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The technique is timeless. The results, delicious. Pour over is the preferred method of many coffee lovers because, if done properly, it produces an incredibly rich brew, bolder than that of standard drip machines.
Pour over and drip are similar in that they both involve a slow flow of water through coffee grounds, but the key difference is that the former is done by hand, which leads to a more thorough saturation of the grounds. Other benefits of pour over devices range from their budget price to compact size. There are some drawbacks, however. Namely that they require more effort yet have smaller capacities than most coffee makers. But for those who love a strong, flavorful cup of joe, even if takes a little elbow grease, these are a wonderful option.
Here are the best pour over coffee makers to buy.
Best Overall: Chemex Classic Series Coffeemaker
Produces rich, flavorful coffee
Looks great on the counter
Chemex Bonded Filters are specifically recommended
Glass can break
This is a recognizable design that’s been in use since it was invented in 1941, with an attractive wooden collar and a leather tie strap. The coffee maker is borosilicate glass, which won’t absorb flavors or odors, and it won’t add any flavor to the coffee. It’s also safe for use on low heat on a glass cooktop or low gas flame to keep the coffee warm or reheat it when required. The container can also be covered and refrigerated to save the coffee for later or chilled drinking.
For cleaning, the wooden collar should be removed. The carafe can be hand washed or placed in the dishwasher for easy cleaning. Chemex makes its own filters for use with its pour-over coffee makers that are not the same as standard paper filters, so make sure you buy the right supplies for this coffee maker.
Taysha Murtaugh, editorial director for The Spruce Eats, has used a Chemex for years and says she would absolutely recommend it to anyone who has the time to commit to brewing cafe-quality coffee. Plus, it's stylish, doesn't require electricity, and is more efficient to clean than a French press.
"Pour-over makers take some time to master and require continuous monitoring while brewing, so they're not ideal for those who are short on time," she says. "However, when I can spare a few moments, it's a nice experience that makes me feel more connected to my morning cup."
Just make sure to drink up before your coffee gets cold. Because it's not insulated, it doesn't stay hot for long.
Capacity: 3, 6, 8, and 10 cups | Dimensions: 5.125 x 5.125 x 8.5 (6-cup model) | Filters: Yes | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes (remove wood collar) | Warranty: 1 year
"I love the beautiful design, compact size, and versatility of this non-electric maker. It also makes the smoothest, most delicious coffee and cleans quickly and easily." — Taysha Murtaugh, Editorial Director
Best for Home: Bodum Pour Over Coffee Maker
Compact and portable
Poor heat retention
This pour over coffee maker comes in three sizes, and the protective band comes in multiple colors to add some fun to the kitchen. You can also purchase it with an eye-catching cork band, similar to that of a Chemex. It includes a permanent stainless steel filter, so flavors won’t be absorbed by the paper and you won’t have to keep buying replacement filters.
The borosilicate carafe is durable and heat resistant and can be washed in the dishwasher when you’re done making coffee, so cleanup will always be easy.
Capacity: 17, 34, and 51 ounces | Dimensions: 5.5 x 6.5 x 8.66 inches | Filters: Includes permanent filter | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes | Warranty: 1-year limited
Best for Beginners: Yitelle Stainless Steel Pour Over Coffee Cone Dripper
No paper filters needed
Stays securely on mugs
Finer grinds may clog filter
Occasionally requires hand-cleaning
No need for paper filters and don't worry about breaking a glass or ceramic brewer—this durable filter will take plenty of abuse. Since it doesn’t use paper filters, you get all the flavor from the coffee, without the oils being captured by the paper. At the same time, the super-fine mesh traps the fine grounds so you won’t end up with gritty coffee.
The silicone handle will help prevent burns, while the silicone on the base helps keep it from sliding as you pour. The base is designed to fit just about any cup, mug, thermos or carafe, so you won’t have to look for one that will work. This is dishwasher safe, and a brush is included if you prefer to hand wash. A coffee scoop is also included.
Capacity: Single serve | Dimensions: 5.3 x 5.2 x 4.2 inches | Filters: No | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes | Warranty: Lifetime
"It wasn’t until I had coffee in pour-over form that I could taste all the different notes, and it was this aha moment. I really believe pour over is the best way to make a cup of coffee." — Nigel Price
Best Ceramic: Melitta Ceramic Pour Over Coffee Dripper
Easy to use
Compact and durable
Bottom isn't steady
Pours faster than other devices
You can make one cup of pour-over coffee at a time with this durable ceramic brewer. Just place it over your favorite coffee cup or mug, add a filter, measure the proper amount of coffee, and pour the water. The three holes in the brewer generally keep the coffee flowing at the right speed, so the flavor should be properly extracted every time, but this device does pour a little faster than others with only a single hole. Using a slightly finer grind should balance things out and help deliver tastfy coffee.
Since there’s no large carafe, this stores easily. A pack of 40 Melitta brown coffee filters is included, so you’ll be able to brew a lot of coffee before you need to buy more. For cleaning, you can wash this in the dishwasher, but it’s also simple to wash by hand.
Capacity: Single serve | Dimensions: 3.875 x 4.625 x 4 inches | Filters: Yes | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes | Warranty: 90 days
Best for Office: Asobu Copper Insulated Pour Over Coffee Maker
Keeps coffee hot for hours
No paper filters needed
Fragile glass top
Not only will this look attractive in any office, but the 32-ounce carafe is also vacuum insulated, so you can brew coffee and keep it warm for up to 12 hours, and it lets you brew enough coffee to share. Brew your coffee at work, if you have access to boiling water, or make your coffee at home and just bring the elegant carafe to work. The copper exterior looks attractive and protects the borosilicate glass interior from accidental bumps, while that glass protects the purity of the coffee flavor.
This has a stainless steel micro mesh filter, so you won’t need paper filters. The fine mesh keeps grounds from getting your coffee gritty and is easy to clean when brewing is done, while the heat resistant collar gives you a safe grip when brewing or carrying.
Capacity: 32 ounces | Dimensions: 6.25 x 6.25 x 9.37 inches | Filters: Includes stainless steel filter | Dishwasher-Safe: No | Warranty: Lifetime
Best for Camping: UST FlexWare Collapsible Coffee Drip
Great for traveling
Compact and durable
Not the strongest coffee
Can tip or spill while brewing
You can stuff this squishy silicone coffee maker into your backpack without worrying about breaking or bending it. It’s lightweight, collapsible, and resistant to heat. You’ll need to pack paper filters as well, but those won’t add much weight to your gear either.
Cleaning is easy while you’re camping since you can simply toss this into boiling water; however, the item is also dishwasher safe, should you have access to one. This works just like other pour over coffee makers, so you can use it at home as well, and while it might not make the strongest coffee of all the items on this list, it is certainly one of the most unique devices.
Capacity: Single serve | Dimensions: 4.25 x 4.25 x 3.25 inches | Filters: Yes | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes | Warranty: Lifetime limited
Best Flavor: Hario Woodneck Drip Pot
Makes multiple servings
Cloth filter can be replaced
On the pricier end
Fairly time-consuming to clean
Taste is highly subjective, especially when it comes to coffee. Some only drink light roast. Some swear by French presses. That being said, the Hario Nel Drip Set can unlock more delicious (and powerful) notes than many other coffee makers. The flavor won't be for everyone, but those who prefer the more robust taste of pour-over coffee to that of electric machines will be in heaven. When poured through the cloth filter—also known as a nel—this coffee comes out thicker, stronger, and more fragrant.
Not only is the flavor unique but the design too. This pour over is both elegant and rustic, thanks to the rich wood accents and, of course, the cloth filter. Cloth filters can get pricey though and certainly cost more than paper ones, so that's a setback to consider; however, you can reuse cloth filters for months with a little extra clean-up. The item is also dishwasher safe.
Capacity: 240 and 480 milliliters (8 and 16 ounces) | Dimensions: 3.74 x 3.74 x 6.6 inches (8-ounce model) | Filters: Includes cotton filter | Dishwasher-Safe: No | Warranty: 90 days
Best Electric: Cuisinart CPO-800P1 PurePrecision 8 Cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer
Small capacity for electric brewer
While part of the joy of pour over is the experience of carefully making the coffee, an electric brewer is so much easier. This one offers simple adjustments, so you can make your coffee mild, medium, or strong, and you can set the water temperature for hot or extra hot, so you can brew your coffee exactly the way you like it. It has an 8-cup carafe that you can buy in either glass or thermal, and a laser-etched stainless steel filter, so you won’t need paper ones.
One of the most important steps in making pour-over coffee is the first pour which blooms the coffee. This brewer replicates that step, pre-wetting the grounds before continuing with the brewing process, to produce coffee that’s as close to pour over as you’ll get from an electric coffee maker.
Capacity: 8 cups | Dimensions: 12 x 7.5 x 13.5 inches | Filters: Yes | Dishwasher-Safe: Glass carafe only | Warranty: 3-year limited
Designed in the mid-1900's, Chemex Coffeemakers (view at Amazon) are the quintessential pour-over device. They are a worthwhile investment for all coffee lovers, even those who already own a home coffee maker. For a slightly cheaper alternative, try the Bodum Pour Coffee Maker (view at Amazon), which is available in a number of sizes and designs.
What to Look for in a Pour Over Coffee Maker
The capacity of a pour over coffee maker can range from a single cup to sizes comparable to electric coffee makers. If you are switching over from an electric device, however, expect pour overs to be smaller on average. Many are designed for personal use. Think about how many cups you drink a day and narrow down your options from there.
Pour devices can be made glass, stainless steel, ceramic, and even silicone. This consideration not only affects your kitchen aesthetic (though, pour overs are usually small enough to store in a cupboard) but also the item's durability. If you're worried about breaking and having to replace a pour over, maybe avoid glass and consider a more durable material.
Pour over coffee makers often require paper filters, many specifically designed for the device's dimensions. Some customers enjoy filters because they make it easy to clean up after brewing—simply throw the filter in the trash when finished—while others dislike buying filters over and over again, since they can only be used once. If you fall into the latter camp, look for pour-over devices that don't require paper filters.
What does pour-over coffee taste like?
While the exact flavor of pour-over coffee varies by specific device, brewing method, and type of beans used, there is an overarching taste experience that makes pour over so popular. Perhaps the most important quality is clarity. When done right, the pour-over process brings out and “clarifies” the flavor of coffee beans. If you buy a bag of beans with tasting notes of cherry and milk chocolate, for example, you’ll find both flavors in every sip. Pour over also has a lighter taste than other methods like French press or drip coffee.
What grind size should I use?
Every type of coffee maker has an ideal grind size that leads to better tasting results. Most pour-over coffee makers work best with a medium grind, or something close to medium. For example, the brand Chemex recommends using a medium-coarse grind when brewing with one of its devices. Hario, on the other hand, suggests a medium-fine grind for its V60 Coffee Drippers. Many other pour-over coffee makers require a standard medium grind. Fortunately, this is the easiest size to find pre-ground in grocery stores. Further grind size information is usually available on brand websites or in instruction manuals.
What is a coffee bloom?
Coffee blooming is a process where you pour a small amount of water over coffee grounds and give them time to release carbon dioxide before continuing with the brewing process. It’s a quick and easy step you can incorporate to make your coffee a little tastier. Whether you have a French press, Chemex, drip cone, or other non-electric brewer, all you have to do is lightly and evenly dampen the grounds and then allow them to bubble and rise (or “bloom”) for around 30 seconds before pouring the rest of the water. Why do we do this? Well, carbon dioxide gives coffee a sour taste and acts as a barrier between coffee grounds and water. Purging the pent-up CO2 lets you extract coffee grounds more thoroughly and avoid that sourness to boot.
"The bloom process is imperative, and there is some science to it. Gasses come out of coffee when it's freshly ground. If the coffee isn’t allowed to breathe and let those gasses out, you don’t allow the coffee beans to get to their fullest potential of saturation during the steeping process." — Nigel Price
Do I need to buy coffee filters?
It depends on the type of pour over you own. There is a fairly even mixture of pour overs that require paper filters and ones that don’t. Popular options like the Chemex Coffeemaker and Hario V60 do require paper filters and, on top of that, only specific types of filters can be used. That said, many pour-over coffee makers come with permanent filters or have natural ways to filter coffee grounds and water (the Yitelle Pour Over being one example of the latter). It’s usually mentioned in product descriptions whether or not a specific pour over needs paper filters, that way customers aren’t caught off guard.
Should paper filters be rinsed before using?
Pre-rinsing paper filters, especially cheaper ones, will lead to a purer flavor in your coffee because it removes any potential “papery” taste. In some cases, the difference is barely noticeable; in others, it’s a significant upgrade. There’s also the added bonus that it pre-heats your brewing device, so your coffee will stay hot longer. To pre-rinse, simply pour hot water through the filter and let the water drain before scooping in your coffee grounds.
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" (view at Amazon), a cookbook meant to simplify the bread-baking process.
This piece was updated 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. He typically uses non-electric coffee makers at home, alternating between the Bialetti Moka Express (view at Amazon) and the Bodum Brazil French Press (view at Amazon).
Nigel Price, who was interviewed for this piece, is the founder and owner of Drip Coffee Makers in New York City and has worked in the coffee industry for more than a decade. Established in 2015, Drip now has multiple locations.