Discover the Best Food Dehydrator for Jerky Making

If you are a fan of jerky and always wondered how the meat got to its lean state, then this article is for you. If you are tired of buying jerky and want to make it yourself, then you ought to consider getting a food dehydrator. Several dehydrators have been labeled as the best food dehydrator for jerky. There are so many dehydrators on the market for you to choose from. The onus is on you to do your research to choose one that best fits your budget.

Jerky is made when meat is dried through a process of dehydration. Dehydration, in essence, removed the moisture from meat through a heated process. This process prevents the meat from spoiling and prevents bacteria from developing. Below are some of the options for the best food dehydrator for jerky.

Below are some of the food dehydrators for jerky that you’ll find today.

The Top Picks for the Best Food Dehydrator for Jerky

Nesco FD-28JX Jerky Xpress Dehydrator Kit with Jerky Gun

Nesco’s Jerky Xpress is both a dehydrator and jerky maker and comes with four drying trays. It has a fixed temperature that is driven by a fan powerhead. It dries your food items within hours and comes with one year warranty. The best thing about the entire situation is that you get enough seasonings for four pounds of meat.

NESCO FD-28JX JerkyXpress Food dehydrator, For Jerky Snacks, White
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    • It comes with tips for making beef jerky. If you are an amateur and have never made beef jerky before, this dehydrator comes with tips on how to make the jerky and along with attachments and spice packs.
    • You do not have to rotate the trays to dry evenly- if you want to dehydrate without worrying about rotating trays, then this is a good option. It comes with a fan so you can expect faster and a more even drying technology.
    • One-Touch Operation—its one-touch operation makes it very easy to use. You do not have to worry about setting it up right. You just flip the switch, and the dehydrator sets the temperature for you.


    • The dehydration process can take really long- if you have something that you want to dehydrate, it may be best if you leave the machine on overnight rather than waiting all day for the process to get done.
    • Not for repeated use—if you use this one day for several hours, and then you attempt to use it again the following day, it may not work because the motor is probably burnt. If you buy this product, be careful of your usage frequency.

    This is one of the best home food dehydrator for jerky available on the market.

    Presto 06301 Dehydro Digital Electric Food Dehydrator

    Unlike the Nesco, the Presto Dehydro does not have the word jerky in it. But, it is a dehydrator that is both digital and electric. It comes with six trays and has the ability to make jerky from several meat varieties. It is white, but you can pay an additional purchasing fee and get fruit roll sheets or mesh screens with them.

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    • The timer is precise – the dehydrator is equipped with a thermostat and timer that are both digital, so time and temperature are properly regulated.
    • No rotation is needed – the heating elements and fan are mounted at the bottom of the dehydrator, so airflow and distribution are easy but consistent.
    • Trays – it comes with six trays, but you can buy additional trays as it has a twelve tray capacity. The trays are most of the other removable elements are dishwasher safe. There is no need for you to spend a lot of time trying to get grease off of the trays.


    • Repeated and frequent use of the dehydrator can significantly shorten its life
    • It takes long to dehydrate- like all dehydrators, the process takes incredibly long, and this dehydrator is no exception to the rule.

    Gourmia GFD1550 Food Dehydrator with Digital Temperature Settings

    Gourmia advertises its dehydrator as one that could make everything. If you thought a dehydrator would only make your dried fruits and jerky, then think again. According to Gourmia, their dehydrator is capable of making muffins and other scrumptious desserts.


    • Compact Dehydrator – the dehydrator is so compact that it allows you to save on storage space. No need to worry about where you should store it because it does not take up much space. Despite being compact, it has five trays so you can make as much jerky as can fit.
    • It comes with a cookbook – if you have no idea how to make jerky before purchasing this product, the cookbook it comes with will assist you in making jerky. It will also advise on other dehydrated fruits that you can try.


    • No spare parts – if you had ideas of making anything besides jerky in this dehydrator, then you may need to reconsider. It does not come with solid or mesh trays, so this may dampen your efforts to make snacks like fruit leather. The trays are also not sold separately.
    • It is made by products known to cause cancer – if you don’t read instruction manuals, then you will want to read the one that comes with this dehydrator because on one of the last pages of the book there is a disclaimer that the product is made with cancer-causing materials.

    Cosori Food Dehydrator

    This dehydrator comes with six stainless steel trays, a mesh screen, a fruit roll sheet, a user’s manual, and a bonus recipe book. The entire unit is crafted in food-grade high-quality stainless steel and finished with a glass front door. Complete with a digital control panel, the unit allows for easy use. Along with that, all liners and accessories are BPA-free and easy to clean due to the dishwasher-safe material.

    Several features are included in the build, including an automatic shut-off feature when the unit gets too hot. On top of that, the unit runs at 48 dB, which is less than many of its competitors, meaning a quieter operation and less interference in your daily life. The digital control panel used to control the unit is set with a timer that runs up to 48 hours and 30-minute increments.

    Though there are a few issues, including some people who have reported the fan shutting off for no reason and the price tag that comes with it, this unit is quite the investment and offers outstanding value even with those two drawbacks.


    • The unit comes with six stainless steel trays
    • Designed with a glass front for better visibility of progress
    • Crafted with a digital control panel for easier use
    • Built-in overheat switch for improved performance
    • All trays included are dishwasher safe


    • Issues with the fan shutting off occasionally
    • Some find the price tag to be a bit on the steep side

    NutriChef Countertop Dehydrator

    This countertop dehydrator has a multitiered interior that utilizes six food-grade stainless steel trays/dryer racks. In order to control the temperatures in this unit, there is an electronic probe and temperature control that is managed through a touch control LED display. Combined with that, the unit has memory function capabilities to ensure ease of use. Finished with a glass door and a built-in rear-mounted motor and internal fan, this unit is designed to keep from overheating.

    There are many things to love about this unit, including the use of beautiful stainless steel that is not only durable but looks good in almost every kitchen. The door handles are well made and able to stand up to the rigors of use, unlike other models on the market. It also offers an easy-to-use control panel on the top of the unit and a wire screen in the back to help the racks stay in place.

    Though the fan is constructed internally and runs quietly, there is one major issue. Many people have found that there is a balance problem and that the fan itself may vibrate slightly when used. The only other drawback is that some have found the heating element does have a slight odor upon first use.


    • Crafted with high-quality stainless steel for improved durability and aesthetic look
    • Handles that are attached to the door are well made and able to withstand the rigors of use
    • The control panel is situated on the top of the unit and is simple and easy to operate
    • Designed with a wire screen in the back to prevent racks from going too far into the unit
    • Fan utilized in construction runs quietly


    • Some find that there is a slight odor from the heating element when first used
    • Fan seems to have a little bit of a balance issue and may vibrate slightly


    What is the best food dehydrator for making jerky?

    The best food dehydrator for making jerky depends on your needs and preferences. Generally speaking, a model with multiple temperature settings, adjustable trays and timers, and an automatic shut-off feature is ideal for those who want to make consistent batches of delicious and well-dried jerky.

    How much jerky can you make with a food dehydrator?

    The amount of jerky you can make with a food dehydrator depends on the size of your dehydrator and how much meat you are working with. Generally, a small-sized dehydrator can produce up to 2 pounds of jerky. In comparison, larger models can handle up to 5 or more pounds at once.

    What type of meat is best for making beef jerky?

    Delicious beef jerky can be crafted from various cuts, such as the eye of the round, sirloin, flank steak, chuck steak, rump roast, and brisket.

    The Verdict

    So, after reading about three brands of dehydrators, which is the best food dehydrator for jerky? It really comes down to preference and what you are willing to overlook. All dehydrators take long with the dehydration process so you cannot choose the best food dehydrator for jerky based on that. However, the Gourmia initially seemed like the best of the lot, but then it was revealed that it was made from materials that were known to be cancer causing.

    It is now a battle between the Nesco and Presto dehydrators. They both have the same cons, and their functionality is pretty similar. The Presto has the advantage of being digital, but the Nesco has a little edge because it comes with tips and seasonings. If you prefer digital, you can buy your own seasonings and research your own recipes. But despite Nesco’s non-digital functionality, it still operates by one touch. The choice is yours.

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