The best dehydrators to make your own dried fruit and jerky

Dry your summer bounty and enjoy dried fruit all winter long.

apples in a dehydrator
Take advantage of bulk sales and preserve your meats and produce for later in the month.Depositphotos

The uses for food dehydrators are manifold: you can make your own beef or venison jerky, dried apples or bananas, or crispy fruit and vegetable snacks. You can turn fresh herbs into preserved ones, create fruit roll-ups from puree, whip up your own yogurt, or make easy dog treats on a budget. They’re straightforward to use and require no advanced cooking skills, but will instantly expand your cooking repertoire. Food dehydrators: get one, they’re great.

Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator

Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator
An adjustable thermostat and stackable trays make this a versatile choice.Amazon

This is a stackable dehydrator with an adjustable thermostat (from 95º to160º F). It uses a top-mounted fan for drying power. It comes with five 13.5 inch round trays—but if you need more room, you can fit up to 12 trays total. The dehydrator uses a drying system that gets hot air horizontally across each tray, meaning your jerky and fruits and vegetables will dry evenly and quickly without having to rotate.

Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator

Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator
A great beginner pre-set temp dehydrator.Amazon

If you’re just dipping your toes into DIY jerky and preserving fruits and snacks, go for this budget-friendly, four-tray dehydrator, which can expand to up to eight trays. This one operates at a preset temp of around 165 degrees and features a transparent cover, so you can check on the drying progress on the top tray. It uses a bottom-mounted fan and heater to distribute air evenly. The drying trays and cover are dishwasher safe, and the dehydrator itself is compact enough for most kitchen counters.

Cosori Premium Food Dehydrator Machine

Cosori Premium Food Dehydrator Machine
An upgraded dehydrator with digital controls and stainless steel trays.Amazon

This Cosori dehydrator comes with six stainless steel trays and a digital control panel that lets you set temperatures between 95 and 165 degrees for up to 48 hours. Check on how your food is progressing through the glass door. It’s effective, quiet, and safe to use (the tray liners are BPA-free)—and automatically shuts off when the timer ends. This one comes with a two-year warranty, so even though it’s an upgrade pick, you can rest assured it will pull through many jerky making sessions.

Excalibur 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator

Excalibur 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator
For serious dehydrators.Amazon

If dehydrating things isn’t just a hobby but a lifestyle, get this heavy-duty dehydrator with 15 square feet of drying space on nine trays that you can move around for the best fit. The thermostat goes from 105 to 165 degrees with a 26-hour timer. A seven-inch fan ensures even heat and air distribution. The dehydrator uses hyperwave fluctuation technology, which keeps the temp low enough to keep enzymes active in fruits and vegetables, but high enough to dry them out. This options comes with a flexible screen tray insert to prevent food from sticking and is great if you want to preserve your own fruits and veggies or start a DIY jerky business.