Key Considerations When Purchasing a Food Dehydrator

May 20


Jimmy Nix

Jimmy Nix

  • Share this article on Facebook
  • Share this article on Twitter
  • Share this article on Linkedin

When it comes to dehydrating food, the process is relatively straightforward: maintain a consistent temperature and airflow. However, choosing the right food dehydrator can be more complex. This article delves into the essential factors to consider when buying a food dehydrator, providing detailed insights and interesting statistics to help you make an informed decision.


Selecting the right food dehydrator involves more than just picking a device that dries food. Key factors such as heat and airflow,Key Considerations When Purchasing a Food Dehydrator Articles ease of access, versatility, and material quality play crucial roles. This article explores these elements in detail, offering valuable insights and statistics to guide your purchase. Learn about the differences between stackable and shelf tray dehydrators, and discover why even heat distribution and airflow are critical for optimal food dehydration.

Heat and Airflow

Importance of Even Heat and Airflow

The most critical aspect of a food dehydrator is its ability to provide even heat and airflow. Uneven heating can result in some parts of your food batch drying faster than others, leading to inconsistent results. According to a study by the University of Georgia, uneven drying can also increase the risk of microbial growth in under-dried areas, posing a food safety risk (source).

Shelf Tray Dehydrators

Shelf tray dehydrators generally offer more even heat and airflow due to their design. These units typically have the heating element and fan mounted at the back, allowing warm air to circulate horizontally across all trays. Excalibur is a well-known brand that excels in this category.

Stackable Tray Dehydrators

Economy Models

Economy stackable dehydrators often have the heating element at the bottom, leading to uneven heat distribution. These models may lack a fan, requiring users to rotate trays periodically to ensure even drying. Avoiding these models is advisable for consistent results.

Quality Models

Higher-end stackable dehydrators, such as those from L'Equip and Nesco, are designed to provide more even heat and airflow. These models feature a fan and heating element that are isolated from the trays, allowing warm air to circulate through central channels. This design eliminates the need for tray rotation.

Ease of Access

Shelf Tray Dehydrators

Shelf tray dehydrators offer easy access to individual trays, similar to an oven. This design makes it simple to prepare, monitor, and remove food without disturbing other trays.

Stackable Tray Dehydrators

In contrast, stackable tray dehydrators require you to remove multiple trays to access those in the middle. This can be cumbersome, especially with models that have many trays. Consider this factor if you plan to dehydrate large quantities of food.


Shelf Tray Dehydrators

Shelf tray dehydrators offer greater versatility in terms of tray spacing. You can remove trays to create more vertical space, allowing you to dehydrate taller items or even make yogurt in jars. This flexibility is ideal for various dehydrating needs, including crafts and specialty foods.

Stackable Tray Dehydrators

Stackable tray dehydrators are expandable, allowing you to add more trays as your needs grow. Most models can double their initial capacity, making them a good choice for those who anticipate increasing their dehydrating volume over time. However, they lack the vertical flexibility of shelf tray models.

Materials and Quality

Plastic vs. Stainless Steel

Most dehydrators are made from food-grade, FDA-approved plastic. However, some consumers are concerned about potential chemical leaching at high temperatures. While the FDA deems these materials safe, opting for a stainless steel model can provide peace of mind and added durability.

Warranty and Durability

High-quality dehydrators often come with multi-year warranties, ensuring long-term reliability. Brands like Excalibur and Nesco are known for their durable construction and robust performance.

Interesting Statistics

  • The global food dehydrator market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.5% from 2021 to 2028, driven by increasing consumer interest in healthy, preservative-free snacks (source).
  • Dehydrated foods can retain up to 97% of their nutritional value, making them a healthy alternative to other preservation methods (source).
  • A study found that dehydrating food can reduce its weight by up to 90%, making it an excellent option for backpackers and campers (source).


Choosing the right food dehydrator involves considering several key factors, including heat and airflow, ease of access, versatility, and material quality. By understanding these elements and reviewing the differences between shelf tray and stackable tray dehydrators, you can make an informed decision that meets your specific needs. Whether you prioritize even drying, ease of use, or expandability, there's a dehydrator out there that's perfect for you.