Chemex Square Vs. Circle Filters: Which Do You Prefer?

Chemex has some of the best paper filters in the world. Learn everything you need to know in this Chemex square vs. circle filters debate.

Chemex square vs. Circle filters
Chemex square vs. Circle filters

If you hate to see sediment at the bottom of your coffee cup like me, you must have already realized that the Chemex coffee maker works excellently with its heavy filters. The company has produced several shapes, including circles, squares, and half-moons, which can be folded or unfolded depending on your choice.

If you are a first-time Chemex user looking to choose a filter shape or have only been using one shape because you didn’t know about the others, this post is for you. We will lay out the details you need to make an informed choice.

About The Chemex Square Vs. Circle Filters 

The search for the perfect coffee taste involves only getting the best that the market can offer. So, it’s okay to worry about filters. However, when it comes to shape, I must emphasize this–the shape of your Chemex filter does not impact the taste of your coffee.

The filter papers undergo the same process and are then cut into different shapes. The shape you choose solely depends on your personal aesthetic preference. They weigh 4.5 grams and are among the heaviest and thickest coffee paper filters you’ll find on the market.

Chemex Square Vs. Circle Filters: Bleached, Oxidized, Or Natural?

Top view of Chemex with white filter containing ground coffee.
White Chemex filters undergo an oxidizing process

The white Chemex filters are bleached through an oxidizing cleaning bath and a series of hot baths after. The brown version doesn’t go through the oxidizing process. That’s why they keep their natural brown color.

I tried both white and brown filters, and the natural filters seemed to give my coffee that papery flavor. For me, this is a disadvantage. However, you can beat this papery taste by rinsing your unbleached filter with hot water several times before using it.

It is also worth noting that Chemex manufacturers reached out to the concerned people to address the bleach claims. They confirmed that they do not use bleach or chlorine to whiten their filter paper.

Instead, they use a food-grade hydrogen peroxide oxygen cleansing process. However, if you try both bleached and what Chemex claims to be using, you will notice only a little difference in taste.

Chemex Square Vs. Circle Filters: The Differences

Let’s look at a brief comparison between the two shapes.

Chemex Square Filters

Chemex Circle Filters

Easier to take out using the edges

It can be challenging to take out  without edges


 Slightly expensive

It can be used on bigger brewers

 Best used by smaller brewers

Give a more sophisticated feel 

 They’re less complicated.

What’s Better About Chemex Square Filter? 

Chemex with filtered ground coffee
Chemex square paper filters are easy to remove

The main reason why Chemex manufacturers produce square paper filters is to make removal easier, especially if you’re dealing with a sizeable Chemex brewer. The tips allow you to pick the filter paper easily and dispose of the grounds easily, which also makes cleaning easier. The folded square filter paper produces exceptional results with well-pronounced notes, fine, smooth, and low-acid coffee.

What’s Better About Chemex Circle Filters?

If you’re a Chemex user, you must already know the reason why Chemex has its paper filters. Other paper filters are often too thin and may rip during the brewing process.

The circle-shaped Chemex paper filter fits so well on your Chemex to guarantee consistent extraction without worrying about the paper bursting under the weight of your pour or during disposal. For a better coffee experience, I highly suggest getting pre-folded circle filters that can withstand any kind of pressure.

Who Should Get The Chemex Square Filters?

The square filters should be your ideal choice if you’re constantly preparing large amounts of coffee for guests in your home or people at the office. It allows you to make the perfect cup of coffee in the shortest time possible and clean it with ease by disposing of the ground safely without making a mess or burning your hands with the hot coffee grounds.

Many Chemex users are happy with the square-shaped paper filters, and some think they are more stylish and affordable than the round-shaped filters.

Who Should Get The Chemex Circle Filters

The Chemex round-shaped filters have been around for decades, particularly natural ones. They are most commonly used by coffee enthusiasts who have been using Chemex for the longest time as they work perfectly fine. Those who use them say they have no problem holding them once done brewing.

The round option should excellently work if you own a 3-cup Chemex. If you are using a larger brewer than the filter, it’s prudent that you pour the water slowly to avoid overwhelming the filter. However, I would highly recommend buying your filters based on the amount of coffee you make every day.

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Chemex Vs V60

Chemex Vs Stagg

Chemex Vs Kalita

Chemex Handblown Vs Classic

Chemex Vs Moccamaster

Chemex Vs Siphon

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  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.