- 1. Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine
- 2. Ivation 6 Tray Countertop Digital Food Dehydrator
- 3. COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine
- 4. Cuisinart DHR-20 Food Dehydrator
- 5. Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator
- 6. Excalibur 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator with Adjustable Thermostat
- 7. NutriChef Multi-Tier Food Dehydrator Machine
- 8. NESCO Compact Food and Jerky Dehydrator
- 9. NESCO Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator
- 10. NutriChef Electric Countertop Food Dehydrator Machine
- 11. Flexzion 5 Layer Food Dehydrator
- 12. Hamilton Beach 5 Tray Digital Food Dehydrator
- 13. NutriChef Professional Multi-Tier Fruit, Veg and Meat Dehydrator
- 14. MVPower 5 Level Food Dehydrator
- 15. COSORI Food Dehydrator Machine
- 16. Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 Cooker
Brand:Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 Cooker
The Best Food Dehydrator
Food dehydrators are very popular in some circles and this electrical machine has one common feature to an air fryer in that both devices use heated or hot air. Instead of using hot air to 'fry' food though, a dehydrator works by circulating air at a very low temperature, no more than 140 degrees Fahrenheit. By reading through our review list and tips, you may already know that food dehydrators remove moisture from the food layered in the machine (a single layer is a must for it to work at its optimum level for even drying). They are more effective at removing said moisture than a typical oven and free up your oven so you can multitask and use it for cooking other foods.
If you want to remove water from fruits, veggies, and meats, frequently make beef jerky, fruit leather, yogurt or want to turn your hand at making your own sprouted flour or Natto, then a dehydrator can be hugely useful. The Unclutterer team looked at 16 of the best food dehydrators we considered worth reviewing and you'll find some handy tips and advice on what to look out for too.
Size 13″ x 18″ x 14″
Food capacity 7lbs
Temp. range 95°F to 165°F
7 stainless steel trays
The Unclutterer’s best choice is the Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine which has good temperature control and horizontal heat (back to front) for even drying. The seven trays make it easy to set food in single layers and the timer is easily set. It has an auto-off setting for when time is up but you can set it to warm following dehydration and it can maintain heat at 95°F for another 24 hours, or until you manually switch the machine off. Weighing just over 19lbs with a wipe-clean aluminum housing, it feels nice and light but is sturdy looking – and will sit nicely on any kitchen work surface. A great choice for preserving food.
BPA free trays
Dishwasher safe trays & sheets
Easy auto-off timer
Manual is lacking in instruction
The racks/trays in the Ivation 6 Tray Countertop Digital Food Dehydrator are height adjustable and can easily be removed for cleaning. The rear-mounted fan dries foods evenly so you can preserve fruit, nuts, meats, vegetables, and lots of other things. The drying space is around average size for a home dehydrator and it’s great for making jerky, fruit roll, potato sticks, and chips and lots of other nutritional low-calorie stuff. Great price and easy to use, lightweight at just under 14lbs.
Overheating safety protection
BPA free materials
Easy to clean
6 removable trays
Can only set temperature in increments e.g. 95, 104, 113
Size 13.4″ x 17.8″ x 12.4″
Food capacity 6lbs
Temp. range 95°F to 165°F
6 stainless steel trays
The COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine is certainly not the cheapest dehydrator by far but it comes with six trays, a fruit roll sheet, and recipes to watch online. It has a stainless steel and glass door, and quiet operation. The timer itself can be set in 30-minute increments for as long as 48 hours although you will need to refer to recipes and recommendations on timing and temperature control depending on food types and/or recipes.
BPA free tray liners
Trays dishwasher safe
Looks great quality
Liners best washed by hand
Size 13.4″ x 15.6″ x 12″
Food capacity 552 square inches
Temperature settings 4
5 stacking trays (max. 9)
The first dehydrator on our list with a top-mounted fan, the Cuisinart DHR-20 Food Dehydrator looks slightly different to the others so far. It has adjustable temperature settings for low, high, and medium – simply use the knob to the front of the machine – and is ideal for preserving foods, herbs, and flowers. Additional trays can be purchased so, with the five supplied, you can stack up to a maximum of nine for greater drying capacity. You may like that it’s see-through so you can monitor the drying progress when in operation.
Interlocking & stacking trays
Fruit roll sheets included: 1
Easy to store
May prefer a more permanent option
Size 14.5″ x 15″ x 6.3″
Temperature preset at 165°
4 stacking trays (max. 8)
The Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator is the Unclutterer budget pick. We think this would make a good gift or if you are buying one for the first time. The only thing is that you don’t control it, this dehydrator switches on when it is plugged in and with a preset temperature you won’t get to learn the more involved settings that come with other models. That said, it’s easy to use and store with stackable trays if you don’t have so much space in your kitchen for a more permanent option.
Good first-time option
Dishwasher safe trays
No on/off switch
Only center core is BPA free
Size 19″ x 17″ x 12.5″
Food capacity 15 square feet
Temperature 105° to 165°
For its price, the Excalibur 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator with Adjustable Thermostat looks good but is perhaps more cumbersome than most. It has a good capacity for drying foods in bulk, quickly, and although it’s housing is plastic it looks sturdier than many dehydrators on our review list. With adjustable temperature control and you can view the time it has been drying, it’s easy to follow recipes when you have greater control over drying certain foods. The airflow is even and well maintained during operation and you might like that the trays are removable for other things like proving dough. This dehydrator is our premium pick.
Good for families/bulk drying
Heavy at 22lbs
No timer setting
Size 11” x 11” x 10.2″
Food capacity minimal
Temperature maximum 180°
5 stackable trays
Despite its size and low price, the NutriChef Multi-Tier Food Dehydrator Machine is hugely lightweight and portable so great for storing and traveling with. It has five trays which should be hand-washed after each use but this is easily done as the plastic used is non-stick so it’s easy to remove food from. It is worth noting that if you want to use fruit leather sheets with this machine you will need to order them separately.
Portable & lightweight
BPA free trays
Simple to use
Not dishwasher recommended
Not temperature adjustable
Can be slow
Size 15.3″ x 10.3″ x 15.6″
Food capacity 5.6 square feet
Temperature 95° to 160°
8 tray capacity (max.)
This is the first of two NESCO dehydrators on our review list. The NESCO Compact Food and Jerky Dehydrator is a squarely shaped dehydrator and food can easily be dried. The drying space has a top-mounted fan with a horizontal airflow that dries food evenly, and moisture drips that are generated during operation are collected in a drip tray. It is supplied with four trays but you could add mesh trays or smaller trays to it, however, it is expandable to eight trays giving you around 8lbs of dried food at its optimum capacity.
Easy to use
Simple temperature adjustment
No on-off switch
Can’t see to monitor food
No timer control
Difficult to clean
The second NESCO on our review list, the NESCO Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator is of great quality design. It comes with five stacking racks although this is expandable to twelve if purchased separately. It has vertical airflow to reach food evenly although as with the FD-80A it has no power switch or timer control. It will look right placed as a permanent fixture on the kitchen counter, although if you have space it could easily be stored if you don’t intend to use it frequently. It is worth remembering that the more trays that you add, the more power needed so the slower the drying process.
Dishwasher friendly trays
No on/off switch
The NutriChef Electric Countertop Food Dehydrator Machine is a one-button operated dehydrator with a preset temperature. It is supplied with five trays although you can remove those you don’t want to use if you want to use fewer, they’re easily cleaned too. It’s truly lightweight at just under 7lbs so it’s easy to travel with if you so wish. This would make a good gift or starter model although some people may prefer to be able to adjust the temperature or the timer. Its simple operation makes it easy to use for beginners or those who just want to leave the dehydrator to do its job! We like the black color it’s currently available in.
Easy to use
Easy to clean
Can’t control temperature
The Flexzion 5 Layer Food Dehydrator comes at an affordable price and has a bottom-mounted fan for even, vertical airflow. It’s round in shape and the temperature is controlled by turning the knob at the front of the dehydrator. It is quite an adaptable machine, being easy to clean the trays after use and stack up to five of them at once for convenient drying. This is the best value choice from the Unclutterer team, it’s simple to use and easy to store.
Temperature is adjustable
Trays dishwasher proof
Trays difficult to replace
Can’t expand for further trays/capacity
For its size and price, this isn’t the most powerful dehydrator but it’s perfect for those with small kitchens, or if you want to travel with it. The Hamilton Beach 5 Tray Digital Food Dehydrator is one of our favorite rectangular stackable dehydrators that comes with the five trays, a fine mesh sheet for herbs, and smaller food drying, and if you need fruit roll sheets the one provided will get you started. It offers good quality design and a good size food capacity for even and consistent drying. The only thing is that it does dry more slowly than some so if you intend on dehydrating food regularly this may not be the model for you.
Nice, small, square design
Easy & simple controls
Easy to clean
Inconsistent temperature on low
Occasional use recommended
The lack of temperature control and a timer may put some off buying the NutriChef Professional Multi-Tier Fruit, Veg and Meat Dehydrator but it is what it is – it’s easy to use, it dehydrates food, and it has a minimalistic design. It’s controlled with a simple power switch but worth bearing in mind that without a timer you will need to monitor the drying progress yourself, so anyone using this will need to know what their food should look like when it’s dry and ready to remove. Extra trays will fit in with the five that are supplied but bearing in mind that drying will take longer. The motor is the least powerful of any of the others on our review list.
Easy to use
Produces quality dried food
Doesn’t require effort
Can’t control temperature
Might prefer different design
With the MVPower 5 Level Food Dehydrator you get a rectangular-shaped and stackable dehydrator that has been designed well and looks modern enough to leave on the kitchen counter instead of storing away after each use. The timer can be used for up to 72 hours using one-hour increments and the temperature range starts at 95F and can be then programmed per 9F (95, 104, 113…). The drying process operates from the bottom of the machine so that it gets to each tray and dries evenly. Ideal if you are making fruit roll, making jerky, drying fruit, or even dog treats! A great little food dehydrator that is practical and easy to clean and store.
BPA free trays
Dishwasher safe parts
Wipe clean housing
Easy to use LED panel
Not so powerful
9F temperature increments
The less expensive of the two COSORI dehydrators on our review list, the COSORI Food Dehydrator Machine is a round shape and quite a good looking design. As with the first COSORI it comes with one mesh sheet (for herbs and smaller foods like seeds) and one fruit roll sheet which collects the drips that are generated from the moisture removed. You can set the timer for up to 48 hours and the temperature is easily adjusted. This make of dehydrator comes with 50 recipes, great if you need some ideas or don’t quite know where to start playing with this new toy!
Trays seem fragile
The Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 Cooker promises to serve as a multi-purpose kitchen tool. Use it as an air fryer, slow cooker, pressure cooker – in fact, it’s multi-functions make it ideal to have if you like to cook but don’t have space for a number of appliances. The only let down with this is, of course, you can only use it to do one thing at a time so you will need separate appliances if you do different types of cooking at the same time. The drying space allows up to 6.5 quarts roasting around 5lbs of chicken, or to dehydrate about 3lbs of fries or jerky – but there is a larger version at 8 quarts available. The Unclutterer reviewers loved this for durability, looks, and ways to replace other kitchen appliances for just one.
High quality design
Fantastic for kitchen counter
Aims to replace multiple appliances
Easy to set
Takes lots of learning to use
Lots of pieces to clean
Recipe times need to be adjusted
Features To Consider With Food Dehydrators
Even the best food dehydrator might come with some features you never knew were important, and some might surprise you. Here are some particular features to look out for whether this is your first dehydrator or you are looking to upgrade your current one.
- Stacking trays - they can offer a more space-saving genius compared to some that don't stack. A good dehydrator will dry food evenly so you shouldn't need to rotate or change the level of the shelves during the drying process.
- Fruit leather sheet - makes it a bit easier to produce your own fruit leathers, a bit like a fruit version of jerky. Perfect for preserving excess fruits for storing over the season.
- Fine mesh sheets - perfect if you are drying out smaller foods like herbs, seeds, and flowers.
- Drying sheet - a non-stick drying sheet can collect the drips from moisture extracted from food. If you want to have an easy-clean machine then these are a must. You can try baking parchment that can simply be thrown away after use.
You May Also Like: Mortars And Pestles
Most round-shaped dehydrators have trays with a hole in the middle, reducing capacity by up to 20%. This is just how they are built to work and circulate air evenly. Large capacity dehydrators for food can offer anything up to 15 square feet of space - because shelves are stacked closely together and food needs to be placed in single layers, even a machine that looks as small as a microwave can offer plenty of drying space. Some will have stackable shelves, removable shelves in most cases, and some dehydrators have the capacity to add more shelves than are initially supplied with your machine (separate purchase).
Bear in mind, when you add more shelves (if the machine allows) it will either need a little more power or longer drying time.
Horizontal & Vertical Airflow
A dehydrator that operates with vertical airflow will typically be more affordable than one with horizontal airflow. The horizontal fan is situated at the back of the machine and is designed to distribute air evenly over each shelf. Vertical airflow will come from the bottom or the top of the machine which is fine, but you will need to remember to rotate the shelving during the drying process.
Dehydrator food offers a multitude of health benefits and being able to dry out a number of different foods means that you can even choose a raw diet. Some choose dehydrators to simply preserve foods whilst maintaining their nutritional benefits.
In our review list, above, we featured a dehydrator that offers alternative ways to cook too. That was a model by Ninja who introduced the Foodi 9-in-1 Cooker giving you 9 ways to cook - broil, roast, chip, crisp, dry fry, dehydrate, and more. This type of multi-functionality is worth the investment if you don't have the space to display or store a number of different appliances in your kitchen.
It goes without saying. The size, capacity, ability, functions, ease of storage, weight, and portability are all factors to consider. If you're traveling with it, storing it after every use, or want a large machine that can dry foods in bulk, then all manufacturers will advise you on the size and capacity in their descriptions.
Not all dehydrators have a timer function, some don't have temperature adjustments either. This will mean that it will take for you to manually check food at certain intervals to make sure that it isn't over or under drying.
Food Dehydrator FAQ
Q: Do all food dehydrators make jerky?
Whilst you can make jerky in dehydrators they are used to make dried foods to preserve and store too. That said, you don't need fancy appliances to make jerky but the best dehydrator will help you make it frequently, to perfection - once you get the hang of how to use it.
Q: Can you leave food dehydrators on overnight?
Whilst you can set them to dry for hours and hours, as with any electrical appliance it isn't recommended leaving them switched on unless you are present to monitor it. They all have heating elements, fans, and a power source so leaving them un-manned isn't worth any risk.
Q: Are food dehydrators energy efficient?
Again, as above they all use heating elements and fans and will consume electricity. Their power rating is NOT a guide to how energy efficient they are. Energy used depends on the amount of food being dried, the outside temperature, the length of time in operation, the temperature used for drying, etc. There are a few variables but as a very rough guide, over a 24 hour period, you might expect it to cost around $1-$1.50. As a rule, even the best food dehydrator & food processor brand cannot predict what it costs to run the machine.