Beef jerky is very expensive, but the good news is, it’s something that you can prepare yourself. With a dehydrator, you can make the best jerky you have ever tasted. Food dehydrators can safely remove the moisture without stripping necessary nutrients from your food.
There are many dehydrators on the market, so it may get confusing which one to choose. If you’re looking to make jerky, it’s better to go for the best food dehydrator for jerky.
Best Food Dehydrator for Jerky
In this buying guide, we will compare the five best food dehydrators that you can use for jerky. They have the right power, have been made from the best material, and are a great size to ensure that you get value for your money.
This dehydrator has low energy consumption and is spacious at the same time. It comes with six trays and one drip tray to ensure that you have a big space for all your foods. As much as it dehydrates, it locks in the minerals and vitamins to give you all the nutrients.
The cooling system has 400W heating power with a rear dehydration fan system. It has a 360 degrees cycle heating so that there is both vertical and horizontal airflow circulation, which is very efficient and saves energy.
The dehydrator has an LED smart panel where you can adjust the drying timer in terms of hours and minutes. The thermostat is adjustable from between 30°C to 90° C.
The unit is made of stainless steel material with a glass window, which makes it very durable. The glass window is convenient for you to keep track of the drying materials.
It is easy to clean, and the racks and trays are dishwasher safe.
The company gives you full-time responsive customer care.
This is a big dehydrator with up to seven stainless steel trays. Dehydration is through a drying fan and airflow circulation to make sure that there is even drying, without you having to rotate the shelves.
The unit gives you the flexibility to adjust the temperature and timer and automatically turn off when it is done. The timer and temperature control are both digitals for convenience.
It is easy to clean and also dishwasher safe. It can also be just wiped clean with a wet cloth.
It has been made with BPA free food-grade material that is safe.
This is a dehydrator with ten stainless steel trays. It comes with a digital adjustable timer and temperature control. The thermostat and timer have an automatic shutoff when the timer is done. The rear mount fan ensures a high even heat distribution and smooth airflow circulation. You don't have to rotate the shelves for drying.
The unit has a glass window that is transparent to help you quickly monitor the drying process.
The dehydrator is easy to clean and dishwasher safe. It can also be wiped clean with a damp cloth.
It is safe and BPA free.
This is a sizable commercial dehydrator with ten trays and one drip tray to give you sufficient space for drying whatever you may have. Even though it dehydrates the food, it locks in all the minerals and vitamins to preserve all the nutrients in the food.
The cooling system uses 1000W heating power. It has a 7-inch horizontal airflow dehydration system installed on the rear of the system.
It has an LED smart panel so that you can adjust the temperature at different times.
The unit has a stainless-steel body and a glass window. The stainless-steel material is durable, and the transparent glass window will give you the convenience to track your food. The material is BPA free.
It is easy to clean. It comes with a recipe that helps you to explore 67 different ingredients.
This is a nine-tray dehydrator that you can use to preserve your food. It is equipped with a digital control that you can use to adjust your temperature settings from 95°F to 158°F, and a digital timer that can do up to 19.5 hours. It makes sure that you can get accurate temperatures and working time.
It has been designed innovatively to maximize the airflow with a power of 480W. It can ensure even drying without overheating or the need to turn the trays. It has a transparent door that gives you the option to monitor the progress of drying efficiently.
The trays are made of BPA free plastic material that is safe. It is both easy to use and clean.
When you purchase the unit, you get a 1-year warranty.
All of the above dehydrators are great picks that will give you value for your money. If you need one particular dehydrator, then this section is for you. We focus on the specifics to help make your decision easier. Here is a quick guide.
Dehydrator with the most significant capacity:
If you are looking for the largest possible dehydrator, we recommend the Commercial Stainless-Steel Food Dehydrator. It not only has a capacity of 10 trays, but it is the largest unit that we currently have found.
The dehydrator comes with a recipe:
If you are into recipes and are looking for a dehydrator that can come with one, then we recommend the Commercial Stainless-Steel Food Dehydrator, as it comes with an excellent set of recipes that you can try out with your new purchase.
The cheapest dehydrator:
If you are looking for the most affordable dehydrator, then we recommend the Food Dehydrator, Commercial Stainless-Steel Dehydrator, as it retails at only $115.98, which makes it the cheapest overall. However, it is essential to note that it is small in size, as it only has six trays. It also has a maximum power of 400W, which may not be the best for meat. That means that it will work out better for you if you mostly do vegetables and fruits.
If you need an affordable dehydrator that has high power at the same time, then we recommend the Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine-7 trays that retails at only $169.99.
Our overall recommendation:
All of these are excellent choices, but our overall best recommendation if you are mostly into fruits and vegetables is the Food Dehydrator, Commercial Stainless-Steel Dehydrator. If you are primarily into meat, we recommend the Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine-7 trays.
As much as we have already made it easy for you to choose the best unit for your needs, it is also good to know the factors to keep in mind when choosing a dehydrator. Some of the factors to consider include:
Heat distribution and airflow:
The kind of heat distribution and airflow a unit uses will determine how efficient it will be. That is why many modern dehydrators have a fan at the rear to ensure even heat distribution. If the fan or motor is not correctly placed, it will mean that you will have to turn the trays from time to time to ensure even drying of food. When you are buying a dehydrator, many manufacturers will talk about the heat distribution and airflow. Make sure that you do not miss out on that.
Ease of use:
When buying a kitchen appliance, one of the essential features is the convenience of using it. Some dehydrators are easier to use than others. Those that have an LED display are easier to operate than those without. When you buy a dehydrator, look for one that can ensure even heat distribution to save you the hustle of turning the trays after a certain period. It is also good to look for ease of cleaning. If it is dishwasher friendly, it will be better for you. Check for any convenient features as well, such as an auto-shutoff, a thermostat, and a timer. They will make your life much easier whenever you use the dehydrator.
Size and capacity:
Dehydrators come in different sizes to meet different needs. For example, most commercial dehydrators are big so that they can do a big batch at once. The right size will depend on your needs. If you have a large quantity of food to dry, it is obviously better to go for the large capacity types – but don’t buy more capacity than you’ll actually need.
Dehydrators come in different price tags, mainly depending on the features and size. The beauty of it is that there is something for everyone.
Dehydrators dry the food through a fan, which may make a unit noisy. Some models are louder than others. It is best to go for a unit that is as quiet as possible, especially if you are using it at home.
It is only through reviews that you will get to know the experiences other customers had with a certain dehydrator, and that can help you make the best choice. Be sure to look at reviews of your chosen product before you buy!
Jerky Dehydrator Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Dehydrate Meat for too Long?
Yes, you can dehydrate food like homemade jerky for too long depending on how you prefer your jerky. Your personal preferences will have a huge role to play in this department because some like their jerky nice and soft with a little bit of red in the center, while others prefer their jerky completely dry.
The longer you dehydrate meat, the dryer it can become. In completely dry form, jerky can become very hard, and brittle and can even crumble into a fine powder. Some people do prefer their jerky in this very dry powder form because it can often still be used in sauces or as a topping on certain foods. Completely dry jerky can also be rehydrated and the dryer the jerky is, the longer its shelf life becomes.
It is a good idea to dehydrate jerky completely if you want to store it for a long time. But if you are planning on consuming these foods in the near future, then it usually isn't necessary to go to such an extent.
Most people prefer their jerky dry but with a soft and moist center because these softer meat products are more flavor rich and are usually easier to chew and consume. It is also much quicker to produce soft jerky since the drying time is significantly reduced.
All in all, it is a good idea to first consider how you prefer your jerkey and then pay close attention to your dehydrated so you won't dehydrate meat products too much.
Do You Need Curing Salt for Jerky?
Yes, you do need curing salt for jerky. Curing salt or sodium nitrate is a product that combats certain types of bacteria that might thrive in jerky. Curing salt also acts as a dehydrator and can help preserve meat for longer.
It is however important not to use too much-curing salt on your food and to make sure that you are using pure salt. Consuming too much salt is unhealthy for your body and can cause illnesses.
Those who are extremely sensitive to salt or who do not like the taste of salty food can also use alternative methods to dry and preserve jerky without the use of salt.
Do I Need a Dehydrator to Make Jerky?
No, you don't specifically need a food dehydrated to make jerky but these devices are sure to ease and speed up the process of dehydrating meat products. People have been making jerky for thousands of years before electricity was invented. You can bet that there are plenty of different methods and techniques to dry out meat in just about any climate condition.
It is however a good idea to invest in a dehydrator because these devices offer you a hygienic, quick, easy, and efficient method for making jerky, as well as many other dried foods like fruit roll sheets, dried fruit, and others in the comfort of your home.
We hope that this guide helped you find the best food dehydrator for jerky so you can dry out as many meat products as you like or give all sorts of jerky recipes a try. And if you are looking for other quality kitchen gadgets like a durable toaster or a good blender then you should have a look at some of the other guides we have on Healthy Meals Hub.