French presses have been a trusted source of delicious coffee for over a century. Patented in 1929, the idea can be traced back to the early 1800s France. How has the item remained so popular for so long? Above all, the answer is taste. French presses utilize a technique known as immersion brewing, where coffee grounds are steeped in hot water for several minutes. The resulting flavor is richer than what many other coffee makers can accomplish. French press coffee makers come in glass, stainless steel, and stoneware and can usually be found with capacities from 12 to 51 ounces.
To help you make a more informed buying decision, we tested 20 top-rated French presses in a variety of sizes and materials side by side in our Lab. Our testers assessed each one by brewing multiple batches of coffee and performing taste tests. They also tested their insulation by measuring how hot the coffee was after 10 and 30 minutes. Each French press was rated on its design, brew quality, and ease of use. Furthermore, we sent several French presses to our experienced at-home testers so they could spend weeks using them and give additional insights on their design and durability.
Here, the best French presses you can buy.
Espro French Press Everyday P3
Excellent filter, no sediment
Strong, tasty coffee
Easy to clean
Carafe frame slightly loose
After Lab testing over 20 French presses, our all-around favorite is the Espro Everyday P3. Its price is on par with the typical 32-ounce French press (that's the only size the P3 comes in), yet we found the coffee it brews to be tastier and to contain less sediment than nearly every competitor. This is partially due to Espro's patented double filter system; instead of a single filter to plunge coffee grounds, the P3 uses two extra-fine mesh filters to ensure a smoother cup of coffee.
One of our only criticisms is that the P3 has poor insulation. We brewed a full pot and it was lukewarm after 30 minutes, ranking near the bottom of the models we tested. Aside from that, our testers called it a tremendous bang for your buck.
It's dishwasher safe and the plunger is easy to take apart if you prefer to rinse by hand. There's noticeable resistance when removing the plunger because it forms a vacuum seal, but it's not too difficult. The design is simple yet stylish—a glass carafe with a black plastic frame—and should blend into any kitchen aesthetic.
Price at time of publish: $65
Material: Glass and polypropylene | Capacity: 32 ounces | Color/Finish: Black | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
"The P3 tied for the best brew quality, not so coincidentally with the Espro P7. The ultra fine, double-filter construction ensures a consistent, high-quality brew every time."
Bodum Brazil French Press
Multiple sizes and colors available
Great for beginners
Unprotected glass carafe
One reason French presses are so popular, aside from the tasty coffee they make, is that there are choices out there to fit any budget. In fact, some French presses cost little more than a bag of coffee beans. Our favorite low-price option is the Bodum Brazil. It stacks up against more expensive French presses, brewing similarly strong coffee and it's just as easy to use and clean. While the brew quality isn't at the absolute top, our Lab testers described it as exactly what you would expect from a French press.
One of our editors used the Bodum Brazil as an everyday brewing device for around four years and gave it high praise. It had to be replaced once during that time after the glass chipped from being hit against the sink, but other than that there were no durability issues. He adds that the stainless steel filter sufficiently kept coffee grounds out of his cup. Users may notice some coffee sediment when pouring the last cup, but that's typical of most French presses.
The Bodum Brazil is available in three sizes—12, 34, and 51 ounces—and the plastic frame comes in three colors, black, white, and red. The carafe is made from heat-resistant borosilicate glass, which many customers prefer because there's no scraping sound from the plunger and you can see how much coffee is left. However, the insulation doesn't last as long as stainless steel models. All parts are dishwasher safe.
Price at time of publish: $28
Material: Glass | Capacity: 12, 34, and 51 ounces | Color/Finish: Black, red, and white | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
"The Bodum Brazil lasted several years as my daily coffee maker. I never had any issues with it. In short, I think this French press far exceeds its low price."
Best Stainless Steel
Frieling Double Wall Stainless Steel French Press
Durable, quality materials
Above average insulation
Finish is prone to spots and smudges
The Frieling French Press is the ideal blend of style and function. Its highly polished stainless steel exterior creates a pretty presentation in the kitchen, while the full-length handle is easy to lift and pour. Plus, it brews bold coffee. It was one of the best batches we tried from more than 20 French presses. There was a moderate amount of sediment, but it's on par with most French presses.
The carafe is made from two layers of stainless steel—advertised as "double-walled"—so the coffee stays warm longer than in glass presses. We measured coffee temperature 10 minutes and 30 minutes after brewing for our insulation test, and the Frieling French Press ranked in the top half of all the models. So the insulation is better than average but not outstanding, which is a slight letdown considering its hefty price tag.
The product disassembles easily and is dishwasher safe. You don't even need to disassemble the plunger before washing, so it took us no more than a minute to take the press apart and put it back together. Our testers added that the stainless steel feels extremely durable and won't shatter like glass beakers. One of the few downsides is that this puts the item on the heavier side as far as French presses go. The item is available in four sizes: 17, 23, 36, and 44 ounces.
Price at time of publish: $140
Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 17, 23, 36, and 44 ounces | Color/Finish: Mirror and brushed | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
"This brews a pretty bold, strong cup of coffee with clean flavor and has an aesthetic that looks like it belongs in a nice hotel or restaurant."
Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker
Broad range of sizes and finishes
Plunger can be wobbly
Frame around carafe slips slightly
Bodum is a trusted brand that's manufactured coffee makers for decades, including many types of French presses. The Chambord is extremely popular thanks, in part, to its classic design of a glass carafe with an outer steel frame. It's available in a number of sizes, starting at 12 ounces and going all the way up to 51 ounces, as well as different colors so that you can match your kitchen aesthetic. It's more than a chic kitchen accessory, though. We were impressed by the Chambord's consistency and ease of use.
The plunger is made from stainless steel with a mesh filter that helps extract the aromatic oils while leaving the grounds behind. Our home tester said it's a great value-for-money buy and an excellent starter choice for those new to French presses. The plunger felt a little wobbly at times during our testing process, which might lead to some stray coffee grounds in your mug—an issue that higher-end French presses typically avoid. The steel frame can also move around at times, but this is not a sign of durability issues. We expect the Chambord to hold up after years of use as an everyday brewing device.
Price at time of publish: $39
Material: Glass | Capacity: 12, 17, 34, and 51 ounces | Color/Finish: Black, chrome, copper, cork, white, and gold | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
"This is your classic French press; it features excellent and consistent brew quality."
Espro Coffee French Press P7
Double filter eliminates sediment
Sleek design and color options
Well-built and long-lasting
Removing plunger is difficult
Hard to pour last few drops
The Espro P7 stands out as one of the best French presses we tested, especially in the most important department: taste. The coffee it brews is rich, flavorful, and sediment-free, largely because of its unique double filter. The majority of French presses have a single mesh filter to press down coffee grounds, but the P7 uses two filters with extra-fine mesh to ensure that no grounds or grit get into your cup. The plunger can be difficult to remove from the carafe, however, because there's a silicone gasket that sticks to the interior.
We found the P7 to have above-average insulation and expect it to last for years. It was the heaviest French press we tested, weighing a little less than 3 pounds when empty, which illustrates the quality of the stainless steel. Yet, it wasn't too heavy or cumbersome for our tester to pour. Espro backs the item with a lifetime guarantee as well, excluding personal damage. While the P7 is very expensive for a French press, its overall quality along with this long-lasting assurance justify the price for those who don't mind spending more.
The P7 is available in two sizes, 18 and 32 ounces; we tested the latter and found it to be a suitable size for both personal and household use. You can also choose between four attractive finishes, including brushed stainless steel, polished stainless steel, matte white, and matte black.
Price at time of publish: $150
Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 18 and 32 ounces | Color/Finish: Brushed, white, polished, and matte black | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes (top rack only)
"The Espro P7 makes coffee that's noticeably richer and devoid of any unpleasant sediment. It's one of the best French presses I've ever used."
Fellow Clara French Press
Excellent heat retention
Smooth plunging and pouring
Exterior doesn't smudge from fingerprints
Interior can scratch
The Fellow Clara French Press showcases our favorite design not only because of how stylish it looks in the kitchen but because of its quality materials and overall usability. The lid fits securely onto the carafe and seals well. Plunging is smooth. And pouring is mess free. One design-related shortcoming is that the interior can scratch easily, especially if you use a metal spoon to stir the coffee; the brand compensates for this, however, by including a wooden stirring stick with the purchase.
Slow coffee drinkers will be happy to hear that this French press has the best heat retention out of all the options we tested. It remained piping hot more than 30 minutes after brewing, and our taste testers gave the flavor high marks. The long-lasting insulation is owed to the double-walled stainless steel body and the Clara's small 24-ounce capacity. Despite the high temperatures, both the handle and carafe itself stay cool to the touch. The carafe has to be rinsed by hand when you're finished brewing. Nonetheless, we found it quick and easy to clean. Unfortunately, there are only two colors to choose from—matte black and matte black with walnut accents—but both are universal enough to suit any décor.
Price at time of publish: $99
Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 24 ounces | Color/Finish: Black and Walnut | Dishwasher-Safe: No (except for mesh filter)
"The Fellow Clara French Press is pricey, but the brew quality and design features make it a worthwhile purchase. Its modern aesthetic and matte finish make it something you would be proud to display on the countertop."
Le Creuset Stoneware French Press
Prone to dripping
Insulates better when pre-heated
Stoneware is a type of ceramic known for its sturdiness and versatility. Whether it's used for bowls, plates, or French presses, the aesthetic suits many kitchens. Le Creuset's Stoneware French Press is no different. It's available in 10 striking colors, including the brand's signature Cerise option. The material has a glossy sheen that makes it pop even brighter.
It's not just the design that we love, though. The brewing performance makes the press worth purchasing, too. There were some inconsistencies in the batches we made, but overall the flavor is strong, balanced, and everything you could want out of a French press.
One downside is that this French press doesn't keep coffee hot as long as glass or stainless steel unless you pre-heat the inside before brewing. To test this out, we left hot water in the carafe for a couple of minutes to prime the material before brewing, which did improve matters. Lastly, the press can drip a bit after pouring, as if a small amount of coffee collects underneath the spout. It isn't a major issue, however, and we recommend the item as a whole, even if it has some drawbacks.
Price at time of publish: $85
Material: Stoneware | Capacity: 34 ounces | Color/Finish: Cerise, Flame, Caribbean, Marseille, Artichaut, White, Meringue, Oyster, Licorice, and Deep Teal | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
"Not only is this a reliable French press that will keep grounds out of your coffee, it also has an eye-catching design and a high-end feel."
How We Tested
We researched top-rated French presses in a variety of sizes and materials and sent 20 models to our Lab to be tested side by side. The testing methods included making multiple cups of coffee and assessing consistency and brew quality, filling the French presses with hot water and measuring the temperature after a period of time to gauge the insulation, and taking them apart to clean. Our testers then rated each French press on its design, brew quality, and ease of use. We use a 1-5 scale with set criteria to ensure accurate and consistent reviews of all the products we test. We also sent several models to at-home testers for additional insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the French presses.
Other Options We Tested
- Secura Stainless Steel French Press: The Secura Stainless Steel French Press is a well-rounded option that fell just short of making our list. Its design doesn't stand out—although, the stainless steel is durable—and, most importantly, we found the coffee bitter and below average in quality.
- Kona French Press: This is another French press where the negatives outweigh the positives. The materials feel cheap and the coffee it makes is weaker than other models we tested.
- Bodum Travel Press: Despite being convenient and reasonably priced, this portable French press didn't live up to expectations. The main issue is the filter. An excess amount of grounds repeatedly escaped through the plunger, making the coffee unpleasant and, even, undrinkable.
What to Look for When Buying a French Press
The material is a great place to start narrowing down your options. French presses can be made from glass, stainless steel, or stoneware. Each one has its own pros and cons and will bring a unique aesthetic to your kitchen. Glass is by far the most common material, as well as the most affordable, but it's the easiest to break and leads to poor heat retention. Stoneware and stainless steel, on the other hand, are pricier but make up for it with better durability and heat retention.
Fortunately, the flavor is not affected by the material that you choose. The coffee will be delicious no matter what.
While this key consideration is directly tied to a French press's material, it is worth mentioning on its own. Coffee drinkers who have gotten used to drip machines with two-hour hot plates may, at first, be disappointed when switching to a French press. All non-electric coffee makers, not just French presses, naturally struggle to keep coffee hot for as long as electric brewing devices can.
If you only make a cup or two and drink it quickly, this isn't an issue. But if keeping coffee hot for a long time is important to you, consider buying a thermal or insulated French press.
"If you’re using a super light-roasted coffee, you may need to go a little hotter with the water and a little longer steeping. With darker-roasted coffees, you maybe want to go a little cooler with your water and a little shorter steeping. Think of it as: the lighter your coffee, the more flavor components that are still in there. So you’re going to need to basically “cook it” for a little longer and a little hotter." — Timothy Johnson, Head of Education and Training at Vibe Coffee Group
French presses only make a few cups of coffee at once, with capacities ranging anywhere from 12 to 51 ounces. If you intend to use a French press for an entire household, go with a larger option, roughly 8 cups and up. Just know that size and price are linked together: Larger French presses are more expensive, and smaller French presses are cheaper.
One last detail to keep in mind is that the coffee world is a little misleading with its measurements. Many customers assume that each "cup" equals 8 ounces. However, coffee brands consider a cup to be 4 to 6 ounces. For example, the popular 8-Cup Bodum Chambord French Press has a capacity of just 34 ounces, not the 64 ounces you would expect using standard measurements.
Ease of Cleaning
Making the coffee is only half of the process. When you're done, you need to remove the plunger, discard the used coffee grounds, and clean the carafe for the next use. Dishwasher-safe components will speed up the process, although some people prefer to wash their press by hand right after so that it's ready to go whenever they need it. It's not difficult or time-consuming to clean a French press by hand, but some may grow tired of having to clean it after every batch of coffee.
French presses with a glass carafe are an extremely fragile type of coffee maker, quicker to chip or break than most. Brand instructions typically advise against using metal spoons when stirring so as not to damage the glass. Take a look at an item's warranty beforehand to see what damages may or may not be covered.
Types of French Presses
The instinctive image when picturing a French press usually involves a gleaming glass carafe. Not only are these the most popular kind of French press, but they are also the most affordable. Other advantages of going with glass include its light weight and that you can see the amount of coffee left inside. Many glass French presses are dishwasher safe too, which makes the cleaning process quicker. However, they can break more easily, so avoid stirring them with a metal spoon when preparing your coffee.
Stainless steel is the second most popular type of French press. They are more expensive than glass ones (some even pass the $100 mark) but have several advantages, especially heat retention and durability. Most are dishwasher safe, too; just check the manufacturer's instructions ahead of time. As far as designs go, you can choose between the classic silver steel or find a variety of bold colors. The last thing to keep in mind is that stainless steel presses can be heavy when lifting and pouring, so if you prefer a lightweight option, go with glass.
Yes, there is such a thing as a truly portable French press. These wondrous little devices look like travel mugs but, inside, have a filter and plunger to make delicious coffee on the go. They are typically constructed from stainless steel, so you can toss them in a bag or suitcase when camping or traveling. Designed for personal use, expect portable French presses to have a smaller capacity than household ones. The best part, though? They are just as affordable as standard French presses.
Bodum is the number one brand to know if you're interested in buying a French press. Founded in 1944, the company manufactures all sorts of coffee-related products, from grinders to milk frothers, but it is best known for its line of budget-friendly French presses. Many start as low as $10. Few other brands offer the sheer variety that Bodum does. The company makes several different kinds of French presses, from ones constructed of glass and stainless steel to travel presses. The sleek Chambord is its most popular option, but the Brazil, Eileen, and Columbia are all worth considering, too.
Founded in 1988, Frieling is a well-known American manufacturer of high-end kitchenware. The brand's most popular French press—simply called the Frieling French Press—is constructed from heavy-duty stainless steel and comes in a number of sizes. Others include the all-glass Aroma French Press and the uniquely designed Perfetto French Press.
This French brand has long been heralded for its colorful cast-iron cookware. For almost 100 years, Le Creuset has manufactured everything from skillets to Dutch ovens to French presses. It does not have a wide selection to offer, but its best-known French press stands out compared to others on the market. The Le Creuset Stoneware French Press is a high-end option made from sturdy enamel and available in 10 colors.
It can be daunting to brew your first pot of French press coffee, so here are quick, simple instructions to ensure tasty results every time. First, start with coarsely ground coffee. Too fine a grind and you'll end up with coffee silt in the bottom of your cup. Second, scoop in roughly 1 gram of coffee for every 15 grams of water you intend to use. Third, once the water is heated to 195 to 205 degrees, slowly and evenly pour it over the coffee grounds, then stir. Finally, let the coffee steep for about four minutes. That's it! Plunge it, pour it, and enjoy.
"With a French press, I would say my standard amount of time for steeping is four minutes. You don’t really need to steep it for as long as we were led to believe in the past. Four minutes is totally fine." — Timothy Johnson, Head of Education and Training at Vibe Coffee Group
Once you're finished drinking the coffee, however, you might also have some questions about properly cleaning the device. French presses need to be cleaned after every use. Check to see if yours is dishwasher safe beforehand, as this will speed up the process. If not, start by dumping the wet coffee grounds into a strainer and then trash or compost them. After that, disassemble the plunger into its individual parts—the mesh, the spring, and the cross plate—and rinse each one. Place the parts on a towel to dry and finish by cleaning the carafe with a soapy sponge.
One accessory specifically useful for French press owners is a gooseneck kettle. With their elegant and sloped spouts, gooseneck kettles provide better precision when pouring. This, in turn, helps thoroughly cover the coffee grounds in a French press, leading to a tastier cup of joe. Gooseneck kettles can be designed for stovetop use (typically made from stainless steel) or they can be electric. The latter is certainly more expensive but has added convenience and can include unique features like specific temperature control.
Another accessory worth looking into is a coffee grinder. This is recommended for any kind of coffee maker, not just French presses. Coffee beans release the most flavor just minutes after being ground, when all the aromas have been freshly cracked open. You can choose from manual coffee grinders, which are more affordable, or electric ones. Bodum, Breville, and KitchenAid all manufacture dependable grinders.
How much coffee should I use for a French press?
There's a phrase in the coffee industry called "The Golden Ratio," which is a general recommendation for the amount of coffee grounds and water to use when brewing. The Golden Ratio is typically 1 gram of coffee for every 18 grams of water (1:18). While this is an excellent rule of thumb overall, some brewing devices produce better results with a slightly different ratio. When using a French press, Timothy Johnson, the Head of Education and Training at Vibe Coffee Group, recommends a ratio of 1 gram of coffee for every 15 grams of water (1:15). "We like to use a little bit more coffee per water to punch through and get that body from the French press,” he says.
What grind size should I use?
French press coffee is best made by using coarse or medium-coarse ground beans. If the grounds are too fine, the coffee may end up bitter and over-extracted, not to mention that small grinds can slip through the filter and ruin the entire pot. Coarse-ground beans, on the other hand, will lead to a balanced and sediment-free brew. We asked Timothy Johnson of Vibe Coffee Group what the recommended grind size for a French press is and he added that, while coarser is the way to go, experts are "finding that taking your grounds and going a little more fine than we traditionally thought works. You should do about a medium coarse, not super coarse."
Finding coarse to medium-coarse beans in the grocery store or grinding them at home may be an extra step, but it's worth it in the end for delicious coffee.
Is French press coffee more caffeinated?
It's logical to assume that French press coffee is more caffeinated than standard drip coffee. After all, it certainly tastes stronger when brewed properly. But caffeine content depends more on the type of coffee being used and the number of scoops you put in than the brew method. Sometimes French press coffee is slightly more caffeinated than, say, drip coffee because it's common to use a higher ratio of coffee grounds to water. Yet, French press coffee can often wind up less caffeinated than both drip and pour-over coffee. This is because the grounds used are coarser than that of other brewing methods and, as a result, don't extract as quickly. So, in short, caffeine content varies too much for there to be a definitive answer.
Can a French press be used to make other drinks?
Absolutely! Even though French presses are primarily designed for brewing hot coffee, there are many other ways to use the device. Cold brew is perhaps the most popular alternative drink to make with a French press, but users can also whip up tea, juices, and fruit-infused water. French presses can even froth milk for lattes and cappuccinos.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This piece was written by Derek Rose, the coffee and tea expert for The Spruce Eats. He tested many of the French presses that appear on this list, including the Bodum Brazil, which lasted several years as his everyday brewing device, and the Espro P7, which he found to be one of the best French presses he has ever used. Derek received an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University and a BA in Communications from Marist College.
The author of this article spoke with Timothy Johnson, the Head of Education and Training at Vibe Coffee Group, to gain more insight into French presses. Timothy has worked in the coffee industry for 16 years. Vibe Coffee Group is the parent company of three Washington-based coffee brands: Victrola Coffee Roasters, Whidbey Coffee, and Seattle Coffee Works.
Olechno E, Puścion-Jakubik A, Zujko ME, Socha K. Influence of Various Factors on Caffeine Content in Coffee Brews. Foods. 2021;10(6):1208. doi:10.3390/foods10061208