The main parts of a food dehydrator include an electric heating element, a fan and vents to circulate the air. Common secondary features include mesh trays, a temperature dial, a thermostat and a timer.
Food dehydrators are available in horizontal or vertical air flow designs. Dehydrators with horizontal air flow provide heating and drying from the side of the device. A main benefit of this method is the even drying of multiple trays of food.
Dehydrators with vertical air flow have heating components located at the base of the device. The potential for juices and liquids to drip into the heating base is the main drawback of the vertical design.