UPDATE APRIL, 2020: This model is now very hard to find. Excalibur makes several other models that might be a better value for you. For other good options please see our Excalibur Dehydrator Comparison Chart
If you’re looking for a quality stainless steel dehydrator at an extremely reasonable price, be sure to read our Cosori Dehydrator Review.
See the lowest price listing I’ve found on Amazon:
3.6 Reviewed by SusanRating:
The Excalibur 5-Tray Stainless Steel Dehydrator D500SHD is one of the few models from this manufacturer that has not gotten a lot of rave reviews. In fact, consumer feedback is almost non-existent. The problem may be that it has limited capacity and comes with a premium price tag.
This model number of this 5-tray stainless steel dehydrator is D500SHD. It has all the best features for both convenience and excellent results, but after several years on the market it still hasn’t really caught on with customers.
It has gotten a lot of 5 Star ratings on Amazon – but a closer look reveals something surprising about all those rave reviews. Research turns up only a total of 7 legitimate online customer reviews. Get the facts before you buy!
- Stainless Steel Outer Case and Stainless Trays
- 5 Trays – 8 square feet of drying space
- Built-in Automated 26 Hour Timer
- Adjustable Thermostat – 105° to 165°F
- 440 watts
- 10 Year Limited Warranty
While I wouldn’t call any food dehydrator “beautiful”, this stainless steel model certainly makes for an attractive and professional looking kitchen appliance. The interior of the case is made of the same polycarbonate as other Excalibur models that come in black or white, but the trays are stainless steel.
Its 5 trays measure approximately 15 inches by 15 inches to give you a total of 8 square feet of available drying space. Like all box-type models, this unit is not expandable (you can’t add additional trays), so be sure to consider in advance whether the capacity will meet your intended uses. Also remember that an advantage of the box-type models is that you can remove trays to make room for bulky foods or tall items.
The Adjustable Thermostat has a temperature range of 105° to 165°F, which makes it versatile enough to safely dehydrate meats for jerky, and also to dry more delicate foods like fruits and vegetables without destroying enzymes.
The built-in Automated Timer can be set for up to 26 hours, and the dehydrator will automatically shut itself off when the drying time you have set has been completed.
This is a 440 Watt unit with a 5 inch fan, and it’s built with Excalibur’s patented heating and drying technologies. First is the Parallex™ Horizontal Air Flow, which means that a jet stream of forced air is directed to each individual tray. This is much more efficient than dehydrators that only radiate heat.
Second is the Hyperwave™ Fluctuation Technology, which works together with the air flow system to draw moisture from the inside of the food (not just the exterior surface) without overheating it. This air flow/temperature combination makes the Excalibur one of the most efficient dehydrators on the market.
If there is a drawback to this dehydrator, it’s in all those questionable online customer reviews. On Amazon this product gets dozens of 5 star ratings, but that number is very deceiving. Keep reading to get the real story behind that number (or click here to skip down the page and read now).(Back to Top)
Wattage: 440 Watts
Color & Materials
The color is listed as “silver”, but of course, to be precise it’s stainless steel.
The trays and the outer case of this dehydrator are stainless steel. The interior of the case is made with the same polycarbonate that is used on Excalibur’s other dehydrators that come in black or white.
Made in USA? BPA Free?
Yes, it’s made in the USA!
The manufacturer states that the polycarbonate used is FDA approved material that doesn’t give off harmful fumes when used under 160°F. BPA is not a concern with the trays since they are made of stainless steel.
Size & Capacity
As stated above, this dehydrator includes 5 trays, and like all box models, it cannot be expanded by adding any additional trays.
The available drying space is 8 square feet when using all 5 trays.(Back to Top)
The D500SHD model includes a guide to dehydration and the new third edition of the book “Preserve It Naturally”.(Back to Top)
Non-stick dehydrator sheets are available for purchase separately.
These sheets are necessary for making fruit leathers or for processing any liquids such as soups, sauces, or pureed fruits or vegetables.(Back to Top)
Dozens of Amazon reviewers give this food dehydrator 5 stars. At a glance that looks great, right? However, if you actually read those reviews you’ll discover that of the 58 people who gave this product 5 stars, only one of them actually owns and uses it! One other of those 59 reviewers bought this dehydrator but immediately returned it because she realized that organic foods were not readily available to her. She gave it 5 stars because it was easy to return with no hassle and a full refund. That’s good to know, but it certainly doesn’t help you in your buying decision.
So, what’s going on with all those other reviews? It turns out that some website ran a contest and asked entrants to submit a comment about what they would do with a dehydrator. The comments were supposed to be on the website’s blog, but a lot of people misunderstood and entered their comments as a review on Amazon.
Are there any reviews online from actual product owners?
We checked over a dozen online retail sources for this product, and only Amazon and one other site had any reviews at all. On Amazon, there are two reviews that provide valid, useful information. One person gave it 4 stars, and another gave it 3 stars, but before you judge on that, read why they gave those ratings:
- 4 Stars – One person really likes this dehydrator, especially the stainless steel. They first received a unit with a broken timer but were pleased that after contacting customer service they quickly received a replacement. One factor this reviewer did not like is that because of some side screws on the unit, two of the trays are difficult to insert because they tend to catch on those screws. For that reason, the reviewer gave the product 4 stars instead of 5.
- 3 Stars – Another person was happy with the overall function of the dehydrator, but space was an issue. This reviewer complained that making kale chips didn’t work well because the trays were too crowded. To allow enough room required using only 2 or 3 trays at a time, which drastically reduces the amount of food that can be processed at one time. For that reason, the product got only 3 stars, which isn’t exactly fair because there is no stated defect with the machine itself. Rather, it emphasizes the importance of considering how you intend to use your dehydrator before you make a final decision.
This rating is virtually useless because it is based on fewer than 10 total reviews.(Back to Top)
- Manufacturer – Excalibur is a long established company with a reputation for quality products
- Stainless Steel – sturdy construction and somewhat more attractive than many other models
- Stainless Steel trays – tough, extremely durable, and no BPA
- Adjustable Temperature Control
- Automated Timer
- 10 Year Limited Warranty
- Cost – as you would expect, stainless steel construction makes this one of the pricier models
- No Customer Feedback – product is so new there are almost no online reviews by experienced users
- Capacity – 5 trays may not provide enough space for some users
Excalibur 5-Tray Stainless Steel Dehydrator Review: Summary
The fact that this dehydrator is made by Excalibur gives one confidence in the quality. However, as yet there is not enough actual consumer feedback to establish any kind of general level of satisfaction. What we do know is that the one customer who reported receiving a defective unit was pleased with the ease and speed at which he received a replacement.
The small size of the machine is a plus because it takes up less counter space, but at the same time it’s a drawback if the interior capacity limits your use and enjoyment. An even bigger drawback is cost, and this model has become scarce and may be hard to find.
May we suggest another model? Check this out, a long time Excalibur bestseller & very good value:
Note: For the ultimate in long term food storage, you may also want to read about this Freeze Dryer for Home Use.