Gift Guide: Best Dehydrators for Beginners

Choosing a good gift for your family and loved ones is not always easy, and the hunt surely comes with a lot of pressure. However, if you happen to be looking for something that would be a perfect present for most people, kitchen appliances are usually a safe bet. For instance, food dehydrators are ideal for anyone who likes to eat healthy, appreciates saving money, goes camping, or enjoys prepping extravagant meals with 10 elements each. You’ll agree, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone that doesn’t fit in at least in one of those groups, which is exactly why you should consider a food dehydrator next time you’re out looking for a gift.
This gift guide will help you chose a dehydrator that’s best for beginners. From automatic food dehydrators to dehydrators under $100, you’ll find a perfect one to give to your loved one, here!

1. Editor’s Pick: Presto 06301 Dehydro Digital Electric Food Dehydrator

Presto dehydrator is a good choice for beginners.

You don’t have to spend big bucks to get a high-quality dehydrator. One of the absolute favourites in the market, not only is this Presto food dehydrator affordable, but it’s also easy to use, making it ideal if you need a gift for a beginner. The digital thermostat and timer ensure that drying time and temperature are precise and a no-brainer to set up. It comes with 6 drying trays to begin, but once the person enjoying this gift begins to truly gain value from it, they can expand it up to double the size. It also includes 2 fruit roll sheets and 2 non-stick mesh screens, so there will be no lack of uses for this nifty gadget. Think veggies, fruits, meat, poultry, seafood, and herbs. Of course all trays are dishwasher-safe, so you know that not only will your loved one enjoy using this machine but they also wouldn’t complain about cleaning. In fact, you’ll likely receive a lot of scrumptious and healthy snacks just as a thank you (win-win)!

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2. Runner Up: Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator

If you need a beginner gift, choose the Snackmaster.

When it comes to Nesco, there’s no going wrong. The Nesco Snackmaster is a welcome gift for any beginner’s or pro’s kitchen. An affordable and impressive appliance with 5 trays that can be expanded to 12 as your beginner friend’s drying needs evolve, this kitchen gadget packs a punch. To boot, it has 600 watts of drying power, a top mounted fan, and an adjustable thermostat that ranges from 95°-165° F for drying different foods with the same level of perfection. Think cinnamon apple crisps, paprika crunchy green beans, beef jerky, or dried anchovies if you’d like. You’ll also get a pair of fruit roll sheets and clean-a-screens, as well as a set of jerky cure packets and spices, all included for the price of the dehydrator. Can’t beat that! But maybe we can. The opaque vita-save exterior will ensure that all your food is dried safely, keeping all the nutrients and minerals inside, so what you eat may be light, wrinkled, and crisp, but it will be as good as fresh food in nutritional value.

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3. Customer’s Choice: Ivation 9 Tray Premium Electric Food Dehydrator Machine

The set of 9 trays makes this dehydrator quite spacious.

This horizontal food dehydrator has benefits aplenty. Its high-quality performance and professional design, and yet easy to use—you wouldn’t ever guess that this dehydrator is one of the best for beginners. Boasting a digital thermostat and a digital timer with automatic shutoff, as well as its overheating safety protection, this dehydrator makes it impossible for a beginner to mess up their first batch of dried food (or cause any disaster in the kitchen!). Additionally, 9 removable and adjustable racks ensure that there’s no lack of capacity, accommodating a wide variety and large capacity of foods, from beef to herbs and veggies to nuts. That’s not all. The trays and the drip tray at the bottom are all dishwasher safe, making for an easy cleaning process.

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4. Best Budget: Hamilton Beach 32100A Digital Food Dehydrator

The square shape makes Hamilton dehydrator easy to store.

The energy-efficient and money-saving Hamilton dehydrator is a great gift for beginners and pros alike. The 5 stackable trays hold more than enough food to be dried and the clear lid allows you to monitor the process. Furthermore, with an easily adjustable digital thermostat and timer with automatic shutoff, lack of experience won’t be an obstacle to successful food drying with this gadget. But why we love this food dehydrator even more is its compact size and rectangular shape. Easy to store in the kitchen cabinets (not one of those personal Bermuda Triangle ones from which nothing ever comes out) or adjust on the kitchen countertop, its easy to incorporate the use of this gadget in everyday kitchen activities. So, making kale chips isn’t as much of a task.

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5. Best Value: COSORI Food Dehydrator

For those who lack space in their kitchen but want a large drying capacity, this COSORI Food Dehydrator is another great option. The 5 adjustable trays stacked one upon another won’t take much of your precious counter space, but still offer enough capacity to dry foods in large batches, for a big family, or a camping trip. Additionally, the adjustable self-selection function allows you to choose the perfect time and temperature for your food, making it suitable for making everything from beef jerky to chips with superior results in each case. The budget-friendly price tag is just another bonus, one that wins it some major brownie points from us, especially since it’s for beginners. It also features an auto-shut-off feature to prevent overdrying and comes with a recipe book to help get you started.

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6. Best Easy-To-Use: NutriChef’s Electric Countertop Food Dehydrator

This easy-to-use food dehydrator has simple one-button operation. In just a flip of a switch you can start dehydrating fruits, vegetables, herbs, and meats on a flexible system of five convenient interlocking trays. The NutriChef Kitchen Dehydrator effectively works to remove moisture, drying your food and reducing spoilage for prolonged food shelf-life & preservation. With a maximum temperature of 180°F, it can effectively and safely dehydrate meats. One thing that is important to know about this dehydrator is that it does not have a temperature control setting. The trays closest to the heating element at the base will be exposed to the highest temperature, so rotating trays during the dehydrating process or placing items, like herbs on a higher tray may be necessary. Additional trays can be purchased to increase the capacity for dehydrating.  This is a great choice and a good price for an easy to use food dehydrator with expandable capabilities.

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7. Best Compact: Elechomes 6-Tray Food Dehydrator

This dehydrator is a great compact option that is packed full of great features for anyone venturing into the process of food preservation. A unique feature that this dehydrator has is 6 clear stackable trays that each have adjustable heights, so you can dehydrate thicker and thinner foods at the same time. This product is designed with an easy to use digital control panel where you can precisely set the temperature (between 95°F- 158°F). It also has the additional feature of a timer and automatic shut off. This model is more compact than some other models, so it is a great pick if you have limited space, and are dehydrating small batches. This product comes with 6 trays, 1 mesh screen (great for drying herbs), 1 fruit roll sheet and a user manual. One drawback with this dehydrator is that you cannot purchase additional trays.

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How does a food dehydrator work?

A food dehydrator uses heat to dry-out foods by reducing their water content.   When moisture is removed from foods, bacteria is less likely to grow and spoil food, so dehydrating foods is an effective food preservation strategy.  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!

What is important to know about dehydrating food?

Some foods can spoil easier than others.  When you are dehydrating food it is important to know that if foods are dehydrated too quickly at too high of a temperature food can become hard and dry on the outside, but can still remain moist on the inside, which can make it prone to spoiling.  That is why the process of dehydration takes a while. It is important to look for dehydrators that provide constant temperatures and adequate air flow.

When choosing which food dehydrator would make the best gift, it is important to consider the following factors:


Some food dehydrators are much larger and will take up much more counter space when in use and will occupy more space in storage. Will the person receiving the food dehydrator as a gift be burdened by a larger food dehydrator, or do they have the space for it?


This is another important thing to consider. If you are gifting a dehydrator to someone who has a large garden or plans on using the dehydrator frequently, a higher-end, higher-capacity dehydrator likely would suit their needs best. If you are gifting the dehydrator to someone who will be making smaller batch preserves, a smaller, more compact dehydrator would likely fit the bill.

Food Types

This is another important factor to consider when you are looking to purchase the right dehydrator as a gift for someone. Do you think they will be using it mostly for herbs, fruits and vegetables? Do you think they will use it to dehydrate meats? Fruits, depending on the thickness, should be dehydrated at approximately 115ºF for about six hours; vegetables, approximately 125° F six to eight hours; meats, approximately 145°F for eight to ten hours. These temperatures and times can vary depending on the moisture content and humidity of the air in your location, but can be a general guide for what you will need to look for to purchase the best dehydrator as a gift.

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