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5 Best Food Dehydrators for Drying Herbs at Home

Do you want to know what the 5 best food dehydrators for drying herbs at home are!

And did you know that drying herbs is a great way to preserve them for later use?

But which dehydrator should you get?

Assorted dried herbs on wooden spoons

Home chefs love having fresh and dried herbs at their disposal just as much as professional chefs!

Coming right up are the 5 best food dehydrators for drying herbs at home.

#1

Nesco FD-1018A Gardenmaster Pro

Coming in at number one is the Nesco dehydrator brand, famous for its ease of use and the dehydrator brand I still use, decades later!

An easy way to dry herbs is to use this Nesco FD-1018A Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator. Its heating element is in the circular lid.

It has a temperature range of 90°F to 155°F and an adjustable thermostat, so you can find the perfect setting for drying different herbs.

This Gardenmaster comes with 8 trays but you can buy more trays so you can expand - up to 12 trays - if and when needed.

But remember, we're not building a tower here. The taller you go, the more often you'll need to rotate the trays for even drying.

To reduce drying time, consider dehydrating fresh herbs in small batches and storing them in airtight containers or vacuum-seal them.

#2

Excalibur 3926TB 9-Tray

Coming in at number two is the Excalibur 3926TB 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator with a temperature range of 105°F to 165°F and comes with 9 trays but you can go up to a 15 tray model. Usually, 9 trays are enough for the average small family.

It also features an adjustable timer and a 26-hour shutoff setting so you can have complete control over the drying process.

Instead of the dehydrator being round, the Excalibur brand dehydrators are mainly square, with stackable trays that slide in and out, rather like pulling out a drawer!

The fan is at the rear, and Excalibur claim that you don't need to rotate the trays, but I still do. Most people aren't aware that you can use an Excalibur dehydrator to not only dry foods, but to proof bread!

How? Leave in one tray near the bottom (remove the rest) and add a shallow foil pan with water beneath that single tray. Turn the dehydrator to the lowest setting and place your bread dough on the tray and now you're ready to proof your bread dough. The taller the unit, the bigger the loaf you can proof.

#3

Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric

In third place is the Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food Dehydrator: This dehydrator comes with a temperature range of 90°F to 165°F and has an adjustable thermostat.

It also comes with 4 trays, which can be expanded up to 8.

It has a top-mounted fan, like the Nesco brand.

Presto say that their trays are "nestable" to save using up all your kitchen cupboard space! Neat.

#4

NutriChef PKFD06 Food Dehydrator

NutriChef PKFD06 Food Dehydrator Machine: This dehydrator features 5 trays and is square-shaped.

The NutriChef has an easy-to-use one operation dial that ranges from low, then medium, to high. Dehydrate with just a click. It has a max temperature of 180°F.

The drying fan is located in the base of the dehydrator.

What I like about this dehydrator are the see-through trays. You can see what's on 'em. Why is that good? Many times I've turned off my Nesco overnight with "almost dried food" still on the trays.

It's all too easy to FORGET to turn the dehydrator back on when you can't have the visual reminder that it's NOT empty!

#5

Hamilton Beach 32100A Digital

Hamilton Beach 32100A Digital Food Dehydrator: This dehydrator comes with five stackale trays, expandable up to twelve, and a temperature range from 100°F to 160°F.

It is square-shaped and has opaque trays with a transparent lid. At least you can see you have something on the top tray! (See my note about the NutriChef having see-through trays).

It also has a 48-hour timer and an automatic shutoff setting which I think is great. Some foods need to dry for two days! The unit is equipped with a base-mounted fan.

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases with no price increase to you. Read disclosure here.

Dehydrated herbs (and foods) are great to have on hand, and you can make small or large batches depending on your needs.

Some have a top-mounted fan or a rear-mounted fan.

Just about ALL dehydrators have a minimum tray allotment which should be stated in their user manual. Why a minimum amount of trays? To make sure the warm air circulates properly!

I used to say I avoid dehydrators with bottom-mounted fans. Why? Because the fans may be hard to keep clean. The newest dehydrator I have has a base-mounted fan (that pushes air up through the CENTER). Food isn't able to get into the fan because the trays also have that center part cutout.

Can't believe I'm gonna say this but, the dehydrators with a base-mounted fan means that the lid is MUCH easier to lift off, just sayin'.

Go for Digital Timers and Thermostats

Most dehydrators have plastic trays that act as a single layer. The best dehydrators have a digital thermostat. Some have a digital timer, which is a programmable timer in some cases.

Having a digital timer comes in handy when you have to leave home and need your dehydrator to run unattended. Look for models with a wide temperature range and at a price point that won't wreck your budget.

When you are ready to dry your herbs, consider how much drying space you'll need. If you're going to be drying a lot of herbs, just add more trays. It's that easy!

My Dehydrators of Choice are Nesco and Excalibur Brands:

Nesco DEHYDRATORS at Amazon

Nesco FD-80A Food + Jerky Dehydrator

This is a square-shaped food dehydrator, perfect for snacks, fruit, and beef jerky. White with a top black tray edge, with a white lid.

  • 700 watts of drying power
  • Expandable to 8 trays
  • 15.25 x 10.25 x 15.63 inches (LxWxH)
  • Temperature range: 95°F - 160°F
  • Comes with: 1 Clean-A-Screen, 1 Recipe Instruction Book, 1 Jerky Seasoning & Cure Sample

Nesco FD-61WHC Snackmaster Encore Food Dehydrator

This round Nesco Snackmaster comes with a jerky gun kit and 5 trays. It has a very light grey body with a darker grey lid.

  • 500 watts of drying power
  • Expandable to 12 trays
  • 13.5 x 13.5 x 9.25 inches (LxWxH)
  • Temperature range: 95°F - 160°F
  • Comes with: 1 Jerky Gun with 3 tip attachments, 2 Fruit Roll Sheets, 2 Clean-A-Screens, 5 Jerky Seasoning & Cure Samples, Recipe & Instruction book

Nesco FD-60 Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator

This is the new version of mine as it has an updated lid. It's a light grey body with a darker grey lid.

  • 500 watts of drying power
  • Expandable to 12 trays
  • 13.5 x 13.5 x 9.25 inches (LxWxH)
  • Temperature range: 95°F - 155°F
  • Comes with: 1 Fruit Roll Sheet, 2 Original-Flavor Jerky Spice & Cure Packets

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases with no price increase to you. Read disclosure here.

Nesco ACCESSORIES at Amazon

Nesco Solid Fruit Roll Sheets

Nesco LSS-2-6 Round clear plastic 13-1/2" diameter Fruit Roll Sheets, white.

  • 2 pk of solid fruit roll sheets
  • 1.6 sq feet drying area
  • Dry capacity up to 3 cups of pureed fruit per sheet
  • Check the red Amazon link to see which Nesco models these Fruit Roll Sheets fit

Nesco Mesh Sheets

Nesco LM-2-6 Round plastic mesh 13-1/2" diameter Clean-A-Screens, white.

  • 2 pk of mesh sheets
  • 1.6 sq feet drying area
  • Check the red Amazon link to see which Nesco models these Clean-A-Screens fit

Nesco Trays

Nesco WT-2SG Round Speckled Plastic 13-1/2" diameter Add-A-Tray.

  • 2 pk of speckled round trays
  • 1.6 sq feet drying area
  • Fits 20 Series and 30 Series Food Dehydrators
  • Check the red Amazon link to see all the Nesco models these Add-A-Trays fit

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases with no price increase to you. Read disclosure here.



Excalibur DEHYDRATORS at Amazon

Excalibur 2400 Food Dehydrator, 4-Tray Starter

This is a square-shaped food dehydrator, that boasts 4 square feet of drying space. Black textured plastic body. Remove the front panel for access to its four trays.

  • 220 watts of drying power
  • 4 removable trays
  • 16.25 x 13 x 6.5 inches (LxWxH)
  • Temperature range: 95°F - 165°F
  • Comes with: 4 trays, a digital download guide to dehydration

Excalibur 2900ECB 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator

This is a square-shaped food dehydrator, that boasts 15 square feet of drying space. Black textured plastic body. Remove the front panel for access to its nine trays.

  • 400 watts of drying power
  • 9 removable trays
  • 19 x 17 x 12.5 inches (LxWxH)
  • Temperature range: 105°F - 165°F
  • Comes with: 9 trays, a digital download guide to dehydration

Excalibur 3900B 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator

This is a square-shaped food dehydrator, that boasts 15 square feet of drying space. Black textured plastic body. Remove the front panel for access to its 9 trays. Has a built-in on/off switch.

  • 600 watts of drying power
  • 9 removable trays
  • 19 x 17 x 12.5 inches (LxWxH)
  • Temperature range: 105°F - 165°F
  • Comes with: 9 trays, a digital download guide to dehydration

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases with no price increase to you. Read disclosure here.

Excalibur ACCESSORIES at Amazon

Excalibur Solid Sheets

Excalibur 14 x 14 inch Fruit Leather Sheets, beige centers and green outer edges.

  • 5 pk of solid sheets
  • high-grade silicone, excellent non-stick properties
  • Check the red Amazon link to see which Excalibur models these Fruit Leather Sheets fit

Excalibur Mesh Sheets

Lova brand mesh dehydrator sheets for Excalibur Dehydrators, Cosori Dehydrators, Magic Mill Dehydrators, white.

  • 6 pk of mesh sheets, can be cut to fit
  • high-grade silicone, excellent non-stick properties
  • Check the red Amazon link to see which Excalibur models in particular these mesh screens fit

Excalibur Mesh Sheet Inserts

Excalibur 14 x 14 inch Polyscreen Mesh Tray Screen Inserts (black tray NOT included).

  • 9 pk of mesh screen inserts/trays
  • 100% FDA Food Grade Material
  • Check the red Amazon link to see all the Excalibur models these Excalibur-brand mesh tray sheets fit

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases with no price increase to you. Read disclosure here.

Large Capacity Drying Area

Purée-Wise

The best food dehydrator (accessory-wise) has mesh screens and fruit leather sheets, also known as fruit leather solid sheets.

Solid sheets are necessary so that your puréed fruit doesn't drip through the mesh screens or trays onto the food below.

Herb-Wise

Using solid sheets also helps keep your herbs from falling through to the lower drying trays. For large-leaf drying, you can skip using the solid sheets though. But for smaller herbs like thyme, use the solid sheets.

These solid food trays are commonly purchased separately and are quite affordable. Just make sure the dimensions of the solid screens fit your dehydrator model. Double-check before ordering!

Herbs drying on a Nesco brand dehydrator tray

While there are large capacity dehydrators on the market, what size you select depends on how often and how much food and herbs you wish to dry. Also, take into account the number of family members you have to feed!

Dehydrator sizes start with as few as four trays and are known as 'starter' models. The neat thing about Nesco brand dehydrators (and others, to be fair) is that you can purchase additional trays as your needs grow.

Don't worry about having a small kitchen; dehydrator "footprints" are roughly the same; it's how many trays you stack that may cause an issue if there's not enough counter height space. If your kitchen has an island with electrical power, stick your dehydrator on the island!

Give Your Dehydrator Enough Breathing Room

Remember to give your dehydrator "room to breathe." Sticking it directly beneath upper cabinets is not a good idea. Just think of all the moist air that hits the underside of the cabinets... At the very least, pull it forward toward the edge of the counter.

I also find that the bottom trays take the longest to dry when using a model with a top-mounted fan. Items on the top trays will dry faster as they are closer to the heating element. That makes sense, right?

Regarding rear-mounted fans: The same logic applies to the foods closest to the fan; they will always dry faster. The best way to combat uneven drying is to rotate the trays often.

For round models that means changing the stacking order of the trays - up and down.

For square models, turn the trays 180 degrees (and up and down too).

Having said all that, ALL the brands claim you don't need to rotate trays due to their 'superior drying fans and technology' etc., but I still rotate them!

Is Bigger Always Better?

The larger the unit, the larger the watts of power needed. Again, choose one with a built-in thermostat and timer for the best results and select a size that suits your family's needs.

Turn it On (and Off)

Nesco using an inline on/off switch short power cord

A dehydrator with a dedicated on/off button is BEST.

You see, I had to purchase a very short extension cord with a switch incorporated into it. I hate pulling things out of a socket to turn it off (or on).

This heavy-duty switch works, but looks like overkill IMHO. :-)

I think you could turn an airplane on and off with it!

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases with no price increase to you. Read disclosure here.

Storing Dried Herbs

Store your dehydrated herbs inside half pint glass jars (Mason jars), which I find are fantastic for home-dried herbs.

If you're running out of space to store all your dehydrated goodies, then create your own storage space by reading more here on where to add secret storage!

Is Dehydrating Faster than Air Drying?

Herbs being hung to dry out

Using a dehydrator is faster than hanging sprigs on a rack to air dry and in my mind, it's "cleaner" too.

How so? Dust cannot accumulate on our drying herbs because our herbs are enclosed inside a dehydrator! Bear in mind, we're not trying to cook the herbs! Keep an eye on the temperature control.

Wrap-up of the 5 Best Food Dehydrators for Drying Herbs at Home

My top pick is actually a toss-up between Nesco and Excalibur electric dehydrators. I'm biased. I own one of each and for good reason! But in my defense, I did show you the 5 best food dehydrators for drying herbs at home along with tips.

Thanks for stopping by to read about the 5 best food dehydrators for drying herbs at home!

A female holding a copy of the "How to Grow & Dehydrate Herbs" eBook, along with a tea cup!

Pick up my free eBook "How to Grow and Dehydrate Herbs" using the form on this page or click the lovely lady above!