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Best Overall: Farberware Classic Yosemite Coffee Percolator at Amazon
"Has a glass top knob so you can watch the coffee as it brews."
Best Budget: Primula Today 9-Cup Coffee Percolator at Amazon
"This is lightweight yet safe to use on the stove or when you’re camping."
Best Electric: Presto Stainless Steel Coffee Percolator at Amazon
"Lets you know when brewing is done with an indicator light."
Best for Camping: GSI Outdoors Enamelware Percolator Percolator at Amazon
"It’s sturdy for travel and safe for use around the fire."
Best Stovetop: Cook N Home Stovetop Coffee Percolator at Amazon
"Will brew rich coffee every morning, all while looking stylish on the stovetop."
Best Design: Medelco 8-Cup Glass Stovetop Percolator at Amazon
"Lets you watch the color of the coffee as it transforms."
Best Small Capacity: Rapid Brew Percolator at Amazon
"This makes just a few cups of coffee so you won’t have any waste."
Best Large Capacity: Capresso Perk 12-Cup Percolator at Amazon
"This 12-cup coffee maker is great for families."
The history of coffee is abounding with unique brewing devices, from Turkey’s centuries-old ibrik to the modern-day AeroPress. Percolators inhabit a large space in this history as well, remembered as one of the most popular coffee makers in the late 1800's into the early 1900's.
The kettle-shaped device has undergone changes in style and popularity over the years but has always worked by forcing hot water up through an internal tube and then dripping over coffee grounds. The downside of this process is that it’s easy to essentially overcook the coffee, leading to a burnt and bitter cup of joe.
While this remains a concern, it is preventable and shouldn't ward off interested customers. The items on this list offer select advantages over standard coffee makers, including their affordability, ease of use, and compact size.
Here are the best coffee percolators to buy.
Best Overall: Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite Percolator
Easy to use
Two sizes available
Some say handle gets hot
Can leak while pouring
This classic looking Farberware percolator looks like it would be at home in a 1950’s kitchen, yet it’s not so retro that it would clash with a modern kitchen. It has a polished stainless steel exterior and a glass knob (or plastic, depending on the item size) so you can watch the coffee as it brews.
You can purchase the item in either an 8 or 12 cup model. The filter basket is designed so you don’t need paper filters, so you won’t need to buy anything but your favorite coffee beans. When you’re done brewing, this is dishwasher safe, for effortless cleaning.
Best Budget: Primula Today 9-Cup Coffee Percolator
Good for camping
The price is right on this 9-cup percolator. The pot, lid, screen filter, and basket are all made from aluminum, so this is lightweight yet safe to use on the stove or when you’re camping. However, it won’t work on induction cooktops. The clear top knob lets you watch the brewing process, and the plastic handle stays cool while you brew.
Best Electric: Presto Stainless Steel Coffee Percolator
Easy to use
No automatic shutoff
If you don’t want to monitor your percolator while it brews on the stove, this electric model automates the process. It's available in two sizes—6 cup and 12 cup—both of which come at an affordable price. The item lets you know when brewing is done with an indicator light, and then it switches to a keep-warm mode so the coffee stays hot without overcooking. The cord is detachable, so it won’t get in the way when you’re serving.
The spout is designed for elegant, mess-free pouring, so you can serve with style. This does not have an on/off switch, so it turns on when you plug it in, and it turns off when you unplug it.
Best for Camping: GSI Outdoors Enamelware Percolator
Easy to clean
Flimsy aluminum handle clasp
Enamel can chip
Camping trips aren't complete without a fresh cup of coffee in the morning. This percolator from GSI Outdoors not only looks the part with its rustic design, it also brews delicious coffee in minutes. The percolator is safe to use on both stovetops and grills over open fires. It’s easy to keep clean so there’s not a lot of fuss required when you’re camping, and it's dishwasher safe should you want to clean it at home. Available in multiple sizes, the percolator is big enough for several friends or family members sitting around those late-night fires.
The item is made from a lightweight enamel that makes it easy to pack, but some customers say the coating can chip off. Another downside is a small plastic knob on top of the lid that can get hot or even melt if the flames catch it. So do be wary of that while using.
Best Stovetop: Cook N Home Stovetop Coffee Percolator
Exterior size markings
Another affordably priced percolator, this 8-cup device will brew rich coffee every morning, all while looking stylish on the stovetop. The item has a classic percolator silhouette but is updated with a few modern touches, including a large ergonomic handle and markings on the back to show the amount of liquid.
Users say the coffee takes roughly ten minutes to brew, and you can keep track of the process by watching through the clear knob on top of the lid. Just keep in mind that, like many percolators, this one is not suited for induction cooktops. It is dishwasher safe, however, which is a big bonus considering percolators can require frequent cleaning.
Best Design: Medelco 8-Cup Glass Stovetop Percolator
Can see amount of coffee
Easy to clean
Some plastic parts
While a clear top knob lets you watch the brewing process, this glass percolator lets you watch the color of the coffee as it transforms from clear water to perfectly brewed coffee. If you prefer a lighter brew, this also lets you stop the process early, when the coffee is the color you prefer. This brews up to 8 cups of coffee.
The glass is borosilicate, so it’s resistant to thermal shock and safe on the stove. The handle made from phenolic plastic and is designed to stay cool during cooking, so you can pour safely. The lid is made from the same material as the handle, so it also remains cool during brewing and serving. A heat diffuser is included with this pot so it can safely be used on coil-style electric stoves. When cooking is done, this is dishwasher safe.
Best Small Capacity: Rapid Brew 2-3 Cup Stainless Steel Percolator
Wood handle stays cool
Multiple sizes available
Exterior size markings
Grounds occasionally get into coffee
Great for couples, small kitchens, and for people who simply don’t have storage space for a larger pot, this makes just a few cups of coffee (about two to three) so you won’t have waste from brewing too much. This is made from stainless steel with a glass top knob and a laminated wood handle with brass rivets, while the pump and basket are aluminum. There are internal markings so you won’t have to measure the coffee, so your morning will be easy.
Best Large Capacity: Capresso Perk 12-Cup Percolator
No automatic shutoff
This 12-cup coffee maker is great for families who want more than just a cup or two of coffee, or for serving a cup after a dinner party, but it can also brew as little as 4 cups when you don’t need a full pot. It’s made from stainless steel and has an automatic keep-warm function, so you can get the pot set up before dinner and it will wait until guests are ready for their after-dinner brew. If you need a second round of coffee, this brews a pot in less than a minute.
This makes it easy to set up, since there are markings inside for coffee and water amounts, so you don’t need to measure. When it’s time to serve, the cord is detachable, so it won’t get in the way, and the spout is designed to be drip free. This should be hand washed.
Sleek, durable, and reasonably priced, the Farberware Classic Yosemite (view at Amazon) embodies all that we love about coffee percolators. All you have to do is fill it up and put it on the stovetop for reliably delicious coffee every morning. Those interested in an option that's also reliable but slightly more budget friendly should check out the Primula Today 9-Cup Coffee Percolator (view at Amazon).
What to Look for in a Coffee Percolator
Stovetop vs. Electric
A good starting point when looking for a coffee percolator is deciding whether you want a stovetop or an electric model. Stovetop percolators are more common, more affordable, and typically dishwasher safe. Electric percolators, on the other hand, offer more convenience when brewing and may make more coffee at once.
One reason to buy coffee percolators is that they are quite affordable, generally even cheaper than standard drip coffee makers. The capacity of a percolator often affects its price, meaning that larger items are more expensive. Customers should also expect electric percolators to cost more than stovetop models.
Since coffee percolators don't use paper filters, they can be a little harder to clean. If this is a major issue for you, consider a percolator that is dishwasher safe. Luckily, dishwasher-safe options are easy to find. Otherwise, be prepared to rinse several little pieces by hand after each use.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is a freelance food writer who specializes in product reviews and recipes. Her work has appeared on Serious Eats, Fine Cooking, and her own recipe blog, Cookistry.com. She's also the author of Make Ahead Bread, a cookbook meant to simplify the bread-baking process.
This piece was edited by Derek Rose, the coffee and tea expert for The Spruce Eats. He researches a variety of coffee products, from measuring scoops to commercial espresso machines, and interviews field experts for their insight.