Stainless Steel Food Dehydrator vs Plastic : Which is Best?

Food dehydration is an age-old practice that has gained modern popularity with health-conscious consumers and food enthusiasts. A food dehydrator can help you create your own healthy snacks at home, from fruit leathers to jerky and dried vegetables. But, when it comes to choosing a food dehydrator, one question often arises: stainless steel or plastic? This article will delve into the advantages and disadvantages of both materials, to help you make an informed decision.

Understanding Food Dehydrators

Food dehydrators use a heat source and airflow to reduce the water content of foods. The process of dehydration inhibits the growth of bacteria, yeasts, and molds, making it a natural method for preserving food.

The primary components of a food dehydrator are:

  • Heat Element: This generates the necessary heat for dehydration.
  • Fan: It circulates the hot air across the food to speed up drying.
  • Vents: These allow moisture to escape during the dehydration process.
  • Trays: Here, the food is placed for dehydration.

The effectiveness of dehydration depends on the correct balance between temperature and humidity. Too much heat can cause ‘case hardening’, where the exterior of the food hardens (and seals), but the interior remains moist and susceptible to spoilage.

The Dehydrator Dilemma: Stainless Steel vs Plastic

When it comes to the material of food dehydrators, the most common options are stainless steel and plastic. Each has its own set of pros and cons. Let’s delve deeper.

Stainless Steel Dehydrators

Stainless steel dehydrators are often seen as the premium choice, and for good reasons.

Advantages of Stainless Steel Dehydrators

  1. Durability: Stainless steel is much more robust than plastic, offering a longer-lasting and more wear-resistant solution.
  2. No Harmful Chemicals: High-quality stainless steel is non-reactive and BPA-free, meaning it won’t leach harmful chemicals into your food, even at high temperatures.
  3. Easy to Clean: Stainless steel trays are dishwasher safe and easy to wipe clean after use.
  4. Professional Aesthetics: The sleek, modern look of stainless steel is more desirable for some, blending better with other kitchen appliances.

Disadvantages of Stainless Steel Dehydrators

  1. Cost: Stainless steel dehydrators are typically more expensive than their plastic counterparts.
  2. Weight: These dehydrators are much heavier, making them less portable and harder to move around.
  3. Heat Conductivity: Stainless steel conducts heat more than plastic, which may lead to the dehydrator’s exterior becoming hot to touch.

Plastic Dehydrators

Plastic food dehydrators are widely available and often come with a more affordable price tag.

Advantages of Plastic Dehydrators

  1. Price: Plastic dehydrators are generally less expensive than stainless steel models, making them a good option for beginners.
  2. Lightweight: These dehydrators are lighter and easier to move around.
  3. Versatility: Plastic dehydrators come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with some even offering expandable tray systems.

Disadvantages of Plastic Dehydrators

  1. Durability: Plastic is less durable than stainless steel and may crack or break more easily.
  2. Potential Health Concerns: Some plastic dehydrators may contain BPA or other harmful chemicals that could leach into food at high temperatures. However, many manufacturers now offer BPA-free models.

Making the Choice

Choosing between a stainless steel and plastic food dehydrator depends on your personal needs, preferences, budget, and the importance you place on factors like durability, aesthetics, and potential health concerns.

For people concerned about chemical exposure or who want a more durable, long-lasting appliance, a stainless steel dehydrator may be worth the extra investment. Those on a budget or just starting with food dehydration might prefer a plastic model.

Whichever type you choose, ensure it has a good temperature range, adjustable thermostat, and adequate space for your drying needs. Also, consider the brand’s reputation and the product’s user reviews.


Whether you opt for a stainless steel or plastic food dehydrator, both can provide the benefits of food dehydration, helping you create nutritious snacks at home. The best model for you ultimately depends on your unique needs and preferences. By understanding the pros and cons of each material, you can make a more informed decision and find a dehydrator that best fits your lifestyle.

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Hey there, since 2016, my mission has been to provide you with the information and guides you need to make food dehydrating simple and fun. Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned pro, my site offers helpful guides, reviews, and recipes to enhance your dehydrating experience. I take pride in only recommending products I believe in, ensuring my readers' trust. As an affiliate of various programs, including Amazon Associates, your support helps me continue providing quality content. Thanks for stopping by, and happy dehydrating!

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