8 Best Food Dehydrators for Jerky And Season’s Snacks

Written by Pinkvilla Desk Updated on Feb 15, 2024  |  910.4K
Best Food Dehydrator
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To make your favorite vegetables, herbs, pasta, meat, and other scrumptious snacks last long, let us introduce you to the best food dehydrators for jerky that will help prevent spoilage. Having said that, when seasonal delectables run out the stock, the first thing that comes to mind is store-bought dried foods like jerky, mangoes, apples, oranges, and a lot more, which tend to be expensive and often come loaded with preservatives. 

The best part about dehydrators is that preservation occurs without the traditional agents like additives, preservatives, or calorie-packed ingredients. So whether you are a fruity snack lover, a backyard gardener with produce, or someone who stocks up extra, a dehydrator is a must for you. Plus, with a phenomenal food dehydrator at home, you can easily extract moisture to have ready treats and munchies and save your hard-earned money with ease. 

It doesn’t matter if you are old or new to your kitchen aisel as we have carefully curated this mini guide for buying food dehydrators. 

The food-preserving methods date back centuries and are only upgraded with today’s modern machines. There are many benefits that dehydrators offer, to become your next best purchase. 

Based on our observations, we have rounded up the top appliances from valued brands by testing them in necessary categories like ease of use, temperature settings, and other features. So, whether you are a kitchenware newbie or an existing user looking for an amp-up, read on to know all things food dehydrators.

What Is a Dehydrator?

Food dehydrators are a device that primarily dry variety of foods by extracting moisture from them. The process of homemade dehydrated snacks requires food drying at a low temperature for a long time. The machines allow a controlled setting for monitoring the procedure and increasing the shelf life of excess food. Vegetables, fruits, meat, and herbs can be dehydrated for preservation, which intensifies the flavors and keeps the nutrients and vitamins intact.

The boxy devices have stackable trays that are topped with different types of foods and dried with the circulating air at low temperatures. Depending on the kind of food being prepped, the temperature settings need to be managed. For instance, herbs and vegetables can be dried at 95°F to 125°F, while fruits and meats go as high as 130°F to 160°F.

Once the food is dehydrated, these need to be stored properly. Speaking of the storage of dehydrated foods, our contributor Jason Phillips, Chef and food writer, says, “Store dehydrated foods in an airtight container. Whenever I make jerky, I store it in plastic bags. It does not matter if it is refrigerated or not. Since the moisture is gone, it does not spoil like other foods.”

Dehydrators are often compared to ovens. However, it is essential to note that as opposed to ovens, dehydrators extract moisture from foods, rather than cooking it. Lower internal temperature settings are required for drying out, which most of the ovens do not offer.

So, wait no longer, and read on to snatch a glimpse of our top-rated dehydrators that are worth investing in.

8 Best Food Dehydrator

One of the healthiest ways of preserving foods is by drying them. All you need to do is fill the trays with food and voila — with a temperature range of 95℉ to 167℉, the Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine will deliver evenly dried and perfectly done contents at once. The machine has 11 stainless steel trays with temperature control settings and a rear-mounted fan that circulates air without overheating. The best part is the adjustable digital timer, which allows flexibility to the user. Use it as a beef jerky dehydrator or let your veggies, fruits, and herbs stock for flavorsome eatables.

Pros
  • BPA-free machine
  • Slim look
  • Extra drying space
  • Horizontal airflow
  • Affordable price
Cons
  • Trays are not dishwasher-safe
  • Most Spacious

    ROVRAK Food Dehydrator

    ROVRAK Food Dehydrator
  • Whether you are a gardener with extra produce or a big family with loads to dry, you need a spacious dehydrator that has the capacity to dehydrate food at a temperature between 70℉ to 190℉. The ROVRAK Food Dehydrator is the ideal pick, given its numerous benefits. It comes with 12 trays, allowing you to dish in meat jerky, fruits, and vegetables in high capacity. The system is freshly upgraded with double-layer stainless steel to avoid surface overheating or injuries. The automatic shut-off timer can be set for 30 minutes to 24 hours with a suitable temperature range.

    Pros
    • Overheat protection function
    • Automatic cool air
    • Digital control panel
    • Even food dehydration
    Cons
    • May have power issues
  • Most Easy to Clean

    Septree 10 Trays Large Food Dehydrator

    Septree 10 Trays Large Food Dehydrator
  • Prolong the life of the season’s harvest by drying them without additives and preservatives. Turn the juicy fruits into snacks and meat into jerky with Septree 10 Trays Large Food Dehydrator that dries them up with a temp range between 104℉ to 194℉. The well-designed device with 10 usable trays and a glass door is user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing too. With a rear-mounted drying fan, you can trust uniform air circulation and even drying. The adjustable thermostat enables temperature settings, overheat protection, and an auto-shut-off timer. The noise control is an added bonus.

    Pros
    • Easy to repair
    • Easy clean up
    • Worth the money
    • Comes with non-stick silicone sheets
    Cons
    • Single wall with no insulation
  • Best for Beginners

    OSTBA Food Dehydrator Machine

    OSTBA Food Dehydrator Machine
  • This food dehydrator machine by OSTBA dries your veggies, fruits, meat, etc with a temperature setting going up to 165℉. It features a unique double rear fan which speeds up the drying process and allows precise temperature as well as timer settings. The 9 stainless steel trays are adjustable and require no shelf rotation. The even heat distribution enables efficient and improved dehydration of foods, keeping them healthy and delicious. Give your fruits, meats, and veggies an extended freshness and enjoy the seasonal harvests for a long time with your family.

    Pros
    • Dishwasher safe
    • Automatic shut off
    • Has a fruit roll tray
    • Minimal mess
    • Compact device
    Cons
    • Outer body may heat up
  • Best Overheat Protection

    COSORI Food Dehydrator

    COSORI Food Dehydrator
  • For anyone who wishes to get a super compact, mini dehydrator with up to 95℉ to 165℉ of drying ability, this one right here by COSORI is the perfect pick. The machine is equipped with 6 stainless steel trays that are durable and dishwasher safe. The precise temperature control increases the efficiency of drying cycles and reduces the time required. Unlike the regular devices that offer a 24-hour timer, this dehydrator goes a notch up and allows a 48-hour timer that is adjustable and has an auto-shut-off feature.

    Pros
    • Minimal noise levels
    • Overheat protection
    • Suitable for a wide food variety
    • Horizontal airflow
    Cons
    • Not-so-consistent temperature
  • Best Quite Operation

    Lyntorin Food Dehydrator

    Lyntorin Food Dehydrator
  • A lot of food dehydrators raise concerns about sticky food and hard-to-clean trays, however, the Lyntorin food dehydrator navigates this issue with its multiple accessories that include non-stick silicone films, mesh trays, fruit roll-up trays, and others. The temperature range of 95℉ to 167℉ makes it an ideal one for making jerky. With an adjustable timer and uniform heating, you can effortlessly dry your food contents with even and precise results. The auto shut-off is an added benefit, so you can chill while the machine does the job.

    Pros
    • Runs quietly
    • Easy to use
    • Easy to clean
    • Dishwasher friendly
    Cons
    • Requires turning the trays
  • Best Touch Control Panel

    HOMOKUS Food Dehydrator

    HOMOKUS Food Dehydrator
  • The recipes of food dehydrators are far beyond simple fruits, veggies, and meats. There are multiple food items, like breads, nuts, and seeds, even flowers and botanicals can be dried for later use. To get the most out of your device, trust the Homokus food dehydrator that dehydrates your favorite food items at temps going up to 176℉. It is easy to operate, owing to the touch control LCD panel, adjustable temperature settings, and precise timers. What’s more? It has 9 drying trays and a drip tray, perfect for serving a big family with delectable and healthy snacks.

    Pros
    • Glass window
    • Large capacity
    • Has two shelving racks
    • Has a memory setting function
    Cons
    • Uneven dehydration
  • Best Construction

    Samson

    Samson
  • Another compact device under our radar is the Samson dehydrator. From fruit leathers and jerky to dried herbs, spices, and potpourri, prep your healthy snacks to perfection with the dehydrator which goes up to 158 degrees. In addition, it has 6 stainless steel trays and a plastic drip tray. With a suitable timer and temperature settings, this machine is also highly silent as compared to some other machines. The consistent airflow and heat with auto shut-off and other innovative features make this dehydrator a worthy pick.

    Pros
    • Even dehydration
    • Easy to clean
    • No sound
    • Sturdy construction
    Cons
    • Might need tray rotation

    How to Choose the Best Food Dehydrator for Jerky?

    After an overview of our best picks, if you feel indecisive about which dehydrator will work best for you, especially when it comes to making jerky, here are a few things to keep a note of, while making your purchase:

    Types of Dehydrators

    Make sure you are well aware of the types of electric food dehydrators available on the market. They are broadly classified into three following types:

    • Stackable dehydrators: These can be either round or rectangular in shape and have stacks of trays, topped on each other for optimum results. The layered shelves have a tiny fan at the base which circulates the air upwards. These are the most popular ones, owing to the larger surface area for spreading out the ingredients. It is also preferable as it occupies minimum counter and storage space and its comes in an affordable price range. 
    • Pull-out shelf dehydrators: Offering a rather precise and even outcome, these kinds of dehydrators usually have a bigger fan at the back which allows consistent circulation of air. Aimed at larger quantities of foods, these dehydrators are made of sturdy materials, like metallic shelves, which also help in temperature regulation. 
    • Cabinet dehydrators: Such dehydrators are intended for commercial kitchens with huge spaces. 

    Temperature Settings: All kinds of food contents need a different temperature setting for efficient results and dehydration. For instance, fragile herbs require a temperature below 100℉, while meat jerky can go as high as 160℉. If your device offers adjustable temperature controls, you can effectively control the dehydration process. Most of our picks have short increments and precise temperature display, which is recommended for an enhanced drying experience. 

    Timer Settings: Next to temperature control is the timer programming. For times when you are dehydrating overnight or when you are away from home for a while, an adjustable timer is all you need to protect the food from overdrying and the machine from overheating. Unlike the generic devices, go for the ones that offer an automatic shut-off feature, and preset temperatures that focus more on the drying time so you can set the timer and let the machine do its job. 

    Size And Capacity: Dehydrators are available in a variety of sizes for in-house and commercial uses. Depending on your needs and the space available in your kitchen, choose a suitable device with a sufficient number of trays and their bearing capacity. The rectangular ones are preferred over round dehydrators, as they have more usable area. All of our picks have stackable trays which are ideal for horizontal airflow and uniform drying. They also offer vertical space for the food contents, once they dehydrate and shrink. 

    Trays And Accessories: once you get into the delicious business of dehydrating, there’s no going back with the endless recipes to try and serve. Keep in mind that the type of trays you have directly affects the drying cycle and your aftercare. Most of the trays are made of stainless steel, ensure that they are dishwasher-safe. For fruit leather and other type of food, you will need non-stick trays or sheets, drip trays, etc. so look for machines that provide extra accessories to aid with a hassle-free process. 

    By now you must have grasped the crux of using a food dehydrator for the best trans-seasonal snacks. Here’s a revision and some additional benefits of having a dehydrator in your kitchen arsenal.

    What Are the Benefits of Using a Food Dehydrator?

    1. Keeps the Food Fresh for a Prolonged Time 

    At the core of dehydrating your food is preserving the ingredients without additives or preservatives and locking in their taste and nutrients. The drying process eliminates all hydration and moisture from the food, as the presence of water makes it vulnerable to getting rotten or spoiled. Thus, you are able to store the fruits, veggies, herbs, meat, etc. for a longer time. 

    2. Healthier Alternative to Store Food

    Unlike conventional or market-driven preserved foods, dehydrated food items are stored in jars without any preservatives or additives like sugar, vinegar, or other chemicals. This storing process makes dehydrated food much healthier. The dried components have naturally concentrated flavors and they retain the nutrients, making the case for healthy snacks. 

    3. Versatility 

    Yes, the uncommon uses and benefits of a dehydrator are beyond food preservation. Many people like to proof their bread doughs, make yogurt or fun snacks like fruit leather, with dehydrators. If you are into baking, then you would love this machine for drying nuts, seeds, and milk, which is needed while baking. 

    These devices can be useful for artsy stuff like making your own potpourri by dehydrating flowers. You can also dry flour molds, make recycled papers, or take up any such crafty, DIY projects. 

    Contributor: Jason Phillips, Chef and Contributing editor - Also the Crumbs

    Conclusion

    In the long run, having a dehydrator in your kitchen is a worthy investment that is cost-effective and offers numerous benefits. Food dehydration is a great start to practicing mindful eating. You not only preserve the ingredients without additives and store healthy snacks, but also avoid a lot of food wastage. Whether you are someone looking to have a bulky food stock, grow to produce in your garden, or need nutrient-rich, homemade snacks for kids, the best dehydrator for jerky, fruits, veggies, herbs, spices, etc. is a must-have addition to your pantry appliances. We are most impressed with the Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine which comes with stainless steel trays, much-needed drying temperature control settings, and an adjustable timer allowing flexibility.

    FAQ's

    Is a dehydrator worth it for jerky?
    Yes, a dehydrator is worth it for jerky as it is one of the healthier alternatives to store food for a prolonged period of time by extracting moisture. Plus a jerky dehydrator will also enable you to dehydrate herbs, fruits, etc. in most cases as well.
    How long to dehydrate meat for jerky?
    Depending on whether you are using ground meat or lean meat, and how thick or thin your slices are, making jerky can take 5 to 10 hours or more.
    Do dehydrators use much electricity?
    Not really. Dehydrators use 0.15KWH to 0.55KWH over the course of one hour.
    Why is my homemade jerky so tough?
    If your jerky is overheated, it will quickly get tough and chewy.
    Is jerky better in a smoker or dehydrator?
    Depending on your preference, you may go for a smoker if you like juicy and tender jerky. On the other hand, for dry and leathery textured jerky, a dehydrator is a better option to rely on.
    Can I leave jerky in a dehydrator overnight?
    Yes, if your device has an adjustable timer and an auto-shut-off option, you can leave the jerky to dehydrate overnight.
    How do you know when jerky is fully dehydrated?
    The jerky will bend and eventually break without snapping off completely. This is when you get to know that your jerky is fully dehydrated.
    How do I clean and maintain a food dehydrator for jerky?
    If your trays are dishwasher safe, then clean them through dishwashing or manually soak and rinse them with soap. You should also wipe the other surfaces of the device from the inside.

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