7 Best Pour Over Coffee Makers (manual drippers)

Pour over coffee makers aren’t a novel invention, but they have been gaining traction recently in light of the third-wave coffee movement. If you’re new to pour over coffee, there’s a bit more of a process to it than just using a conventional coffee machine. For a full breakdown of how to make the perfect cup of pour over coffee, check out our article explaining the details. 

Making a perfect cup of coffee depends on many things [1] but the equipment is as important as ingredients and technique. Start with crystal clear water and solid beans, then take a look at the criteria in this article to pick the best pour over coffee maker for you.

Each pour over coffee maker is slightly different in what it offers and what it requires. To get started, take a look at this curated list of the best coffee makers available right now.

How to choose the the right coffee dripper

While it’s mostly agreed upon that an even extraction is the most important part of making great coffee [2], the best way to ensure that happens is to use the appropriate coffee maker. When choosing a coffee you’ll have to consider under what circumstances you’ll be brewing.

If you’re brewing at home, you can go for something a little bigger and more involved. If you intend to take your coffee maker on the road, you’ll need it to be more compact. Similarly, think about how much coffee you’ll be making. If you have to go through several brews to satisfy demand, it’s probably better to buy something bigger.

Stick to the basics when traveling, but when it comes to your kitchen, invest in something functional and beautiful.

Both of these points tie into what the coffee maker is made of. Ceramic, plastic, and metal are all great choices, but each has its pros and cons. Below is an overview of all these characteristics.

Where Are You Brewing?

The first thing you need to ask yourself is how often you’ll be brewing coffee on the go. Most of us do our brewing in the kitchen, which is the ideal circumstance and you won’t need to worry about portability. In general, pour over coffee makers are pretty portable themselves, but some are better suited for travel than others.

If you’re going to be taking your brewer on the road, you should consider a more durable material, so choose metal or plastic over ceramic pour over coffee drippers. Also, consider all the additional accessories that you’ll need for the brewing, such as a gooseneck kettle for boiling water, coffee grinders, and filters. In general, simpler is better for the nomadic brewer, so keep your eye out for the no-frills options on the list.

How Much Are You Brewing?

The last thing you want is to spend an hour making enough coffee for everyone, so think about how much coffee you’ll be making on average. There’s a lot of merit to getting a single-serve pour over coffee dripper – especially if you’re going to travel with it – but it’s folly to buy one for a family of four. Most coffee drippers will have a variety of sizes; to be on the safe side, think of the average amount of coffee you’ll make and buy the next size up.

It’s better to be safe than sorry. You can always make less coffee in a bigger dripper.

If you’re brewing large batches, consider brewing into a thermal carafe that will retain heat.

Are You an Occasional Coffee Drinker or an Aspiring Javaphile? 

Some coffee drippers are more involved than others. There are many features that are designed to provide customization options for your brew. Consider the following components and features when choosing a pour over dripper: 

  • The filter material [3] — Many drippers use special filters, some others are able to receive any kind of filter, while a few have a built-in filter removing the choice altogether. A paper filter is generally thought to produce clear and crisp coffee and reduce cleanup time substantially. Cloth filters take the most effort to clean but are the best at allowing the coffee flavors to shine through. Finally, metal filters make the boldest brew and require moderate cleaning.
  • Distribution and size of the holes — The more holes a dripper has, the faster it will drain. Fast-draining drippers are a bit more challenging to use, so if you’re just getting started, pick one with low hole density as it will allow for a more steady pour.
  • Single wall or insulated — Insulated and double-walled pour over brewers tend to be better at sequestering heat, which allows you to emphasize certain flavors with your pour technique. However, they tend to be a little pricier and don’t make that much of a difference for most folks.

Of course, don’t forget to get some high-quality coffee beans. It would be a shame to invest in the best and most expensive dripper there is and use mediocre beans. A stand for your dripper is a bit of an upmarket addition to your setup, but some people swear by it and its flavor-enhancing properties.

Pour Over Coffee Maker Reviews

The pour over coffee train is showing no signs of slowing down as more drippers are released on a regular basis. Some are just not meant to be, but you can’t go wrong with any of the ones on this list.

1. Hario V60 – the most popular among coffee shops

Hario V60

Specifications

  • Material options: Ceramic, glass, metal, plastic – not insulated
  • Available in 1-2, 4, and 7 cup sizes
  • Filter: Proprietary design
  • Hole distribution: Single hole

It’s no surprise that Japanese culture has taken to coffee so enthusiastically given their storied relationship with brewed beverages. It’s also no surprise that they have applied their famed methodical perfectionism to the dripper-making process. No list of coffee drippers would be complete without the Hario V60 ceramic dripper. 

The design of this coffee dripper hasn’t changed since it was released in 2014 and it’s easy to see why. As far as ceramic pour over coffee makers go, this one is considered the gold standard.

To get the most out of this dripper you’ll need to follow a pretty involved routine, so you should be willing to invest some time and effort to get it right – but almost everyone agrees it’s worth it.

Its most popular iteration is the 1-2 cup size, but it’s also available in 4 and 7 cup sizes. The smallest variation is portable, especially if you buy the plastic or metal versions. The V60 ceramic coffee maker is available in black, brown, and white.

Best suited for people who have used entry level pour over coffee makers and are ready for the next step will enjoy this dripper.

2. Chemex Classic Series – The Perfect Marriage of Style and Function

Chemex Classic Series

Specifications

  • Material options: Only glass – partially insulated by wooden grip
  • Available in 3, 6, 8, and 10 cup sizes
  • Filter: Proprietary design
  • Hole distribution: Single hole

The design of this coffeemaker hasn’t changed much since it was first sold in 1941. The beauty of its design belies its simplicity and efficiency. The Chemex Classic is a combination dripper and carafe, making it extremely practical, but its timeless design is the most salient feature. Selected by the Illinois Institute of Technology as one of the 100 best-designed products of modern times [4], it makes a wonderful aesthetic addition to any kitchen. 

The Chemex Classic is designed to be used with Chemex’s specially made bonded filters which are thick and aggressively bind to coffee particles. These filters produce an exceptionally smooth coffee and allow the natural flavors of the bean to shine through. If you’re concerned about getting something that will mesh with your decor, this is the coffee dripper you want. 

It’s on the pricier end of the coffee dripper spectrum, but you should consider that you don’t have to make an additional investment in the carafe. It comes in various sizes accommodating 3, 6, 8, and 10 five-ounce cups (the most popular dripper Chemex makes is the 8-cup size). It’s fairly large and made of borosilicate glass, so don’t expect to carry it around much – this one is meant for the kitchen. If you’re interested in learning more, you can read our full review.

Best suited for people who are looking for something functional yet stylish for home use.

3. OXO BREW Single Serve Pour Over Coffee Dripper – The Practical One

OXO Brew Single Serve Pour Over Coffee Dripper

Specifications

  • Material options: Only plastic – insulated
  • One size, up to 12 ounces of water
  • Filter: Standard #2 filter
  • Hole distribution: 8 slow-drip holes

Since its establishment, OXO has made it their mission to identify pain points in everyday objects and design products to address them. This hasn’t always resulted in the best looking products, but they’re certainly high-quality and practical options. The OXO BREW is no different, it may not be a looker with its plastic construction and stark white color, but it delivers a consistent cup of coffee every time without much fuss. 

One of the things that discourage people from pour over coffee drippers is that the drippers can be a bit finicky. To address this, OXO created this single-serve dripper with a self-regulating coffee drip tank that controls the flow of water onto the ground coffee. The tank is clearly labeled with measurement markings so you always know how much water you’re using. It also features a precisely designed hole pattern that always dispenses hot water evenly and consistently. 

It has a lower lip that allows it to be placed securely over a variety of mugs, thus eliminating the need for a glass carafe. The OXO BREW is the best choice for beginners who want to see what all the fuss is about and it’s not a bad choice for the experienced maker without a lot of patience. 

It’s only available in one color and size, which is a shame, but the plastic construction makes it very suitable for travel. It’s also very affordable, so if you love it, you can always graduate to something more ostentatious.

Best suited for anyone looking to enter the world of pour over coffee drippers without any guesswork.

4. Clever Coffee Dripper – The Hybrid

Clever Coffee Dripper

Specifications

  • Material options: Only plastic – not insulated
  • Available in 2 and 4 cup sizes
  • Filter: Standard #2 (2-cup variant) and #4 (4-cup variant) filters
  • Hole distribution: Single hole with valve

The Clever dripper bills itself as a cross between a French press and a drip coffee maker. The claim is that this dripper combines the best of both worlds and retains none of the drawbacks. If you’re trying to conjure an image of a French press coffee dripping, don’t – this looks just like a regular pour over coffee maker.

The main advantage of this dripper is a valve mechanism that opens when it’s placed on the coffee vessel. Until you place the dripper on a mug, the coffee and water remain securely in the cone. This allows you to take your time and removes any worry that you’re pouring too fast or too slowly. Controlling the steeping time is a great boon for experienced users who like to allow for deep flavor compounds to extract completely.

This dripper is not overly imposing but doesn’t suffer in the looks department either. Overall, this is a great addition to your gear even if you have both a French press and a pour over dripper.

It’s only available in a plastic construction, but it’s surprisingly becoming. The handle attractively accents the dripper, and the overall design is plain but pleasing. It comes in two sizes: 18 ounces and 11 ounces. The 11-ounce size is good for travel and it uses standard filters. It’s very easy to use but difficult to master as the steep timing can drastically alter the flavor of your brew.

Best suited for people who aren’t fans of babysitting their pour over too much – the unique valve design allows you to “set it and forget it.” 

5. Osaka Pour Over Coffee Maker – Made by and for Coffee Lovers

Osaka Pour Over Coffee Maker

Specifications

  • Material options: Only glass – partially insulated by neoprene grip
  • Available in one size, about 6 cups
  • Filter: Proprietary design
  • Hole distribution: Single hole

Osaka and the products it makes are the brainchildren of coffee enthusiasts who wanted to share their love for coffee. The Osaka pour over coffee maker is maybe their crowning achievement.

From a design standpoint, it slightly resembles the Chemex Classic, but it features something very different. Unlike the Chemex, the Osaka features a proprietary steel filter and a neoprene grip as opposed to the wooden grip on the Chemex. The mesh filter is very easy to clean and use, and the coffee it makes is phenomenal by all accounts. 

Osaka’s dripper is made out of glass and can be used to reheat coffee on a stove at very low heat, but it doesn’t resist open flame. The folks at Osaka swear by their reusable filters, claiming that the curved pattern of the mesh avails the resulting brew of much more flavor and richness. The hourglass design, the laser cut filter, and the grip all work very well together to make a great looking coffee dripper.

Best suited for fans of great looking kitchenware and people who want to stop using paper filters.

6. Melitta Single Cup Pour-Over Brewer – best budget dripper

Melitta Single Cup Pour-Over Brewer

Specifications

  • Material options: Ceramic, plastic, and glass – not insulated
  • Available in one size, single serve
  • Filter: Standard #2 filter
  • Hole distribution: single slow-drip hole

The definition of no-frills pour over coffee maker, this little contraption removes all the hassle out of pour over coffee. It’s a very simplistic design that comes at a very reasonable price point and delivers decent coffee – what more can you ask for?

There’s not much to think about with the Melitta dripper. It’s compact and easy to use; all you need to do is put in a standard filter, add your grounds, and pour the water. The convenience comes at a small price, which is that there’s not much control going on – you’re at the whim of the dripper.

This plastic model is a great option for all sorts of travel. It is light and easy to carry, plus you don’t have to worry about breaking it.

There is a small downside which is the lack of reusable filters. You’re stuck using paper filters which isn’t the end of the world, but the quality of your coffee will suffer. This is the ideal candidate for a quick and easy brew at an extremely reasonable price. The Melitta single serve is available in black and red.

Best suited for people who like their pour over coffee on the go. 

7. Kalita Wave – Best Overall

Kalita Wave

Specifications

  • Material options: Metal, glass, and ceramic – double-wall insulation
  • Available in 2 and 4 cup sizes
  • Filter: Proprietary design
  • Hole distribution: 3 medium-drip holes

This Japanese import is going to be your best friend if you’re in the market for an easy-to-use and efficient coffee dripper that won’t break the bank. At first blush, this may strike you as an entry-level dripper, but nothing could be further from the truth. The nuance and complexity that it’s capable of extracting will shock you. It’s designed for people who love pour over coffee but don’t always have the time or energy for the involved process of the complex drippers. 

There’s not a lot of fussing over pouring speed with the Kalita, as it has only three holes which always give the grounds the perfect time to steep. You’ll get an even, rich cup of coffee every time. The flat-bottomed shape receives a uniquely sized filter also made by Kalita, but reusable filters are available from third-party manufacturers. 

Not too much exists in the way of drawbacks. Kalita Wave drippers come in two sizes – the 155 which yields around two cups and the 185 which yields approximately four cups. They’re available in stainless steel, glass, and ceramic. The stainless steel is definitely going to be a little better to carry around with you, but they’re all fairly portable.

Best suited for anyone who loves pour over coffee. 

“You can take this Wave with you anywhere. You can take it camping, you can take it to the beach, you can take it on a plane… It can really, truly, go anywhere and it’s stainless steel, so it’s super-durable.”

– STUMPTOWN COFFEE ROASTERS

The Verdict

As you can see, there’s a good pour over coffee maker for everyone out there. All you’ve got to do is pick the one that best suits your needs. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of the coffee drippers from this article along with a brief summary of where their strengths lie.

  • Hario V60 – Best for experienced brewers
  • Chemex Classic – Best luxury coffee maker for large batches
  • OXO BREW – Best for novices
  • Clever Coffee Dripper – Best for people who want the French press taste from a pour over dripper
  • Osaka Pour Over Coffee Maker – Best for people who want to move away from paper and cloth filters
  • Melitta Single Cup Brewer – Best for no-frills coffee on the go
  • Kalita Wave – Best for travelers who don’t like a complicated pour over process

Keep in mind that these are just guidelines and that all these coffee makers are equally capable of producing a great brew. Think about your needs and use these reviews and summaries to help you pick one. If you want to see more coffee maker reviews from other categories, head to this page. Otherwise, head to our homepage to learn more about coffee

FAQs

1. Is pour over coffee stronger than drip coffee?

Pour over coffee is not necessarily stronger than drip coffee. The whole notion of pour over coffee is to allow you to take control of the characteristics of coffee you like most. With a little bit of experience, you will be able to tailor your brew exactly as you like it.

2. Why does pour over coffee taste better? 

Many say that pour over coffee tastes better because this coffee-making method gives you much more control over the whole process. There is no doubt that coffee brewed in pour over style is better than coffee from a keurig coffee makers like these. Having access to all the variables (e.g. temperature, drip speed, steeping time, etc.) allows users to adjust individual aspects of their brew to better suit their tastes. It takes some experimenting, but people often find that the result is more tailored to their palate.

Sources;

  1. Fuller, M., & Rao, N. Z. (2017, December). The Effect of Time, Roasting Temperature, and Grind Size on Caffeine and Chlorogenic Acid Concentrations in Cold Brew Coffee. Scientific Reports, 7(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-017-18247-4
  2. The Most Important Thing About Brewing Coffee. (2017, January 30). Retrieved August 1, 2019, from https://baristahustle.com/blog/the-most-important-thing-about-brewing-coffee/
  3. Chitharanjan, M. (2013, May 6). How Your Choice of Filter Affects the Taste of Your Coffee. Retrieved August 1, 2019, from https://bluetokaicoffee.com/blogs/blue-tokai-coffee-roasters/18103240-how-your-choice-of-filter-affects-the-taste-of-your-coffee
  4. CHEMEX® History. (n.d.). Retrieved August 12, 2019, from https://www.chemexcoffeemaker.com/gallery/album/history