fit and dry large pieces of food. Box and shelf dehydrator model allows to dry large pieces of food uniformly as racks in a box can be removed.
- Quality of the materials.
The materials used to make food dehydrators fall in two categories: plastic and metal. If you are dealing with dehydrator made of plastic, make sure that it contains no BFA. Metals or plastic, all materials should accepted by FDA as food grade materials, in particular no plastic fumes should emanate from such plastic at high temperatures, according to results of tests. It is also well-known that plastic is degrading quickly during the prolonged use. This makes the metal a better choice for those of you who intend to run dehydrators for long periods of time.
Stackable dehydrators are of course more portable due to their initial size being smaller. They are useful to carry around during your travels. It is also worth noting that for such purposes, metal dehydrators are more problematic to carry around than their plastic counterparts. This is due to their increased size, weight, and problems they may cause at metal detector gateways and passenger crafts (carrying large metal objects inside of which is prohibited in some states.
You may want to start on stacked food dehydrators if you’re tight on money. Stacked food dehydrators typically retail at a price below 80$. Their box and tray counterparts are typically almost 3-4 times more expensive, and will cost you up to a hefty 350$.
The Five Top Rated Dehydrators on the Market (2015)
A stacked dehydrator with an impressive capacity of 12 racks, Nesco Snackmaster Pro may just be the best food dehydrator for sale to grace the stores. It has a powerful fan and heating element mounted at the top, which allows to avoid uneven heating of racks, even when all of them are in use. The range of temperature is between 95 F and 130 F, which is fairly wide, yet the heat distributes evenly throughout the range. In turn, this allows to easily dehydrate a wide variety of products. A free recipe book is also included, and is useful to broaden your knowledge of all the food prepared with the help of dehydrators. This model also has a way to shield the dehydrator from harmful external lights, using Vita-Save technology on the dehydrator’s exterior.
This stacked food dehydrator model is comparatively slim and weights only 7.5 pounds. It comes with 4 trays (that can be expanded to 8 total). While not being quite suited for dehydrating large portions of food, it is portable, and can be easily taken with you on the travels. It comes with features to make it even more compact (such as ability to store power cord in the base and to stack up the racks onto each other in a nested fashion). With this, the owner can pretty much modify the dehydrator’s height at his/her disposal. The fan and heating element are mounted at the bottom part of dehydrator, and the top tray provides a transparent lid that allows to watch and observe the process of food dehydration.
A quite compact Nesco American Harvest food dehydrator model that comes with 5 trays. Looking for a cheap dehydrator? At first look its price may be slightly higher, but the features included may be well worth it, sparing you from buying extra accessories in the future. The fan is top mounted and uses Converga Flow technology. It deserves special attention – for one, it is able to dry foods much faster. This is done by combining the fan’s 500W power with the aforementioned technology (in which the air moves radially across each of the racks after traveling down the outer shell). Another point of attention comes with various drying accessories that are included with the product. Sheets for making fruit rolls, clean-a-screen spice and a jerky gun are the kind of accessories that are certainly helpful to cover all your drying needs.
This food dehydrator is quite compact, at the same time it allows to dry food in 7 racks at once. The food is dried uniformly and efficiently by the heat is distributed from device’s top with the help of 400W fan. Nesco’s Converga Flow technology is used to concentrate the heat on the surface of racks ans hot air flows radially across them and converges at the center. This enhanced drying effect can be observed in real time through the clear top surrounding the power head of the moderl. It is also worth noting that, power head aside, all the other parts of this food dehydrator can be washed in dishwashers without any ill effects for the product.
Excalibur 3926TB is a box and tray type food dehydrator and provides 9 trays (that can be expanded to 15 total), which equals to 15 square feet of drying space. The trays can be fitted into the outer shell. It is often chosen as best dehydrator for jerky. A 26 hour thermostat timer is included, allowing you to spare yourself from monitoring the foods that take too long to dry. Non-stick inserts made of flexible polyscreen also help such autonomous drying process. Once fitted onto the trays, they will ensure that foods will not stick to each other during the drying process. The temperature can be adjusted by the means of temperature control knob located at the back. It is really easy and intuitive to use, just as the on/off switch besides it. The knobs are responsive, resistant to damage and do not interfere with overall handling of the product.
Now you should know how to buy the best food dehydrator
Different dehydrators have different strong points about them, so it’s hard to narrow down a single winner. Which one will be ideal for you depends on your objectives – the mobility of device or the amount of food processed at once. The type of heating used is also important, as are modifiability and accessibility. One thing for sure, once all is done, you will see how the food dehydrator will improve your life, and how it will help you to save money on certain kinds of food you’ve needed to buy before. This brief rundown of food dehydrator will hopefully help you to get a hang of things and decide for yourself to improve your life and your diet with such an important kitchen accessory.
Top rated commercial food dehydrators
An extremely advised gadget for everyone who desires to replace their unhealthy and quite often over-salty snack foods with something that is much more nourishing, food dehydrators are fully intended for productivity and simplicity of applying. Furthermore, most of these devices can also be available with expansible functions developed to allow you dry out a great deal more in a single portion, but with no requiring very much countertop area. Using this kind of equipment, you will have the ability to make a variety of snacks like dehydrated apples, dried potato chips, jerked beef and so on simply.
Nevertheless, considering all the provided functions, searching for a food dehydrator could be mind-boggling, in particular taking into account the variety of various brands that are on the market. That is why, to assist you make a perfect choice, we have compiled our very best three commercial food dehydrator models that you can buy.
Our Choice: Excalibur 9-Tray Stainless Steel
One of probably the most professional dehydrators available, the Excalibur 9-Tray Stainless Steel is particularly esteemed for its convenient shelving method. Without a doubt, by using this device, you will have the opportunity to work directly with up to nine dehydrating trays simultaneously. Also, you are going to be given accessibility to every one of them all of the time, opposite to its stackable analogue. Ideal for large households, celebrations, barbeques and various other events this particular appliance bundled with functions created to help make the dehydrating procedure much more pleasurable.
Manufactured from exceptionally long lasting stainless steel the device comes with a 26-hour integrated timer. That usually signifies that you can just turn the machine on and allow it to perform all the job while you continue your usual routine. The food dehydrator additionally contains a heavy-duty fan, a changeable thermostat setting along with dishwasher-safe shelves.
Our Choice: Nesco Gardenmaster FD-1040
With functions like a completely programmable electronic timer, the Nesco Gardenmaster FD-1040 will indeed allow you simply get pleasure from numerous kinds of dehydrated fresh fruits and veggies very quickly. Today when the majority of kitchen appliances commonly need about one or two days to dried out your product, this particular device can quickly dehydrate different kinds of products within just several hours. More important, it’s one of the exceptional gadgets that can easily be extended to up to TWENTY trays, letting you dehydrate immense amounts simultaneously.
Using this food dehydrator, customers will moreover have the ability to advantage from a Patented Converga-Flow heating system that will help prevent the flavours from mixing. As a result, you will have the capacity to dry various types of products simply at the same time, without danger of flavour mixing.
Our Choice: Excalibur 3926TB
The Excalibur 3926TB has been specially developed to satisfy the demands of sports people, craftspeople and large households. This particular appliance comes with a 26-hour timer that allows you to leave your place while the machine works. Otherwise, you may also turn it on in the evening just before you go to sleep and get up to a healthy morning meal of dehydrated vegetables and fruits.
Very simple to wash, the Excalibur additionally comes with flexible Polyscreen tray inserts created to preserve your foods from sticking. That additionally lightens the washing-up, a thing that occupied people are going to value. The horizontal air flow assures even distribution, that signifies that all your products will be dried simultaneously.