The Best Food Dehydrators of 2024, Tested by the Taste of Home Kitchen

Updated: Feb. 27, 2024

Beat grocery store prices by making your own treats with one of these best food dehydrators. Our Test Kitchen tried all the top brands and models to help you choose the right food dehydrator for you.

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The Best Food Dehydrators Of 2024MAGGIE KNOEBEL/TASTE OF HOME

Sure, you could rely on expensive, store-bought veggie crisps, beef jerky and dried fruit—or you can invest in a food dehydrator of your own for a much healthier and less expensive DIY treat. Electric food dehydrators speed up the natural drying process, thanks to carefully controlled temperature regulation and advanced air circulation.

They might look more like a NASA project than something that sits on your kitchen island cart, but once you’ve tried homemade dried snacks, you’ll never go back. With so many food dehydrators available, it can be difficult to narrow down the top performers—and ultimately the one best suited for your personal home needs.

That’s why our Test Kitchen team tested the top food dehydrator brands and models side by side to evaluate key factors such as performance, thoroughness, drying duration and ease of use—to help you make the right choice for your needs. We also took into consideration various buyer needs when ranking each model. So whether you’re looking for a more compact unit or larger capacity, or needing something more straightforward or with all the bells and whistles, we’ve identified a food dehydrator just for you.

Here are the best food dehydrator options tested and approved by our Test Kitchen to help you make everything from delicious healthy sweet snacks to homemade dog treats and garnishes.

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Cosori Food Dehydrator Maggie Knoebel/Taste of Home

Best Overall Food Dehydrator

Cosori Food Dehydrator

Topping the list, the Cosori 6-Tray Food Dehydrator is my favorite model in the mid-range price set. It’s the right size to get a lot done, but not so large it’s a burden to your shelves. Plus, its sleek design will blend in with most modern kitchens.

You can see the food as it’s dehydrating, and thanks to a convenient timer—which you can set to work in 30-minute increments for up to 48 hours—you can easily walk away and not have to worry about it (check out these other kitchen appliances that practically cook for you). It offers precision drying from 95 to 165 degrees and features six stainless steel trays, a mesh screen, a fruit roll sheet and a recipe cookbook. The test food all came out nice, crispy and with good flavor, and the accessories and features make it worth the extra money.

Temp control: 95-165°F | Timer: Up to 48 hrs | Capacity: 6.5 sq. ft.
Tray material: Stainless Steel | Weight: 22 lbs. |Dimensions: 17 x 13 x 12 in. 

Pros

  • Digital control panel allows for more precise temp and time
  • Stainless steel trays are dishwasher safe (10 tray option also available)
  • Practical size with sleek design for countertop
  • Beginner-friendly and easy to use (no tray rotation necessary)
  • Includes mesh herb screen, fruit leather tray and recipe cookbook
  • Relatively affordable and quiet

Cons

  • Not ideal for tiny kitchens (but fortunately, it is stackable!)

Test Food Cook Times/Temperature

  • Apples: 5.5 hrs at 145°F
  • Tomatoes: 9 hrs at 125°F
  • Jerky: 6 hrs at 165°F

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Ronco Food Dehydrator Maggie Knoebel/Taste of Home

Best Budget/Best for Beginners

Ronco Food Dehydrator

At such an affordable price, I was pleasantly wowed by the Ronco 5-Tray Food Dehydrator. Not only did it get the job done, but its low-and-slow drying method worked out better than I thought it would–particularly with the dried apples and jerky I tested.

The Ronco dehydrator’s convenient, stackable design means you can dehydrate as much or as little as you’d like. And although it’s compact, I was pleased to find that it still fits several portions of sliced-up food on each tray.

Great for beginners, the Ronco dehydrator features no confusing dials or knobs–simply plug it in and reference the manual for proper drying times. The only downside is that the manual says to rotate the trays every 2-4 hours, which can be a little difficult considering the drying process takes so long. But with over 900 five-star ratings on Amazon, this added step is by no means a deal breaker.

Temp control: None | Timer: None | Capacity: 4.75 sq. ft.
Tray material: Plastic | Weight: 5 lbs. |Dimensions: 13 x 13 x 11 in.

Pros

  • Wallet-friendly
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Straightforward and beginner-friendly
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Very quiet

Cons

  • No temp controls or timer
  • Tray rotation required
  • Took the longest out of all models (but the low-and-slow method worked great for the final product!)

Test Food Cook Times

  • Apples: 19 hrs
  • Tomatoes: 11 hrs
  • Jerky: 24 hrs

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Nesco Food Dehydrator Maggie Knoebel/Taste of Home

Best Upgrade for Experienced Dehydrators

Nesco Food Dehydrator

The Nesco 7-Tray Food Dehydrator comes in at a very close second to our best overall-ranked Cosori model. Although it offers the same 6.5 sq. ft. of drying space as the Cosori, it boasts a lighter and more compact footprint, making it a great addition to any high-tech chef’s countertop. It would also make a worthy investment for anyone looking to trade in their basic dehydrator for more bells and whistles.

The Nesco dehydrator features a sleek stainless steel frame with a rear-mounted fan and a front window with interior light for easy viewing. Setting the unit up was very simple–I just set the temperature and time, and it dings and turns off when finished. No tray rotation is required. The tested food was well-dried and had a nice crunch and good flavor.

Toha24 Nesco Food Dehydrator Maggie Knoebel 02 Pkedit 1Maggie Knoebel/Taste of Home

Temp control: 90-160°F | Timer: Up to 24 hrs | Capacity: 6.5 sq. ft.
Tray material: Stainless Steel | Weight: 16 lbs. |Dimensions: 16 x 14 x 12 in.

Pros

  • Digital control panel allows for more precise temp and time
  • Stainless steel trays are dishwasher safe
  • Practical size with sleek design for countertop
  • Beginner-friendly and easy to use (no tray rotation necessary)
  • Includes mesh herb screen, fruit leather tray and guidebook
  • Very quiet

Cons

  • Pricier than similar models
  • Guidebook was not very accurate (and provided long drying time ranges)

Test Food Cook Times

  • Apples: 5 hrs at 130°F
  • Tomatoes: 7 hrs at 120°F
  • Jerky: 4 hrs at 145°F

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Weston Food Dehydrator Maggie Knoebel/Taste of Home

Most Compact Food Dehydrator

Weston Food Dehydrator

With so many appliances taking up space in the kitchen, the storage-friendly Weston 6-Tray Food Dehydrator is an underrated must-have. And although it is small, it is mighty–getting the job done in one day.

Weighing in at just 8 pounds and about half the price of most other models on this list, the Weston still comes equipped with all the bells and whistles, making it the perfect gift for any foodie. It features adjustable temperature settings, an adjustable timer (up to 48 hours) and an automatic shutoff.  It also comes with a mesh tray for drying herbs and a sheet for fruit leather.

This quiet machine is easy to use and easy to clean, equipped with six dishwasher-safe trays. My only recommendation? Rotate the trays throughout the drying process for a more uniform drying process.

Temp control: 100-160°F | Timer: Up to 48 hrs | Capacity: 5 sq. ft.
Tray material: Plastic | Weight: 8 lbs. |Dimensions: 12 x 10 x 15 in.

Pros

  • Small, compact unit
  • Digital temperature controls with timer and automatic shutoff
  • Includes mesh sheet and fruit leather tray
  • Wallet-friendly
  • Quiet

Cons

  • Clear lid only allows you to view top tray
  • Drying is not even (tray rotation recommended)

Test Food Cook Times

  • Apples: 8 hrs at 135°F
  • Tomatoes: 10 hrs at 125°F
  • Jerky: 7 hrs at 160°F

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Excalibur Performance Series Food Dehydrator Maggie Knoebel/Taste of Home

Best Large Capacity Food Dehydrator

Excalibur Performance Series Food Dehydrator

Whether you’re feeding big crowds or just have a large, busy family, the professional-grade Excalibur Performance Series 10-Tray Food Dehydrator offers more than enough space to dry dozens of items at a time. This design-forward, 10-tray unit offers 16 sq. ft. of drying space for all your favorite foods.

The machine has a timer that can be set up to 80 hours and an adjustable temperature range (85-165 degrees) that reviewers love. The low-temperature range is safe enough to use on the most delicate fruits. Pro tip: Keep fruit fresh inside these genius produce keepers until it’s time to dehydrate.

At 27 pounds, this unit is the biggest and heaviest of the models I tested. But its sleek design, innovative LED touchscreen panel and advanced heat distribution technology make the Excalibur food dehydrator the perfect addition to any enterprising homesteader’s kitchen. I especially liked the front and top viewing windows, and the progress bar that lets you track your cooking progress.

Toha24 Excalibur Performance Series Food Dehydrator Maggie Knoebel 02 Pkedit 1Maggie Knoebel/Taste of Home

Temp control: 85-165°F | Timer: Up to 80 hrs | Capacity: 16 sq. ft.
Tray material: Stainless Steel | Weight: 27 lbs. |Dimensions: 20 x 16 x 17 in.

Pros

  • 16 sq. ft. of drying space (double that of any other model tested)
  • Advanced drying technology ensures consistent air circulation and even heat distribution
  • LED display for temperature control and timer (up to 80 hours)
  • Sleek, stainless steel design with top and front windows for easy viewing
  • Includes mesh herb tray

Cons

  • The priciest of all the models
  • Heaviest of all the models (27 lbs.)
  • Not dishwasher safe

Test Food Cook Times

  • Apples: 7 hrs at 135°F
  • Tomatoes: 8 hrs at 125°F
  • Jerky: 4 hrs at 155°F

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Lem Mightybite Food Dehydrator Maggie Knoebel/Taste of Home

Best Food Dehydrator for Batch Cooking

Lem MightyBite Food Dehydrator

If you’re interested in larger batch cooking but at a smaller scale (and more affordable price point) than the Excalibur Performance Series, the Lem MightyBite 5-Tray Dehydrator is probably more your speed.

Its five trays boast 7.5 sq. ft. of drying space–the second highest on our list–and feature a 30-hour timer and adjustable temperature control that goes up to 155 degrees to dry even the most delicate berries to perfection. And if you’re feeling adventurous, use it for dehydrated cherries, apples and pears to throw in this scrumptious dried fruit energy bar recipe.

The Lem food dehydrator features a rear-mounted fan to prevent messy drippings and a clear, heat-trapping door to prevent heat loss when removing trays. The unique, square trays provide four rotation options and are removable and easy to clean.

Temp control: 95-155°F | Timer: Up to 30 hrs | Capacity: 7.5 sq. ft.
Tray material: Plastic | Weight: 14 lbs. |Dimensions: 13 x 24 x 19 in.

Pros

  • Offers 7.5 sq. ft. of bulk dehydration
  • Square trays offer four rotation options
  • Beginner-friendly and easy to use
  • Temperature control with timer

Cons

  • Door has no hinges (needs to be pushed into place)
  • Not dishwasher safe

Test Food Cook Times

  • Apples: 9 hrs at 130°F
  • Tomatoes: 8 hrs at 125°F
  • Jerky: 3 hrs at 145°F

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Presto Dehydro Food Dehydrator Maggie Knoebel/Taste of Home

Most Efficient Food Dehydrator

Presto Dehydro Food Dehydrator

The Presto Dehydro Food Dehydrator was the fastest at cooking all three foods, which is nothing to scoff at considering all other units took at least half a day. I’d highly recommend this machine for busy families, or anyone who wants to use a dehydrator for crafts (think dried fruit for holiday wreaths and garlands), fruits or veggies—because it’ll be done in a flash.

The Presto food dehydrator is both collapsible and affordable, so you also won’t have to worry about storage or going over budget. And although it might not look as fancy as the other dehydrators on our list, more than 8,300 five-star ratings say this popular Amazon kitchen gadget is worthy of the best kitchens.

Presto Dehydro Food DehydratorMaggie Knoebel/Taste of Home

Temp control: None | Timer: None | Capacity: 4.5 sq. ft.
Tray material: Plastic | Weight: 5 lbs. |Dimensions: 14 x 15 x 7 in.

Pros

  • Fasted at drying foods of all models tested
  • Collapsible and easy to store
  • Holds up to 8 trays (additional trays sold separately)
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Affordable

Cons

  • No temperature controls or timer
  • Other reviews mention that it’s not great for fruit leather

Test Food Cook Times

  • Apples: 4 hrs
  • Tomatoes: 6.5 hrs
  • Jerky: 3.5 hrs

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Cabela's Heavy Duty Food Dehydrator Maggie Knoebel/Taste of Home

Best Food Dehydrator for Beef Jerky

Cabela’s Heavy-Duty Food Dehydrator

Cabela’s is known for producing quality products for the great outdoorsman, hunter or fisherman, so it’s only fitting they also have a brand of food dehydrator. The Cabela’s Heavy Duty 6-Tray Dehydrator is a durable and reliable unit—and I can say this with confidence as I own and have used this machine for almost four years. While it can dry an array of foods, from dried fruit and vegetable snacks to delicate garnishes, its ability to cook beef jerky is where it shines.

Its high-capacity design offers 7 sq. ft. of cooking space over six trays, and its powerful, rear-mounted heater and fan provide even, consistent drying across trays (no rotation necessary), making it a perfect gift for the family huntsman.

Cabela’s dehydrator features an adjustable thermostat for more precise drying temperatures, and its six durable polypropylene trays will stand the test of time. The only downside is there’s no timer, so you need to keep your eye on your food as it’s drying (but with delicious beef jerky cooking in the kitchen, something tells me that won’t be a problem).

Cabela's Heavy Duty Food DehydratorMaggie Knoebel/Taste of Home

Temp control: 80-160°F | Timer: None | Capacity: 7 sq. ft.
Tray material: Polypropylene | Weight: 14 lbs. |Dimensions: 20 x 14 x 12 in.

Pros

  • Rear-mounted fan and heater provide even, consistent drying for jerky
  • Wide-range temperature control for more precise drying time
  • 6 trays provide 7 sq. ft. of drying space for bulk jerky making
  • Durable machine with long-lasting, polypropylene trays

Cons

  • Not dishwasher safe
  • No timer

Test Food Cook Times

  • Apples: 7.5 hrs at 135°F
  • Tomatoes: 10 hrs at 125°F
  • Jerky: 5 hrs at 160°F

How We Tested Food Dehydrators

How We Tested Food DehydratorsMaggie Knoebel/Taste of Home

To determine the best of the best, I tested 10 popular food dehydrator brands side by side over five days. Based on our testing methodology, only eight models made the cut as Test Kitchen Preferred. Below are the important factors I considered:

  • Ease of Use: We rated each model against ease of set up, user-friendly design and ease of cleaning. We also considered whether the appliance offers a “set it and forget it” feature, or if you need to rotate the trays every few hours.
  • Drying Quality: Is the final product dried consistently throughout each piece and each tray?
  • Drying Time: How long did the drying process take? What temperature range does the appliance provide?
  • Functionality: Does the unit have a timer or temperature gauge? A digital display or window panel for better visibility?
  • Design and Footprint: Is it compact and easy to store or does it take up a lot of counter space? Is the design sleek or bulky? Is it made of durable, stainless steel or plastic? What volume of dehydrated food can you
  • Noise Level: Dehydrators run for several hours at a time (and sometimes overnight), so it’s important to find one that isn’t too noisy.
  • Accessories: Some dehydrators come with additional accessories, such as herb and drip trays. We considered this when evaluating the value of each product.

To assess drying capabilities for a variety of foods, we tested three different food categories: Apple slices, halved Roma tomatoes, and the ever-so-popular beef jerky. 

Meet the Tester

Maggie Knoebel

As associate recipe editor/tester, I test and prepare recipes for Taste of Home‘s photo and video studios. I also utilize our kitchen to test appliances and gadgets to help the Taste of Home audience make more informed buying decisions. As an alumna of the Culinary Institute of America, I earned two degrees in baking and pastry arts. While my expertise lies in yeast dough, bread baking and cake and cookie decorating, I am no stranger to food dehydrators.

I’ve always loved making fruit leather and I’ve been making it since I was a kid with my parents’ old-school dehydrator. I love the newer models and currently own Cabela’s Heavy Duty 6-Tray Dehydrator and use it often for making jerky and orange slice garlands for Christmas. I also have used it to make cocktail garnishes and cocktail kits. Food dehydrators are also practical appliances that can help save money and prevent food waste; I like dehydrating leftover produce as well as making use of large quantities of food I can buy inexpensively in bulk. It’s also a clever way to use out-of-season produce!

With both professional and personal experience using food dehydrators for a variety of needs, I was eager to spearhead the Taste of Home Test Kitchen’s first round of food dehydrator testing with the most popular brands and models. 


What to Look for When Buying a Food Dehydrator

Finding the best food dehydrator for your style and budget comes down to identifying models with precise temperature controls and airflow. A good dehydrator should allow the user to set exact temperatures from 80 to 140 degrees (some options provide an extended range of up to 200 degrees).

Also, it’s important to look for models that offer ample space for the food you’d like to dry—several highly rated countertop devices offer multiple trays. Keep in mind that because food needs to be separated and never stacked during the dehydration process, something as small as a single sliced apple can take up lots of room.

FAQ

Why to Trust Our Test Kitchen  

Why To Trust Our Test KitchenMaggie Knoebel/Taste of Home

At Taste of Home, we’re serious about good food. That’s why every single recipe that our readers submit gets reviewed, made and sampled by our team of culinary experts. We want to make sure that everything from our kitchens deserves the label Test Kitchen-Approved. 

The same goes for products. Our pros want to know what foods, gadgets and cleaning supplies are the best to fill your pantry and home. We put every product through a thorough testing process. Then our Test Kitchen team chooses the winners. Those best-tasting and top-performing products get our stamp of approval: to be called Test Kitchen-Preferred.