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Stainless Dehydrator Pros and Cons

emtpdmomemtpdmom Raw Newbie

I have been trying to decide which dehydrator to purchase, and have been leaning heavily toward an Excalibur. There are a lot of positive comments in the forums about the Excalibur. I haven’t seen any discussions on stainless units. I’d like to hear from those of you who have actual experience with stainless dehydrators. If you have experience with both an Excalibur or other non-stainless model and a stainless model, please share your preferences and reasonings.



  • Bananna1333Bananna1333 Raw Newbie

    Really there are stainless ones? That sounds worth looking into….as you may know, the Excalibur uses teflex sheets, which is code for teflon, which is a known toxin.

    Just checked it out…http://www.fernsnutrition.com/ss_dehydrator.html

    Their shelves for dehydrating goup are made from ‘food grade fiberglass’ ....not quite sure if that’s a good thing either?

  • queenfluffqueenfluff Raw Newbie

    I have the SausageMaker which is a stainless steel dehydrator. The two main reason we purchased this is because my bf says the fan is more powerful than the Excalibur and it is all stainless steel so you don’t have to worry about any possible issues with plastic and your food.

    The only cons that I can see is that it is noisy – but than again so is the Excalibur but the SausageMaker sometimes tends to rattle a bit – we put ours on a towel and that helps. The noise really doesn’t bother me. The only other drawback is it is heavier because of the steel. Oh, do be careful of the slides in inside – I have cut my finger several times cleaning it.

    I have used the Excalibur before and I still think the SausageMaker dehydrates better.

  • ZanzibarrrZanzibarrr Raw Newbie

    I have been having the Excalibur for a few months and have never been really happy with it. I have ordered an external thermometer for oven a couple of weeks ago, it took a little while to adapt and find the tricks to have the oven stay at around 105 but now it works and the food is really different and dare I say… tastes really better :)) and my flatmates stop looking at me with this weird look now that I use a normal oven like anyone, ahhhh… he is not really raw, he lied, he is like us… a normal junk eater… LOL …Although it is normal for one of the flatmate to have a lean meat machine… you can look at the grease from the meat slowly run down the side of his grilling machine and make a little pond on the bottom, Humm, Yummy :), when I think that we cut hairs in halves over nuts being truely raw or not :)

  • emtpdmomemtpdmom Raw Newbie

    Bananna, I was surprised to find the stainless model as well. For more liquid recipes it too suggests a teflex sheet, but I figure I will use parchment paper, no matter which kind I get. The link you posted shows the same model that’s on every other website I’ve found. Apparently it’s the only one on the market at the moment.

    Queenfluff, did you get the more expensive model with the stainless trays as well? Do you use teflex sheets or something else? I haven’t actually seen a SausageMaker yet, but would some kind of rubber feet or a rubber pad be a better idea for noise reduction? My apartment manager would see the towel as a fire hazard, I’m sure.

    Thank you all for your input.

  • queenfluffqueenfluff Raw Newbie

    emptdmom -

    we have a stainless steel 5 trayed one – meaning the trays are stainless steel too. I didn’t think SausageMaker had plastic trays but maybe they do. It doesn’t come with the telflex sheets but you can buy them for the SausagMaker – they just come separate. We never got any. I use natural wax paper for my wet items and it works fabulous.

    Yes, the rubber might work well too. I have had this in two apartments and we live in one now and no one has complained about any noise yet – honeslty my Blend Tec is louder than this thing!

    here is the link for the SausageMaker dehydrator:


    I believe ours is the 5 tray with the Stainless trays. You can get the trays in chrome too I guess. I am not sure what the non-stick ones are made of. They look the same as the chrome and stainless steel ones. You can buy plastic sheets with holes to like Excalibur has.

    Oh and yes, they are not digital (well the small ones aren’t – the larger ones are but they are commerical use ones)- but I have noticed that the degree ranges on the dial are pretty spot on. I put my digital room thermometer in there to check on the temp once a while – I leave mine at 120 usually and it is pretty reliable.

  • emtpdmomemtpdmom Raw Newbie

    Queenfluff—I did some research this weekend and found that your bf is apparently correct. From what I can tell online, the significant differences are wattage and construction material. Excalibur 5 tray, 400 watts. Sausage Maker 5 tray, 800 watts. The Sausage Maker IS a bit more expensive, especially with food grade 22 gauge stainless shelving, but I am willing to pay the price to have less plastic in my life. The higher wattage should also yield less time in the dehydrator. Right? Thanks for the “finger” warning. I’ll try to remember to clean the inside carefully.

    Bananna – Thank you for the link to Ferns Nutrition. They seem to have the best price. I don’t plan to use any fiberglass or teflex sheets. Good ole parchment paper has worked just fine in the little round unit a friend loaned me.

    Kevyn – I tend to agree. We do split hairs a lot. I’m just grateful to be moving toward a safer, more nutritional lifestyle. I don’t think it is possible to completely remove the undesirable elements from our lives. But we CAN do a lot of things to lessen their impact. Wish I had started years ago. It’s harder to influence my children now that they are in their 30s. But they are noticing the changes.

    I really appreciate everyone’s input. I’ll post some feedback after the unit arrives and I’ve “played” with it a bit. Perhaps more people would be interested in the stainless models if they had more information.

  • There has been a lot of concern about the Excalibur being constructed of plastic and opinions that stainless steel is better. I copied this from the Excalibur website. Also Excalibur DOES have commercial stainless steel dehydrators for purchase on their website. http://www.excaliburdehydrator.com Hope this helps.

    Plastic vs. Stainless -Which is Better for Dehydration?As stainless steel appliances have come into fashion one question remains is stainless steel better than plastic for food dehydration? Well it depends- Not all stainless steel is created equal just like not all plastics are the same. Some people are under the misconception that stainless steel is healthier and of higher quality than plastic. However, it all depends on the grade of stainless steel. Lower grades of stainless steel can be mixed with other metals which can change in color, density and safety when coming into contact with heat and food.

    Excalibur has been the leader in Dehydration technology for over 35 years. We lead the commercial dehydrator market with our premier-quality, double-walled stainless steel dehydrators so we know the important features that are mandatory for health and safety when it comes to dehydration and working with stainless steel.

    When looking at a stainless steel dehydrator here are the questions you MUST ask when it comes to your health and safety:

    1) What type of stainless steel is the dehydrator made out of?- Not all stainless steel is the same- to make it stainless, cheaper-lower grades are mixed with other metals which can change the color, density and safety when coming into contact with heat and food.

    2) What are the Trays made of? – Many low grade stainless steel dehydrators do not come with stainless steel trays- they are sold with trays that are Chrome plated and/or nickel plated. Keep in mind your food is setting on these trays. Over time this plating can chip off in your foods and rust. Chrome plating usually makes use of hexavalent chromium (Cr+6). Many studies in the last decade have shown it to be dangerous citing evidence that hexavalent chromium causes lung cancer and other serious health conditions. Because of these health concerns, the chrome plating process has come under increased regulations in the U.S. based on chrome’s hazardous and environmentally toxic properties. In order to avoid increased regulations many companies have moved their operations overseas. Most Important-If you purchase a stainless steel dehydrator- Make sure that the Trays are 100% stainless steel. In our commercial dehydrators we use only 100% stainless steel trays.

    3) Where is the dehydrator manufactured?- beware of low-grade stainless steel coming out of China- and chrome plated trays from overseas. Excalibur is proud to be a U.S. made product.

    4) Is the Dehydrator a green product? Stainless steel is not green. It is a necessity in commercial applications—but not needed for home use. Support Green Products, Buy Recycled, Buy Green!

    5) How long has the manufacturer been in business and what is the warranty?-Beware of companies that purchase low grade dehydrators from China and put their name on it. Parts might not be available when needed and many of them cook foods rather than dehydrate them.

    6) Are the edges rounded and seamless for easy cleaning? Low grade units will have sharp 90 degree corners and have cracks/crevices where the metal comes together. This is where food can become lodged creating the perfect environment for mold and bacteria to grow.

    Why our FDA Approved Polycarbonate Construction is Better than Stainless Steel for Home Use.

    High quality stainless steel is appropriate for businesses but it’s much too expensive for home owners- the key word is high quality stainless. Anyone can make a low grade stainless steel dehydrator and include chrome plated trays, but you do not know what has been mixed with the stainless steel – and chrome plated trays can pose health concerns.

    Some customers have asked us to make a stainless steel home dehydrator like our commercial dehydrators. To produce a homeowner-priced stainless steel dehydrator, we would have to seriously downgrade components- going to single-wall construction, for example, which has rough edges and is hot to the touch. We pride ourselves in providing high quality products and support using green products whenever possible. Stainless steel is appropriate for commercial uses but unnecessary for home use. Here are some key reasons why Polycarbonate is better than stainless steel for home use:

    Excalibur’s Tray Screen Material is made from FDA Approved Polypropylene #5 which is one of the safest plastics for direct food contact. We use polycarbonate as the Case material because it is virtually indestructible however; we use polypropylene #5 for the parts that your food sits on because it is the safest plastics for food contact available. * Please note that food does not come into contact with polycarbonate- the plastic that your food sits on in the Excalibur is polypropylene NOT polycarbonate* FDA Approved polycarbonate is safe when used at low temperature under 160 degrees F and will not give off harmful fumes like low-quality plastic dehydrators. The use of polycarbonate plastic for food contact applications has been and continues to be recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Food, the United Kingdom Food Standards Agency, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, and other regulatory authorities worldwide. Important—make sure that you have FDA Approved for Food Contact polycarbonate as there are different types of polycarbonates Polycarbonate is a natural heat insulator so it works well in dehydration, better than single walled stainless steel which can heat up and cook your foods. Excalibur dehydrators are made in the U.S.A. Recently with so many problem products like poisonous pet food, faulty tires, and toxic toys coming out of China, buying a U.S. made products should be your first choice when it comes to your health and safety and that of your family. Excalibur home dehydrators are green products. At Excalibur our products are designed to be environmentally conscious. We are constantly rethinking our products to see how we can reduce our environmental impact. The chrome plating of others trays are of great concern for us not only because of the health concerns but the toxic effect on the environment. Excalibur has been the leader in Dehydration technology for over 35 years. We lead the commercial dehydrator market so we know the important features that are mandatory for health and safety when it comes to dehydration and working with stainless steel. Ultimately we want consumers to have a great dehydration experience and hope that providing you with some key points to look for in a dehydrator helps to educate you as consumers.

  • thecavsmanthecavsman Raw Newbie

    that’s comforting…maybe ill finally get a dehydrator now – I wasn’t sure if I should just get an excalibur or wait until I felt like spending money on a stainless steel. I know that information is from the manufacturer, so I’d like to hear everyone’s comments.

  • Hmm, I too am having a hard time choosing which type of dehydrator to purchase. What I don’t understand is how the Excalibur manufacturer claims they are only green and for green products for the home, and that stainless steel is not being green and how unsafe stainless steel can be, but yet they sell a stainless steel model as well. Kind of hypocritical, don’t you think??

  • MeditatingMeditating Raw Newbie

    Is anyone is familiar with Bisphenol A (BPA), which is the highly dangerous chemical in polycarbonate? It is both a endocrine disruptor and a zeno-estrogen. It has already been banned in most of Europe and I think Canada may have banned it too. If you go to the PBS website and watch the video on Epigenics, you will see what exposure to this chemical does to mice.

    As the public became familiar with BPA dangers, I am sure Excalibur was quick to formulate reasons why stainless steel isn’t the best alternative and polycarbonate is. BPA is just one of the chemicals that is leeched from polycarbonate when exposed to heat, water or released whenever the polycarbonate seal is scratched.

    When I first started reading about polycarbonate I read a study done on animals the humane society kept in polycarbonate cages. Those animals tested positive for BPA exposure just from sleeping in the cages,.

    Personally, I think it defies the point of eating raw to dehydrate your food in a polycarbonate oven when you can just as easily eat a chemical cocktail by purchasing Cheez Whiz.

    Excalibur has cornered the market in the raw food communities and established themselves as a desirable option before anything was known about BPA. Stainless steel dehydrators are primarily marketed to those who want a sturdy, reliable machine, like hunters who make jerky. As a result, most raw food communities haven’t really been exposed to the stainless steel option.

    I purchased a stainless steel dehydrator and I am happy with its performance. I am sure I would be just as happy with the performance of an Excalibur if I didn’t know anything about BPA and whatever other chemicals are in polycarbonate. But I do and would encourage anyone who is considering a purchase to research the topic first and at least watch the PBS video and realize what you are exposing your body to. Here is the link: A Tale of Two Mice.

  • Meditating – What brand did you purchase??? I’m so lost on what I should by… I want to be chemical free!!

  • vegan2rawvegan2raw Raw Newbie

    HI out there which stainless dehydrators are best I think I will sell my dehydrator and look at stainless ones as well as maybe living without a while. Anyhow if you own a stainless and are happy with it talk it up . . . .

  • I know this thread is a few months old, but can we please revisit it? i'm looking for a food dehydrator and was shocked to learn that the excalibur i borrowed from a friend is made of polycarbonate!! frightening!! I NEED A BETTER OPTION!!!!! i'm looking into the "sausagemaker" LOL. maybe i should make my million marketing a safer dehydrator to the raw food community, or at least the same thing with a more vegan name!!!!!

  • emtpdmomemtpdmom Raw Newbie

    Does anyone else have personal experience with a stainless dehydrator?

    Here's the link to a site search for "Sausage Maker". I know the name can be a big put off. To the best of my knowledge, it's the only stainless steel dehydrator intended for home use, and has been highly recommended by several people on this site. There are a few larger and more expensive units on the market, but I believe they are commercial units.

    http://www.goneraw.com/search/node/dehydrate OR dehydrator "Sausage maker"?page=1

  • camryn730camryn730 Raw Newbie

    Look on Amazon.  STX has a high quality stainless. After reading these posts, I looked up their grade, and it is the highest.  It is not chrome plated. It seemed cheaper than the sausage-maker ones (and some of those are chrome plated I think).  I was looking for a 10 tray model.  I also checked their warranty and the reviews on replacement parts, it seems to be a good option.  I am about to order mine. 

  • camryn730camryn730 Raw Newbie

     Also, the STX one comes with silicone trays rather than teflon sheets

  • rawmanrawman Raw Newbie

    I'm new to this blog, so I thought for those of you interested in stainless steel dehydrators, TSM has a new line of food grade stainless steel dehydrators under the name, "Harvest Fiesta." They are NSF listed, National Sanitary Foundation.


    I have one of their older 5 tray models which I'm happy with and think it works great!. Yes mine does get warm to the touch but I've never been burned. Extremely quiet compared to my old Excalibur and I hardly notice it running in the back ground. Also, I read somewhere, Google, that stainless steel is a green product. 50% of the world's stainless steel is made from recycled steel. I Also like that I can see the leftover food residue on the sides or bottom and the SS is very easy to clean.



  • jacksanjacksan Raw Newbie

    I went with a TSM 5 tray more than 5 years ago. It still runs perfect, and is currently on long term loan to my sister. I decided earlier this year to treat myself to a little upgrade, looking for something with a little more modern styling but still all stainless. I wanted to see ALL my options. So. I started making calls. I started reading forums. I decided to start google image searching stainless dehydrators. I came across the Raw Rutes dehydrator and loved the look. All stainless, all USA. I talked two different Raw Rutes people by phone and they answered all my Q's.  I went with the 8 tray in the red color combo and I absolutely love it. Whisper quiet, looks great on the counter. 

  • maureenmacmaureenmac Raw Newbie

    My new TSM dehydrator says to not leave it unattended.  For 24 hours? Please somebody tell me that they sleep and run errands while their machine is operating.  

    The manual also warns to not let the machine run above 155 degrees or the unit may be damaged.  The maximum temperature is supposed to be 150 degrees.  Has anybody found this to be a problem?  I didn't purchase a special thermometer to monitor the temperature, and don't want to babysit the machine anyway.  


  • ClaireTClaireT Raw Master

    My new TSM dehydrator says to not leave it unattended.  For 24 hours? Please somebody tell me that they sleep and run errands while their machine is operating.  


     I can't even imagine having to babysit a dehydrator! 

  • CreativelyccCreativelycc Raw Jr. Leader
    ClaireT said:

    My new TSM dehydrator says to not leave it unattended.  For 24 hours? Please somebody tell me that they sleep and run errands while their machine is operating.  


     I can't even imagine having to babysit a dehydrator! 

     Hi Clair,

    The company probably says that for legal reasons. If there happens to be a short in your electrical circuit which results in a fire, they can be help liable if they don't say that. I have an Excalibur Dehydrator and I don't like to sleep with it on because you never know when something may happen. How to you like your TSM dehydrator? I would love to purchase one in the future.  The only reason I have that one is because my sister gave it to me. She tried going raw but did not like it. I love being raw!

  • JanaceJanace Raw Jr. Superstar

    I have an Excalibur 5 tray dehydrator and I do sleep with it on and run errands without any worries. I do not recall any warning about leaving it unattended. That would make we wonder a bit. The temperature that you dehydrate raw food at is pretty low compared to the highest settings of the machine so I don't worry about that. 

  • LindaLinda Raw Newbie

    Excalibur is a good dehydrator. I highly recommend you to buy Excalibur dehydrator. Regarding your stainless steel dehydrator discussion, I recently wrote article on it on my blog. You can check stainless steel dehydrators vs plastic food dehydrators here

    In one word, I recommend stainless steel dehydrators. They have a lot of pros compared to plastic dehydrators. 

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