clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

The 5 Best Dehydrators (2022 Review)

Food dehydrators remove moisture from food, giving you healthy snacks that last. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the five best dehydrators on Amazon to help you find the product that’s right for you and your home. The products included in this article are available at various home improvement stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

dehydrator Courtesy Magic Mill

A dehydrator preserves foods, such as fruits and vegetables, by removing their moisture and preventing the growth of harmful microbes. Dehydrating food also decreases its size, allowing you to easily store large quantities of food in a single bag or container. To help you select the machine that’s right for you, the This Old House Reviews Team searched for the best dehydrators on Amazon. Here are our top five picks.


Top 5 Dehydrators


Compare Top Dehydrators

Product Temperature Range Number of Trays Power Weight Dimensions
Product Temperature Range Number of Trays Power Weight Dimensions
COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine 95ºF to 165ºF 6 600 watts 23 pounds 17.8 x 13.5 x 12.2 inches
Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine Up to 158ºF 7 600 watts 17 pounds 15 x 13.5 x 19 inches
NESCO Snackmaster Pro Dehydrator 95ºF to 160ºF 4 600 watts 8 pounds 13.8 x 22.1 x 13.9 inches
Excalibur 3900B Nine-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator 105ºF to 165ºF 9 600 watts 22 pounds 19 x 17 x 12.5 inches
VIVOHOME Food Dehydrator Machine 95ºF to 158ºF 5 400 watts 6 pounds 12.5 x 9.5 x 9.8 inches

Best Medium Capacity: COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine

COSORI food hydrator machine with screens and recipe book

COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine

  • $160

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This easy-to-use COSORI dehydrator heats foods using a rear-mounted fan for an even cook. It can be used to toast breadcrumbs, bake dog treats, preserve herbs and flowers, dehydrate meat, and more with its six layered trays. For inspiration, a recipe book is also included.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Has a timer that works in 30-minute increments for up to 48 hours
✔ Equipped with overheating protection
✔ Operates quietly at 48 decibels

✘ Not foldable or collapsible
✘ Doesn’t include a drip tray, though the fruit tray can be used as one

What Customers Are Saying

Reviewers liked this dehydrator’s even heat distribution, quick-navigation control panel, and easy-to-clean parts. Many were thrilled with their results as well. Low-rated reviews mentioned the control panel malfunctioning and the body not reaching the full range of advertised temperatures.


Best Accessories: Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine

Silver Magic Mill food dehydrator with transparent glass front

Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine

  • $150
  • $200
  • 26% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Featuring a see-through cover and seven height-adjustable racks, this dehydrator allows you to dry pounds of your favorite food. The machine comes with silicone gloves, nonstick trays, and other accessories. Overheat protection prevents temperatures from toughening your food.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ The mounted fan and airflow circulation technology provide even heat distribution
✔ The automatic timer shuts off when the dehydration cycle is complete
✔ The BPA-free trays are dishwasher-safe

✘ Doesn’t mention a warranty
✘ Some customers said that the glass door cracked over time

What Customers Are Saying

Reviewers recommended this product for its easy setup, superior performance, and quiet operation. Many customers raved about the results they got with a variety of foods, including meat, pineapple, and zucchini. Less satisfied consumers said that the product stopped working or cracked over time.


Most Customizable: NESCO Snackmaster Pro Dehydrator

White NESCO food dehydrator with dial control and lid handle

NESCO Snackmaster Pro Dehydrator

  • $85

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This compact food dehydrator uses a patented drying system that moves air across each tray to lock in flavor and evenly cook food. The machine comes with five trays that provide 0.8 square feet of drying space each. You can also purchase up to seven more trays to expand it to 12 layers.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Provides even heat distribution without having to rotate the trays
✔ The opaque exterior blocks light to prevent nutrient loss
✔ The top-mounted fan prevents liquids from dripping into the center of the dehydrator

✘ Doesn’t have an on/off switch
✘ Only includes five trays

What Customers Are Saying

Customers said that this dehydrator was quiet and easy to use and clean. Several also mentioned how this product helped cut down on dining costs associated with backpacking and camping trips. Disappointed customers said that it took much longer than anticipated for items to dehydrate.


Most Space: Excalibur 3900B Nine-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator

Excalibur food dehydrator with nine separate trays and sample food items

Excalibur Nine-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator

  • $256
  • $320
  • 21% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

With nine trays and a 15-square-foot capacity, this dehydrator can remove moisture from large amounts of food at once and keep different items separate from one another. The resulting dehydrated food can last for up to nine months while retaining nutrients.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Comes with a dehydration guide to help you get started
✔ Includes a seven-inch fan for superior air circulation
✔ Made in the United States

✘ Doesn’t have a built-in timer
✘ Has a 15% restocking fee if you return it

What Customers Are Saying

Satisfied customers liked this dehydrator’s versatility, durability, and performance. Dissatisfied customers had issues with the fan and customer support. Others were disappointed that it didn’t have a timer.


Best Entry-Level: VIVOHOME Food Dehydrator Machine

Silver stainless steel VIVOHOME food dehydrator with clear trays

VIVOHOME Food Dehydrator Machine

  • $68
  • $80
  • 16% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This affordable dehydrator from VIVOHOME comes with a convenient digital display that shows you the machine’s temperature and cooking time, which can be adjusted to fit your favorite food. With five clear layers, you can monitor your food as it dries.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Provides a vitamin and mineral retention rate of 97%
✔ Built with heat emission holes to enhance ventilation
✔ The clear design allows you to observe the dehydration process

✘ Less powerful than the other options in this review at 400 watts
✘ Contains more plastic than other options in this guide

What Customers Are Saying

Satisfied customers were pleased that the VIVOHOME provided consistent temperature control, flavorful results, and plenty of space for a variety of foods. Those who rated this product poorly had issues with the heating element malfunctioning after a few uses.


Buyer’s Guide

When buying a dehydrator, it’s important to know how each model’s unique features and specifications affect its performance. Here are five factors to consider before making a purchase.

Size

Dehydrators typically have between five and 10 trays, though some models can expand to hold up to 12. The size of each tray is closely related to the dimensions of the dehydrator—the larger the dimensions of the dehydrator, the larger the trays.

Power

The amount of power a dehydrator has is measured in watts. Most dehydrators deliver between 400 and 600 watts of power. If you want to dry a large quantity of food at a high temperature, look for a model with a high wattage.

Safety Features

Some common safety features in dehydrators include overheating protection and automatic shut-off. Overheat protection turns the appliance off if it reaches an unsafe temperature. Automatic shut-off works with a digital or analog timer to turn off the dehydrator after a preset time.

Temperature

Most dehydrators operate using an adjustable thermostat, though some models use preset temperatures. Owning a dehydrator with several temperature settings lets you dry various types of food. Most dehydrators dry in temperatures between 95 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heating Technique

Dehydrators typically use a horizontal or vertical heating method. A horizontal heating method pushes air from the back of the machine to the front for more uniform heating. However, these models are usually more expensive than their vertical-heating counterparts.

Vertical-heating dehydrators push heat from the top of the machine to the bottom, or vice versa. Although these dehydrators are more affordable, they’re usually smaller and more inconsistent.

Air Circulation

Fan systems inside dehydrators allow the hot air to evenly circulate, ultimately resulting in a better-dried food product.

Transparent Windows

Some dehydrators allow users to see each tray as the food is being dried. This is helpful if you want to keep an eye on what you’re dehydrating without opening the door or letting hot air escape.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you use a dehydrator for?

Dehydrators allow you to prepare a variety of foods, including:

  • Beef jerky
  • Dog treats
  • Potpourri
  • Dried fruit

Are dehydrated foods healthy?

Since dehydrated foods are usually free from added sugars and preservatives, they are a great source of vitamins and minerals. However, the dehydration process can destroy some of the food’s nutritional value.

Is it safe to dehydrate raw meat?

No. While dehydration is good for removing the harmful bacteria that cause food to spoil, the heat isn’t intense enough to kill those that thrive in raw meat. Be sure to cook any meat to its proper internal temperature using a meat thermometer before drying it.

What is the best dehydrator for jerky?

The best dehydrators for jerky are models with powerful fan systems that evenly circulate the air in the dehydrator, allowing for better-quality jerky. Additionally, dehydrators with several trays or a large capacity allow users to make large batches of jerky at a time.

Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.