My sisters and I are revelling in the fresh, organic produce at our local farmer's market. We can't stand to think that the season for so many of our favorites is coming to an end already, so we've been scouring the planet for the best food dehydrator to helps us preserve some of the goodness.
When we first started discussing which one to purchase as a family, the stainless steel Excalibur immediately came to mind because we've seen so many rave reviews and giveaways on our favorite real food blogs lately. But as you know – just because something looks and sounds amazing, doesn't always mean it is. So before investing $400, we began our normal in-depth review process. And boy, am I glad we did!
Dehydrators Made with Toxic Polycarbonate (BPA)
It was a big bummer to learn that the Excalibur and a few other brands/models are made with polycarbonate plastic.
- We were told by Excalibur's customer service rep that all of their dehydrators (including the stainless steel ones) are lined with polycarbonate. So even though their Amazon.com listing says that BPA-free trays are included, that doesn't apply to the structure of the dehydrator.
- Omega dehydrators are made by Excalibur and have the same polycarbonate construction.
- The Oster dehydrator is made of polycarbonate. Laura (aka The Extractor) had to work hard for this info. The two people she spoke with at the company said there was no information available about the type of plastic the Oster dehydrator was made of, but that it's FDA approved. She told them that answer wasn't good enough because a lot of questionable things are FDA approved. She ended up really having to press them to get the information.
- The Presto Dehydro dehydrator has a polystyrene housing with polycarbonate trays.
TAKE ACTION: Click here to let Excalibur know you'd love to see them switch their polycarbonate parts out for plastic with a well-established track record of safety, or revamp their stainless steel model to remove plastic altogether.
UPDATE from Excalibur 5/8/14: We just learned that a plastic-free Excalibur dehydrator is in the works from a friend of ours who contacted them. Here's what they said:
We have a complete stainless steel unit in the making, I have heard that it will be released this summer. However that is not guaranteed and I do not have an exact date yet to when we will be releasing this. If you would like an immediate notification once it is available you can submit your e-mail address thru our website for the newsletter and will get notice on not only that but sales specials and dehydrating tips and tricks also.
Dehydrators Made with Safer Plastic
Quite a few companies make dehydrators with safer plastics like polypropylene (PP), low density polyethylene (LDPE), silicone, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), and Acrylonitrile Styrene (AS). A food dehydrators internal temperature typically maxes out at 158°F and the lowest melting point of the plastics mentioned here is 221°F (and upwards of 500°F for silicone).
- All Nesco dehydrators are made of PP. This includes the Snackmaster Express and American Harvest Gardenmaster models sold at local retailers.
- TSM Products dehydrator trays and housing are made of ABS.
- Weston Supply dehydrators have AS trays and ABS housings and silicone netting sheets.
- STX International dehydrator trays are made of AS and the housings are ABS.
- All Ronco dehydrators have AS trays and ABS housings.
- Tribestlife Sedona dehydrator trays are made of PP with LDPE mesh screens. The housing is ABS and they make two types of drying sheets, either PP or silicone.
- The Waring Pro dehydrator housing is ABS and the trays are AS.
- L'Equip dehydrator trays and housings are ABS with polypropylene mesh inserts.
Stainless Steel Dehydrators
We were very happy to confirm several plastic-free options too.
- TSM Products stainless steel dehydrator models have no plastic inside.
- The STX International stainless steel model has no plastic inside.
P.S. Aroma finally called back and they can't locate any additional information other than the dehydrator is made of some kind of thermopolymer. Um, thanks. AND…the booby prize goes to Good4U who did not answer four of our phone calls and had no way to leave a message.