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photo by Carl R Sams II from the book Stranger In The Woods

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

red arrows show air-flow

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.

Quinoa Crunch

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
On-off Switch No Yes Yes Yes
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
Dehydration Guide Yes Yes Yes Yes
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
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