A food dehydrator comes with benefits aplenty. It helps you eat healthier, save time, save money, and prevent food waste, all at once. Since all you need to do is place the food in the trays and leave it till the food is dried and ready to eat or store, it’s no surprise that many are welcoming this machine into their homes. But, you don’t have to break the bank to get a decent food dehydrator for home use. Of course, if you’re looking for a commercial or large-sized food dehydrator to accommodate a big family, you may need to up your budget. But, there are some really impressive models available on the market that offer consistently good performance and are affordable to boot.
We have a list of the best food dehydrators under $70 below—but don’t let the low price fool you. Their affordable price tag isn’t representative of poor performance, in fact quite the opposite, for these food dehydrators are some of the most popular on the market! Pick any one of these and trust us, you won’t regret it.
1. Nesco FD-60 Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator
When it comes to Nesco FD-60, there is no way that this dehydrator can end up in cabinet abyss. Easy-to-use and great for beginners, it packs a powerful performance. It is specially ideal for people who want a small food dehydrator that doesn’t take up much space, as its compact size ensures that you can place this on your kitchen counter without having to move around your existing placement too much. The Snackmaster comes with 4 trays (plus 1 fruit roll sheet and jerky spices), and while its capacity is not as impressive as what’s available in some other models, you can easily expand it with additional trays if needed.
Nesco’s patented converga-flow drying system dehydrates food evenly from all sides, so you won’t have to rotate trays. That means, you can set it and forget it, going around to do other chores as your cinnamon apple crisps or paprika kale chips get ready. Of course, the fact that this machine has an adjustable temperature controller that ranges from 95°-155° F just helps ensure that both your fruit and veggie (or meat and seafood) snacks (or meals) are dried to perfection. Further, it has opaque vita-save exterior to ensure that nutrients and minerals are preserved, so what you’re eating is as close to fresh food as it gets!
2. Hamilton Beach 32100A Digital Food Dehydrator
The 5 rectangle trays in this Hamilton dehydrator hold a lot of food at once, so this is a great option if you want to drying food in big batches or for your entire family. The shape of the dehydrator also makes it easy to adjust this machine on your countertop and make most use of space. Another reason this dehydrator is gracing our best list is its ease-of-use. The one button operation makes it a favourite amongst first-timers, not that we’ve seen the pros complaining either.
The transparent housing will allow you to monitor the progress of your foods as they dry. Granted, you won’t have to do much monitoring, as the adjustable thermostat and the powerful top mounted fan will ensure your foods are dehydrated fast and evenly throughout. It also has a 48 hour timer and automatic shut-off to further give you peace of mind as you go about finishing your Zoom call or maybe take a nap. You can also switch this machine on at night, before sleep, so you have dried foods ready for your breakfast or camping trip next morning.
3. Magic Mill Food Dehydrator
Magic Mill is one of the top brands when it comes to food dehydrators. Known for commercial, horizontal-flow dehydrators, this model by the company is a welcomed exception. If you’re looking for a programmable food dehydrator you can leave working overnight and forget about; this is the one for you. Featuring an adjustable digital thermostat (ranging from 96°-165° F), a timer, and auto safety shut off in case the dehydrator gets overheated, this nifty machine packs a punch. It also comes with a mesh sheet and a fruit roll sheet, so not only can you dry your favourite fruits, veggies, and meats in this machine but also finer foods like herbs and purees.
The 5 trays that come with the dehydrator can fit a lot of food to be dried within one season—enough for most families’ needs. The manual included with the product is very handy, guiding you through the process of preparation and storage alongside drying to ensure that you get superior results and are in it to win it.
4. COSORI 165-FD
A big hit amongst dehydration beginners, the COSORI food dehydrator has an adjustable thermostat that goes up to 165° F and a a digital timer that can be set up to 48 hours (with 30 minutes increments). So, when we say its easy-to-use, we truly mean it. Equipped with 5 BPA-free trays, 1 mesh screen, 1 fruit roll sheet, 1 manual, and 1 recipe book, it has everything you can possibly need to get dehydrating (sans the produce of course). It’s versatile too! Great for drying beef jerky, turkey jerky, meat, different types of fruits and veggies, this machine is determined to get you to eat healthy.
If safety is an important feature to have for you, you’ll be happy to know that this COSORI food dehydrator is ETL listed and has an automatic shut-off in case you completely forget about it! Easy to store and easy to clean, there’s absolutely no reason you won’t love this dehydrator.
5. OSTBA Food Dehydrator
The OSTBA Food Dehydrator is a great pick if you are looking for something with a sleek, compact, easy-to-store design with great features. This dehydrator includes five easy-to-clean trays, a recipe book and is backed by a 2-year product quality warranty. This product has a temperature dial which is a great feature when dehydrating foods that call for a specific temperature. It is also designed with an electronically controlled, automatic circulator fan that helps dry food evenly. These are all features that usually come with a higher price tag, so this dehydrator is an economical choice. This food dehydrator would be a great pick at a great price for anyone interested in dehydrating foods in small-batch recipes. The trays on this dehydrator can be rotated for variable heights, that is convenient for dehydrating foods of different thicknesses. Pick this dehydrator if you are limited on space but want a great dehydrator with a lot of appealing features.
6. Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator
This four-tray economical food dehydrator is perfect for those who want to shop confidently with a reputable brand and that are looking for something simple and effective to use, without breaking the bank. This is one of the easiest to use dehydrators on the market and it is a great choice for anyone wanting to make healthy dried fruits and vegetables without high start-up costs. It is so simple to use, all you need to do is to plug it in and it does the job to heat to a standard temperature of 165° F. The bottom mounted fan and heating element provides air flow for optimal drying. The nice thing about this dehydrator is that you can purchase additional trays to increase capacity. Another great feature is that it is easy to clean – not all food dehydrator trays can go in the dishwasher, but the trays on this one can!
What do I need to know about food dehydrators?
How do food dehydrators work?
A food dehydrator is a kitchen appliance that works with a heating element, stackable trays and oftentimes a fan, to dry-out foods by reducing their water content. When moisture is removed from foods, bacteria is less likely to grow and spoil food. Reducing moisture also reduces the weight and density of food, which is great if you are dehydrating food for storage or for camping trips. Dehydrating food also can concentrate the flavors in foods, which make for tasty snacks. So dehydrating foods with the use of a food dehydrator is an effective food preservation strategy.
Can I dehydrate foods incorrectly?
Some foods can spoil easier than others. When you are dehydrating fruits, vegetables or meats using a food dehydrator it is important to pay attention to both the temperature and how long your food is in the dehydrator. Foods that are dehydrated too quickly at too high of a temperature can become hard and dry on the outside, but can remain moist on the inside, which can make them prone to spoiling. It is important to look for dehydrators that provide constant temperatures and adequate air flow. Some dehydrators have features such as timers, temperature dials and automatic shut off that help with the process of safe and effective food dehydration.
How do I store dehydrated foods?
Food dehydrators do the work of getting in a state that is good for long term storage. Once dehydrated it is recommended to store dried food in clean, dry canning jars, plastic freezer containers with tight-fitting lids or in plastic freezer bags. Vacuum packaging is also a good option.
Will dehydrating food really save me money?
Yes! Making your own dehydrated food is less expensive than purchasing commercially dried fruits, vegetables, or meats. You can buy the food you use when it is on sale, harvest and preserve produce from your garden or apiary, or dehydrate wild game you have harvested by fishing or hunting. Once you purchase a dehydrator, especially one at a great price, the cost savings begin!
No matter what your requirements, the food dehydrators listed above are sure to please while keeping your splurging in budget.