Choosing the best food dehydrator shouldn’t be a matter of price alone; there are certain features that need to be considered when evaluating different brands and models. The total drying area, air flow, thermostat, and wattage all need to be taken into account when making a food dehydrator comparison, as they are all crucial factors to the drying process. The best food dehydrators provide thorough, heat-controlled, consistent drying.
The first thing you should look for in a food dehydrator is the total drying area, or how large it is overall. Since drying certain food items can take anywhere from 12-32 hours, you want a unit with as many trays as possible, and you want those trays to be as large as possible so that you can dry foods in bulk when needed.
The air flow method used in a dehydrator also contributes to its effectiveness. Most models use a vertical heating system, either flowing air from the bottom up or the top down. However, more even drying is achieved with horizontal air flow units or units that provide both horizontal and vertical air.
An adjustable thermostat is one extremely important feature in higher quality food dehydrators. Without it, a dehydrator will dry at a constant heat that could increase temperature inside the dehydrator causing case hardening – food with a dry outside but moisture, and possible bacteria inside.
The wattage, or how many watts of energy the unit uses, should be relative to the total drying area. The larger the unit, the more power it should use. With larger dehydrators, choose the higher wattage units for faster and more thorough drying.
Below are some of our recommendations for food dehydrators for raw foodists. These models have the highest food dehydrator ratings based on the criteria we have provided.
Excalibur 3900 Deluxe
The Excalibur 3900 Deluxe is a professional grade dehydrator designed for home use. The square shape, adjustable thermostat, and rear mounted heating unit provides even drying due to the horizontal air flow of Sunbeam’s proprietary Turbo Charge Parallexx® Drying System and the 600 watt heavy duty motor. It also helps raw foodists create gourmet recipes that require a square or rectangle shape, like raw breads and crusts.
The Nesco FD-75PR, also called the Nesco Snackmaster Pro, is a 700-watt food dehydrator that is built for bulk drying and speed. The FD-75PR comes with 5 stackable trays but can expand to hold up to 12 trays for bulk drying. Nesco’s patented Converge-a-Flow® drying system simultaneously provides horizontal and vertical air flow, which is unique to the Nesco brand. The adjustable thermostat and Converge-a-Flow® system work together to provide extremely even and consistent air flow which results in thorough drying in less time.
The square shaped Nesco FD-80 is a perfect countertop kitchen appliance for creating gourmet raw food recipes. Just like the Nesco FD-75PR, the Nesco FD-80 has an adjustable thermostat and uses the patented Converge-a-Flow® drying system and has 700-watts of drying power for reducing drying time and even results. The main difference between the two models is the square shape, which provides opportunity raw foodists who like to frequently make raw breads, crusts, brownies, and other delicacies normally made in rectangular shapes. This unit comes with 4 trays but is expandable up to 8 trays.
Nesco American Harvest FD-1020
The Nesco American Harvest FD-1020, also called the Gardenmaster Digital Pro 1020, is one of the finest food dehydrators available on the market today. It is a professional grade food dehydrating unit that is digitally controlled, has 1000 watts of power, and expands to 20 trays. The top-mounted Converge-a-Flow® heating system forces air both downward and horizontally, creating an extremely thorough and efficient air flow for faster drying. The digital controls are one of the best features of this unit, giving it a digital thermostat and allowing you to program up to 48 hours of drying time into the digital timer.