Coffee percolators are not everyone’s cup of tea (no pun intended). Very popular until the 1970s, they lost popularity after automatic drip coffee makers were introduced. However, the “perk” brewing of a coffee percolator has its charm. And modern electric percolators have improved significantly, avoiding the “Boiled and spoiled” coffee frequently produced by older models. They can produce an outstanding flavor once you get the hang of it. Percolators are also the coffee maker of choice when you need to serve a large crowd, whether in a commercial environment (restaurant, banquet, etc.) or large social gathering (weddings, parties, etc.).
To simplify your shopping process, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 coffee percolator pots currently on the market. We evaluated them in terms of coffee brewing performance and ease of use, and provide our top choice across several likely situations. We hope that our reviews will help you find the best coffee percolator for your home or office.
Best Electric Coffee Percolator Pot
Presto 02811 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Percolator Pot
This 12-cup electric coffee percolator does exactly what you expect from it. It makes great and hot coffee in a matter of mere minutes after you put it on. The stainless steel construction makes it durable. It has an elegant, modern design. And the high-quality filter basket handles even large amounts of coffee grounds with ease.
- Flavorful brew every time
- Durable build
- Brews 1-12 cups (5-60oz) quickly
- Cord is short for banquet use (actual length: 24 inches)
- No power switch (need to plug/unplug)
The Presto 02811 is a great everyday coffee maker for any home or office kitchen. Furthermore, even if you’re not looking to make coffee for a whole team of people, one or two cups of coffee are usually done under 2 minutes, which makes it very quick.
Best Stovetop Coffee Percolator Pot
Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite 8-Cup Coffee Percolator
This stovetop coffee percolator from Farberware is made out of high-quality heavy-duty stainless steel that can handle a lot of use and abuse. It may not look as attractive as other coffee percolators, but it gets the job done, and for most of us who are looking for this kind of coffee maker that is all that counts.
- Heavy-duty material
- Non-reactive interior
- Dishwasher safe
- Design prevents complete pour draining of the percolator
The Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite 8-Cup Coffee Percolator looks rather plain, but what it lacks in style is compensated for by the efficiency of this model. The stovetop design allows it to extract more and richer flavors from the coffee grounds, a big plus for coffee lovers.
Best Coffee Percolators for Parties/Large Events
West Bend 58030 12-30 Cup Automatic Party Perk Coffee Urn
- Fully automated
- Brews quickly (1 cup per minute)
- Feels flimsy
The West Bend 58030 12-30 Automatic Party Perk Coffee Urn is an amazing machine that will make your life easier if you’re making coffee for a large group of people. With its simple design and functions, it is easily one of the best larger electric coffee percolators currently on the market.
Hamilton Beach D50065 Commercial 60-Cup Coffee Urn
Need to make coffee for an even bigger crowd? This is another big coffee percolator that made it on our list. This model has a more modern design that will fit in most contemporary kitchens and office environments, or at fancy social gatherings. It brews up to 60 cups of coffee with a brewing rate of approximately one cup a minute.
- Coffee is maintained at consistent temperature
- Beautiful design
- Water gauge cap can be tricky
- Thermostat may show errors after significant use
The Hamilton Beach D50065 Commercial 60-Cup Stainless-Steel Coffee Urn model is an elegant solution for your social gatherings, parties or any other type of environments that require a steady flow of high-quality coffee served.
West Bend 33600 100-Cup Coffee Maker
Serving coffee for a small army? This commercial coffee percolator offers a great design, high-quality brewing power and an efficient and stable construction. It can serve up to 100 cups of coffee and is simply a must for everyone who has social or commercial coffee making needs that other coffee percolators simply can’t fulfill.
- Heavy-duty material
- Large capacity tank
- Comes with detailed instructions
- Leaks may occur
The West Bend 33600 100-Cup Commercial Coffee Urn offers great high-volume, high-quality brewing and efficient time-saving when trying to serve a large crowd, or busy restaurant. Of course, this doesn’t come at a low price, but it is certainly worth every penny.
How coffee percolators work
- a water chamber at the bottom, just above the heat source,
- a tube leading from this chamber to the top of the pot, and
- a perforated chamber just beneath the upper end of the tube.
A heat source (stovetop, electric heating unit, or campfire), water and coffee grounds are the additional key ingredients.
- Water is placed into the bottom chamber of the pot and ground coffee is placed in the top chamber.
- The heat source beneath the percolator heats the water.
- Water closest to the heat source eventually boils. Boiling causes bubbles, which forces hot water up the vertical tube. This “perking” action causes the characteristic spurting or gurgling sound a percolator pot makes.
- Exiting the top of the tube, the hot water disperses over the coffee chamber’s perforated lid, and drips onto the coffee grounds. This water seeps through the coffee grounds, picking up coffee oils and flavors, then passes through a filter and drips back into the water chamber below.
- When this water drips into the water chamber below, it helps to force more water up the tube, continuing the brewing cycle.
- Once the cycle has repeated enough, the temperature of the entire water supply nears boiling, and the perking action automatically ceases. The water chamber now contains ready-to-drink coffee.
This video lets you glimpse inside the coffee percolator action, through the pyrex stovetop percolator:
It’s important to reduce the heat once the perking stops, to avoid burning or scorching the brew. If you’ve had bitter perked coffee, it’s because the heat was kept too high for too long. Most modern electric percolators automatically reduce the heat after the brewing phase, and maintain the coffee at drinking temperatures, well below boiling.
Coffee percolators are often seen as something from a bygone era, but once you take a look at what they have become over the years, you will disregard that notion completely.
If you’re looking for a high-quality and high-capacity coffee percolator for parties and gatherings, the models above should serve you and your guests well. Likewise, the Presto 02811 or the Yosemite stovetop percolator should give you great results at home.