So you have decided to buy a food dehydrator and may be wondering what is the best food dehydrator I can buy? There are numerous models and types out on the market and it can make finding the best food dehydrator difficult. Furthermore, there are tons of food dehydrator reviews out there to add to the confusion. Hopefully this quick guide will give you an idea on what to look for and help you choose the best food dehydrator that fits your needs.

The first thing to understand is that there are two different types of food dehydrators:

Stackable Tray Dehydrators And Shelf Tray Dehydrators (Article Continued Below Chart)

ModelPriceSizeHeating ElementStackable or Shelftype
Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator
 
Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator
$20519 x 17 x 12.5 inches600 wattsShelf
Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator
 
Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator
$6813.8 x 22.1 x 13.9 inches600 wattsStackable
Nesco American Harvest FD-61 Snackmaster Dehydrator
 
Nesco American Harvest FD-61 Snackmaster Dehydrator
$6513 x 11 x 13 inches400 wattsStackable
Waring Pro DHR30 Professional Dehydrator
 
Waring Pro DHR30 Professional Dehydrator
$6014.7 x 12.4 x 11.8 inches400 wattsStackable
Salton DH1454 Collapsible Dehydrator
 
Salton DH1454 Collapsible Dehydrator
$5513 x 13 x 8.3 inches245 wattsStackable

How They Work

The primary difference is how they go about dehydrating food. Stackable tray dehydrators look like pots. With food going on each layer to be dehydrated. The heating unit that dries the food out is almost always located on the bottom of the unit. The best food dehydrators will have the heating unit designed in a way that distributes the heat evenly and avoids overheating the bottom tray only.

Shelf tray dehydrators look like your average oven. The trays come out of the front like shelves in a drawer. The heating unit is almost always located in the back of dehydrator; ensuring the food is dehydrated evenly. Specific food dehydrator reviews should mention if the heating element does not conform to one of these standards.

Cost and Size

In terms of cost, Shelf tray dehydrators cost far more than Stackable tray ones. But the trade-off is that Shelf tray versions offer far more cooking space and cooking options. To give you an idea just how big the difference is. A Nesco brand stackable tray dehydrator, one of the best food dehydrators for that particular type, runs about $70 and has 3 cooking racks. A STX Dehydra brand shelf tray dehydrator goes for about $250, and offers 11 cooking racks. As you can imagine stackable tray dehydrators tend to be smaller and thus if you have limited countertop space, you should keep that in mind when making a purchase.

Durability

Now normally your food dehydrator should not be taking a lot of abuse. But some of us are clumsy and over time your dehydrator or its parts could suffer scratches, dents, etc. So when looking for the best food dehydrator, you will want to keep the materials it’s made of in mind when making a purchase. Some shelf type and many stackable tray dehydrators will actually use plastic shelves. While they will be FDA tested and are in no way harmful to use; some people do not like using plastic in their dehydrator. Thankfully, a large amount of shelf type dehydrators do use metal shelves.

Overall

In the end the best food dehydrator will be based upon your own personal preference. Consider the pros and cons and pick the model that best suits your particular needs. I have written numerous food dehydrator reviews to help you in this decision; I hope they are helpful.