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You don’t have to dough out a lot of money for an expensive espresso machine to get great-tasting coffee in your home. A simple and elegant solution is a pour-over coffee maker. Pour-over coffee makers are easy to use, affordable, and most important of all – allow you to create a cup of java that has all the notes and flavors that can be extracted from a good coffee bean.
With a little bit of skill, like knowing how to get the right water temperature and at what pace to pour the water over the coffee beans, you will be the composer of your own coffee symphony. Plus, you’ll always have control over how much coffee you want to make, and how strong you want the flavor. Of course, to get the most subtle flavors from this method, you’ll need to have the best pour-over coffee maker first.
Luckily, we’re here to help you find just that: the best pour-over coffee maker to buy in 2020. We scoured the market and rounded up the top four options for the perfect cup of joe. We reviewed them in detail so you know what to expect from performance, price, and maintenance.
Make sure you read our handy buying guide at the end of the article, where we’ve outlined some important factors you should consider when deciding which pour-over coffee maker is the best choice for you.
Best Pour-Over Coffee Makers
Before we get to our reviews, here’s a quick look at our top recommendations:
Best Overall: Kalita Wave 185 Pour-Over Coffee Dripper
The Kalita Wave 185 made it to the top of our list for its wonderful performance – it consistently makes flavorful coffee with detectable, intricate notes. The unique wave design and flat bottom allow for just the right amount of coffee to be extracted, to get a full-bodied cup of coffee. It’s a great choice for both professionals and beginners in the world of coffee-making, as getting a perfectly-balanced cup doesn’t require much technical know-how.
The Kalita Wave 185 features a smart design that allows it to consistently produce a flavorful cup of coffee. Cone drippers require carefully selected grounds and pouring skills to get a great cup of coffee, but this isn’t the case with the Kalita. The bottom of this dripper, where the coffee beans are placed, is flat, which gives more space for the water to drain while providing uniform extraction. Additionally, the bottom has three holes through which the water drips evenly.
The design of the Kalita makes it really easy to use. That’s why it’s a great choice for beginners, as they won’t have to time and measure the pouring of water to get great results.
But the great design doesn’t end with the dripper itself. The special Kalita filters that are to be used with the dipper have a patented wave design which minimizes the contact between the filters and the sides of the dripper, i.e. the brewing space. This creates a kind of a water pool on top of the bed of beans which helps maintain uniform extraction, preventing the possibility of a bitter-tasting outcome from over-extraction.
The Kalita is quite small, yet you can use it to make about three to four cups of coffee. You place the dripper over a cup or carafe and put between 26-45 grams of coffee (depending on how many cups you want to make). Then, you start with a single short pour to help the coffee bloom, and once the bubbles die down, you simply fill up the dripper to the top and wait for it to drain a couple of times until you have the desired amount of coffee. This means that although it won’t take up space in your cupboard – or backpack, it’s also a great portable option! – you’ll still be able to make enough coffee for the whole family.
Lastly, the Kalita is compatible with most cups and carafes. As the full length of the bottom is about 4-inches, you can easily place it on most regular containers without worrying about the coffee spilling over or the dripper sliding in.
To get the best results with the Kalita, you also need to purchase the wave-y Kalita filters. The drawback here is that they’re a bit pricier than other filters and not as easy to find in stores, so you’ll have to purchase them online.
Best for Pour Over Pros: Hario V60
The Hario V60 is a long-standing favorite for pour-over coffee lovers, and for good reason: it embodies everything a traditional pour-over coffee maker should be. The durable material and design of the dripper are ideal for getting that perfect cup of pour-over coffee. However, it’s not enough to have a great tool in your hands to create something beautiful: you need a master to get the best possible results. In this sense, the Hario V60 is a great choice for pros that are ready to spend the time required for a proper brewing cycle, doting over the dripper with a gooseneck kettle.
The Hario V60 is designed for a hands-on pour-over brewing experience. There’s a large, single hole at the bottom which means that the taste of your coffee will change based on how slowly or quickly you add water to the beans. If you enjoy those several meditative minutes measuring water temperature and then timing the pour, you’ll love the Hario, and what it has to offer. You can brew one to three cups with a single brewing cycle.
The Hario is also designed so as to give you the most flavorful cup of java. The conical shape will allow floral and fruity notes to be more detectable in your beverage, while the spiral ribs allow the coffee grounds to expand as the coffee is extracted.
Like the Kalita, the Hario also gives the best results with the same brand’s proprietary filters. However, they’re cheaper than the Kalita and also more widely available in coffee shops and stores.
The Hario offers great value for your money, as it’s quite affordable yet durable. The sturdy ceramic dripper retains heat so that by the end of the brewing process, your cup of joe will still be piping hot.
Last but certainly not least, the Hario boasts one of those simple, yet elegant looks that are hard to pass up on. True to form, it’s manufactured in Japan. In addition to ceramic, you can also get the Halio in a heat-resistant borosilicate glass design, which is the most beautiful, or in plastic, which is the best for traveling.
Filters other than the Hario filters designed for this pour-over coffee maker, don’t work with the V60 and often end up tearing at the bottom.
Most Eco-Friendly: LHS Paperless Pour-Over Coffee Dripper
The LHS pour-over coffee dripper is our favorite eco-friendly option as it doesn’t use any paper filters – the cone itself is the filter. And no, it won’t spill! If you don’t have the opportunity to compost, and you feel guilty every time you throw out a paper filter, the LHS is a sweet little environmentally-conscious option. The LHS is also the most budget-friendly pour-over coffee maker on our list.
The LHS is designed to bypass the needs of a paper filter. The cone is made of mesh stainless steel, which won’t allow coffee to drip from the sides. The base contains extra-fine wire mesh, which prevents much residue from ending up in your cup of coffee.
You can use the LHS as a reusable metal filter for an existing pour-over coffee maker, or as a standalone pour-over coffee maker. It comes with a wide, detachable metal base, i.e. cup stand, which fits over most regular-sized mugs or travel canteens.
The LHS is a great portable option. It’s quite lightweight and compact, measuring about 8 cm over 13.5 cm, so it can easily fit in your backpack. Plus, the stainless steel material is quite sturdy, so it won’t bend and get deformed while you’re traveling. You can make one to two cups of coffee at a time.
Lastly, the LHS is quite easy to clean and maintain. Once you’re done making your cup of coffee, you can just throw away the beans, rinse the filter, and wipe it. It comes with a little brush which you can use for more thorough occasional cleaning. Plus, the LHS is dishwasher-washable, so you can also just stick it on the top rack of your dishwasher.
While the LHS is made from stainless steel, its type of stainless steel alloy (18/8 grade) includes about 18% chromium and 8% nickel. While this is common in cookware and generally deemed safe, some people prefer 100% stainless steel. So if you’re in that category, this dripper may not be the best option for you.
Best Design: Hario Woodneck Drip Pot
We’re back to this Japanese manufacturer for the best designed pour-over coffee maker: the Hario Woodneck Drip Pot. The style is timeless, elegant, and slick – it will look beautiful in any home or office. But the Hario Woodneck is not just a pretty face – it uses a delicate cotton flannel cloth instead of regular filters to produce a rich, full-bodied cup of coffee. One downside of this pour-over coffee maker is that it’s quite pricey.
The Hario Woodneck Drip Pot is truly wonderful for coffee lovers that want to taste every last bit of what a coffee ground has to offer. The drip cloth has smaller holes than any metal or paper filters, so the coffee grounds get more extracted before the water passes through the mesh. It does take a bit longer than paper or reusable metal filters, but the resulting coffee is well worth an extra minute or two.
Rather than changing the taste of the coffee like some paper filters, the drip cloth allows intricate notes to dominate the taste of your cup of java. The slow extraction allows for the coffee oils to pass through to the end result, and aid in the creation of a rich, full flavor.
Much like the Hario V60, the Woodneck Drip Pot is also a great choice for hard-core pour-over coffee enthusiasts. The unique brewing process takes devotion to the method, time, and patience – but the delicious cup of coffee you get makes the effort negligible.
The Hario’s beautiful look is a combination of the woodneck glass pot, the featured filter with a wooden handle, and the delicate cotton flannel drip cloth. Together, they give this pour-over coffee maker a timeless, rustic look. You can choose from 240 ml or 480 ml-capacity options, and from dark wood and olive wood alternatives. The 240 ml is suitable for up to 2 cups, and the 480 ml is suitable for up to 4 cups.
Thanks to its reusable cloth filters, the Hario Woodneck is another eco-friendly option. The initial purchase comes with one drip cloth. Once it wears out, which should be about 6 months or so, you can order a set of three cloth filters.
The Hario Woodneck is the priciest option on our list, so it’s not a good idea if you’re on a budget.
Additionally, the glass is a bit fragile, so you’d best handle it with care.
Our overall favorite pour-over coffee maker is the Kalita Wave 185 Pour-Over Coffee Dripper for its consistently excellent performance in making a flavorful, rich cup of coffee. The Kalita Wave’s design makes it a very forgiving little tool, which makes it a great choice for beginners. Even if you don’t get everything right, your coffee will come out tasting pretty good! While the Kalita is reasonably priced at $26.98, one possible drawback is that the Kalita proprietary filters are a bit pricier than regular filters.
The best pour-over coffee maker for pour-over coffee aficionados is the Hario V60, as it will give you everything you need in order to get the most intricate, delicious cup of coffee. But this dripper isn’t as forgiving as the Kalita Wave – you’ll need to have the necessary skill and knowledge on how to create that perfect cup of coffee. The Hario also offers excellent value for your money, as all three options – plastic, glass, and ceramic – are durable and affordable. The plastic is the cheapest, the ceramic the priciest, at $25.02, while glass sits between the two.
Our favorite eco-friendly option is the LHS Paperless Pour-Over Coffee Dripper, as it doesn’t use any paper filters. Rather, the stainless steel which the dripper is made of contains mesh which functions as a filter. It’s also quite compact and lightweight, which makes it a great portable choice. The LHS pour-over coffee maker is the most budget-friendly option on the list (except for the Hario V60 plastic), costing $14.99.
The pour-over coffee maker with the most beautiful design is the Hario Woodneck Drip Pot. It has an elegant, classy look and it’s made of glass and wood. A lovely addition to this coffee maker is the cotton filter which is reusable. The tiny holes in the cloth allow for a beautifully extracted cup of coffee that emphasizes all the delicate notes contained in the coffee beans. However, the Woodneck Drip Pot is also the priciest recommendation on our list. The 240 ml versions are cheaper than the 480 ml versions. Out of the 480 ml pots, the olive wood one that we have featured in our review costs $54.99.
How to Choose the Right Pour-Over Coffee Maker
Alright, so now you know what the best pour-over coffee makers are on the market – but which one is the right choice for you? Here are some tips on what to look out for when choosing a pour-over coffee maker that will suit your needs and preferences.
What’s Your Skill Level?
As you may have realized, not all pour-over coffee makers are as forgiving as the Kalita Wave. Some, like the Hario options, require that you’ve familiarized yourself with the pour-over method quite well in order to get the optimal cup of coffee. Plus, if you’re already a pro, you may want to opt for a coffee maker that has the versatility necessary to allow you to adjust the brewing process to your taste.
Of course, you may also be willing to learn, so just think over how much effort you’re willing to put into coffee brewing before settling on a coffee maker for yourself.
What’s Your Desired Capacity?
The pour-over coffee makers on our list have different capacities when it comes to how many cups of coffee you can brew at a time. Check out how much each option can yield, and see if that suits the needs of your home or office.
What’s Your Budget?
In the conclusion, we tried to give you a general idea of how much each pour-over coffee maker costs, but you should still check their current prices on Amazon. In any case, you don’t need to pay a lot of money to get a great coffee maker. The Hario V60, for instance, is quite affordable and still yields wonderful results.
Are You Stationed, or on the Go?
If you want a pour-over coffee maker for your home, any of our recommendations will do. However, if you want something that you can take with you while traveling, you should look for an option that’s lightweight, compact, and not likely to break. The LHS and the Hario V60 plastic dripper are the best portable options and great camping companions.
What Accessories Does Your New Coffee Maker Need?
Some coffee makers don’t require much, other than a hot water source. Others, on the other hand, may require that you have a gooseneck kettle from which to slowly pour water in small quantities. Additionally, some drippers need specific paper filters, while others rely on reusability.
Check what your pour-over coffee maker of choice needs, and see if you have it. If not, think whether you’d be willing to invest in it.
How Much Time You Got?
Each coffee maker has a different brewing time. This is often based on how many drainage holes they have, and how dense the mesh of the dripper or filter is. Check how long the brewing process for each pour-over coffee maker is, and decide if you can fit it in your schedule.
How Does Pour-Over Coffee Taste?
The wonderful thing about pour-over coffee makers and the reason there’s such a thing is pour-over coffee die-hard fans, is that it has a very unique, flavorful taste. The slow extraction of the beans during the measured brewing process produces a clean, light, and well-balanced cup of coffee that has all the intricate high and low notes of the coffee bean.
This means that pour-over coffee will take your taste buds someplace new, allowing you to finally make sense of those descriptions that accompany coffee beans, like fruity or flowery. Essentially, pour-over coffee prevents over-extraction and bitterness, so you only get the crisp flavor of the coffee bean.
A Few Words Before You Go…
Hopefully, our recommendations and buying guide helped you find the right pour-over coffee maker for your needs, preferences, and taste. Make sure you follow the links to the products to check their current prices and find answers to any additional questions you may have about the material, warranty, or brewing process. Soon enough, you too will be enjoying your delicate cup of joe!
Want to see our favorite pour-over coffee makers one more time before you go? Here they are! Happy brewing!
Amazon product information last updated on March 24, 2022. Images, prices and links from Amazon Product Advertising API.