Dehydrating is an old method of food preservation, and using a round or square food dehydrator is an efficient way to preserve meals for later consumption. A food dehydrator removes excessive water with regular airflow and temperature from foods to intensify the flavor. These dehydrators are usually in two general shapes, square, and round dehydrator.

Although shapes do not determine the ability of the machine, it is a significant factor that differentiates them. The square dehydrator circulates air evenly and is larger, unlike the round dehydrator with a compact design ideal for a kitchen shelf.

However, understanding the difference between the square and round devices will help you determine which is beneficial and better, so let’s dive into it.

Round Food Dehydrator

The round dehydrator has a fan in the lid or base to keep food dry and remove moisture. The stackable device has a compact design, is attractive, and budget-friendly.

round dehydrator

The device can produce an efficient result while running on a low power wattage for food drying.

Round food dehydrators are energy-efficient and function at full capacity with a small amount of power.

They are economical machines with a sleek shape to sit easily on your kitchen counter.

The lower trays of the machine are warmer because of the in-built heater at the bottom to dry and preserve food faster.

It produces heat from a single source and requires adequate attention and trays rotation to get desired results.

The trays have a hole at the center that cannot dry food, which leads to the loss of usable space for dehydration.

An added bonus of round dehydrators is that you can add more trays to your dehydrator.  These can be purchased separately from the machine itself.

Also available are accessories to create fruit roll-ups at home and re-usable silicone mats and mesh for smaller fruits.

Square Food Dehydrator

The square dehydrator has a fan and motor at the rear of the unit integrated for horizontal airflow. The trays have enough space to cater to the needs of a large family and dry long slices of the food.

The in-built features provide adequate temperature to dry food at a fast rate which reduces nutrient loss.  Furthermore, with square trays in square dehydrators there is no loss of usable space to dry food at home.

The device can sit comfortably on your kitchen cabinets.  Indeed, with a stainless steel finish, they look stylish as well as practical.

Most square dehydrators do not require monitoring or tray rotation.  This is because the fan provides constant air movement throughout the unit for uniform drying.

The device trays can dry a substantial amount of food at any one time.  We found this more than adequate for the average sized family.

These dehydrators use more power for drying, unlike round dehydrators which require little power.  However, with a speedier drying time they more than make up for this and end up being very energy efficient.

The only down-side to these machines is that you cannot expand the number of trays that will fit in the unit.

square dehydrator

Round Food Dehydrator vs. Square Food Dehydrator

There is a distinction between using a square dehydrator and a round food dehydrator for drying and preserving food at home.

The square dehydrator has a rear motor that produces heated air across all trays for dependable, even results. The device can preserve healthy foods such as dried vegetables, fruits and jerky automatically.  Simply select the temperature and time and the even air-flow throughout the unit will do the rest. 

On the other hand, the round dehydrators require attention to ensure that all the  moisture within the food is removed.  With the heater situatied in the base of the unit, the bottom trays absorb most of the heat and dry quickly.  In addition, it can provide a crisp outer look even though moisture remains in the food. If this is the case, the food is not safe for consumption or storage.

All dehydrator trays have holes to allow for airflow, but round devices require tray rotations for efficient results.  This is because vertical airflow means the heat is absorbed by the bottom trays and you must rotate them up to ensure even drying.

In fact, round dehydrators for food have a large, central, un-usable space to allow better flow of air thoughout the machine.  This space reduces their capacity greatly. 

The square dehydrator fits better within kitchen cabinets or wherever you choose to store it.  This is not the case for round dehydrators because they leave unusable spaces around them in storage cupboards. 

round dehydrator vs square dehydrator

Many users prefer the round dehydrator for looks because of its attractiveness, especially black in color.

Power Consumption and Energy Efficiency

Another notable difference is the amount of wattage consumed during the food drying process. Both devices are similar in electricity consumption, but a significant difference in their efficiency. 

The square dehydrator consumes more electricity because it distributes heated air evenly for faster drying. That is not the case for round dehydrators as mentioned above.   They are less energy efficient due to longer drying times.

A square dehydrator can perform unique tasks such as drying roses for framing, including the stem for special occasions.  The case is not the same for round devices because they cannot accommodate long stems. 

Our expert testers found that square dehydrators are the ideal home preserving equipment for jerky because of their capability to circulate heated air.  Meat preparation requires constant temperature for drying, and anything short of optimal temperature will make the food unsafe. 

Any left-over moisture will allow bacteria and microbes to grow in the meat and this makes it unsafe for consumption.  A square dehydrator comes with heating elements and fans at the rear for an even distribution of constant heat. These machines can prepare delicious meat jerky in a short time.

home food dehydrator

Which Is Better?

Our expert testers recommend a square dehydrator over a round dehydrator because of its drying power, speed and space utilization.  However, many users prefer the round shape because of its stylish appearance and low price.

They have an edge over their round-shaped cousins in electricity consumption, even circulation of heated air and programming ability. 

commercial square food dehydrator

The square food dehydrator is a compact device that requires little kitchen space for storage.   Indeed, with a multitude of uses we believe they are an essential piece of home preserving equipment.

They are ideal for commercial use because of their reliability and easy programming.  Their powerful motor also handles regular business needs without glitches.

Easy to use and fully tested for safety and health standards, they are also easy to clean and will stand the test of time.

A stress-free device they have a high capacity to preserve foods by removing moisture while retaining flavor and nutrients.

The machine lets users remove trays to create additional spaces for large foods such as rising bread.  A round dehydrator does not have this capability.

Many square-shaped devices have temperature control and a timer to shut it down after the drying process is complete.  They can dehydrate tougher foods, but you will pay for this as their price is higher than round dehydrators.



We hope that we’ve helped you understand the difference between a square dehydrator and a round dehydrator.  Your selection will play an integral role in the food drying and preservation process needed to preserve food at home.

As we do many home preserving equipment reviews, select a versatile device that fits your budget and kitchen or storage space.

A square dehydrator will streamline the drying and preserving process for quick and tasty results.  Our experts recommend purchansing a square home food dehydrator if you can afford it. They are long-lasting and incorporate features to meet demanding tasks, unlike a round dehydrator.

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