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French presses possess a simple elegance. The non-electric devices have just two parts, a plunger and carafe, but make coffee richer than most drip machines. This is because French presses are immersion brewers: the coffee grounds are soaked in hot water (195 to 205 degrees) for 2 to 5 minutes before plunging, rather than water being poured through the grounds.
While there are some drawbacks to consider—added effort, frequent cleaning, smaller capacities—French presses are affordable, compact, and stylish. They are great for personal use but also come in sizes large enough for families.
From glass to stainless steel, here are the best French presses you can buy.
Great heat retention
Superior coffee flavor
Finish is prone to spots and smudges
Heavier than other models
This highly polished stainless steel French press makes a pretty presentation, while the full-length handle makes it easy to lift and pour. It has a two-stage filter, including a pre-filter that strains out the larger grains of coffee, and a second fine mesh filter to remove sediment.
The item is made from 18/10 stainless steel with double-wall construction that retains heat roughly four times longer than glass French presses, so it can even be used as a serving carafe at your kitchen table for other beverages. We tested the Frieling French press ourselves and found that it truly does keep your coffee hot longer than glass models will. Our product reviewer also noted that the stainless steel is "durable and won’t shatter like glass beakers." The only downside is that you can't see through the carafe to know how much coffee is left.
The product disassembles easily and is dishwasher safe, and you don’t need to disassemble the plunger before washing. Our product reviewer added that it took "no more than a minute to take [the press] apart," and that it was "a breeze to put back together."
"With a price two or three times higher than many other French presses—around $100—this model might seem costly for a coffee maker. That said, the quality of the design, engineering, and resulting sediment-free java give this device an edge over its competitors." — Tracey Minkin, Product Tester
Protective outer shell
Modern, lightweight design
Some grounds slip through filter
Only two size options
If you live in a busy household, a glass coffee maker might sound like a bad idea. Thankfully, the Kona French Press Coffee Maker has an insulated outer sleeve to prevent chips, dings, or shattering. After testing the item, our reviewer wrote that the combination of the glass body and the plastic sleeve puts the press on "the lighter side." This allows it be both "portable and durable," but keep an eye out because it's also "easier to tip over."
The item is an all-time favorite online with thousands of positive reviews. Customers love that it's well-designed, easy to clean, and offers a delicious punch of caffeine—not to mention its budget price. Available in a 12 or 34-ounce option this pick is also dishwasher safe, which makes it even better for busy families.
"While there are cheaper French press coffee makers on the market, this model from KONA offers high-quality elements at a very reasonable price. This makes it a great entry-level product for first-time French press users or a lovely gift for newlyweds or even college students." — Tracey Minkin, Product Tester
Broad range of sizes and finishes
Plunger can be wobbly
Some grounds in mug
Frame around carafe slips slightly
Bodum has been manufacturing press coffee makers for decades, and they have a wide range of products, including many versions of the French press. This one has a heat-resistant borosilicate glass carafe with a plastic handle and base, so it’s easy to use and easy to keep clean. It's also available in a number of sizes, starting at 12 ounces and going all the way up to 51 ounces.
The plunger is made from stainless steel with a mesh filter that helps extract the aromatic oils while leaving the grounds behind. The design is both elegant and modern, fitting any kitchen décor.
Our reviewer said the item is a great value-for-money buy and an excellent starter choice for those new to French presses. The plunger can feel "a little wobbly" at times, however, which might lead to some stray coffee grounds in your mug—an issue that higher-end French presses typically avoid.
Multiple sizes and colors available
Unprotected glass carafe
Durability issues with plunger
A budget French press can still make an excellent cup of coffee, like this lower-cost model. The carafe is made from heat-resistant borosilicate glass, and the handle and base are plastic. The plunger is made from stainless steel and has a mesh filter that keeps the flavor in and grounds out. All parts are dishwasher safe.
This large press makes 34 ounces of coffee, so it’s enough for a whole family. Of course, since it takes so little time, you can even refill and make a second batch if you’re brewing for a party.
Members of our team who use Bodum's BRAZIL French press say it produces noticeably richer and tastier coffee than most drip or pod-based machines; plus it comes at that unbeatable price, not much higher than a single bag of coffee beans.
"This French press has lasted years as my daily coffee maker, and it's nearly the same price as a bag of coffee beans. The process requires more effort than a drip brewer, but that's a small sacrifice considering how much more I prefer the coffee it makes." — Derek Rose, Coffee and Tea Expert for The Spruce Eats
Durable stainless steel
Available in multiple colors
Difficult to add creamers and sweeteners
Not spill proof
Rubber grip text detracts from aesthetic
If you want to take your French press coffee on the go, this 15-ounce press is just right for you. The press itself is incorporated into a travel mug that has double-walled vacuum-sealed stainless steel construction that keeps the coffee warm while you go. Bring coffee grounds with you—a French roast, as the name suggests, is always a great pairing—and you can have freshly pressed coffee wherever there is hot water. The item also lets you whip up a cozy cup of tea anywhere, anytime.
The lid is spill-resistant, but because of the plunger, it’s not completely leakproof. It’s designed to take your coffee to sip on the go but shouldn’t be tossed into your bag or briefcase. The nonslip grip, lid, and plunger top are made from silicone, available in red, black, white, or green. The mug is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
Retains heat well
On the pricier end
Plunger can be hard to push
Concerns about chipping
Stoneware has a nice heft and maintains temperature, so it’s ideal for keeping your coffee warm. It’s also safe for use in the freezer, microwave, oven, and dishwasher, so the carafe can be used for much more than coffee.
This stoneware press from Le Creuset is available in a large variety of colors to match your existing Le Creuset cookware or to add a pop of color to your kitchen and table, and the enamel exterior resists scratches and stains. The position of the handle makes it easy to pour one-handed, with a thumb on the lid to keep it safe.
The mesh press assembly is made from stainless steel and removes easily and disassembles for cleaning.
One-hour heat retention
Can't see coffee level
Scratching sound when pressing plunger
Heat retention is a common shortcoming of French presses, especially glass ones. With no hot plate to keep your coffee warm, that second cup gets sent to the microwave all too often. But this insulated, double-walled French press from Secura will maintain your coffee's temperature for at least one hour, and many customers write that it works even longer that.
The item has a more modern design than many other French presses, with a long handle and its non-transparent stainless steel body. It's available in an array of eye-catching colors, as well as three different sizes. Customers give the product sparkling reviews, with the vast majority awarding it five stars. Some key areas of praise include its ease of use, durability, and of course its top-grade heat retention.
The Frieling Stainless Steel French Press blows away the competition thanks to its durability, heat retention, and the delicious coffee that it brews. It's the best pick, setting money aside. But one of the great things about French presses is the number of affordable high-quality options you can find, like the KONA French Press. At less than half the price, it's a simple and reliable alternative that will last for years.
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 uses the Bodum BRAZIL French Press (view at Amazon) as his daily coffee maker, often pairing the item with a freshly ground bag of Devoción’s Toro Blend coffee beans.
What to Look for in a French Press
Material: When you think of French press coffee makers, you might think of a glass carafe with a metal plunger — but as French-pressed coffee has become more popular, presses are being made from a wider variety of materials. Glass has the advantage of being clear so you can see the coffee, but it’s breakable. Metal is more durable but might not be as pleasing to the eye. Materials also affect the insulating ability of the carafe, and thus the length of time the coffee will stay hot.
Size: How much coffee will you drink? Are you serving one person, two, or more? A small French press won’t take up much space but will be less convenient if you’re always making coffee for two or more. A large press will let you serve more people, but it takes more effort to press and takes up more space in your cabinets when not in use.
Ease of cleaning: Making the coffee is only half of the process. When you’re done, you need to remove the plunger, dispose of the used coffee grounds, and clean the carafe for the next use. Dishwasher-safe components will be easier to clean, although some people prefer to wash their press by hand right after use so it’s ready to make more coffee whenever it’s needed.