Last Updated 03-06-2020

7 Best Percolators 2020

Percolators and Moka pots are two terms which are usually interchanged quite a lot, but in actual fact, they are two very different items which work in slightly varying ways.

The big differences are that percolators have one chamber and an additional filter rather than three separate compartments, usually produce hotter and stronger coffee and offer larger quantities of coffee.

They saw a big decline in popularity in the latter part of last century and still aren’t too widely available, but are now on the rise again thanks to the recent trends in both shunning coffee shops for more personalised homemade brews and people preferring ‘staycations’ rather than holidays abroad.

You can choose from either stove top/range models which need to be sat on a hob or open flame, or an electric model. The former is the most traditional, but the latter offers more safety features.

If you have read our guide on the differences and know a percolator coffee pot is the appliance for you, then take a look at our best picks of those available.

Our Top Picks

Image Product Details
Dualit Cordless Coffee Percolator
  • Capacity: 1.5L
  • Power: Electric
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Farberware 47053 Stainless Steel Percolator
  • Capacity: 12 Cup
  • Power: Stovetop
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The Best Percolators

1.
Dualit Cordless Coffee Percolator

Specifications

  • Capacity: 1.5L
  • Power: Electric

Dualit is a well-respected brand when it comes to kitchen gadgets and appliances, so we had high hopes when we started to test this percolator.

With a classic design, this model doesn’t only look great but the coffee produced tastes great too. It can make up to 10 large or 12 small cups at any one time, and the stay warm function will keep any leftovers warm for up to 35 minutes with an auto-turn off feature.

The taste of the coffee after keeping it warm for half an hour was just the same as the freshly made stuff, so it is safe to say it prevents it from stewing or going bitter in this time. Leaving it for any longer does start to change the taste, but we think it is unlikely you will be letting it sit that long.

Other reviews seemed very hit and miss. It was either fabulous or didn’t produce strong enough coffee. The first few times we used it, the coffee was brilliant, strong and earthy and packed with flavour. After this, it did get weaker, but we realised the fine holes in the percolator fitting had got a bit blocked as we only gave it a quick rinse after every use. Once this was sorted, it was back to its old best.

As with all other percolators as well, the longer it heats, the stronger the coffee. This is something that people are usually a bit apprehensive about as it could be easy to damage the taste of the coffee, but there isn’t need to worry with this maker. As long as you follow the instructions and recommendations as well as practising a bit, you should be good.

It is also compatible with tea bags if you are one of those people who love to have both readily available for different occasions/moods/times of the day.

Reasons to Buy

  • Easy to clean thanks to concealed element
  • Cordless
  • Easy to handle and control

Reasons to Avoid

  • No way to see how much coffee/water is left in the device
  • Needs a bit more coffee than the guide suggests

2.
Farberware 47053 Stainless Steel Percolator

Specifications

  • Capacity: 12 Cup
  • Power: Stovetop

Both heavy duty for full practicality and polished to a high shine for an attractive finish, this is a brilliant percolator which can be used both home and away.

The clear glass knob at the top on the lid will allow you to see when the percolation begins, which is great if you don’t want it to boil a second too long which can damage the taste.

The interior material is non-reactive, which simply means it won’t absorb any of the flavours from the coffee or from washing up liquid when it is being cleaned. This will give you the best tasting cup of coffee each and every time.

When washing, it is fully immersible and dishwasher safe as well, so again can be used home and away. Faberware are a well trusted brand when it comes to this type of product, so if you love the idea of a percolator to achieve the best tasting coffee possible yet want something which isn’t just a fad, it could be worth paying the money for this brand and model.

Reasons to Buy

  • Many positive reviews show it is a well-received product
  • Great for camping
  • Easy to clean

Reasons to Avoid

  • Costs – slightly higher than some others (but the reliability is boosted with this)

3.
Gsi Outdoors Glacier Stainless Percolator

Specifications

  • Capacity: 1.8L
  • Power: Stovetop

Able to produce 12 cups of coffee and made from heavy gauge, hard wearing stainless steel, this is the perfect companion for any camping trips when you simply can’t be going without coffee.

The entire maker is made from stainless steel, including the inner basket and filter. So, unlike aluminium versions, there will be no wear over time or bad taste imparted into your coffee. Unlike glass versions, there is little chance of it becoming damaged or shattering.

It also means it can withstand the elements and a little bit of wear and tear, which is important if you are on the go and throwing everything into the car without a second thought. Also important it having a heat-resistant handle. You will be using this over an open flame if you take it camping, and the silicone handle stays cool to touch so you won’t struggle to take it off the heat or pour the coffee when ready.

The only part which isn’t made from stainless steel or silicone is the lid handle (or PercView dome as it is otherwise referred to). The Lexan® resin material makes it see-through, so you can see how the process is coming along and try to judge when it is ready. You can see the bubbling starting, and turn down the temperature accordingly. The percolating will begin to slow down once it is well-brewed.

It isn’t just a model to only take camping and make coffee that is sub-standard and will ‘make-do’ until you are back at home, though. If you are after a home percolator, it is well up to the task. The double layering of the filter keeps coffee granules at bay, but we’d recommend using a pretty coarse blend just to be safe.

Reasons to Buy

  • Feels incredibly sturdy
  • Can see the boiling process take place

Reasons to Avoid

  • The PercView dome needs screwing in and can be temperamental

4.
Quest 35200 Stainless Steel Cordless Electric Coffee Percolator

Specifications

  • Capacity: 1.5L
  • Power: Electric

With a tall, sleek shape, this percolator is a great pick for anybody with a smaller kitchen but who doesn’t want to go without good quality cups of coffee.

There are two indicator lights; a red one tells you when it is heating and boiling, and a green one lets you know when the coffee is ready to be served, taking the guesswork out of the entire operation.

Again, it sits on a corded 360° base, so it is easy to access and pop back on to keep warm. And there is the usual boil safe protection and overheat auto-switch off safety features so it won’t become damaged or do any damage should you forget to turn it off or fill it up enough.

Filling it with water is a bit of guesswork until you get used to the way that the percolator works. The level indicators on the inside of the body aren’t very clear so the first few batches of coffee may be a bit off your taste preferences. But it isn’t hard to get to grips with, and you quickly get used to being able to adapt the amounts as well.

Design-wise, it is pretty basic when compared to a few of the other models we have reviewed. It simply looks like a basic, tall kettle, which is fine but we can’t help thinking they could have done more.

The spout is also slightly tricky to get the coffee out of, as you have to tip it up a bit further than a lot of other models. Instructions are not the easiest to follow, but it is easy to get the general idea of how everything works pretty quickly.

Overall, it is one of the cheapest offerings available but this doesn’t make it any worse at making coffee, and the end taste is just as good as that from models twice the price. Worth the money if you are looking to spend under £50.

Reasons to Buy

  • Good sized handle to grip and lift the lid
  • Doesn’t seem to get marked easily

Reasons to Avoid

  • Design is basic

5.
Petromax Camping & Outdoor’s Emaille Kaffeekanne Coffee Percolator

Specifications

  • Capacity: 1.5L
  • Power: Stovetop

Available in white and black, this is a percolator mostly designed for use when camping but there is no reason why it can’t be used for those regular treat cups of coffee too. It will sit above most hobs, and the all-important camping stove or flame when camping too.

The enamelled lid and aluminium filter are great quality, and simple to keep clean. It will hold around 1.5 litres in total, which is plenty for a few cups of coffee if there is a group of you.

The handle gets very hot when in use so you will need a glove or cloth for the lifting, but it is relatively lightweight and simple to tilt and pour from.

Reasons to Buy

  • Strong materials and build
  • Perfect for travel

Reasons to Avoid

  • Arguably a bit pricey for what you get

6.
Elgento E011/MO 12 Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Percolator

Specifications

  • Capacity: 1.8L
  • Power: Electric

With one of the most generous capacity levels on offer, this particular coffee maker is the perfect percolator for larger households or those who like to entertain.

As it is cordless, once it has finished working its magic it can be taken off the base and moved to the dinner table for serving. It will make seven servings, and if there happens to be anything leftover, it can be kept warm until ready to go again.

The light on the base turns from red to green when it is at the perfect temperature, then when you lift it the light turns red again. Replacing it back onto the base sees it turn green only when the coffee is back up to the perfect temperature again.

The 360° base makes grabbing and lifting it a breeze, no matter where you are stood or whether you are right or left handed.

As with any device which will both keep the contents warm and boil water, there are some possible safety compromises, especially if it happens to be left to its own devices occasionally as you would expect to be able to. This Elgento model has boil-dry protection and an auto cut-off feature which will prevent it from getting too hot or being left on when you forgot to turn it off.

The style of this pick is also quite different to the others on offer. Taller, and with a more extended spout rather than just a pouring lip, it looks rather elegant. The handle also adds to the design but is even better at its primary function. Easy to grip and comfortable to hold, pouring from this item couldn’t be any easier. The liquid goes where you want it to go, without any spills or having to tilt it at a difficult angle.

Reasons to Buy

  • Keeps warm without over brewing
  • Light indicators make process clear

Reasons to Avoid

  • Inside basket feels a bit flimsy

7.
VonShef Espresso Maker

Specifications

  • Capacity: 350ml
  • Power: Stovetop

A percolator able to make up to six cups of coffee at any one time, this model is made from high-quality stainless steel so it will take an awful lot of use to make it look even slightly tarnished.

The black heat-resistant handle will come in handy when on the hob, especially if you have a gas flame which gives off a lot of heat. It will also sit on electric hobs, making it versatile. You get a stainless steel filter with the percolator, which is not only good quality but can be washed and reused as opposed to always buying new paper versions.

It is quite a compact shape and model despite being able to hold quite a bit of coffee. This is good for anyone who doesn’t really have much storage space but isn’t so great when it comes to cleaning as it can get a bit tight. The handle is also at quite a close angle to the metal pot which can be tricky to get used to. Nevertheless, it brews at a very nice temperature and is sturdy and well made – as you’d expect from VonShef.

Reasons to Buy

  • Great strong build
  • Suitable for all hob types

Reasons to Avoid

  • Difficult to clean by hand

Percolator Buying Guide

What is a coffee percolator?

A percolator is a method of preparing coffee, which requires either electricity or a heat source to work.

They are mostly used among campers and those wanting to prepare coffee outdoors because most do not require electricity and can offer a stronger, more intense flavour due to the continuous circulation method.

With the rise of the electric percolator came a fanbase of home-based users, too. A lot of people prefer them to other forms of coffee machine because the stronger taste is achievable, and they don’t require paper filters or and additional parts to work.

However, the invention of electric drip coffee machines did see their popularity decline in the 1980’s, and they aren’t as widely available today. But we love how they are a traditional nod to coffee making and are pretty easy to use too.

How percolators work and how to use them

Think of it as a combination of a Moka pot and a drip coffee maker. There is only one internal chamber as opposed to the three separate compartments in a Moka pot, plus a fitting which holds the coffee grounds and allows water to travel upwards through a vertical central straw/tube.

You fill the basket of the filter with the ground coffee of your choice, and then fill the main compartment with the required amount of water. Attach them both together and close the lid.

As the percolator starts to heat, the water begins to boil. This water, once at a particular point, rises up through the straw/tube and emerges through the top to spread over the lid.

This then ‘drips’ and percolates back down to the water chamber, passing through the coffee granules, where it heats again and repeatedly rises until you are happy with the strength of the coffee. The longer you keep it on the heat, the more cycles it will go through and the stronger the coffee will get.

Then, all you do is remove the basket filter, and it is ready to pour. The overall process usually takes around 5-10 minutes depending on your preferred tastes.

Electric or Stovetop?

Stovetop percolators were invented in the early 1800’s, and have been modified over the years to become the design we know today with rising boiling water rather than stewing the coffee.

Electrical percolators date back only to 1952 when Russell Hobbs invented the first model.

It all depends on what you’ll be using it for. Camping will obviously require a non-electric model, but if you want it solely for home use, we would actually recommend an electrical version. They have features like auto-cut off, keep warm and also let you know when the coffee is pretty much ready which takes out a lot of the guessing and observational work out of the equation.

Price

Non-electric models generally sit between £25 and £50, with electrical models often reaching closer to about £80.

FAQs

What coffee should I use with a percolator?

As with filter, drip and French Press style makers, it is necessary to use ground coffee.

The level of grind is important though, as unlike filter and most other coffee machines, a percolator just uses fine holes to pass the water and coffee through the filter basket, rather than fabric, mesh or paper. With too fine a blend, the grounds could just pass through the basket, so a coarse option is best.

Do percolators make weak/bitter coffee?

This is a long-held idea, but it is all in the technique.

A weak coffee suggests you aren’t giving the coffee enough cycles to brew. The longer it boils and passes through the grounds, the stronger it will get.

A bitter one, on the other hand, suggests you are passing it through too much and overboiling it. Bitter flavour compounds emerge and dissolve with longer time, so getting a good cup of coffee with a percolator is a fine balance.

The key is to not over-boil or under-boil, but the granules can sometimes make a big difference too so you may wish to change to another brand or consistency to see how the change makes a difference.

Watch out for the bubbles emerging (the ‘percs’). Once the first one arrives, the water is boiling so turn down the heat and aim for one perc every 3-5 seconds. Try to keep the pot at around 95°C, and keep it going for approximately one minute per cup being made.

These are general tips, but the truth is percolator coffee requires a lot of experimentation to get just right, so is not necessarily for those who want a quick cup of standard coffee in the morning.

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