Best Coffee Percolator Under $50

What is a Percolator?

A percolator is made up of a pot, a stem/tube, a filter basket with a lid and a lid for the pot. There are stovetop as well as electric type of percolators. The mechanism of making coffee is pretty much the same and the only difference is the heating source (stovetop vs. electricity). Electric ones cost a bit more with the heating element and other design features.

The pot is made from either aluminum or stainless steel. Aluminum is one of the best heat conductive materials in cookware and stainless steel on the other hand is very durable with a beautiful mirror-finish. Stainless steel costs more to manufacture and is slightly more expensive to buy.

How Does it Work?

Coarse grounds are used in this method. Add fresh water, preferably filtered/spring water to the pot to the marked water line. Grind freshly roasted coffee and add some to the filter basket. Generally, for 8 ounces of water, a tablespoon is used. Cover the basket with the lid. Insert the filtered basket with the tube into the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and place it onto a stovetop burner. Turn the heat on “High”. In the case of an electric type, press the “on” button.

Water is heated and then the water from the bottom of the pot is forced up through the tube to the top where it splashes down onto the lid of the filter basket. The hot water soaks the coffee grounds and coffee flavor and aroma are extracted through this repeated cycles. It’s important not to over “perk” the coffee resulting in bitter coffee due to over-extraction. Depending on your heat source such as gas or electric, it takes about 8 minutes or so to brew a pot.

Cleaning

After brewing, dump the coffee ground from the filter basket and rinse everything in warm soapy water. Some parts are dishwasher-safe such as the pot and the lid. If there is anything plastic component such as the knob on top of the lid, remove it before placing it in the dishwasher. Only hand the electric one as the heat element is embedded in the base and immersing the pot in the water will destroy it.

Percolator Buying Guide

The first question you should ask yourself is how often you’d use the percolator and how much coffee you drink during any given day. This will determine the size of the pot. Bear in mind the cup size may be smaller than our perceived size at home. When in doubt, up the size.

The type of material of the pot and the filter basket is another important factor. Aluminum has better heat conductivity, lighter and cheaper but it also erodes over time when in contact with acidic food and beverage. Stainless steel conducts heat reasonably well and it’s very durable with low maintenance in cleaning.

Then come the ergonomic considerations such as how the handle is designed and how easy to pour the brew into a cup. Last concern is how much time to clean the unit.

Percolators are inexpensive. You can get a stovetop one for under $50 and electric one for $100. Here are a few best-selling models all under $50ish on Amazon:

faberware-yosemite-8-cup-stovetop-percolator

faberware-yosemite-8-cup-stovetop-percolator

Faberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite 8-Cup Coffee Percolator

This is the number one best-rated stovetop percolator on Amazon for very good reasons. First off, it’s so affordable just under $25. Made of stainless steel, it’s clean and has a mirror-finish. The 8-cup size is good for many people’s daily coffee consumption. Chances are it might be used more often on a camping trip.

This unit is dishwasher safe when removing the knob on the top lid. While the spout is easy for pouring coffee into a cup, the contour of the pot always leaves a little bit liquid due to the shape. It’s a little bit annoying when cleaning as you might have to use a dry cloth to wipe out the residue water.

Presto 02811-12 Cup Electric Coffee Percolator

presto-02812-12-cup-electric-percolator

presto-02812-12-cup-electric-percolator

The convenience of an electric coffee perk is that you don’t have to watch over the boiling water and time the brew. All the guesswork is taken out for you. The generous-sized pot lets you brew from 2 to 12 cups. Made also from stainless steel, it’s beautiful, durable and easy to clean. With the indicator light at the base, you’ll know for sure when the coffee is ready to serve.

It’s not dishwasher safe or immersible. Hand wash with warm and soapy water with a non-scratch pad or wash cloth.

The rate of brew is one minute per cup, slower than a drip coffee machine. Investing $50 or so in this perk, it will serve you many years to come.

west-bend-58030-30-cup-electric-perk

west-bend-58030-30-cup-electric-perk

West Bend 58030 12-30 Cup Automatic Party Perk

Whether it’s for a family holiday gathering or a high school reunion, this West Bend electric percolator is eager to please. It can brew up to 30 cups with a dripless faucet at the base. If you have a house party, brew a pot ahead of time as it takes 30 minutes to make a full pot.

The thoughtful features include heat-resistant lid, handles and filter basket. The twist-lock cover is so helpful to prevent accidental spillage.

Be prepared to spare some counter space to park this baby as it is measured as 15 by 9/12 inches in dimensions and pretty heavy to move once the pot is filled.

It costs less than $40 because it’s made of aluminum.

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