Best to See: Latest Dehydrators at Amazon
For living foods, you need very specific temperature control.
Your dehydrator must have an adjustable thermostat. A low/med/high knob does not work.
You need to ensure the temperature is below 118° to preserve enzymes, and for cashew yogurt you need 92°F (33°C).
The three popular electric dehydrators with temperature control are L'Equip, Excalibur, and American Harvest/Nesco Gardenmaster.
I use L'Equip most often, and Excalibur for guests staying awhile who eat lots of crackers! I've stopped using American Harvest Gardenmaster.
American Harvest - Nesco Gardenmaster
The Gardenmaster has a heating element and motorized fan in its base, with a large hole in the center of the base (covered by mesh but this doesn't stop spills) and open holes all round the outside edge (no mesh).
Each tray is the same — large hole in center, open holes just inside the outer edges.
The biggest problem is that light grains like sprouted quinoa are blown down the center and side holes into the motor unit at the bottom. The engine ceases. Also liquid blends are often blown a little into the motor unit.
After dehydrating, you must turn the base upside down and shake all the dry crumbs out, but not all come out, so old food pieces gradually accumulate, locked in the base.
You can't open up this base unit to clean out the fan and motor. I had to return it to the factory to clean the quinoa out, and pay a service charge.
Another problem with American Harvest is that it's round. So you can't cut crackers into neat square or oblong shapes. I had to break mine into disjointed pieces.
Sprouted quinoa is one of my favorite snack foods! You sprout quinoa grains — see Recipes on how to sprout grains, but soak quinoa in water for only 1-2 hours first, not the usual 6-10 hours. After a day (not two days) the quinoa sprouts are ready, soak them in soya sauce, sprinkle them on solid sheets, and dehydrate at 100°F for 24 hours — for a lovely high-protein crunchie snack. So quick 'n easy to make! Nothing to prepare in blender or food processor.
With L'Equip and Excalibur, NO little sprouts are blown into the heating element, as they are with Gardenmaster.
|Feature||Excalibur 2400||Excalibur 2500||Excalibur 2900||L'Equip|
|Color||Camera Black||Camera Black||Camera Black||choice of Gray or White|
|Unit Dimensions — Width x Depth x Height, inches||13 x 16-1/4 x 6-1/8||17 x 19 x 8-1/2||17 x 19 x 12-1/2 inches
43 x 48 x 32 cm
|17 x 11 x 10-1/2 inches
43 x 28 x 27 cm
|Shipping Dimensions, in inches||we don't ship because it's not suitable for raw-food, e.g. has no fan to help keep temp down||21x20x11 — length + girth is 83" — that's over the USPS maximum of 79" for some countries, e.g. Africa||22x21x16" (56x53x41cm) — length + girth is 96" — so it's ultra-costly to ship to some countries, e.g. $600 to Africa||18x13x12 — length + girth is 68" — that's below USPS 79" — cheapest to ship globally|
|Shipping Weight||10 lbs||17 lbs||22 lbs (10kg)||12.5 lbs (5.7kg)|
|Power Voltage||110v Only||110v or 220v||110v or 220v||110v only, use 600w transformer for 220v|
|Power Consumption — Watts||220 w||400 w||600 w||550 w|
|Temperature Range||85° to 145° F||85° to 145° F||85° to 145° F||92° to 158° F|
|Reliable Thermostat||No — cheap thermodisc, lower quality than 2500 + 2900||No — cheap thermodisc, users have found it running at 120°F when it was set to 85° — read here more details — can use instructions here under Convert Excal to Low-Heat to switch to high-quality thermostat||Yes — solid-state Thermostat with electronic computer-control|
|Fan Size||4 inches||5 inches||7 inches||7 inches diameter|
|Tray Size, inches||12 x 12||15 x 15||15 x 15||11 x 17|
|Space between Trays||3/4 inch but removable||3/4 inch but trays are removable to enlarge space||3/4 inch|
|Number of Trays||Four||Five||Nine||Six|
|Total Drying Area||4 sq. feet||8 sq. feet||14 sq. feet||6 sq. feet|
|Mesh Sheets Included||Four||Five||Nine||Six|
|Solid Sheets included||None, pay extra||None, pay extra||None, pay extra||Two, buy 4 extra|
|Add More Trays||No||No||No||Add 14 more, but then must rotate|
|Returns||To factory for repair or replacement of manufacturing flaws||To factory for repair or replacement of manufacturing flaws|
|Replacement Parts||from USA||from USA||from USA||from USA|
|Warranty||One year||One year||One year||TWELVE Years|
|My Review of Each||Excalibur Dehydrators||L'Equip Dehydrator|
Best pages to learn more:
- Why Dehydrate Raw Foods? — the benefits of dehydrating.
- What Raw Foods to Dehydrate — easy quick dehydrator recipes.
- Dehydrating Links — see all info on Dehydrating.
- Site Map — see the whole feast :)
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