The purpose of this buying guide is to help you find the best food dehydrator for you and your lifestyle.

Here are links to the complete guide:

In part 1 we talked about the many uses and benefits of home food dehydrators.

In part 2 we discussed the main types of food dehydrators.

Here, we will briefly discuss some of the physical design considerations you will want to know when goingn over food dehydrator reviews.

Let’s go!

How To Buy A Food Dehydrator

Here Are Some Physical Features You Will Want To Consider


Knowing the dimension of the unit you will purchase is necessary to estimate whether or not your kitchen counter can sufficiently provide it enough space for storage or display. You also have the option to choose a countertop model or a freestanding machine. Apart from storage issues, dimension will also roughly provide you an idea about how much items it can hold and store.

Weight and Portability

The majority of us will not have the dehydrator out 24×7. So storage as well as being able to move it around the house may come into play.

Material and Quality

Of course, when you want to purchase anything, you want to ensure that it will serve you for a good period of time. For this reason, it is very necessary to check the food dehydrator’s built and construction to ensure that it is made of quality material that will last. You have the option to choose between plastic or stainless steel models. Some people may have issues with plastic’s reactivity with heat but purchasing one which is FDA-approved practically assures its safe use.

Drying Method

This goes back to How To Buy A Food Dehydrator: Part 2 where you have the ordinary stacked dehydrator, the higher quality stack dehydrator, and the professional or commercial food dehydrator. The main difference is how fast the drying takes place, and how well the drying mechanism works. In some basic food dehydrators, you may have to even rotate the trays or the food on the tray if the air is not circulated wholly.

So knowing the average drying times for the favorite snacks you want to make will be a big factor in choosing your dehydrator.

As an example, the Nesco American Harvest Food Dehydrator (pictured left) has a drying time for fruits of approximately 12 to 15 hours compared to the more commercial-level dehydrator L’Equip 306200 (pictured right) which does the same work in half the time (and also costs nearly four times as much) (Granted it also has a much bigger capacity).

Nesco American Harvest FD-37 Food Dehydrator Pic    L-Equipe 306200 Food Dehydrator Pic

Fan Noise

One thing you will see (or should see) is that as the dehydrator gets more expensive, not only does the fan facility and drying mechanism work faster, it will likely work more quietly as well.

Tray Capacity

Consider how many trays you are more likely to use. Also, check the efficiency of these trays in terms of capacity, especially the available area for drying and how well the slices can fit in . You may also prefer a device which allows you to expand your unit’s function by accommodating additional trays but, as earlier mentioned, make sure that your device’s wattage can still manage to support this.

Remember capacity relates directly to how much food you can dehydrate at one time. As an example, the Nesco American Harvest FD 61WHC (pictured left) trays are 13 inches in diameter and circle shaped and would fit about 20 medium sized apricots. The more professional food dehydrator TSM Harvest Food Dehydrator (pictured right) has trays of 13 inches by 18 inches, almost twice as big.

Nesco American Harvest FD-61WHC Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator Pic    TSM Products Harvest Food Dehydrator Pic

Tray Design

Check how big the gap is between the drying trays and if the trays have central holes. While holes in the center can make more consistent drying, it also significantly decreases drying area. A square design allows easier spreading of some food items and positioning of large slices of fruits and vegetables.

Access to Trays

This is another essential feature which you need to highly consider for your food dehydrator. You will need an easy means to access your food tray when setting up your items, when checking the drying progress and when removing your completely dehydrated food for storage. Some find it more convenient to access trays with a shelf dehydrator in which trays can be pulled out individually just like a conventional oven. This is the reverse with stackable dehydrators which will require you to lift off all the trays located on top of the one which you want to access, but if you only intend to purchase a unit with few numbers of trays, this may hardly be a cause of nuisance.

Heat Source Enclosure

Check whether or not the food dehydrator’s heat source is enclosed, especially for the stackable type. Heat source enclosure ensures that potential food dripping will not access your dehydrating system.


Be on the lookout for:

Part 4: Other Considerations

Where we discuss other factors for you to think about when buying the best food dehydrator for your lifestyle!

Here are links to the complete guide:

See you next time!

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