If you crave an intense coffee, want a reliable camping companion, or long for the old days of coffee brewing, you may be looking for the best coffee percolator.
These easy-to-use coffee makers were once all the rage, and not only because they brew up a flavorful cup. They also create an enchanting sound as the coffee bubbles up and percolates.
Which is the best coffee percolator on the market? In this article, I review the most outstanding ones so you can find the best coffee percolator for you. But, if you’re in a hurry, here are my top 3 favorites:
What Is A Coffee Percolator?
Coffee percolators were at one time the trendy coffee method in the United States. Before drip coffee came onto the scene, the tall, elegant percolators were the preferred way to make the morning brew.
Invented in the late 1880s, the percolator pot relies on gravity – and overcoming gravity – to brew coffee. The brewing process is simple, and I’ll go into it more later in the article.
But the basic steps start with adding water to the bottom chamber and applying heat. As the water heats up, it defies gravity and travels up the hollow tube in the middle of the coffee pot. Then, as the water spills out of the tube, it wets the coffee grounds waiting in the metal coffee filter basket.
Yup. Percolated coffee is simple but delivers intense flavor.
Coffee percolators aren’t just a thing of the past either. They’re still big on the coffee scene. Why? They brew strong, intense coffee. They do it fast. And they are reliable and easy to use.
The best coffee percolators are portable and sturdy, making them ideal for campfire coffee, backyard brewing on the grill, or taking on the road in your RV or motorhome.
Coffee percolators are the ever-present part of coffee history that doesn’t get a lot of attention in these days of single-serve cups. That’s no doubt a mistake.
Coffee percolators are much more environmentally friendly, durable, take up little space on your countertop, and affordable. You can use the type of coffee you want at much lower prices than single-serve cups.
There are a lot of good things to say about coffee percolators, so let’s get started. Here’s our list of the best coffee percolators.
Best Coffee Percolator 2021
1. Coletti Bozeman Percolator
The Coletti Bozeman Percolator wins in ease of use and design. Travelers will love this manual stovetop percolator that’s a cinch to pack in a backpack and use by the campfire.
- Sturdy design
- Dishwasher safe
- No plastic means its safe to heat over a fire
- Large filter holes
- Stovetop percolators require more attention during brewing
- Capacity: 9 cup or 14 cup
- Style: Stovetop
- Dimensions: 9 cup measures 8 x 4.8 x 7.5; 14 cup measures 12.75 x 6 x 8.25
- Weight: 9 cup weighs 1.25 pounds, 14 cup weighs 2 pounds
Great for: If you want to make outdoor coffee, this coffee percolator is for you. The simple design makes it easy to use, and you don’t need electricity. You can use it in the kitchen or over a campfire.
Not so good for: If you want the ease of pushing a button and coming back to find your coffee brewed, a stovetop percolator is probably not for you.
One of my favorites, this stylish stovetop coffee percolator has an attractive stainless-steel body with a wood handle and glass preview knob.
When brewing coffee with a percolator, you can craft your cup just the way you like by keeping an eye on the heat – never let the coffee boil.
You can hang this rugged percolator from a backpack or toss it inside one. The sturdy, wide bottom makes brewing coffee on a stovetop or grill easy. You can use it in the kitchen or by the campfire for tasty hot coffee since there’s no plastic anywhere to be found.
The transparent knob lets you keep an eye on the brew and know when it has reached the strength, you’re aiming for. It’s easy to clean and can be put in the dishwasher.
The 14 cup stands taller than its smaller brother and comes with a steel wire handle so you can easily pick it up or hang it over a campfire.
The coffee percolator comes with filters included, but you can also brew intense coffee without the filters. Use a coarser grind, and you won’t have a problem with grounds in the bottom of your cup.
This coffee percolator has a rare lifetime replacement guarantee. So even though the brewing method isn’t the cheapest out there, you have peace of mind that you’ll get the backing you need from the company.
2. Hamilton Beach Percolator
This electric coffee percolator is for people who love the elegant design of a piece of coffee history.
- Sturdy design
- Keeps coffee warm
- Brews fast
- Electric percolators are not dishwasher safe
- Short cord
- Capacity: 12 cups
- Style: Electric
- Dimensions: 5.28 x 9.46 x 12.58 inches
- Weight: 1 pound
Great for: Coffee lovers who want a simple coffee brewing method that brews fast.
Not so good for: If looking for a clean cup, you might want to consider a different model. One of the common difficulties with this percolator is the amount of grounds in the brew.
This elegant, tall electric percolator brews you up a quick cup. You can brew as much as 10 cups in just 10 minutes.
The water heats up fast for a quick brewing process, and the classic stainless-steel design looks great on a buffet table. An indicator light lets you know when the coffee is ready, and the spout is designed to make it easy to pour. The warming function keeps coffee hot after brewing without scorching it.
When it comes time to serve the coffee, you can detach the cord. Brew your coffee, unplug the cord, and then set the electric percolator coffee pot on the table.
Electric coffee percolators should be washed by hand. The brew basket and internal stem are removable and dishwasher safe.
Some users feel the cord is too short, so calculate how far you need the percolator from your wall outlet. Also, the design of the coffee basket can leave grounds in the brew.
3. Presto Stainless Steel Coffee Percolator
The traditional design of this Presto percolator brings you back to the golden days of coffee percolators.
- Easy to use
- Brews small amounts
- Fast brewing
- Lid pops off during percolating
- Brews weaker coffee
- Capacity: 6 cup (5-ounce servings)
- Style: Electric
- Dimensions: 7.5 x 4 x 10 inches
- Weight: 2.65
Great for: This electric coffee percolator is great for people looking for an easy-to-use coffee brewer.
Not so good for: Anyone looking for ultra-strong coffee, this percolator might not live up to your expectations.
The stainless steel body and classic look of this coffee percolator make it a popular choice. It brews from 2 cups to 6 cups of coffee, which is ideal if you’re brewing for a small group.
This coffee percolator lets you know the coffee is ready to serve with an indicator light that pops on. The keep-warm mode kicks in automatically after brewing, but the bottom stays cool, making it easy to put on a dining table.
The top preview knob and the handle stay cool to the touch, and the spout is designed to be drip-free. The filter basket, lid, and interior stem are all stainless steel. The detachable cord makes it easy to store the brewer after use.
4. Farberware Classic Yosemite Percolator
As the name suggests, the Farberware Classic Yosemite Percolator makes the list of best coffee percolators for camping. Affordable and well-known, this stovetop percolator has a classic design with wide appeal.
- Classic polished stainless-steel look
- Good for stovetop or campfire use
- Dishwasher safe
- Basic design
- Not as sturdy as other models
- Style: Stovetop
- Capacity: 8 cups or 10 cups
- Dimensions: 9.2 x 8.7 x 7 inches
- Weight: 2.25 pounds
Great for: This Farberware percolator boasts a classic design that will appeal to people who want to make coffee while camping or traveling.
Not so good for: People looking for an elegant design or unusual colors. If that’s you, might want to look elsewhere.
Easily portable for intense coffee on the road, these stovetop models come in two sizes, the 8 cup or 12 cup version.
The traditional design of the Farberware percolator is enhanced by the highly polished food-grade stainless steel. Like most stovetop percolators, it’s easy to use. Since it comes with a permanent filter basket, you don’t need to purchase paper filters, which cuts down on costs.
The transparent preview knob lets you see coffee percolating, just like in the olden days. A tight lid keeps in the heat while your coffee brews.
Easy to clean, you can pop this stovetop percolator in the dishwasher or completely immerse it in the kitchen sink. Keep the knob and the interior tube out of the dishwasher.
5. Gastrorag Electric Coffee Percolator
The elegant, classic design of the Gastrorag Electric Coffee Percolator makes it one of the top choices for electric percolators.
- Elegant design
- Quick brewing
- Sturdy and durable
- Higher priced
- Lid sometimes pops off when brewing
- Capacity: 12 cups
- Style: Electric
- Dimensions: 17.2 x 12.95 x 7.24 inches
- Weight: 3.63 pounds
Great for: Coffee drinkers who want the ease of electric coffee percolators with classic good looks.
Not so good for: Anyone looking for budget-friendly electric percolators, you might want to pass on this more expensive model.
This percolator is the heaviest coffee maker on this list, built to last. Unfortunately, the heavier design can also make it difficult to pour your hot coffee when the pot is full.
The stainless-steel body, inside and out, has no internal plastic elements. The handle is cool to the touch, and the bottom also stays cool, making it easy to pour or serve at a table. The long detachable cord can be removed before serving.
Brew time is a mere 10 minutes for a full 12 cups of brewed coffee. The indicator light goes on when the brewing process is finished, and the keep-warm feature kicks in as soon as brewing ends.
The metal filter basket means you don’t need additional filters. However, as with other percolators, use coarse ground coffee to avoid excessive sediment at the bottom of your cup.
You can choose from a variety of colors: red, stainless steel, black or gray. The stainless-steel filter chamber and tube can be popped into the dishwasher for easier cleaning. However, there are some very sharp metal finishings on this brewing method, so be careful when cleaning the inside.
6. Moss and Stone Electric Percolator
Taking a radically different approach to coffee percolator design, the Moss and Stone ditches the classic stainless-steel look and introduces beautiful colors you won’t find elsewhere. Yes, this includes other glass percolators.
- Beautiful colors
- Stylish design
- Short brewing time
- Finishes can be hard to maintain
- Tends to leak
- Capacity: 10 cups
- Style: Electric
- Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 11 inches
- Weight: 2 pounds
Great for: Coffee aficionados who want the classic design of an electric percolator in gorgeous colors.
Not so good for: Anyone after a budget friendly electric percolator.
This stylish coffee maker will appeal to you if you want a variety of intense colors to choose from. The unusual colors include purple, copper, red, and silver with a stainless-steel interior.
The fast brewing process makes anywhere from 2 to 10 cups of coffee in about 6 to 7 minutes. But this 10 cup percolator isn’t the largest percolator out there. The black handle is cool to the touch, so no worries about burning your hand when serving coffee.
Like other glass percolators, the stainless-steel lid has a transparent glass knob that lets you view the percolating action. An indicator light lets you know when the coffee is ready, and the keep warm function automatically starts when your coffee is brewed.
7. GSI Outdoors Enamelware Coffee Percolator
The GSI Outdoors percolator is for you if you love a retro look. The enamelware percolator will remind you of coffee at grandma’s house.
- Rustic retro design
- Easy to wash
- Handle is hard to grasp
- Enamelware chips easily
- Capacity: 8 or 12 cups
- Style: Stovetop
- Dimensions: 12 cup model measures 8.7 x 7 x 10.2 inches; 8 cup measures 7.9 x 5.8 x 9 inches
- Weight: 1.33 lbs
Great for: Anyone searching for a retro look, you can’t go wrong with these stovetop models. The enamelware comes in several charming colors that will take you back to days gone by.
Not so good for: Somone looking for a sturdy stovetop percolator that you can throw in your backpack, look elsewhere. This coffee percolator chips easily, making it a bad choice for on-the-go coffee brewing.
This adorable enamelware coffee percolator is a great choice for your country cottage, RV, or motorhome. You can choose from a variety of colors (black, blue, cream, red, or dark green) in two sizes and use it on a stovetop, grill, or campfire.
The steel structure is made with enamel that’s been kiln–hardened twice at 1000 degrees F. That makes it stand up more to scratches and chipping, but it’s not perfect. Since it’s easy to chip, be careful when packing and cleaning.
The knob on the lid is made of resin, so be careful when using it over a fire. The resin will get hot – or even melt! Also, the lid is a bit flimsy and not attached well.
The Buying Guide To Coffee Percolators
How Does A Percolator Work?
The structure of all pressure percolators is similar. They have a broad base, a central tube that forces the boiling water upwards, and a filter basket at the top.
The science behind this coffee method is straightforward. First, you add water to the bottom chamber, and as the water heats up, it moves upwards through a central tube.
When the water reaches the top, it flows out into the top chamber, wets the coffee grounds in the basket, and fills the main chamber. This process repeats itself until the pot is fully brewed.
The coffee will reach the desired brew strength anytime after 1 to 4 minutes after the coffee starts to percolate. At this point, you have to remove stovetop percolators from the heat source. The total brew time is generally between 4 and 10 minutes.
Percolator VS Drip VS Moka Pot Coffee Makers
How do coffee percolators compare to a Moka Pot?
Moka Pots use the same basic percolator system. You add the coffee to the bottom chamber, and as it heats, it travels up through the hollow tube in the center.
Sounds familiar, right?
There are a few basic differences, though. The main one is that the coffee basket in a Moka Pot is in the center of the brewer.
So as the water rises, it passes through the coffee filter basket, and the coffee gets brewed. Then the coffee continues its journey up the tube and out into the upper chamber. It gets brewed just once, unlike the percolator.
On the other hand, a drip coffee maker heats the coffee and sends it through a tube to the top. That’s where the similarity with a pressure percolator ends.
In a drip coffee maker, the heated water is then sprayed over the coffee grounds using a tube or small showerhead.
The coffee brews in the basket and slowly drips into the carafe below. That’s why it’s called drip coffee – the coffee drips down into the carafe, and there’s no percolating involved.
Which method brews coffee faster?
Both electric coffee percolators and drip coffee makers will take about the same amount of time, from 4 to 10 minutes.
A drip coffee maker takes a few more minutes than a Moka Pot, which brews coffee in just 4-5 minutes.
How to Use A Percolator
Coffee percolators are easy to use. The instructions do vary a bit depending on the style, either electric or stovetop.
I’ll discuss those differences in a bit. For now, I’ll just say that an electric percolator is easier to use because you just plug it in. It’ll automatically stop brewing when the cycle is over.
But if you love to have control over every step when brewing coffee, take a look at stovetop percolators.
You can modify the heat and get a brew that’s more intense or less intense according to your tastes rather than what the manufacturer decided was a good brew.
What do you need to brew coffee in a percolator?
- Percolator coffee pot
- Clean water
- Heat source. For a stovetop model that includes a stovetop, flame, campfire, or grill. For an electric percolator, you need an outlet.
Measure the coffee according to the amount of water you’ll use. Two tablespoons of coffee for 8 ounces of water is a good starting point.
Grind your beans coarsely.
Fill the coffee pot with cold water to the desired level.
Place the basket in position according to the instructions for your model.
Add fresh coffee grounds to the basket without overfilling it.
Apply heat according to the style percolator you have – see below.
Once the coffee is brewed, pour it off.
Clean the percolator as soon as it cools.
Stovetop Coffee Percolators
The best coffee percolators aren’t just for camping trips. When you ditch the cord and go with stovetop coffee percolators, you are in full control of your coffee experience. You can decide how long to brew your coffee and how strong your coffee should be.
How can you (successfully) make coffee with stovetop percolators?
Measure the coffee. Use two tablespoons of coffee for 8 ounces of water.
Grind your beans coarsely.
Fill the pot with cold water
Assemble the stovetop percolator by placing the coffee basket inside according to the instructions for your model.
Add fresh coffee grounds to the basket, but don’t overfill it.
Put it over a heat source – a stovetop burner, a campfire, or a grill. Aim for medium heat since high heat will burn the coffee.
Keep an eye on the coffee. When it starts to percolate, set your timer. You’ll see the coffee through the glass knob, and you’ll hear it bubbling up if your campfire isn’t too loud.
The coffee can be considered brewed after 4-7 minutes. The complete brewing time depends on how strong you want your coffee.
Take the coffee percolator off the heat or fire. Be careful in case the handle is hot. Let it cool a bit.
Pour off the coffee, let the pot cool, and then clean your stovetop percolator right after using.
An electric percolator will give you the easiest coffee brewing experience by far. You don’t have to keep an eye on the brewing coffee – just put it in motion and come back to find your brewed coffee.
Measure the coffee you will use according to the amount of water. Use two tablespoons of coffee for 8 ounces of water.
Fill the pot with cold water to the desired level
Assemble the percolator by placing the basket inside according to the instructions for your model.
Put fresh coffee grounds in the basket. You can use pre-ground coffee, although I recommend fresh ground.
Plug the coffee percolator in. Most electric percolators have an indicator light that shows you when the brewing cycle has stopped.
Unplug the pot and clean it as soon as it cools down.
Cleaning and care
The beauty of coffee percolators is that they don’t need much maintenance. Wash it right after it cools down – don’t let the coffee dry on the percolator since the oils in coffee are hard to remove.
Unplug an electric coffee percolator from the outlet before cleaning. It’s best to avoid washing stainless steel percolators with soap, detergent, or sponges that can damage or scratch the finish and dull the look of your beautiful percolator.
Give the internal tube a cleaning every once in a while to prevent clogging. Fill the pot with water and add 2 to 3 tablespoons of baking soda. Put it through the brewing cycle and let the water cool down. Now you’re ready to clean it with a cloth that’s not abrasive, like a dishcloth. Rinse well.
Probably the biggest reason you want to use a percolator pot is that you want an intense cup of coffee. Much more so than, say drip coffee.
So when choosing the best coffee for your percolator, you might want a darker roast that adds to the impression of a stronger cup.
Use coarse ground coffee. Why? Because most of the coffee baskets in percolators have rather open holes. If you use finer grounds, you’ll get coffee with so much sediment it could seem chewy. If chewy coffee doesn’t sound good to you, choose a coarser grind.
Since a percolator brews coffee over and over again, a fine grind will easily over-extract and give you an intensely bitter cup. However, when you use coarse ground coffee beans, you’ll get the intensity without bitterness.
Since it’s not easy to find coarsely ground coffee at the supermarket, you might want to invest in a coffee grinder. You can experiment with different coarse grinds to see which is best for the percolator you have.
Alternatively, you can purchase coffee at your favorite coffee shop and ask them to grind it coarse for a percolator pot.
The Final Verdict
Coffee percolators have come a long way since their early days. You can now find stylish designs and striking colors while still getting the rich coffee you crave.
Which is the best coffee percolator for you?
If you’re a coffee drinker who wants their coffee on the go and looks for a good camping companion, you can’t go wrong with the Coletti Bozeman Camping percolator.
These stovetop percolators have a sturdy design that will stand up to the rigors of life on the go and give you that intense morning cup by the campfire.
Are you looking for an easy-to-use stainless steel percolator that you can just plug in and come back to serve your coffee?
The best coffee percolator for you might be one of the electric options like the Hamilton Beach Percolator, which brews up your coffee fast. Or the Presto Coffee Percolator, another dependable percolator that will hold up over time and produces delicious coffee.