Food dehydrators are a great addition to any household, turning fruits, vegetables, and meats into concentrated tasty snacks!
Dehydrating food at home guarantees the quality of the finished produce as you choose the quality of ingredients used. Opposed to store bought products where you only see the end result.
Dehydrating food is also a great way to significantly reduce the level of waste produced every year. The shelf life of food can be increased up to 2 years through dehydration (Source).
If you have some extra fruit, meat, or vegetables approaching their expiry dates just quickly run them through the dehydrator. Then you’ve got yourself some tasty treats that can be stored away.
There’s a wide selection of food dehydrators. These range from greater shelf space to reduced drying times. Choosing the right food dehydrator for you doesn’t have to be hard work.
Best Food Dehydrators 2018
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Food Dehydrators 2018
- 2 1. Ivation 600W Pro – Best For Functionality
- 3 2. Excalibur 3900B – Best For Drying Space
- 4 3. Aroma Pro 915B – Best For Large Produce
- 5 4. Ocoo Mini OCD-500B – Best For Portability
- 6 5. Excelvan 240W – Best For Visibility
- 7 6. Nutrichef Pro PKFD52 – Best For Power
- 8 7. Magic Mill – Best For Added Extras
- 9 8. Jaketen 250W – Best For Ease Of Use
- 10 9. Nesco FD-75PR – Best For Beginners
- 11 10. Vonshef – Best for Price
- 12 Things To Consider When Buying A Food Dehydrator
- 13 Our Final Thoughts
|Ivation 600W Pro|
|Aroma Pro 915B|
|Ocoo Mini OCD-500B|
|Nutrichef Pro PKFD52|
1. Ivation 600W Pro – Best For FunctionalityThe Ivation Pro is a 600 Wattage unit offers not only power but also a high level of drying space. It has nine 12″ x 13″ removable trays, totalling almost 10 square feet. With a digital adjustable thermostat, users are able to dry varying types of produce as they can select a temperature anywhere between 95F and 158F.
This unit is also great for users who regularly dry out produce. With a digital timer and automatic shutoff system it can be left to its own devices or even run overnight. After this is lets you know when your goods are ready. The Ivation also comes with overheating safety protection letting you sleep easy.
Like most tray style dehydrators, the Ivation Pro utilises a rear mounted fan and heating unit producing even drying across the entire tray. So now there’s no need to rotate the trays during the dehydration process. Due to the style of this unit, it is slightly larger than others. It is however, made of a durable plastic so it remains relatively lightweight.
2. Excalibur 3900B – Best For Drying SpaceThe Excalibur 3900B offers an incredible 15 square feet of drying space across its 9 trays. This allows for large quantities of produce to be dried at once. To ensure even drying throughout the entire unit, the Excalibur uses patented Hyperwave fluctuation technology providing a safer faster drying process. This is then combined with their patented parallax horizontal airflow system. These help your produce retain more nutrients than other dehydrators.
The Excaliburs power comes with a 600W 7″ fan. This is mounted to the rear of the unit for increased efficiency during the drying process. The adjustable thermostat also allows users to dry a range of fruit. This is between 105F and a scorching 165F.
The high capacity of this unit does lead to an increased size and heavier weight. It has dimensions of 12.5″ x 17″ x 19″ and weighs 22lbs.
Excalibur is a well-established and renowned brand. Operating in the food dehydration industry since 1973. So users can rest assured when buying from Excalibur.
3. Aroma Pro 915B – Best For Large ProduceThe Aroma Pro 915B offers a digital thermostat with temperatures ranging from 95F up to 155F. This is accompanied with almost 10 square feet of available drying space, spread across 9 trays.
Using a narrower but taller design, the Aroma Pro is great when you need to dry out larger items. Each of the trays is able to support up to 1 lb of produce. Letting you dry out a substantial batch each use.
This unit is great for all hobbyists and health-conscious users. Designed for handling a wide variety of items such as trail mix, fruit slices, jerky, even your own potpourri. Coming with both 9 solid and 9 mesh trays you’re ready to get drying straight away.
4. Ocoo Mini OCD-500B – Best For PortabilityThe Ocoo Mini is one of the most portable and lightweight dehydrators on the market. However, this does cost available drying space, with under 5 square feet of drying space across 5 levels. This unit best suits a user who won’t be constantly dehydrating products. These users can then easily store it away after use.
Despite the Ocoo Mini having a relatively small initial drying space, it is a stackable unit. This allows for expansion, at an additional cost. More drying trays can be purchased and placed above the heating element.
Due to its size, it does have less power running at 230W. This means the dehydration process will take a little longer. This hasn’t affected its ability to produce an impressive temperature range of 95F – 158F.
5. Excelvan 240W – Best For VisibilityWith its completely clear stacking shelves and lid, it couldn’t get any easier to keep an eye on your produce as it dries out. The Excelvan uses a flow-drying system to extract moisture and preserve food. It does this with a lower level of heat than other dehydrators. The trays for this unit have also been designed with a central hole. This lets users observe the innermost produce on lower shelves.
Using a deepened 3.5cm drying tray the Excelvan can handle thicker cut foods without a problem. All the trays are completely removable and 100% transparent with a mesh styled bottom.
With a simple thermostat attach users can easily select their desired temperature. This will fall between 95F – 158F. Then simply flick the switch and in a few short hours you’ll have nutrient-packed treats.
6. Nutrichef Pro PKFD52 – Best For PowerThe Nutrichef Pro offers top-end functionality at affordable pricing. This unit offers a great temperature range from as low as 85F up to 158F. Also providing an Auto shutoff timer so you can dehydrate overnight on when running errands. All this with 800 Watts of power. This extra power helps with the drying power of your dehydrator.
Being a tray style dehydrator, the Nutrichef offers great air circulation and even drying amongst its 6 trays. It’s low profile design also means it can be stored in the most convenient locations whether this is under existing kitchen cupboards or in the pantry. The design also makes it one of the lighter tray style units, weighing in at only 14.64 lbs.
7. Magic Mill – Best For Added ExtrasThe Magic Mill is a 9-tiered dehydrator letting users dry out a greater variety of produce at once. Its digital thermostat and timer make it easy to select drying times, letting you know when the batch finishes.
Thanks to it’s taller than average design, users can remove a number of shelves. This helps to accommodate items that may need more space in the unit. The total tray space available totals to almost 10 square feet. This allows for larger batch quantities than competitors.
The Magic Mill manages all of this working with a 600W rear mounted heating element and fan. But because of its design, it is relatively heavy weighing around 20 lbs.
This unit also comes with 2 fruit leather trays, 1 fine mesh net, and 1 jerky hanging rack included. Users can get started on all their dehydration need straight from the box.
8. Jaketen 250W – Best For Ease Of UseInitially starting with 5 drying trays, the Jaketen 205W is great for users who aren’t sure what size dehydrator they may need as its stackable design allows for more trays to be added at a later date.
Coming with a clear digital display this unit is incredibly easy to use. Users can set a drying temperature that can range anywhere from 95F – 158F.
Also thanks to its stackable design, the Jaketen couldn’t be easier to clean. Excess moisture is caught in a drip tray and all components, excluding the base, can be washed in a machine or by hand.
9. Nesco FD-75PR – Best For BeginnersThe Nesco uses a stackable design. This allows for more tiers to be added by the user if they need that little extra space.
The best Nesco feature, it includes a variety of spice and curing packets as well as fruit roll sheets. This gives beginner dehydrators the chance to experiment with dehydrating and flavouring different food types at no extra cost.
It’s also one of the more affordable options. Buyers don’t have to break the bank to get some tasty dehydrated treats. The money saved from this unit with reduced waste from expiring fruit and vegetables alone makes it worth it.
This unit is also incredibly lightweight. It can be easily stored away when not in use. Despite the size, it even packs a 700W heating element and fan.
10. Vonshef – Best for PriceThe Vonshef offers an incredibly visible stacking dehydration system. This lets users clearly see the progress of their produce as it slowly turns into dehydrated treats.
Coming with 6 shelves to start, this unit is easily expanded through simply adding another tier onto the heating element base. The Vonshef uses a bottom-mounted heater and fan. With heat rising, the fan helps to assist in the airflow circulation to reduce uneven drying.
It also comes with adjustable tray heights as the mesh elements can be removed for extra room.
Things To Consider When Buying A Food Dehydrator
When the time comes to purchase your dehydrator there are some key features that you should focus on. Listed below are some of these features with a little guidance attached to each one.
Air Flow And Heat Distribution
Possibly the most important feature to consider when buying a food dehydrator is how the heat is distributed. Uneven heating will cause some of your items to dry out significantly more than others if left unattended.
To prevent this you would have to continuously rotate the trays to assure evenly dried produce. The food closest to the heater and fan will dry out first so rotate these to the back end first.
For those looking for a food dehydrator that can be left to its own devices are better served by shelf tray dehydrators. These units work similarly to a conventional oven. The fan and heating element mounted to the rear projecting the warm air more evenly across the trays.
Stackable dehydrators are more likely to suffer from uneven drying. This is due to the heat source typically being located at the bottom of the unit. This means the heater has to penetrate multiple layers of produce. These factors will significantly hinder air circulation and even drying.
With the variety of food dehydrators available, many offer extra functionality to stand out from the competition. A lot of these can be extremely helpful whereas others are aimed at a specific customer base, so make sure you only look for functions that apply to your needs. Below are some examples of extra features offered;
Thermostats are crucial for users dehydrating more than one type of food as they dry out at different temperatures. Some of the more high-end models offer a range of temperatures typically around 95F – 160F.
Timers are a great extra feature as food dehydration can take hours and is therefore easily forgotten. Having a built-in timer will let you know when your produce is ready.
Auto Shut-Off is great for anyone looking to leave the house and dehydrate food overnight. Simply put your products into the dehydrator, set the timer, and go about the rest of your business. You can leave knowing your produce will be perfectly dried out when you get back to it.
The Size And Capacity
Food dehydrators come in a manner of sizes, in terms of physical size and available tray space. It’s important to consider how often you will want to dehydrate items and what size these items may be.
Stackable units offer the chance to expand as you can add more trays to suit your needs. However, the tray height is limited so you won’t be able to dry out larger items.
Tray units are typically larger and have a higher initial capacity. However, they can’t expand or shrink to meet your needs. With tray units you can simply remove trays to fit in larger items that wouldn’t otherwise fit in the dehydrator.
Ease Of Use And Accessibility
It’s important to get a dehydrator that’s simple and easy to use. Most dehydrators offer few input controls for users, as you’ll only need to adjust timers and heat levels. There are units available that simply have a start button with the temperature set at 1 specific level. However, this will limit the type of produce you can dry out.
You’ll also want to consider where in your home the food dehydrator will be located. This will most likely influence the type of unit you choose.
Tray dehydrators only need the front and partially the top accessible so you can use the controls and remove the contents. This makes them great for tighter spaces such as under shelving or cupboards.
Stackable units will need space directly above them so that trays can be added or removed with ease. These types of dehydrator will need to be placed in open areas such as counters or tables.
For those looking to use their dehydrators on a regular basis, its weight and portability are most likely less of a concern as it’ll become more of a permanent feature in your home. Those not looking to use their dehydrators regularly may want the option of storing it away in a cupboard. This is when weight becomes an issue.
Tray units can be quite cumbersome and difficult to move around easily as it’s a single piece machine. Stackable units, however, may prove to be beneficial. Users will only need to move the base unit along with however many trays you may need for that batch.
The materials that the dehydrators are made of will also play a part in this. For example, metal units will way significantly more than those made of plastic as well as the size of the unit itself. Hence why it’s important to not buy a unit larger than you need.
Being able to clean your unit with ease is always a huge plus point! Tray units, being similar to a conventional oven can easily have the trays removed. This feature allows for easy access to the insides of the unit. Stackable units still may have the advantage as all of the tiers (excluding the base/heating unit) can be washed in the sink delivering a quick and easy cleaning process.
The most common problem to occur with food dehydrators will be malfunctions with the fan or heating element. Coincidentally, these are the most expensive parts of the unit. Most manufacturers do offer a 1-year warranty as standard but it’s worth searching around as you can kind brands offering separate warranties for individual parts of the unit too.
One of the more prominent defining factors when purchasing your food dehydrator will be the price. To get the best quality unit for you, don’t pay for extra features that you won’t use and make sure you get the right size of dehydrator.
Unless you’re exactly sure of what you’re after in a dehydrator then you’ll most likely have to make compromises on some aspects. For example, if you’re unsure of what size you need then a stackable unit offers you the chance to expand if you need more room, however, stackable units typically offer uneven drying meaning you’ll need to rotate trays on a regular basis.
Our Final Thoughts
When buying a food dehydrator there are many factors to take into consideration such as whether you’re looking for a unit with greater versatility, faster drying, or increased drying space.
The real focus is on finding the dehydrator that best fits your requirements, it may not hit all of them so there will be a need for compromise but we’re certain you can find the one that gets the job done!
These dehydrators combine functionality, efficiency, and shelf life enhancing features to provide some of the best nutrient rich, dehydrated goods in your own home.
Regular dehydration users will most likely fair better with a tray style dehydrator for a typically greater capacity and more even drying platform. The better quality units will also offer auto shutoff features and timers so you can work your way through batches efficiently and even overnight.
We hope our reviews and buying guide have offered an insight into food dehydrators and what to look for when purchasing your own.
Also, we’d love to hear from you in our comments section below!