To percolate or not to percolate? Every coffee lover has a hot take on this, pun intended. In the end, it comes down to preference. But if you prefer the percolated taste to that of drip coffee or single-serve, you need to find the best coffee percolator you can. And we’ll help you figure it out.
First, we’ll begin by looking at ten popular models of coffee percolators. Next, we’ll define the most essential features when you’re shopping for a coffee percolator. And finally, we’ll drill down to the best coffee percolator on the market. So let’s get started!
From a distance, this Faberware pot looks tiny and squat. But it’s a decent-sized coffee percolator that can brew up to 12 cups at a time. And unlike other coffee makers, you can clean the entire thing in your dishwasher so it’s extremely convenient. It percolates slower than electric models but its mirrored finish looks great on your countertop and doesn’t scorch.
The beauty of this coffee pot is it comes apart completely. All its internal parts are made of polished stainless steel. These include the filter basket, the 10.83-inch perk tube, and the filter mesh cover. They dismantle for quick and easy dishwasher cleaning. The insulated handle and plexiglass knob won’t be damaged in the cleaning machine, so you don’t need to worry.
Lots of percolators have a see-through section on the lid. It’s a style thing. But it also lets you look at your coffee as it boils. For a lot of us, that’s part of the sensory coffee high. You get to hear the bubbling, inhale the aroma, and immerse yourself in the whole coffee experience.
On some coffee pots, that top bulb section is plastic. On this kettle, it’s glass. That’s both a plus and a minus. Glass is more elegant and transparent, but since you have to keep tugging it each time you lift the lid, it will eventually break. That said, the glass knob lasts a year or more, and this Faberware percolator has a lifetime guarantee so you should be fine even with daily use.
The Yosemite Faberware is the best coffee percolator in terms of style and convenience. Its mirrored stainless steel housing is pretty and effective. Plus, it cleans effortlessly.
Some argue that Bialetti Brikkas aren’t true percolators because their ‘pressure’ brewing style is different. Others think this is the only true percolator. So depending on your coffee experience, this may be what typically comes to mind when you think of the best coffee percolator. This is a miniature model though. It only holds two cups so it’s intended for brewing on the go.
The Bialetti has an aluminum body. Stylistically, you can buy it all-glimmering-gray or you can buy the version with black accents at the bottom. The bottom section screws off, letting you load the water and then cover it with a coffee filter tray. This newer two-cup version has some patented features. The valve has a flattened disc instead of a slimmer top nozzle.
The disc results in frothier, Italian-style ‘crema’ coffee. It also has a nut-and-bolt holding the bottom half in place, so it doesn’t just twist out like older models. This improvement prevents the threads from wearing out with all that twisting and untwisting every time you percolate. So it lasts longer than older models. The top knob makes it easy to lift and load the lid for brewing.
And the ergonomic insulated handle has finger grips for fuss-free handling. Be sure you’re buying the right model though. You may get puzzled when you see it variously described as a 2-cup or 4-cup model. It’s the same unit – but Europeans describe shot-size (4 cups) while the American market defines theirs by mug-size with creamers, milk, and other additives.
The Bialetti Brikka is the best coffee percolator for bite-size brewing. It measures 4.21 inches by 3.94 inches by 5.59 inches and weighs roughly one pound so it’s pleasantly portable.
A lot of javaholics prefer the nostalgic look of a traditional stovetop percolator. But even if you want the convenience of an electric model, Presto has you covered. Its stainless steel upper body mimics a Moka while the plastic base houses its electrical components. All the parts are dismantled for easy cleaning, including the filter basket, water perk tube, and perforated plate.
It’s a large coffee maker with a six-cup capacity. It’s glossy exterior and black accented base blend in with any tabletop or kitchen décor. The Presto uses 800W to brew and flicks on its indicator light once your coffee is ready. The percolator has a ‘stay warm’ feature for your coffee.
It also has a stay-cool knob to prevent contact burns while you’re handling the percolator. The electric base plate stays cool as well. The Presto – as its name suggests – is quite quick. It can percolate a piping cup in about a minute and keep it warm for extended periods. It has a 12-cup capacity though, so if you percolate a full pot, the brewing time will be closer to ten minutes.
When it comes to meals, the presentation makes all the difference. And the Presto lets you serve you coffee right out of the pot. It looks stylish and elegant on any coffee table, and its well-designed spout lets you pour without spilling or scalding. The internal components are stainless steel as well, so you can expect a long life span from this coffee kettle. The pot weighs just under 3lbs.
The Presto percolator can brew between 2 and 12 cups at roughly one minute per cup, lighting up once the coffee is ready. And it keeps your coffee hot while leaving its handles cool.
The Maxi-Matic is a gadget that both tea and coffee lovers can agree on because it percolates both! This handy device stands 12.5 inches tall and has a percolating capacity of 12 cups. And when it’s not in use, you can’t even tell it’s an electronic device because tucks neatly around the base. By keeping it coiled and unplugged, you eliminate tripping hazards and countertop clutter.
This model is sometimes described as platinum because of its premium feel and its mirrored finish. But it’s a stainless steel device that sits on a plastic swivel base for easy serving. Also, while lots of kitchen appliances have power indicator lights, the Maxi-Matic has an ‘on’ light and ‘ready’ light. The red or amber LED shows the device is on and that it’s receiving electricity.
This prompts you to load the kettle and start the brewing process. Once your coffee or tea is done, the green light comes on. It’s a handy helper because it stops you from over-brewing and running your cuppa joe. The glass knob lets you assess the color of your coffee, which is a more intrinsic indicator of complete percolation. And the base of your percolator has non-slip feet.
Any beverage brewed in this percolator will remain warm for a good while. So as you walk past and serve, you may lose track of how many cups you’ve drunk. Meaning when it finally gets cold, you may absently press the ‘start’ button to warm it up, not realizing you’ve drunk it dry. This is where the ‘boil-dry’ safety feature comes. It stops the device from turning on while empty.
The Maxi-Matic is made of 304-grade stainless steel and stands about a foot high on your countertop. It can prepare up to 12 cups and it percolates in roughly five minutes.
There’s a lot of debate about American-style vs European coffee. Some say it’s in the sediment – Americans prefer their coffee without dregs so they use paper filters. Europeans are okay with some residual grounds at the bottom of their coffee mugs. Either way, the Primula is great at percolating American brews. It’s a manual, stovetop percolator with a brushed aluminum finish.
The Primula has a 9-cup capacity and you can use it over any open flame or heat source. And while they say a watched stove never boils, the clear knob at the top of the kettle entices you to watch it. It’s something about the aromatic steam, percolating sound, and the coffee spurting through the knob. It’s a stovetop unit though, so use coasters before laying it on the counter.
This percolator is on the smaller side. It’s 5 inches in diameter and measures 8.5 inches by 8 inches at its widest point. It’s fairly easy to use – just load your rounds, add water, and boil. But it’s an analog coffee percolator, so you won’t get any of the fancy features you find in modern models. You’ll also have to time it carefully to avoiding over-brewing and running your coffee.
Figuring out his balance can be tricky because traditional kettles take longer than contemporary electric percolators. So you don’t want to under-brew either. And because it’s all manual, you lose precise control over things like temperature and water quality. Meaning your Primula coffee won’t always be consistent in taste and flavor. But it still makes a mean cuppa joe so it’s worth it.
The Primula Today may not be as shiny as some models, but it’s travel-friendly and it gets the job done. It can brew 9 cups at a time and its inner components are dishwasher-safe.
If you’d like advice on how to make cowboy coffee and seven magic words to build a marriage of 63 years, you may want to buy a Coleman. Its blue speckled finish has a retro feel, but while it has the vintage cowboy kettle shape, it has contemporary touches. This coffee percolator is made of double-coated enamel. And while the material looks delicate, it’s ideal for stovetops.
Because the glossy finish is highly reflective, it takes on a glass-like tone that makes it seem fragile. But as any outdoorsman (or woman) can tell you, enamel us pretty rugged. It can stand heavy dents and dings, and it conducts heat effectively for quick percolation. But enamel gets hot to the touch and the handle on this Coleman isn’t insulated, so be careful while you brew!
This extra-large coffee percolator can brew up to 14 cups at a go. The stainless steel rims add reinforcement and decorative detail. They also prevent chipping, which enamel is prone to. And while the kettle shell is enamel, the innards are stainless steel. The see-through knob shows you when the coffee achieves the right color and consistency, but you have no other control.
Being a manual model, there are no fancy features like timers, LED indicators, or auto-off valves. So you can’t easily calibrate brewing time or temperature. You have to go by instinct. The Coleman coffee percolator has a wide basket and a wider base, so it doesn’t tip over as it bubbles. And although it looks heavy and dense in pictures, it’s a portable lightweight pot.
The Coleman cowboy coffee percolator measures 6.5 inches by 8 inches by 9.5 inches and weighs about a pound. It works on any heat source but has no insulation so keep your palms protected.
Almost every contemporary stovetop coffee percolator has a clear knob on its lid. It may be glass or plastic and it lets you watch the coffee bubble through. But because the knob is so small, it only shows a few spurts at a time. And because you fiddle with it every time you lift the lid, it’s likely to come off with time. Hamilton Beach resolves both these problems elegantly.
Instead of a small rounded knob, the see-through section is larger and wider. It covers almost the entire surface area of your kettle lid, so you can see more of your percolation process. And because there’s a larger surface to hold onto, the finger-hold takes longer to come loose. It sits atop a twist-off lid which helps it stay secure, extending its lifespan by months if not more.
This electric coffee percolator is constructed from plastic and stainless steel. It has a water level marker in the handle, which can be awkward because your hand covers the water window while you’re holding the kettle. But its cord is detachable for convenient storage. You do need to be careful though because the plug is under the handle so it may get wet while refilling.
Most electric coffee percolators have a wide spout for refilling. But that convenience increases the risk of spilling. The Hamilton Beach percolator spout is designed with a no-spill curvature to avoid messy coffee stains on your countertop. The kettle has a blue LED that lights up once your coffee is ready, eliminating the hyper-acidic flavor that comes with over-brewing.
The Hamilton Beach electric coffee percolator has a more effective ‘viewing knob’ than other models. It weighs close to 3lbs and can brew 2 to 12 cups at a time. The cord is detachable.
All the percolators we’ve reviewed so far were a mix of metal and plastic. But this model is made of heatproof glass. If you’re used to glass carafes, this coffee percolator may not seem that alien. But even then, the idea of putting glass on a stovetop can seem daunting. That said, watching your coffee bubble through the glass can be mesmerizing. So what else does Medelco offer?
This coffee percolator is assembled on US soil but the glass originally comes from Germany. It’s high-grade borosilicate blown in Duran so it can safely brew your coffee on any stovetop. You might prefer to use a wire rack though. Your microwave’s cooling tray will do fine. You can also brew your coffee on al electric hotplate or coil cooker but not on induction cooktops.
The percolator ships with heat diffusing trivet. This helps you to safely dissipate hear if you’re percolating on an electric cooker. The Medelco can brew 8 cups of coffee and is mostly made of glass except for the filter basket and handle. Its carafe has a capacity of one cubic foot and the brewing unit is a glossy black that looks gorgeous through the glass.
The handle is held in place by a stainless steel rim and insulated to stop you from burning your hands while serving or percolating. This Medelco percolator measures 7.4 inches by 5.5 inches by 7.3 inches. It weighs 1.5 lbs and you can safely clean it in a dishwasher. Keep it on the top rack though, just so it doesn’t get bumped around by heavier dishes and get damaged.
The Medelco glass coffee percolator is made of supreme quality German glass. It’s visually appealing and functionally sufficient, but don’t place it directly on your electric range.
Visually, the West Bed isn’t that different from other electric coffee percolators. It has the same shiny kettle at the top and the same insulated plastic base at the bottom. The indicator light makes brewing intuitive. It lights up once your coffee is done so you don’t have to worry about over-brewing your coffee and leaving it weak a bitter, a challenge with many manual percolators.
The pour spout seems squat compared to other models, but it’s angled for accurate, fuss-free serving. And while the percolator is mostly stainless steel, the handle is insulated to prevent accidental burns. This handle doubles as an aesthetic feature because it adds matte black accents that pleasantly complement the shimmering steel surface beneath the handle.
The West Bend has a percolating capacity of 96 fluid ounces and can brew a dozen cups at a time. And the coffee kettle has a unique double-hole design that releases excess air. The angle of the spout releases stimulating steam as it brews, so you can enjoy that heady coffee feel even before your first sip. It’s an effective primer against early morning (or mid-study) brain fog.
Another little touch that makes the West end stand out is its coffee float. It sits inside a plexiglass tube that’s fitted in the handle of your kettle. This coffee float lets you gauge the number of cups at a glance. The lid also has a plexiglass knob. It stays cool while brewing but lets you peep at the coffee as it percolates. That visual bubbling can be quite soothing.
The West Blend coffee percolator is visually appealing and functionally impressive. The two-hole spout technology reduces air inside the percolating chamber, slowing the oxidation process.
The first thing you’ll notice when you glance at the Tops Rapid Brew coffee percolator is its wooden handle. It has a simple three-studded style, just like regular kitchen knives. Because the percolator is all metal, this wooden handle is both functional and aesthetic. It stylishly offsets the glossy metal body of your kettle, but it also insulates the handle and offers a non-slip grip.
The handle makes it easier to brew, move, and serve coffee, but be careful how you angle it or it may burn over the flames. After all, this is a stovetop percolator. It has a few nifty features, like the cup markings on the side and a glass top knob. But the percolator is opaque metal and the markings are on the outside of the kettle so it’s harder to accurately measure your water levels.
The percolator measures 5.5 inches by 9.75 inches by 8.75 inches. It has a capacity of roughly 6 pounds and weighs 1lb when empty. The whole kettle is made of mirrored 18/8 stainless steel. This heavy gauge metal can withstand extreme heat and harsh outdoor conditions. That plus its compact size makes it a good kettle for camping, hiking, and alfresco percolating.
Tops Rapid Brew coffee percolator has a stainless steel exterior and an aluminum brewing kit. Its perm wood handle is laminated and the whole kettle is dishwasher-safe.
Some coffee experts cringe at the very idea of percolated coffee. Others praise its flavor and convenience. So if you’re solidly in #TeamPercolate, what features should you consider while you’re shopping for that coffee brewing pot? Let’s make a shortlist of essentials.
Type of Percolator
Traditional percolators resemble teapots or kettles. They’re usually a jug-like carafe that sits directly on your heat source. Older stovetop percolators are made of metal, but contemporary ones might be ceramic or glass. These percolators generally use a live flame such as a gas burner or charcoal. They’re popular for camping, outdoor events, or beachside barbeques.
While they look like a normal teapot, they have a tube in the middle that lets hot water rise up the kettle. His bubbling water seeps through your ground then curls back down. It’s why they’re sometimes called gravity percolators. The second kind of percolator is pressurized.
They’re often described as pressure percolators or Mokas and they can be manual or electric. Some let you measure out the exact number of cups you need. These cup sizes are ‘coffee shots’ rather than massive mugs. They assess and control the intensity of your beverage. Electric percolators are larger and brew faster than stovetop models, but they need maintenance.
Manual percolators are generally metallic while electric percolators could be pure plastic or have metallic accents. In cases where the percolator housing is plastic, they’re sometimes painted gray to simulate that metallic mood. Speed is important – some models get your coffee prepped in under a minute, particularly electric models. Stovetop percolators need a lot more time.
Ideally, you should rinse out your percolator as soon as you’re done, so it helps to buy one with detachable parts. Don’t use soap or abrasives, and always dry your percolator parts before storing. Otherwise, it may acquire a stubborn mildew smell. Other handy features include indicator lights, no-spill spouts, insulated handles, and retractable cords (for electrics).