If you're interested in manual brewing and want to find the best pour-over coffee maker, you've come to the right place. No matter how many super automatics and espresso machines I've got sitting in the Coffeeness office, I always prepare my first cup of coffee by hand.
If you’re interested in manual brewing and want to find the best pour-over coffee maker, you’ve come to the right place. No matter how many super automatics and espresso machines I’ve got sitting in the Coffeeness office, I always prepare my first cup of coffee by hand.
For me, there’s just nothing quite as satisfying as grinding fresh coffee beans, boiling water and focusing on my pouring technique. I guess it’s a slow, soothing way to start the day.
In this guide, I’ll help you find the best pour-over coffee maker for your needs. I’ve selected eight of my favorites, ranging from simple classics to hybrid devices. I’ll also give you some advice on what equipment you’ll need to start brewing delicious and consistent pour-over coffee.
Table of Contents
- Pour-Over Coffee
- How to ChooseSize and ShapeMaterialPortabilityFiltersOther Considerations
- 8 Best Pour-Over Coffee MakersHario V60Chemex 8-Cup Coffee MakerKalita Wave 185Blue Bottle Pour Over DripperHario Woodneck Drip PotClever Coffee DripperOXO Brew Pour Over Coffee MakerHario V60 Mugen
- Additional Equipment
- Decision Time
Best Pour-Over Coffee Maker at a Glance
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick look at the best pour-over coffee makers I’ll be discussing today:
Pour-Over Coffee: What’s the Big Deal?
With all the hype surrounding pour-over coffee these days, you might wonder whether this manual brewing method is really all it’s cracked up to be.
And the answer is, yes, it is.
Sure, I admit to getting pretty annoyed by all the hipster posturing and elitist snobbery that this manual method incites. But after all, the fact remains that pour-over coffee makers have been around for a long time — and for good reason.
Those who try a well-prepared cup of pour-over coffee for the first time are often blown away by how much they can actually taste.
Pour-over coffee made with freshly ground, high-quality beans reveals a depth of flavor that most other brewing methods simply can’t achieve. Not only that, but the coffee continues to become more complex as it cools.
That said, let’s take a look at the advantages of the pour-over method:
Produces consistent coffee that’s clean, well-balanced and complex.
Drippers are usually very affordable.
Suitable for travel or camping — most drippers are portable, and you don’t need electricity to use them.
Drippers come in a variety of different shapes and sizes.
If you’ve ever ordered a cup of pour-over coffee from a third wave coffee shop, you’d be forgiven for finding the whole process rather intimidating. The barista stands at the slow bar and conjures up your coffee, concentrating with all their might while conducting what appears to be a science experiment.
I’ll let you in on a secret: that’s all just for show.
While it does take practice to achieve great results from a pour-over coffee dripper, it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it.
That said, there are some disadvantages:
You’ll need to invest time in developing your pour-over technique to get consistent results.
You might need to invest in additional equipment (if you don’t already own it) to make pour-over properly.
How to Choose a Pour-Over Coffee Maker
If you’ve already started looking for the best pour-over coffee maker, you’ll know how flooded the market is. Seriously, manual brewing is big business, and everyone seems to want a piece of the pie.
With that said, not all drippers are created equal, so it’s a good idea to narrow things down. I go into great detail about what to look for in my pour-over preparation guide. Still, here are a few things to consider as you’re trying to decide on the right dripper for your needs.
Size and Shape
Pour-over coffee makers come in a variety of sizes, ranging from mini drippers to larger capacity pots. With that in mind, you should think carefully about how much coffee you’ll need to prepare at a time.
Trust me, making coffee for a large group when all you’ve got is a single-cup dripper can quickly get tiresome! Conversely, a larger coffee maker doesn’t always produce the best results when you’re trying to make just one cup.
There’s a lot of debate among highfalutin pour-over coffee drinkers as to which shape is superior. Essentially, this comes down to choosing between a conical or flat-bottomed dripper. In general, a flat-bottomed dripper is easier to use, while a conical model will produce the best results. Still, don’t quote me on that!
Depending on which pour-over coffee maker you’re interested in, you may have options. Personally, I’m a huge fan of ceramic drippers over glass or metal. And I feel like plastic drippers just don’t perform as well – they don’t retain heat and they’re hard to keep clean.
One of the best things about pour-over is that you don’t need electricity. That makes this brewing method ideal for camping trips or hotel rooms in “coffee deserts.” I just made that last phrase up, but you know what I mean, right?
Anyway, if you never travel without high-quality coffee beans, a compact pour-over dripper is the ideal way to make a cup of joe on the road. It’ll fit nicely in your backpack and keeping it clean is a breeze.
While all the pour-over coffee makers on my list are fairly inexpensive, the coffee filters they accept are sometimes pricey or hard to obtain.
Take the Chemex for example. The only filters that work with this coffee maker are produced by the manufacturer. Sure, they’re really high quality and integral to the flavor of the coffee you’ll get. Still, they’re notoriously expensive. There’s always the option to use a permanent mesh filter, but the cup results won’t be as good.
You might want to consider how much time and effort you’re willing to put into manual brewing. After all, some of the most highly regarded drippers require a level of patience and dedication that you might find overwhelming. Besides, do you really have half an hour to prepare expert-level coffee every morning?
As it happens, a new breed of automatic pour-over coffee machines has emerged to compete with traditional drippers. Seriously, check out my best drip coffee maker guide 2024 if you don’t believe me. Machines like the Ratio Six and Gevi 4 in 1 are capable of producing exceptional results with very little effort on your part.
Ultimately, I’d say an automatic pour-over maker is worth considering if you don’t mind spending more money.
The 8 Best Pour-Over Coffee Makers
Now that you’ve got a clearer idea of what to consider during your search for the best pour-over coffee maker, let’s take a look at my favorite drippers.
As you might have guessed, my kitchen is full of coffee making equipment. Still, I usually find myself reaching for my trusty Hario V60 when I’m in the mood for a cup of pour-over coffee.
In my opinion, this iconic Japanese dripper can’t be beat when you’re looking for a clean, complex cup of coffee. With that said, you’ll need to hone your pour-over technique to get the best out of the V60. Precision pouring is the name of the game here.
The Hario V60 comes in two sizes, but I always recommend the larger 02 version. It’ll give you way more flexibility. Costing just $24.81, the ceramic Hario V60 is the way to go, although I do like the copper, glass and stainless steel versions. With that said, I’d avoid the cheaper plastic dripper; it gets stained and doesn’t retain heat as well.
Thanks to its conical spiral design and special paper filters, the Hario V60 allows you to control flow rate perfectly. Once you’ve gotten used to using it, you’ll be able to produce spectacular results!
Chemex 8-Cup Coffee Maker
If you’re on the lookout for the best pour-over coffee maker for more than one cup at a time, consider the Chemex 8-Cup Coffee Maker. Seriously, this timeless classic not only looks beautiful, it’s capable of producing truly sublime coffee. In fact, I love this thing so much I’ve written an entire Chemex guide.
Made from borosilicate glass and looking like an escapee from a retro-futuristic science lab, the Chemex is definitely going to enhance your kitchen. Plus, at just $48.93, it’ll hardly break the bank. As for making coffee with the thing, it’s all about the manufacturer’s proprietary filters.
The double-bonded paper filters excel in reducing bitterness and controlling flow rate. The resulting coffee is clean, full bodied and quite unlike what you’ll get from any other coffee maker. By the way, Chemex filters aren’t cheap. In fact, some folks like to use a permanent filter instead. Still, you won’t get the same quality of coffee that way.
Kalita Wave 185
Along with the Hario V60, the Kalita Wave 185 is widely regarded as one of the best pour-over coffee makers of all time. In fact, I have to admit that this handsome devil is easier to get the hang of than the V60.
That’s because the Kalita Wave was designed to offer a simpler, less meticulous way to enjoy slow drip coffee. Thanks to its flat-bottomed shape and three-hole design, you just don’t have to spend as much time sweating the small stuff. Even with no scale and no gooseneck kettle, you’ll get consistent results. Essentially, the Kalita Wave is much more forgiving than other drippers.
With that said, I find the Kalita Wave 185 to be a little too small. When I’m using particularly gassy coffee beans, there’s always the risk of an overflow.
The classic stainless steel Kalita Wave 185 will set you back $39.98, which is quite steep for a simple dripper. Of course, you can spend a little less on the glass version. However, I’d worry about accidentally knocking that off my kitchen counter!
Blue Bottle Pour Over Dripper
The ceramic Blue Bottle Dripper is instantly recognizable, thanks to the Oakland-based company’s baby-blue logo on the side.
I have to say it looks really well-designed, but it’s on the thin side. And while I never worry about putting my Hario V60 in the dishwasher, I think I’d clean this dripper by hand. Carefully.
Like the Kalita Wave, the Blue Bottle Dripper features a flat-bottom design, but it only has one “precision nozzle” for the coffee to pass through. Still, the company claims to have spent a long time developing this thing, so they must have thought it out.
Although the Blue Bottle Coffee Dripper is an affordable $28.00 on amazon, a 30-count package of its proprietary bamboo filters costs an eyebrow-raising $6.00 on the Blue Bottle website.
With that said, I’ve heard that Kalita155 filters work just as well in this dripper and can even improve the taste of the coffee.
Hario Woodneck Drip Pot
Some folks might dismiss the Hario Woodneck as a second rate Chemex ripoff. However, this compact pour-over coffee maker has a lot to recommend it.
Sure, the Hario Woodneck features a glass beaker design and comes with a wood collar. However, what sets it apart is its unique cloth filter. Made from cotton flannel and featuring a useful handle, the filter comes with your purchase and can be used several times.
After that you can buy a 3-pack of filters for $10.75.
As with the Chemex coffee maker, using medium ground coffee will yield the best results from the Woodneck. Thanks to that cloth filter, you’ll end up with full-bodied and extremely complex coffee. What’s more, you won’t need to achieve Jedi barista status to brew with the Hario Woodneck – it’s remarkably easy to use.
The Hario Woodneck costs an entirely reasonable $31.70 on Amazon.
Clever Coffee Dripper
If you’re interested in pour-over coffee but don’t want to spend hours developing your technique, check out the Clever Dripper. With its conical shape and paper filters, this manual brewing device resembles a pour-over coffee maker but actually uses the immersion brewing method.
What makes this device so “clever” is the stopper valve in the bottom. You place a filter in the dripper, pour hot water over the coffee grounds and then leave the whole thing alone for a while. Once you set the Clever Coffee Dripper (carefully!) onto a cup or carafe, the valve opens automatically, and the coffee releases.
What sets the Clever Coffee Dripper apart from French press and other immersion methods is the use of paper filters. You can control the body of your coffee by varying the immersion time while still getting clean, pour-over-style coffee.
Costing just $36.99, the Clever Dripper offers an affordable and approachable alternative to other pour over coffee makers. I can definitely see why this thing is so darn popular.
OXO Brew Pour Over Coffee Maker
My inner coffee snob wasn’t too happy about adding the OXO Brew Pour Over Coffee Maker to this list. However, I’m fully aware that not everyone wants to stand over a dripper with a thermometer, timer and gooseneck kettle.
So, if you like the idea of adding coffee grounds and hot water then letting the dripper do the rest, this device might be for you.
I have to admit that the OXO Brew Pour Over Coffee Maker is really well designed. There’s a water tank at the top with a lid that retains heat. Different sized holes in the bottom control the water flow, and evenly disperse water over the bed of ground coffee below.
Sure, you’ll have no direct control over the brewing process, but using this thing is about as easy as it gets. Best of all, the OXO costs just $17.99. Plus, you can use Melitta #2 cone filters, which are cheap and readily available.
Hario V60 Mugen
While I’m of the opinion that the classic Hario V60 is the best pour-over coffee maker around, it can be challenging to use. Enter the Hario V60 Mugen, which is one of the Japanese manufacturer’s newest offerings.
Costing $19.45, the V60 Mugen is another affordable dripper that’s capable of producing stunning results. In fact, I’ve heard that coffee from the V60 Mugen is even cleaner and sweeter than from its sibling.
The Mugen has been designed with a smaller hole than the original V60, which helps slow down the flow rate. Plus, diamond patterned walls cut down on surface tension, resulting in a more steady flow overall.
The Hario V60 Mugen is mainly ceramic, although there’s a plastic heat-proof handle at the base. While this looks pretty cool, I’d prefer a traditional handle if it meant no plastic parts.
Additional Equipment for Pour-Over Coffee
Making pour-over essentially comes down to carefully pouring hot water over a bed of ground coffee. If that sounds straightforward it’s because it is!
But there is some additional equipment that’ll help you achieve the most consistent results possible.
If you don’t already own a good burr coffee grinder, you should definitely make getting one your number one priority in life. Seeing as pour-over coffee makers are so great for traveling, I find myself using my Comandante hand grinder even when I’m at home.
That said, if the thought of spending hundreds of dollars on a hand grinder makes your hair stand on end, check out my guide to the best manual coffee grinders. There are loads of very affordable hand grinders out there and I’ve listed the best of them in my guide.
You’re also going to need a kettle.
Listen, you can try to muddle through with a standard model, but I highly recommend investing in a pour-over kettle. You can decide on whether you want a stovetop or electric version, but what’s important is the gooseneck shape of the spout. It’ll allow you to pour slowly and evenly, which is essential. I love my Hario Buono coffee kettle and use it every day. Still, I’m seriously considering upgrading to the Fellow Stagg EKG Electric Kettle.
Finally, you can achieve excellent pour-over coffee without weighing anything, but you’ll add an extra element of control if you use a coffee scale. You can read all about making the move away from measuring spoons in my complete coffee scale guide.
I’m a diehard fan of manual brewing, so I’ve really enjoyed writing this guide for you. By now you will have probably realized that one dripper is never enough! Seriously, there’s nothing to stop you buying two or three. Then you can fully geek out and conduct pour-over experiments to your heart’s content.
People often ask me about the best coffee beans to use for pour-over. Well, in my opinion you should opt for light and fruity beans with a medium roast profile. Something from East Africa or Latin America will work nicely because you’ll be able to brew clean, medium-bodied coffee with an incredible depth of flavor.
What’s the best pour-over coffee maker in your opinion? Is there a dripper I’ve overlooked? I look forward to hearing about it!
Best Pour-Over Coffee Maker FAQ
Depending on the pour-over dripper you’re using, you’ll need to spend time honing your technique. However, it’s widely acknowledged that pour-over coffee makers produce the cleanest and most complex cup results.
The easiest pour-over coffee maker to use is probably the OXO Brew Pour Over Coffee Maker.
Choosing the best pour-over coffee maker isn’t easy, seeing as everyone has different preferences. Still, both the Hario V60 and the Kalita Wave 185 are among the most popular drippers.
In general, you’ll have more control over the extraction process when you’re making pour-over coffee. So, you can expect your coffee to taste superior to that produced by an automatic drip machine.