A food dehydrator may not be something you find in every kitchen, but it’s absolutely essential if you’re trying to make your own beef jerky. While you may think of different food dehydrators as interchangeable, you’ll soon find that these kitchen appliances each come with some unique benefits and uses.
In this review we test the four of the most popular food dehydrators on the market. We will focus on how they operate, the appearance of each food dehydrator and any special features that make them unique or especially useful. With this in mind, keep reading to discover which food dehydrator is right for you.
1. Gourmia GFD1850
This new model from Gourmia offers a highly customizable food drying experience. With ten separate drying trays, you can try out several different kind of beef jerky with just one use. On the recommended heat settings, you can expect a full ten trays of beef jerky to take anywhere from five to seven hours to completely dry out, which is a respectable time frame.
You’ll know how long of a wait to expect when you set the temperature via digital interface, which gives recommendations on how long to cook your jerky and at what temperature. That’s why this unit is an excellent dehydrator for someone who’s new to making their own beef jerky and would occasionally benefit from some instructions.
How will this food dehydrator fit in with the style of your kitchen? Its dimensions are 18.4 x 17.6 x 12.7 inches, which means you shouldn’t have too difficult of a time finding somewhere to house it. Additionally, this model is shaped like a white rectangle, which should make it blend in seamlessly with a more contemporary style.
With a magnetic lock, you don’t need to worry about this food dehydrator accidentally slipping open and wasting your time, which is always a plus. One drawback to this model, however, is that it doesn’t come with a removable drip tray to dispose of the extra moisture from your jerky. An easy solution is to lay down a sheet of tin foil before starting the dehydration process to make for easier cleanup. One important benefit of this model, though, is that you can purchase it with a four year warranty and easily return it if you find yourself dissatisfied with the product.
2. Open Country FD-75SK Trailmaster II
With a whopping 600 watt power draw, this food dehydrator from Open Country is second to none when it comes to removing moisture from your jerky. Not only is this product heavy duty, but it’s surprisingly easy to use. Simply load your jerky into the dehydrator, turn it on with the user-friendly heat dial and you’ll be on your way to enjoying some at-home beef jerky. One important benefit with this dehydrator is that it comes with several fans that run as it dries, thus ensuring that all of your beef jerky is dehydrated evenly.
This model is noticeably smaller than the food dehydrator from Gourmia, which has both some benefits and some drawbacks. You obviously can’t dehydrate as much jerky at once with only five drying trays, but you do get the added benefit of easier storage. The dimensions for this unit are 13.75 x 11.75 x 13.5 inches, and it looks similar to a white crock pot.
One special feature with this food dehydrator is that any parts that touch your jerky are made without BPA, which ensures that your jerky will be safe from harmful contaminants. Additionally, your jerky will be enclosed in an opaque case as it dries, which will ensure that none of the vitamins or nutrients can be lost from exposure to too much light during the dehydration process.
3. Excalibur EX3948CDB
If you’re looking for a luxury, high-quality food dehydrator, then look no further. This model features nine drying racks with an clear door to check your cooking progress, a 48 hour timer and the ability to run at anywhere from 85-165 degrees Fahrenheit. What does this mean for you? You can dehydrate your jerky at whatever pace you want, and this unit will interact well from paper thin jerky to thick cuts.
This Excalibur food dehydrator is by far the largest to appear on this list. With impressive measurements of 21.6 x 19.2 x 16.3 inches, all that space translates to a combined fifteen square feet of drying space between the nine racks. Of course, this also makes the dehydrator harder to store or position in your kitchen, but the black color does help to make it seem smaller than it actually is.
This dehydrator’s digital interface makes it exceedingly easy to work with, and its bulk and drying power also make it ideal for long-time fans of dehydrating their own beef jerky. This item is also the most expensive, by a wide a margin, on the list, but it may well be worth the cost if you plan on consistently making your own beef jerky and need something that you can rely on.
4. NutriChef PKFD58
NutriChef has made quite a few food dehydrators in their time, but this model may well be the best one to date. With ten removable drying trays, state-of-the-art food drying systems and a whopping 800 watt power draw, you’d be hard-pressed to find a superior food dehydrator on the market.
Much like the previous model from Excalibur, this unit is on the larger side with measurements of 19 x 16.75 x 21 inches, but it’s not so large that you should have trouble finding somewhere to store it in most kitchens. The NutriChef food dehydrator also comes in a matte black shade which allows it to blend seamlessly into most kitchen styles. With this design, the only thing that’s going to draw attention to your food dehydrator is the smell of your beef jerky as it dries.
This cutting-edge food processor can dehydrate food at anywhere from 84 to 185 degree Fahrenheit and, thanks to its heat circulation technology, will distribute the heat evenly between your ten drying sheets. The cherry on top is its user-friendly digital display, which will let you choose the exact temperature and duration that you want your jerky dried. With these crucial tools, you’ll be able to dry out your jerky in whatever way works for you and your tastes.
Follow Your Personal Taste
When approached from a purely technical standpoint, none of these food dehydrators are strictly better than the others. With that in mind, it’s all about finding the appliance that will best suit your personal style and preferred method of creating beef jerky. Regardless of which dehydrator you choose, though, you can be certain that any item on this list will do an excellent job of preparing quality beef jerky for you and your family.