Your whole food, plant-based life.

Raw Food Equipment Questions: Dehydrators

pumpkin bread

Pumpkin Seed Flat Bread

Often I am asked to recommend equipment, especially dehydrators. As soon as our store is up, I will be able to point you there. But in the meantime, I will share with you what I know. There are many different types of equipment out there, I only have experience with what I have used. I would love for you to comment on what blenders, dehydrators, etc. you are using, how you like them and how you feel they perform.

I will start with dehydrators. Many people like the Excalibur. It is a great dehydrator and was the second type I bought. I am now on my third. I also have an American Harvest. It was my first dehydrator. I now use the TSM dehydrator. There are big differences in all of these dehydrators. These are some of the options you will want to consider when choosing your dehydrator.

Temperature Control: It is very important to have a dehydrator that has temperature control. We don’t want to heat foods above 116 degrees while dehydrating to retain the optimal nutritional value.

Shelf Configuration: While the American Harvest is a good dehydrator when dehydrating smaller pieces, the circular shape makes it more difficult to use when making flat breads, etc. Mine also doesn’t have shelf spacers, I don’t even know if they have them. You are limited to making food that is only 1″ high. Some of the breads, etc need more space than that. You also couldn’t put a pie crust in because you just don’t have the space with the circular dehydrators. Both the Excalibur and the Sausage Maker have removable shelves that are square, giving you the most flexibility and options.

Timers: This is an option that I really use. I can set the timer, go to bed and not worry about something getting over-dried. It is an option that adds more expense but I think it is well worth it. Before I had a timer, I had considered using a lamp timer. Never tried it but I think it could work.

Size: A 4 or 5 shelf dehydrator gives you quite a bit of room. If you are going to do a lot of dehydrating you might want to consider a bigger unit. I outgrew my 5 shelf very fast. That said, I do try to use my dehydrator very economically. I will make more than one thing at a time and also heat up soup or melt coconut oil while other things are processing. I really like the extra room. I also spend a lot of time working on recipes for the web site and up coming cookbook, so mine gets a lot of use.

Noise: I have found the Excalibur to be loud. The Sausage Maker is almost silent. If this is something you need to consider, I would highly recommend the extra cost for the sausage maker. If you get the Excalibur and find the noise unpleasant, you can always put it in another room, or even the basement, if you have the space.

I would love to hear your comments on what you use, why you like it and how it has performed for you. As we venture into the colder months, I know I will be using mine more!

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  1. Harley Bob wrote on October 5, 2014

    We dry bluberries and looking for best tray/liner system. Air needs to flow through tray I imagine.
    The perforated stainless trays from TSM seem the best option as they have a lip to keep berries from rolling off edges.
    The flat chrome shelves with the liner sheets seem like would be a problem with rolling type fruit fully loaded.
    Who has done lots of blueberries?

  2. Diane wrote on September 12, 2014


    I’m use to the excalibur paraflex sheets but I want to upgrade from a Sedona Dehydrator to a TSM D-10. The sellers of the TSM offer a sheet similar to the paraflex, but I’m not sure they will release the foods as easily as the excalibur’s do. I’ve read many bad reviews of those TSM teflon sheets. I see above where you use silicone. Are they better than a teflon like drying sheet? I don’t want to get a dehydrator where I can’t find a good quality drying sheet to do all my crackers, etc. I struggled for a year using the non-stick sheet that came with the Sedona and finally bought the paraflex, cut them down to fit my tray and what a HUGE difference they were. I’m not seeing a paraflex that I could cut down to fit the TSM D-10. If I get the TSM, would the silicone then be the best “non-stick” sheet option?

    • Susan wrote on September 13, 2014

      I have no problems with the TSM non-stick sheets. I had horrible problems with the sedona non-stick sheets. The silicone sheets do not release as easily as the teflex sheets but TSM carries both. Cheers!

  3. Michelle wrote on June 30, 2014

    Also, which thermometer do you recommend with the TSM dehydrator?

  4. Irma Lebrija wrote on May 8, 2014

    Hi Susan! Which drying sheets should I buy for the D-10 TSM dehydrator? silicon, non-stick drying sheets? I’m very confuse about this topic. Do you need to use sheets all the time? are the plastic drying sheets safe? Thanks

    • Susan wrote on May 8, 2014

      You do not need to use sheets all the time. Only when something is too liquid and would fall or seep through the mesh. I use the silicone. The mesh sheets are BPA free. But they now have 1/4 stainless inch shelves that I am thinking of ordering.

  5. robin wrote on April 28, 2013

    Susan, I am looking for a stainless steel dehydrator and noticed you were going to check into the one by LEM and how it compares to the TSM because it is much less expensive. That was some time ago, so hopefully you are still answering questions on here and will have an answer for me.

    • Susan wrote on April 29, 2013

      Robin, I honestly haven’t had a chance to try it.

  6. Lisa Reynoso wrote on July 23, 2012

    We recently (this month) purchased an Excalibur Deluxe 9 tray. It’s currently got 5 trays of blueberries in it, and last night it also had those cherry tart shells and some flax seed crackers drying in it (used up the whole dehydrator!). We are very happy with it and don’t mind the noise at all.

    Before we got it, we ordered a different brand from Amazon, and we didn’t even get to try it. The sides were bowed out, so the trays wouldn’t stay in place, so we were able to get free return shipping, which is good, because we wouldn’t have liked it. The trays had a lip to make the door, which would have made it impossible to remove them for taller items, so I’m glad it was defective!

  7. kim wrote on February 10, 2011

    The universe is really directing me to raw food… I NEED to invest in a dehydrator, but do not have the money for a stainless TSM one. : ( I am a freak with plastic worries and wanted your advice if you are on a very limited budget (stay at home mom, spending all our money on organic food, buying from farmers, raw milk, etc). Would you go without a dehydrator until you can afford the stainless, or settle for a plastic one? Would it be TSM’s plastic one or Excalibur? THANK YOU, i hope to be a frequent visitor to your site…

  8. Veronica wrote on February 6, 2011

    Like Mykie, I also have concerns abt dehydrating in or on plastic. I wonder if anyone else shares these concerns and what they’ve found in their research. I’ve been looking at the TSM and other stainless steel dehydrators for that reason.

    • Susan wrote on February 6, 2011

      The TSM is a wonderful dehydrator. It is the one that I use and support.

  9. Mykie wrote on August 21, 2010

    I eat a mostly raw, vegan diet and I am just geting started dehydrating some of my tomatoes from my garden. I was very unhappy to find that most dehydrators have plastic trays. I go out of my way to avoid contaminating my food with toxins that can be absorbed from plastics, especially under heat, however moderate. Has anyone looked into this issue, and can anyone recommend a dehydrator that is made of really food safe materials?

    • Susan wrote on August 21, 2010

      The TSM can be ordered with food grade stainless steel shelves.

  10. Cayley wrote on July 21, 2010

    You are sooo talented!!! Gorgeous photos and such delightful recipes!! What an artist!


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