The 9 Best Food Dehydrators of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

The Magic Mill Food Dehydrator topped our expert tests.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Best Food Dehydrators

Food & Wine / Victor Protazio

Dehydrating food, from vegetables and fruits to meat and fish, is one of our oldest food preservation technologies. Christina Ward, the Master Food Preserver for Wisconsin and author of Preservation: The Art and Science of Canning, Fermentation, and Dehydration, says, "dehydrating — removing the moisture from food and thereby eliminating one of the elements needed for bacterial growth — is a good method to preserve food while retaining maximum nutritional benefits."

Using a dehydrator opens up a world of culinary possibilities to you, and is a space-saving, long-lasting way to preserve food from your garden or farmers market while it's at its peak. It's also great for using up dried herbs and seasonings like ramp powder, and you can get creative and use it for everything from citrus powder to fruit roll-ups.

Our expert product testers evaluated the best food dehydrators on the market, putting each through a series of tests and factoring in airflow, heating elements, size, weight, and overall design. Based on their findings, we deemed the Magic Mill Food Dehydrator the best overall pick. Our full list of the best food dehydrators features our top choices for beginners and professionals, plus the best models for preserving jerky, herbs, and produce.

Best Overall

Magic Mill MFD-7100 Food Dehydrator Machine

4.9
Magic Mill Food Dehydrator Machine

Amazon

Pros: It's an easy-to-use, reasonably priced, and high-performing machine that dries food evenly and features an automatic shut-off and timer.

Cons: It has to run for 30 minutes before first use.

The Magic Mill dehydrator received top marks across the board in our tests for ease of use, design, performance, ease of cleaning, and noise. The Magic Mill is quiet, simple to use, and can be thoroughly cleaned so the food you dehydrate in one batch doesn't linger into the next one. It even comes with a cookbook and a free silicone oven mitt.

Our testers loved that the door was easy to open and stays open while the dehydrator is being filled up, as well as its automatic shut-off and 'keep warm' feature. The trays are easy to slide in and out, and the see-through door helps you track your food's progress without opening the whole machine up. The trays are dishwasher safe, too, making cleanup a breeze. Most importantly, it does a good job producing high-quality food. One tester loved its even drying across all the dehydrator racks, its even and consistent temperature, and the fact that fruit leather didn't crack or stick.

Price at time of publish: $190

  • Temperature Range: 95 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Weight: 15 pounds 11 ounces
  • Dimensions: 18 x 14 x 13 inches
  • Number of Trays: 7
  • Materials: Plastic and metal
Magic Mill Food Dehydrator
Courtesy of Food & Wine / Victor Protazio

Best Splurge

Tribest Sedona Express Digital Food Dehydrator

4.8
Tribest Sedona Express Digital Food Dehydrator

Amazon

Pros: It's easy to use and efficient with a very quiet motor.

Cons: It's heavier than some models and more expensive than other models on our list.

Our experts loved the Tribest for ease of use and cleaning, which rated as highly as the Magic Mill, as well as its design and quiet motor. One tester said it's so quiet that the sound "just fades into the background." Our testers also loved the design, especially the dishwasher-safe trays. The Sedona has a large capacity without being bulky, and one tester notes that "this one is probably one of the most aesthetically pleasing with a clean and simple design. I wouldn't hate leaving this out on the counter." The only downside is that it is taller than it is wide, so it may not fit inside some cabinets.

Price at time of publish: $550

  • Temperature Range: 77 to 167 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Weight: 20.4 pounds
  • Dimensions: 17.5 x 12 x 14 inches
  • Number of Trays: 11
  • Materials: Plastic and metal
Tribest Sedona
Courtesy of Food & Wine / Victor Protazio

Best Value

Hamilton Beach Digital Food Dehydrator

4.5
hamilton-beach-dehydrator

Courtesy of Target

Pros: It's an affordable machine with a timer as well as an automatic shutoff.

Cons: Airflow is not as even as some other models.

Hamilton Beach is known for making dependable products for buyers on a budget, and this dehydrator is no exception. Our expert testers were especially impressed by how easy it was both to use and to clean.

The trays and lid are all dishwasher safe, unlike other models which only have dishwasher-safe trays (or no dishwasher-safe components at all). It has a medium footprint and capacity, making it a good choice for kitchens that don't have a ton of extra counter space to spare. Our testers did wish it was see-through like some other models. And, you may want to rotate your food among the trays as it dries: The bottom dries a bit more quickly than the top trays.

Price at time of publish: $80

  • Temperature Range: 100 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Weight: 5 pounds 13.5 ounces
  • Dimensions: 10.5 x 13 x 11 inches
  • Number of Trays: 5
  • Materials: Plastic and metal
Hamilton Beach Digital Food Dehydrator
Courtesy of Food & Wine / Victor Protazio

Best Compact

Brod & Taylor Sahara Folding Food Dehydrator

4.2
Brod & Taylor Folding Dehydrator

Amazon

Pros: It's a durable, well-designed dehydrator that folds into a storage case to fit into small cabinets.

Cons: It takes up more counter space when unfolded than some of our vertical models.

If you don't have a lot of storage space, Brod & Taylor's dehydrator is the one for you. Our testers noted that, while many machines occupy vertical space, this one is wide, so it will need some real estate once it's set up. Provided you have the counter space for it, however, storing the Brod & Taylor is a breeze. "It does completely collapse and fold into a compact carrying case for storage," one tester said.

The trays are dishwasher safe, and our testers also liked their design. One tester noted that it "has a simple, utilitarian look to it and feels durable." While most dehydrators come ready to go out of the box, this one has to be put together when you unpack it from its carrying case, and you'll need to refer to the instructions to set it up.

Price at time of publish: $395

  • Temperature Range: 86 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Weight: 23 pounds
  • Dimensions: 17.7 x 13.2 x 12.1 inches
  • Number of Trays: 7
  • Materials: Plastic, glass, and metal
Brod and Taylor SAHARA Folding Food Dehydrator
Courtesy of Food & Wine / Victor Protazio

Best for Jerky

Cosori Premium Stainless Steel Dehydrator

4.9
Cosori Food Dehydrator

Amazon

Pros: It evenly dries jerky, it's easy to use and clean, and it doesn't take up too much counter space.

Cons: It has to be run empty before first use.

Homemade jerky is much better than many store-bought brands, which can use cheap cuts or artificial flavorings and colorings. By making jerky at home, you can control what goes in it and experiment with different flavors using different marinades and seasonings. Similarly, homemade fruit leather is noticeably better than anything from the store, and it's a great opportunity to use overripe or blemished fruit rather than throwing it in your compost bin.

The Cosori rose to the top in our jerky tests, making jerky with great texture and flavor. Our testers were especially impressed with its quiet operation and ease of use and cleaning. It even comes with an extra fruit roll sheet. The controls are easy to use, it dries evenly, and comes with a special fruit leather tray. Our testers also loved its practicality: "This is a nice, compact medium capacity machine, not taking up too much space on a countertop. The door opens and closes nicely from the side, and will stay open when you are moving trays in and out of the machine. The front door has a glass window so you can see the contents easily while dehydrating."

Price at time of publish: $160

  • Temperature Range: 95 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Weight: 23.1 pounds
  • Dimensions: 17.7 x 13.2 x 12.1 inches
  • Number of Trays: 6
  • Materials: Metal
COSORI Food Dehydrator
Courtesy of Food & Wine / Victor Protazio

Best for Fruits and Vegetables

Samson "Silent" Dehydrator

Samson Silent Dehydrator

Amazon

Also available at Walmart.

Pros: It's easy to use and quiet with horizontal airflow for even drying.

Cons: It doesn't include extras like a cookbook or additional trays or mats like some other models.

We've all been there: An over-enthusiastic trip down the produce aisle or at the farmer's market leaves you with more fruits and veggies than you know what to do with. Don't despair; turn to your dehydrator. Dried fruits and vegetables pack a big flavor punch, store well, and are great for seasoning blends and garnishes as well as packing into risotto and stews.

Our testers loved the Samson's design, ease of use, and quiet operation. Though it is a bit harder to clean than other models, we found it made delicious, snackable treats from whatever fruit and vegetable we threw at it. It's not too tall, so it can fit easily into a cabinet, and one tester said the metal trays "feel like they would be more durable than the plastic trays in other models." The one downside is that it's harder to clean than some of our other top picks: the metal racks have some crevices and ridges and are not dishwasher safe.

Price at time of publish: $125

  • Temperature Range: 95 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Weight: 12 pounds 11 ounces
  • Dimensions: 13.5 x 12 x 17.5 inches
  • Number of Trays: 6
  • Materials: Plastic and stainless steel
Samson "Silent" Dehydrator
Courtesy of Food & Wine / Victor Protazio

Best for Herbs

Nesco FD-1040 Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator

4.2
Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator

Amazon

Pros: It's simple to use and can be customized with additional trays to suit your needs.

Cons: Round trays are less efficient than rectangular ones.

Herbs are the perfect dehydration project regardless of experience level, and people love to have dried herbs on hand. What novices likely don't know: you want a dehydrator that preserves an herb's essential oils and other flavoring compounds, rather than one that blasts them at too high a temperature, which can damage the fragile plants.

We liked that this dehydrator is customizable. Using the four included trays keeps it more compact, but for bigger dehydrating projects you can expand it up to 20 trays. It also remains cool to the touch during operation, and the machine is easily opened with a handle on the lid. The round trays mean that longer stalks of herbs will need to be cut into pieces to dry efficiently. And, our testers say that even though it is technically dishwasher safe, you'll want to remove the trays from the dishwasher before the drying cycle. Or, you can just hand wash them: this was the only model our testers said was "very easy to clean by hand."

Price at time of publish: $160

  • Temperature Range: 90 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Weight: 8 pounds 9 ounces
  • Dimensions: 15.5 x 15.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Number of Trays: 4 (can be expanded to 20; extra trays sold separately)
  • Materials: Plastic
Nesco Gardenmaster
Courtesy of Food & Wine / Victor Protazio

Best Entry-Level

NESCO Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator

4.7
Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator

Amazon

Also available at Kohl's.

Pros: It's a simple plug-and-play dehydrator. It comes with bonus items like jerky seasoning and fruit roll mats to help you get started right away.

Cons: Vertical airflow makes it less efficient than some other models, and fewer presets mean the temperature is less customizable than other models.

If you haven't used a dehydrator before, the Snackmaster is an affordable entrance into the world of dehydrating food. Our testers had lots of good things to say about its design and ease of use, noting the "round stackable trays that fit together well, capped by a lid that encompasses the fan and controls." Another said, "this machine was easy to use – just plug in and go."

One tester noted that the Snackmaster is a "nice and compact little machine" and the top, which houses the motor and fan, is easy to lift off and remove. It only has one dial with preset temperatures and no timer, though, so it's less customizable than other models. Our testers did note that its round shape makes it less efficient to load, and that the temperature gauge and airflow weren't quite as good as some other models, but overall it is a fantastic plug-and-play model for the first-time dehydrator. Plus, the trays are dishwasher safe on the top rack.

Price at time of publish: $85

  • Temperature Range: 95 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Weight: 6 pounds 13.5 ounces
  • Dimensions: 13.75 x 22.13 x 13.8 inches
  • Number of Trays: 5
  • Materials: Plastic
Nesco Snackmaster Pro
Courtesy of Food & Wine / Victor Protazio

Best Professional Grade

LEM Products 1154 Stainless Steel Professional 10-Tray Digital Dehydrator

default image

Pros: It uses horizontal airflow for efficiency. It's sturdy and durable with a stainless steel design.

Cons: It's a heavy machine that you can't easily move. It also requires assembly.

If you're ready to take your dehydrating projects to the next level, or if you're dehydrating high volumes of food for a commercial kitchen, the LEM Big Bite may be the choice for you. It is larger than many other dehydrators and uses a lot of counter space (and cabinet space). Our testers found that the easiest way to load the dehydrator was to remove the door, which comes off entirely.

Don't let its large size intimidate you, though. Our testers still found this model to be easy to use. "The digital pad on the front is easy to use to set the time and temp, but there are also preset buttons to use as well. It is very quiet compared to other models," one said. It also came up to temperature quickly. Unlike many models that have a fan on the top or bottom, the fan for this model is at the back of the machine, so air is circulated across the top of all the trays. The only downside we saw was that this model requires assembly, and our testers had to refer to the manual often while putting it together.

Price at time of publish: $360

  • Temperature Range: 90 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Weight: 34.7 pounds
  • Dimensions: 22 x 20.3 x 20.3 inches
  • Number of Trays: 10
  • Materials: Stainless steel and chrome

Our Favorite

The best dehydrator for you is one that fits your budget and the ways you plan to use it in your kitchen. If you plan to dehydrate a variety of foods or want room to grow your practice, consider a model like the LEM Big Bite or our top pick, the Magic Mill. If you want to just dehydrate a few herbs and veggies from time to time, an affordable and compact dehydrator should work great for you.

best food dehydrators
Courtesy of Food & Wine / Victor Protazio

The Tests

Our expert testers tried out 23 different dehydrators with tests for herbs, beef jerky, and fruit leather. They took notes on each machine's design, ease of use, ease of cleaning, and overall performance to determine which dehydrators were the best of the best. The physical attributes (size, noise level, capacity, special features) all helped separate the top performers from those that didn't make the cut.

Factors to Consider

Heating Elements

"A high-quality dehydrator must have a fan to ensure airflow throughout the machine. People are often surprised to see that the heating element in many models is a lightbulb. Dehydrators work because circulated heat evaporates the moisture in the food. However, cheap models without a fan can still work much more slowly and inconsistently, and usually only once before the heating element burns out," Ward says.

If you do decide to go with a model that has a top or bottom heating element, you'll want to rotate the trays occasionally for even drying, according to Ward, who would opt for a model with the heating element on top.

Airflow

Rear-mounted heating elements are ideal for even temperature and air distribution, according to Ward. "Because airflow is key to success, look for dehydrators that allow enough space for the trays. What makes dehydration work is time, airflow, and heat. If you add extra layers or overcrowd the trays, you impede the airflow and overtax the heat capacity, resulting in uneven dehydrating and, in the worst case, bacterial activity before sufficient moisture is removed," she says. This is something to bear in mind with the Nesco Gardenmaster: If you buy extra trays, make sure you aren't overcrowding your food.

Size

The capacity and physical footprint of the dehydrator are also deciding factors for how well one of these machines will perform (and fit) in your kitchen space. Depending on how many things you intend to dehydrate at once, that can impact which machine is right for you.

best food dehydrators
Courtesy of Food & Wine / Victor Protazio

Pro Panel Q+A

What are the benefits of using a food dehydrator?

Dehydrating food helps to reduce moisture, which prevents spoilage, thus preserving your food. "Other benefits are ease of storage and transportation," says Ward. Some foods, like dried peas or mushrooms, are not necessarily meant to be eaten as-is but rather to be used as ingredients. In these cases, added to a soup or another dish and rehydrated. "Finally, there are end-use foods that can be prepared with dehydration. Jerky, of course, but the very popular with kids fruit roll-ups are easily made at home. And with less added sugars and no chemical preservatives," says Ward.

What foods can you make in a dehydrator?

Ward has dozens of ideas to share when it comes to dehydrators: "Dehydrators are fantastic for making fruit leathers and jerkies (as finished, edible foods) and dehydrated fruits into 'chips' (bananas, pineapples, apples, strawberries, pears, etc.). Fruits and vegetables can also be chopped and dehydrated together for specific uses. Mixed berries can all be done together, then stored, then added by the handful to yogurt, cereals, whatever! One of the more useful things to make is dehydrated mirepoix. You can make a batch that will last for an entire soup season without having to chop vegetables each time," she says.

"Vegetables like green beans, shucked peas, shucked corn, and sliced or cubed potatoes can also be dehydrated and stored for future reconstitution. Keep in mind that the reconstituted vegetables will not have the same mouthfeel as fresh ones, so dehydrated and reconstituted items are best used as an ingredient for a recipe that will be cooked or baked, like soups, stews, and casseroles," says Ward.

"Dried herbs, of course. There again, you can make spice blends with dehydrated leaves or take it a step further and grind the dehydrated leaves into a powder. Also useful is dehydrating a fruit or vegetable completely, then grinding it into a powder. A great way to add a ka-pow of extra flavor to whatever. Add powdered tomato to red sauce and powdered apple to pie. And my favorite work-around for canning pumpkin butter: dehydrate pumpkin, grind it to powder, add spices as wished, then add to apple sauce and cook," says Ward.

How long do dehydrated foods last?

"The key to keeping dehydrated foods is storing the item in an air-tight container. The longer you keep out the air and moisture, the longer the food lasts. Dried foods should also be kept in a cool-ish (meaning temperature consistent) dark space. The official recommendation from the Center for Home Food Preservation is one year," says Ward says.

"One technical thing you may want to note is that storage length is also determined by how much moisture is left in the food item. We don't tend to dry beef jerky until 100% moisture is gone – enough to keep it safe but enough moisture remaining to transmit flavors and make it chewy. Everyone is a little different as to what kind of mouthfeel they like. The general rule: the more moisture the food has, the shorter the shelf life," she says.

Some storage ideas include canning jars with any type of screw-on lid, double-row zip-top plastic bags, and tight-fitting lidded plastic or glass containers.

What Didn't Make the List

Presto Dehydro Digital Electric Food Dehydrator ($100)

One tester said, "I think this is a pretty machine. Looks clean, and I like the clear top so you can see what the contents look like in the machine (at least in the top tray)." The trays also fit nicely together, and fingertip handles help give you a more confident grip as you add and remove them. Ultimately, it didn't make our list because it wasn't as effective at handling fruit leather as some other models: the leather itself had ridges in it because of the shape of the trays, and stuck to the tray, making cleaning more difficult.

Gourmia Premium Electric Food Dehydrator Machine ($140)

Our testers were stuck by the design of this dehydrator, saying "this is a small machine with a small footprint, but the capacity feels better/larger than some of the other small models." It also dried fairly evenly, more so than many compact models we tested. Ultimately, it did not make the list because the controls are very basic and because the racks are not dishwasher safe. "There is just one knob with various temperature ranges - not very adjustable to a specific temperature," said one tester.

L'Equip FilterPro 6 Tray Food Dehydrator ($135)

This is a medium sized machine with a medium footprint, so has a larger capacity than some of the compact models we tested. Unlike some models, it is entirely opaque, so you can't check on your food without entirely opening the dehydrator to see inside. The trays are also not dishwasher safe and would be hard to clean in a smaller sink, and our testers noted that this dehydrator also does not dry as evenly as some others.

Aroma Housewares Professional 6 Tray Food Dehydrator ($150)

This dehydrator is quieter than some other models, and our testers found its trays were easier to wash by hand than some models. The trays slide out easily, and the holes in the trays are well-spaced. Ultimately, it did not make our list because it only has a temperature gauge, and does not have a timer. Our testers also would have liked the plastic door to stay open during loading, rather than having to be removed.

Our Expertise

Julia Skinner, Ph.D., is a writer, culinary educator, avid gardener, and food preserver, and author of Our Fermented Lives. She writes about and teaches fermentation and food preservation through her business, Root, and through her newsletter.

Christina Ward is an author, editor, and the Master Food Preserver for Wisconsin. She is the author of Preservation: The Art and Science of Canning, Fermentation, and Dehydration.

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