We’ve dried a range of foods in rectangular and round dehydrators and found which do the best job and how easy they are to use.
Overall score breakdown
Our overall score for food dehydrators includes:
We tested each dehydrator’s ability to make apple chips, beef jerky, kale chips, and semi-dried tomatoes.
Ease of use
We assessed each dehydrator to see how easy they are to assemble, slide trays (drawer style models), view food during operation, use controls and settings, read displays and labels, clean, and store.
About our test
We follow manufacturer instructions wherever possible and check on the food periodically, rotating trays if necessary to ensure even drying.
We check how evenly the food dries, and the resulting appearance, texture, colour, and flavour.
To create apple chips, we core and slice apples into 1.5mm thick slices. The slices are arranged in a single layer and dried at 60°C or medium. They’re done when they’re crisp. They should have a concentrated sweet flavour with minimal loss in colour and size.
Beef jerky requires a particular emphasis on even drying to prevent bacteria and mould growing in areas that remain moist. We slightly freeze the beef for easier slicing into 5mm pieces, then marinate them overnight in a soy sauce mixture.
The beef slices are placed on the trays in a single layer, and the dehydrator is set to 70°C or high. The jerky is ready when it's firm but pliable, with no red areas or moisture when squeezed or broken open. It should have a concentrated beef flavour.
For kale chips, we lay out kale leaves in a single layer, and set the dehydrator to 50°C–60°C or medium. The result should be crisp, with a vibrant colour and savoury kale flavour.
To make semi-dried tomatoes, we cut tomatoes into quarters or sixths, arrange the slices in a single layer, and set the dehydrator to 50°C–58°C or medium. The result should be dry to touch, but plump and pliable, with concentrated colour and flavour.
We've tested 5 food dehydrators.
Find the right one for you.