Billions of people across the globe depend on coffee to get their day started. Caffeine is a relatively simple molecule but it keeps us awake and gets us moving. There are many benefits of drinking coffee, but to get all the advantages you probably need about two cups a day without sugar or milk. One of the classic ways to get your coffee hit is a coffee percolator. You deserve the best coffee percolator so in this post we review what we think are five of the best coffee percolators on the market today.
The strength of your coffee depends on many factors including: the type of coffee bean, the roast, the grind, the coffee to water ratio, and the method of brewing. The handy thing about percolated coffee is that you can vary the strength of your coffee by varying the time of percolation. Coffee percolators were very popular in the 1970’s but then faded out of favor. However, they seem to be making a come back.
Are Coffee Percolators Experiencing a Revival?
If you use Google Trends and type in ‘coffee percolator’, then you can see that the search trend for this phrase has gradually increased from October 2008. Google Trends is a tool you can use to show you the popularity, and the trend, of words that people type into Google Search. In this case, more and more people are using the phrase ‘coffee percolator’ to search Google (the inverted commas are just my way of identifying the phrase). It is also interesting that the peaks in the graph occur about November and December each year – maybe people looking for Christmas gifts?
Source: Google Trends using the phrase ‘coffee percolator’
Some people may think that percolating your coffee is an old-school brewing method, but it is still a great way to get a strong cup of coffee. And Google Trends does seem to show that coffee percolators are experiencing a revival – especially around Christmas!
Is it a Coffee Percolator or a Moka Pot?
People often get confused between a coffee percolator and a Moka pot. You will often see a Moka pot labeled as a percolator (but not often the other way around). Both can sit on the stovetop (or have an electric version) and use hot water to extract ground coffee, but the brewing method is different.
The following table briefly compares a percolator with a Moka pot:
A coffee percolator consists of two interconnected chambers: a bottom chamber containing water and a perforated top chamber containing the ground coffee. A percolator brews coffee by recycling boiling water through coffee grounds using gravity (see image). The strength of the coffee can be varied by adjusting the time of the brew.
A Moka pot consists of three chambers: a bottom chamber containing water, a middle chamber containing ground coffee, and a top chamber containing the final coffee brew. The bottom and middle chamber are interconnected as are the middle chamber and top chamber. There is no direct connection between the bottom chamber and the top chamber.
A Moka pot brews coffee by passing pressurized hot water through ground coffee (see image). The strength of the coffee is not usually adjusted by the time of brewing because the water never returns to the bottom chamber. The coffee made by a Moka pot may be considered espresso because a pressurized chamber is used to initiate the flow of hot water through the ground coffee to extract the coffee.
The following diagrams show you how a percolator and a Moka pot work to brew coffee.
Reviews of Best Coffee Percolators
We have done the research for you, and given you a place to start, on some of the best coffee percolators on the market. Hopefully, our reviews will help you with an idea of what to look for in a good percolator.
Our reviews are based on information painstakingly gathered from various independent and trusted sources as well as our own experience.
If you have any personal views on any of the coffee percolators we review in this post (or even other percolators you like) please leave a comment below and share it with our readers. We always welcome useful, relevant, and interesting comments to any of our articles.
OK. Let’s get to it!
This table briefly lists the Coffee Percolators we review in this post
Last update on 2020-10-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Presto 02811 12-Cup Percolator
This percolator is incredibly effective for brewing multiple cups of coffee at the same time. The Presto coffee percolator comes in a 6-cup model (02822) and a 12-cup model (02811). The 12-cup model is a best seller on Amazon.
This percolator uses the common hot water circulation method to ensure that all the grounds are saturated for optimal brewing. Attractive, compact, and reliable, this is an investment that you will not regret!
If you are not familiar with Presto, it is among the most reputable brands when it comes to coffee brewing machines. Thus, it doesn’t surprise us that this product is covered by a one-year limited warranty. Of course, this is for manufacturer’s defects. If the damage happens because of faulty use, you can ask for it to be repaired but with a cost.
The first thing that we noticed is the power of 500 watts, and this means you can get your brewed coffee fast! I love the sound of percolated coffee: that delicious ‘burble, pop, burble’ it always gets me salivating in anticipation of a good cup of coffee. However, it is not as noisy as some other coffee makers (e.g. an espresso machine).
“Burble, pop, burble?” Does that sound like a coffee percolator to you? If not then please share a comment, or leave a voicemail, on the words you think describe the sound of a coffee percolator. We will update this post with your suggestions!
The detachable cord will allow you to maneuver the percolator without any issues and the drip-free spout will improve your serving game.
Once the coffee is ready to serve, the indicator light will shine red. This is useful for those who are new to this brewing method and are not sure when they should turn off the percolator. The percolator has a sleek design and a good pouring spout.
The 6-cup model is 7.5 x 4 x 10 inches and weighs 2lbs and the 12-cup model is 13.1 x 9.7 x 6.2 in and weighs 2.9 lbs. Consequently, you either need a fairly strong wrist or use two hands to pour with the 12-cup coffee percolator. You also need to be careful that you don’t burn yourself because the outer casing of the percolator gets very hot (makes sense right?) but the handle remains cool (that also makes sense).
We love the fact that, even if you let it sit for a while, the coffee will remain warm provided you have it still plugged in.
People have been scared by reports of aluminium associated with dementia but this only seems important for people working with aluminium (or in an aluminium plant) and not for people drinking percolated coffee. According to Presto the 02822 percolator has an aluminium perk well at the bottom of the pot, but it has a stainless steel basket and perk tube. The reason they use aluminium is that it conducts heat better than steel.
Farberware 47053 Classic Yosemite Percolator
If you are on a tight budget but still want the benefits of percolating your coffee, this is a great choice. Durable and convenient, this percolator will allow you to drink a fresh and rich cup caffeinated beverage every morning! It is also the only classic stovetop coffee percolator we review in this post.
This percolator comes in two sizes: an 8-cup model (50124) and a 12 cup model (47053). The larger 12-cup coffee percolator measures 8.9 x 7.3 x 10.8 inches and weighs 2.8 pounds, so you need to have a pretty strong wrist, or use two hands, to lift this larger percolator when its full of coffee.
The best thing about this percolator is that it is made out of heavy-duty stainless steel that is polished to a mirror shine. It is so shiny that you can check how you look in the morning whilst drinking your coffee! I wouldn’t do this simply because I don’t look all that great when I drink my first coffee of the day.
The stainless steel build is sturdy and ensures that you will be able to use it for years to come. We aren’t the happiest with the Farberware warranty policy, considering that there is always a potential for built-in defects. The glass knob on the lid is useful to see when the coffee starts percolating, but it seems a bit flimsy.
A great feature of these percolators is that you will not be dealing with a lot of filter cleaning. How so? Instead of including the common filter papers, the basket is made out of stainless steel. This makes the whole brewing process more reliable and enjoyable.
There is no aluminum in the build and it is completely dishwasher safe. If you don’t have time for handwashing, just throw it in your machine! There is no doubt that this product will give you the coffee you want (need?) in plentiful amounts!
In the end, it is just the ideal choice if you are always on the go or want a coffee maker for your camping trip!
Cuisinart PRC-12 Percolator
Cuisinart brand has been in the business for decades, so there is little to worry about this percolator.
It is a bit more expensive than other percolators in this review but it has an array of useful features and a three-year warranty that could justify its price.
This percolator is portable after you detach the power cord.
If you want to keep it warm while you get other things settled, just plug it back in.
It also has a no-drip spout and can make from 4 to 12 cups of coffee. It does have aluminum in its build but it also has stainless steel as the base material for both housing and the interior.
Two other useful features of this percolator are that it has a heat resistant handle and base to protect you from burning yourself or damaging tabletops. However, the body of the percolator still gets very hot, so be careful. The transparent knob at the top works together with the ready-to-serve indicator to alert you when your coffee is ready.
This percolator is worth the price if you need a powerful machine with a good capacity and a solid warranty.
West Bend 54159 Stainless Steel Percolator
West Bend may not be as well-known as Cuisinart but the brand still focuses on customer satisfaction. They offer a one-year limited warranty to keep you worry-free (for one year at least).
The two main differences between this electric percolator and the others we reviewed (except the Farberware Classic Yosemite) are that there is no aluminum in its build and it is very powerful at about 950 Watts. This means it takes very little time to brew your favorite coffee.
There are many features that justify a higher price. You will be happy to use the coffee level indicator on the handle. Also, the ready-to-serve light lets you know when your coffee is ready. Additionally, the keep-warm mode will ensure your coffee stays fresh as long as the machine is plugged in.
The West Bend percolator has a heat resistant handle and base to ensure your safety from burns or damage to tabletops. The detachable cord also allows you to carry it anywhere you want.
Unfortunately, this percolator lacks the no-drip spout. Maintenance should not be an issue as, instead of paper filters, there is a stainless-steel basket. Overall, the West Bend percolator is a worthy choice!
Maxi-Matic EC-120 Electric Percolator
All percolators in this review can make up to 12 cups of brewed coffee by the classic percolation method.
We like the Farberware Classic Yosemite Percolator because it is the only stovetop percolator, it is sturdy, you can take it anywhere, and it is truely a classic.
We like the Maxi-Matic electric coffee percolator for its easy cord-free serving and maneuverability.
However, your choice depends on your attention to safety, power, convenience, and design. Hopefully, we have given you some information you can use to make an informed decision.
How to use a Coffee Percolator?All coffee percolators have the same method of making coffee and that is by recycling hot water through ground coffee. All percolators also have similar components such as the two interconnected chambers, the coffee basket, spreader, and stem (or perk tube). The percolators differ in their design, the materials (e.g. stainless steel), and their heat source (electric or stovetop).
- Take out the inner basket, spreader, and stem
- Put 1 cup of water in the bottom chamber of the percolator for each person
- Grind your coffee beans (medium to coarse). You need about 5 to 7 g (0.18 to 0.25 oz) of coffee beans to give one tablespoon of ground coffee.
- Put about 1 tablespoon of coffee in the basket for each cup of water you use to make the coffee
- Replace the inner basket, spreader and stem
- Put the lid on and then apply heat (electric or stovetop)
- Wait until there is a regular percolation. You can see the percolated coffee in the transparent knob in the lid.
- Wait another 5 to 10 minutes for the water to completely soak the coffee grounds and brew the coffee.
What coffee is best for percolators?
What do I need for brewing percolated coffee?
Well, you obviously need a percolator and any one of the percolators in this review will be just fine. The other things you will need are as follows:
A. Your favorite coffee beans
B. Filter paper
C. Post Brew Filter
You can use this to filter out any fine grinds of coffee from your brewed coffee if you didn’t use paper filters during the brew.
You can also use some of these filters for pour-over coffee.
D. Coffee Grinder
A hand-held coffee grinder can give you a bit more control over your grind but it takes a bit of elbow grease to get it done.
Electric grinders are easier to use and save you energy! The following are some popular coffee grinders.
E. Balance to weigh coffee beans
If you want to accurately and precisely weigh your beans then a good balance is necessary.
Why weigh your coffee beans? If you want to replicate a good coffee then it helps to record as much information as possible and the weight of your beans is one component you can easily measure.
You can use any reasonable electronic balance and a few of the most popular are shown below.
F. Timer to track brewing time
Again recording the time you brewed your coffee will help you replicate the good cup the next time.
A simple egg timer would do if you are not too fussy, but if you like gadgets then an electronic timer will be just what you want.
A few of the most popular timers are shown below.