Best 5 Dehydrators for Making Beef Jerky

by | Sep 15, 2017 | Accessories

If you’re planning on making homemade beef jerky, then one of the things you’ll need is a dehydrator. Sure, there are some DIY hacks you can use to get the same effect, but eventually, you’ll want to upgrade to a machine that can take care of it for you.

For those who don’t know, a jerky hydrators job is basically to pass warm air over your beef, letting the moisture slowly evaporate. Eventually, once most of the water is gone you’ll end up with what we all know is beef jerky.

This process, can take many hours to complete!

In this review, we’re gonna look at 5 of the best beef jerky dehydrators on the market.

Summary Tables

Rank#1#2#3#4#5
Product


Chefman

Dehydrator


Check Price


NutriChef

Dehydrator


Check Price


Nesco

FD-28JX


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Ivation

Electric


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Gourmia

GFD1750


Check Price
Price$$$$$$$$
Rating
Wattage480w800w350w400w550w
Trays964610

Summary Tables

Best Dehydrator for Beef Jerky!

1. Chefman Food Dehydrator Machine

Our Rating:   (4.5/5)
Trays 9
Digital Touch Settings  
Transparent Door  

The Chefman brand, is a budget range of kitchen equipment for the domestic market. To be fair though, they make some pretty decent stuff, and hopefully, their dehydrator is no different!

This model, comes with 9 separate trays, a digital thermometer and one of the most important features you can have in a dehydrator – a transparent door, perfect for watching over your beef without opening and losing the heat.

Features

  • 9 draws measuring – 13 inches by 12 inches.
  • Digital thermometer runs from 95 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Integrated fan system that delivers heat evenly to all draws.
  • Transparent door, helping you keep the heat inside.
  • 1-year warranty

In Sure

We had high hopes for the Chefman, as even though the price is high compared to our other dehydrators on review, we think that extra outlay might be worth it.

Getting the Chefman up and running, was easy. The draws come pre-installed, and the electrical leads provided was nice and long. It’s worth saying that this dehydrator measures 17 x 14 x 18 inches, so if you think this might be a little large for your kitchen counter, you might want to look at the 6-draw version.

As you’d expect from a tray dehydrator, the inside of the Chefman heats up quickly, and all 9 draws seem to maintain a similar temperature to each other. If you’ve ever used a hydrator where one section of it dries quicker than the rest, you’ll know how much better this is!

We had a go at making beef jerky, kale chips and a few dried fruits using the Chefman, and they all came out well.

The only drawback we could find, is the fact the door feels a little flimsy. If you do purchase the Chefman, just be mindful when you open and shut it. Thankfully, it’s transparent, so you’ll be able to keep an eye on your foods without having to open it all the time.

Pros: A solid performer with enough room for some mega cooks! Also copes with any dehydrating job you can throw at it, plus there’s the 6-draw version for those who need to maintain counter space.

Cons: The door is a little flimsy and might not survive long term use by children and heavy-handed people! Be careful!

2. NutriChef Food Dehydrator

Our Rating: (5.0/5)
Trays 6
Auto Off Timer  
Heat Circulation

The Chefman brand, is a budget range of kitchen equipment for the domestic market. To be fair though, they make some pretty decent stuff, and hopefully, their dehydrator is no different!

This model, comes with 9 separate trays, a digital thermometer and one of the most important features you can have in a dehydrator – a transparent door, perfect for watching over your beef without opening and losing the heat.

Features

  • 9 draws measuring – 13 inches by 12 inches.
  • Digital thermometer runs from 95 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Integrated fan system that delivers heat evenly to all draws.
  • Transparent door, helping you keep the heat inside.
  • 1-year warranty

In Sure

We had high hopes for the Chefman, as even though the price is high compared to our other dehydrators on review, we think that extra outlay might be worth it.

Getting the Chefman up and running, was easy. The draws come pre-installed, and the electrical leads provided was nice and long. It’s worth saying that this dehydrator measures 17 x 14 x 18 inches, so if you think this might be a little large for your kitchen counter, you might want to look at the 6-draw version.

As you’d expect from a tray dehydrator, the inside of the Chefman heats up quickly, and all 9 draws seem to maintain a similar temperature to each other. If you’ve ever used a hydrator where one section of it dries quicker than the rest, you’ll know how much better this is!

We had a go at making beef jerky, kale chips and a few dried fruits using the Chefman, and they all came out well.

The only drawback we could find, is the fact the door feels a little flimsy. If you do purchase the Chefman, just be mindful when you open and shut it. Thankfully, it’s transparent, so you’ll be able to keep an eye on your foods without having to open it all the time.

Pros: A solid performer with enough room for some mega cooks! Also copes with any dehydrating job you can throw at it, plus there’s the 6-draw version for those who need to maintain counter space.

Cons: The door is a little flimsy and might not survive long term use by children and heavy-handed people! Be careful!

3. Nesco FD-28JX Jerky Xpress

Our Rating: (4.4/5)
Trays 4
Jerky Gun + Spice/Cure  
Wattage 350w

Nutrichef, are a new company on the block, and for those of you who switch your TV on after main programming has ended, you’ll probably have seen their infomercials.

With the Nutrichef, we’re now back to a far more traditional style of dehydrator. There are 6 trays inside, and each one slides out past a glass door, ready to take whatever you want.

One of the little bonuses the NutriChef gives too, is the timer function. If you know you’ll be leaving your dehydrator for the day, you can simply set the time to switch off the NutriChef whenever you want.

We think this is functionality that not nearly enough dehydrators and even electric smokers don’t have!

Temperature control runs from 86 to 158 Fahrenheit, and just like the Chefman, the fan system is designed to spread the heat evenly throughout the dehydrator.

Features

  • 6-tray system.
  • Air circulation system.
  • Auto off time.
  • Transparent front door.

In Use

We’re extremely glad to have a standard glass door again. The pot system on the Nesco is a real pain to use, even if it’s much cheaper to buy!

Setting up the NutriChef is nice and easy, and although we didn’t need to use the instructions, they’re written in plain English and easy to understand.

Heat distribution is extremely good, and we couldn’t identify a draw that was hotter, or one that dried out quicker during out test. We were also impressed by the auto off function that turns the NutriChef off after an adjustable amount of time. This function along is going to be worth the price for people who like to leave their dehydrator doing its work whilst they’re out of the home.

As for the quality of dehydration, the NutriChef did a great job of our beef jerky, and managed to make kale chips and vegetable bites too.

Pros: Works extremely well, auto off timers is awesome and cheaper than the Chefman.

Cons: Only has the 6 draws, for more capacity you’ll have to look elsewhere.

4. Ivation Electric Food Dehydrator

Our Rating: (4.4/5)
 Trays 6
Automatic Shutoff  
Wattage 400w

Here, we have two amazing things going on. A dehydrator that manages to pack in a glass front door, options for 6 or 9 trays, plus it’s cheaper than both the Chefman and NutriChef.

That’s a package we’re excited about.

The Ivation dehydrator, boasts a wider tray set at 12 inches, plus is has extra sheets inside specifically for drying herbs and small fruits.

The thermostatic control is similar to the Chefman, with a digital readout and temperatures that go from the mid 80’s, right up to 158 Fahrenheit.

Features

  • 6-trays measuring 13 x 12 inches.
  • 9-tray version also available.
  • Digital thermometer running from 85 to 158 Fahrenheit.
  • Extra shelves and trays for fruits and herbs.

In Use

The thing that amazed us most about the Ivation dehydrator, was the sheer amount of capacity available. Although we didn’t measure the space, we felt this model easily had more capacity than the NutriChef, and in 9-tray guide probably more than the Chefman too.

Getting the dehydrator running was a snap, and even those the fan was in a slightly different location to the Chefman and NutriChef, it still managed a nice and even temperature throughout each tray.

We absolutely loved out time using the Ivation dehydrator, and the only issue we might have with it is the fact the front glass panel clips off, rather than swings away. It’s not a huge problem of itself, ye we know how these machines get placed in a cupboard where bits and pieces go missing!

Pros: Unbelievably cheap for the featured offered, and matches the Chefman for performance.

Cons: If this model had a timer function, it would win outright. That front clip on door is a minor worry too.

5. Gourmia GFD1750 Food Dehydrator

Our Rating: (3.9/5)
Trays 10
Beef Jerkey & Sausage Hanging Rack  
Wattage 550w

We thought we had our review cracked after using the Ivation model. It was so good we felt we had a winner. However, no sooner had we opened the Gourmia GFD1850, we knew we had a real battle on our hands!

Boasting not 9, but 10 trays of capacity, the Gourmia blows every other dehydrator we’ve reviewed out of the window for capacity. It’s not as if the Gourmia has 10 smaller trays either, they easily match those on the Chefman for width and depth.

Features

  • 10-tray design.
  • Digital touch thermometer.
  • Transparent front window.
  • Free cookbook to help newbie chefs.

In Use

First things first, even though this dehydrator has 10-trays, don’t think the Gourmia doesn’t have the capability to regulate heat properly, it really does. Each of the 10-trays is kept at exactly the temperature you desire. This is because the fan and heat element are located at the back of the Gourmia, with a fan system that quickly pushes that heat to the front, and eventually everywhere else.

This made for some amazing capacity to tackle multiple jobs in one go. We were easily able to tackle beef jerky, fruits and chips all in one go.

I know, some people don’t like to do beef the same time as fruit. Even so, it worked well with decent results.

The front door is okay too, it’s a clip-on system again, just like the Ivation, yet it seems to have a more robust and easier to use fixing lock – we were impressed; however, the glass front only covers a small part of the door, so it’s not a completely transparent system.

Pros: Easy to use, excellent capacity and works wonderfully. Price is amazing too!

Cons: Front door only has a partial glass part to it.

Final thoughts

Realistically, there’s only two winners in our review, and even then, it depends on whether you need the auto timer function. For those of you who need that timer, then the NutriChef is what you need. It sadly only comes in a 6-tray model, yet that timer might just free up enough time to run it for two batches if you needed the 9-tray capacity.

If you can do without the auto timer feature, then there’s only one dehydrator you need. That’s the Ivation dehydrator, complete with its full transparent door that makes it a winner over the Gourmia model.

Of course, the Gourmia does win in other areas, and if you feel you can do without a full transparent front, then feel free to pick that model. It’s a top pick, and should serve you well.

As for the cheapest option in our review, it really pains us to say that the Nesco really wasn’t up to the task in hand. It’s such a shame because the Nesco brand is good and we really wanted it to shine.

Unfortunately, the price point meant savings in the design that we just couldn’t recommend.

So, there you have it, the NutriChef, Ivation and Gourmia are our top picks. Choose the one that has the stand out features you need, and trust us to say that you’ll do well with any of these models.

 

 

 

 

Billy StewartBilly Stewart

Founder of BarbequeSmoked.com

My dad is a true mans man, and has owned a number of grills. Ranging from gas to charcoal. Growing up with him allowed me to see what different types of rubs, spices, brines, etc went into making the best BBQ. Although my dad was a truck driver, and I had a degree in Information Technology I knew that I wanted to do something about grilling and our recipes.  That’s where Barbeque Smoked comes in.

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