Jerky was first invented as a way to prevent meat spoilage by removing all of the liquid, but nowadays it is a really popular snack around the world. There are lots of different flavors and you can use a much wider range of meats than simply beef, but with the increasing cost of pre-packaged foodstuffs it can prove to be far more economical to make it yourself, but finding the best dehydrator for jerky can be tricky. That’s why we have put together this best beef jerky dehydrator buyer’s guide to help you make your choice.
Best Dehydrator For Jerky Comparison
Before you buy the best food dehydrator for beef jerky you should decide what the main purpose your need for one is. They will all make jerky, for example, but you will need different trays to put together fruit rolls or dry spices because of the different consistencies involved. In general, the more you are willing to pay for your dehydrator, the more features it will have.
Adjustable thermostats allow you to create the perfect conditions for whatever food you are drying, and the position of the fan could be crucial if you are drying wet foods so the liquid doesn’t drip into the mechanism. You should also get an idea of what the quantity of food you want to be drying at any one time is because the different products have varying sizes and numbers of trays.
Best Jerky Dehydrator Reviews
- Adjustable thermostat
- 5 drying trays
- Flavors don’t mix so you don’t have to rotate the trays
- Dries food in hours
- Comes with a recipe book, spice packets, solid sheets, and mesh sheets
This dehydrator from Nesco is one of the best sellers in the category on Amazon, and it’s clear to see why. It has been designed to make the process as easy as possible and allows you to put different foodstuffs in it without risk of the flavors mixing.
Within the box you will get the dehydration unit, five drying trays, two clean-a-screens, two sheets for fruit rolls, three original jerky spice packets, and a 52-page recipe and instruction booklet. This is all you need to plug it in straight away and start making your homemade jerky the day you receive it.
The unique trick of this machine is the converga-flow system that manages the airflow through the pressurized container unit and significantly shortens drying times. The fan is built into the top of the machine so you don’t have to worry about liquid dripping into it and causing issues.
It also has a Vita-Save exterior to protect the food from light so more of the nutrients are retained. The temperature is fully adjustable between 95 and 160 degrees F so you can alter it in line with the requirements of the food you are dehydrating.
With the items you receive with this product, you’ll be able to dehydrate meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, spices, and flowers. There’s nothing quite like the taste of homemade jerky and you’ll soon find yourself experimenting with recipes, and you can even use this machine to make tasty fruit rolls.
Customer reviews on Amazon show that a lot of people are really happy with how this best food dehydrator for jerky has worked for them, especially the ease of use and its unique design that prevents cross contamination between different flavored foods. You could, for example, make 5 different kinds of jerky all with different spices, and they would come out just as varied as when you put them in.
- 5 drying trays
- Timer of 48 hours and auto shutoff
- Adjustable thermostat
- Continuous airflow
- See through lid to keep an eye on progress
This best food dehydrator for beef jerky from Hamilton Beach is really easy to use, has five trays so you can put various foodstuffs in at any one time, and is available at a competitive price. It provides everything you need to get started straight away and has a series of features that allow you to manage exactly how the food is heated.
Within the box you will get the dehydrator unit itself, one sheet of fine mesh you can use to dry food like herbs, and an additional sheet you can use to put together fruit rolls on. The unit has a digital thermostat you can adjust that allows you to change the drying temperature between 100 and 160 degrees F, and has a timer of 48 hour with auto shut off so your food isn’t left in there for too long if you aren’t able to, or forget to, be around for the final stages.
You don’t need to rotate the trays because it has been designed with continuous airflow throughout the device. This gives an even heat and drying action to each of the trays, so once you have added your food and put the timer on, you are all done. The transparent lid is a nice touch, though, because it allows you to keep an eye on the food inside and stop the process early if it looks ready.
The trays are made from plastic, which is easy to clean and dishwasher safe. With the trays that are included you will be able to dry herbs, meat, fruit, and vegetables and be able to fashion fruit rolls too. Reviews on Amazon are positive in the main, with customers being impressed by the simplicity of the design and the quality of the food it produces. It doesn’t have as many features as the more expensive versions, but if you’re new to dehydrators and want to give it a go, this could be the best jerky dehydrator for you.
- Four tray system
- Transparent cover
- Compact design
- Bottom mounted fan
- Dishwasher safe
If you are new to home dehydrators, then this entry level model from Presto could be a good way to get you started. It doesn’t have anywhere near as many features as the other products in these best dehydrator for jerky reviews, but this simplifies the process and means you simply place the food in, switch it on, and wait until it is done.
Within the box you will get the dehydration base unit, four trays, and an instruction and recipe booklet. The fan and heating element is built within the base unit and you simply stack the number of trays you want to use on top of it. It is designed to hold up to 8 trays so if you find using 4 doesn’t hold as much as you need, it’s easy to get hold of some more.
Unlike many other dehydrators, this one does not have adjustable temperatures- instead it constantly operates at around 165 degrees F. It doesn’t have a timer either, but to get around this it has a see through lid so you can check on the progress without having to disassemble the trays and disrupt the process.
The airflow is channeled in an even manner to ensure the food on the top tray is heated and dried at the same pace as the food on lower trays, and the compact design means that when you aren’t using the product you can store it away neatly. The trays nest inside each other and the cord stores in the base.
Judging by reviews left on Amazon, customers are fairly happy with the quality of jerky this dehydrator produces. The bottom mounted fan can prove to be a slight issue if you are drying wet foods, as the condensation can interfere with the mechanism, but apart from that the design is efficient and dries the food out fairly quick.
- Holds 9 large trays
- Adjustable thermostat
- Flexible polyscreen tray insert
- 26 hour timer
- Fan and heating element in the back
This best dehydrator for beef jerky from Excalibur is a top of the range model that is well worth considering if you are serious about making jerkies and fruit rolls, and want to increase the amount you can produce and the overall quality. It’s much more expensive than the others in this guide, though, so if you are new to food dehydrating you would probably be better off getting one of the lower priced models.
Within the box you will get the dehydrator unit, nine removable trays, seven polyscreen tray inserts, and an instruction/recipe booklet. The unique design of this dehydrator means that it heats and dries all of the food at an even pace. The fan, heating element, and thermostat are built into the back of the unit, and it takes advantage of two particular features to improve the quality of the end product.
The parallex horizontal airflow draws cool air across the heating element and applies it evenly across all of the trays. The Hyperwave fluctuation technology ensures the temperature of the food is kept low so the enzymes stay active, but the temperature of the air is hot enough to dry it out. This helps avoid problems like yeast, mold, and spillages.
An adjustable thermostat allows you to change the temperature between 105 to 165 degrees F, so you can create the perfect environment for drying your jerky and fruit rolls. You won’t need to rotate the trays because of the efficient airflow, so once you have put all the food in and put the timer on, you can simply leave it to get on with the job.
The polyscreen inserts are useful by preventing the food sticking to the trays and causing a mess. All parts are easily cleaned and, with over 15 square feet of drying space you’ll be able to produce a large quantity of product.
- Food dehydrator kit
- Uses 5 trays
- Quick action
- Fan mounted on lid
- Converga-flow drying system
Nesco have designed this dehydrator to give you all of the elements you need to start producing tasty jerky, fruit rolls, and other foods with ease. The unit has a series of features to help you control the environment and it will only take a few hours to dry your food.
Within the box you will get the dehydrator unit with a fan, five trays, five cures and spices, a gun that has three different sized tips, two sheets for fruit rolls, two screens, and a recipe booklet.
The drying process is powered by a 500-watt fan. This is a good design that prevents spills from damaging the fan, and allows continuous airflow around all of the trays. It channels airflow down the central part of the unit and horizontally across the trays so all of the food will dry at the same pace. The adjustable thermostat allows you to alter the temperature to create the perfect conditions for whatever you are drying whether it be meat, herbs, fruits, or vegetables.
There is no timer built into this dehydrator, but with it being designed to dry food within a matter of hours you won’t need to leave it running for days on end. The opaque exterior protects the nutrients in the food by preventing rays of light from getting in, but is still see through enough for you to be able to see when your food is done.
Customer reviews on Amazon show that people are really impressed by the speed at which this best beef jerky dehydrator dries out food. The spices and other products that come included mean that you will be able to start experimenting with different flavors as soon as you get it, and the plastic material used to make the trays mean they are very easy to clean.
Best Dehydrator For Beef Jerky: The Takeaway
If you, like me, love eating jerky then you will be all too familiar with how expensive it gets, and the limited number of flavors available never seems to be enough. By making it yourself at home you will be able to choose the spices and quality of meat, you can also create fruit rolls, and will ultimately end up saving money because it is much cheaper to produce.
Our choice for the best dehydrator for jerky is the Excalibur 3926TB. This product provides a large area so you can dry loads of foodstuffs at one time, it manages the airflow really well, and has an adjustable thermostat and timer.