Having your own food dehydrator at home can be the key to opening up a world of delicious foods, like beef jerky, dried fruit, crispy veggies or even dried herbs. There are plenty of options on the market, though, and it’s tough to know which ones are worth the investment.
If you’re looking for the best food dehydrators on the market in 2021, this guide will show you the way.
What Is a Food Dehydrator?
A food dehydrator is a small countertop appliance that dries out foods slowly and safely by circulating air through the machine over a lengthy period. Dehydrators usually feature temperature selectors so you can get the perfect level of dehydration safely and effectively. Most foods should be dehydrated between 95 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Good Housekeeping
. However, you can check out their guide if you’re unsure what temperature to use for which foods.
Is a Dehydrator Worth the Investment?
Like any nonessential appliance, a dehydrator is only worth the investment if you’ll use it regularly enough to justify the cost (and the counter space).
Just like a toaster oven or an air fryer, some people swear by their dehydrators and use them all the time. But others eventually get rid of them to reclaim the counter space since they weren’t using the appliance enough.
However, one thing to consider about a dehydrator is that you can’t replicate the functionality with anything else in your kitchen. Convection ovens and quesadilla makers essentially make some tasks easier, but you can still do those tasks with your oven or range. Nothing else you already have can safely and effectively dehydrate food.
If you decide that a dehydrator is worth the investment, consider one of the options in this list.
Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator
Nesco is a top brand in food dehydrators, and its Gardenmaster
model sits atop several lists
as the best overall dehydrator for 2021. It works quietly, so you’ll hardly notice it’s running, and you can customize the temperature to get the results you want.
What’s great about the Gardenmaster is its modular design. It ships with four stackable circular trays for laying out your food. But you can buy more and stack as many as 30 trays at once — without sacrificing drying power or pressure.
Tribest Sedona Express Digital Dehydrator
If money is no object (and you have very detailed expectations of what a dehydrator ought to be), the high-end Tribest Sedona Express Digital Dehydrator
is an attractive choice. This large, square dehydrator offers temperature adjustability up to 167 degrees and uses only 467 watts to do it. In addition, the Tribest is a quiet dehydrator with a timer that goes as high as 120 hours.
This is a beautiful unit, with an interior light and a glass door so you can see your food’s progress throughout the dehydration cycle.
Tribest stands behind the quality as well with a 10-year warranty.
Nesco Professional 5-Tray Dehydrator
The Nesco Professional 600W
dehydrator is compact and efficient, with physical dial controls to dial in the perfect temperature. Like the larger Nesco Gardenmaster, this unit is expandable (but only up to 12 trays). It’s a smaller dehydrator that can more easily be stored in a cabinet or storage area.
This model doesn’t have a timer, so it’s up to you to calculate how long it needs to run — and to remember to turn it off. It’s a frustrating limitation, but one that makes sense for a budget/beginner pick.
If you need the absolute cheapest unit that won’t fall apart after three rounds, the humbly named Presto 06300
is worth a look. With a price under $50, you should temper your expectations.
Still, you get adjustable temperature up to 165 degrees, plus three trays with expandability up to eight. The lid is transparent, meaning you can keep an eye on the top layer without opening up the unit.
Protect Your Dehydrator with an Upsie Extended Warranty
Picking up a new dehydrator is an exciting step, but it can be a nerve-wracking one as well. Many people worry about setting it up incorrectly or breaking it right when they remove it from the box. In addition, food dehydrators often only come with short, 30-day limited warranties.
An extended small appliance warranty
from Upsie is the smart choice to set your mind at ease. Upsie offers two-year and three-year warranties that protect your small appliances from defects and part failures. In addition, Upsie’s warranties cost up to 70 percent less than competitors, ensuring you’re getting a premium warranty without the inflated price.
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