Best Dehydrator for Beef Jerky

Beef Jerky is a tasty treat that can get pricey.

Making on your own beef jerky, DIY-style, allows for saving money, knowing exactly what you are eating (ingredients), and having some fun along the way. Here is the review of the best dehydrators for beef jerky for 2020. 

This list will focus on the dehydrators that work the best for beef jerky, but you may find that your dehydrator can do a lot more.

Once you choose the perfect dehydrator, you can be on your way to making beef jerky with no additives. When you dehydrate your food, it maintains it’s natural vitamins and minerals.

1. Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator

If you are looking to start dehydrating your food, one of the primary reasons is to save money. This dehydrator is an ideal choice for people on a budget but is also a great option for those who are unfamiliar with dehydrating. 

The Dehydro dehydrator has four expandable trays with four drying racks included. If you feel like that’s not enough, this dehydrator is expandable for up to eight trays. Aside from being a solid choice for beef jerky, you can also dehydrate fruits and vegetables.

It works by creating consistent airflow from the fan mounted on the bottom. You won’t need to rotate the trays or set the temperature. Plug this dehydrator in, and it sets itself to 165 degrees and begins. You can watch it work through the see-through cover. Note that it does make some noise while it’s working, so you may want to use it away from your gathering.

When you are done, it’s easy to clean because you can dunk every element into some dishwater or keep it simple and place them in the dishwasher.

Pros

  • It has four trays
  • See-through cover
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Inexpensive
  • Expandable

Cons

  • Does not have an on/off switch
  • Only operates at 165 degrees
  • Doesn’t work for herbs
  • Noisy

2. Cosori Premium Food Dehydrator Machine

The Cosori Premium Food Dehydrator is one of the more expensive dehydrators on the list, but with everything it can do, you’re likely to find that it’s a worthy investment. If you plan on making beef jerky on a regular basis, the Cosori dehydrator will easily pay for itself. While it’s a premium dehydrator for beef jerky, it’s perfect if you decide to expand on the foods you want to dehydrate.

The Cosori dehydrator comes with five stainless steel drying trays, one mesh screen, and one fruit roll sheet. It even has recipes, so you can get started right away with new things to try. The control panel makes setting the timer easy. It gives you a bit more control than other dehydrators when it comes to temperature.

When you are setting the time, you will have to set it in 30-minute increments, and it goes up to 48 hours. Once the timer is done, you don’t have to worry because it has an automatic shutoff. If, for any reason, the dehydrator overheats, it will turn off automatically as well.

This premium dehydrator is also one of the quietest ones on the market. The fan is specialized with an internal rear-mounted system. It won’t roast your food as it dries it out; giving you the perfect snack every time.

Pros

  •  Food-grade stainless steel
  • Temperature control between 95-165
  • Quiet
  • BPA-free trays
  • Dishwasher Safe
  • Auto Shutoff

Cons

  • Set timer in 30-minute increments
  •  Six trays are small
  • Mesh and fruit tray won’t work well for drying herbs
  • No options to expand or buy more accessories

3. Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator

The Nesco Snackmaster Pro is a powerful dehydrator. With a 600 watt powerhead, you can dehydrate foods quickly and safely. This is the only dehydrator on the list that doesn’t come with a see-through lid or door. This dehydrator is ideal for users who want to make large quantities of beef jerky due to it’s fast dehydration time.

It is also the only dehydrator that comes with a top-loaded fan. The heating system is a good one for even heat distribution. You won’t have to rotate the trays. Please don’t set it and forget it, though there are no automatic timers on this model.

You will need to have a good idea of what you need to set your thermostat to and how long you will need to cook it. The thermostat is an adjustable dial that can be set at various temperatures between 95 and 160 degrees. You won’t be completely lost if you aren’t an expert because it does have temperature settings suggestions written right on the lid.

It tells you what temperature you should use for fruits, nuts, and herbs. If you are only looking to make beef jerky that’s okay too. This dehydrator comes with a recipe booklet and beef jerky seasonings.

It has everything you need to get started right away. If you decide later that five trays aren’t enough, you can always add more because it’s expandable.

Pros

  • Temperature control between 95-160
  • Five trays
  • Expandable
  • Comes with a recipe book

Cons

  • Can’t see food while it is dehydrating
  • BPA free trays
  • No timers

Overall Recommendation

Each of these dehydrators on this list has been quite different. Each fan is in a different place and has various dehydrating benefits. One thing that is for sure is that using a dehydrator to lock in nutrients and dry your food is a great idea.

While we love all of the dehydrators on our list for various reasons, our top choice is the Cosori Premium Dehydrator. The food grade stainless steel trays are durable and easy to clean and the whisper-quiet operation is a nice change from noisier dehydrators. Overall, its performance and ability to dehydrate beef jerky is what has us sold.

When choosing a dehydrator, ask yourself what’s most important. Consider the price, accessories, capacity, airflow, noise, and how easy the dehydrator is to use. No matter what you choose, you’ve already won by choosing to make your own nutritious additive-free jerky.

5 Best Food Dehydrators for Jerky: Complete Buying Guide

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.

1. Food Dehydrator, Commercial Stainless-Steel Dehydrator

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. 

Product information

  • Package Dimensions: 13.8 x 13.8 x 9.8 inches

  • Product weight: 11.43 pounds

Pros
  • It has low energy consumption and high efficiency

  • It is spacious with six trays and one drip tray

  • It locks in all minerals and vitamins in the food

  • It has an LED smart panel

  • It has an adjustable thermostat

  • It is easy to clean

Cons 
  • A user complained that it did not work

  • A user complained that it is smaller than anticipated

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.

Product Specification

  • Product dimensions: 19 x 15 x 13.5 inches

  • Product weight: 15.42 pounds

Pros
  • It is spacious, as it has seven trays

  • It has an automatic shut off when the time is up

  • It has been made such that it ensures even airflow, so you don’t have to rotate the shelves

  • The glass door helps you view the progress of dehydration

  • It is easy to clean and also dishwasher safe

  • It is BPA free

Cons 
  • Some users complained that the front cover did not last long

  • Some users complained that the fan did not work correctly

  • Some users complained that it used a high amount of electricity

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.

Product Specifications

  • Product dimensions: 18 x 17 x 14 inches

  • Product weight: 19.09 pounds

Pros
  • It is spacious with ten trays

  • It has a rear fan for proper airflow and even dehydration

  • It has a digital timer and control

  • It has an auto-shutoff feature

  • It has a transparent window for easy monitoring

  • It is easy to wash and dishwasher safe

  • It is safe and BPA free

Cons 
  • Some users complained that the motor stopped working after a short time

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.

Product Specification

  • Package Dimensions: 20.7 x 20.4 x 19.1 inches

  • Product weight: 27.6 pounds

Pros
  • It is energy efficient, saving you on energy costs

  • It preserves the nutrients in the food

  • It is made of durable and BPA free material

  • It is spacious

  • It has an LED smart panel

  • It is easy to clean

Cons 
  • Some users complained that the fan did not work well

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.

Product specifications

  • Product dimensions: 17.8 x 14 x 16.5 inches

  • Product weight: 18.41 pounds

Pros
  • It is spacious with nine trays

  • It has a digital timer that you can accurately set the temperature and time

  • It has an innovative design for maximum airflow

  • It has a clear door for easy monitoring of the progress

  • It is BPA free material

  • It comes with a 1-year warranty

Cons 
  • The trays are not dishwasher safe

  • Some users complained that the maximum temperature is still too low for meat

Buyer’s Guide

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.

Price: Dehydrators come in different price tags, mainly depending on the features and size. The beauty of it is that there is something for everyone.

Noise: 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.

Reviews: 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!

Best Food Dehydrator Reviews

When you choose to purchase a dehydrator, you are committing to eating healthy as it doesn’t work on fattening foods like cheeseburgers. It reinforces healthy food choices. You will be able to dehydrate bananas, peaches, cherries, kale, apples, pineapples, mangos, tomatoes, peppers, kale and so much more.

A dehydrator will also allow you to go on the raw diet if you want. The raw food will be a lot easier for you to digest and will make dieting a lot easier. You will also be able to dry your own herbs and save money. It’s also a fun activity for you and your children to do together. You can rest assured that you won’t be wasting food, because you can dry them and keep them for later.

Best Food Dehydrator Reviews

There are various dehydrators on the market that you can choose from, and often it can be quite overwhelming to find the right product for you. Most people do not know where to start when it comes to buying the best dehydrator, and that is why we have compiled the top six dehydrators on the market. We have collected all the important information you’ll need to know before buying a dehydrator and put it in this article. This way, you won’t have to overwhelm yourself. By the end of the article, you will be able to make a well-informed decision. 

1. BioChef Arizona Sol Food Dehydrator 

This one is an updated model that boasts of a digital display as well as non-stick sheets that can prove very handy when removing food. It is a very compact dehydrator and thus, it is perfect for small spaces and small batches of food. It provides great value for your money, and it has many features that might make it the right choice for you.

It has a digital timer and an adjustable thermostat, and the trays can be removed so that it can be cleaned easily. The parts are made from non-stick materials such as six stainless steel trays, and inner and outer casing. You can rest assured that these casings will prove to be of no harm as all materials are BPA free. The drying system is horizontal, very easy to use and it results in consistent drying every time. The door is also transparent so that you can easily see the progress inside the dehydrator. 

Specification

  • Weight – 11.46 pounds
  • Manufacturer – Vitality 4 Life
  • Includes – 1 non-stick sheet, 1 fine mesh sheet, and 1 drip tray
  • Digital display – 19.5-hour timer
  • Adjustable thermostat – 35 to 70 degrees Celsius
Pros
  • Horizontal airflow is more effective for even heat distribution.
  • Compact and yet good for medium or small batches of food.
  • Transparent door ideal to monitor the progress of the process.
  • Non-stick sheets for a hassle-free process.
  • Removable trays for easy cleaning.
  • You can choose from black and white, depending on the decor of the rest of your kitchen.
  • All materials are BPA free.
  • It is not too pricey and can adhere to many budgets.
  • It is very well built.
Cons 
  • The display is not as big as other models.
  • Not ideal for very large batches or commercial use. 

2. Food Dehydrator, 10 Layers Commercial Stainless Steel Fruit Dehydrator

This food dehydrator boasts of ten layers which you can use for quite a large batch, ensuring that you do not waste time and money on power. It provides an efficient hot airflow circulation by using a horizontal and vertical flow at 360 degrees cycle heating. The fan is very powerful, ideal for overall dehydration. Due to its high efficiency, it is also energy saving. For your peace of mind, the light inside the machine is explosion-proof. 

You can dehydrate meat, vegetables, tea, fruit, and more. It is all made of stainless steel and is ideal if being used for commercial use.

Specifications

  • Weight – 10 Kg / 22.05 pounds.
  • LED intelligent operation panel
  • Voltage – 120V, 50/60Hz
  • Power – 1000W
  • Noise – 35 – 50db
  • Dimensions – 465 x 400 x 430 mm
  • Adjustable Thermostat – 30 – 90 degrees Celsius
  • 10 layers
  • Digital timer – 0-24 hours
Pros
  • Low consumption and energy saving.
  • Ideal for commercial use.
  • 360 degrees cycle heating.
  • Very high quality build.
  • Bigger unit and yet very lightweight and easy to move around.
  • Large glass in front, so that you are able to see what is happening without having to open the dehydrator.
  • Explosion-proof light.
  • Easy to clean.
Cons 
  • It is a bigger model so it is not ideal for small families.
  • The degrees are only shown in degrees so if you prefer Fahrenheit you would need to convert it. 

3. COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine

This one is yet another dehydrator model that is ideal for families. It consists of six stackable trays that are food-grade stainless steel. The touch-control is very intuitive, which makes things a lot easier. It works by effectively circulating hot air which removes the moisture in the food, leaving you with dried food that you can keep stored and eat later. 

The bacteria and fungi in food is removed, which in turn results in no spoiled food and less of a  health risk. This piece of machinery is made from stainless steel and is professionally built. It also consists of a transparent door from which you can look through to monitor the progress. 

Specifications

  • Dishwasher safe
  • Timer – 30 minutes – 48 hours
  • Adjustable temperature – 95 – 165 degrees
  • Automatic shutoff
  • Memory function
  • Included – mesh screen and fruit roll sheet as well as a free recipe book with 50 original recipes
  • 6 stackable trays
  • Weight – 23.4 pounds
  • Manufacturer- Consori
Pros
  • The item is well built.
  • Ideal for families.
  • Long timer hours.
  • A recipe book included.
  • It is very easy to use.
  • Made of stainless steel and even though very well built it is still lightweight and easy to move around.
Cons 
  • When it comes to cleaning it is not so easy as compared to the other models in the market.
  • This dehydrator is not cost efficient 

4. Hamilton Beach 32100A Digital Food Dehydrator, 5 Tray, Gray

This type of dehydrator is very compact due to the fact that it is more rounded than other models, it can stay in a corner of the kitchen with a bit more ease. It consists of five stackable drying trays and 500 watts of power. The continuous flow of air and heat will ensure overall drying on all the food inside the machine.

The Hamilton Beach 32100A comes with an adjustable thermometer that ensures better performance, as well as a timer with an automatic shutoff. It also comes with mesh sheets in order for you to dry garden herbs or puree fruit. Place it on the solid sheet to make homemade fruit roll-ups.

Specifications

  • 48-hour time with automatic shutoff
  • Clear lid
  • Adjustable digital thermostat – 100 – 160 degrees Celsius
  • Power – 500 watts
  • Includes – one fine-mesh sheet and one solid sheet
  • Weight – 8 pounds
  • Manufacturer – Hamilton Beach
Pros
  • Very lightweight, compact, and easy to move around.
  • Still able to dehydrate a good batch of food.
  • Adjustable thermostat.
  • Low cost while still providing the same service.
  • Clear lid, so you can see the food underneath.
  • It includes a fine-mesh sheet and a solid sheet.
Cons 
  • Small, so not ideal for commercial use or larger batches of food.
  • Although the lid is clear you cannot see all the food stacked.
  • Most of it is made of plastic, so it might not be as heavy-duty as other models.

5. COSORI Food Dehydrator Machine for Beef Jerky

This dehydrator is a rounder version which makes it compact for a kitchen corner or the inside of a cupboard. It will not take up too much space, and due to the fact that it is also lightweight, you will be able to move it around without too much hassle. 

This is the ideal model for beginners new to drying food. It is very quiet and safe to use, as it is 100% BPA free and FDA compliant. It is also very easy to clean and saves you time. It does not cost as much as other models, proving to be a great value for your money. The Cosori circulates hot air effectively for overall drying, giving food an extended shelf-life. The timer has an automatic shutoff and the dehydrator boasts a memory function, touch control as well as 48-hour dry time. 

Specifications

  • Dishwasher safe
  • Touch-control LED display
  • Temperature – 95 -165 F
  • Automatic shutoff
  • Includes – mesh screen and fruit roll sheet and recipe book
  • 5 trays
  • Voltage – AC 120V 60Hz
  • Power – 450W
  • Weight – 9.25 pounds
  • Manufacturer – Cosori
Pros
  • Very lightweight and compact.
  • Automatic shutoff.
  • Very quiet as to not disrupt the home.
  • Very easy to clean and store away.
  • Very cost-efficient.
  • Ideal for medium and small families.
  • Ideal for beginners.
Cons 
  • Not ideal for bigger batches of food.
  • You cannot see the food under the first layer.
  • Not as much power as others.

6. Excalibur 3926TB 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator

This is a larger model when it comes to food dehydrators and in fact, it is the most costly of them all. It is made of high-quality material and consists of nine trays for larger batches of food. Although it is not as compact as other models, it is not too heavy at 22 pounds. Therefore, it is still easy to move around wherever you need it. 

This model is ideal for larger families and individuals who have more space and need this piece of machinery. It includes poly screen tray inserts that prevent food from sticking to it, which makes the whole process hassle-free. It has a 7” inch fan and a built-in on and off switch, as well as a 26-hour timer and an adjustable thermostat for easier and more customized use. 

Specifications

  • Weight – 22 pounds
  • Manufacturer – Excalibur
  • 10-year limited coverage
  • Nine-tray, 15 square food capacity
  • 26-hour timer
  • 7-inch fan
  • Power – 11- volts, 600 Watts
Pros
  • Ideal for bigger batches of food.
  • The fan is highly capable for even drying.
  • Ideal for more professional users.
  • Well built.
  • Very easy to use and to clean.
Cons 

Buyer’s Guide

Professional

If you are looking for a professional grade dehydrator, you should go with the BioChef Arizona, the 10 layer food dehydrator, the Cosori, or the Excalibur. They all have more layers and you can do more batches of food at a time.

Beginner – More Compact

If you are looking for something more compact, cost-efficient, and ideal for small families or beginners, then you should go for the Hamilton Beach or the smaller Cosori model. These models are rounder and easier to move around and store. Although they do not have as many trays as the bigger models, they can still provide a beginner or a small family with enough space for food.

Final Words

We hope that this review was informative enough and that you are now ready to make your purchase. You know exactly which dehydrator is the ideal one for you. It is very important to read the best food dehydrator reviews online before you make any decisions regarding buying, so you always get the best one for you.

The Ultimate Guide on Food Dehydrators in 2020

Preserving the quality of your food is a great way to live a healthy lifestyle. And with food dehydrators, you'll have the tools needed to remove the moisture from your food. With this guide, we'll show you the ins and outs of food dehydrators so you can utilize them and make tasty food in the process. 

What Exactly Are Food Dehydrators?

Food dehydrators are devices that remove the moisture from food for better food preservation. The food dehydrator uses air and heat flow to take out the water content in your foods. The water content is high, usually up to 80%-90% to some fruits for meats, its around 50-75%. 

Removing the moisture from your food restrains bacteria from spoiling and growing in on your food. Also, removing the moisture reduces the weight of your food. Thus, using food dehydrators can help extend the shelf life of certain foods. By removing the moisture, the food becomes more concentrated. There are a lot of culinary techniques that include using food dehydrators. 

Usually, most food is dehydrated at 54 °C or 130 °F although protein meats such as jerky can be dehydrated at 68°C or 155°F. At these temperature levels, the dehydrators remove the pathogens that are on the meat. 

To properly dehydrate your food, you have to provide a consistent air flow and constant temperature. Too much of a high temperature will harden the food, which leads to food with moist on the inside and dry and hard on the outside, causing it to spoil on the interior. 

Science behind dehydrating

The key to providing a proper food dehydration process is to moisture the temperature quickly, so it doesn't negatively affect the flavor, color, or texture of your food. If the cooking temperature is too low, then the bacteria will survive and grow on your food before it dries. 

However, if it's cooked at a high temperature with low humidity, then the food will become hardened on the surface. This makes it hard for the food to dry correctly or lose moisture. Using a trial and error approach is the best way to to find out what dehydration techniques are needed based on the model of your machine. 

Food dehydration can take a significant impact on the weight. Here is the average weight reduction of certain fruits using food dehydrators:

  • Carrots - 0.8 kilograms (1.75 kilograms)

  • Peaches - 1.5-2.5 lbs (0.7 - 1.1 kilograms)

  • Plums - 2.25 pounds (1 kilogram)

  • Tomatoes - 0.75 lbs (0.3 kilograms)

Benefits of food dehydrating

Because of its various health benefits, it’s a no brainer why food dehydrators are so popular. Here are some reasons why you should start using food dehydration as a way to process your food. 

Great Taste

Food dehydrator removes moisture from your food such as meats, vegetables, fruits, and creates naturally rich, concentrated, and delicious food. But when you're making food on your own, you'll know the freshness and quality of the food you're using - unlike dehydrated foods that are bought from the grocery. 

Extend Shelf Life & Reduce Food Waste

You never have to waste food with using a food dehydrator. Using your vegetables and fruit will extend the shelf life by up to 2 years. Below are some ways to help you reduce waste by keeping your pantry stocked while saving you some money in the process.

  • Save some foods that would spoil otherwise.

  • You can buy in bulk food that will save your family money. For instance, mangoes that are bought in the middle of summer, and have mango smoothies during the winter.

  • You can make a bigger herb garden without worrying about your food going to waste. Simply use your dehydrator to make veggie chips or dry out your herbs. Vegetables that work include beetroot, carrots, turnips, green beats, and even sweet potatoes.

You can "re-hydrate" you dehydrated food by using water or adding it to soups, straws, pasta, sauces, or casseroles. 

Precision Drying

If you've tried dehydrating food on the oven, then you'll know the difficulty it causes. This is not only due to the higher electricity costs, but most ovens won't start up their temperature gauges under 90 degrees Celsius. 

When using food dehydrators, you can have control over drying food in low temperatures. Besides being cooked at low temperatures, food dehydrators can be "raw food." Having a raw food diet provides a lot of benefits, and can preserve the life of the vegetables and fruits instead of the heating process, which is known to eliminate the nutrients over time. 

If you are planning to eat more raw foods, a dehydrator is a great option for preparing food under 46 Celsius. This is the threshold temperature where the nutrients or enzymes are maintained - more than other kitchen appliances found in the market. 

Create 100% Natural and Healthy Foods

Dehydrated foods require one ingredient, since the food is drying, you benefit from the fiber and materials of the fruit, unlike steaming and cooking. So you don't lose the conditional value of the food you're dehydrating. 

Dehydration is a way to change the appearance of your food. Simple vegetables and fruits can be transferred to treats and healthy snacks. There are an endless amount of possibilities of how much healthy foods you can make with a dehydrator. You'll be surprised at the amount of dehydrated food you can make - dried herbs, dates, sultanas, etc. 

Sulfur Dioxide is added to food in supermarkets and stores to stop discoloration. It can cause stomach pains, skin rashes, and asthma. You can find sulfur dioxide in dried apricots, which is why it has an orange color.

By making dried fruits, there are no preservatives or additives; you have full control over your food. If you're wondering for a simple way to give your family snacks, food dehydrators is your answer. 

Saves Money

Buying processed snacks can be organic, and expensive foods are very overpriced. You can save a lot of money by harvesting produce, and buying fresh food in bulk once its in season. So utilize the deals from your local farmer's market or local grocery store so you can dehydrate them and use them in the future. 

Easy to Use

Food dehydrators are foolproof. With its set and forget system, you can prepare your food by cutting into pieces, placing it in trays, setting up a timer, and waiting until it finished the dehydration process. 

And you'll like that the temperatures are low, so its difficult to overdry the foods. In the event that you do overdry your food, you can rehydrate it by adding water or adding them to your soups, pasta sauces, or casseroles. 

Bacteria Prevention

Unlike other preservation methods (and because food dehydrators van remove the moisture of food), the risk of bacteria spoiling your food is very low. In fact, food dehydration methods can are used by hikers, astronauts, and campers because of their safe preservation methods. 

Create Your Own Food Leather

With food dehydrators, you can make your own snacks and fruit leather. We suggest that you use a nonstick sheet to help with removing it easier. 

Make Yogurt

While you could purchase a yogurt maker, it's only going to take up space and be used for one task. With food dehydrators, you can create multiple yogurt jars. Although the temperatures might vary due to the culture, having the temperature at  110°F will make the yogurt properly. 

Tip: You can make individual servings of yogurt by placing them in half-pint canning jars. You can use dehydrator trays to make the most yogurt in a cycle. 

Sourdough

Did you know that you can make your own sour dough with food dehydrators? Generally keeping it at a 75-80°F setting works the best. If the thermometer doesn't have this low-temperature setting, then you can remove the dehydrator door. 

Make sure to check the temperature setting of your sourdough via a handheld thermometer, to prevent your sourdough starter from overheating. 

Jerky

Making jerky is easy when using a food dehydrator. To make jerky, using strips of tofu, sliced meat, or kombucha scobys. The metal and plastic trays are sufficient and can handle the food that's being processed.

If you’re using ground meats, then you should use unbleached parchment paper or non-stick sheets.

Dehydrating Seeds and Crispy Nuts

Dehydrating nuts can reduce enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid that prevent nutrient absorption. Nuts can be soaked in salt water and should heat up at 150°F for up to 24 hours. 

Bonus: Dried and soaked seeds and nuts tend to taste better.  

Versatile and Flexible

Whenever you want to make veggie chips, food dehydrators give you the flexibility to do so. And you’ll have the option to use it for a period of hours, or multiple days. Here are some things you can make with a food dehydrator:

  • Healthy animals and pets can eat treats without preservatives.

  • Vegetable chips - You can create chips out of carrot, sweet potato, beetroot, without oil

  • Dried fruit like strawberries, blueberries, bananas, mangoes, kiwi, and pineapple fruit.

  • Bread alternatives such as crackers, flax seed bread, and pizza bases.

  • Jerky - You can experiment with multiple varieties such as fish, beef, lamb, poultry, with fresh free spices and marinades.

Types of food dehydrators

Vertical Food Dehydrators

The most common food dehydrators are vertical, or stackable food dehydrators. They have a heat source that's placed on the top of the food processor or on the base. 

Vertical food dehydrators are the most affordable options, but this is because their heat doesn't spread uniformly. Some vertical flow models have a fan to help with heat distribution. They work best on fruits and vegetables, but it will be difficult to heat up meat like jerky unless you're willing to change trays during the dehydration process manually.

Advantages

  • Small and compact. They can be stored easily, and they don't take up too much counter space.

  • Expandable. Most dehydrator shelves come with more shelves you can add over time.

  • Affordable

Disadvantages 
  • Uneven heat unlike horizontal models.

  • Expandable. Most dehydrator shelves come with more shelves you can add over time.

  • Suitable for fruits and vegetables, but not meats.

Horizontal Food Dehydrator

Shelf tray dehydrators or horizontal food dehydrators, work more like conventional ovens. It has a heating source located on the back, making it easier to dehydrate evenly. 

This is a more expensive model than the vertical dehydrators, but they have a better heating quality than vertical devices as well. If you’re trying to cook meat, then you should get this device. This makes it easier to use because you can let the foot sit in the heater without having to do any manual work until the food is properly dehydrated. 

Advantages

  • Efficient and clear drying throughout the food.

  • Can be used on tougher vegetables and meats.

  • Simple to use. Once it’s on, there’s no manual work that’s required.

  • Use more ambitious recipes

Disadvantages 
  • They are more expensive 

  • Large size. They need more counter space than vertical food dehydrator.

Manual Food Dehydrator

Air drying is an option that most DIY users prefer. There are a lot of online resources available that can help you get started with making your own dehydrator. This is the most economical option, as it allows users to control the heating and movement along with the elements. 

Advantages

  • Manual heating control

  • Most economical option

Disadvantages 
  • Hard for beginners

  • Difficult heating

Depending on your cooking needs (snack creation, dehydrating meats, etc.), you'll find a dehydrator that works for you. If you are looking for a simple, go for a stackable dehydrator. But if you're accustomed to a dried food diet, then horizontal food dehydrator is a great option.

What kind of food should you dehydrate?

Fruits

You can make a fruit puree and fruit leather user food dehydrators. Place it inside a ⅛ inch thick parchment or in a lined tray sheet. Dehydrate the fruit at 140 degrees Fahrenheit for over 6 hours. You can use syrup or honey to sweeten it, and you can test the fruit for tackiness as you go. 

What fruits?

Before you start with dehydrating fruits, let's start with the basics. Mangos, sliced apples, apricots are all good fruits if you're dehydrating food for the first time. Make sure the fruit pieces are sliced ¼ or ⅛ inches thick. 

Vegetables

The dehydration process with vegetables is similar to drying fruit. The drying tends to concentrate on the natural sweetness on vegetables and with a bit of seasoning and salt if they are chips. 

Try peppers and tomatoes to have a chewier snack as well. Depending on the food’s moisture content, this will take around 6-12 hours. 

What vegetables?

With vegetables, it's best that you either steam or blanch them at first. You can dehydrate vegetables such as onions, mushrooms, and others without having to pre-cook it. Like fruits, you need to slice the vegetables in ¼ or ⅛ inch thick pieces. 

Once the vegetables are dried, you can store your food in containers, vacuum seal bags, or jars. After the vegetables are exposed to the air, the food can be enjoyed within two weeks. Your shelf's stability depends on the moisture that's left in the food. If you do notice any signs of molding, don't hesitate to discard the vegetables. 

Meat

When it comes to dehydrating meat, you aren’t limited to just jerky. You can try using pre-sliced turkey, beef, ham. Also, you can use dry fish, like salmon. 

How to dehydrate meat?

Meats and jerky need a high heating temperature for proper dehydration. Meat can be cooked at a 160 degrees Fahrenheit, so you should preheat the dehydrator for at least 30 minutes, before starting. 

The temperature of the meat needs to stay at 160 so it can dehydrate properly. You can do this by drying it for 4-6 hours inside the dehydrator. After that, cook it for at least 10 minutes. Or keep it at a 160 degrees before you start dehydrating it for about 4-6 hours. 

How to store dehydrated food?

When you are storing dehydrated food, there are some important procedures you must follow. Gain personal satisfaction by handling and storing dehydrated food well. Here are some good tips to help you manage food that’s been dried or dehydrated. 

Store Only Small Amounts

This is because if the containers are fully opened, then it will be exposed to the air. As a result, the food quality will worsen, and it will become filled with moisture. You need to check the food once you've stored it after all. 

Store it In a Dark, Cool Area

High temperatures equals lower storage time. Keep in mind that dried fruits can last for 6 months when stored at 80 degrees, and a year when stored at 60 degrees.Whether its venison, jerky, or beef, make sure that you store it in a fridge or a freezer to get the best results. 

Handle the Food for Storage

Storing your food is just as important as dehydrating it. Don't leave the food in room temperatures for more than a few hours. Check the cleanliness of the refrigerator and the food container before dehydrating another batch of food. 

Food should not go under 40 degrees when its placed in the refrigerator. Check your food storage usually, and then use a “first in, first out” process when storing your dried food items.  

Label Food

Make sure that your dehydrated food is labeled correctly. You need to include the date, botanical name, and other information needed to organize the food in your fridge. This is important if you've placed your food inside of an opaque jar. 

Get Your Food in the Highest Quality

Dehydrated food will stay stable depending on the quality you've bought it from. Select clean and ripe products with no sign of insect damage or spillage. Check the products found in local stores to ensure that there's no tampering and notice the dryness factor of your foods. The cans need to be intact as well. 

Get a Moisture Free Place

Moisture is a big threat to the quality of your food. So once your food has been dried, place them inside dry containers. Get a tight fitting lid for the container, so that no moisture enters the food or air that can reduce the quality. 

Food dehydrators maintenance tips

Keeping your food dehydrator clean will increase the chances of it performing correctly and lasting longer. If you start neglecting your machine, how do you expect your food dehydrator to work when you need it to?

Honestly, it’s easy to keep your food dehydrator clean. Like most dehydrators, they are safe to be placed in the dishwasher. Once you’re done making a batching of your favorite food, you can take off the parts and place them inside a dishwasher. 

One problem is that food can get stuck on the trays and placing them inside the dishwasher might not be enough to remove the dried food contents remaining. 

When you are dehydrating food, you are taking away the moisture, and the natural sugars are condensed and more sticky. Remember, that food item can stick on your dehydrator, so take the time to rinse it off before placing it in the dishwasher. 

Dehydrator trays tend to be fragile, so you can’t use harsh solutions to clean it. First, you’ll want to let the trays stay soaked in hot water. This will rehydrate the food and dissolve sugars, which breaks the bond it has with the tray. 

After the trays have been soaked for a few hours, some gentle scrubbing is needed to get the particles off. Then you can place it in a dishwasher and wash the dehydrators by hand. 

Conclusion

To conclude, food dehydrators are a great addition to your kitchen as they allow you to make snacks, preserve food, and increase the lifespan of your fruits and vegetables. However, you might need to find the dehydrators based on your budgets. 

We invite you to look at our buying guide. Here, we’ll review the top food dehydrators in the market that would be a great addition to your household. So if you’re ready to get the best food dehydrators in 2019, we suggest you give it a look. 

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