1,144 of 1,163 people found the following review helpful
Worth every penny,
I've used virtually every dehydrator on the market and even a few home-made versions. Trust me when I say that this dehydrator is the best you can get for the money.
The round tower-type dehydrators are inexpensive for a good reason: they aren't worth it.
-The trays are flimsy and crack too easily.
-The holes on these trays are too big to use with herbs or diced foods, so you must use the mesh inserts.
-You only have about 1/2" of space between trays, so you cannot dry bulky items--like flowers or granola.
-When it comes to fruit leather, the only thing more inefficient than the round shape is the hole in the middle. Yes, I know they come with fruit leather trays, but have you ever tried to store fruit leather pealed off of the tray and rolled up? A shredded mess to begin with and a sticky mess once they've stored for a while.
-With the motor on the bottom any food or juices that fall through the cracks shortens the life of the machine.
-The drying process in these tower-types is not uniform--the bottom trays dry quicker than the top trays, the center dries quicker than the edges.
-Some models have only recently started adding temp controls. Still, it does little good because there is more heat on the bottom than the top.
-The motor is loud--I had one model I had to run on the porch because it was so loud.
The two round models I bought died within a year and a half of use.
The next best dehydrator on the market is the L'Eqip. It is much quieter, comes with a healthy 10yr warranty and has temperature controls. But it is a hybrid with many of the faults of the round models and few of the benefits of the square-shaped Excalibur. It still has a hole in the middle. It still dries unevenly. It has deeper trays but you still can't dry flowers. It still has a motor on the bottom. I have a friend who dried berries in her L'Equip. They leaked on the motor and it died the first summer of use. Now granted, the folks at L'Equip stood by their machine and replaced it for her with no hassle, but how many times do you want your summer-time dehydrating held up while you wait for your replacement to come?
The Excalibur is perfect for anyone who is serious about dehydrating. Here are the features that I like:
-Heat source and fan are in the back, forcing air to distribute evenly throughout the chamber. Other than the way you place the food, there is no reason for uneven drying spots.
-Love the timer. I can set it and leave. It'll turn off automatically whether or not I'm there. That means 'round the clock drying during the height of your summer harvest. Put the food in when you go to bed, wake up to dried food and put another batch in.
-Temp control lets you choose low heats for herbs and flowers, higher temps for fruits and jerky.
-Love the square trays. For fruit leather I line the trays with plastic wrap and spread the fruit puree out. When it's dry I cut the leather into 2" wide strips, roll them up and secure with the tail end of the plastic wrap. The plastic peels off easily when it's time to eat.
-BIG trays--you can pack a LOT of food into this. This is especially important at the height of the summer harvest when there's a non-stop stream of food that needs drying. (This is also the one single thing that is in my negative column--the trays don't fit flat in my kitchen sink, making them a little hard to wash. I solve this by washing them in my outdoor garden sink--old fashioned tubs on a stand. Since I like the big trays, I really shouldn't complain.)
-Mesh liner on all trays. I can dry herbs, diced onions and finely chopped fruits without having it fall to trays below. No food cross-contamination means I can dehydrate more than one thing at a time.
-Removable trays. If I have bulky items--flowers, herbs, granola, etc--I can just remove every other tray and have another 1/2" or more room.
-Makes a great proofing box for sourdough. Also good for culturing yogurt, esp if you like to make it in larger containers. For both sourdough and yogurt, make sure it is covered so that the moving air doesn't dry it out.
-10 yr warranty. I've had mine for almost 15 yrs and it's still going strong. Every year the money I save on herbs alone pays for what it originally cost me. That means this machine has paid for itself 15 times over.
If you're at all serious about dehydrating, don't waste your money like I did--get the best from the get go. That's the Excalibur.
(Written by Ross' wife. He's also happy that I like it so well and have gotten so much good use from it. I have more information on dehydrating in general and comparin Excalibur with others in particular: [...])
Tracked by 11 customers
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Showing 1-10 of 40 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 23, 2009 7:14:30 PM PST
B. Frost says:
Shut off timer?
Posted on Nov 25, 2009 5:23:42 PM PST
Two reviewers say 3900 does not have shut-off timer. You said it has. Which is true?
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 8, 2009 8:49:05 AM PST
April Rice says:
You can buy it either way. With or without a timer.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2010 12:15:46 PM PST
The 3900 does NOT have a timer. The 3926T (26T denotes a 26-hour timer) is available only directly from the manufacturer. For 3900 owners, any hardware store or big-box store sells timers that plug into a standard electrical outlet with their own outlet that lets you plug in what you want timed.
Posted on Aug 10, 2010 11:18:05 AM PDT
I've just requested that they add the 9-Tray Large-Excalibur with 26 hour Timer #3926T to their products. Perhaps if more people asked they might do it.
Posted on Feb 2, 2011 5:25:16 AM PST
J. Self says:
I see that this unit only comes with a 1 year warranty, a ten yr. warranty must be extra, and the timer is also not included with this model making this 219.00 model at least twice as much as the Nesco Gardenmaster. I just have not heard that much bad with the Nesco to pay an extra 100.+ for the Excalibur.
Posted on Apr 16, 2011 3:15:12 PM PDT
Linda S. Hurley says:
Based on your endorsement and wise thinking of long term value, we followed your advise & purchased the 9 tray unit with the timer. Without lots of valuable input like yours we would have spent unwisely and spent again later. So thanks for sharing! Can't wait to get started! Chris & LindaExcalibur 3900 Deluxe Series 9 Tray Food Dehydrator - Black
Posted on Jun 22, 2011 8:26:54 AM PDT
thanks for that great & informative review.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 30, 2011 10:37:21 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 30, 2011 10:40:28 AM PDT
Ross E. Nelson says:
I'm glad to hear my review helped. I hope you get lots of good use out of it.
Yes, the warranty and timer availability have changed since I bought mine. It was still had a 10-yr warranty when I wrote the review 2 yrs ago. Even without a long warranty the design (square trays and fan in back) still make it better than any of the tower models.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2011 5:37:23 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Aug 12, 2011 5:38:17 AM PDT]