The 7 Best Coffee Percolators for Getting the Boldest Brew You’ve Ever Tasted

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Coffee percolators: They’re those kettle-looking devices that brew coffee for a stronger, bolder taste. But if you’re wondering, percolator, drip coffee, electric or kettle…What’s the difference?! We feel you. Read on for everything you need to know, plus seven of the best coffee percolators to shop now.

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As the name implies, a drip coffee maker drips water through coffee grounds, and the resulting brew runs through a filter before landing in your pitcher (or mug). A percolator works a bit differently: “Inside, water that is near its boiling point is continually cycled through the coffee grounds, yielding a stronger brew the longer the cycling continues,” writes Julia Bobak, writer and product researcher for Basically, a percolator is an old-school way of making coffee before drip coffee machines. Still, percolator coffee has more body than drip coffee, and most drip machines use paper filters (while percolators do not). Bobak also adds, “In a drip coffee maker, the hot water runs through the coffee grounds just once, rather than being cycled.”


“The best coffee to use in a percolator is a whole bean medium roast,” writes Bobak. It’s also worth mentioning that because percolators don’t use filters, a coarse grind is required (similar to a French press). “Whole beans are almost always better than pre-ground, for both flavor and optimization of grind size…In general, dark roasts are more likely to end up with a bitter or burnt taste, while light roasts will lose their subtleties and can end up tasting bland or one-note,” she explains.


  • Stovetop vs. Electric: There are two main types of coffee percolators: stovetop and electric. The difference between the two is that stovetop models use heat from the stove (like a tea kettle) while electric percolators typically use a timer and have a ‘keep warm’ mode. Generally, stovetop percolators are more affordable (and dishwasher safe), but electric models offer more control and convenience and allow you to make more coffee at once.
  • Price: As we mentioned above, coffee percolators are a more affordable alternative to drip coffee makers (or French presses, for that matter). That said, you want to make sure that the price is in line with the percolator’s capacity—the smaller the kettle, the lower its price tag should be.
  • Cleaning: Coffee percolators don’t use paper filters, so you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing durable materials that are easy to clean. While most stovetop models are dishwasher safe, you’ll want to make sure you choose an electric model that can withstand a rinse after each use (because it’ll need it).


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  • Why We Love It: 'Cup-a-minute' percolation, brews 2 to 4 cups, durable and versatile

At the top of our list is an electric percolator that’s sleek, durable, affordable and uniquely designed. The stainless steel carafe features stay-cool handles and knobs, and it automatically switches from brew to warm to keep the coffee at an optimum temperature. What’s more, its 2- to 4-cup capacity is perfect for single-family households, and the percolator features a unique ‘cup-a-minute’ feature (which percolates one 5-ounce cup per minute). But don’t take our word for it—this guy has an average 4.5 out of 5-star rating with more than 4,400 positive reviews. “This little 2-4 cup appliance is a coffee workhorse and produces HOT coffee every time within 2 minutes max. It's easy to use and easy to clean. Plus, it is 100 percent stainless plastic parts touch your coffee anywhere! That's SO important in this day and age of plastics,” raves one reviewer.

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Best Electric

2. Cuisinart Electric 12 Cup Percolator


  • Why We Love It: Nostalgic yet durable design, 12-cup capacity, 10-minute brew time and easy to clean

This one is a fan favorite for its nostalgic design, which boasts a durable stainless steel body and a transparent glass top that allows you to watch the entire perking process (while taking in the sounds and scents of your childhood). It produces piping hot water that percolates through the grounds in under 10 minutes, features a ready indicator light and detachable cord and keeps coffee warm—while preventing it from getting bitter—for hours after brewing. “This percolator is more tightly engineered than the percolator of yesteryear, in that it is more lightweight, and filters the grounds better, yielding a less ‘chewy’ cup of coffee. To me, however, part of the appeal of the older designs was the sturdy heft of the pot. Also, I REALLY MISS the real glass display dome. Polycarbonate loses ALL the romance of yesteryear,” raves one reviewer.

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  • Why We Love It: Timeless design, sturdy, affordable and prevents unwanted odors or tastes

A classic for a reason, this stovetop percolator can produce eight cups of rich, full-bodied coffee and features a sturdy stainless steel design that will last you years. Its non-reactive interior prevents water from absorbing unwanted odors or tastes, and tight-fitting lid seals in heat while its see-through glass top lets you know when percolating begins and ends. “It sits perfectly flat, the basket design is awesome, and the lid is secure on top, anchoring the coffee basket inside so it [doesn’t] move one bit while pouring…My friend was over visiting, and I made us coffee in this, and all she could say was how good the coffee was,” writes one reviewer.

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  • Why We Love It: Portable, 12-cup capacity, sturdy and includes dishwasher-safe filter

Designed with sturdy stainless steel, this electric percolator includes a removable filter (dishwasher safe), a ready indicator light, an automatic keep warm feature and a heat-resistant grip handle that makes for easy serving. And in addition to its transparent brew progress knob, it features a cordless design with a ​​360-degree swivel base—making it totally portable and easy for travel. “If you need a little coffee maker, you can't beat this for the money, and the size is small and compact. The mug that it comes with is perfect too...keeps coffee hot, and it's a great travel mug,” one reviewer writes. She adds: “The reusable filter was easy to empty and rinse in between each brews [and] it fit in my suitcase like a charm.”

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  • Why We Love It: Dishwasher safe, simple design and provides clear brewing instructions

Coming in at just under $20, this stovetop percolator gives you the best bang for your buck. Made from lightweight aluminium, this simple yet effective model can produce up to nine cups of rich, textured coffee in 20 to 30 minutes. Plus, it comes with a fine filter funnel that prevents coffee grounds from falling through the basket, and it’s dishwasher safe. “I went camping and wanted [a percolator that would] be as light as possible. Still needing my morning cup (or 2) of coffee, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy this was [to use]. Little to no coffee grounds were left in my cup, and it tasted just like home. Lightweight and easy to clean." Another reviewer also advises: “I’ve found three and a half- to four tablespoons makes a good pot of coffee–five tablespoons gets a little too stout for me–but adjust to your preference.”

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  • Why We Love It: Quick heat up, 10-cup capacity, removable coffee filter and multiple color options

This best-selling electric percolator has a 4.4 out of 5-star rating (based on more than 4,900 reviews) because it can brew up to ten cups of flavorful coffee in 6-7 minutes, it’s chock-full of customizations, and it comes in four playful color options—including copper, purple, red and silver—all for under $50. It features a ‘ready to serve’ indicator light, an automatic keep-warm function, a detachable cord that makes it easily transportable and a durable stainless steel interior that makes for easy cleaning.

“With my working nights and my husband's working days, this little dude's gotten a workout in the week-ish that we've had it...It only takes a few minutes to perk up a whole pot. Once you know the ratio of grounds to water—something that varies slightly with every machine—it's easy enough to customize the strength of the brew to the person making the coffee. The keep-warm feature and the insulated carafe work better than expected [and] the coffee stays warm without getting the scorched flavor that often happens with [drip makers],” raves one reviewer. Oh, and did we mention that it also comes with a removable filter, filter basket and pump tube?

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  • Why We Love It: Chic and compact design, 3 size options and burn-guard handles

This personal stovetop percolator that can produce mouthwatering espresso at home. It comes in three sizes—three cups, six cups and nine cups—and features a simple yet stylish design that includes silicone seals, burn-guard handles and an innovative safety guard. “This Espresso maker has a wonderful aren't going to get burned with this one. The bottom part of the Grosche hasn't started to corrode after many cups of espresso over the past couple of months [and] it's also very pretty—it has a white, enamel looking coating on the outside and a wood-look handle [with] matching knob on the top of the lid…It makes a wonderful cup of espresso, and it looks great,” writes one reviewer. Furthermore, it’s made of high-quality aluminum (hand-wash only) and comes in four chic colorways, including blue, black, red, white and silver.

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Sydney Meister is PureWow's Associate Editor, covering everything from dating trends and relationship advice (here's looking at you, 'soonicorns') to interior design, beauty...