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Comparing the Best Food Dehydrators of 2017

May 25, 2017

Choosing the right dehydrator for your kitchen is no small task, especially with so many models on the market boasting a plethora of functions and accessories. Comparing everything at once can get a little overwhelming. But in truth, there’s no real hard and fast rule to what makes the best food dehydrator. More than likely, it will come down to how you’re intending to use your dehydrator for most of it’s life. That’s why we’ll also be taking you through what kind of dehydrators best suit a particular use.

That being said, you still want a high quality machine that will be worth the investment in both durability and functionality. So to start you off, we’ve compiled a table of the key features of the most popular models on the market.

Best Rated Food Dehydrator Comparison Table

Let’s start by comparing the key features of each dehydrator side-by-side.

BioChef Arizona 6 TrayBioChef Arizona 8/10 TrayExcalibur 3926TBNesco Snackmaster Pro (FD-75PR)Presto 06300Ronco Turbo DehydratorWaring Pro DHR30
Price (RRP)$112$145 / $175$349.95$88.99$59.99$69.99$130
Size6 Tray8 or 10 Tray9 Tray5 Tray4 Tray5 Trays5 Tray
Warranty2 yr3 yr10 yr1 yr1 yr1 yr1 yr
TimerNone24 Hour26 HourNoneNoneNoneNone
Wattage420-500w800w600w600w600w240w620w
Temperature Range (º F)95 - 15895 - 158105 - 16595 - 16016595 - 160110 - 175
AirflowHorizontalHorizontalHorizontalVerticalVerticalVerticalVertical
Tray MaterialStainless SteelStainless SteelBPA Free Plastic Mesh Screens / Stainless SteelBPA Free PlasticBPA Free PlasticPlasticBPA Free Plastic
Inner / Outer CastingBPA Free PolypropyleneBPA Free PolypropyleneBPA Free PlasticBPA Free PlasticBPA Free PlasticPlasticBPA Free Plastic
Included Accessories6 Trays, 1 Non-Stick Sheet, 1 Fine Mesh Sheet8 or 10 Stainless Steel Trays, 2 Non-Stick Sheet, 2 Fine Mesh Sheet, Drip Tray2/3 Fine Mesh Sheets, 2/3 Non Stick Sheets, 1 Non Stick Drip Tray5 Drying Trays, 2 Clean-A-Screens, 2 Fruit Roll Sheets, 3 Original Jerky Spice / 3 Cure Packs, Recipe Book4 Drying TraysRecipe Book5 Tray Rack, 1 Fruit Roll Up Sheet

With these features in mind, let’s discuss some of the biggest considerations when determining which food dehydrator is the best model for you.

What to Consider When Buying a Food Dehydrator

Price

Consider what you are getting for what you pay. Example: for $10 more, you can upgrade from the Waring Pro to the BioChef Arizona 8 tray, which comes with more power, bigger capacity, a digital timer, superior horizontal airflow for even drying, and made in stainless steel instead of plastic.

Size

This is important because each time you run the dehydrator you will be using energy. And it would make for greater efficiency if your food dehydrator allows you to dry a larger batch in one go. You also save time, which always makes quite a difference if you run a hectic schedule. The best dehydrators should allow you to get the job done in the most efficient manner with minimal fuss.

Materials and Castings

Look for higher quality materials that are easy-to-clean and won’t deteriorate over time. If the dehydrator has plastic components, make sure it is BPA-free as you don’t want hormone-disrupting chemicals leaching into the food you’re drying. We believe that a top rated dehydrator should be made of stainless steel as it will last longer than plastic and is easy to clean (and will not stain over time). The cheapest stainless steel dehydrator in our table is the BioChef Arizona 6 Tray Food Dehydrator.

Warranty

It is important to look at the warranty of the dehydrator. This is a big difference when it comes to purchasing a cheap or imitation food dehydrator. When you purchase from a reputable company you know that you will get a longer warranty, after-sales support, parts and accessories and readily available servicing of your machine.

Accessories

Some of these models also come with useful extras like non-stick sheets and fruit roll up sheets. Inevitably, when you start to get creative with your dehydrating, you’ll eventually need these extra bits and pieces. It’s obviously nicer if they come with the dehydrator at no extra cost, but each manufacturer does have additional accessories available for purchase.

Horizontal vs Vertical Airflow

This relates to where the fan is located and whether it supplies hot air evenly through all the trays.

Horizontal airflow is the most consistent and reliable method as all trays receive the same amount of airflow. Fans located in the back provide even horizontal airflow which in-turn creates food that is dried consistently, inside and out.

Vertical airflow (from either the top or bottom) has the potential to dehydrate trays closest to it at a fast rate whilst the trays on the other end receive far less hot air. This may require you to unstack and rotate the trays in order to manually even things out. And as you can imagine, this can become quite tedious if you plan on using your dehydrator regularly.

Square or rectangular food dehydrators usually have the fan located in the back of the unit (always double check just in case). You load your trays in by sliding them inwards much like you would with a kitchen oven. This format allows you to handle each tray one by one instead of having to stack and restack.

One final advantage of a square/ rectangular dehydrator is that you can generally remove in-between trays to create a wider space when required, allowing you to rise bread, make yoghurt and other things which are higher than the usual designated tray space.

Circular or round food dehydrators have the fan located at the base or top of the unit. And as discussed above, this often leads to uneven dehydration.

Vertical drying systems can have a number negative effects on the quality of the dried food, including:

  • Having to manually alternative bottom and top layers to get a consistent finish (and having to stand watch as a result). This can involve having to take out all the layers on top if you are trying to access the tray at the bottom.
  • The uneven airflow can cause the food closest to the fan to be dried on the outside but not on the inside, as it dries too quickly. This is quite dangerous when it comes to food preservation and creates a risk of food spoiling.

Best Food Dehydrator for Meat Jerky

If you’re a fan of meat-based jerkies, such as the classic beef jerky, then temperature and airflow are crucial to creating a safe-to-eat jerky. A square style food dehydrator with horizontal airflow is going to circulate the air evenly to create the consistent drying temperature that you need to make jerky.

To ensure the safety of your batch of jerky, there must not be too much humidity as this can lead to the proliferation of unhealthy bacteria and microbes. Therefore, it’s important that your model has a suitable range of temperatures that you can control, so that you can bring the heat up to the optimal temperature for the type of meat you are using.

Making jerky at home instead of purchasing store bought jerky that comes nasty artificial additives is a great idea! Most of our customers enjoy creating a large portion of jerky per batch, and therefore prefer the bigger 8 or 10 tray BioChef Arizona.

Best Food Dehydrator for Fruits, Vegetables and Fruit Leather

Many of our customers enjoy dehydrating fresh produce in order to keep it for longer, but this becomes complicated if your dehydrator is unable to dry your fruit and vegetables evenly. The danger with this is that the outside dries too quickly while the inside remains moist. This has the potential to become unsafe to store away for longer periods of time. For dehydrating fresh produce a horizontal square dehydrator like the Biochef Arizona or Excalibur is recommended.

Learn how to make kale chips in the BioChef Arizona dehydrator:



Best Food Dehydrator for Raw Foodists

If you eat raw foods only and rely on a food dehydrator to create the bulk of your diet, you should be looking for models that are easiest and most accurate to use. This means that features such as a digital timer are essential for managing your day-to-day food needs. Dehydrators with timers will automatically shut off when done, enabling raw foodists to achieve the most accurate result when drying a wide variety of foods on a regular basis.

Best Food Dehydrator for Experimenting with Yoghurt and Breads

When you are rising bread or setting yoghurt in your dehydrator, you need to be able to create space by removing and rearranging trays. The removeable trays on the BioChef Arizona will allow you to have as many or as little trays as you want at any given time, meaning that you can successfully rise bread and use the taller glass jars required for setting yoghurt.

If you are serious about incorporating dehydrated food into your diet, it will work out better for you in the long term if you invest in a higher quality model that has sizeable capacity and optimal airflow.

You can also head to the Vitality4Life Australia Blog for delicious dehydrator recipes:

Homemade Fruit Leather Recipes

Homemade Beef Jerky Recipe

Don’t forget to check out our range of BioChef Arizona food dehydrators here and watch the video demonstration below:



And if you have any further questions about dehydrating food or any of our products, you can contact us here. We’re ready to help!

BioChef Arizona 10 Tray Food Dehydrator

  • Stainless Steel Trays / BPA Free Casing
  • 10 Tray Capacity = 10.66ft2
  • EPT™ Horizontal Drying System
  • 24 Hour Digital Timer
  • Transparent Magnetic Door
  • Adjustable Thermostat 95º F to 158º F
  • Includes: 3 x Non-Stick Sheets, 3 x Mesh Sheets
  • 3 Year Warranty

BioChef Arizona 8 Tray Food Dehydrator

  • Stainless Steel Trays / BPA Free Casing
  • 8 Tray Capacity = 8.50ft2
  • EPT™ Horizontal Drying System
  • 24 Hour Digital Timer
  • Transparent Magnetic Door
  • Adjustable Thermostat 95º F to 158º F
  • Includes: 2 x Non-Stick Sheets, 2 x Mesh Sheets
  • 3 Year Warranty

BioChef Arizona 8 Tray Food Dehydrator

  • Stainless Steel Trays / BPA Free Casing
  • 8 Tray Capacity = 8.50ft2
  • EPT™ Horizontal Drying System
  • 24 Hour Digital Timer
  • Transparent Magnetic Door
  • Adjustable Thermostat 95º F to 158º F
  • Includes: 2 x Non-Stick Sheets, 2 x Mesh Sheets
  • 3 Year Warranty

Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

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