The 8 Best Percolators

Updated December 08, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

8 Best Percolators
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 38 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. For those who prefer to brew their morning Joe the old-fashioned way, check out our selection of stylish coffee percolators that will more traditionally deliver the caffeine buzz you need to get up and at 'em in the morning. We've ranked them here by brewing speed, ease of maintenance, and durability. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best percolator on Amazon.

8. West Bend 54159 Classic

The West Bend 54159 Classic features an automatic keep-warm mode that prevents your coffee from getting bitterly cold on you. A safe stay-cool base, an easily detachable power cord, and a sleek stainless steel finish round out the design.
  • clear plexiglass top
  • level indicator on the handle
  • cleanup is a little difficult
Brand West Bend
Model 54159
Weight 3.5 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Hamilton Beach 40614

The Hamilton Beach 40614 features a coffee and water-level viewing window, as well as a light that indicates when the brew is ready. These features remove the guesswork from preparing the perfect pot of coffee, and its nondrip spout keeps your service area clean.
  • secure twist-off lid
  • handle is cool to touch
  • operates rather noisily
Brand Hamilton Beach
Model 40614
Weight 3.9 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

6. Farberware FCP240

The 2-4-cup Farberware FCP240 brews a bold cup of coffee at a consistent speed of one cup per minute. It's perfect for a single person or for a couple that doesn't need a large pot for themselves but does need a good cup of Joe from time to time.
  • large handle for an easy grip
  • stays warm while plugged in
  • heating element tends to burn out
Model FCP240
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Faberware 8-Cup Classic Yosemite

The stout frame of the Faberware 8-Cup Classic Yosemite makes it much easier to store when you aren't using it, and its permanent filter basket eliminates the need to deal with obnoxious paper filters, though that can add time to the cleaning process.
  • clear plastic lid knob
  • non-reactive interior
  • spout pours somewhat messily
Brand Farberware
Model 50124
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Bialetti 6969 Venus Espresso Stove-Top

The Bialetti 6969 Venus Espresso Stove-Top produces up to six cups of very strong coffee in just under five minutes situated comfortably on your range. It makes a unique gift that any true aficionado would very much appreciate.
  • traditional italian styling
  • all parts are stainless steel
  • requires a very finely ground bean
Brand Bialetti
Model 06969
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Paula Deen 8-Cup Stove-Top

The Paula Deen 8-Cup Stove-Top is made out of porcelain that is both durable and stain-resistant. It features a large, well-made handle perfect for use on the grill or even over a campfire, in addition to simple, stovetop use.
  • available in speckled blue or red
  • filter lifts out of percolator
  • it is easy to clean
Brand Paula Deen
Model 51549
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Cuisinart PRC-12 Stainless Steel

The Cuisinart PRC-12 Stainless Steel has a cool bottom that will not scorch any surface it's rested on, as well as a convenient indicator light that tells you when it's ready. Its elegant design makes it perfect for use at parties or for table service in restaurants.
  • satisfying brewing sound
  • 12-cup capacity
  • easy-grip knob on lid
Brand Cuisinart
Model PRC-12
Weight 3.1 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Presto 02811

The Presto 02811 makes a cup of coffee with every minute that passes, and it continues to keep the coffee hot for as long as it's plugged in without burning the brew. Its internal components are 100% dishwasher safe for a faster cleanup.
  • easy-pour spout design
  • signal light indicates readiness
  • stainless steel construction
Brand Presto
Model 02811
Weight 3.7 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

It's Time for the Percolator

This titular song rose to popularity in the nineties, however, the actual percolator enjoyed fame much earlier than that. A percolator is a device used to brew coffee. Out of the myriad of options you have for coffee brewing today, the percolator is the precursor to modern brewing methods and it's still used today due to its simple design.

It works by placing a heat source at the bottom of the pot; which is filled with water. The water boils and travels up a central tube in the pot and recycles down on a filtered layer with coffee grounds. The boiled water makes contact with the grounds and extracts the coffee. The water then travels back down towards the heat source and the process is repeated until the entire pot has percolated.

The taste of percolated coffee, given no other variables, will differ from an automatic drip brew. If you come from a background of a certain brew method, I strongly advise you to try percolated coffee before you purchase it. Many claim that percolated coffee will come out stronger and more robust, albeit not as consistent as an automatic drip brew.

The heat source can be an electric hot plate or a fire from a stovetop or bonfire while camping. If on a stovetop, it's essential to remove the pot once it boils: "Coffee boiled is coffee spoiled," as the adage goes. The electric heated pot is designed with this in mind and has a built-in feature to shut off the heat source once the optimal temperature is reached.

Perks: Ups and Downs

Depending on the number of coffee drinkers in your household or how often you host java-loving guests, you must determine the size of the percolator you need. Some will only brew two cups at a time. The measurement of two cups is misleading and varies greatly. A standard cup is eight ounces, however, most coffee cups are designed to hold ten to twelve ounces, leaving the consumer with less coffee than desired. A twelve cup percolator will be beneficial for large gatherings and it eliminates resetting and cleaning the percolator many times to serve everyone. Large percolators are usually found at church gatherings or special interest meetings.

Most of today's models are electric; unless you dig into your basement and find your mom's pot from the seventies. The electric percolator tends to brew a more consistent cup of coffee, however, some prefer the non-electric models so they can make coffee anywhere. Porcelain models are ideal for campers who enjoy making fresh coffee over a campfire. Given that it's no completely reliant on an electric source, the percolator shares a closer relationship to the Moka and french press than the automatic drip coffeemaker.

While porcelain is an option for stove tops, the stainless steel model reigns supreme. The danger of steel, however, is that the heat conducted during percolation makes the handle too hot to touch. The rectify this, quality models will support a sturdy handle that is far enough away from the body of the pot to eliminate accidental burns.

The complaint most have with the percolator is that the water is too hot when it makes contact with the coffee. With a pour over coffee, you have some time for the coffee to cool before the pour. The result of percolated coffee is an inconsistent cup that can easily become overpowering with flavor. In my opinion, the fix is to simply add less coffee and it'll save you money in the long run.

A Brief History of the Percolator

The first percolator model was invented in 1814 by Sir Benjamin Thompson to simply supply the Bavarian Army with a quality stimulant. Thompson's model, however, did not include the central tube to recycle the boiled water. It wasn't until five years later in neighboring France that a tinsmith called Laurens improved the designed and made it capable of being heated on a stovetop.

In 1889, Illinois farmer Hanson Goodrich perfected what is to be known as the modern percolator. It used the down flow method and gravity to extract flavor from the beans, and Goodrich's model has not been adjusted drastically since.

The percolator rose to popularity in the 1970's, particularly for camping, as one could make coffee without electricity. It was ousted by the automatic drip coffeemaker, which was seen as a vast improvement over the manual coffeemaker. Building on that technology, most of today's models of percolators use electricity. Perhaps this is the best of manual and automatic in brewing the perfect cup of coffee? Only time will tell.

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Last updated on December 08, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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