The 5 Best Food Dehydrators for 2022 Reviews

If you enjoy beefy snacks, especially jerky, then raise your hand! If you’re interested in making your own jerky at-home, keep those hands up. I see you. Call the butcher and ask him to cut the best meats. In five minutes, you will have a reliable dehydrator that can make your beef jerky.

Our review of the Top 5 best food dehydrators This will make it easier to find the right product for you. But before we hook you up with a dependable snack preparation companion, let’s first explore how to go about buying a jerky dehydrator.

Because we understand your time is valuable, we will only cover the most important criteria.

5 Best Food Dehydrators For 2022 Reviews

Now that you know what to look for, let’s go through the list of the 5 best jerky dehydrators on the market.

1. NESCO FD-75A, Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator

NESCO FD-75A, Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator

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My notes mention that a dehydrator equipped with an adjustable thermostat can provide the best results. This model has that feature. It allows you to monitor and adjust the temperature during jerky preparation.

The temperature can be adjusted between 95 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This flexibility could be useful in preparing a variety of foods with the same machine.

The fan at the top of the dryer delivers enough speed to dry food faster and more safely.

You will also likely appreciate the versatile tray capacity you get with the NESCO dehydrator. The unit comes with five trays and can be expanded vertically to accommodate 12 plates. You can cook all your meats in one round.

The exterior of this product is also light-blocking. This protects your food from harmful light, according to the manufacturer. Dehydrated foods can lose significant amounts of nutrients if they are exposed to direct sunlight.

The patent-pending design of the airflow system has been used to create it. The trays can be used to direct the airflow system so that it can travel down to the cooking chamber. This is a method to prevent flavors from mixing when drying more foods at once.

Pros:

  • The “fan on top” design keeps mechanical components safe from liquids
  • The unique airflow system allows for authentic tastes to be achieved and retained
  • A light-blocking exterior helps to preserve your food’s nutrients

Cons:

  • Drying certain foods takes a while
  • Some parts can be quite fragile

 

2. Excalibur 3926TB 9 Tray Electric Food Dehydrator

Excalibur 3926TB 9 Tray 9-Tray Electric Food Dryer with Temperature Settings, 26-hour Timer and Automatic Shut Off For Faster and Efficient Drying Includes a Guide to Dehydration Made by USA, 9 Tray, Black

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This unit includes nine trays. This means that you have plenty space for food preparation. That’s one advantage the Excalibur 3926TB has over the NESCO model, reviewed above. This dehydrator could come in handy for next weekend’s get-together.

This unit may allow you to dry foods faster due to its spaciousness. That’s because it uses a 7-inch fan that lets in ample amounts of air. The manufacturer has placed the fan at the back to protect it from moisture. This design is good for motor durability and performance reliability.

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It also offers the possibility of good flavor retention when cooking different food items. Excalibur 3926TB features an adjustable thermostat which allows for you to experiment with drying temperatures. The temperature range is between 95 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

The timer is another compelling feature of this unit. As I discovered, users often leave jerky dehydrators on for hours. This is not only dangerous, but can also be costly in terms of power consumption. A timer feature on this device could remind you about your jerky preparation if you’ve gotten busy and forgotten about it.

The manufacturer also confirms that the feature can automatically shut down the machine. So, if you are the type of person who tends to hit the “snooze” on your alarm, this should be of help.

Pros:

  • Large capacity for when there are several pounds of meat to prepare
  • The airflow design speeds the dehydration process.
  • Automatic shutdown feature conserves energy

Cons:

  • Fragile motor
  • Requires constant rotation of plates

 

3. Open Country FD28SK Jerkymaster dehydrator

Open Country FD28SK Jerkymaster dehydrator

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This model, unlike its rivals, has a simple design that can prove very useful for beginners. Its highlights include simple features and a compact design.

A set temperature configuration also means that you can only work with one item of food until you master the process.

On the flip side, however, this design could lead to a compromising experience where you can’t control two things: one is the speed of dehydration, and the other is the potential for nutrient loss. Both of these require the ability to adjust temperature settings.

Despite this, I love the ease of cleaning with this jerky drying machine. The tray is removable and machine washable. If you don’t like washing dishes (as my dad does), thank the heavens this feature is available.

The Open Country dehydrator is able to hold seven plates. Even though it is smaller than the nine Excalibur trays, the Open Country dehydrator can still do a lot of dehydrating in one go.

Both of the devices were equipped with airflow technology to improve circulation and drying speeds. The Open Country unit is a unique device that has a similar feature but could produce satisfactory results. Its rib-like design swirls and whirls air within its vertical chambers, accelerating the process of desiccation.

Finally, the device includes recipe guides and spice packs to help you in your hobby of jerky-making.

Pros:

  • For beginners
  • Dishwasher safe trays
  • Efficient air circulation

Cons:

  • Temperature setting:
  • Durability may not be in the cards
  • This might not be the best option for someone who is picky about their equipment.

 

4. Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator, Standard

Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator, Standard

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The Presto Dehydro may be the perfect dehydrator for someone looking to make their first jerky. It can hold four trays. This makes it a bit small for personal use. This small size is ideal for those who are willing and able to spend long hours cooking. (Patience is not my dad’s biggest virtue.)

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It also has a temperature preset of 165.  This can limit the number of foods you can safely and effectively prepare with the dehydrator.

Despite this, you can still expect some ease of usage. This dehydrator was specifically designed for beginners. You don’t have to mess with temperature controls. There is no on/off switch. It is a “plug and go” type.

This model also has a see-through cover. This innovation allows you to monitor the drying of your meat. You will likely be able to know when it’s time to unplug.

The position of the fan/heating element is a major problem. These components are found at the bottom and are susceptible to damage by the dripping liquids.

Pros:

  • For beginners, it is easy to use
  • Cover with see-through for monitoring the process of dehydration
  • Trays are machine washable
  • Temperature control is not possible
  • Heater and fan components are located at the base. They are vulnerable to damage.

Cons:

  • Temperature control is not possible
  • Heater and fan components are located at the base. They are vulnerable to damage.

 

5. Hamilton Beach 32100A Digital Food Dehydrator

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

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The Hamilton Beach Digital Food Dehydrator has a similarity to the Excalibur3926TB. Both have a timer, and an auto shut-off feature. The transparent lid at the top lets you monitor the process.

This model, unlike the Presto dehydro machine we reviewed earlier, has an adjustable thermostat. It can be adjusted between 100 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit to achieve excellent desiccation results for a variety of foods including fruits and vegetables.

You get five trays. This might prove to be too small for larger quantities of food. Its simple design is a consolation. According to the manufacturers aligning the trays was easy.

After you adjust the temperature, the rest of the desiccation process is hands-free, which I like. You don’t have to keep turning things around on this model. Consistent airflow ensures that all chambers are dried evenly.

Manufacturers have also included a fine mesh sheet for drying spices and other small items.

Pros:

  • The simple design includes an adjustable temperature
  • Includes a timer
  • Fine mesh sheet for adding herbs and spices

Cons:

  • Capacity limit
  • Vibration a bit too loud

 

How to Choose the Best Food Dehydrator For Jerky

I’m not an expert. I don’t have a degree in food and beverage or a fancy culinary qualification from school. As a matter fact, I am just like you; I don’t know how to make jerky. These things make my father gaga.

He used to make jerky out of chicken, turkey, deer, or any other edible creature on the planet. The family DIY master has been reducing his tools due to arthritis. He now works out of the kitchen and the garage.

I’ve been searching the internet for an easy-to use solution that would allow him to continue enjoying his beloved jerky. He can’t start trying to use a oven or smoker right now.

I want it to be easy to use, versatile, and have some automaticity, if it exists. Here’s what I have found:

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There is a significant difference between horizontal and vertical airflow

Vertical airflow dehydrators offer the best value. Fans are located at the bottom of the unit and are smaller than horizontal dehydrators. Because the fans and motor are located at the base of a unit, they can be easily damaged by dripping fluids.

The most efficient horizontal dehydrators are those that are horizontal. The fans are located at the back. Air flows along the length of the meat strips. This design protects the electrical components against moisture damage.

There are many types of dehydrators available.

The number of trays a dehydrator has will determine its size. A larger dehydrator has more trays, so you can prepare all your fruits and meats at once. It saves you time and energy.

A smaller machine may be better for personal use, and could help to reduce costs. My goal is for my old man to be capable of making enough jerky to last several week. I must therefore find a model that has a lot of trays.

Temperature adjustment is critical

Authentic jerky preparation requires temperatures of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re looking for different meat types and other fruits and veggies, a machine that allows for lower or higher temperatures can prove to be very useful.

A good dehydrator should have an integrated thermostat.

Be aware of noise levels

It turns out that dehydrators for homemade jerky can make a lot noise. If you’re old and have stiff joints, vibration can be unbearable.

I discovered that these products are noisy and I must inspect the specifications and instructions before I purchase them.

Conclusion

The Excalibur 3926TB 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator This model outperforms all the others in this review. It has nine trays and the largest capacity. This is a great option if you need to prepare multiple food items at once.

The fan in this kitchen machine is 7 inches long and can blow more powerfully to speed up the dehydration of meats. The motor and fan are located at the back of the machine so they don’t get wet and can be used for long periods without breaking down.

Another advantage is heat adjustability. In my dad’s case, he will be able to play around with temperatures between 100 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit when drying a variety of food items.

This dehydrator has a timer that allows you to multitask. And if that “multitasking” involves catching some ZZZs as you dry meats and fruits, this machine will automatically shut down once the process is complete.

These features, plus many more, make the Excalibur 3926TB 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator This is the best gift for my jerky-loving father. It could be the right gift for you, too.

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