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Food and drink often evoke a place and time. For iced tea, it’s sweating pitchers on picnic tables, ice cubes chiming against glass as you stir. It’s summer barbecues, grad parties, Fourth of July fireworks, catching up with friends on front porches. Like the many occasions to drink iced tea, there are many ways to make it—sweetened or unsweetened, flavored or spiked—but all of them are delicious.
Our list makes it faster, easier, and tastier to brew this beloved drink. Explore options ranging from simple pitchers with tea infusers to electric brewers that take just minutes.
From summertime to anytime, here are the best iced tea makers to buy.
Best Overall: Ovalware Cold Brew Maker and Tea Infuser
Easy to use
Also makes cold brew coffee
Lid comes off easily
For many, the ideal iced tea maker is affordable and easy to use. If you fall into that group, you'll love the Ovalware Cold Brew Maker and Tea Infuser.
The carafe is made from borosilicate glass, the infuser is food-grade stainless steel, and the seal is silicone. Cleaning is easy since all parts are dishwasher safe and won’t retain odors that make your green tea taste like the mint tea you brewed last time. The glass is heat safe, so you can brew the tea hot and pour it over ice, or you can simply steep it in the refrigerator overnight.
The seal is airtight and leakproof, ensuring your brew will stay fresh in the refrigerator and you don’t need to worry about spills if it tips. The filter can handle either loose-leaf teas or tea bags, and you can even use the item to make cold brew coffee.
The large handle is easy for anyone to grab, and the spout makes pouring easy, while the beaker design looks sleek and modern. Measurements along the side let you add a precise amount of water or other liquid when you’re following a recipe.
Best Budget: Takeya 1qt Flash Chill Iced Tea Maker
Multiple sizes and colors
Fast steep time
Reliable fine-mesh infuser
Not the best pouring
This budget-priced pick is designed to make delicious iced tea fast. You’ll be sipping in just a few minutes using the Takeya Flash Chill Iced Tea Maker. It's available in two sizes (1 quart or 2 quarts) so you’ll be able to drink tea all day or have enough to serve all of your friends at the barbecue.
You can use this one with either loose tea or teabags as well. That's a nice feature if you really enjoy exploring tea and don't want to be bound to one form or the other.
To make your tea, just put the loose or bagged tea into the infuser and attach it to the lid. Fill the container halfway with hot water and let the tea steep to your desired strength, then remove the infuser, add ice, and shake for 30 seconds. The BPA-free Tritan plastic can handle the heat, and it won’t be damaged by the sudden chill or the shaking.
The lid is leakproof, so you won’t make a mess when shaking. This also allows you to store the container on its side if your refrigerator is crowded and there’s no space on a shelf or on the door. You can also toss it in a bag to take along to a picnic, with no worries about spilling.
Best Electric: Mr. Coffee TM1 Iced Tea Maker
Requires paper filters
Carafe is easily breakable
No strength adjustment
Mr. Coffee has crossed over to the tea side with the TM1 2-Quart Iced Tea Maker. Of course, it’s just as easy to use as one of their coffee makers and a great option if you want an electric iced tea maker.
This tea maker can handle either loose tea or tea bags and makes up to 2 quarts of tea in just a few minutes. Simply fill the pitcher with ice for chilled tea right away, or refrigerate the brewed tea for later use.
It has an automatic shutoff after brewing is done, so you don’t need to watch it. The brew basket is removable for easy cleaning, so your tea flavors won’t mingle, and the machine has a cleaning cycle to keep itself clean without any fuss.
While this one is designed for brewing iced tea, you can also use it for brewing iced coffee.
Best Large Capacity: Primula The Big Iced Tea Pitcher – 1 gal.
Mixed reviews on cold brew
May not fit in fridge door shelves
Sometimes a few glasses of tea is simply not enough. Luckily, this large pitcher from Primula can hold a whole gallon of iced tea, making it an ideal pick for families, for entertaining during those hot summer days, or for brewing a week's worth of tea in one shot.
Few iced tea makers even come close to this capacity, and The Big Iced Tea Pitcher is the most reliable product 1 gallon and up. It has an airtight and leaf-proof lid, which keeps all that iced tea fresh for days (and safe from spills). The brew core works with both loose leaf and bagged tea, as well as fruits and berries for a delicious flavored tea. And you can make iced tea through either a hot brewing method or a cold brewing method, depending on how much time you have and on which flavor you prefer.
Some customers question the item's durability, saying that different parts like the infuser or sealant ring broke over time, but the majority of feedback is positive, and the item still has higher than a four-star rating in durability. The Tritan plastic pitcher is also shatterproof.
Best High End: Breville the Tea Maker BTM800XL
Great for hot tea too
Adjustable temperature and strength
Set to brew in advance
Must add ice after brewing
Not ideal for one cup of tea
It doesn’t matter if you take your tea hot or iced, Breville’s the Tea Maker will entirely transform the way you brew your favorite beverage for years to come. It is perhaps the flat-out best tea maker you can find thanks to its unparalleled versatility, sleek design, and ease of use.
To start, users can adjust water temperature in five-degree increments or choose from one of five pre-set tea varieties. This makes a huge difference in the final taste, as different types of tea require various temperatures to bring out the most flavor. There’s even three strength settings (mild, medium, and strong) for added personalization. Another feature that sets this high-end item apart is that it can be pre-programmed to brew hours in advance; so, for those who want a piping hot cup of tea right when you wake up, simply set it at night before going to bed. Other advantages include a large 51-ounce carafe and a removable infuser basket for easy cleaning.
The main drawback is that you have to brew the tea hot first and then pour it over ice afterwards. If this proves to be an annoyance, there are many cheaper alternatives that can steep while the carafe or pitcher is filled with ice. That being said, Breville’s the Tea Maker offers a blend of craftsmanship and control that few machines, if any, rival.
Best With Interchangeable Cores: Primula Flavor It Pitcher 3-in-1 Beverage System
With three different cores, you’ll always have a use for this attractive drink pitcher. The Primula Flavor It Infuse Pitcher is fantastic and its uses go far beyond iced tea.
One core has small holes to hold all your loose-leaf teas. One has larger holes that allow easier flow of water when you're using tea bags or fresh fruits. The third core is for keeping your drinks cold without diluting them. Just keep that core in the freezer, so it's ready when you need it.
This pitcher is made from Tritan plastic that's durable, heat-safe, and attractive for serving drinks at any party. The container is designed to fit on the shelf on the door of most refrigerators, so it's easy to store and easy to find when you need a chilled drink.
No matter how big or small your hands are, the large handle is easy to grab. It also has a silicone insert for a more secure grip when you're carrying a full pitcher. The top locks into place to prevent accidental spills, and you can even store it on its side if your refrigerator is too full.
For easy cleaning, the pitcher and all of the parts are dishwasher safe, so you'll be sure your herbal teas don't flavor your green tea.
It doesn't matter if you're a tea drinker, coffee lover, or both, the Ovalware Cold Brew Maker and Tea Infuser makes flavorful beverages with ease. The item is simple, stylish, and keeps drinks fresh for weeks with its airtight seal. As a slightly cheaper alternative, the Tayeka Flash Chill Iced Tea Maker (view at Amazon) is an all-around great option as well.
What to Look for in an Iced Tea Maker
How much iced tea do you typically drink? If you sip glass after glass throughout the summer or often entertain a lot of guests, it's worth purchasing a larger iced tea maker, even if takes up a lot of real estate in the fridge. Otherwise, there are many smaller options that will suffice and save space.
Ease of Use
Since iced tea is such a simple drink to make, no one wants a device that muddles the process. Think about what details you prefer in an iced tea maker. Do you want an infuser? An item that pours from the top or dispenses from the bottom? Also keep an eye on the number of pieces involved and whether they are all dishwasher safe.
Manual or Electric
The long-held image of a traditional iced tea maker is a big plastic pitcher that you fill and let steep. However, there are many electric options out there that can make the process hands free. Some even let you adjust tea strength. The best part? You can find many electric iced tea makers that come at around the same price as manual ones.
What tea-to-water ratio should I use?
The general ratio for brewing iced tea at home is 1 teaspoon of loose-leaf tea or 1 tea bag for every 6 to 8 ounces of water. Keep in mind that lighter teas may require a couple more scoops to achieve a strong flavor. Steep time depends on the iced tea maker you own as well as the type of tea you are using. Black and herbal teas need to steep longer, while green tea steeps more quickly. Some manufacturers include helpful measurements and recipes for their products, posted either online or written in instruction manuals, and these are worth consulting beforehand.
What water is best for iced tea?
Water with a neutral pH value around 7.0 is best for brewing iced tea. This means filtered tap water and bottled spring water are the top two options. They contain the right amount of minerals to produce a rich but not overbearing flavor. If you use water with a high pH value, like mineral or alkaline water, your iced tea will likely taste metallic; on the other hand, water with a low pH value—namely, distilled water—will lead to very little flavor in your tea.
Can I use my iced tea maker for cold brew coffee?
Most iced tea makers can also be used to whip up cold brew coffee. The brewing processes between the two are fairly similar and equally simple. To make cold brew, coffee grounds are soaked in cold water for several hours. This can be done using a non-electric iced tea maker, especially if it has a large filter. Those who own an electric iced tea maker, however, will need to check the manufacturer’s website beforehand or experiment on their own. Some electric iced tea makers brew too quickly to achieve the rich flavor cold brew coffee is known for. Other devices heat up the water while brewing, which means they could not technically produce cold brew, as the beverage can only be made using cold water.
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 products, from coffee scoops to commercial espresso machines, and interviews field experts for their insight. He earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University and a BA in Communications from Marist College.