Best Food Dehydrator Reviews 2017 – Buying Guide & Top Picks
Food dehydration is a method of preserving fresh food by way of extracting excess moisture from them. Examples of these fresh foods include fruits, vegetables, meat, and fruit juices, to mention but a few. Traditionally, the sun has been the primary tool that civilization after civilization has employed to dehydrate their foods. However, several electronics manufacturing companies have designed and created best food dehydrator that plays the same roles albeit in a convenient, cost effective, and compact package.
In the discussions that follow, the subject matter of ‘food dehydrators’ is going to be discussed in finer details by touching on the various pertinent topics. These include what they are, how they work, their benefits, and so on.
What Is A Food Dehydrator & How Does It Work?
Food dehydrators are special kinds of electronic appliances that are manufactured to carry out this purpose. They are powered by either solar, mains electricity, or batteries.
Food dehydrators comprise several compartments into which various kinds of fresh food may be placed or inserted. These compartments contain perforations that may easily transmit the flow of hot air through them. Some compartments have non-perforated base onto which fresh fruit juice may be poured.
They basically dry food by injecting a stream of warm to hot air. The electrical switch is pressed on. The fans begin to rotate and warm the surrounding air. The rotational force directs the flow of hot air evenly within the appliance’s interior. Ideally, the best temperature for dehydration should be around 130 degrees Fahrenheit/54 degrees Celsius. This gets rid of any inherent moisture to leave behind a solid dry matter.
This solid dry matter may last longer than the original fresh produce by reason of being resistant to bacterial activity and by extension, rotting. The entire length of time that a dehydrated food may last depends on the moisture content of the final slice. A slice that contains less than 20% moisture content may last up to weeks without refrigeration.
How To Choose Food Dehydrator
Below are some of the top factors to consider while on the lookout for a suitable food dehydrator:
1. Power Source
As has already been hinted out, these appliances derive their power from various sources such as solar power, mains electricity, and batteries. Each source of power has its own pros and cons. Solar power is suitable for use in a remote location. Battery power is mainly handy for small scale use. The mains electricity is by far the best source of power due to its reliability. It is, however, more expensive and may inflict unusual financial strain on the part of the users.
2. Food Dehydration Technology
These items get rid of excess moisture using two main types of technology. The stack able food dehydrator, as has been stated, has its heat source placed either at the top or bottom. It dissipates heat unevenly and is thus not so desirable. The box or shelf dehydrator, on the other hand, has its heat source fixed at the back. The heat dissipated is more uniform which leads to higher quality outcomes. For this reason, it is, by all means, the preferable kind.
They also come in various sizes and capacity. This influences to a greater extent the amount of food that may be handled at any given time. The preferred food dehydrator on the basis of this consideration ought to be one that may handle the exact quantity of food that may be needed. For whole families, a larger food dehydrator may be necessary and vice versa.
4. Intended Location of Use
Different users may intend to utilize these dehydrators in varied locations. Some may prefer to use them in remote locations; others may prefer using them indoors. This too should be factored into consideration as not all of such appliances may be utilized in whichever location. In general, solar and battery powered dehydrators ought to be settled on in case the appliance is to be utilized outdoors. Mains electricity should be preferred in case it is to be utilized indoors.
4. Other Considerations
- Financial Resource Endowment: These appliances come in various sizes, degrees of sophistication, capacity, and of course price. It is incumbent upon the respective buyer to ascertain his financial resource endowment before settling on an appropriate item.
- Control Features: Certain smart control features are by all means desirable. These include the thermostat, timer, and auto shut-off mechanism. The ideal dehydrator should possess them.
- Brand: It is no secret that some brands are more likely to manufacture high-quality dehydrators than others. As such, the precise brand ought to be factored into consideration. As of the year 2017, the following were the top brands: Nesco, Philips, LG, Gourmia, and BioChef. They may provide the much-needed starting point.
- Versatility: This entails answering the following pertinent question: “What other use(s) may this dehydrator be put apart from merely dehydrating food?” In order to derive as much value as possible from a dehydrator or any other kitchen appliance, it is imperative that it be capable of discharging several functions at a time.
- Motor Efficiency: The efficiency of the motor determines the efficacy with which the air may be circulated in the dehydrator as well as the level of noise that may be generated in the process. Generally speaking, the quieter the motor, the better the dehydrator. This is due to the fact that some installations or locations of use are very sensitive to noise.
- Material Construction: This simply refers to the kinds of materials that have been used to construct the dehydrator. Needless to say, certain materials are more suitable for withstanding the common elements of wear than others. These include high-density plastics and Aluminum. Dehydrators that are made of such materials ought to be given top most priority.
- Ease of Use: How easy or difficult may the dehydrator be used? Does one have to master certain technical jargon to fully comprehend it? Is some form of pre-assembly necessary before being utilized? The most suitable dehydrator should be very easy to use and require no pre-assembly prior to usage.
Best Food Dehydrator Reviews 2017
1.MAGIC MILL Pro Food Dehydrator
You the user will not be required to stay right next to the dehydrator throughout the entire duration of food dehydration. That’s because this dehydrator is equipped with several top notch features that are designed to minimize human intervention. These include the digital thermostat and the countdown timer. These two features let users select the desired temperature and set their desired dehydration time. For this reason, you will be freed from the effort and be granted the freedom to handle other tasks that equally matter.
Courtesy of this appliance, users like you gain the ability to handle all kinds of food items. These include but certainly not limited to herbs, fruit slices, Beef Jerky, and thick fruit juices to mention but a few. Moreover, it may be utilized by various kinds of persons. Examples of such persons include gardeners, sportsmen, fitness persons, whole families, restaurateurs, and indeed, more besides. This means added convenience and greater returns to investments.
Since no additives or preservatives are needed while utilizing this appliance, it follows that its use brings about healthy results. Moreover, the machine is also free of BPA (Bisphenol A). As such, the possibility of poisoning the food that is being prepared by it is almost nil. In case you care much about your personal health and safety, then this surely is yours for the taking.
By reason of being able to accommodate several accessories, the range of possible uses to which this appliance may be put is pretty broad. These accessories include adjustable drying racks, silicone oven mitts, several trays, and mesh sheets. This brings a lot several benefits. These include great convenience, low operational costs, and reduced time wastage. (You won’t have to switch to and from one device while carrying out any dehydration tasks).
2.Presto 06301 Dehydro Digital Electric Food Dehydrator
This machine is cheaper to acquire, operate, and maintain. For one, it costs generally less than similar appliances in the market. It is also faster and more effective than the commercial dehydrators. For this reason, it exerts reduced utility bills to the users. In case you do not have that much money, this is the appliance to settle on.
Ease of Monitoring
It does have a see-through cover on its top tray which lets you, the user, monitor the drying progress. This allows you to reconfigure the various parameters such a drying time and dehydration temperatures in case the need may so require. This also reduces the possibility that an undesired outcome may be achieved.
On the whole, this dehydrator has a very large capacity. This is also complemented by the fact that most of its interior components are adjustable or removable. It is thus quite suitable for use in whole families, restaurants, and large gatherings. This also reduces the wastage of time, energy, and effort.
Easy to Clean and Maintain
Most of its components are removable, dishwasher safe, non-stick, and dirt-resistant. The entire appliance absorbs less dirt from the foods being cooked. For this reason, the task of keeping this food dehydrator clean is therefore greatly simplified. This means that the prolonged usage of this appliance is less likely to inflict hygiene-related ailments e.g. cholera, typhoid, or dysentery.
The overall size of this dehydrator may be diminished to make it smaller. This is by reason of the ability of some of the parts and components to be folded. It, therefore, follows that the amount of storage space that may be needed to safeguard it when not in use also reduces appropriately.
3. NutriChef Food Dehydrator Machine
Stack Able Trays
The dehydrator comes along with five stack able trays. They are also removable and may hence be used to dry food outside the dehydrator. This bestows to the users like you the dual benefits of being able to dehydrate food and to dry them ordinarily. This also means that they are much easier to keep clean.
Excellent Heat Circulation
Its heat circulation mechanism is very efficient by virtue of being scientifically tested to increase shelf life. This heat is designed to travel throughout the interior compartment of the dehydrator evenly. It also makes it possible to extract up to 97% of the moisture while retaining the nutrients intact.
Easy Access and Operations
It is also built with an easy-to-use one operational button. This lets you choose to dehydrate foods with just a click. It has a temperature control system that may limit the temperature to a maximum of 180°F/82°C. What’s more? It comes pre-assembled and ready to use! This wastes no time at all!
Ability to Multitask
This dehydrator has the ability to multitask i.e. perform several chores at a time. Its multi-tier electric pro food dehydrator can preserve a wide variety of food without compromising the flavor or quality of the final outcome. Food wastage is kept to an absolute minimum owing to this trait.
Other than merely dehydrating food, this appliance is also capable of performing several other cooking related chores. It may make kale or potato chips, make organically healthy snacks, roast beef, and grill meat, among other chores. By acquiring this particular food dehydrator, you stand to accrue much more value than you actually pay.
4. Nesco FD-28JX Jerky Xpress Dehydrator Kit with Jerky Gun
Contrary to the case with other items under this review, this dehydrator is suited to carry out two purposes. These are the dehydration of food and the making of meat jerky. It does these, notwithstanding the fact that it costs almost the same amount, as the standard food dehydrator. You, the user stands to derive higher value than you invest.
Elegant Control Features
It is equipped with the 350-watt element, a fixed-temperature, a top-down, and a fan-driven power head. All these greatly expedite the process of engaging this appliance appropriately. They ensure the right parameters are supplied to the appliance to enable it to produce the right results at all times.
Its ability to accommodate and work with several attachments and accessories enables it to carry out several functions. For instance, it may accept around 3 attachments as well as spice/cure packets that may hold up to 4 pounds (1.8 kg) of ground meat. This means users like you stand to gain more from it.
Both the texture and the flavor of foods are not compromised at all during a dehydration exercise. Moreover, the appliance also allows a user to alter the flavor of certain foods if he wants to. For instance, the user may adjust the jerky flavors such as Hot and Spicy, Original, Teriyaki, and Pepperoni.
Rather than having to wait for days before accruing the benefits of dried meat, this dehydrator will deliver those results in a matter of hours. Its motors, fans, and heat circulation mechanisms are very effective in distributing the heat inside the dehydrator to deliver the desired results as fast as possible.
5. Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator
Hyperwave Fluctuation Technology
With this technology, the dehydrator is able to keep the temperatures low enough to enable the growth of enzymes yet high enough to drain excess moisture. This prevents the hardening of foods and also ensures that the various nutrients are retained. This contrasts sharply with the conventional dehydrators that supply heat at a constant temperature and thus achieve shoddy results.
Parallex Horizontal Airflow
It features a revolutionary patented Parallex Horizontal Airflow. This draws in cool air, heats it, and subsequently redistributes it evenly in the oven. This technology ensures that the final outcome is amazing, uniform in texture, and of very high quality.
Long Cooking Hours
This dehydrator is capable of preparing food for up to 26 hours at a time (without stopping). This means that it may handle very bulky, weighty, and large quantities of foods pretty conveniently. It also means that several recipes may be prepared one after another (uninterruptedly). This is the appliance to settle on in case you intend to dry foods for whole families.
It comes equipped with an adjustable thermostat that varies temperatures from 105◦F/40.6 degrees Celsius to 165◦F/73.9 degrees Celsius. This ensures that the food is properly prepared and that it is not overdone at all.
Minimal Food Handling
Since the manual rotation of the tray is not required at all while handling food, it follows that minimal handling is necessary. This brings a lot several benefits. For one, it prevents the possibility of sustaining burns or scalds. It also prevents the possibility of hygiene-related diseases from breaking out. This also frees you to enable you to pursue other equally important tasks simultaneously.
6. Aroma 6 Tray Food Dehydrator
Clean, Neat and Tidy
A range of features combines to enable this appliance to be kept clean at all times. These include the removable drip trays, non-stick surfaces, and the dirt-resistant surfaces. Moreover, several other components are dishwasher-friendly and are as such, simpler to keep clean. This appliance does not, therefore, absorb too much dirt and does not thus predispose its users to the risks of cholera and other hygiene diseases.
Large Cooking Capacity
This food dehydrator comprises 6 removable racks that have the ability to support up to 1 pound of food on each level. This totals a whopping 6 pounds (2.7 kg) at a time! This combined with the fact that the racks are removable mean that the cooking space may be adjusted to suit the unique space requirements. Those who intend to churn out large quantities of food have this appliance for their taking.
Suitable for Outdoor Usage
Its very portable nature, low power consumption, and general ease of use make it all the more suitable for use outdoors. This probably is its greatest selling point since all the other dehydrators under consideration may only be utilized indoors. If you are a camper, scout, picnic enthusiast, or an adventurer, you don’t have to forfeit your favorite dish. This is because this appliance allows you to leverage those benefits in remote locations.
The overall quality of the food s produced by this dehydrator is amazingly great. The foods are characterized by even/uniform textures, a high concentration of nutrients, longer life expectancy, and great color. This is due to the fact that the cooking temperature is highly regulated to prevent overheating.
Ease of Use
All the various functionalities and controls are regulated by the push of a button. There is also no need for assembly prior to use or the mastery of any technical skills. This brings along maximum expediency to the users.
7. Hamilton Beach 32100A Food Dehydrator
It carries out its tasks of preparing food with maximum efficiency indeed. This is brought about the twin features of the adjustable thermostat and the auto shut-off timer. The adjustable thermometer lets the user determine the preferred temperature for the dehydration of food. The auto shut-off timer, on the other hand, allows users to determine the maximum length in which they would wish their food to be prepared. It automatically switches the system at the expiration of the set time.
Its food preparation compartments are pretty large in size. Furthermore, the dehydrator is partitioned to accommodate various kinds of food items at a go. This enables the dehydration of several items at a time. This is an appliance to seriously contemplate in case there is the need to handle or process large quantities of foods.
Unlike most of the other food dehydrators under this review, this specific item features a continuous air flow. This means, that once switched off, the jet of hot air continuously flows into the system until the system is shut off. This continuous air flow ensures even drying and with it, excellent results in the end.
This appliance may be used to dry foods of various kinds such as vegetable, fruits, and herbs. It has two main compartments that are devoted to the same. A larger compartment that comprises five stack able drying trays, and a smaller one, that may be used for the drying of herbs. What’s more? It also allows its users to dehydrate several recipe and items at a go without necessarily compromising the flavor or the quality of the final outcome.
This food dehydrator is very affordable. It is hence within the easy reach of many would-be users. Moreover, its power consumption, and by extension, a number of utility bills its users may incur, is way too little. For these reasons, its acquisition and subsequent utilization are by all means bearable.
8. Excalibur 3948CDB 9 Tray Food Dehydrator
Large Drying Space
In total, the unit provides its users with a whopping 15 square feet of drying space! This is large enough to accommodate just about any other quantity of food. It is, therefore, suitable for use in restaurants, picnics, or for very large family units.
With this unit, you may feed into the system two temperature settings at a time. This is due to the existence of the 2-temperature setting feature. The unit responds to the first temperature setting after which it responds to the second temperature setting. This is unlike any other appliance under review at the moment. This also allows you, the user, to determine the texture and the color of the final outcome.
On the whole, the unit is faster than most of the ordinary food dehydrators. It takes comparatively shorter duration to prepare foods. This means that you the user will enjoy maximum convenience while utilizing it. It also means you won’t get bored while dehydrating food.
It does come equipped with a clear door that is made of the clear Poly carbonate material. This lets you the user see through it and in so doing monitor the progress of the food that is being dehydrated. You are thus able to respond appropriately to any errors, dangers, or unique circumstances that may arise during a dehydration exercise.
Most of its constituent parts and components are reusable. Moreover, they are also made of tough and durable materials that have the ability to withstand the common elements of the tear. You the user are therefore assured of deriving the associated benefits for longer.
10-year Manufacturers Limited Warranty
It is accompanied by a 10-year limited manufacturer warranty that safeguards its users from any dangers, losses, or damages, incurred within a decade after the date of its manufacture. This means that you the user are assured of the necessary peace of mind you need to fully leverage the benefits that it may have to offer.
9. STX INTERNATIONAL Dehydra STX-DEH-1200W-XLS Digital Food Dehydrator
The entire unit is very safe and secure. No component of it is Chrome-plated and as such, its use does not predispose you the user to the risks of Cancer. Moreover, it is also accredited by the Food and Drug Administration. This is a sign that it has met all the stringent health requirements and is thus capable of maintaining your health to optimal level at all times.
Most of its critical parts and components are made of stainless steel that is famed for being dirt resistant. Most of the other components especially those that come into direct contact with the food are in fact non-stick. These two traits ensure that the food that is being dried is not at all contaminated with the metal they come into contact with.
High Drying Power
It consumes 1,200 Watts of electrical power and generates 95 to 155 Degrees Celsius of horizontal air flow. This gives rise to a jet of very hot air that has the ability to instantly get rid of any inherent moisture. This feature also means that even the most cumbersome or high-density foods may be dried in the shortest duration possible.
The unit may be used for both domestic and industrial scale purposes. Its suitability for use in industrial scale stems from its high drying capacity of 16 square feet, high power consumption, and intelligent control features. By acquiring, you stand to derive plenty of convenience and savings.
Maximum Customer Satisfaction
All the previous clients have returned very positive verdicts and favorable reviews. As things stand, well over 30,000 units have already been sold. The prevailing customer approval rating stands at a whopping 99.8%. This means that you, the valued future client, also stands to enjoy similar, if not greater degree of satisfaction.
10. TSM Products Stainless Steel Food Dehydrator
Compact and Portable
The unit measures 18.75 inches long by 16.5 inches wide by 9 inches deep and weighs only 31.4 pounds (14.2kg). It is fairly portable and is as such easier to carry around as the need may dictate. Moreover, its compact size calls for fairly limited storage space. Any homeowner, including those who reside in tiny condominiums, will find it suitable for their possession.
Its 800-watt heating element and fan jointly create a horizontal air flow that maintains even dehydrating temperatures. Moreover, its adjustable thermostat operates within the temperature range of 90ºF/32 degrees Celsius to 165ºF/74 degrees Celsius. This also enables the unit to dry just about every other common kind of fresh produce with maximum efficiency.
Ease of Cleanliness and Maintenance
It contains a louvered door that maximizes the removal of moisture. It also comes equipped with an innovative rack design which allows for thorough cleaning of the interior compartments. The tasks of keeping this dehydrator clean are therefore greatly simplified. This brings along the accompanying benefits of warding off any disease outbreaks that are related to poor hygiene such as dysentery and cholera.
On the whole, this unit performs the tasks of dehydrating various fresh produce optimally. This stems from its horizontal air flow feature that maintains an even drying temperature. The end results are amazingly soft, brown, and even-textured foods. Other than that, its control features such as the timer and auto shut-off are fairly intelligent and won’t let you burn or over dry your foods.
High Cooking Capacity
It is fitted with five stainless steel shelves that have the ability to hold a combined total of 22 gallons of food at a time. The unit may, therefore, be utilized for the dehydration of large quantities of foods especially in restaurants or whole families. Its acquisition guarantees you of maximum returns on investments.
HOW TO USE A FOOD DEHYDRATOR
Food dehydrators come in varied shapes, functionalities, and degrees of sophistication. All these have a bearing on how they may be utilized. In general, the power source is the key determinant of how a food dehydrator may be used. They are discussed below:
Dehydrators that are powered by mains electricity are perhaps the easiest to utilize. They are simply plugged into a socket. The desired dehydration temperature is then fixed or set, after which the unit is switched on. After the set time has elapsed, the appliance automatically switches off.
In this case, the fresh foods to be dehydrated are placed in special containers and the exposed to the sun. The solar panels that enclose the container absorb heat energy from the sun and transmit the same into the darkened interiors. This way, any available moisture is ‘sucked up’ to leave a dry solid matter.
This is an improvised or homemade food dehydrator. It contains all the key features of a standard dehydrator such as perforated compartments. It is also solar powered. To dehydrate any fresh produce, the item is placed into the container and exposed to the sun for some time.
TYPES OF FOOD DEHYDRATOR
Food dehydrators may be classified by two main parameters. These are the power source and the manner in which the food is dehydrated.
1. On the basis of the Power Source
There are two different kinds of food dehydrators under this consideration. These are:
Mains Electricity Powered
These derive their power exclusively from the mains electricity. They are easier to use, are faster, more convenient, and deliver very amazing results indeed.
This kind of dehydrator is powered by solar energy. It is fitted with a solar panel that converts solar energy to heat. This heat is subsequently circulated into the interior and in so doing, eliminates excess moisture content.
2. According to the Manner in which Food is dehydrated
There are also two main kinds of food dehydrators under this consideration. They are discussed here below:
Stack able Food Dehydrators
It is also known as vertical flow food dehydrator. In this case, the heat source is placed either at the top or at the bottom of the container. It also comprises racks and trays that accommodate the foods. It is the most commonly available kind of dehydrator.
Box or Shelf Food Dehydrator
This is also referred to as the horizontal flow food dehydrator. In this kind of appliance, the source of heat is located right at the back of the unit, much like a conventional oven. Unlike its stack able counterpart, it dries food more uniformly.
BENEFITS OF USING FOOD DEHYDRATOR
Listed and explained below are some of the main benefits of using food dehydrators:
It generally takes less time to dehydrate food using this appliance as compared to the traditional means and ways of doing so. The use of such an appliance frees up users and enables them to focus on other chores that equally matter.
Compared to the traditional means of food dehydration, this kind of appliance is very clean and hygienic. Its use does not in any way predispose the users to hygiene-related ailments such as cholera, typhoid, and dysentery.
Generally speaking, the quality of the final outcome is very desirable. This stems from the fact that they distribute heat uniformly and also allows users to set their preferred heating temperatures.
Owing to their compact sizes, they may fit into just about every other available space. Their ease of use is also a plus. Both confer maximum convenience to the users.
POPULAR DEHYDRATED FOODS: WHAT YOU CAN MAKE WITH FOOD DEHYDRATOR
Below are some of the main categories of foods that may be dehydrated:
These include such foods as apples, pineapples, guavas, papaya, mangoes, and indeed, more besides.
Animal proteins are simply meat products that are derived from cattle, goats, and pigs, e.t.c. They include beef, mutton, venison, chicken, and turkey.
Thick natural juices that are extracted from fruits may also be dehydrated. These include mango juice, avocado juice, and pawpaw juice. Dilute natural juices like passion juice and orange juice may unfortunately not be dehydrated.
Certain vegetables may also be dehydrated to lengthen their life expectancy and to allow them to be used in remote locations. These include kales, spinach, and carrots.
FREQUENTly Asked Questions
What does the term temperature range refer to in the food dehydrators?
- It is the maximum and the minimum temperatures which that appliance may use to dehydrate foods. It is gauged in degrees Celsius or degrees Fahrenheit.
What role does a timer play in food dehydration?
- It allows users to determine the duration of time in which they may want their food dehydration exercise to last.
What does an auto shut-off feature do in food dehydration?
- As soon as the total amount of time for which the food was to be dehydrated has lapsed, this feature automatically switches off the appliance.
Can a food dehydrator be used for baking?
- Of course yes. This stems from its utilization of dry heat to rid foods of excess moisture. It functions more or less like a standard oven.
Apart from grilling and baking, what other roles may food dehydrators play?
- They may also be used for grilling, frying, and barbecuing food owing to their ability to rid substances of moisture.
What are trays used for in the food dehydrators?
- For accommodating liquid or semi-solid fluids such as fruit juices.
What about the sheets, what are their uses or purposes?
- They are placed onto the trays to prevent the fluids that have been poured from sticking and hence render them impossible or difficult to get rid of.
What is the role of a thermostat in a food dehydrator?
- To regulate the temperature at which food is dehydrated
Whether you are a restaurateur, a private homeowner, a picnic enthusiast, or just a lover of food, you will find a food dehydrator a very worthy possession. That’s because the roles and the contributions they play in enhancing the enjoyment of food can neither be gainsaid nor fully appreciated.
Since the prices and the availability of the aforementioned products do change unexpectedly, it is of utmost importance that any decision regarding their acquisition is made promptly. Moreover, the long-term integrity of the list above may not be assured. These being the case, you are advised to try out any of the products above soonest possible.