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There are several things that initially set me on the path to look for a dehydrator for our home, and having the Excalibur 3926TB dehydrator has benefited our family is several ways. My sons, like many kids, are finicky when it comes to eating fruits and vegetables, so that was a big factor.
The Excalibur 3926TB features 9 sliding trays, a 26-hour timer, and a 0-160°F adjustment dial and is available via Amazon.
Making fruit leather in our Excalibur is easy, and allows me to preserve all types of fruit when it comes in season and can be purchased in bulk at a low cost. My boys eat them up with gusto.
Several years ago, my husband and I were looking for a way to trim down our budget, and the idea of being able to purchase fresh produce in bulk when it was in season and on sale, and preserving it for future cooking, was one of the things we hoped to do.
The options were canning, freezing, or drying produce. Canning consumes a good amount of time and pantry space, and it sometimes reduces the nutritional content of certain foods.
That being said, I love to can but don’t have a lot of space to devote to it – as of now, I get my fix by mostly living vicariously through my in-laws’ garden and canning equipment.
Freezing also takes a good deal of space and preparation, and you run the risk of losing your food to freezer burn. Dehydrating food often requires the same type of preparation as freezing, since you have to blanch many foods before you can dry them, but the finished product is fantastic.
Beans, carrots, tomatoes, onions, peppers… there are all kinds of vegetables that can be dried. They’re fantastic for use in pasta, soups, sauces, and other cooked dishes.
I found that the Excalibur 3926 dehydrator came highly recommended, and after doing a bit of research, we purchased this model. The dehydrator is a large black box with a front cover that slips on and off easily.
When we bought ours, they only had a version with a solid front cover available, but the newer 3926TCDB model offers a clear view of the food inside.
The Excalibur 3926TCDB is similar to the 3926TB but features a see-through front panel, and it’s also available through Amazon.
On the top is a temperature dial that allows you to control how hot you would like the air to be, which helps to prevent case hardening, or when a fruit or vegetable dries on the outside while moisture is still trapped inside, causing it to rot or go rancid when you store it.
The Excalibur works very differently from many other dehydrators that I’ve seen, because the fan and heating element aren’t on top or bottom, but rather, in the back of the machine.
When the heating element and fan are on the top or bottom of a stacked dehydrator, air has to push through every level, and items further from the fan tend to dry much slower as a result, requiring the trays to be shuffled.
The Excalibur is much more efficient and faster, since the air moves from the back to the front across all nine trays. Drying is quick and even, and requires less attention while the machine is working away.
Also on top of the 3926T models (but not the 3900 models) is a timer dial that provides up to 26 hours of adjustment. You will find this to be a critical control, as it allows you to be engaged in other activities, sleeping, or even out of the house without having to worry about overcooking your batch.
Note that this is only recommended for experienced users, until you get the hang of things. It is still possible to burn whatever you are trying to dry if you don’t keep an eye on things and adjust accordingly.
This layout has several benefits:
If food falls, or drips through the trays, it falls on the bottom of the dehydrator, and not into the motor as it would in a bottom-heating dehydrator. Also, since the trays don’t stack, but slide into their own tracks instead, you can remove some of the trays if you need to, allowing for larger items to be placed into the machine.
The Excalibur 3926TW is the white version, while the 3926TB and has all of the same features and is available via Amazon.
The only (very small) complaint I have about this dehydrator is that it can be a little loud – not crashing thunder eardrum-shattering loud, but you will notice it if it is running and you are in the same room doing something else.
The motor in the Excalibur makes a little noise, and the trays or lid may vibrate. This is probably due to the extra power and air circulation that this machine has in comparison to other similar appliances.
With this in mind, choose a place for your dehydrator that will help to muffle the sound without disrupting the airflow, or operate it at times when you won’t be bothered by the sound.
If you remove any empty trays that are not in use when you operate it, any vibrating noise is significantly reduced. For our house, the little bit of noise is well worth the benefits that the Excalibur brings.
- Made in the USA by a company that has been in business since 1973 and knows what it’s about.
- Very easy to use – turn the temperature dial to the correct setting, adjust the timer dial to your preference, put the food on the mesh trays, and that’s it.
- Really quiet for such a powerful appliance. It’s not completely silent but it’s not earth-shatteringly loud either.
- 10-Year No BS Warranty
- The timer on this model makes life sooo much easier!
- Plastic construction as opposed to stainless steel found in the newer (albeit more expensive) models. However, the plastic is VERY strong.
- Silicone liners (or Excalibur’s house brand, Paraflexx™) must be purchased separately if you want to make fruit leathers or work with other gooey concoctions.
If you are considering purchasing this model (which I highly recommend if you are looking for a dehydrator and want one that will last!), I suggest buying it through Amazon.
- Ease of Use
For decades, the Excalibur 3926 has been the top of the line choice for home dehydration duties. Even if Excalibur hadn’t produced their later stainless steel models, it would still be the best – and at this price point, it arguably still is.
* Value – At Foodal, we don’t rate kitchen appliances and other products an merely on price. We like to figure out what the value of the product is. Value, in this case, is a function of price compared to all of the other metrics. A low-price item, with an okay build quality, may have great value while a really well-built item with an astronomical price tag may have a lower value. This is sometimes subjective. Generally, we like well-built products that will last.
Excalibur’s various options allow you to choose the dehydrator that fits your needs and your kitchen space. All of their dehydrators come with 10-year warranty – try finding that on an el cheapo Chinese model.
About Lynne Jaques
Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!