Coffee percolators
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The Best Coffee Percolators According to Pros

Learn about the perks of our top pick, the Moss & Stone 10-Cup Electric Percolator, and others.
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Invented in the 1950s, percolators harken back to a time before French presses, pour overs, single-serve machines, and drip coffee makers became standard in home kitchens. Those who remember the strong, sometimes burnt taste of coffee from the percolators of old will be glad to know that modern versions yield better (but still bold) brews, not without the appliance's signature rhythmic pulse. 

Percolators were one of the first coffee machines, according to Daniel Teplitz, general manager of Klatch Coffee in Redondo Beach, Calif. "They have continued to be used for more than a century because of their simplicity," he says. Indeed, when you want to brew coffee fast and need few to no automatic features, the percolator still delivers. "You don't have to think about all the added variables that go into a pour over or some immersion brewers," says Jose Robles, a coffee master and trainer at California's Two Guns Espresso.

We spoke with three industry experts before researching the market and evaluating models based on criteria like style, cleanup, and ease of use. We found that the Moss & Stone 10-Cup Electric Percolator not only hits these marks but also stands out from other percolators as the best on the market. Continue reading for more details on this pick as well as the best coffee percolators for camping, serving a crowd, and more.

Our Top Picks

Coffee Percolator
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Best Overall: Moss & Stone 10-Cup Electric Percolator

View at Amazon ($49)

Also available at Walmart.

Pros: This percolator produces rich and bold coffee in as little as six to seven minutes. It's a simple set-it-and-forget-it coffee maker. 

Cons: Leaks can occur at full capacity, and brew quality can also be inconsistent in this setting.

This modern electric percolator is quick and easy to use: just add water, then coffee grounds, then plug it in to start brewing. A light lets you know when the coffee is ready, and it keeps brewed coffee warm. The 10-cup capacity is large enough for entertaining, yet it's possible to make as little as two cups at a time. 

It comes with a detachable cord and a drip-free spout – leave it out on the counter when entertaining and your guests can easily pour for themselves. Brews at full capacity can be inconsistent and can leak, but the product comes with a one-year warranty and customer service. All in all, it checks the boxes for style, function, and performance at a good price.

  • Capacity: 10 cups
  • Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 11 inches
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Dishwasher: Yes, removable parts are dishwasher safe
Coffee Percolator
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Value: Farberware Yosemite Stainless Steel Stovetop Percolator

View at Amazon ($30)

Also available at Walmart.

Pros: Its classic design will look great in any kitchen, but you can just as easily use it at a campsite. 

Cons: It needs some supervision while brewing. The plastic knob may break, but a plastic or glass knob can be ordered as a replacement. 

Farberware's 120-year history with product design ensures that you can count on this percolator to provide a consistent brew. It's convenient to use, affordable, and easy to clean, as it's fully immersible and dishwasher safe. The non-reactive interior preserves optimal brew flavor over time. In nine to 12 minutes, this eight-cup maker yields enough for small gatherings. With an updated retro look and a polished stainless steel mirror finish, this stovetop model would look stylish in any kitchen, yet it's versatile enough to use on a grill or outdoor range if the camping bug bites. 

The handle has a balanced and comfortable cool touch grip for safe pouring and has the classic view top knob. This is a manual stovetop coffee maker, so there may be a slight learning curve to get the brew strength and quality to your liking. Some supervision is needed while brewing. The plastic knob may break with use, although a new plastic or glass knob can be ordered as a replacement. If you prefer an electric model instead, Farberware has several options to consider that meet the same high standards.

  • Capacity: 8 cups
  • Dimensions: 9.2 x 8.7 x 7 inches
  • Weight: 1.79 pounds
  • Dishwasher: Yes
Coffee Percolator
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Splurge: Cuisinox Roma 10-Cup Stainless Steel Stovetop Espresso Maker

View at Amazon ($136)

Also available at Wayfair and Walmart.

Pros: It has a beautiful stainless steel mirror finish with no visible brand logos. 

Cons: This is a luxury percolator that will require extra care to keep clean and looking new. It brews espresso-like coffee but not a true espresso.

This showpiece percolator provides a rich, bold brew that falls somewhere between French press coffee and espresso in flavor. It's made of durable stainless steel with a polished mirror finish, while a lack of visible logos add to its elegant design. Plus, this portable coffee maker looks exceptional on a table or buffet. Its special reducer filter basket attachment can be used to adjust the amount of coffee by half, minimizing waste when you want a smaller amount. The actual cup size is based on 1.5 ounces, as you're making a strong espresso-like brew, not drip coffee. Once heated, it brews in about four to six minutes. 

This percolator works on all cooking surfaces, even induction. Professional gas stoves, however, may require a diffuser to reduce the flames and distribute heat more evenly while protecting the percolator's exterior. It comes with an extra silicone gasket to maintain a proper seal over time. The handle is heat conductive, so use a kitchen towel or oven mitt to pour or fill the chamber with heated water before brewing. All in all, consider this percolator worth the investment.

  • Capacity: 10 cups
  • Dimensions: 7 x 7 x 10 inches
  • Weight: 2.75 pounds
  • Dishwasher: No

Related: The Best Coffee Roaster in Every State

Coffee Percolator
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Large: Presto 12-Cup Stainless Steel Electric Percolator

View at Amazon ($60)

Also available at Target and Kohl's.

Pros: It yields large servings, which retain the bold, complex flavor expected from a percolator. 

Cons: The spout takes some extra effort to clean. It doesn't have a glass or plastic top knob to view percolation.

From a reliable brand and built to last, Presto's 12-Cup Stainless Steel Electric Percolator will get you through countless large gatherings. It can brew a cup per minute, and you can use it to make as little as two cups. It yields coffee with the complexity and boldness percolators are known for. With a polished mirror finish and timeless design, it's perfect for table or buffet service. The comfortable ergonomic handle provides easy pouring without burning your knuckles. Though it lacks the traditional clear top knob that would let you view percolation, it includes a drip-free spout, a ready-serve light, and an automatic warming function. Also note that it starts when plugged in, as it doesn't have a start button. 

Be careful not to overfill it with coffee or water. It is recommended to use a wrap-around filter to prevent grounds in your coffee. It might be a little heavy for everyday use at almost three pounds, it delivers a large amount of coffee for a crowd in a short amount of time when you need it to. The detachable cord makes moving from kitchen to table a breeze. This percolator requires regular maintenance and diligent cleaning to ensure long-lasting quality. 

  • Capacity: 12 cups
  • Dimensions: 13 x 9.7 x 6.2 inches
  • Weight: 2.9 pounds 
  • Dishwasher: Not recommended, though inner components are dishwasher safe
Coffee Percolator
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best For Camping: Coletti Bozeman 9-Cup Stovetop Percolator

View at Amazon ($40)

Pros: It's designed specifically for outdoor adventurers. 

Cons: As a fully manual stovetop percolator, getting a feel for it takes a little time. The wooden handle can't be near an open flame.

A group of veterans own and run Coletti, designing its coffee makers, mugs, and accessories to weather the outdoors – this durable stovetop percolator being one of them. On top of that, it comes with a generous lifetime replacement guarantee. Made of stainless steel with an appealing polished mirror finish, its construction is ideal for all cooktops. The base may rock on a flat induction cooktop, though. 

A stylish and practical rosewood handle is cool to touch if placed properly on a heat source. Otherwise, it can get hot, as can the lid, so use a kitchen towel or oven mitt when pouring. Don't leave it unattended and be careful not to place the wood handle over an open flame. Consider using a diffuser to minimize overheating the handle or fill with heated water before brewing. 

The transparent top knob is made of thick glass, allowing you to view the brewing action. External measuring water markers are easy to read, streamlining coffee preparation. Note, however, that this is a fully manual stovetop percolator that requires a little trial and error to get the best brew for your taste. It comes with filters, which are recommended for the best brew results. The interior water chamber may stain over time and should be free from moisture, so care is recommended when drying. All in all, the Coletti Bozeman version is even more practical than the average percolator because it's portable and makes great coffee outdoors and indoors alike, according to Robles.

  • Capacity: 9 cups
  • Dimensions: 8 x 4.8 x 7.5 inches
  • Weight: 2 pounds 
  • Dishwasher: Inner components are dishwasher safe

What Didn't Make the List

best coffee percolators
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Cuisinart 12 Cup Stainless Steel Percolator

View at Amazon ($80)

Cuisinart's 12-cup electric percolator has the same basic features as other large percolators, such as a no-drip spout, ready indicator light, a detachable cord, and an ergonomic handle with a knuckle guard for safe pouring. It's relatively lightweight for larger percolators, coming in at 2.9 pounds. The stay-cool function prevents heat transfer to the countertop surface. Another function, the auto-shutoff, however, can result in a weaker brew. While Cuisinart has good customer service and is a reliable brand, Presto's 12-Cup Stainless Steel Electric Percolator offers the same capacity, similar features, and a better value.

best coffee percolators
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Bialetti Venus 6 Cups Espresso Maker

View at Amazon ($55)

From Bialetti, known for the popular octagon Moka pots, this Italian-made espresso maker has a sleek, modern shape and works like a percolator to brew espresso-like coffee, no espresso machine needed. This stovetop pot delivers a gourmet espresso-like brew without single-use cups or filters. It's compatible with all stove tops, including induction. Cons are that the seal at the base can cause leaks, water left in the chamber can cause corrosion, and the water chamber has some sharp edges that can cut when washing the unit if not careful. It's not recommended to use in the dishwasher. If you're wanting a percolator for espresso or similarly rich coffee, we recommend investing in the Cuisinox Roma 10-Cup Stainless Steel Stovetop Moka Espresso Maker.

Coffee Percolator
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Primula Stovetop Espresso Maker

View at Amazon ($20)

In the same fashion as the Moka pots it resembles, this simple percolator from Primula produces a delicious brew with espresso or coffee grounds. An odor-free silicone gasket keeps coffee tasting fresh. It's compatible with electric and gas stovetops, though it's best used with a diffuser to evenly distribute heat. The handle is heat resistant but needs to be positioned away from direct flame. Use a diffuser to evenly distribute heat. This model packs light for on-the-go adventures. It can yield coffee with metallic-like taste, however, and stains inside that are not removable with washing.

Conclusion

Coffee percolators deliver bold, robust coffee flavor without single-use cup waste or overly automated and complicated brew methods, and they do this fast. They have the benefit of portability, come in various sizes and styles, and offer features that can help you choose the best one for your needs. Our in-depth overview of the best coffee percolator makers concluded with voting Moss & Stone 10-Cup Electric Percolator as our top choice.

Factors to Consider

Style

What perks and features top your list? Are you looking for a large capacity percolator that's elegant for entertaining? Maybe you need a multi-use machine for everyday use that can still deliver at small dinner parties. Or do you need one you can easily tote on a weekend camping trip? Is your storage space limited? Do you want a stovetop model to display? Whatever's on your checklist, percolators come in a range of styles and sizes to suit you and brew style. 

Cleaning 

Percolators require more maintenance than a single-use espresso machine or drip coffee pot. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions on whether any parts are dishwasher safe, and what cleaning products can be used on the interior and exterior. Although, keep in mind that hand washing may be the best overall option for product longevity. 

Ease of Use

In general, percolators are easy to use, though tailoring the brew to your tastes may take some trial and error. Stovetop models require more supervision and have the added benefit of not using electricity. Electric models require a lot of electricity to operate, so be cautious about where you plug one in so you don't blow a fuse. Ideally, you will want a dedicated circuit. 

The Research

We extensively researched various brands and models of percolators and reviewed consumer product guides. We consulted a master coffee trainer Jose Robles, specialty coffee store manager Daniel Teplitz, and executive caterer and Top Chef alumni Betty Fraser. We weighed the information against factors like capacity, cleaning, and ease of use. 

Pro Panel Q+A

Q: How do I use a coffee percolator?

A: "You use it by adding coarse coffee beans in the top chamber and adding the desired amount of water to the bottom before reassembling the pieces and putting it all over heat," says Robles. "Once you put it over heat, you'll have to wait until the water comes to a boil and it'll drive the water up the tube and then pour over the coffee. You'll know the coffee is done when you start hearing a spurting sound coming from the water."

Once you learn how to use a percolator, you will likely need time to get a feel for the process and its coffee, as both differ from those of drip coffee makers and other popular machines. "Electric percolators cycle the water through the coffee grounds several times, creating the characteristic complex, bold-tasting brew. Stovetop models like the Moka pot only pass water through the coffee grinds once, using pressure to produce the espresso-like brew," Teplitz says. "I would recommend using a coffee that is more robust in flavor so that its characteristics can stand up to the high heat and quick extraction produced by a percolator."

Q: What's the benefit of a coffee percolator?

A: "One of the benefits of this brew method is the ease of use, which requires little effort from the coffee maker. You don't have to think about all the added variables that go into a pour over or some immersion brewers," says Robles. 

"The best reason to use a percolator is it only needs heat, water, and coffee. It's great for camping, making coffee with limited space, or making coffee in large quantities. Unlike other methods, percolators scale easily from just a single cup to brewing large amounts for events," Teplitz says.

Some use percolators to make tea or hot chocolate, and it's even capable of making broth, according to Betty Fraser, executive caterer and Top Chef alumni, who uses a percolator for these purposes. She says the percolator "is great when you need to serve a hot beverage to a large crowd of 20 plus."

Q: How should I clean a coffee percolator?

A: "When you're done using it, place it on a counter near a sink, open the spigot and let all the remaining hot liquid drain out. This is much safer than trying to pour it," Fraser says. "Then, place it in a sink and add some hot water from the faucet and a bit of soap, being very careful to not expose the electrical workings to water. Then, drain again through the spigot to clean out the spigot, and repeat the process with warm water until all soap has been removed." Dry the percolator before storing it.

Robles employs a similar method. "Just like when cleaning any coffee machine I have at home, I like to hand wash with a bit of dish soap and warm water," he says. "I don't like using super harsh chemicals or old sponges because you can end up leaving a lingering smell and taste that'll later impact your coffee. If you do start to see old coffee oils stuck to your brewer, you should let it sit overnight with water and whatever brand of chemicals your manufacturer suggests you use. Leaving this on for longer than you should impact the flavor of your coffee and give it a more bitter taste, so clean as regularly as you can to avoid having to drink bad coffee."

Teplitz holds another opinion on cleaning percolators: "You should dump the grounds after brewing. When the pot has cooled, take it apart and rinse all parts with hot water. Most importantly: never use soap," he says. "If you are unable to get all the coffee oils off, you can use a cleaner like Cafiza, which is intended for cleaning residual coffee oils."

Our Expertise

Kara Mickelson is a recipe developer, producer, writer, and food stylist, an alumnus of UCLA and Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts, and the creator of Styled Delicious, a boutique culinary brand. She is a professional chef, food stylist, and creative content producer. She trained in Spain, and in Napa at the famed French Laundry, and has worked behind the scenes with top Food Network chefs. She is the author of Friends: The Official Central Perk Cookbook.