When it comes to finding the best coffee percolator, opinions are divided in the coffee community. You either love the robust, rich brew or hate the potential for over-extraction.
Then there’s the debate as to whether pressure percolators – Moka pots – really qualify as percolators at all.
But, regardless of where you stand, you can’t argue that percolator coffee makers are a simple way to make a lot of coffee quickly.
With the introduction of electric options in addition to their stovetop counterparts, the simple design and “one button” operation makes it a favorite of busy people everywhere.
If you’re looking for a coffee machine to brew everyone their morning cup of joe with minimal fuss and effort, then a percolator is the one for you.
To help you find the best percolator for you, we’ve listed the best available along with some handy tips to look for.
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Quick Summary: Best Coffee Percolators
The boiling water travels up a tube, through the coffee grounds before flowing back down to the bottom to repeat the process.
This repeated cycling of the water through the coffee grounds results in a very strong and rich style of coffee. It’s somewhere between true espresso and regular steeped coffee.
There are 2 main types of percolator: Gravity and Pressure
As the boiling water reaches the top of the tube, it pours out over the lid of the filter basket containing the grounds.
The lid will typically be covered in small holes to ensure the water is evenly distributed throughout the grounds and doesn’t just pour out in one place.
The water makes its way through the grounds and drips back into the bottom. Here, it is sent back up the tube, repeating the entire process.
You must be careful with a gravity percolator not to over-extract the coffee grounds. The process will keep repeating long after the coffee is at its best if you let it, so you need to keep an eye on it.
When done correctly, however, it produces a rich and aromatic style of creamy coffee goodness. And the smell is intoxicating.
Just remember to remove the filter basket before pouring so you don’t end up with grounds in your coffee.
So a pressure percolator isn’t technically a percolator:
The term “percolate” refers to the water dripping through the grounds. And this isn’t how pressure percolators work.
Instead, these are technically called “Moka pots” referring to the original which was made by Bialetti in the 1930s. But they often just get lumped in with percolators as the “espresso” they produce isn’t made at a high enough pressure to be considered “true espresso” these days:
They only produce around 2 bar of pressure, well short of the 8 needed for espresso. But you still get a rich, full-bodied coffee.
A pressure percolator has roughly the same design as a gravity percolator:
A tube brings the hot water up to a basket where the coffee grounds are held. But in this case, the pressure from the hot water forces the water through the grounds until it bubbles out the top. The liquid then stays in this upper chamber until you’re ready to pour your coffee.
These percolators signal they are finished by making a characteristic “gurgling” noise as the last of the water bubbles through the coffee grounds.
That said, there are still a few factors you will want to pay attention to so you can buy the best coffee percolator for you:
Are you looking for an electric percolator that you just need to plug into the wall? Or are you after a stovetop version that can be used on gas and electric stoves, or even on campfires?
The plug-in versions are convenient as there is no risk of overheating your coffee. To use, you merely press a button and off it goes.
If you’re the kind of person who wants to take their coffee on their travels, one designed for stoves is best. It’s also a great option if you have an R.V. and want to take your percolator on your many adventures.
The place to be careful is if you have an induction stove as not all percolators are compatible. So always check the suitability before you buy.
What Size do you Need?
Most percolators are measured in “cups” – 3, 6, 9, and 12 cups are pretty standard sizes.
Now, these aren’t the bucket-sized cups you get from Starbucks. Instead, they are small espresso-style cups (called demitasse cups).
So if you’re looking for one mug of coffee, you’re probably going to need a 3-cup percolator. And then extrapolate upwards from there.
It’s worth remembering that the coffee tends to be richer and stronger from percolators than from other coffee makers. So you also may not want to drink the same volume of coffee in the morning.
Is it Good Looking?
Percolators and Moka pots are built to last. And, if something is going to be a permanent fixture in your kitchen or on your travels, then how it looks is going to be important.
Most percolators look like kettles. Whilst many of the stovetop ones choosing to style themselves after the original Moka pot’s octagonal design.
Always remember that if something looks shiny and chrome, you will need to clean it fairly regularly to keep it that way. We’re lazy so tend to opt for the “brushed” metal looks instead.
1. Hamilton Beach (40616) – Overall Best Coffee Percolator
- Easy to use
- Detachable power cord
- Obvious markings on the coffee basket
- Clear lid “viewing window”
- Well made, classic design
- “Keep warm” feature
- Quite violent percolation
- No “auto-off” feature
Hamilton Beach’s entry into the coffee percolator race is as well made and dependable as you would expect from them.
With a lovely chrome finish, easy-to-use markings for coffee and water, and a dishwasher-safe coffee basket, the Hamilton Beach 40616 ticks all the boxes. So, if you’re looking to make some delicious percolated coffee for everyone, then is a great choice.
Like most percolators, it runs at a 1 cup-per-minute brewing speed. Plus, it has a see-through lid so you can time your extraction time if you like.
The 40616 is a classic-looking percolator. It is made from easy-to-maintain chrome which has clear markings to help you nail your coffee to water ratio. Plus, for additional ease, the power cord is detachable and there is an easy keep-warm function.
This is pretty much everything you would want from your electric coffee percolator: to brew your morning pot of coffee for everyone, setting up your caffeine needs for the day.
The brewing process is more aggressive than you expect and there isn’t an “auto-off” feature. So have your phone timer at the ready. But these really are small niggles on an otherwise excellent product at a great price and once you’ve safely made a few pots, you won’t even notice anymore.
2. Bialetti Moka Pot – Best Percolator for Coffee Nerds
- Produces very good coffee
- Built to last
- Stovetop coffee maker – no electricity needed
- Easy to clean
- Portable and great for camping
- Available in fun colors and a range of sizes
- Two-year warranty
- Leaves aluminum residue if used incorrectly
- Not dishwasher safe
- Need to pay attention whilst brewing
- Long brew time
- Takes practice to master the brewing technique
An icon of the coffee world, the Bialetti Moka Express is the original pressure percolator, dating back to the 1930s.
The simple, classic design remains unchanged – the gold standard of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”. When you buy a Bialetti, you know it is built to last.
There are, however, a couple of things to be wary of:
The original Moka pot is a stovetop percolator. But if you have an induction stove, you need to make sure you get the right one for that – the Bialetti Venus is what you’re looking for.
You have to watch it whilst your coffee is brewing, otherwise, you can burn your coffee. Or you can even make it explode if you ignore it for a really long time.
But after a couple of tries, you’ll have rich delicious coffee. And you can use it anywhere you have a stove including whilst camping.
Overall, the Bialetti Moka Express has a lot going for it:
It’s cheap, it’s sturdy, it’s easy to use and it’s portable.
The only real downside is that pressure percolators make a different style of coffee than gravity percolators. The style of coffee it makes is a halfway house between true espresso (thanks to the pressure) and drip filter.
If you aren’t a fan of the richer, more intense coffee from a pressure percolator then it’s not the coffee maker for you. If it is, then it’s very hard to argue against this top-quality Moka Coffee Pot.
3. Faberware 2-4 Cup (FCP240) – Best for One Person
- Brews up to 4 cups in less than 5 minutes
- Can keep coffee warm all day if needed
- Looks good in your kitchen
- Solid stainless steel coffee maker that is built to last
- Electric heating element means you can make coffee wherever there is an outlet
- Sides of the pot get extremely hot
- Small capacity
- Can be awkward to clean
The Faberware Yosemite is perfect for those looking for a single-serve, electric percolator.
Although it has a 4-cup capacity, it is easy enough to make a single cup. And it takes less than 2 minutes to do so – quality coffee very quickly and very conveniently.
The stainless steel design is similar to their other percolators in terms of the classic coffee pot look. There is a keep-warm function too, which is handy if you tend to turn your coffee maker on and then forget about it while you do other things.
It really is only suitable for 1 or 2 people though. Even with it being very fast you won’t want to have to change out the grounds and refill multiple times to get everyone fully caffeinated. So, if you’re a multi-cup drinker or have a few people needing coffee at the same time, you would be better off with the 8 and 12 cup versions.
The handle is heatproof but the rest of the pot gets extremely hot so be careful when handling it after use.
This is the ideal option if you’re a single person who wants fuss-free coffee in a hurry. Just turn it on and forget about it – maximum convenience and a good cup of coffee in the end.
Now, it’s definitely not one for the coffee geeks as it isn’t really possible to get exceptional coffee from this percolator. But for speed and convenience, it is hard to beat.
4. De’Longhi EMK6
- Portable – you can take it anywhere with electrical access
- Quick – less than 5 minutes to brew 6 cups
- Same great taste as the stovetop Moka pot
- Safer than the stovetop version
- Automatic shut-off when coffee is ready
- The transparent plastic upper chamber looks cheap
- Not ideal for groups – makes 6 espresso sized cups
If you love the taste of Moka pot coffee but aren’t a fan of using the stovetop versions then never fear, the Delonghi EMK6 is here to fill all your needs.
Whilst using the same brewing method as the original Moka pot, it works off an electric base. So you can wander off and get on with other things while your coffee is brewing and you don’t have to worry about an exploding coffee pot.
In fact, the EMK6 could be the ultimate percolator compromise:
The ease of an electric percolator with the rich, full-bodied coffee of a stovetop Moka pot. The De’Longhi Alicia EMK6 takes almost all the hassle out of making pressure percolated coffee. Plus, it can be used anywhere you have a power outlet so you never gave to go without.
It does make the more intense style typical of a pressure percolator. So it is great if you’re a fan of the style of coffee produced by Moka Pots.
Once brewed, the EMK6 can be removed from the base for easy cordless percolator coffee serving.
Despite being electric, it’s also not much more expensive than a regular Moka Pot. Although some users aren’t fans of the clear, plastic top of the machine.
5. Cuisinart Classic 12 Cup Percolator (PRC-12)
- Easy to use and clean
- Makes a strong brew
- Looks great
- 3-year warranty
- “Keep warm” function works well
- Coffee goes cold very quickly if not plugged in
- Takes time to master brewing
- The see-through knob on top can be brittle
- No automatic “shut off”
Cuisinart has a reputation for making high-quality durable products. And their 12 cup electric coffee percolator is no exception.
The stainless steel construction and 3-year warranty give you real confidence in the build quality of the Classic 12 Cup Percolator. It’s that classic coffee pot design with an easy-pour spout that will fit in almost all kitchens.
You can also keep your coffee warm without over-extracting by removing the coffee basket once brewed. And the see-through knob on the top means you can watch for the start of percolation if you want to monitor your perfect extraction time.
There is, however, no insulation. So if you don’t leave it on its stand to keep warm, it will go cold very fast. Plus there’s no “auto-off” function so you can’t forget about it all day without ruining your coffee.
If you’re looking to get perfect extraction from your grounds it will take some work. You will also have to take the grounds out once your coffee is ready otherwise it’ll just keep running through them until it’s extremely bitter and basically undrinkable.
Overall, this is a no-fuss, no-frills option for those who want decent percolator coffee at home without spending a fortune.
6. Euro Cuisine PER12 – Best Electric Coffee Percolator
- Brews quickly
- Looks fantastic
- Solid design
- Easy-to-use water indicator
- Keep warm function
- Also comes in 4 and 8 cup versions
- Easy to clean
- More expensive than others
- Copper finish isn’t for everyone
Euro Cuisine has gone in a slightly different direction in terms of style by having a copper finish to their 12 Cup Electric Percolator. (If you would prefer something small, it also comes in 4 and 8 cup sizes).
The fully stainless steel design (and copper finish) ensures the quality and longevity of the percolator. Plus it brews your coffee at the necessary speed of 1 cup per minute to quickly get that first sip to you.
The Euro Cuisine PER12 also has an easy-to-use water level indicator, ensuring you get the perfect brew ratio. And a keep warm feature if you like to dip back in throughout the morning.
It’s slightly more expensive than some similar percolators but the copper finish looks striking, standing out from the competition. Not everyone’s kitchen will suit the copper finish, but it looks amazing if yours does.
It does all the things you’d expect in terms of speed, quality, ease of use, and cleaning. In fact, the only real downside is the high price tag when compared to the competition.
7. Presto 12 Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Percolator (02811)
- Great stainless steel coffee percolator
- Easy to use and clean
- No external heat source needed
- Makes a full pot in 12 minutes
- Very economic
- Heatproof handle
- Can produce excellent coffee
- Short power cord
- Coffee can easily over-extract
- Coffee basket is difficult to clean if left after brewing
- Quality isn’t as good as using a Moka pot
Presto makes a wide range of coffee products – all to a very high manufacturing standard. And their 12 Cup Percolator (02811) is certainly no exception.
The stainless steel body is a classic, old-style coffee pot, and the aluminum interior is built to last.
As a gravity percolator, the water keeps filtering through the coffee grounds, held in a basket at the top of the pot, until the coffee is fully extracted. And will continue beyond this point, over-extracting your coffee, unless you stop it.
It claims it can make “1 cup per minute”. So, 12 minutes for a full pot of coffee that will stay warm on the base.
Overall, in terms of simplicity and convenience, it’s superb.
The Presto stainless steel coffee maker does the job well:
You put your coffee grounds and water in and press the button. Then it makes your coffee and keeps it hot while you get on with other things.
If you enjoy the rich but bitter coffee that most percolator coffee makers produce then this is perfect.
If you’re looking for perfect extraction, that is totally possible but requires some attention to timing.
The short power cord can be irritating as you need to be close to an outlet. Plus, if you don’t immediately empty and rinse out the grounds basket, it can get clogged.
The interior is aluminum, which some feel is a health risk. However, there is no evidence that aluminum causes long-term health issues.
Overall it’s a solid and convenient way to brew your coffee with a great look and compact design. Just have a timer ready to get that perfect extraction.
8. Faberware Yosemite – Best Camping Coffee Pot
- Stainless steel percolator construction
- Great value
- Dishwasher safe
- Heatproof handle
- The glass top allows you to accurately time extraction
- Can quickly make 40oz of coffee
- Takes practice to perfect technique
- Hard to see the water level markers
- Some small interior pieces
- Doesn’t work on induction stoves
Designed for big group camping trips, the Faberware Yosemite 8 cup percolator is a great value option for those who will be making coffee for a large group on the move. Or, if you need more coffee, they also make a 12 cup version.
Coming in a range of colors and finishes, the simplistic design feels rustic and fits in perfectly around a campfire.
With a glass knob on the top, you wait until you see the water bubbling through the tube and start timing. Then 5-7 minutes later you have your coffee. It will take a bit of practice to get this perfect and you do need a timer. But honestly, who doesn’t have a mobile phone on them these days?
Dialing in involves quite a bit of trial and error, which can be frustrating. But if you’re after a cheap coffee pot for group camping or home use, the Yosemite will do the job admirably.
The Faberware Yosemite stainless steel stovetop coffee pot does exactly what you want it to do:
Brews coffee for a large group with minimal hassle.
To begin with, the coffee won’t always be perfect. And it’s a bit difficult to measure exactly how much water is in the pot. But it looks good, is built to last forever, and is dishwasher safe.
All this without even mentioning how spectacularly cheap it is. Cheap enough that you could have one for the rare occasion you need to make coffee for 8 people whilst camping and another of these best percolator options for everyday use.
9. Café Brew Collection 8 Cup Glass Percolator by Medelco
- Heatproof handle
- You can watch your coffee brewing
- Dishwasher safe
- Easy to use
- Great value for money
- Glass is brittle
- Can’t be used on campfires or induction stove
- Keeping the glass crystal clear can be a challenge
This offering by Medelco is a slightly different style of stovetop coffee percolator:
Made from Borosilicate glass, it can withstand the heat changes and allows you to see everything that is going on as your coffee is brewing.
Suitable for gas or electric stoves, but not induction or campfires, the 8 Cup Glass Percolator does a great job. It allows you to be in complete control of your percolation brewing as you watch the action take place.
Borosilicate glass will crack if it is placed on too extreme heat. And it is still glass so this isn’t really the best percolator for traveling with.
Instead, this is mainly about aesthetics. If you love the look of the Medelco 8 Cup then go for it. But it’s hard to justify glass over stainless steel for a lot of situations.
However, if that style is for you, there’s a lot to be happy about: It makes good percolator coffee, you can put it in the dishwasher, and it’s simple enough to use.
Plus, it’s also very good value. Although many of the best coffee percolators fall at this entry-level price point, offering the same great value too.
The glass isn’t for everyone though. And it’s very hard to justify it as “better” than stainless steel other than on looks (which are hard to maintain). So that is how this one should be judged – a touch of style over practicality but still a quality coffee maker.
10. Stansport Aluminum Percolator Coffee Pot
- Heats up quickly
- Lightweight for its size
- Simple to use
- Can be used over any heat source
- “Milk bucket” handles can be awkward to use
- It is very big
- Hard to get great coffee from it
Last up on our best coffee percolator list is a fully aluminum option from Stansport. It’s a biggie too, designed for camping.
The 20 cup Stansport Aluminum Percolator kinda looks like a milk bucket and a percolator had a baby.
The aluminum means it heats up very quickly and is light, as well as sturdy. This helps when you’re trying to brew coffee for the whole campsite over the fire in the morning. At this stage, I would like to point out again that there is no evidence to connect aluminum use to long-term health issues.
Due to the simple design, it can be hard to judge when your coffee is perfectly brewed. So you’ll need a lot of practice to really nail your technique.
If you’re just after a caffeine hit for everyone on your treks though this is a solid option.
Stansport makes no secret that this is a coffee percolator for those who are looking to cater to big groups on camping trips.
If you’re not looking to make café quality coffee on your trip but, instead, brew some coffee for the masses then this is a cheap and reliable way to do that. If you’re looking to convert your home coffee experience to the road, then this is not going to work for you.
For the best of the best coffee percolators, you can’t go wrong with the Hamilton Beach 40616. It is sleek, long-lasting, and offers great value for money.
If you prefer the campfire to electric percolators, the Faberware Yosemite is fab. The 20 cup size, will keep everyone happy in the morning and is pretty lightweight for its size too which is great for hitting the open road.
No matter, what your preferences one of the top picks from this list will keep you caffeinated and happy.
The best percolator coffee tastes strong and rich. Think somewhere between espresso and regular steeped coffee.
It is often described as bitter. But this is down to over-extraction which is very common and easy to do with this brewing method.
Therefore, you have to keep a constant eye on your percolator whilst it’s brewing to ensure the proper temperature and brew time.
If, on the other hand, your coffee is weak then it has been removed too early, not completing enough cycled.
After a bit of experimentation, you will nail the process and be sipping on a great cup of joe.
Your grind size is important when making percolator coffee:
This brewing method requires the water to pass through the coffee grounds repeatedly. All whilst at high temperatures. This process pulls a lot of solubles from the beans which can create an over-extracted, bitter cup of coffee if you’re not careful.
Percolators also don’t have a fine filtration system. So, to avoid being left with a mouthful of coffee grounds, you want a coarse grind.
A coarse – or French press grind – reduces the surface area exposed to water. The end result is a more delicious pot of coffee.
To get the best results, it is best to freshly grind whole coffee beans. Our picks of coffee grinders for French press will be great for percolator coffee too: Check them out.
Percolators don’t use paper filters which makes them harder to clean than other coffee makers.
If you’re looking for an easy option, consider a dish-washer safe percolator. There are plenty to choose from and will save you time.
Otherwise, be prepared to take it apart after each use and give it a good clean. There is nothing complicated – just scrub with soap and water. Plus, baking soda for tough stains every few months.
But, there are usually small parts so take care not to misplace any of them.
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