In the modern kitchen, the dehydrator is a must-have as it helps save a lot of time. In the old days, when drying different types of foods such as beef jerkies, fruits, vegetables, and herbs of all kinds, people had to wait around for days. Fortunately, this isn’t the case anymore as the popular kitchen appliances have made it possible to enjoy dry foods that you store for later consumption or use on the spot for various recipes after only a few hours.

Top 5 Dehydrators Comparison

1. Excalibur 3926TB 2. Magic Mill 9 Trays SS 3. Excalibur 2900ECB 4. Gourmia GFD1950 5. Nesco FD-1040 Gardenmaster
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General Info

Brand Excalibur Magic Mill Excalibur Gourmia Nesco
Dimensions (H x W x D) 12.5″ x 17″ x 19″ 15.5″ x 18.5″ x 19.5″ 12.5″ x 17″ x 19″ 17.5″ x 13.5″ x 16″ 9.5″ x 15.5″ x 15.5″
Weight 30 Lbs 23.8 Lbs 22 Lbs 14.5 Lbs 8.95 Lbs
Housing Material Polycarbonate BPA-Free Plastic, Metal BPA-Free Plastic ABS Plastic BPA-Free Plastic
Wattage 600W 600W 600W 600W 1000W
Voltage 110-120V 110-120V 120V 120V 120V
Fan Diameter 7″ N/A 7″ N/A 4.5″
Color/ Finish Black Black Black Black White

Specifications

Type Box Box Box Box Stacked
Drying Levels/ Trays 9 9 9 9 4
Drying Space 15 Sq. Ft. N/A 15 Sq. Ft. 9.5 Sq. Ft. N/A
Temperature Range 105°F – 165°F 95°F – 158°F 95°F – 155°F 95°F – 158°F 90°F – 160°F
Built-In Timer 26 Hours 19.5 Hours 19.5 Hours 48 Hours

Features

Removable/ Adjustable Trays
Thermostat
Automatic Shut-Off
Transparent Door
Cool-Touch Exterior N/A
Dishwasher-Safe Parts
Removable Door
Other Features Parallex Horizontal Airflow Overheating Safety Protection Polyscreen Tray Insert Countdown Timer LCD Panel Expandable to 20 Trays
Hyperwave Fluctuation Technology Removable Drip Tray On/Off Switch 8 Preset Temperature Settings Converga-Flow
Polyscreen Tray Insert Non-Stick Trays On Indication Light Circusmart 360˚ Air-Flow Circulation System Opaque Vita-Save Exterior
On Indication Light Digital LCD Display
On/Off Switch

Drying Performance

Beef Jerky 4-6 Hours 4-6 Hours 4-6 Hours 5-6 Hours 4 Hours
Apples 7-15 Hours 6-8 Hours 7-15 Hours 6-7 Hours 4-6 Hours
Bananas 6-10 Hours 6-8 Hours 6-10 Hours 7-8 Hours 5-8 Hours
Pineapple 10-18 Hours 7-9 Hours 10-18 Hours 8-9 Hours 4-6 Hours
Herbs 4-6 Hours 4-6 Hours 4-6 Hours 4-6 Hours 3-6 Hours

Warranty&Support

Product Warranty 10 Years 1 Year 5 Years 1 Year 1 Year
Customer Support
User Manual

How We Rated the Products


A top quality food dehydrator is defined by certain characteristics. We took our time and did the proper research when ranking the best food dehydrating appliances on the market, taking these characteristics into consideration so that only the top performing units end up on our list. Find out exactly how we rated the products from this section of the article.

  • Drying Space

  • The amount of drying space offered by the appliance shows how much dried food you will enjoy at the end of the process. It’s obvious that this space should be as large as possible in order for you to not have to use the appliance too many times when drying fruits or veggies that you have harvested from your garden or bought from the store. The models that we rated with the most points when it came to this aspect are the Excalibur 3926TB and the Excalibur 2900ECB that both offer a generous 15 square feet drying space.

  • Timer Function

  • The timer function is important as it allows you to set the precise amount of time that you desire for the appliance to operate. This way, you won’t have to turn it off yourself when the foods that you placed inside have dried. Just set this function for the operational time that you consider is needed for the food inside the appliance to dry, and tend to your chores or leave home without thinking about it anymore as you know that the unit will automatically turn off when the time that you have set passes.

  • Temperature Range

  • The temperature range delivered by the unit matters as it shows what types of foods can or can’t be dried with it. For the dehydrating appliance to be able to dry any type of food you want, the temperature range that it delivers should be as generous as possible. From this point of view, the model that we rated highest was the impressive Excalibur 3926TB as it can be set anywhere from 105 degrees Fahrenheit to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Removable Trays

  • If the trays are removable, you are able to dry larger foods in the appliance. Thus, it’s clear why we had to put an accent on this aspect. All of the box-style dehydrating appliances that appear in our top feature removable trays, so you are able to dry large foods without a problem in any of them.

  • Drying Performance

  • As you can see, in the comparison table we have compared the amount of time needed for each appliance to dry certain foods – beef jerky, apples, bananas, pineapples, and herbs. It’s essential to compare the appliances from the point of view of their drying performance as this aspect shows how much time you will have to wait for the operational process to end. By far, the fastest model of them all when it comes to drying time is the Nesco FD-1040 Gardenmaster.

What You Need to Know About These Appliances

Food dehydrators are plastic or metal appliances that are capable of drying foods through the process of passing hot air through them. Needless to say, these appliances have become must-have items in modern households due to the fact that they encourage food preservation and they prevent meat, fruits, and veggies from getting spoiled.

Regardless of the type of food that we’re talking about, moisture or water content generally composes somewhere between 50 and 90 percent of the product. This means that you aren’t able to store the food away for later consumption as the moisture will cause it to spoil and pose serious health risks in case it’s ingested. Due to the process of dehydration, this is a problem of the past.

These appliances are most sought after by those who grow their own herbs, fruits, and vegetables as sometimes harvests are a lot more generous than initially predicted. Thus, many food products are not being used on the spot as no one expects that specific high quantity to be produced.

Instead of drying the foods in days, even weeks, like people used to do back in the old days when these high-end appliances didn’t exist, the food dehydrating units allow for the process to be over in a matter of hours. Therefore, it’s easy to understand why they’re so desirable and how they can change your life for the better.

  • How they work: These appliances use a very simple yet effective logic to dehydrate the foods that you place in them. What they do is that they use electricity to run heating elements and fans that have the role of drying the foods placed inside them. The heat source and the fan are positioned either on the top, on the bottom, or in the rear of the appliance.

What Are the Different Types that You Will Encounter


When you’ll hit the market looking for a quality food dehydrator, you will discover that there are two main types of dehydrators out there – stacked models and box and shelf models. Read this section of the article to learn what are the differences between stacked and box food dehydrating appliances, and what pros and cons each of them boast.

  • Stacked Models

  • From the point of view of their design, stacked models are usually devoid of an outer shell. These units are composed of stacks, each stack comprising a tray onto which you place the foods that you intend to dehydrate. As these stacks are placed on top of each other, they become sealed, not allowing the heat to get out of the appliance. The fan that the unit features then circulates the air to ensure that all of the food receives the same treatment, drying it evenly.

    Pros: Generally, these types of dehydrating units have a small, compact footprint that favors those with limited free space. Another advantage presented by them is the fact that they can be easily extended to fit a bigger volume of food.

    Cons: Periodic shuffling of the drying racks is required as the foods that are positioned closer to the heating element will dry faster than the others. But this is a downside that doesn’t affect all stacked models as high-end units don’t present this issue.

  • Box and Shelf Models

  • Box and shelf models work similarly to electric ovens. The fan that is positioned at the back of the appliance blows the hot air over the trays that have been inserted in a predetermined manner. They allow you to place bigger items inside for drying, foods that don’t fit inside stacked models as easily. To enjoy this benefit, simply take out as many trays as needed to create sufficient space for the large foods that you want to dry.

    Pros: The insulation of box and shelf models is highly superior to what stacked units offer. Thus, the dehydration process is bound to be of a better quality and more effective. Also, when you place the trays in their predetermined spots, you ensure that an even drying will occur as the fan is designed to focus on them equally.

    Cons: Their main flaw is the fact that they are bulkier than stacked units. But this isn’t a major issue for those who have sufficient free kitchen space at their disposal. Also, regardless of the volume of food that you insert in them, they preserve their footprint.

Tips to Improve the Drying Process


Although dehydrators do make it a lot easier to dry foods in order to preserve them for later use or consumption, this doesn’t mean that the dehydrating process will go perfectly regardless of your actions. To make sure that food dehydration will go smoothly and as effective as possible each and every time you use the appliance, take into account the tips that we will provide in the following lines.

  • Tip #1: Never dehydrate sweet and savory foods simultaneously. If you do so, the air that is circulated inside the appliance during the dehydration process will cause the flavor of these foods to mix, ruining their taste.
  • Tip #2: In case you want to dehydrate beef and prepare jerky, do so only if the appliance you’re using can reach temperatures of 155 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Dehydrating units that can’t reach these temperatures aren’t able to properly dry the meat, so you will end up ruining it.
  • Tip #3: When preparing the food to place it in the drying appliance, make sure that the slices or chunks that you cut are similar in size. This way, all the food that you place inside will be ready at the same time. If you’re not careful with this step, the larger slices or chunks will take longer to dehydrate properly.
  • Tip #4: Never place fruits or vegetables that are moldy inside the appliance. The temperatures inside the appliance will kill the mold spores, further decomposing the foods.
  • Tip #5: When placing the foods on the trays, make sure that they don’t overlap. Otherwise, they won’t dry evenly.

Beginner’s Guide to Dehydrating Fruits and Vegetables


Want to learn how to properly dehydrate different types of foods? Then you came to the right place! Check out this section of the article to learn how to properly dry different types of fruits and vegetables with the high-end dehydrator that you have purchased.

    Drying Guide for Fruits

    The optimal temperature to dry fruits is 135 degrees Fahrenheit or 57 degrees Celsius. Here is the guide to drying the most common fruits that people dehydrate for later use or consumption:

    Food How to Prepare Preparation Time
    Apples Remove core, cut into 1/4” – 3/4” sized slices or rings. 4-15 Hours
    Apricots Cut in half and remove pit. Place with the dry skin facing down. 18-28 Hours
    Bananas Peel and cut into 1/8” – 1/4″ slices. 5-10 Hours
    Berries Leave whole. 9-15 Hours
    Cherries Cut in half, remove stems and pits, and place skin side down. 12-21 Hours
    Figs Leave whole. 22-30 Hours
    Grapes Remove stems, cut in half or leave hole, and place with the skin side down. 20-30 Hours
    Peaches Cut in 1/4″ slices, remove pit, and place skin side down. 7-16 Hours
    Pears Cut in half, remove core, peel, and cut in four equal slices. 7-16 Hours
    Pineapple Peel, remove core, and cut into 1/4″ slices or wedges. 4-18 Hours
    Plums Cut in half, remove pit, and pop the back. 8-16 Hours
    Strawberries Cut off caps and slice into 1/4″ thick slices. 6-15 Hours

    Drying Guide for Vegetables

    The optimal temperature to dry vegetables is 125 degrees Fahrenheit or 52 degrees Celsius. Here is the guide to drying the most common vegetables that people dehydrate for later use or consumption:

    Food How to Prepare Preparation Time
    Asparagus Cut into 1-inch pieces. 4-6 Hours
    Broccoli Dry florets whole and cut stems into 1/4″ pieces. 8-14 Hours
    Cabbage Cut into 1/8” – 1/4″ strips. 6-11 Hours
    Carrots Trim tops, peel, and cut into 1/8” circles or cubes. 5-10 Hours
    Cucumber Slice into 1/8” – 1/4″ thick slices. 4-10 Hours
    Eggplant Peel and slice into 1/4″ thick slices. 4-9 Hours
    Mushrooms Slice into 3/8” slices from the cap through the stem end. 3-7 Hours
    Onions Remove top and skin, and cut into 1/4″ slices. 4-8 Hours
    Peppers Remove seeds and stem, and cut 1/4″ thick strips or rings. 4-8 Hours
    Pumpkin Cut into 1-inch thick pieces. 4-6 Hours

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