Best Food Dehydrator for the Money in 2018

There is such a wide range of dehydrators available on the market that it can be quite bewildering trying to decide which one you should buy. Here we will help you decide on the best food dehydrator for your money that suits your lifestyle and your pocket. So it depends on whether you just want to ‘test the waters’ in food dehydration and buy an entry level unit to start with, or whether you already have experience with food dehydration and want to upgrade to a larger, more versatile model, or if you want top of the line and will be satisfied with nothing less!

The prices shown are from Amazon and, in some cases, are on special with the normal price shown in brackets. Prices given are indicative only and are subject to change at any time without notice.​

Best Food Dehydrator For The Money 2018 Comparison Chart

RankModelVerdictPriceEditor's RatingTraysThermostatTempAirflowMaterialDimensionsWeightPowerWarranty
1.Ronco FD6000WHGENUnder $503.5/55No133 °FVerticalPlastic13x11x135.3 lbs125 watts1 year
2.Hamilton Beach 32100ABest Overall (Our Pick)Under $504.4/55Adjustable100-160 °FVerticalPlastic5.86x11.25x12.758 lbs500 watts5 years
3Presto 06301 Dehydro$50-$1004.4/55-12Adjustable90-165 °FVerticalPlastic15x14.5x7.258.5 lbs750 watts1 year
4Nesco FD-1040Best Expandable Entry Level$50-$1004.4/54-20Digital Adjustable90-160 °FHorizontalPlastic15.5x15.5x9.58.95 lbs1000 watts1 year
5Aroma Housewares Pro$100-$2004.6/56Adjustable95-155 °FHorizontalPlastic13.58x17.72x12.411.68 lbs300 watts1 year
6Magic Mill ProBest Affordable$100-$2004.6/56-9Adjustable95-158 °FHorizontalStainless Steel19.5x15x1416.6 lbs450 watts1 year
7Excalibur 3948CDBBest Mid-Level$200-$3504.1/59Adjustable95-165 °FHorizontalPolycarbonate21.6x19.2x16.325.5 lbs600 watts10 years
8STX Dehydra 1200W-XLS$200-$3503.4/510Adjustable85-155 °FHorizontalStainless Steel12.5x19x13.7522.5 lbs600 watts3 years
9Raw Rutes 5-TrayBest PremiumOver $3504.7/55Adjustable50-175 °FHorizontalStainless Steel20.8x10.5x2135 lbs800 watts3 years
10TSM Products DehydratorOver $3504/55Adjustable95-165 °FHorizontalStainless Steel18.8x16.5x931.4 lbs800 watts10 years
11Tribest Sedona ExpressOver $3504/511Digital Adjustable75-167 °FHorizontalBPA-Free Plastic12x17.5x1420.4 lbs450 watts10 years

Food Dehydrators Reviews​ Under $50

We’ll look at a range of dehydrators and you can decide which one suits your current situation.

1. Ronco FD6000WHGE EZ-Store Turbo Dehydrator with 5 Trays

This stackable vertical airflow dehydrator has a drying capacity of approximately 4.25 sq. ft. and weighs only 7.6 lbs.

It is ideal for someone who wants to try their hand at food dehydration for the first time, but isn’t sure if they will want to do it regularly or on a large scale.

The trays have a square shape which is easier to load food onto them, and they are made of a clear material that makes it possible to monitor the drying process. The dehydrator can be expanded with another two trays, and the trays can be nested upside down into one another to reduce the height of the appliance for easier storage.

The 150 watt heater will not be a drain on your electricity bill, but still gives a temperature range of 95°F through 160°F.

There is no indication in the information available, however, as to whether the trays are made of BPA-free materials. With the fan and heater unit located in the base, care must be taken that no food particles or drips enter the unit and cause problems there.

The dehydrator does not have a built-in on-off switch or a timer, so it needs to be monitored closely.

The appliance has a one year limited warranty.

2. Hamilton Beach 32100A 5-Tray Food Dehydrator​

Another stackable vertical airflow dehydrator, this one has a slightly greater drying capacity of 4.5 sq. ft. and weighs 8lbs.

It is also an entry level model, having easy-to-load rectangular trays but no indication that extra trays can be added. The trays are made of BPA-free plastic and, and although the trays are opaque, the lid is see-though.

It also has the fan-heater unit located in its base, but the fan outlet is raised to reduce the risk of food particles causing problems. It has a more powerful 500 watt heating element and has a temperature range of 100°F through 160°F.

The digital controls, with a 48-hour timer and automatic shut-off, allow for a wide variety of time and temperature settings.

The dehydrator is supplied with one fine-mesh tray insert and one solid sheet insert for making fruit leathers.

The appliance has a one year limited warranty.​

Best Entry Level Food Dehytrator for the Money Under $50

In the entry level price range, the Hamilton Beach 32100A 5-tray food dehydrator is more versatile and safer option and although it may not be expandable, the built-in timer allows the user better control of the drying process and more freedom to leave the dehydrator to do its work unhindered.


Food Dehydrators Reviews​ Between $50-$100

1. Presto 06301 Dehydro 6-Tray Digital Electric Food Dehydrator​

This vertical airflow dehydrator with stackable circular trays has a drying area 6 sq. ft. and weighs 8.5 lbs.

This particular dehydrator it has opaque trays that can be nested upside down into one another to reduce its height for ease of storage. The number of trays used can be increased to a maximum of 12, and it has a see through lid to monitor the drying process.

The appliance is made of BPA-free plastic, with the 750 watt heater and fan unit in the base, along with digital controls for a 48-hour timer and temperature range of 90°F through 165°F.

The dehydrator is supplied with two fruit roll-up sheets and two non-stick mesh screen tray inserts.

According to customer reviews, there have been some quality control issues that need to be addressed, which might explain the price reduction.​

The appliance has a one year limited warranty.​

​2. Nesco Gardenmaster FD-1040 4-Tray Food Dehydrator

This classy cylindrical dehydrator has a drying area of approximately 4 sq. ft., but can be expanded to 20 trays, although most people found between 6 and 12 trays to be optimum.

It weighs 8.95 lbs, and the trays can be inverted to increase the amount of height between each tray.

The Nesco Gardenmaster has a top-mounted fan and heater unit, eliminating the potential for problems caused by dropping food particles, and contains the patented Nesco Converga-Flow design which allows for horizontal airflow across trays in a stackable dehydrator, ensuring more even drying of food on each tray.

Its food contact surfaces are all made of BPA-free plastic and the 1,000 watt heater and fan have digital controls for a 48-hour timer and temperature range of 90°F through 160°F.

The dehydrator is supplied with one fruit roll-up sheets and one non-stick mesh screen tray insert.

The appliance has a one year limited warranty.​

Best Expandable Entry Level Food Dehydrator for the Money $50-$100

In this price range, which encompasses dehydrators which are entry level but are expandable in order to allow the user to increase the amount of dehydrating as extra trays are added, the Nesco Gardenmaster FD-1040 is a winner in terms of airflow technology and fan-heater unit location factors. Although its start-out capacity is less than the Presto 06301, it has more potential for expansion.


Food Dehydrators Reviews​ Between $100-$200

1. Aroma Housewares Professional AFD-815B 6-Tray Food Dehydrator​

This stylish horizontal airflow dehydrator has rectangular trays that slide onto racks in a cabinet-shaped appliance with a clear door that enables you to see all the produce at once. It has a drying area of 5.4 sq. ft. and weighs 11.68 lbs.

This is not an entry level dehydrator, and, while its capacity cannot be added to, it has the advantage of being able to hold larger objects by leaving out some trays, allowing for example jars to be used for making yoghurt in the dehydrator.

The trays and door are made of BPA-free plastic and the location of the 400 watt heater and fan unit in the rear of the cabinet ensures an even airflow over all the trays.

The unit does not have its own timer, but has a built-in on-off switch and an 8-step temperature control running from 95°F through 155°F.

The unit is shipped with one mesh insert but no fruit roll-up sheets, however it does have its own drip tray.

The appliance has a five year limited warranty.​

Read here the full review of ​Aroma Housewares Professional AFD-815B 6-Tray Food Dehydrator.

2. Magic Mill Pro 6-Tray Countertop Food Dehydrator​

The Magic Mill Pro dehydrator is a horizontal airflow cabinet-type appliance with a clear door and digital control panel easily visible on the raised front portion of its top panel. It has a drying area of 6.5 sq. ft. and weighs 16.6 lbs.

This dehydrator has food-grade stainless steel trays and its plastic components are BPA-free.

As with other cabinet-style dehydrators, trays can be omitted to fit larger items.

The dehydrator is run by a 480 watt heater and fan unit which can be set to one of eight preset temperatures from 95°F through 158°F, and features a digital 19.5 hour timer and auto shut-off function.

The unit is shipped with 6 fine BPA-free plastic mesh tray inserts, 3 non-stick fruit roll-up tray inserts, one pair of silicon oven mitts and a drip tray to keep the bottom of the dehydrator clean.

The appliance has a one year limited warranty.​

Read here a more in depth review of ​Magic Mill Pro 6-Tray Countertop Food Dehydrator​.

Best Affordable Food Dehydrator $100-$200

These dehydrators represent an affordable range of cabinet-style horizontal airflow food dehydrators. The larger capacity, stainless steel trays and tray inserts making the Magic Mill Pro more acceptable and versatile for the more serious food dehydrator. However, the 5-year warranty on the Aroma Housewares Professional model also makes it a contender for those who have a view to long term use.​


Food Dehydrators Reviews​ Between $200 - $350

1. Excalibur 3948CDB 9-Tray Digital Food Dehydrator​

The Excalibur 3948CDB is a horizontal airflow cabinet dehydrator that has a clear door and a digital control panel. It has 9 BPA-free plastic trays with a drying capacity of 14 sq. ft., and it weighs 25.5 lbs.

This is a significant investment, but Excalibur have been exclusively manufacturing food dehydrators for over 40 years, and deliver a high quality product.

The trays are made of BPA-free plastic and the body and door are food-safe polycarbonate (stainless steel trays can be purchased instead, for a higher price).

As with other cabinet-style dehydrators, trays can be omitted to fit larger items.

The dehydrator has Excalibur’s trademark Parallexx Horizontal Air-Flow System for even distribution of heated air across all the trays, as well as Hyperwave Fluctuation Technology that varies the temperature slightly during the drying process to promote more efficient dehydration.

The dehydrator is run by a 600 watt heater and fan unit that can be set to temperatures ranging from 95°F through 165°F, and features a 48-hour digital hour timer and auto shut-off function.

The raised two-step digital controls allow the unit to be programmed to two different temperatures over two consecutive time periods, with automatic switching from the one to the other. The timer has a built-in memory function and does not need to be reset if the power supply is interrupted during the dehydration process.

The unit is shipped with 9 fine BPA-free plastic mesh tray inserts, but no fruit roll-up tray inserts or drip tray (a food parchment sheet can be used as a drip tray).

The appliance has a one year limited warranty, but can be registered for a ten year warranty if purchased directly or from an authorized dealer.​

Read here a full review of ​Excalibur 3948CDB 9-Tray Digital Food Dehydrator​

2. STX International Dehydra STX-DEH-1200W-XLS 10-Tray Stainless Steel Digital Food Dehydrator​

The STX Dehydra 1200W-XLS horizontal airflow cabinet dehydrator has an impressive 16 sq. ft. drying area and, being all stainless steel, weighs in at 32 lbs.

You will get a machine that is designed and built to commercial standards (although not registered for commercial use), with detachable fan and heater unit, door and tray guides making for simpler, easier cleaning.

It has a 15-hour analog timer and the powerful 1,200 watt heater provides quick heating for the variable temperature settings of 95°F through 165°F.

The controls are on a panel flush on the top of the detachable rear section.It is shipped with 2 silicon non-stick mats and a stainless steel drip tray.

The appliance has a three year limited warranty.​

Best Mid-Level Food Dehydrator for the Money $200-$300

This is a very difficult choice. For those who want to avoid plastics of any sort in their food dehydration process, the STX Dehydra is the one to go for. But for versatility and the option to register for a 10 year warranty, the Excalibur 3948DCB comes out on top. Both machines generally have very good user reviews, and can be used for a wide variety of foods. The one significant performance difference is the length of time that the timers run, with some users stating that the 15 hour timer on the STX is not long enough for drying certain food types, but the STX has the advantage that the rear unit can be detached from the body for ease of cleaning.


Food Dehydrators Reviews​ Over $350

1. Raw Rutes - Square Rutes 5-Tray Stainless Steel Dehydrator

The Raw Rutes Square Rutes dehydrator is an attractive high quality hand-made stainless steel horizontal airflow cabinet food dehydrator with a drying capacity of 8 sq. ft. and weighing 35 lbs.

It has a 27-hour timer and a power rating of 800 watts, giving a temperature range from a low 50°F through to 175°F.

The sturdy analog controls are handily located on the front panel and include an illuminated on-off switch.

The see-through door and the rear panel containing the fan and heater unit are fixed to the body, but the stainless steel racks and rack holders can be removed for ease of cleaning.

The Square Rutes dehydrator has a three year limited warranty.

(* At the time of the writing of this article, this appliance is not currently available on Amazon and the price is taken from the manufacturer’s website.)

2. TSM Products Stainless Steel Food Dehydrator with 5 Stainless Steel Shelves

The TSM dehydrator is an all stainless steel horizontal airflow cabinet dehydrator with a capacity of 8 sq. ft. and it weighs 31.4 lbs.

This dehydrator has a raised control panel on a detachable rear section that also houses the fan and heater unit, and has a stainless steel detachable door and stainless steel trays.

The dehydrator has a 27-hour analog timer with automatic shut-off, as well as a ‘Constant On’ setting and an on-off switch.Its 800 watt heater provides an adjustable temperature range of 90°F through 165°F.

The product has a one year limited warranty.

Read here a more in depth review of TSM Products Stainless Steel Food Dehydrator

3. Tribest Sedona Express 11-Tray SDE-S6780 Food Dehydrator

The Tribest Sedona Express dehydrator is a horizontal airflow cabinet dehydrator with a drying area of 9.9 sq. ft. but, owing to its polycarbonate body, a weight of only 22 lbs.

This dehydrator has Two-stage Sequential Temperature-timer (TST) technology that allows the appliance to be programmed for two different temperatures for two periods of time, with automatic switching from the first to the second, and automatic switch-off at the end of the second period.

The digital controls are conveniently located along the top of the front face of the dehydrator. The timer allows for up to 99 hours per setting and the 470 watt heater provides an adjustable temperature range of 77°F through 167°F.

It has a see-through door and an interior LED lamp so that all the produce inside the dehydrator can easily be viewed without opening the door and interrupting the airflow. The door is, however, not detachable, and user reviews indicate that the stainless steel trays may sag slightly after first use.

The Tribest Sedona Express SDE-S6780 has a 10 year limited warranty.

Best Premium Food Dehydrator Over $350

In this top price range of household food dehydrators, the Raw Rutes Square Rutes dehydrator offers excellent value as an all-stainless steel handmade appliance, although it lacks the convenience of detachable parts for ease of cleaning.

The Tribest Sedona Express, at a significantly higher price, has the feature of TST technology, and a longer timer function, but also has a fixed door and fan-heater rear panel.

The TSM dehydrator, unfortunately, has little to offer when compared to the similar but larger and less pricey STX dehydrator, except perhaps build quality.

In summary, Tribest has a reputation for developing its dehydrators in response to user’s needs, as is evidenced by the features found in the Sedona Express, and it backs its products with a ten-year warranty. But if one is looking for a top quality all stainless steel dehydrator, then the Raw Rutes Square Rutes dehdydrator is the one to go for.


Conclusion​

For the food dehydration newbie who wants to start with something more than a ‘plug in and watch’ model, the Hamilton Beach 32100A is a good option for less than $50, and the Nesco Gardenmaster FD-1040 if you can stretch your budget to almost $100. Almost all models in this range are made of BPA-free plastic, so if you want to avoid this material in contact with your food then you need to look at laying out a slightly bigger investment for a Magic Mill Pro which has stainless steel trays.

For the more serious food dehydrator who is looking at drying large quantities at a time, the Excalibur 3948CDB offers a versatile, reliable appliance with a long-term warranty, but if you want to totally avoid plastics in your dehydrator, then the STX Dehydra 1200W-XLS - practical but slightly less versatile - is for you.

Finally, if money is no object and you are looking for a food dehydrator that will add style and function to your kitchen, then look to the Raw Rutes Square Rutes dehydrator for an attractive handmade all stainless steel appliance, or the handsome and versatile Tribest Sedona Express SDE-S6780 if you don’t mind its BPA-free plastic body.

Whatever your circumstances and whichever model you choose, home food dehydration is always the right choice!​