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The Absolute Best Pour-Over Coffee Maker You Can Buy Right Now

updated Jul 16, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Loved by long-time coffee fanatics and those just getting into the stuff, pour-over coffee has a rich, robust taste that’s noticeably better than the stuff you’d get from a drip machine. It takes more hands-on effort, but there’s magic in every step—prepping the filter, blooming the grounds, slowly pouring the water, waiting for each drop, and enjoying the brew. For many, the act of manually brewing a cup of pour over is as much a meditation as it is a motivator to get on with the rest of the day. It’s a fun and surprisingly simple way (once you get the hang of it) to make sure you’re always drinking fresh, as-you-like-it coffee.

There are lots of pour-over brewers out there, though. In all sorts of shapes and designs. So I decided to do some testing. Okay, lots of testing. I got my hands on as many pour-over brewers as I could and then I put on my coffee-scented Testing Hat. After several weeks pouring over my pour-overs, I’m ready to share what I found! 

The Best Pour-Over Coffee Makers

The Tests

  • Brew hot tap water through each maker. I did this because some of the brewers in the lineup use proprietary filters. I wanted to test whether the filters themselves left behind any flavor. I also tested with a standard #4 paper cone filter, which can be found at any grocery store, in order to maintain consistency among the tests.
  • Pour a “blank” brew of hot water and time how long it takes to both add the water and for it to drain completely. This test is a significant way to gauge the brewing style that the maker calls for, such as whether to add all of the brewing water at once or in pulses, and offers information about calibrating the grind size. (If a brewer has a relatively long draining time, I would generally grind the coffee coarser to avoid clogging up the filter with waterlogged grounds.)
  • Brew a batch following the brewer’s instructions. 
  • Brew a batch using a standard coffee-to-water ratio: 1.63 grams of coffee per ounce of water.
  • Clean each grinder following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Why You Should Trust Us

For the past 21 years, I have been a journalist and a specialty-coffee professional, focusing on making great coffee more accessible to everyone. I was the director of education for the green-coffee importing company Cafe Imports and am the author of New York City Coffee: A Caffeinated History, and the host of the podcast In Good Taste. I have also tested cold brew coffee makers, French press coffee makers, coffee grinders, and home espresso machines for Kitchn.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

What To Consider When Buying a Pour-Over Brewer

How Much Coffee Do You Need?

The vast majority of pour-over brewers are on the smaller side, with a few notable exceptions: Chemex and Melitta both make larger models, for example. However, there’s small and then there’s small—some of the models I tested brew a maximum of 12 ounces, which is just about the size of one standard mug and not generally enough to share. If you’re the only coffee drinker in your household and you like to limit yourself to one cup at a time, a smaller brewer is worth considering; if you’re looking to brew 16 to 24 ounces of coffee, either for two people or simply because it’s going to be one of those days, you’ll want to check the listed maximum capacity. 

Credit: Ever Meister

How Is the Brewer Designed?

There is a seemingly endless list of variables to consider when comparing pour-over models, including:

  • Shape: Does it taper to a cone shape at the bottom, or does it have a flatter surface? Cone-shaped brewers typically require more control over the brewing water, which means you’d likely need a gooseneck kettle and a little practice to master your flow. Flat-bottom brewers can be used with either a gooseneck or a standard kettle (though you may still need some practice at first), but these can be harder to find filters for. 
  • Material: Glass, plastic, metal, ceramic—each one has its pros and cons. Glass has great insulation properties that will keep your brew hot, but it’s delicate and can break easily. Plastic doesn’t have the insulation chops, but it is practically indestructible. Metal is durable but more of a thermal conductor, transferring heat between surfaces that are different temperatures, which can create unpredictability in the brew. Ceramic holds heat well but can be heavy and somewhat bulky; it can also chip or crack if it’s mishandled. Most of these materials are easy to clean, with the exception of plastic, which can become stained or retain odors over time. 
  • The design of the inside: If you look inside a pour-over brewer, you can learn more about how it works and how you might need to dial-in your brew. Coffee drippers that are completely smooth inside, such as Chemex brewers, will typically have longer brewing and draining times, as the filter will cling to the walls of the glass and won’t allow any water or coffee to pass except through the bottom hole. Drippers with ridges inside—either straight or in a curved pattern—are designed to let some of the brewed coffee pass through the side and this speeds up the brew and drain time slightly. 
  • Drainage holes: Does the dripper have just one large hole at the bottom? Does it have a few small punctured holes in the bottom? Drippers with a single large hole may come with some specific instructions about how to pour the water onto the coffee in order to control and modulate the flow. Drippers with one or several small puncture holes will drain somewhat differently, more like the filter basket on an automatic drip brewer, and may be able to accept more water at once.
  • Filters: Does the brewer call for special filters, or are they easily purchased at a grocery store? Some manufacturers use proprietary filters that need to be ordered or bought from a specialized café or shop; others can be picked up anywhere coffee is sold. 
Credit: Ever Meister

How Much Time Do You Have?

One of the reasons people are intimidated by pour-over coffee is that it often requires more active time than the push-button action of an automatic brewer. On the other hand, many folks love the slow-down time involved in making pour-over coffee and come to relish it as a respite within a busy day. 

Some brewers require more close attention than others—some can handle the brewing water being added in one fell swoop, while others require a slow and steady pour for the duration. So you’ll want to evaluate your relationship with the clock before you pick your pour-over brewer. 

What’s Your Budget?

One of the best things about these brewers is that they tend to be very affordable. There aren’t any electronic doodads or fancy features that drive up the price, and even the ones that require proprietary filters don’t cost too much to keep stocked. That said, there’s still a wide range of price points for these brewers, and I’ve seen pour-over drippers with stickers more than $100 on the market. The models I tested range from around $12 up to $44, and that represents a more normal spectrum for manual drip brewers. 

What We Look for in a Pour-Over Brewer

I judged all of the pour-over brewers on the following criteria, on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the worst and 5 being the best): 

  • Filter: Did the filter leave a flavor, odor, or color in a controlled blank brew? 
  • Ease of use: How easy was the brewer to use based on the instructions? 
  • Extraction: From brew to brew, was the extraction rate consistent and controllable?
  • Brew Time: How easy was it to achieve a brewing time of 3-5 minutes? 
  • Flavor: How did the coffee taste?
  • Cleanup: How easy was it to clean the brewer?  

Best Overall: Kalita Wave 185

With its sturdy stainless-steel body, flat bottom for forgiving brewing, and elegant wave-shaped filters, this pour-over dripper is perfect for coffee lovers across the whole spectrum of experience and obsession: Whether you’re a casual once-a-day drinker or a serial single-origin seeker, the Kalita Wave produces the best extraction results across the board. The Wave and its filters are designed to keep the bed of ground coffee relatively still and even across the bottom of the brewer, allowing a reservoir of water to build up on top instead of immediately trickling through. This reservoir absorbs allows the water to pass through the grounds uniformly, which yields a spot-on extraction with almost no effort. That makes this brewer ideal for coffee drinkers of all levels. Added bonus: Its metal body is easy to clean and won’t break if you drop it in the sink. 

Specifications

  • Material: Stainless steel, glass, or ceramic with plastic handle
  • Capacity: 26 ounces
  • Shape: Flat bottom
  • Filters: Proprietary Wave filters
  • Drainage holes: 3
  • Weight: 5.1 ounces

Rating Criteria

  • Filter: 4.5
  • Ease of use: 4.5
  • Extraction: 4.5
  • Brew Time: 5
  • Flavor: 4.5
  • Cleanup: 4.5

Who it’s best for: Anyone who wants easy-to-make, delicious pour-over coffee in a sturdy but attractive dripper cone.  
Good to know: Filters for these brewers are harder to find at in-person shops, but they can easily be ordered online


Melitta is the first name in pour-over brewers—literally, as the company is named for its founder, Melitta Bentz, who invented the paper coffee filter in the early 20th century. The company’s Signature Series Pour-Over Brewer features its classic cone-shaped design in molded plastic, so it’s lightweight, tough and inexpensive. While it’s sold as a “1-cup” model, this cone dripper is big enough to hold 50 grams of ground coffee, capable of brewing about a liter’s worth of liquid if you take care not to overflow the filter. This model can be used with any #4 paper cone filter, either Melitta brand or otherwise.

Specifications

  • Material: Plastic
  • Capacity: Can brew up to 30 ounces
  • Shape: Cone-shaped bottom
  • Filters: Melitta brand or generic cone-shaped #4
  • Drainage holes: 1
  • Weight: 7.4 ounces

Rating Criteria

  • Filter: 4 
  • Ease of use: 4
  • Extraction: 3.5
  • Brew Time: 4 
  • Flavor: 3.5
  • Cleanup: 5

Who it’s best for: Anyone just starting out on a pour-over journey or looking for an inexpensive option.
Good to know: Melitta also makes pour-over brewers of the same shape in a variety of sizes and materials, and most of them are on the inexpensive side.


One of the limitations of pour-over coffee is that most brewers are designed for small batches only, typically maxing out at 12 to 20 ounces. When you need to brew for a bunch, this large-scale Melitta brewer does the trick. Its design is identical to smaller Melitta models (see above) but scaled up to hold more ground coffee as well as more brewing water at one time. The carafe can catch 52 ounces of brewed coffee, or about six 8-ounce mugs worth.

Specifications

  • Material: Plastic brewer with glass carafe
  • Capacity: 52 ounces
  • Shape: Cone-shaped bottom
  • Filters: Melitta brand or generic cone-shaped #6
  • Drainage holes: 1
  • Weight: 1.4 pounds with carafe

Rating Criteria

  • Filter: 4
  • Ease of use: 4
  • Extraction: 3.5
  • Brew Time: 3.5
  • Flavor: 4
  • Cleanup: 4 

Who it’s best for: Folks with big coffee-drinking families or anyone who wants to be able to serve pour over while entertaining.
Good to know: While #2 and #4 filters are typically available in any grocery store, #6 size might be a bit harder to track down.  Of course, there’s always online shopping.


If you think pour-over brewing sounds like a painstakingly slow process that requires a lot of advanced knowledge, this brewer is the one to prove you wrong. OXO’s single serve pour-over brewer comes with a water-dispersion tank that helps make every extraction easy and hands-off while maintaining quality in the cup. The base of the brewer is similar to a Melitta in shape and design, with a tapered cone-shaped bottom that snugly fits #4 paper filters. With this tool, though, you can add all of ground coffee, place the tank on top of the cone, and pour all of your brewing water in at once. The water tank has eight holes in an evenly spaced circular pattern at its base, through which your brew water drips at a steady pace, fully saturating the coffee grounds. You can set it and walk away to do something else while it brews.

Specifications

  • Material: Plastic
  • Capacity: 12 ounces
  • Shape: Cone-shaped bottom
  • Filters: Brand-name or generic #4 cone-shaped filters
  • Drainage holes: 1
  • Weight: 7.7 ounces

Rating Criteria

  • Filter: 4
  • Ease of use: 5 
  • Extraction: 3
  • Brew Time: 3
  • Flavor: 3.5
  • Cleanup: 4

Who it’s best for: Anyone who wants the flavor and convenience of pour-over coffee without always having to spend a lot of active time to achieve it. 
Good to know: This brewer can also be used without the water tank, and functions as any smaller-size cone-shaped dripper would. While the water tank includes measurement lines intended to make it easy to add the right amount of water to your batch, I still recommend pre-measuring your water: Because liquid will start to immediately drain out as you add it, it is very difficult to get an accurate reading using the lines and numbers.

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We will do our homework, going wildly in depth with our testing. But we condense the info into easy, breezy summaries so that you can see what we picked and why, then move on with your life. Because we know you’re busy!

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