The 7 Best Food Dehydrators of 2022

Our top pick is the Presto Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator.

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Dehydrating fruit

Courtesy of Getty

Drying food is easy to do, and the benefits are numerous. It reduces storage space and intensifies flavors, and dried food doesn’t contain preservatives or additives or other undesirable ingredients such as too much sodium. This method also eliminates waste by saving seasonal foods when you buy in bulk, say, at the farmer’s market or if you produce a bumper crop of tomatoes or herbs from your own garden. It’s a great tool to help you eat local, even after the harvest is past.

You can dry foods in the oven or the old-school way in the sun. But the solar method can be tricky because some types of food can get moldy before they’re completely dry, especially when humidity levels are high.

An electric dehydrator is faster and provides a more controlled environment for a better quality finished product. Most of these countertop appliances have a heating element and a fan to accelerate the process. They typically come with multiple stacking trays, with some designed for specialty uses, such as mesh trays for drying herbs or solid trays for fruit leathers.

Here are the best food dehydrators:

Best Overall: Presto Dehydro Square Dehydrator 06304

4
Presto Dehydro Digital Electric Food Presto Dehydrator

Amazon

This dehydrator is a reasonably-priced unit if you use one regularly for small batches of food. It has 750 watts of drying power and an adjustable thermostat that ranges from 90 to 165 degrees with a built-in timer. It comes with six transparent drying trays, which make it easy to see the drying progress, and it includes two fruit leather sheets and two mesh screens.

The trays also nest in the base for a 40% reduction in storage space. If you discover you’re using it more than you expected, you can purchase additional trays to expand to a total of 12. The square shape fits well on countertops, and the trays and cover are dishwasher safe. It’s a good unit for beginners because of it's easy to use, though the fan is a bit on the noisy side.

Best Budget: Presto Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator

4

If you’re new to dehydrating food and aren’t sure how often you’ll use this appliance, this budget pick is for you. It comes with four drying trays, expandable to eight, and they nest to reduce storage space by 35%.

There’s no temperature control, so you’ll need to watch food carefully when you’re first experimenting with drying times. Also, there’s no on/off switch, but the cord stores conveniently in the base, and the trays and see-through cover are dishwasher safe. With 600 watts and a bottom-mounted fan and heating element, it’s quiet and dries foods quickly without spending a bundle.

Best Mid-Range: Magic Mill Commercial Food Dehydrator

Magic Mill Dehydrator

Amazon

This mid-priced unit is a good option if you plan to keep your dehydrator out and use it frequently. A rear-mount fan helps circulate air to dry food evenly. Plus, it has a digital thermostat, ranging from 95 to 167 degrees, and the timer automatically shuts the 600-watt appliance off. It includes seven trays (including two mesh liners for herbs and two fruit leather trays), so you can pack a lot of fruit and vegetables into the unit at one time.

The trays and liners are dishwasher safe. The square shape also fits better on the countertop than round units if you plan to keep it out. The door swings open like a microwave, which seems less unwieldy than units with stacking trays. It’s not overly noisy, and we like the durable stainless steel racks and sleek stainless appearance, which coordinates with the rest of your kitchen appliances.

Best High-End: Excalibur 9-Tray Food Dehydrator

3.5
Excalibur 3926TW Excalibur 3926TW 9 Tray Dehydrator with Timer White, 1, White

Amazon

With an adjustable thermostat, ranging from 105 to 165 degrees, and a 26-hour timer, this 600-watt dehydrator is fast and efficient. It has a solid cover and nine trays that provide 15 square feet of drying space for plenty of fruits and veggies. It’s a good option if you know you use your dehydrator a lot or have a big garden.

The Excalibur Food Dehydrator is made in the United States and has a 10-year limited warranty. Although it's on the pricier side, it's a workhorse; many reviewers say these units have lasted for years.

Best Compact: Brod & Taylor Sahara Folding Food Dehydrator

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Brod & Taylor Folding Dehydrator

Amazon

If you have a small kitchen with limited storage space, this unit folds to a third of its size at just 3.75 inches tall, so you can place it in a drawer or on a shelf in its zippered storage case. The dehydrator has 700-watt dual heaters, which automatically switch to low when the food is partially dried.

A washable air filter ensures debris doesn’t get drawn inside the unit. Despite its small storage size, it provides more than 11 square feet of drying area when fully open. It has stainless steel shelves, and it’s quiet, fast, and worth the splurge to be able to store it in a drawer or on a shelf if storage space is at a premium in your kitchen.

Best for Small Batches: NESCO Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator

4.7
Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator

Amazon

If you generally make small batches, you don’t need a gigantic, expensive dehydrator. This unit, which comes with four dishwasher safe trays, has a 500-watt heater and adjustable thermostat that ranges from 95 to 155 degrees. The top-mounted fan prevents liquids from dripping down into the heating chamber.

It’s made in the United States, and it's ideal for preserving small amounts occasionally and about as loud as a fan. If you end up using it more than you expected, you can expand this unit up to a total of 12 trays

Best for Large Capacity: Nesco FD-1040 Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator

4.2
Nesco Gardenmaster 075 Food Dehydrator

Amazon

If you have a large garden or tend to use your dehydrator frequently, this large capacity unit is a good option. It has 1000-watts of heat for super-fast drying, and it comes with eight dishwasher-safe stackable trays. If you need more space, you can expand to 30 trays for those bounteous harvests of tomatoes and zucchini in mid-summer!

It also includes eight fruit leather sheets and eight fine mesh screens, so items such as herbs don’t fall through to the next level. It’s made in the United States. This dehydrator is great for large batches, but it’s also on the noisy side and takes up a lot of storage space, so it’s not ideal for small kitchens.

Final Verdict

Treehugger's top pick for a food dehydrator is the Presto Dehydro Square Dehydrator because it's an affordable pick for just about any level of skill. However, if you have a lot of produce to dry, consider the Nesco 8 Tray Gardenmaster for its large capacity.

What to Look for in a Food Dehydrator

Features

Many units have an on/off switch, but others simply plug in to turn on. A dial to regulate temperature and a timer are other helpful features so you won’t scorch foods. You may also want to check to see if the trays are designed to be washed in the dishwasher.

Size

If you plan to use it regularly, you’ll want one that sits on your counter top without hogging too much space. If you need to stash it under the cabinet, a big, bulky unit will require too much storage area in a tiny kitchen. It's always a good idea to measure the spaces where you plan on using and storing your device to make sure you buy.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How does a food dehydrator work?

    A food dehydrator uses low heat and a fan to draw moisture out of foods to create more shelf-stable foods. Drying time may range from a few hours for foods such as herbs to up to 12 hours for foods such as carrots.

  • Can you save money using a food dehydrator?

    Yes, if you have a large garden or like to pick up produce when it's on sale or in bulk at the farmer's market. Dehydrating foods will allow you to reduce food waste, too, because you can preserve foods so they won't go bad before you can use them.

  • What can you dry in a food dehydrator?

    Just about anything! Try drying herbs such as oregano, sage, and tarragon; vegetables such as corn, kale, beans, and tomatoes; and fruits such as strawberries, bananas, and apples as slices or in fruit leathers.

  • What should you not dry in a food dehydrator?

    Foods that have high fat content, such as avocados and nuts, don't do well in a food dehydrator. Eggs are another food that should not be placed in a food dehydrator because of the food safety risk (you cannot keep them at a safe temperature for the entire drying time required).

Why Trust Treehugger?

To create this list we researched the market by comparing manufacturer specs, warranties, and user reviews. Author Arricca SanSone is a health and lifestyle writer, specializing in home, shelter, and gardening. She's had a Nesco Snackmaster for years and uses it to preserve the bounty of her garden, including tomatoes, herbs, and beans.