EXCALIBUR Dehydrator Tech Specs
April 25, 2014
Of the three Excaliburs – models 2400, 2500 and 2900 – I recommend ONLY THE 2900.
Why is that?
Model 2400 Is NOT for Living Foods
Excalibur 4-tray Model 2400 is low-cost ($99.95) but is NOT SUITABLE for raw fooders. If you're new to raw foods, please don't buy this model in error.
Roger Orton himself, the owner of Excalibur, told me he does NOT recommend the Model 2400 for raw foods, firstly because the thermostat and fan is of higher quality in the bigger 5- and 9-tray Excaliburs.
Roger says the 2400 works better at higher temperatures, which we raw fooders don't want. It's designed for drying meat jerky quickly at high heat. There is NO fan in the 2400.
Second, it's too small. The 2400 has only four 12-inch square trays, and you can't add trays to any Excalibur model. Roger reports they've had rawfood customers try the 2400 and return it for a larger unit.
It's far cheaper to buy the 9-tray Model at double the price but nearly FOUR TIMES MORE DRYING SPACE.
Model 2500 Is NOT Good Value for Money
Excalibur 5-tray Model 2500 costs nearly as much as the 9-tray 2900, and takes up a counter space of 17 x 19 inches.
Excalibur 9-tray Model is only $30 more, is the same counter size, and only four inches higher. So with the 2900, you get four more trays and NEARLY DOUBLE the DRYING SPACE.
|Excalibur 2400 – four trays each 12x12", 4 sq.ft drying area. Not suitable for raw fooders because of low-quality fan + thermostat, and small drying area.||Excalibur 2500 – five trays each 15x15", 8 sq.ft drying area. Not good value for money, rather get 2900.||Excalibur 2900 – nine trays each 15x15", 14 sq.ft drying area. Same counter size as 2500 yet gives you 6-1/4 sq.ft more drying space. That's a lot! Best dehydrator for families and for big quantities of snacks.|
|For singles and couples, if you don't like to spend long hours in the kitchen making snacks, then L'Equip is best for saving electricity.|
Excalibur's Heat Problems
I owned a Gardenmaster dehydrator for years and never felt comfortable that I was getting the temperature I wanted. I discovered only later that I could've used a meat thermometer – you embed the metal part of a meat thermometer right into the food you are dehydrating and it measures the food temperature.
But by that time I'd switched to L'Equip. What if the meat thermometer had told me the food was not being dried at the temperature I'd set?
This is exactly what can happen with the Excalibur dehydrator. It's notorious for its inaccurate thermostat. In fact, it does not have a thermostat but a cheaper thermodisc.
Well-known rawfood teachers have publicly stated that the Excalibur is calibrated too hot and does not meet the raw community's needs.
One rawfood author e-mailed me:
"A reader sent me an email saying that both he and his mother had bought an Excalibur and they were upset that the thermostat was not accurate. They were using a meat thermometer and sticking it into the food. When it was supposed to be 85°F it was running at 120° so they couldn't even get their dehydrators to run at lower than 120 because 85 is the lowest temperature on it.
So I tested mine too and I found that my recommended 95°F (that I suggest in my book for most dehydration) was 15 degrees higher, so I had been dehydrating at 110°F all along. I really felt deceived."
I (Val) personally wrote to Excalibur questioning them about this problem, and they replied:
"The consensus is wrong! The Excalibur does not cook the food. Some people are making claims based upon a misunderstanding. Dehydration is an evaporation process which cools the foods. We have tested foods with highly accurate testing instruments, and have found that the food is 20-25 degrees cooler than the air."
I then forwarded this reply to the author who'd reported the meat thermometer test. The reply was:
"Basically there is a controversy within the raw community (nothing new) about the degree of heat acceptable in dehydrating food. My stance is that we should let each person decide at what temperature they will dehydrate their food. If [names famous rawfood author, not Sproutman] thinks that he can dehydrate bread at 140°F and not cook it – well that's OK with me. But if I feel that I don't want to dehydrate my bread at higher than 100 or 105 then why shouldn't I be able to do that?
If a machine says you turn the nob to here and it will be 95° and you turn the nob to here and it will be 100°, then it should reasonably be within that range. I can understand a 5 degree variation maybe, but no way should it be 15 to 35 degrees off. That is just false advertising and I think that Excalibur know it and that is why they try so hard to convince people that the air temperature does not equal the temperature of the food.
There is some small degree of truth in Excalibur's argument ... for example if you start a bread dehydrating at a higher temperature and because of the bulkiness of the bread (meaning it is not thin like crackers or wafers) it's true that the temperature of the bread mass will be lower than the air temperature at least on the inside of it. But at some point when the dehydration continues, and the moisture is reduced, you must be able to reduce the heat because if you don't reduce it when there is less moisture in it, then you will be cooking it.
If you don't have an accurate thermostat in your dehydrator, you won't be able to do this. ...Many people that wrote to me could not get their Excalibur dehydrators to reduce below 120°F."
Since the above-quoted author reported on Excalibur's inaccurate thermodisc, I've heard that some of the newer Excaliburs are now doing the opposite! I received an email:
"This one errs on the lower end which means that when you dial it to the number, let's say 95 deg. F - it seems to be running at 85 deg F or lower, so you still can't get an accurate reading on it. It is just frustrating."
You should never dry food at too low a heat because it can spoil before it dries. It's like leaving food out on a hot day, it goes bad!
Bottom line for me is, consider getting L'Equip where the temperature is controlled by computer, where you can increase or decrease it in 3-degree increments and be guaranteed that's the exact temperature you're drying your food at. I'm very happy with my L'Equip.
OR get the Taylor thermometer with Excalibur (in our order form) OR replace the Excalibur thermostat with a new reliable one, as shown here under Convert Excal to Low-Heat.
The plus side of Excalibur is its large drying area. For a little extra, you can buy a pack of nine 14x14-inch solid Teflex sheets, giving you 12 square feet to dry blended foods like sprouted grain crackers and fruit roll-ups. In a year's time when it's out of warranty, you can use my plans here to switch the thermodisc.
L'Equip has only six solid plastic sheets each 6x11 inches, giving you only three square feet to dry blended foods. This is enough for me – it makes two one-quart jars full of crackers – so I use L'Equip because I don't need a giant today.
However, when I first started to transition to raw foods, and ate many more crackers daily, L'Equip would not have met my needs. I used GardenMaster then, but today I'd use Excalibur and install my own thermostat.
Another plus for Excalibur is its removable trays, so you can place a pyrex dish inside it, or make a 3-inch high pineapple cake. L'Equip does not have this.
FLEXIBLE MESH TRAYS
FLEXIBLE SOLID SHEETS
TAYLOR DIGITAL #1470 THERMOMETER + TIMER
Quick Tip – a cheap way of checking the temperature, although no warning if it gets too hot, is to use a meat thermometer – embed the metal part of the thermometer into the food you're dehydrating.