15 Tips for Buying Your First Dehydrator

15 Tips for Buying Your First Dehydrator

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Today I have 15 tips for buying your first dehydrator. Have you thought about buying one, or do you already have one? Let me know what brand you have and what you like about it.

It’s worth the investment because it allows you to preserve foods that you’ve purchased and not only want to eat now, but store for future use. This will ultimately prevent waste and save you money in the long run. However, before buying a dehydrator, it’s essential to know a few helpful tips to ensure that you’re buying the perfect one for your home.

15 Tips for Buying Your First Dehydrator

15 Tips for Buying Your First Dehydrator

1. Research Some of the Different Brands

When you’re looking for the perfect dehydrator, expect to see lots of options from different brands. It’s a good idea to start researching these brands and their reputation based on customer reviews.

If a company has sold dehydrators for years and has great reviews, their products are likely worth buying, but you should dive into doing more research to see for yourself.

Nesco Gardenmaster, Excalibur, and Cosori are just three of the many brands you may come across on your search. This is similar to the one I have (mine is 9 years old), Excalibur 9-Tray With A timer

2. Figure Out How Much You’re Willing to Spend

Set a budget for yourself after getting a rough idea of how much the average food dehydrator costs. Some are more expensive than others, but they usually come with convenient and valuable features for the consumer.

How much can you afford to spend on a food dehydrator? Next, try to think of all the money you can save once you buy the appliance and begin dehydrating food to preserve it for future use.

3. Make a List of the Most Important Features You Want

Please start thinking about the features that you’d like your food dehydrator to have when you buy it. Not all dehydrators are created equally, and some will have better features than others.

Read More of My Articles  Benefits of Dehydrating Food

Look for things like a convenient airflow system, ideal thermostat, and neat trays that you can use to dehydrate multiple foods simultaneously. Have your list ready when shopping to search for that perfect dehydrator. For me, the unit’s capacity and wattage were important considerations.

4. Find Out If It’s a Noisy Dehydrator

Try to get an idea of how loud the food dehydrator is when you’re using it. Some can make a lot of noise. If noise isn’t an issue for you, it’s not something you need to worry about when you’re looking for the best dehydrator.

However, if you don’t want to hear loud fan noises coming from the kitchen each time you dehydrate something, check the specifications and reviews for details on the noise level.

5. Does It Come with Stacking Trays?

Stackable trays inside the dehydrator make it possible for you to dehydrate more food at a faster pace. If you’re planning to dehydrate lots of things, such as fresh fruit, vegetables, and meats, you may want to find a dehydrator that comes equipped with these spacious stackable trays. Please plan your products you want to process, and don’t dehydrate different things like fruit and meat at the same time since they may need different temps and time.

My Excalibur comes with trays that slide into the slots/grooves on the sides inside the dehydrator. The Nesco is more of a stacking unit, and some models have additional trays you can add.

6. Does It Have a Thermometer/Temperature/Timer?

Always invest in a food dehydrator that comes with a thermometer/temperature gauge. You’re going to need the thermometer to keep track of the temperature inside the dehydrator because some foods dehydrate better at specific temperatures. If it doesn’t have a thermometer, it’s a real inconvenience.

7. Find Out If the Thermostat is Adjustable

Can you adjust the thermostat in the food dehydrator to your liking? It’s a question that you should ask before you spend money on the appliance. You may need to adjust the position of the thermostat at times while dehydrating certain foods.

8. Is It Compact and Lightweight?

You may not want another bulky appliance in your kitchen, especially if you already have many of them, including a microwave, toaster oven, and air fryer. So, look for a dehydrator that is compact, lightweight, and easy to store when it’s not in use. Some of the compact options are still spacious enough for you to dehydrate multiple trays at once.

Read More of My Articles  Dehydrated Foods: Are They Good for You?

9. How Much Can You Dehydrate at Once?

Find out how much food you can dehydrate at once when using different types of food dehydrators. Extensive options tend to have more space, but smaller options still offer enough interior space with stackable trays for you to place foods, such as fruit slices and vegetable pieces.

10. Make Sure It Contains the Nutritional Content

If you’re dehydrating food to preserve it and eat it at a later time, you want to make sure the foods are going to maintain their nutritional content during the dehydration process. You can find out this vital information by reviewing details about the product.

When the dehydrator doesn’t take away from the nutritional content, it’s common for the company to use that as a selling point, so it should be easy for you to find out if it’s true or not.

I quote from The Excalibur Dehydrator website, “Cooking foods at a temperature no higher than 105-165 degrees in a dehydrator preserves nutrients and enzymes.”

11. Are the Shelves/Trays Easy to Clean?

Each time I dehydrate a food, I place my trays with the netting in my kitchen sink filled with warm soapy water and use a scrubber to lightly scrub the netting. I rinse them and stand them on their ends to drain on a drying mat. Drying Mat and Kitchen Scrubber

12. Decide Where You’ll Put It Once You Buy It

Think about where you’re going to put the dehydrator once you buy it at the store or get it delivered to your front door. First, you need to make sure you have the right amount of space for the food dehydrator you’re buying. If not, you might not know where to put it or when you’ll get to use it due to a lack of space.

13. Is It Energy-Efficient?

Finding an energy-efficient dehydrator is essential. You want to dehydrate food to save it, but you don’t want to waste a lot of energy in the process. The good news is that several brands offer energy-efficient options.

14. Can It Dehydrate Foods at a Fast Pace?

Try to get an idea of how long it takes for some of these different dehydrators to dehydrate the foods that you’re going to process. Some take longer than others. If you’d like to get the dehydration process done as quickly as possible, you’ll want to look for a highly efficient option.

15. Look at the Reviews

Always check the reviews of the different dehydrators while you’re looking at them online. You can read what people are saying about these appliances, along with what they like and don’t like about them.

Final Word 

If you’re thinking of buying your first dehydrator, consider these 15 tips beforehand. Try to get a feel for what you want and like before you start shopping. May God Bless this world, Linda

You Can Read My Other Dehydrating Posts

Similar Posts


  1. HOLY SMOKE!!! Am I ever happy to see this in my morning mail. You’re a God send and really appreciate reading this. I’m still at a loss about looking for a dehydrator, these all are grand tips and quite taken aback as to all the research I need to do. I’m one person and not sure: what to dehydrate, storage when done, I am the true novice on this subject. I downloaded your post on fruit powders the other day, and this is something I’d like to do also; I’ll have to read it again.
    I cleaned out the closet I plan to use for my pantry and instead of building shelves, decided to buy a shelf unit; I have all the measurements of the interior, and want to take out the existing shelf and rod. It just seems like a lot to do, but hey, no pain no gain. This project isn’t something I can start right now, but planning ahead is what I’ve got to do. My apartment is small, but big enough for me and hopefully what I plan on doing for all this. I really want to be more self-sufficient. You are my main source for learning food preparation and storing.
    Have a wonderful day and I thank God I found you.

    1. Hi Pamela, thank you for your kind words, my friend! I like your idea about buying a shelf for the closet. There is something awesome about having things organized! I have to admit I’m over the top organized but I’ve always been that way. Coloring coding, etc. Buy right the first time, is my motto. I will walk you through dehydrating, it’s so awesome and easy!! Keep me posted on the shelving! Linda

      1. I know how that is. I’ve been an organizer since I was young, something my mom and dad taught. Sometimes I think I’m too organized, but it goes with the old adage ” a place for everything, and everything in it’s place”. You can find things that way. And your are most welcome. I’m happy to have your advice.

  2. I bought an Excalibur 9 tray unit, but one without a timer. Initially I was disappointed in the lack of a timer, but over the first few months I noticed I didn’t miss it at all. In fact a lot of the time my first guess as to how long something needed to dehydrate was woefully under, so the timer could have lead me to get in trouble. YMMV.
    To be flexible, in addition to the bundled 9 plastic mesh trays, I got 9 silicon sheets for dealing with liquid products. That let us make a lot of apple leather the first year to give out for Christmas presents. The sheets lay on top of the plastic mesh trays and keep the apple butter or whatever semi-liquid you are dehydrating from dropping through the mesh.
    Shortly afterwards I bought 5 metal mesh racks to make cleaning up from making jerky a LOT easier since they are dishwasher safe. Normally I just use 3 or 4 metal trays to do the jerky and use a plastic tray with silicon liner at the bottom slot to catch any drips.
    I’m a huge fan of pineapple chips made in the dehydrator, and beet chips as well as apple chips were a big hit for the in-laws.

    1. HI DmWalsh, oh my gosh, I’m so glad you told me you bought the metal racks! I was thinking about doing that as well. I did not know they were dishwasher safe! I have the silicone sheets, I have not used them, but I bought them when I first got the unit. Now, I have NEVER done beet chips! Oh my gosh, I will be doing a post on those, oh my gosh!! You have me so excited, thank you!! Linda P.S. Pineapple is my favorite dehydrated food as well. Love it!

    2. Hello, dmwalsh568, I’m new at this and am grateful t=for the intel I just learned. I’ll keep it in mind when I research dehydrators for myself.

  3. I have a little Presto round dehydrator and 8 stackable trays for it. No heat control or timer, plug it in and it goes. Picked it up at a yard sale for $10, unused. It gets plenty of use now!

    1. Hi Tweell, that’s awesome!!!! I love hearing this! I’m so happy you found that bargain!! It makes me smile when I hear someone finds something they can use to preserve food! Linda

  4. I have a Nesco with extra trays. The trays are round. It doesn’t have a timer, but does have a list of what temps to use for what foods. I also have another dehydrator. Not sure of the brand. It’s trays are square. I have t used it much, but will before too long. I like both, but the Nesco is my favorite. I did have a RonCo, but gave it to my daughter. She wore it out. Now she has another one we got her for Christmas.
    I have dehydrated veggies, and fruit in mine, and make tons of beef jerky. I’ve dehydrated both frozen and fresh veggies, as well as fruit. I store my dehydrated items in vacuum sealed bags. Some I put in zipper bags first to keep from puncturing the vacuum bags.

    1. Hi Deborah, I have friends with a Nesco, and they love it. I have so many trays of dehydrated food on my dining room table, conditioning. But I live in the desert where it’s dry. It’s almost addicting to me, I’m trying to dehydrate what I have in my freezer. Or at least what would work. I love dehydrating food, love love love it. It’s so fun! Linda

  5. I just learned today that you can dehydrate pumpkin and sweet potatoes. They need to be cooked and then pureed and placed on the racks to dry. The pioneers took dried pumpkin with them not only to thicken soups and stews, but to help with stomach problems in humans and cattle. Some pumpkin was taken fresh right from the garden and the rest dehydrated. I used to dry food on whatever I could find that would handle it when we lived in NV. I’m sure they weren’t fussy and because most would be cooked, it wasn’t a problem. They also took peaches, apples and any other fruits, etc. they could take, along with spices and honey bees. Another necessity was sourdough.

    1. Hi Cheryl, those are two things I have never dehydrated, pumpkin and sweet potatoes. My husband is not a fan of squash or sweet potatoes. He will literally eat anything so I can’t complain. I wouldn’t mind trying to dehydrate sweet potatoes, I love them baked. The pioneers had the skills to preserve their food. Sourdough was for sure a necessity. I love my sourdough starter, I wish I had learned to use it when I was raising my family. Linda

  6. Pumpkin yes, but sweet potatoes can mold very easily. Be careful if you try and store them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *