Preparing pour-over coffee is a relaxing way to start the day and allows you to take an active role in making your coffee. Pour-over coffee creates an elevated taste that’s different from drip coffee due to the unique brewing process that allows for more of the coffee’s natural oils and unique flavors to shine through. We made this guide to help you find the perfect pour-over coffee maker for your needs. Start your day off right with these recommendations.
We researched a large number of pour-over coffee makers. To narrow down our selections, we first read manufacturer claims and then a series of user reviews. This gave us a good idea of the benefits and drawbacks of each coffee maker according to people who’d actually purchased and used them, as well as the unique properties of each product.
When we had narrowed our selection down to fewer than 10 products, we sought out some expert advice. We read reviews and thoughts from several different well-respected review and coffee sites to see what they had to say about pour-over coffee makers. We also consulted with a former barista to get his professional opinion on what makes a good pour-over coffee maker and what doesn’t. Once we picked the top five products, we acquired them and tested them out for ourselves.
Why buy a pour-over coffee maker?
If you’re a regular coffee drinker, you probably already own some sort of coffee-making device, so a pour-over coffee maker may not seem like a worthwhile investment. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, however. The pour-over method is ideal for enhancing the coffee’s natural smell and flavor, especially if you tend to drink flavored coffees. The taste of single-origin coffees, in particular, is known to benefit from the pour-over method. New coffee drinkers may also appreciate pour-over coffee makers for this reason as well.
Additionally, some people appreciate the greater level of control offered by a pour-over coffee maker. Unlike electric coffee makers, a pour-over model allows you to pick the exact water temperature, how fast or slow you pour the water through your coffee grounds, and your pouring style. Others simply find the process enjoyable or soothing, similar to French presses but less time-consuming.
What should you look for in a pour-over coffee maker?
- Capacity: Consider the pour-over coffee maker’s capacity so that you aren’t left holding an empty mug before you’ve had your fill. Thankfully, many pour-over coffee makers come in various sizes so that you can find an option that suits your needs. There are also many great single-serve pour-over coffee makers on the market for those who love coffee but try not to drink it to excess.
- Filter: The type of filter you use can make a huge difference in taste. While paper filters are convenient and easy for cleanup, some find that the final product suffers from the filter soaking up the natural coffee oils. And you’ll have to constantly buy new ones when you run out. Metal filters allow these oils to come through in the coffee, resulting in a taste many prefer, but the cleaning process can be more time-consuming. However, this also means they’re eco-friendly since they’re reusable. Cloth filters generally fall somewhere between paper and metal filters for taste and cleaning care. Some pour-over coffee makers are compatible with different types of filters so that you can use the type you like best.
- Portability: Glass pour-over coffee makers can be taken on trips or to the office but are riskier than more durable options since they are much more fragile. However, some brands offer shatterproof versions for such occasions. Ceramic is also a viable material that is thicker and less fragile, though it’s not 100% shatterproof. If you will be taking your pour-over coffee maker with you while camping or traveling, a lightweight and durable option that can be safely carried in your backpack or pocket is likely your best option.
How many different types of pour-over coffee makers are there?
There are two main types of pour-over coffee makers: the typical countertop models and smaller portable ones.
A classic pour-over coffee maker tends to resemble a vase in shape, with a circular lower half and a funnel-shaped upper half. The filter rests securely in the top half and holds the coffee grounds as you pour, while the coffee you produce fills up the lower half. Then, once you’re finished making your coffee, all you have to do is remove the filter and serve yourself. These types of pour-over coffee makers often come with some sort of grip around the neck to ensure they’re easier to grasp and to protect your hand from the heat.
Most portable pour-over coffee makers are funnel-shaped or cone-like; they’re essentially the top half of a countertop model. Some are ring-shaped with a built-in, net-like filter. These work the same as a countertop pour-over coffee maker, except that they rest on top of your coffee mug to brew your coffee directly in the mug instead of in a separate container. Since they’re much smaller and are most commonly made out of metal, silicone, or plastic, they’re great for camping, traveling, or taking to the office. You can use one of these models at home if you have limited storage or countertop space, too. Just keep in mind that, due to their compact size, they can’t make more than a cup or two of coffee at once.
How do pour-over coffee makers work?
One advantage of pour-over coffee machines is that they’re incredibly simple to use. They don’t require specialized equipment or even a power source. You can use them anytime, anywhere. All you have to do is place the filter in the opening of the coffee maker or on top of your mug, place your coffee grounds in the filter, and pour a steady stream of hot water through the filter for several minutes. The water extracts the flavor from the grounds as it pours through them, producing your coffee in the bottom half of the coffee maker or right in your mug. That’s all there is to it!
Are pour-over coffee makers dishwasher safe?
It varies from model to model. Many full-sized pour-over coffee makers are dishwasher safe. Portable ones can be too, depending on what materials they’re made of. Keep in mind that you’ll likely have to remove the grip from it in order to wash the coffee maker safely in the dishwasher. Be sure to check a product’s listing to make sure it’s dishwasher safe before washing, especially since full-sized models can be a pain to wash by hand; their shape makes it tricky to reach and properly clean every nook and cranny. Many reusable filters are dishwasher safe as well.
Chemex Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker
This pour-over coffee maker features a classic, clean design and non-porous borosilicate glass construction.
Pros: If quality is your priority, try this premium pour-over coffee maker. The borosilicate glass is non-porous and resists odors and chemicals, thus eliminating bitterness throughout the brewing process. The result is coffee so pure it can even be chilled and reheated without compromising the flavor, so you can get multiple uses out of its impressive 40-ounce (8-cup) capacity. The neck of this pour-over coffee maker is thinner than that of many similar models, making it easier to grip and pour. The grip is made of wood and can be removed if desired. You can wash this pour-over coffee maker by hand or in the dishwasher.
Cons: Though still not as costly as an electric drip coffee machine, this model is much more expensive than many similar products. And despite its higher price, you don’t get a reusable filter, extra paper filters, or other handy accessories with your purchase. Due to its shape and design, it’s only compatible with the company’s personalized paper filters, so you’ll have to go to the trouble of ordering and purchasing them separately.
Bottom Line: Chemex is a familiar name to coffee lovers, so it is no surprise that they’ve made a glass pour-over coffee maker that has a clean, timeless design and produces flavorful coffee. Although this isn’t the best pour-over coffee maker to travel with, it’s still quite durable and won’t break easily if tipped over. As long as you don’t mind paying the higher cost for the higher quality, this pour-over coffee maker will be an asset to almost any kitchen or morning routine.
Bodum Pour-Over Coffee Maker with Permanent Filter
This product features a permanent coffee filter for smooth, nuanced coffee.
Pros: The main benefit of this pour-over coffee maker is that it comes with its own reusable filter, eliminating the need to constantly throw away and purchase paper filters. That filter is made of tough stainless steel mesh, ideal for a device that regularly comes into contact with water. The filter and coffee maker are dishwasher safe for a much easier clean. The carafe has some subtle but attractive detailing on its heat-resistant glass body as well.
Cons: This is a bit more complex than most pour-over coffee makers. It has more pieces and a few extra steps, per the instructions, which makes it a bit more difficult to put together, use, and clean than others. The neck is thick and not as comfortable to grasp, especially for those with small hands.
Bottom Line: For budget-savvy coffee lovers who like the style of the Chemex but not the price tag, the Bodum Pour-Over Coffee Maker is an amazing substitute. This pour-over coffee maker comes with an easy-to-clean permanent filter and makes 8 cups of delicious coffee. It’s dishwasher safe and sits securely on flat surfaces thanks to its bottom-heavy design, making it a great value for its price.
Simply Charmed Pour-Over Coffee Dripper
This ceramic pour-over coffee maker features a simple three-hole design that allows for a timely brewing process.
Pros: This little ceramic number is simple yet effective. All you have to do is set it on top of your favorite mug, place a paper filter inside, fill it with your favorite coffee grounds, and pour water through it. Boom! A mug of delicious coffee. A full box of 40 paper filters is included. Perhaps the most notable part of this pour-over coffee maker is the unique design of the opening. Instead of one big hole, there are three smaller ones at the bottom of the coffee maker. This ensures the water is more evenly distributed during pouring.
Cons: This isn’t the most sturdy or stable model. The ceramic body is tougher than glass, but it’s not as light or travel-friendly as a metal or silicone model. You’re limited to making single servings of coffee in your own mugs. You will have to keep buying new paper filters once your complimentary box runs out, too.
Bottom Line: Although glass pour-over sets are popular, this Simply Charmed Pour-Over Coffee Dripper is more rugged than the glass options while offering a simple three-hole design that strikes a sound balance between a slow steep and a fast flow. With a base broad enough for most wide-mouthed coffee mugs, this is a versatile option that’s great for your mugs at home or the office.
Primula Brew Buddy Portable Pour-Over
This nifty gadget is eco-friendly and lightweight enough to be carried in your pocket.
Pros: Even by pour-over coffee maker standards, this pour-over coffee maker is incredibly easy to use. All you have to do is place it in your favorite mug, put your coffee grounds inside, and pour hot water over it. Since the filter is built into the plastic ring, it fits around the mug’s rim with the filter inside rather than the coffee maker balancing on top of it, making it stable. It should fit most coffee mugs and is dishwasher safe for your convenience. Thanks to the extremely compact size and non-breakable plastic body, this pour-over coffee maker can be easily tucked away into your backpack or even a pocket. And it’s highly affordable to boot.
Cons: As is normal with portable pour-over coffee makers, you can only make one or two cups of coffee at a time with this model. Since the filter’s mesh is so fine, it keeps particles out of your coffee but also takes longer for water to pass through. This model also isn’t microwave-friendly, so be sure you remove it from your mug before you reheat your coffee in the microwave.
Bottom Line: A delicious coffee while camping is wonderful, but lugging your large coffee maker through the woods isn’t ideal. Thankfully, the Primula Brew Buddy Portable Pour-Over offers a portable and convenient means of getting your coffee fix in a lightweight package that slips into your pocket. Though it’ll leave a little more coffee residue in the bottom of your cup, it effortlessly brews a nice cup of coffee wherever you are. Since it doesn’t require a filter, it’s a great way to cut back on waste in the woods and at home.
Aquach Pour-Over Coffee Maker Set
Get a glass carafe, an extra-large filter, a stainless steel coffee spoon, and a beautiful bamboo tray.
Pros: You more than get your money’s worth with this pour-over coffee kit. Even though it’s a full kit with several useful accessories, it still falls within the normal price range of a pour-over coffee maker alone. Included in this incredibly useful bundle are a small bamboo tray, a reusable filter, a 28-ounce glass carafe with markings on the side, and a measuring spoon. The little tray gives you a convenient place to display or stash your set when not in use and prevents coffee drips from getting all over your countertop. The carafe and filter are both freezer and dishwasher safe.
Cons: The carafe can hold up to 28 ounces (3.5 cups). If you like to brew a week’s worth of coffee in one sitting, this kit won’t be large enough for your needs. And as handy as all the extra accessories are, they ensure that this pour-over kit isn’t exactly portable (especially since the carafe is glass). You’ll also want to be careful with the stainless steel edges of the funnel and carafe’s lid, as they’re quite sharp. If you have young children, be sure to keep this kit out of their reach for safety’s sake.
Bottom Line: The Aquach Pour-Over Coffee Maker Set features a very attractive price, given its quality. In this set, you’ll get a glass carafe, a stainless steel filter, a spoon, and a bamboo tray which adds a lot to the ensemble in terms of presentation. The reusable filter, which features a unique handled design, is definitely on par with the end result of far pricier pour-over options, but the carafe might not be large enough for households with more than two coffee drinkers. However, for couples looking for an attractive pour-over set that takes minimal counter space, this product is an excellent choice.
ESPRO BLOOM Pour-Over Coffee Brewing Kit
A single-serve pour-over coffee kit with a special micro filter that makes great-tasting coffee in a mere two minutes.
Pros: While pour-over coffee isn’t as time-consuming to make as some other types, this pour-over coffee maker set makes the process even quicker. The sides of the glass carafe are clearly marked in both milliliters and ounces, and it comes with a handy measuring spoon. There are even green dots that mark once you’ve filled the carafe up to one or two cups. (The carafe has a handle, so you can drink your coffee straight out of it if desired.) You can brew with the reusable stainless steel filter alone or with one of the specialty compostable paper filters. The bottom of the metal filter is made up of hundreds of tiny holes for more even distribution and to prevent even the smallest pieces of debris from creeping into your coffee.
Cons: You will have to pay more for this set, especially if you choose to keep buying new specialty paper filters for it. It may not be big enough for those who drink several cups of coffee a day. The metal filter doesn’t always fit perfectly on top of the carafe either; there will be some clanking and shaking, though it becomes more stable as more water and grounds are added.
Bottom Line: If you like to grab a quick cup of coffee on your way out the door in the morning, this is the pour-over coffee maker for you. It’s designed to brew your coffee in a mere two minutes without sacrificing flavor or taste in the process. The unique dual filtration gives you the option to brew your coffee with the reusable stainless steel filter or with a classic paper one. As long as you aren’t particularly noise-sensitive or you don’t mind a smaller serving size, you’ll get plenty of use out of this pour-over coffee-making set.
What’s the difference between a pour-over coffee maker and a drip coffee maker?
The main difference, of course, is that pour-over coffee makers are operated manually rather than electrically. The brewing method is essentially the same, just executed differently.
Pour-over coffee makers offer greater variety in your coffee and more control over the brewing process. Thus, once you’ve perfected the technique, pour-over coffee makers can usually make better-tasting coffee overall and are less expensive on the whole. That said, the results from a pour-over coffee maker can vary considerably from cup to cup until you get the hang of the process or figure out what works best for you. They’re also more hands-on, requiring more active attention than simply filling the device and pressing a button, and take longer to brew your coffee.
Basically, pour-over coffee makers offer the potential for a higher-quality cup of coffee (or at least coffee that better matches your personal tastes) as long as you don’t mind the extra time and some trial and error.
How expensive are pour-over coffee makers?
On average, a standard, full-sized pour-over coffee maker will cost you somewhere in the $20 to $30 range. Since a cup of pour-over coffee in your local coffee shop can cost around $4 per cup, it only takes a few uses for the device to essentially pay for itself. That said, if you use paper filters with your pour-over coffee maker, that’s an added expense you’ll have to keep replacing (not to mention the coffee grounds themselves). Some models may be a bit more expensive depending on the quality of the materials or if they come with extra accessories or require specialty filters. And the smaller, portable pour-over coffee makers will be less pricy. These tend to cost around $8 to $15.
Either way, a pour-over coffee maker is almost certainly going to cost less money than an electric drip coffee machine.
What type of coffee grounds work best with pour-over coffee makers?
It varies slightly depending on which of the two types of pour-over coffee makers you use. For full-sized countertop models, opt for a medium-coarse grind. It’ll make a nice, smooth cup of pour-over coffee without risking any particles or debris slipping through the filter. If you have a smaller, portable pour-over coffee maker, stick to a medium-fine grind instead. The flavor will still be nice and smooth, and the coffee won’t take quite as long to filter through.
Though not always the best choice for beginners, a pour-over coffee maker can be a great asset for longstanding coffee lovers. They allow you to play around with the ratio of grounds and water in a way that a regular electric coffee machine doesn’t. While they are a bit more hands-on, many people find the process of brewing a cup of pour-over coffee to be a soothing start to the day. If you want a pour-over coffee maker, these recommendations should serve you well.
If you didn’t see a pour-over coffee maker in a design you liked or with the features you were looking for, here are a few other models that we would also recommend: