Many coffee lovers consider French press coffee makers the ideal way to brew coffee due to their filtration system that allows for more fragrant coffee oils to find their way into your cup while leaving all the grit and grime behind.
With so many French press coffee makers on the market, finding the perfect one can be tricky. We made this guide to showcase the best French press options out there so that you can spend less time shopping and more time enjoying the perfect cup of coffee.
We thoroughly researched many French press coffee makers, reading over manufacturer claims and product listings. Then we compared user reviews in order to gain a better idea of the sorts of features consumers look for in French press coffee makers and what they liked and disliked about each product.
When we had narrowed our selection down to a handful of items, we sought out the experts’ opinions. We read articles and reviews by several former baristas and even spoke with one directly in order to get their perspective on the qualities and benefits of French press coffee makers. With their insight, we were able to narrow down the product selection to the best five options.
We received products directly from the manufacturers and tested them ourselves to better understand their features, capabilities, benefits, and drawbacks. This allowed us to directly compare and contrast the French press coffee makers to each other as well.
Why buy a French press coffee maker?
French press coffee makers aren’t often used in many coffee shops, especially small, locally owned ones. Thus, the only way to ensure you’ll get to enjoy a cup of French press-made coffee on a regular basis is to buy your own home model.
The main advantage offered by a French press coffee maker is that it doesn’t absorb the oils, and thus the flavor, of coffee grounds the way that paper filters do. This means that a higher quantity of oil and sediment goes into your coffee. More oil and more sediment translate into a more robust and more flavorful cup of coffee. It only takes a few minutes to make coffee in your French press (though you’ll also have to account for the time it takes to grind your beans and boil the water in a separate kettle), and its unique method of brewing reduces the risk of accidentally burning your grounds.
Unlike some other types of coffee makers, French presses tend to be multipurpose. Most models can be used to brew loose leaf tea or even cold brew coffee if you ever want to mix up your caffeine intake without needing to buy a new device.
French press coffee makers are also great for those who enjoy making coffee as a part of their daily morning or afternoon routine. Since they have such a unique brewing method, using a French press is as much about the process as the end result—something you don’t get to experience when buying a cup of coffee at a coffee shop.
What should you look for in a French press coffee maker?
- Filtration: Taking a sip of coffee only to feel coffee grounds on your tongue is certainly disappointing. French press coffee makers will have some sort of built-in filter to prevent this from happening, so you won’t have to constantly buy new paper ones. But not all filters are created equal. Look for a filter with fine mesh construction that allows natural coffee oils to filter through while keeping coffee grounds and residue out. If the filter is metal, as is often the case, be sure that it’s made out of rust- and corrosion-resistant metal like stainless steel.
- Durability: For those who are accident-prone or who plan on traveling with their French press, finding a durable stainless steel option is a good bet. However, there are still plenty of glass French press options out there durable enough for daily use in the home and are aesthetically pleasing to boot. Metal and glass combos are also an option. If you do opt for a glass French press coffee maker, look for one made of shatterproof glass. Borosilicate glass is a good choice since it can withstand a greater range of temperatures than regular glass.
- Ease of Cleaning: Cleaning your coffee maker isn’t as satisfying as brewing your morning coffee, so be on the lookout for dishwasher-safe options. French presses should be cleaned after every use, so the easier yours is to wash, the better. If you can’t find one you like that is safe to clean in the dishwasher, models that are easily deconstructed are a great alternative. This grants you better access to all the various nooks and crannies of the coffee maker, making them easier and more effective to clean than single-piece models.
What makes a French press coffee maker unique?
These specialty coffee makers are equipped with a plunger inside, which is a big part of what makes them and their brewing process so unique. It presses, brews, and strains all in one. Unlike most other coffee brewing methods, a French press actually keeps the coffee grounds and water in contact with each other throughout the entire process. Usually, water is poured through the grounds to make coffee, such as with electric drip coffee makers. Instead, a French press does exactly what its name implies; it presses the grounds and hot water together through the filter. This extracts more oil and more sediment. The end result is a cup of coffee that is thicker, slightly more oily, bolder, and fuller-bodied than coffee brewed in the classic drip method or stovetop or microwave brewing.
How do French press coffee makers work?
French presses are quite simple devices to use. Once you’ve ground your coffee beans (it’s highly recommended you grind them yourself instead of buying them pre-ground for superior freshness), measured them out, and heated your water, pour both into the French press’s carafe. You can give the water a little stir here if you like, too. Put the lid on, extend the plunger as high as it can stretch out of the carafe), and let the grounds and water sit and steep for a few minutes. Then gently push the plunger all the way down, and your coffee will be ready for serving and drinking. That’s all there is to it!
You will want to serve the coffee immediately since it’ll continue steeping inside the coffee maker and become more bitter-tasting over time.
Mueller French Press
This French press features double-layered stainless steel construction to keep your coffee hot for hours and a triple-layered filter.
Pros: Bits of sediment and debris floating around in your cup of morning coffee shouldn’t be an issue with this French press coffee maker. It has four internal layers, including three filters, designed to catch those tiny grains of coffee grounds that slip through most coffee filters. Lukewarm coffee won’t be a problem, either. This French press has an extra external layer that insulates it, keeping your coffee warm for potentially several hours at a time. This is especially useful if you ever choose to use this French press to make other types of hot drinks. It can also be used to steep and make cold beverages like cold brews or fruit infusions. And it’s dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
Cons: This French press is bigger and heavier than most, making it trickier to pack and haul around for activities like camping or traveling. And even though the device is made of metal, it is prone to showing visible signs of wear and tear. The lid is incredibly tight which is both a benefit and a drawback; the lid won’t pop off when you’re pouring or serving, but it also can be tricky to pop it off when the time comes to insert your coffee grounds and water.
Bottom Line: This is the gold standard for affordable French press coffee makers. Featuring a three-layer filter structure and double-insulated stainless steel construction, this French press will keep your coffee hot for hours and ensure there are no grounds in the bottom of your mug. As a bonus, the Mueller French Press comes with a matching stainless steel travel canister that holds enough beans or grounds for two full batches of coffee.
BAYKA French Press Coffee Maker
This budget-friendly French press sports an innovative four-level filtration system and is dishwasher safe.
Pros: There’s a lot to love about this coffee maker, especially its price tag. Yet the lower price doesn’t translate to poor quality or an unattractive design. The stainless steel and glass build is extremely aesthetically pleasing, and the glass is resistant to heat, so you don’t have to worry about it shattering when exposed to boiling water or coffee. The see-through body and measurement markings make it easy to measure out your coffee. Not only does this French press have a four-layer filtration system to keep your coffee free of debris, but it also comes with two replacement mesh filters just in case. And the entire device comes apart easily for cleaning.
Cons: It’s not dishwasher-friendly. Since French presses should be cleaned every day, you’ll have to take time each day to wash this coffee maker by hand. And since this model is made mostly of glass, it isn’t as well insulated or quite as durable as similar models that are made of metal.
Bottom Line: The BAYKA French Press Coffee Maker is just as impressive as many models that are twice as expensive. Featuring a four-level filtration system that comes with two mesh replacements, it produces grounds-free coffee and can be easily disassembled for a thorough cleaning. It’s also made from heat-resistant borosilicate glass for added durability. This French press also scores points for its attractive design and multiple style and size options, making it a great choice for various budget-savvy coffee lovers.
Coffee Gator French Press Coffee Maker
This extra-durable French press coffee maker features a unique look and keeps coffee hot for hours, thanks to its double-walled stainless steel insulation.
Pros: If you want a French press you can bring on the go, this model is well worth a look. You can even take it camping. It’s extremely tough and durable even by stainless steel coffee maker standards. You won’t have to worry about it bouncing around in your pack, rusting if it rains overnight, or breaking if you drop it on the ground by mistake. The double-walled insulation works to keep your coffee warm for up to an hour, handy when braving the elements or sipping your coffee by the campfire. And unlike a lot of modern appliances, this French press is bright and colorful with a total of five different color options. A small, matching travel canister comes included, a safe and handy place to stash your coffee grounds or beans.
Cons: The lid isn’t particularly secure. While it’s technically dishwasher safe, hand washing is strongly recommended; the color has a tendency to flake off after a certain time. It may be a French press better reserved for camping trips rather than daily use.
Bottom Line: Many people love to bring their French press coffee maker to the campsite. Luckily, the double-walled stainless steel construction of the Coffee Gator French Press Coffee Maker is designed to put durability and coffee quality first and foremost for those camping trips. This French press features a double-screened filter to stop sediment but allow fragrant coffee oils into your cup for a reliably delicious brew. The double-walled design also keeps your coffee hot for hours so that you can relax by the campfire without worrying about coming back to lukewarm coffee.
Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker
These French press coffee makers are constructed with high-quality borosilicate glass for excellent heat resistance but also come in shatterproof models.
Pros: Finding a French press with the right maximum capacity for you and your daily or weekly coffee needs can be a tricky task. However, this model makes this task slightly easier. Unlike most French press coffee makers, it’s available in more than one size. There are four total size options to accommodate singles, couples, and big family households alike. Its special, patented safety lid prevents spills. And the trickiest parts to wash by hand, the carafe, filter, and plunger, are all dishwasher safe; just make sure you hand wash the rest.
Cons: While the glass is heat-resistant borosilicate, it’s not shatterproof, so you’ll want to be extra careful not to drop it. Moreover, it scratches and chips fairly easily. If you like to stir your coffee before pressing it, be sure to use a wooden or plastic spoon or utensil, not a metal one. A metal spoon will very likely leave scratches. There aren’t any measurements marked on the side of the carafe, which can make it trickier to portion out your coffee correctly.
Bottom Line: The Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker comes in four sizes between 12 and 51 ounces, making it equally great for those who prefer a single cup of coffee in the morning or those who are more likely to have six cups. This French press is also easy to clean. More importantly, in terms of brew quality, this French press is top-notch, as it allows for the essential coffee flavor to filter through while keeping sediment in the bottom of your mug to a minimum.
ESPRO P7 French Press
This product features the amazing filtration that's suitable for even finely ground beans and is solid and durable enough for many years of everyday use.
Pros: This premium stainless steel appliance offers some handy features that the average French press doesn’t. The opening is size adjustable, so you can change it to better fit the size of the cup or mug you’re pouring your coffee into to prevent spills. You also have the option to pause the extraction process just by pressing the filter; since French press coffee tends to grow bitter if left for too long, this is an extremely handy feature. You can brew a full vat of java, pour what you want for that day, pause the extraction process, and then come back later for more, without affecting the coffee’s flavor. And the entire coffee maker is dishwasher safe for your convenience.
Cons: It’s much more expensive than most French presses and doesn’t come with extra accessories despite the higher price tag. It’s also quite bulky for its capacity, so it will take up a decent amount of storage space when not in use. It’s on the heavy side, too. And while the very tight lid is handy to prevent spills or leaks, it may cause problems when you need to open the carafe to insert your coffee grounds and water.
Bottom Line: For those seeking their “forever French press,” the ESPRO P7 delivers. In terms of filtration, this French press features an impressive click-lock double filter that is effective enough to be used even with a super-fine espresso grind. It’s also double-walled and durably constructed so that your coffee will stay hot for hours and your French press will last for years. Additionally, unlike lesser stainless steel French press options, this one won’t leave a metallic taste in the coffee.
What type of coffee grounds work best with a French press coffee maker?
Coarse coffee grounds are the way to go when you’re operating a French press coffee maker. Since almost all of these coffee makers have a fine metal mesh filter, grounds that are too fine can slip through and pile up as debris inside your cup of coffee. Coarser grounds are big enough for this to not be a major problem, and they’ll still make an incredibly tasty vat of coffee. And coarse grounds tend to benefit more from slow extraction than finer grounds, which tend to take on a more bitter taste in French presses.
1:16 is considered the ideal coffee-to-water ratio for French press coffee makers, meaning 1 ounce (6 tablespoons) of coffee grounds for every 16 ounces (2 cups) of water. You can play around with this ratio a bit depending on how strong you like your coffee, but most people find the 1:16 ratio ideal.
How much can you expect to spend on a French press coffee maker?
Most French presses are priced somewhere between $25 and $40. Some may cost slightly more depending on the brand, model, accessories, materials, and other factors. That said, any French press that costs over $60 is fairly unusual unless you opt for a high-end model. These may be $100 or a bit more but aren’t the standard.
Also keep in mind that you’ll have to consider the additional cost of your coffee beans or grounds. That said, a French press won’t run up your electricity bill since they’re manually operated; plus, you won’t have to buy new paper filters every few weeks. Thus, they’re among the more cost-efficient types of coffee makers on the market.
A French press coffee maker is a great tool to have at home for casual and regular coffee drinkers alike. They’re multifunctional, affordable, easy to use, brew relatively quickly, and produce a tasty, flavorful cup of coffee. If you love rich, bold coffees, one of these French presses could be a fantastic coffee maker for your home.
If none of the French press coffee makers in this article have the capacity or features you’re looking for, here are a few other products we’d recommend: