In a world full of coffeemakers—espressos, pour-overs and automated drip machines—why bother with French presses? Admittedly, they require a bit more active work than other models. Using them during your morning routine will generally involve water boiling, vigorous stirring, waiting, and plunging; not to mention ideally coarsely grinding your own beans. But for that satisfying taste and a barista-worthy cup of joe, many coffee enthusiasts will say, it’s hard to beat a French press.
So, which French press makes the best cup of coffee? After researching some of the most popular on the market, we narrowed our search and compared 19 of the best French presses by making nearly 200 cups of coffee. Our favorite? Espro P3(available at Amazon), because it’s able to effortlessly turn out sizable amounts of super-smooth java (and keep it hot for extended periods of time), at an extremely reasonable price.
These are the best French presses we tested ranked, in order:
Espro P3 French Press
SterlingPro SS Double Wall Cafetiere French Press
Espro P7 French Press
Veken French Press
Stanley Classic Stay Hot French Press
Timemore U French Press
Hario Double-Walled Glass Press
Kona French Press
OXO Venture French Press
Frieling 23 oz Stainless Steel French Press
Secura 8-Cup French Press Coffeemaker
Bonjour Ami Matin French Press
Bodum Brazil French Press
OXO Brew 8-Cup Easy Clean
Le Creuset 27oz Stoneware French Press
Bonjour Monet French Press
Cafe du Chateau French Press
Peugeot Paris Press
Bodum Chambord French Press
Like the P7 model we’ve tested, the Espro P3 produced the smoothest and most sediment-free coffee in our testing, thanks to the dual-filter system used in all Espro French presses. Once clipped together, the two filters are able to sieve out coffee grounds twice as efficiently as the single-filter French presses.
It’s relatively lightweight due to the plastic cage, which makes it easy to lift and pour. The cage is thoughtfully designed with a lock to keep the glass carafe and lid together in case transportation is necessary. The carafe boasts a 40-ounce capacity, which guarantees to yield at minimum 32-ounce brew.
Using German-made Schott-Duran glass for its carafe, the P3 is heat-resistant and exceptionally durable, just like the P7 but at a much lower price point. We were consistently impressed by the coffee it brewed and how effortless it was to use the plunger.
The only disadvantage of the dual-filter system is that it’s unlikely you’ll be able to froth milk in this press due to the design and shape of the filter. If you want to enjoy quality French press coffee with foamy milk, we recommend getting an electric milk frother or a frothing wand.
Receiving high marks across the board in our tests, SterlingPro's double-wall design provides excellent insulation, meaning the coffee stays hot, while the exterior of the unit remains cool to the touch.
The lid can also be spun around to seal off the pouring spout and hold in heat when not in use. The snugly fitting filter is equipped with double screens, preventing grounds from sneaking into your cup, and every part of the press is constructed from rust-free stainless steel.
It’s relatively lightweight for a metal model, and easy to operate, too; The lid fits tightly, and the plunger pushes down smoothly, without excess effort. It boasts an especially large capacity (holding about six cups of coffee, where the average in this size-class is four), is multi-use—good for making anything from cold brew to hot chocolate—and produces perfectly frothed milk in seconds.
However, it isn’t without flaws. The carafe is missing measurement marks, which makes it difficult to brew in various quantities, which is the main reason we knocked it down a spot in this round of testing.
I’m Sarah Zorn, and I’ve been a food writer and editor for almost 10 years. Like most busy professionals, I almost exclusively function on coffee. And testing 1-plus French presses almost allowed me to hit my daily quota of caffeine.
And I'm Valerie Li Stack, senior staff writer on the Kitchen and Cooking team at Reviewed. From moseying to 7-Eleven for a quick caffeine fix to traveling to Blue Mountain plantation in Jamaica, I’ve sampled coffee of many different origins and varieties. As an avid coffee and tea drinker, a day officially starts when I drink my first cup of coffee—whether it's a double shot of espresso or a pint of cold brew.
To find the best french presses, we made three separate batches of coffee in each machine, using the same method (3 cups boiling water to 1 tablespoon coarsely ground coffee. Combine in the canister, stir thoroughly, let sit for four minutes, and plunge). We assessed subjective questions, such as how easy it was to use the press and plunger, how comfortable it was to hold and lift the press when full, and how simple the press was to clean. We also addressed objective questions, including if there were any grinds in our coffee, the quality, build and durability of the press, whether there were visible measurement marks, if we had any safety concerns, and our overall experience with each unit. We also evaluated how easy it was to froth milk in each press, using the same method (heat 1 cup of milk for 40 seconds in the microwave, place in canister, and plunge 30 times).
What You Should Know About French Presses
Patented back in the 1920s, the current design hasn’t changed much over the years. Basically, French presses consist of a lidded canister (made of various materials), fitted with a retractable plunger equipped with metal or plastic filter. After sitting for four minutes or so in heated water (approximately 200 °F), the plunger is used to press and trap course grounds against the canister base, extracting flavor into the water that surrounds it, while the filters prevent spent grounds from escaping into your cup.
So why go the French press route? While paper filters used in other coffeemakers aid in cleanup, they also prevent the tastiest coffee bean oils and essences from making it into your mug. Other kinds of coffeemakers like percolators and drips operate in heat extremes—they come to a boiling point in minutes, then precipitously drop. The slow and steady nature of the French press is precisely what makes the most of the coffee beans; treating them like tea by allowing them to steep before sipping. And in addition to being pretty (and sounding fancy), French presses (known as cafetieres in Europe) actually come in a range of wallet-friendly prices. You can spend as little as $20 for a brewing machine that makes tasty coffee, takes up less counter space, and is more portable than percolators, pour-overs or drip hardware.
The primary factor that sets French presses apart from each other is what material they’re made from: stainless steel, glass, plastic, or stoneware/ceramic. So, it’s up to the purchaser to decide where their priorities lay when it comes to selecting one. (As is size. two, eight and 12-cup capacity are the most common).
Stainless steel has excellent heat retention and is generally the most durable. We’ve also found that it’s the best performer by far for frothing milk. Stainless-steel presses tend to be expensive though, are rather heavy, a touch less attractive, and you can’t actually see the coffee inside.
Glass is attractive and lightweight and generally doesn’t transmit off flavors to the coffee. Depending on the model, however, the outside of the carafe often gets hot to the touch, increasing the risk of scalding and burns. They also break easily. Look for models with an outer frame (either metal or plastic) that will help guard against burns and increase durability.
Plastic (it’s best to look for BPA-free) is inexpensive, lightweight and portable, making presses easy to take on trips or to the office. It doesn’t break as easily, but lower-priced models often aren’t made from especially durable parts, so the mechanisms can break down over time. Look for models with an outer frame (either metal or plastic) that will help guard against burns and increase durability.
Stoneware and ceramic looks beautiful in the kitchen, doesn’t transmit off-flavors, and has pretty good heat retention (although again, be careful of touching the carafe with your bare hands). It’s highly breakable though, and heavy, especially when full of coffee, so dropping could be disastrous. Stoneware/ceramic models also tend to be on the expensive side.
In addition to the materials the carafe is made of, it’s also important to assess the plunger, which is instrumental to using a French press. It should move up and down easily, and the filter should ideally be made of metal, not plastic, as it’s much more durable, and won’t corrode or bend (especially when put in the dishwasher) over time. Speaking of dishwashers, because of all their parts, French presses can be tricky to clean. So look for models that are dishwasher safe, or allow the filter to be separated from the plunger, so you can effectively remove the coffee grinds.
Other French Presses We Tested
Smoothest Cup of Coffee
Espro Press P7-32
Espro P7: Though amongst the more expensive models we evaluated, this beast of a machine is built to stand the test of time. Made from double-walled, vacuum insulated stainless steel, it kept our coffee piping hot, without leaching any of that heat to the outside carafe. And while escaped grounds can often be a downside of French presses, the Espro has a unique duel filtering system, that produced the smoothest java we tried. A pair of BPS and BPA-free micro filters come with a double-lip seal to prevent over-extraction, and unsavory grit from sliding into your cup.
Featuring the classic French press design, this highly-rated 34-ounce press looks similar to the Bodum Chambord but yielded a very different experience for our tester.
It’s sold in a set that includes a stirring spoon, a measuring spoon, a spare filter, a frothing wand, and a cleaning kit. For any budget-minded coffee enthusiasts, the Veken may be an attractive choice to get everything you’ll need at once.
The glass carafe is made of heat-resistant borosilicate glass, making it strong and durable.. There’s almost no plastic involved in this contraption, except the handle on the exterior, which has no contact with coffee.
This is a really great product for this price point, but we discovered a few flaws during testing. For example, the plunger was too stiff when we pressed it down to extract coffee. Though the brand claims its dual-filtration system is good at making sediment-free coffee, we found grounds in the coffee we made with this French press. Plus, the glass carafe can’t keep the coffee warm for an extended period of time, which isn’t great for slow drinkers.
The Stanley brand may be new to the world of coffee gadgetry, but its quality-made products are definitely worth checking out. Sturdily built with heavy-duty material, this sizeable French press is able to brew enough coffee for five to eight people.
The stainless steel mesh filter aims to keep coffee grounds out of your hot, tasty coffee (more on that later) while the vacuum insulation system ensures the temperature remains stable for hours to come. Its build quality convinced us that it’ll last most people a lifetime, even in the harshest of outdoor conditions.
The downside to its large capacity is how heavy this French press is, making it particularly hard to pour when filled with hot coffee. Though we like the construction of this press, the mesh filter wasn’t as efficient at keeping sediment out of coffee as the top-performing models. Additionally, we think Stanley can improve on its measurement markings, as they aren’t very visible.
We were impressed by the Timemore’s minimalist design. It doesn’t have a large capacity—it has an 18-ounce carafe—but that doesn’t mean it can’t brew tasty and smooth coffee.
In addition to the borosilicate glass carafe that is heat resistant up to 400°F, the plastic cage kept the coffee piping hot for hours during our testing. The super-fine stainless steel mesh filter also did a great job keeping the grounds out of the coffee.
We liked how easy it was to clean this press, too. The plastic cage can be easily removed and both the glass and plastic parts are dishwasher-safe. The glass carafe has markings that are visible both attached to the plastic wrap and on its own.
We recommend this French press for individuals who like to brew their coffee on the go, brewing up to two cups at a time. We liked the user-friendly experience when testing this beautiful press, but its small capacity means it’s not suitable for those looking to brew for a crowd.
The Hario French Press is attractive and sturdy. Equipped with two thick glass walls for better insulation and protection against heat, this press can sustain sudden temperature changes without burning your hands when you pick it up to pour coffee.
However, it falls short in terms of practicality. First, the removable wood collar that’s wrapped around the carafe is too loose for anyone to hold the carafe properly and comfortably. During testing, we struggled to pick it up with one hand because the collar kept wiggling, making it difficult to grip.
Though we like the dual-wall design, aimed to keep the brewing temperature consistent, we weren’t confident that its brewing capacity (13.5-ounces, less than half of the average presses) is what most people are looking for in a French press. Of all French presses we’ve tested, this Hario has the smallest capacity, which yields about one and a half cup.
Lastly, we were disappointed at how difficult it was to froth milk using this press, which is partly a design flaw. The top opening is narrow and taller than the lid, making it uncomfortable to lift the lid and push the plunger. The spout could also use some improvements—it spilled during our testing.
Overall, we think this French press will last you a while, but if you’re serious about French press coffee, there are many other models on the market that may better suit your needs.
For $20 at Amazon, you can’t ask more from a French press. Kona really delivers with their multi-material model, composed of an easy-on-the-eye, extra-thick borosilicate glass carafe (resistant to thermal shock) which is surrounded by a BPA-free plastic outer shell, that helps insulate and protect against chips and breaks. Those two pieces are fused, which means your hands won’t get scalded if the outer skeleton slips (that does make it slightly trickier to clean, but the whole thing is dishwasher safe). The Kona is light, with an ergonomic handle, tight-fitting lid and smooth-moving plunger, so it’s comfortable to use and hold. And the reusable filters are made of food-grade stainless steel instead of plastic (not often the case with less expensive, glass/plastic presses) that won’t transmit flavors, and are considerably longer lasting. But the thing that really set the Kona apart is its ability to quickly foam milk—something we found near impossible with plastic presses, and quite time consuming with glass.
Ideal for coffee on the go, OXO's feather-light Venture is crafted from shatterproof, BPA-free Tritan plastic, with a comfortable to hold handle and easy to depress plunger. The spout has a filter, which helps keep out stray grounds and prevents splashes. The entire unit is dishwasher safe, making it easy to clean. It's super affordable, but might not last for an especially long time, considering its silicone-ringed filters.
The gleaming Frieling has the benefit of excellent heat retention, thanks to the double-walled, durable, high-quality materials used. There’s little chance of escaped grounds, owing to a two-stage duel screened filtration system. All parts can be disassembled and put in the dishwasher for easy cleaning, and the model boasts a 5-year warranty against defects. The downsides are that it’s definitely heavy and somewhat pricey, and the plunger took a lot of muscle to press. So, while the foamed milk it produced was perfect, you’ll expend some energy getting there.
Comfortable to hold, seamless to use, affordably priced, dishwasher safe, shatter-free and BPA-free, Bonjour’s Ami Matin offers everything you’d expect of a plastic French press. And it even does your classic model one or two better, by coming in an array of colors, and with a filtering lid to reduce sediments, and a shut-off infuser that stops the brewing process and locks in flavor. It should be noted that there’s a decent amount of negative customer feedback, regarding long-term durability. And—like most plastic presses—it struck out big time when it came to frothing milk.
The benefit of the Brazil is that it’s made from a composite of materials, representing the best of each; a glass carafe for clean flavors and aesthetics, a BPA-free plastic lid, handle and base for comfort and durability, and a stainless-steel filter and plunger that won’t corrode over time. And they’re all dishwasher safe. Nevertheless, it’s important not to touch the carafe (as the heat bleeds through), it’s still subject to breaking, and it doesn’t have much in the way of a filtration system, like the aforementioned presses. There’s also no cover in front of the pouring spout, meaning the coffee quickly loses heat.
Café du Chateau French Press: The primary selling point here is a four-level filtration system, consisting of a pair of stainless-steel screens, a spring-loaded base that seals the edges during pressing, and a strainer in the lid, as a final defense against escaped grounds. Keep in mind that the outside—consisting of a glass canister with stainless steel exterior—gets plenty hot, so you’ll need to be careful when handling. Additionally, it only comes in one capacity (34-ounces), and all of those filters can be difficult to separate, and thus, to clean.
For a model that uses stainless steel in both exterior and interior construction, the price point for the Secura is surprisingly low. There’s a three-layer filter to guard against grounds, plus a bonus screen that can be stacked against that, to produce an even smoother cup. Detractors are that it’s definitely heavy when filled, and the lid didn’t sit perfectly flush against the carafe, making plunging very wiggly and difficult.
The most attractive model we tested by far (it’s Le Creuset after all), you won’t mind keeping this aesthetically pleasing press on the counter or bringing right to the table during dinners or parties. While most French presses come in basic black or stainless steel, you can choose from an array of colors like Provence Purple, Cherry Red, Soleil Yellow or Caribbean Blue, all of which are odor and stain resistant and dishwasher safe, with stainless steel plungers and presses. That said, these are very heavy, the carafe can get hot, and the lid tends to slip while pouring, leading to breakability and safety concerns.
Featuring a tempered glass body with a stainless-steel outer cage, this OXO entry produces a clean-tasting cup, that holds temperature well. That said, this was one of the rare instances where a few grounds found their way into our coffee. And despite efforts, the Easy Clean can actually be a headache to clean, as the grounds “lifter” (a sort of flat-bottomed ladle, that sits inside the carafe) tends to drip grit back into the unit when you attempt to raise it—or even more frustratingly—all over your counter or floor. And more parts to deal with means more parts to clean; a bummer, since handwashing is suggested.
Lightweight and nice-looking, the Chambord sports a classic French press construction, with a glass carafe and footed framed by a stainless-steel cage.
While you’ll find this product on many “best of” lists, we can’t say we’re believers in Bodum’s top-selling model. The glass carafe regularly slipped out of its (somewhat flimsy) steel skeleton, raising all manner of red flags as far as safety is concerned. We also noticed a crack in the glass carafe after first use.
And if you don’t realize that the shell to which the handle is attached has shifted around, you may find yourself pouring with the spout turned to the side, sending streams of hot coffee onto your arm instead of into your cup. The plunger also sits awkwardly inside of the carafe, further deducting points for ease of use.
Sarah Zorn is a food writer, cookbook author, and product tester for Reviewed, Wirecutter and the Food Network. She regularly contributes to outlets such as Saveur, Esquire, and Civil Eats, and has very much passed her food obsessions down, as her beloved rescue hound, Rowdy, regularly deglazes his kibble bowl.
Valerie Li Stack is a senior staff writer for Kitchen & Cooking. She is an experienced home cook with a passion for experimenting with the cuisines of countries she's visited. Driven by an interest in food science, Valerie approaches the culinary scene with a firm grasp of cooking processes and extensive knowledge of ingredients. She believes food speaks to all people regardless of language and cultural background.
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