I have the 5 tray Excalibur as well (I bought mine straight from Excalibur, not sure if that is a discount from Amazon or not at $210). It works perfectly for two of us. I’d recommend the one with the timer – boy does that save me sometimes!
I have an Excalibur 4 tray which suits me just fine… I purchased it from EatRaw.com for $95 over Christmas. They were having a sale at the time. I just checked the site and the price has popped back up again. I love my new dehydrator, though…
My bf and I have a Sauage Maker dehydrator. Not your normal dehydrator!:) It is a powerful one – more powerful than the Excalibur. It was actually designed for mainly sausage but you can do veggies etc and it works great for raw food. It is a five tray and all stainless steel. My bf bought it from the Sausage Maker site. It was pricey – I think around 250$.
I would recommend the Excalibur myself. I don’t have one but I have used them and I like them. We only have a “weird” one because my bf is really into dehydrators and wanted the best one (he is actually designing a new type of dehydrator!)
Make sure you test the temperature it runs at, don’t trust the dial. Mine ran at least 15 to 20 degrees hotter than the dial said. I used an ordinary thermometer to check mine and had to turn it down well below the 95f mark to get it to run at 105f. I have a 9 tray Excalibur. It works very well now that I have set it and taken the knob off. I still check it from time to time.
We have the L’Equip 6 tray dehydrator and specifically chose it because the temperature shown on the dial is what you get inside, we also had read about Excalibur not running true to the temperature chosen. So true temp is a plus with the L’Equip.
However, the Excalibur you can remove trays to allow for room for taller items to be inserted into the dehydrator, to warm up raw soups in a bowl for example, you can’t do that in ours. Ours just has 6 trays about 2” high and you can use 1 tray up to 6 trays stacked, just can’t put anything in it that is higher than the tray height. It has been great for dehydrating nuts, seeds, cookies, flax seed crackers, and other lower height items. It’s pretty quiet too.
i use the sun almost excursively for my raw creations. crackers, tortillas, granola.. you name it – i live in northern palestine in the mountains. weather similar to san francisco – but in the summer when it’s not raining most of north american will be fine for sun dehydrating. not only that my friend in new mexico in the winter was making crackers simply by putting them next to the window – the air was so dry – the temperature was of less significance.
so some tips:
bring things inside or cover them during the night so they don’t get wet from dew.
if you plan to make completely dry crackers – i find that fermentation just enhances the flavor.
if you don’t want the fermented flavor – the trick is to get it dry enough in the first day – so start early enough to be able to flip the crackers or burgers and get a few hours sun on each side. this way – even if they are not completely dry – they will most likely not ferment – you can put them in the fridge at night if you want to absolutely guarantee non-fermenatation.
you can use banana leaves instead of evil dupont’s teflex.. thick nylon works as good and is much cheaper. simply spread the nylon on a table in your yard or on your roof – with laundry clips hold it on the table so it doesn’t fly – then pour you fruit/leather tortilla/cracker-batter or granola or sunflower crisps.. etc. minimize plastic-touching time by starting very early and then flip as soon as top drys.
for savory things i do not find a fly or insect problem – for sweet stuff i put it on the roof for direct sun and almost no flys come – if you have a problem – cover it all with a net.
you can see pictures of me drying a big tortilla (or lafa in the local jargon) at this page
Wow, that’s real nice for sun-dehydrating. I need to try that sometime (when I have the space to do that)... on a totally different topic of dehydrators, my husband just pointed out to me that our 5-tray Excalibur dehydrator uses 600W! Anyone have the 9-tray… how many watts does it use? Anyone have the Cabella… how many watts does it use?