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If you’re shopping for the best coffee percolator, you’re a no-fuss kind of java drinker. You like a simple appliance that’s easy to operate and produces consistent results with every use. And in particular, electric percolators are fantastic because they work without the need for a heat source. Simply plug them in, add water and coffee grounds, and in a few minutes, you’re on your way to enjoying a delicious cup of coffee.
As with any coffee maker, you’ll need to consider the capacity or total cups your percolator can brew in a single session. Similarly, think about the machine’s size. If you have limited counter space, a large percolator might not make sense. And you’ll want to make sure that it’s easy to clean so that your coffee maker is in optimal condition.
Keep reading our best coffee percolator buying guide to learn more. And if you’ve just decided it’s time to get a coffee maker, check out our best coffee maker buying guide.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model offers a durable metal construction and multiple safety features to deliver fast and reliable brews. Users will love the included stem and filter basket that are dishwasher safe, just like the carafe itself.
The Farberware 50124 coffee maker is an excellent pick for users who want a simple and reliable device for strong coffee for an early morning or a small get-together with friends. This model offers an 8-cup serving capacity, so you’ll have enough brew for a few mugs of quality brew. Additionally, this coffee percolator comes with a stainless steel filter basket and stem, so users will be prepared to make coffee right away. That said, the filter basket can let fine coffee into your drink, so users will want to use a coarse grind.
In addition to an included filter basket and a decent serving capacity, the Farberware 50124 coffee maker features a stainless steel construction so it can stand up to regular use, even occasional camping. The plastic handle and percolator knob ensure that users can safely handle a fresh brew. Lastly, this percolator and all of its parts are completely dishwasher safe, so users can easily clean up their morning brew without much fuss.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: Users will love this brewer for its impressive portability and durable construction that makes it ideal for a multi-day hike or an extended cabin weekend. This model features a filter basket and stem so users can make fresh brews wherever they go.
The COLETTI Bozeman coffee maker is an impressive device for users who like to travel the outdoors or enjoy weekend getaways in rustic cabins. This model offers strong and flavorful cowboy coffee whether you prepare it above a fire or an indoor stove. Thanks to the wooden handle and pointed spout, users can safely serve up hot brew without burning their hands or splashing while they pour. While the included filter basket has somewhat large holes, users can utilize a coarse grind or easily install paper filters.
In addition to offering outdoor coffee and simple serving, the COLETTI Bozeman coffee maker is great for users who like to hike or backpack thanks to this model’s lightweight and polished steel construction. Users can easily hook this percolator onto their backpack or slip it inside of a large pack. Additionally, this model offers up to 9 cups of hot coffee or tea so users can enjoy multiple mugs or warm their camping group on a cold night.
Award: BEST FOR FLAVOR
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model offers a metal construction and a removable filter to deliver strong and hot drinks over a variety of heat sources. Users will love the no-drip spout and insulated handle to make serving up fresh beverages simple and mess-free.
Primula TPA-3609 coffee maker is a compelling choice for users who like strong cowboy coffee and a decent brewing capacity that makes enough for a small group or a user that needs a few extra mugs before a big day at work. This aluminum model features a fine filter basket and durable percolator stem so users can enjoy fresh coffee without other supplies. While this model isn’t very portable due to its size, users will love the amount of coffee they can make in one batch.
In addition to a great serving capacity and a decent included filter basket, the Primula TPA-3609 coffee maker offers simple serving without much mess. The filter basket and stem easily slide out of the unit, and the non-drip pointed spout keeps splashes and spills to a minimum. The heat-resistant handle keeps users safe while they handle a fresh batch, and the impressive percolator knob ensures that users know when their brewing cycle is finished.
Award: BEST FOR EARLY RISERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This electric model is ideal for busy professionals that need a strong and flavorful brew to start a busy day. This model heats up quickly, and the auto-warm feature keeps your beverage warm so you can have a few mugs throughout the day.
The Presto 02822 coffee maker is a fantastic pick for users who want fast and flavorful percolated coffee for an early morning commute. This model has a small footprint and won’t take up valuable stovetop or cooking space for users with small kitchens. Additionally, this model is easy to clean and store away thanks to a detachable cord and stainless steel body. While this percolator isn’t ideal for serving a large group, users can enjoy up to 6 cups from a single brew session.
In addition to quick heating and simple storing, the Presto 02822 coffee maker features a decent filter basket that will keep your coffee mostly sediment-free and smooth to drink. Additionally, users can stay informed on the brewing process thanks to a clear indicator light that lights up when the coffee is finished. Lastly, this model offers an automatic keep-warm mode so users can enjoy multiple cups of hot coffee without losing flavor.
Award: BEST FOR SERVING GROUPS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model offers quick brewing and simple serving for users that like to enjoy mugs of brew with a reading group or casual business meeting. Additionally, users will love the tall design that doesn’t take up too much kitchen space and is easy to store away.
West Bend 54519 coffee maker is a great pick for users who like to drink coffee with friends or like to drink multiple mugs throughout the afternoon. This electric model offers up to 12 cups of strong cowboy coffee, and users can see how much coffee they have left via the level indicator on the insulated handle. Additionally, users will love the ready-to-serve indicator light that keeps them informed on the brewing process. While the percolation can get pretty loud, users will love the fast brewing cycle that finishes within ten minutes.
In addition to a great serving capacity and the brewing indicator light, the West Bend 54519 coffee maker ensures that users can easily and safely serve up hot coffee without much mess. The insulated handle is resistant to heat, and the long pouring spout keeps drips and spills to a minimum. Additionally, this model offers a keep warm feature that keeps your brew hot and fresh until you’re ready to drink. Lastly, the steel filter basket, percolator stem, and lid are dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
Award: BEST FOR OUTDOOR BREWING
WHY WE LIKE IT: Users will love this lightweight and durable brewer thanks to its all-metal construction that will hold up to treks outdoors. Additionally, this model is great for making a strong brew with enough to go around.
The Coleman 2000016403 coffee maker is a great choice for users who want a percolator that fits in at a camping site just as well as a country kitchen. This model features a completely stainless steel construction to provide a lightweight unit that is resistant to corrosion and rust. Additionally, this unit easily wipes down after a brewing cycle. While the handle doesn’t feature insulation of any kind, users will love how easy it is to serve up hot mugs thanks to the pointed spout.
In addition to the durable design and simple serving, the Coleman 2000016403 coffee maker provides users with a portable percolator that is easy to clip onto a backpack or utility belt. Thanks to the filter basket and stem that easily slide out of place, users can make tea or boil water for recipes at the campsite. Lastly, the nice-looking percolator knob is sturdy and ensures that users stay informed during the brewing process for the strongest drink possible.
A coffee percolator is one of those enduring classic brewers. They’re relatively easy to operate with a relatively shallow learning curve. Unlike some coffee brewers that require a bit of trial and error to figure out how to make the perfect cup, percolators have a straightforward operation.
In previous eras, there were no electric coffee percolators. As a result, you needed a heat source, like your stovetop or campfire. Today, you can find both stovetop and electric percolators. The benefit of electric models is that you don’t need to worry about a heat source as long as you have electricity. This also means that you can leave your stovetop free and brew coffee on a counter or table if you prefer.
Traditionally, camping coffee percolators tend to offer larger cup capacities, meaning that you can make a larger amount of coffee per brewing session. In most cases, you’ll find that electric coffee percolators can make anywhere from nine to 12 cups of coffee. They’re sometimes also considered great coffee makers for RVs.
The most significant difference between coffee percolators and other coffee makers is their self-contained functionality. Unlike drip brewers, pour-over, French press, and even the best coffee makers with hot water dispensers, coffee percolators can brew and store coffee in the same container. This all-in-one functionality does make them similar to Moka pots.
Their compact size makes this brewer appealing to people that don’t want to invest in multiple coffee accessories, such as the best coffee urn. Similarly, they have a straightforward operation, making them more user-friendly for a wider range of coffee drinkers. For people that simply want a basic cup of coffee, there’s little effort required to get that result. In contrast, some brewers are more complex and require more attention to detail — such as espresso makers.
Coffee percolators also tend to offer a larger brewing capacity than smaller coffee makers, like Moka pots. And because of the brewing method employed, many people find that percolators can make more robust coffee than traditional drip brewers. However, one drawback with percolators is that it’s possible to overcook your coffee and be left with a burnt cup of joe.
If you’re familiar with Moka pots, you’ll find that percolators (both electric and stovetop) operate in a slightly similar fashion. The percolator has an internal water reservoir, a filter basket, a tube, and a coffee reservoir. Once you fill the water reservoir with water, you plug in your electric coffee percolator, turn it on, and wait for the magic to begin.
The water in the reservoir is heated, and once it begins to boil, it is forced up through the tube, where it then saturates the coffee grounds in the filter basket. The coffee then drips down into the waiting coffee reservoir. A signature design with coffee percolators is that they often feature a transparent or glass top so you can see the coffee as it’s brewing.
Because the water is forced through the coffee, more caffeine is released — which is why you get more robust coffee with a percolator. And because the water is at a higher temperature, the water can remove more impurities, which leaves you with a bolder aroma.
Electric percolators are a popular option for many people because they don’t require an external heat source. They’re also compact solutions for people with minimal space, such as a studio apartment or a small office break room. Many of the best electric percolators are also programmable, meaning that you can set them to begin brewing at certain times.
If you’re a no-fuss type of coffee drinker, you’ll appreciate the goof-proof operation that the best electric coffee percolator can provide. And not having to rely on a stovetop or open fire to make coffee can be a big draw for many. Of course, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast, an old-fashioned model that requires an open flame makes a great addition to your camping gear.
The general rule of thumb with coffee makers is that the less complex the brewer, the longer it will last. Although stovetop percolators can last decades, electric models tend to have a five-year lifespan. However, you still need to engage in routine descaling and cleaning to keep hard water buildup from damaging your percolator.
As long as you treat your percolator right and aren’t unnecessarily rough with it, these can be worthy coffee investments that pay for themselves in a short time. Additionally, many people like that most electric coffee percolators don’t contain plastic in the internal components. This is especially important for people concerned about chemical compounds seeping into their brew because of the high temperatures.
The straightforward design and operation of a coffee percolator can make the shopping experience significantly easier. In many cases, your search may focus solely on cup capacity. While the percolator has come a long way from the classic design many of us associate with mid-century living, its reliable brewing functionality and simple construction make it a fan favorite.
Traditionally, percolators are known for their large capacity. It’s very common to see percolators that can brew as many as 12 or more cups of coffee. But if you’re not in a house full of avid coffee drinkers or are shopping for yourself, you can also find percolators that can brew as few as two to four cups of coffee.
With percolators, manufacturers usually use one of two methods — gravity and pressure. Gravity percolators have two chambers where water boils and rises from the lower chamber into the upper chamber, which houses the filter basket. This is the most common option for electric percolators, which is why they often create a denser, bolder cup of coffee.
But it’s possible to find some that rely on the pressure method, which operates similar to a Moka pot. These feature a three-chamber design with the water in the lowest chamber and the coffee grounds in the middle chamber. The heated water generates steam which is pushed through the middle chamber, saturating the grounds and creating coffee that pours through a tube into the upper chamber. The result is a rich, espresso-like brew.
A keep-warm function is nice in that you won’t find yourself facing a cold cup of coffee. But there’s always the risk that you’ll overcook the coffee, leading to a bitter cup. In contrast, you can find electric percolators that feature stainless steel insulation. This means that once the brewing process is complete, it stops. However, thanks to the insulated carafe design, your coffee will stay warm without compromising on flavor.
In general, percolators are incredibly durable appliances. However, if you’re concerned about longevity or how long your coffee stays warm, you’ll want to think about the material used to make your percolator. Stainless steel is usually considered the best choice as it’s not only the most durable but better at retaining heat. And for people concerned about chemicals leaching into their brew, this isn’t an issue with stainless steel.
Alternatively, you can opt for aluminum. It’s typically less expensive than a stainless steel percolator but doesn’t retain heat as well unless you specifically pick an aluminum percolator that’s insulated.
Brew speeds can vary widely with percolators, and this is one criterion where electric percolators don’t perform as well as stovetop models. In most cases, a stovetop percolator can brew coffee in just five minutes. Expect to spend twice that time waiting for a cup of coffee with an electric model. However, on average, you should be able to find a percolator that can brew a cup per minute.
Programmability may not be essential for everyone, but it’s certainly nice to have. This is a feature that allows you to set your percolator to begin brewing coffee at specific times. For example, having a cup of coffee waiting for you in the morning after you wake up can be a nice way to start your day.
You’ll also want to consider physical features which can make your percolator easier to use. For example, a cool-touch handle or base ensures that you won’t burn your hands when handling your percolator. A no-drip spout provides an added safety feature as well. And if you’re concerned about over brewing your coffee, look for a percolator with a clear lid.