Dehydrator Trays: Square vs. Circle Dehydrators
When choosing a dehydrator, you might consider the shape of the dehdydrator trays. The typical shapes are circles and squares.
Round Dehydrator Trays
The round models are designed to be stacked. Some of the most popular and successful are the Nesco/American Harvest machines. That has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is your dehydrator is always the right size for the job. You can store the extra trays if you're always dehydrating for yourself.
Then again, it doesn't make sense not to dehydrate at its full capacity, since that's more energy efficient. After all, dried foods can be stored for a long time, so if you're going to have your dehydrator out, you might as well dry the maximum.
A heater at the bottom
That aside, the other reason the trays are round is they're heated from the bottom. That's a problem, because it means all the heat is coming from a single source, and it has to slowly make its way up. The lower trays are going to be warmer than the rest. That means you may need to keep a careful eye on the food and rotate the trays as needed. As you know, I prefer to let the machine do its job with as little effort on my part as possible. The uneven drying also means it'll take longer to finish each recipe.
The other issue with round dehydrators is the hole in the middle. Since no food can be placed directly across a round tray, you're losing part of the usable drying space. Keep this in mind when considering the size of these appliances.
Square Dehydrator Trays
The square dehydrators would therefore have the opposite pros and cons. The Excalibur is one of a few dehydrators designed with square trays. Another good square dehydrator is the Good 4 U. It's always going to be full size because the adjustments are made by adding or removing trays to or from the housing.
Fans in the rear
An advantage to using a square shaped model is the horizontal airflow. Each tray gets the same temperature air moving across the food. That means more even and quicker drying.
Lastly, the size of the dehydrator trays is maxed out. There's no hole in the middle, so you get to use the trays' full drying space.
Squares are great, circles are fine
Although it seems like an easy choice, it's not truly that important. The fact is, the circle dehydrators will do just fine. And, if you're budget-conscious, you can find a very good square Nesco for a lot less than a top of the line square Excalibur.
I recommend the square because of its benefits, but you're not going to be upset with the circle ones. It really depends on your lifestyle and how you plan to use the machine. You'll get good results with either, except with one, it might be faster.