For many coffee lovers who want to make great coffee at home, drip coffee makers don't quite cut it even when using freshly ground, high-quality coffee beans. There are several alternatives that brew coffee with a richer flavor. For example, some people turn to a French press or a percolator to make a bold, heavy cup worthy of their favorite coffee shop. And others turn to a pour-over coffee maker—as do many baristas—for a lighter brew with a highly clarified flavor.
It's true: With their brewing method, pour-over coffee drippers take a little bit of extra effort. For serious coffee drinkers who want an affordable, compact piece of kitchenware that makes an exceptionally flavorful cup of joe—and that's ideal for single-serve brewing—it's a great choice.
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If you're not familiar with pour-over coffee makers, they're not something to buy without a little research first. And even if you are, know what to look for when shopping around and get some product recommendations to help you select the best pour-over coffee maker for your kitchen.
What to Consider When Purchasing a Pour-Over Coffee Maker
Capacity: Many pour-over coffee makers are designed for brewing a single cup, but there are bigger ones that make multiple servings. In general, even large-capacity ones prepare a little less than many standard drip coffee machines. Pour-over coffee drippers are primarily intended for personal use, not for serving coffee to a table of brunch guests. Also, if you do opt for a larger one, consider whether it has extra features like double-walled construction or other insulation to keep the coffee hot for an extended time.
Material: Pour-over coffee makers are often made of glass or stainless steel, but they also come in ceramic, plastic and silicone. Stainless steel is always a good pick for its durability and heat retention, though it's usually pricier. Glass is a good option too, though it's breakable and doesn't retain heat quite as well. Ceramic looks nice and it retains heat a little better and is less fragile than glass, but it can still crack, chip and break. Plastic and silicone are cheap, and they're good when you want something lightweight and not fragile, like to take camping. With any of these materials, some products are dishwasher-safe and some aren't.
Filters: Lots of pour-over coffee drippers require the use of paper filters. They make cleanup easier after brewing, but not everyone likes having to keep buying them or creating all that waste. If either of those apply to you—or if you prefer the more pronounced flavor you get when paper filters don't absorb some of the oils from the coffee grounds—you can also find models that don't need disposable filters, like those with reusable stainless steel mesh filters.
Think about what you're willing to spend, too. Along with these other factors, you're sure to pick out the best pour-over coffee maker for your preferences that delivers the best coffee.
The Best Overall Pour-Over Coffee Maker
Chemex Classic Series Pour-Over Coffeemaker
The Chemex pour-over coffee maker is an easy call as top pick, producing exquisite cups of coffee and being a good starting piece for pour-over beginners. It's been around since 1941 and is a recognized leader in the category. It has a unique and attractive design featuring a wood collar and leather tie strap. It's made from borosilicate glass, which doesn't impart any taste to the coffee, nor does it absorb flavors or odors. And it's available in 3-, 6-, 8- and 10-cup capacities.
You can put this product over a low gas flame or over low heat on a glass cooktop to keep the coffee warm. It's also designed to go covered into the refrigerator for making iced coffee or for reheating later without any flavor loss. It does require buying Chemex filters, which are different from standard paper coffee filters. The carafe is dishwasher-safe, just remove the collar and tie strap before loading it in.
The Best Pour-Over Coffee Maker with a Permanent Filter
Bodum Pour-Over Coffee Maker
If you prefer a pour-over coffee dripper that doesn't use disposable paper filters, this elegant-looking option includes a reusable fine mesh stainless steel filter. It's environmentally friendly and allows for maximum flavor in your cup—further protected by the borosilicate glass carafe. Moreover, this product is sold at a great price point for its quality and durability.
This dishwasher-safe pour-over coffee maker has an 8-cup capacity (4-ounce servings), but there's also a smaller model that makes 4 cups and a larger model with a 12-cup capacity. Just keep in mind that the hot water passes through the coffee grounds a bit faster when using a mesh filter rather than a paper one, and that affects the brewing process; the key is to pour the water very slowly and evenly over the grounds.
The Best Single-Serve Pour-Over Coffee Maker
Kalita Wave 185 Pour-Over Coffee Dripper
For making a single cup of coffee at a time, there's no beating this chic single-serve stainless steel pour-over coffee dripper (and it's also available in glass and ceramic). It uses patented Wave paper filters made by the manufacturer.
This product features a unique three-hole drip design in a flat bottom that promotes even saturation and extraction for rich, great-tasting results. This one is a beginner-friendly pour-over product—just be aware that a circular pouring motion works best to minimize bitterness due to over-extraction—and it's dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup.
The Best Budget Pour-Over Coffee Maker
OXO Brew Pour-Over Coffee Maker
This affordable single-serve, BPA-free plastic pour-over coffee dripper is a great buy for the budget-conscious. While there are cheaper products available, this one is simple, durable and consistently delivers delicious cups of coffee.
It's a smart pick for beginners too, as it has measurement markings to guide your pour and an auto-drip tank that controls the flow of water. Even at its low price, it comes with disposable filters and a handy lid to hold heat in that you can flip over for use as a drip tray. Conveniently, the whole thing is dishwasher-safe.
The Best High-End Pour-Over Coffee Maker
Cuisinart Pour-Over Coffee Brewer
If you're looking to splurge on a fancy electric pour-over coffee maker that takes a lot of the manual involvement out of the pour-over brewing process, this one from the trusted Cuisinart brand should be right up your alley. You get some cool customization options on a user-friendly control panel, including hot and extra-hot temperature settings and the ability to set it for mild, medium or bold flavor strengths.
This product comes with an 8-cup thermal carafe to keep your coffee hot for an extended period, a permanent laser-etched stainless steel filter, and a charcoal water filter for the water tank to improve the taste of your coffee. And you can program it up to 24 hours ahead, so you can set it to have fresh hot coffee waiting for you in the morning.
The Best Ceramic Pour-Over Coffee Maker
Hario V60 Pour-Over Coffee Dripper
This simple ceramic pour-over coffee maker reliably produces delightfully flavorful cups of coffee, and it retains heat well. It's a single-serve model with a cone shape featuring unique spiral ridges that facilitate deeper layering of the coffee grounds for a deeper flavor. The proprietary Hario filters work well for maximizing flavor too.
Every piece is hand-made by a craftsperson in Japan using a centuries-old Japanese ceramics style. Considering that and its overall quality—as well as the very convenient included measuring spoon—it's sold at a great price. This pour-over coffee dripper is dishwasher-safe, but it's always preferable to hand-wash ceramic kitchenware to reduce the risk of damage.
The Best Pour-Over Coffee Maker for Camping
UST Collapsible Flexware Coffee Drip
If you're looking for a lightweight, compact, resilient pour-over coffee maker you can toss in a backpack or suitcase and not worry about, look no further. This one is great for taking along when you're traveling and on hikes or camping trips because it's made of silicone and it's collapsible into a flat disc.
This pour-over coffee dripper works with standard paper coffee filters and it's dishwasher-safe for quick and easy cleanup. It's also worth pointing out that this device is very budget-friendly. It doesn't produce cups of coffee that are quite as strong as other products on this list, but it's still certainly a quality brew with a lot of conveniences to offset this one minor drawback.