The 4 Best Food Dehydrators of 2024

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best food dehydrators
Credit: Best Buy


When you’re feeling peckish, a good snack can always hit the spot. One of my favorites is a piece of jerky or dried fruit — and while you can always add these items to your grocery list, you can also get some major DIY points by investing in one of the best food dehydrators

Food dehydrators allow you to make your own dried food at home — from beef jerky to fruit leather and dried-out vegetables for soups and stews — without dealing with packaging or rising grocery store costs. Here at Culinary Hill, we’re obsessed with finding the very best products for all kinds of home chefs, so naturally, we brought our expertise to food dehydrators. Keep reading to check out the best food dehydrators, including the one Meggan uses in her kitchen.

Our Top Picks

  1. What’s in Meggan’s Kitchen: LEM BigBite Digital Stainless Steel Dehydrator – $359.99 at Amazon
  2. Budget Pick: Nesco Snackmaster – $86.48 at Amazon
  3. Easiest to Use: Magic Mill Food Dehydrator (10 Trays) – $199.99 at Amazon
  4. Most Versatile: Cosori Food Dehydrator (6 Trays) – $159.99 at Amazon

Reviews of The Best Food Dehydrators

1. What’s in Meggan’s Kitchen: LEM BigBite Digital Stainless Steel Dehydrator

LEM BigBite Digital Stainless Steel Dehydrator
Credit: Amazon

As with most kitchen-related items, Meggan knows her stuff when it comes to the best food dehydrators — especially when it comes to making dried meat. “I grew up in a family of hunters, so someone was always making deer jerky,” she says. These days, she’s all about the LEM Digital Dehydrator, which comes complete with 10 trays. 

This digital dehydrator has been in her kitchen for about three years, and she loves its construction, durability, and ease of use. Its digital control panel makes it simple to set any temperature you need between 90 and 155 degrees F, and it has a timer with three “quick set” buttons for preferred settings. Meggan loves how the whole unit is made of solid stainless steel, which is a big step up from dehydrators that have plastic trays. (This also means that, although its trays are dishwasher safe, Meggan recommends handwashing.) 

Another huge pro is the LEM’s power: It boasts an impressive 770 watts and has a fan to ensure even heat distribution. It also includes shelves and units specifically designed for making jerky or drying fruit, like apples, and herbs, and it can fit a lot of the aforementioned ingredients without sacrificing efficiency and quality. Unsurprisingly, it delivers delicious, just-right jerky and dried fruits and veggies every time.

(P.S. — if you’re not a big deer jerky person but still want to try out one of Meggan’s recipes, we highly recommend her cozy, filling Venison Chili!)

The Specs:

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Trays: 10
  • Dimensions: 20 x 21.5 x 50.19 inches
  • Weight: 34.66 pounds
  • Power: 770 watts
  • Temperature range: 90 to 155 degrees F

The Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • 3 “quick set” buttons for preferred settings
  • Makes delicious jerky, dried fruit, and veggies
  • Comes with 10 trays
  • Durable design

The Cons:

  • Expensive

What Others are Saying:

The LEM dehydrator has a 4.6-star rating out of more than 830 reviews on Amazon. It also earned a rave review in Everything Kitchens for its customizable presets and quiet, efficient construction.

Buy the LEM BigBite Digital Stainless Steel Dehydrator: 

2. Budget Pick: Nesco Snackmaster

Nesco Snackmaster
Credit: Amazon

The Nesco Snackmaster has a more simplistic design, but still packs a serious, food-dehydrating punch at a value price. The round, plastic device provides even heat distribution thanks to its top-mounted fan and has a dial that allows you to adjust the temperature from 95 to 160 degrees. 

Not sure what temperature is best for the food you have on hand? Don’t worry — the Snackmaster’s lid has a convenient label that lists out the best temps for all kinds of food you might want to dry out, from nuts and seeds to herbs and spices. 

It comes with five 13.5-inch dishwasher-safe bpa-free mesh trays, but you can purchase more to make a stack of up to 12 in total. Fruit roll sheets, jerky seasoning, and tray cleaners are also included. It does have a more limited power ability at 600 watts, but it’s a great model to try for dehydrating. 

The Specs:

  • Materials: Plastic
  • Trays: 5, but can purchase more
  • Dimensions: 13 x 13 x 10
  • Weight: 7.75 pounds
  • Power: 600 watts
  • Temperature range: 95 to 160 degrees F

The Pros:

  • Less expensive than other options
  • Adjustable temperature controls
  • Guide for different types of food
  • Can purchase more food trays

The Cons:

  • Less power efficiency than other models

What Others are Saying:

The Nesco Snackmaster is the best value pick in both Food & Wine and The Food Network’s food dehydrator roundups. It also has a 4.6-star rating across more than 13,000 ratings on Amazon.

Buy the Nesco Snackmaster: 

3. Easiest to Use: Magic Mill Food Dehydrator (10 Trays)

Magic Mill Food Dehydrator (10 Trays)
Credit: Amazon

To be clear, all the food dehydrators we recommend are pretty simple to use. But if ease of use is your main priority when picking a dehydrator, the Magic Mill Dehydrator is the way to go. With a digital thermostat, timer, automatic shutoff, rear fan, and keep-warm features — and clear, bright buttons on the top of the machine that tells you exactly what to push to get what you need — it’s the most straightforward option we could find. 

We also love that the included stainless steel racks are dishwasher safe, making cleanup easy. It comes with a range of accessories, including a hanging rack for jerky, silicone gloves, and jerky seasoning. And, of course, it makes delicious, evenly-dried snacks. 

The Specs:

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Trays: 10
  • Dimensions: 18 x 14 x 17
  • Weight: 21.14 pounds
  • Power: 600 watts
  • Temperature range: 65 to 165 degrees F

The Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Clear door allows you to see food drying
  • Automatic shutoff and keep-warm features
  • Sleek design
  • Ease of cleaning

The Cons:

  • Thin metal on the exterior may dent

What Others are Saying:

The Magic Mill dehydrator is the overall pick in Food & Wine’s food dehydrator roundup. It’s also named the runner-up by The Spruce Eats and best for fruits and veggies by The Food Network’s roundup. It also earned a 4.6-star rating across more than 12,500 Amazon reviews.

Buy the Magic Mill Food Dehydrator: 

4. Most Versatile: Cosori Food Dehydrator (6 Trays)

Cosori Food Dehydrator (6 Trays)
Credit: Best Buy

The Cosori Food Dehydrator boasts a wide range of food-drying capabilities, making it one of the best food dehydrators for jerky and dried fruit alike. Plus, with its ability to work with less common foods, from herbs to yogurt (yes, yogurt, for homemade fermentation), it’s a great pick for anyone who doesn’t want a limit on the foods they try to dry. 

The machine can run for up to 48 hours at a time (with a timer and auto shut-off to ensure things stay safe) and has a rear fan for even airflow and heat distribution. It also comes with a mesh screen for fruit leather and other small items, along with a cookbook to help with inspiration. We also love that the stainless steel trays are safe to pop in the dishwasher. 

The Specs:

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Trays: 6
  • Dimensions: 17.8 x 13.5 x 12.2
  • Weight: 22.9 pounds
  • Power: 600 watts
  • Temperature range: 95 to 165 degrees

The Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Works with wide range of foods
  • Auto shut-off feature
  • Even heat distribution

The Cons:

  • Fewer trays than similar food dehydrators

What Others are Saying:

The Cosori Food Dehydrator is the best overall pick for both The Spruce Eats and The Food NetworkAmazon reviewers gave it a 4.7-star rating from more than 19,000 shoppers.

Buy the Cosori Food Dehydrator:

Other Food Dehydrators to Consider

Nesco Gardenmaster

The Nesco Gardenmaster is an upgraded version of the Snackmaster (featured above), with a digital thermometer and the ability to expand to up to 20 trays. According to reviews, it dries food quickly and evenly. Still, it doesn’t seem to offer enough to justify the price difference from its less expensive counterpart. The Nesco Gardenmaster is available at Amazon for $110.50. 

Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator

This is a serious, almost commercial-grade food dehydrator with 10 stainless steel trays that amount to 16 feet of drying space. Its 800-watt power, which is higher than all other dehydrators on this list, does a great job of drying food evenly. However, its comparative lack of popularity makes us wary of recommending it above others. The Excalibur Electric Food Dehydrator is available at Amazon for $254.99.

Presto Food Dehydrator

The four-tray Presto Food Dehydrator is a potential budget option, especially if you don’t need to dehydrate too many items at a time. But it may not last as long as other options. Some reviewers note that some of its plastic parts can snap, and it doesn’t always dry food evenly. The Presto Food Dehydrator is available at Amazon for $54.

Samson Silent Dehydrator

This popular dehydrator seems to live up to its quiet promise — many reviews comment on its low noise profile and overall ease of use. But because it doesn’t have as many user reviews as other items we recommend, we’re holding off on making it a top pick. (For now.) The Samson Silent Dehydrator is available at Amazon for $169.95.

Why You Can Trust Us

Hi, I’m Sara! I’ve been a professional lifestyle product tester and reviewer for about five years, covering everything from fondue pots to margarita machines. I’m obsessed with finding great products at great prices — especially investment items like food dehydrators, which, if you’re buying one, you’ll want to work well for a very long time. 

best food dehydrators
Credit: Culinary Hill

To find the best food dehydrators, I consulted with Meggan — the Executive Chef behind Culinary Hill — to determine the key factors every food dehydrator should have. (More on those below.) We started with her tried-and-true favorite, the LEM BigBite, and compared its design, style, function, and performance with other popular dehydrators. From there, we were able to decide which food dehydrators are best, depending on what you’d like them to do.

Everything to Know Before Buying a Food Dehydrator

best food dehydrators
Credit: Home Depot

What to Consider Before Buying a Food Dehydrator

Thinking of buying a food dehydrator? Before making the leap, consider these factors:

Size: The food dehydrators we looked at range in size from 6 to 10 trays. More trays mean more capacity to dehydrate food, which is useful if you want to prepare dried fruit or jerky in bulk (which you very well might want to do, considering the process takes several hours). Of course, a machine with a large capacity will also have a larger footprint, so you’ll also want to consider your storage and counter space when making this decision.

Material: All the recommended products on this list have trays made of plastic or stainless steel. Plastic tends to be less expensive, while stainless steel is pricier and more durable.

Heat distribution: Even heat distribution is key. High-quality dehydrators use a fan to spread heat across the machine. Other less expensive machines use a heating element on the top and bottom of the device, which means you have to rotate the tray as it’s baking. 

Features: Even with a machine, drying food is a lengthy process — up to eight hours when you’re making something like fruit leather. If you don’t want to stand over your dehydrator for the whole time, the ability to set a timer and have the machine switch itself off is a nice touch, but it can make things a little pricier.

How Long Does Dehydrated Food Last?

Dehydrators work by removing a food’s water content, eliminating the elements that would typically make it prone to decay and bacteria while preserving its flavor. This means that, depending on the storage method, dehydrated foods can last a long time — in some cases, up to a full 12 months. (Check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation for more information.)

How Do You Store Dehydrated Food?

To ensure that dehydrated food lasts as long as possible, follow these steps:

  1. Check that the food is fully dry after you dehydrate it. Any stray bit of moisture could cause it to go bad!
  2. Store it in an airtight container like a glass canning jar, vacuum-sealed bags, or freezer bags. If you can, check on it after about a week to make sure there isn’t any moisture in the container. You can also add an oxygen absorber to the container to preserve freshness. 
  3. Keep it in a cool, dry spot that doesn’t have any exposure to direct sunlight. If you have access to a cellar, that’s ideal. Otherwise, a pantry that doesn’t get too much heat or light will also work.

How Do You Dehydrate Food?

Always follow the instructions that come with your food dehydrator. But for the most part, you can follow these guidelines:

  • Fruit and veggies: Prep the food by slicing it or blending it together (if you’re making fruit leather). Then, spread the batch evenly on the sheet, set the machine to about 135 degrees (or whatever your machine recommends), and let it run for about 8 hours. 
  • Meat and seafood: Use lean meats only since extra fat can add unnecessary moisture. Depending on what you’re making, you may need to cook the meat before you dehydrate it. Then, set the temperature to about 165 degrees (or the temperature your dehydrator recommends) and let the device run for about four hours.  
  • Seasoning: Make sure to add seasoning before you put the food in the dehydrator, not after. This ensures that the flavor you want gets baked in — rather than trying to add it to the dried-out food after the fact. (Which, spoiler alert, won’t work too well.)
  • Consider shrinkage: Remember that dehydrators remove the water content from food — and this means that whatever you’re making will lose a considerable amount of volume in the dehydrating process. 

Is a Food Dehydrator the Same as a Freeze Dryer?

Not really. Food dehydrators and freeze dryers use different methods and produce different results. Freeze dryers first flash-freeze the food, then add pressure to its chamber to remove moisture. Food dehydrators use heat to help the moisture in the food evaporate. Both will help preserve foods for long periods of time, but depending on the method you opt for, you may end up with different textures and flavors.

The Best Dehydrated Food Recipes

best food dehydrators
Credit: Culinary Hill

Whether you’re going backpacking or just want to have some dried foods on hand, you can add jerky or fruit leather to some of these yummy recipes below. 

Prices were accurate at time of publication.

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Sara Hendricks is an experienced editor, writer, and product reviewer. She's passionate about all kinds of products, from fitness to fashion to food supplies. You can find her work in Reviewed/USA Today, Refinery29, Insider, and more.

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