4.4 Reviewed by SusanRating:
The Excalibur 3948CDB 9 Tray Food Dehydrator is a recent addition to this top selling line, and it has a very unique new dual timer/temperature controller. (Read all about it in this review!) This model is so new that customer feedback is still fairly limited, but so far it’s getting very good reviews. That isn’t surprising since Excalibur is one of the most well-known makers of food dehydrators and has a reputation for quality products.
This 9-tray food dehydrator is loaded with all the best traditional features plus some new ones, including a clear door, a 48 hour timer, and a brand new digital controller that gives you the option of setting two time periods at two different temperature settings.
As you might expect, those cool new features do add to the cost. You may well decide it’s worth it just for that new Two-Time, Two-Temperature Controller alone. Below you’ll find an explanation of how it works, plus all the other details about this model. If you were considering buying the 3926TB, be sure to read this review too before you decide which one you like best.
Table of Contents
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- 9 Trays (15 sq. ft. of drying space)
- Clear, polycarbonate door – removable for easier loading & cleaning
- Adjustable Thermostat with 95° to 165° F range
- 48 hour timer
- Two Time, Two Temperature Digital Controller
- Automatic shut-off
- 7″ Fan and Exclusive Parallexx Drying System
- 10 Year Limited Warranty
In some ways this is the traditional Excalibur box-style dehydrator with 9 removable trays. As noted in other food dehydrator reviews on this site, the disadvantage of a box type design is that it is not expandable (you can’t add more trays). On the other hand, two big advantages are:
- The square trays give you more actual drying space than the round ones.
- You have the option to remove trays to make room for tall or bulky items, or if you want to allow enough head space for dough to rise.
This model also features the same patented Parallex™ Horizontal Air Flow and Hyperwave™ Fluctuation Technology as Excalibur’s other top selling models. The fan is mounted in the back of the unit, which makes for more even horizontal drying and also eliminates the problem of crumbs or drippings falling onto the fan blade and motor. The manufacturer claims this is the most efficient heating/drying process on the market, which seems to be accurate considering the enormous number of very satisfied Excalibur owners.
That advanced drying technology combined with the adjustable temperature control makes this model as versatile as they come. Newbies may experience a slight learning curve to adjust for factors such as humidity and even personal preference, but there are helpful processing charts in the owners manual. This model is designed for producing excellent results on all sorts of produce, meats, poultry, fish, and game. It can also be used for craft projects and drying a variety of household items (but no, don’t put your cell phone in it!). In certain cases you’ll need tray liners (read about Optional Accessories below), but adding those opens up a whole new list of possibilities such as fruit leathers and other snacks, dried herbs & spices, granola, nuts and trail mix.
The clear door is an asset when you need to see food as it drys. This can come in handy for something like proofing dough and a whole lot of other circumstances. But let’s face it, the best reason is simply that you know you want to look inside just out of curiosity, and that clear door spares you from the temptation of opening the door when you know you shouldn’t!
The standout features are the timer and digital controller. One benefit is that you can now set your timer for up to 48 hours. The other benefit is the controller option for dual settings. You can load your food on the trays, set the controller for a specific temperature for a certain amount of time, and then set a second time period at a different (higher or lower) temperature. The dehydrator will run at the first temperature you set for the allotted time period, then change temperatures and run for the second allotted time period, and then automatically shut itself off. It gives you the ultimate in both control and convenience.
Like all other Excalibur dehydrators, the 3948CDB is backed by a 10 Year Limited warranty. This warranty does apply even if you buy your unit from Amazon. Of course, it’s still a good idea to read your owner’s manual and follow their instructions to go online and register your new unit with the manufacturer.(Back to Top)
Wattage & Voltage
Wattage: 600 Watts
Voltage: 110-120V (sold for use in the USA)
Color & Materials
This new model is currently available only in black. Like all Excalibur food dehydrators, it is made in the U.S.A. (Sacramento, CA).
The construction material is not listed among specifications, but there is a statement on the FAQs page of the manufacturer’s website that reads as follows:
“The case material is safe and doesn’t give off harmful fumes when used under 160F.”
Since the maximum temperature setting for the 3948CDB is 165 degrees, I contacted the manufacturer for confirmation about food safety. An email received from Excalibur on July 23, 2015 states: “The unit is made of polycarbonate plastic. BPA free and it does not give off harmful fumes that will leech into your food.”
Note that the clear door is also made of polycarbonate material.
Also worth noting is that I received that response from Excalibur within just a few hours. That’s good to know as it speaks well for the level of customer service you might expect from these folks.(Back to Top)
Size & Capacity
Exterior Dimensions: 19″ Deep x 17″ Wide x 12.5″ High
Capacity: This is a box-style dehydrator with 9 trays, which gives you a total of 15 square feet of available drying space.
In addition, you do not have to use all 9 trays for the unit to operate properly. This gives you an advantage over the dehydrator models that have stacking trays because you can process bulky foods or tall containers. With the 39348CDB you simply remove a few trays to allow for thick items, or remove all but 1 or 2 trays to give you enough space (height) to accommodate jars, bulky craft items, or to allow enough room to let dough rise.(Back to Top)
- Owner’s Manual
- “Preserve It Naturally” book
The owner’s manual includes general instructions, a drying guide and tips, and a small collection of recipes. It contains important information but is just a very basic user guide.
Much more helpful is the Preserve It Naturally book as it gives you over 250 pages of information about dehydration. It includes color photos, diagrams, and detailed instructions for dehydrating all kinds of foods, working with craft items, and making cheese or yogurt.(Back to Top)
The trays are mesh, which does not work for fruit leathers, semi-liquid and liquid foods such as pureéd items, sauces and soups, or for very tiny ingredients that might fall through the holes. One solution is to simply line the trays with parchment paper.
If you plan to process a lot of foods that require tray liners, you may want to buy non-stick, flexible dehydrator sheets, which are sold separately.
The manufacturer recommends only Paraflexx™ Premium and claims that their brand (the ones with the Excalibur logo printed on them) lasts much longer than others. They are not cheap, and buying directly from Excalibur will cost you about $11 per sheet. They do offer a volume discount, but even with that I think you can find a better price. Read on for more options…
One place to check is Amazon. As you can see in the photo at right, these are the quality sheets with the Excalibur logo. This is a pack of 9 sheets that I think is a good buy – you’ll need to click the link to see today’s exact price.
Sometimes you can also find a good buy on these at eBay: Paraflexx Premium Dehydrator Sheets on Ebay
A less expensive option:
If you want to save a pile of money, check out the other brand. This is also a 9 pack of 14″ x 14″ non-stick dehydrator sheets, but it sells for considerably less. (Prices can vary slightly over time. Click the link at right to find out today’s exact price.)
Both of the available brands are flexilble, washable and reusable. The sheets measure 14″ x 14″ and can be cut to size if necessary.
Important Note: Both brands of these dehydrator sheets are coated with DuPont Teflon. Most feel that the temperature in a dehydrator will not usually be high enough to cause any concern with the Teflon coating, but if that worries you, then you may want to just stick with parchment paper.(Back to Top)
To date 80% of customers who wrote online reviews gave this model 5 stars. That appears to be an excellent start, and it’s certainly what we would expect from this brand. Excalibur is one of the leading producers of food dehydrators for home use, and they have a reputation for high quality products and good customer service.
That said, there is no way to judge how well a product will hold up over the long term until it’s been on the market and in use in households for a while.
So far all the complaints we’ve found involve units that are faulty right out of the box. In the vast majority of those cases, the units were damaged in shipping. This can happen with the best of products, and any reputable seller will make it easy to return or exchange in such cases.
Have you purchased this model? If so please help others learn more and shop smart. Leave a comment below and tell us about your likes, dislikes, and your experience in general with the new 3948CDB!(Back to Top)
- Plenty of tray space – good size for frequent and heavy users
- Adjustable temperature control – allows for processing all types of foods, from meats to more delicate “living food” items
- New dual control timer with options for setting two consecutive time periods at two different temperatures
- Automated shut-off
- Door is clear for viewing foods being processed, and it’s removable for more convenient loading and cleaning
- Removable trays allow processing of tall jars and bulky foods or craft items
- Includes the book “Preserve It Naturally” for much more detailed information and recipes
- Made in the U.S.A. by one of the leading and most reputable food dehydrator manufacturers
- Cost – great new features but priced a good bit higher than the 3926TB
- Solid tray liner sheets must be purchased separately.
- Depending on where you use it, controls located at very back of machine can be inconvenient
Excalibur 3948CDB 9 Tray Food Dehydrator Review: Summary
Though this model is too new to have any consumer feedback yet, you can bank on the Excalibur reputation for quality, and the company stands behind their products with a 10 Year Limited warranty. Compared to similar models, you just can’t beat it on features. The clear door is a huge improvement, and the two-time/two-temperature controller will be very appealing to serious users who process a variety of foods and expect the best results possible. If you’re looking for a large capacity, versatile food dehydrator that’s loaded with excellent features, the Excalibur 3948CDB 9 Tray model is a great choice.(Back to Top)
Or continue researching food dehydrators…
Read Excalibur 3926TB Review
See Comparison Chart for All Excalibur Models
See Comparison Chart for All Food Dehydrator Brands & Models