The Best Dehydrators
There are three primary types of dehydrators
There are pros and cons to each of the types of dehydrators. I’ll take a look at each of them, and also share with you my top picks for each of the dehydrator types.
Cabinet Style Dehydrators
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Cabinet style dehydrators are favored by many for multiple reasons. The reason that matters the most to me personally is that you can remove some of the trays. That may seem like a downside since fewer trays means you can dehydrate less at a time. In some ways that is a downside, but the upside is that when you remove trays, you have more room in between trays.
This type of flexibility makes it possible to put containers into the dehydrator. If you’re wondering why you’d want to do that, it comes in handy when you want to dehydrate liquids. For instance, if you want to dehydrate something like a bottled sauce, it’s easier to dehydrate it in a shallow container than it is to pour a thin liquid onto a stackable dehydator tray. (Trust me, I’ve made a mess attempting the latter!
In addition to that, you can use cabinet style dehydrators for things other than dehydrating, such as making yogurt and proofing bread.
Here are my top picks for cabinet style dehydrators.
Cosori Premium Stainless Steel Dehydrator
The Cosori Premium Stainless Steel Dehydrator (Amazon) is one of the dehydrator models that I personally have. In fact, if you read my dehydrator articles, you’ll often see me using this particular dehydrator.
What I love about this dehydrator is that the stainless-steel design is not only durable, it’s also very attractive. If you have room on your countertop, this is one that looks great in any kitchen.
I also like that it has stainless steel trays, and the fruit leather trays and mesh trays that come with it are thicker and a higher quality than the accessories that come with other dehydrators. It also has a digital display which makes it very easy to adjust the temperature to precise degrees, and set the time down to the minute.
You can purchase the Cosori here on Amazon.
Excalibur Food Dehydrator
Excalibur Food Dehydrators have long been the Cadillac of home food dehydrators. When I first started dehydrated, I had just a Nesco. When I watched dehydrating videos on YouTube where people used Excalibur Dehydrators and raved about them, I kind of felt like a second class citizen. Now the good news is, if you have “just a Nesco,” you’re in good shape. (I’ll cover those more in the next section.) But the bottom line is that Excalibur dehydrators have a long track history, and an excellent reputation.
The 9-tray model is the most popular, because you can dehydrate a ton of food at the same time. However, the 4-tray is a good option if you’re on a budget and don’t need to dehydrate a ton of food at a time. In fact, the 4-tray Excalibur dehydrator is a great option if you live in a small space, since you can easily put it into a cabinet and only pull it out when you need it.
Another big plus of Excalibur dehydrators is that they’re made in the USA. If you want a cabinet style dehydrator that is made in the USA, then Excalibur is the way to go, since the Cosori is made in China.
Sahara Folding Food Dehydrator
The Sahara folding food dehydrator is super innovative, because it’s a cabinet style dehydrator that folds down to less than 4″ in height. This is amazing for a cabinet style dehydrator, and eliminates my biggest gripe about cabinet style dehydrators, and that is how much space they take. This dehydrator combines the best of both worlds, and is great for those who want a cabinet-style dehydrator and yet don’t have a lot of room to store one.
I do not personally own this yet, but if I’m ever in the market for a new dehydrator and want to get a cabinet style, then this is the one I’d get. While I don’t have one myself, I do have friends that do, and they recommend it. It also has good reviews on Amazon.
Stackable dehydrators are the most popular style of dehydrator. The very first dehydrator I purchased was this Nesco that I picked up on Amazon. I still use and love that dehydrator! In fact, I love it so much that when I decided I wanted to up my dehydrating game, I turned around and bought a second dehydrator of the exact same model!
As the name implies, stackable dehydrators stack, one tray on top of the other. There is a fan and heater at either the bottom or top of the dehydrator, and the heat and air is pushed through each of the trays.
There are pros and cons to stackable dehydrators. The biggest pro is that they are typically cheaper than cabinet style dehydrators. Also, I love how easy it is to store stackable dehydrators. For instance, I keep my two Nesco dehydrators slid under the sofa in my living room.
Before I moved to my current home, I had a very shallow shelf on the bottom of my pantry that wasn’t good for much of anything. I was able to make use of that space by storing my Nesco there.
Pro tip: If you prefer to support a smaller business (instead of buying on Amazon), you can pick up the Nesco that I use from Pleasant Hill Grain.
Stackable Dehydrators are Expandable
I also love that stackable dehydrators are expandable. They generally come with five or six trays, but you can buy more trays. My Nesco (Amazon) comes with five trays and can expand up to 12. I also have my eye on this Nesco dehydrator (also on Amazon) that can expand up to 30 trays! I love the idea of being able to dehydrate 30 trays of food at a time without taking up more counter space.
The biggest con is that you may need to rotate the trays. I say MAY, rather than MUST because the food dehydrates just fine even if you never rotate the trays. However, the food on the tray that is closest to the heat source and fan will dehydrate faster than the trays further away.
There are several brands of stackable dehydrators, but I have personally only used Nesco stackable dehydrators. They work great, and as a bonus, are still made in the USA. Go here to visit the Nesco store on Amazon.
Non-electric dehydrators are great for anyone living off grid, or for those who simply want to use less electricity. They also make it possible to dehydrate food during power outages.
Non-electric dehydrators come in two basic types. The first type looks more like a container, and has more solid construction. An example is this Dehytray solar food dehydrator available on Amazon. It’s a little pricey, but if you’re serious about dehydrating off grid, the Dehytray is the way to go. Generally speaking, I’d be nervous about dehydrating jerky in a non-electric dehydrator, but it’s possible and safe with this particular dehydrator.
The second type of non-electric dehydrator is a simple fabric and mesh hanging dehydrator, such as this one on Amazon. These are about as low tech and basic as you can go with food dehydrators, but they get the job done.
The mesh keeps the bugs out, and also allows for air to circulate. You don’t need sun for them to work – heat is enough. These are great for anyone living in a home or apartment with a balcony or patio, where you can hang up the dehydrator.
The main thing to keep in mind with these non-electric, solar dehydrators is that they work best in dry climates. If you live in an area with a lot of humidity, they may not work very well, but if you live in a moderately or very dry climate, solar dehydrators may be the best option.