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How much does it cost to dehydrate food?

Electric meter showing kilowatt hours (credit Velo Steve)

Dehydrated food you make yourself costs a lot less than what you can buy at the store. Still, people naturally wonder what it costs to run a dehydrator hour after hour. It’s easy to figure out the cost to run your dehydrator. You just need to know three things:

1. The wattage of the dehydrator
2. The hours needed to dehydrate
3. The cost of electricity

With the information above, you can calculate the cost of running your dehydrator in two steps. In step one, calculate how much electricity is used in Kilowatt-hours:

(Wattage × Hours needed) / 1000 = Kilowatt-hour (kWh) consumption

In step two, multiply the kWh by the cost per kWh in your area:

Cost = kWh * cost per kWh

So, for example, if you live in an area where electricity costs 12 cents per kWh, and you want to calculate the cost of running a 600 watt dehydrator for 12 hours:

(600 watts x 12 hours) / 1000 = 7.2 kWh

7.2kWh * $0.12 = $0.86

The chart below (click to expand) shows the cost to run machines of various wattages up to 24 hours. This chart assumes a cost per kWh of 12 cents, which is the current average in the US.

Dehydrator energy cost table

Note about Wattage
Most dehydrators have wattage clearly marked. If not, you can usually find the wattage on the bottom or back of the appliance. The stated wattage is the maximum power drawn by the appliance, so in most cases where you are not running the dehydrator at its maximum temperature, the actual energy used will be somewhat less than calculated. You can see the wattage for the dehydrators we've reviewed in our handy dehydrator comparison chart.

Dehydrator Cost Caculator worksheet
You can find out cost calculation worksheet here.


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

models with a thermostat "cycle" the element on and off. you didnt consider that

Submitted by dadmin on
Yes. This is just a simple model that assumes worst case - that the dehydrator will run at full-tilt the entire time. In real life, energy use will be less, especially if the dehydrator has a thermostat that is turning the heating element on and off.

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Submitted by Teresa (not verified) on

So its a consistent watt max chart

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

This is great info about how much it costs to run the dehydrator, but I wonder about having a heat source working against your air conditioning. Here in Florida my a/c works full time to cool the house. I wonder how much harder my a/c is having to work to overcome the heat from the dehydrator??

Submitted by lisa on
I run my outside during the summer. However, in the fall and winter and spring I like to have it in the kitchen, where it warms the house up. Lisa

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Submitted by Jim (not verified) on

If you want to calculate for AC, you could roughly double the power consumption. The device has a fan and a heating element and most of the power output is in the form of heat, that heat then has to be cooled by your air conditioner which will consume just as many watts (likely more due to great inefficiencies) to cool that air back down and remove the humidity (which was put into the air by the dehumidifier).

Submitted by Magnus Roe (not verified) on

That is not entirely correct, an air conditioner is in fact very efficient, but it does not cool the air, it merely moves the heat to another location and it will likely not spend more than half the energy the dehydrator adds to the system.

Submitted by Jim E. (not verified) on

Yes, not only are A/C systems very efficient in moving heat from one location to another there is an added benefit of removing moisture from the air where the dehydrating is being done. In the example of the individual doing there dehydrating in Florida I suspect that it is more efficiant to dehydrate indoors in low humidity rather than in the 90% humidity of Florida.

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Submitted by Taciano Muñoz (not verified) on

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Submitted by W (not verified) on

7.2*.12 = .86 not .66 Your chart is correct but you made a typo up in the description.

Submitted by Jaci (not verified) on

Would a 1000 watt machine be faster than a 600 watt machine thereby equalizing the cost some?

Submitted by Todd K (not verified) on

Be sure to double the cost. Rates have gone up, you must include tax, distribution fees etc.

Submitted by Sheri (not verified) on

You mean to tell me that my dehydrator (which is an Elite Platinum dehydrator) Is a 250 watt.
So running it for 1 hr is only 0.03 cents?

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