I understand some of you might be in a rush, and don’t have time to read the entire article, so we recommend the Hamilton Beach Electric Percolator as the best.
A perculator can be a super easy way to achieve barista style coffee from the comfort of your own home. The electric percolator operates in the same way as original models with a modern twist for ease and speed – perfect for those rushed mornings after too many snooze buttons!
In this article, we’ll give you some tips and tricks on how to brew a great coffee and help you choose the best electric coffee percolator for you.
These are the 5 electric percolators we’ll be looking at:
- Presto 02811
- Hamilton Beach Electric Percolator
- Cuisinart PRC-12
- Farberware 2-4 Cup Percolator
- West Bend 54159 Classic Electric Percolator
But First, ‘What is a Percolator?’
It is a question that has been asked and googled too many times! The percolator uses gravity to cycle the hot water through the coffee grounds many times, until the desired strength has been achieved.
It has a metal basket filter to hold your coffee grinds. When the water is heated from below, the water travels upward through a thin tube, up into the percolator’s top, and then drips down into the basket and saturates the coffee.
Once the water has absorbed the soluble parts of the bean, it drips into the pot and is recycled back up the tube. This means your coffee will be brewed and re-brewed until you’re ready to pull it from the heat. The original model uses a heat source such as a campfire or stove to heat the process, though now you simply just have to flick the switch.
Percolators were most popular in the 40s and 50s, though many people weren’t taught how to use them properly. This can result in quite a bitter coffee – hence why they were mostly used once and put in the back of the cupboard! This is where the stereotype that percolator coffee is bitter comes from, but its definitely wrong.
Tips to get the best out of your percolator
1. The Grind
Many people make the first mistake when choosing how to grind their coffee beans down. You want the grounds to be more coarse than how you would for an espresso – aka, not extremely fine. This is because if the grounds are too fine, the cycle of extracting the coffee makes the all too familiar bitter taste. Of course, you can always buy pre-ground beans too.
2. Filter Paper
Most percolator coffee pots already come with a secret ingredient – filter paper! Originally, the holes in the chamber were too big and it created a grainy texture at the bottom of your cup where the coffee leaked through.
By using filter paper it makes sure your coffee is silky smooth and keeps the grains where they should be – in the chamber. (Many electric percolators have stainless steel chambers which don’t need filter paper, but it’s always best to check the reviews to make sure!)
The process of the recirculating and rebrewing of the coffee also can result in the bitter taste if it isn’t brought off the heat at the right time. However with most electric percolators nowadays the brew strength increases with each brewing cycle, allowing you to choose the strength without it being a guessing game.
Why Choose a Percolator Over a Drip Coffee Maker?
Long story short – it’s all subjective based on your taste preferences. If you prefer a dark, strong, full flavoured coffee then the percolator is for you – thanks to the rebrewing process.
Percolators are also flexible, so for a weaker taste just brew for a shorter amount of time – voila! Percolator coffee makers are usually the more wallet friendly choice between the two, but obviously this depends on how many cups you want to brew and how high tech you’d like it to be.
Not to mention the aroma of freshly perked coffee that fills the house from the large spout, which is much more fragrant to what comes from the small spout of a drip coffee maker.
As there are only 6 basic compartments to a percolator, it is super easy to clean! These compartments are the bottom chamber, stem, strainer, spreader, top chamber and top viewing knob. Each part separates to allow you to wash them individually – it is a common misconception that leftover coffee grinds add more flavour to the next cup of coffee – WRONG!
These can lead to the coffee tasting bitter so be sure to clean it well. It goes without saying that the electric parts of the percolator can’t be submerged in water, but soapy water on a sponge does just the trick.
Many people believe percolators are nostalgic, with many new electrical ones replicating how the original ones used to look – i.e. the top viewing knob – just like how your old fashioned stovetop percolator did.
The Reviews – Best Electric Coffee Percolator
- 13.1 x 9.7 x 6.2 inches
- 2.90 pounds
- 1 year warranty
- 12 cup max percolator
- Average of 1 cup brewed per minute
- Easy cleaning
The Presto 02811 is made of stainless steel which is one of their main selling points. Stainless steel is extremely durable and long lasting, and while this coffee maker is on the more pricey side, it’ll last longer than a cheaper one made from plastic or aluminium – therefore you’re getting your money’s worth!
It can brew up to 12 cups at the rate of one cup per minute which is perfect for when you’re rushing out of the door – and for them more relaxing mornings it also has a temperature gauge installed to keep the coffee at serving temperature. The detachable cord allows for simple storage and easy pouring for others.
However, some people have reported that there is no automatic shut off so it must be unplugged to stop heating up – maybe not the best if you’re a forgetful type of person!
- 10.16 x 6.02 x 11.42 inches
- 2.90 pounds
- 5 year warranty
- Stainless steel parts
- Water level/coffee viewing window
- Detachable cord
Unlike the Presto percolator, this lid is made of glass so you can watch your coffee brew, which has a nostalgic feel to it as this was a main quality of the original stove top percolators ‘back in the day’. Although the lid locks when you twist it, it is made of glass so may become hot, and could be fragile so there are a couple of practical factors to take into consideration.
It also works as a standard kettle to boil water, so it’s a two in one! There is a water level gauge on the inside so you’ll always know how many cups you’re brewing and when it’s time to make more. Another advantage to this percolator is the cool touch handle and the keep warm feature – which, paired with the automatic shut off is perfect for someone with a small family/children.
It is worth mentioning that the warranty on this product differs depending on which country it was bought in. If purchased in Canada there is a 5 year warranty, whereas if purchased in the US there is only a 1 year warranty.
- 9.25 x 6.30 x 12.24 inches
- 3 pounds
- 3 year warranty
- Viewing ability
- Cool base
This percolator comes with a detachable 36inch cord, meaning it is accessible from all corners of your worktop and can be used with ease. The no drip spout aids with keeping clean, which is also helped with the stainless steel.
Like the Hamilton percolator, it comes with a clear viewing knob on the lid to allow you to see your coffee brew, and eliminates the guessing game of whether the coffee is brewed to your desired strength. However, many people have reported that this knob is plastic, and it had to be replaced within a year.
One of the main unique selling points of this design is the cool bottom of the percolator. While the coffee heats up, the base of the product stays cool meaning it can sit on any surface without the worry of it marking or scarring the worktop/table. Combined with the detachable cord, this percolator seems to be the most versatile.
- 7 x 7 x 10 inches
- 2.6 pounds
- Lifetime warranty!
- 4 cup capacity
- 1 cup per minute
- Cool touch handle
Clearly this is our smallest of the 5 percolators, in capacity and size. With 4 cups being the max, this product is most suited to a couple or single person. I think it has a very modern look about it, and would fit perfectly in any kitchen! Made of stainless steel with detachable parts, this coffee maker is super easy to clean and will last a very long time.
It has a keep warm mode to continue heating the coffee, and also a keep cool handle for safe pouring. Like many, this also has a detachable cord that simplifies moving, pouring and storage.
This percolator does not have the automatic shut off feature, and needs to be unplugged to be powered off. This is a basic design that lacks some of the nostalgic features of the other percolators, but nonetheless it’s perfect for someone who needs that quick pick me up in the morning.
- 6.25 x 9.25 x 12.25 inches
- 1.00 pound
- 1 year warranty
- Clear knob on lid
- Water gauge
- 12 cup capacity
This is our most lightweight percolator, which could be ideal for those who travel a lot. It has a heat resistant handle and base, which was one of the main features of the Cuisinart. Due to the stainless steel compartments, this product is durable and easy to clean.
The clear knob at the top allows for viewing the level of your coffee, but please note it is plastic and not glass. On the plus side this means you don’t have to worry about it breaking, but some people don’t like having hot coffee in contact with plastic – I suppose it comes down to personal preference but it is something to bear in mind.
This product prides itself on the no drip spout, which is certainly backed up by the reviews! It is described as ‘precision perfect’ by multiple people.
To summarise, if you’re someone with a family who is after that nostalgic, old school kind of feel, I’d recommend the Hamilton Beach 12 Cup Percolator. The clear viewing abilities give that original feel to it whilst incorporating the modern automatic shut off, and cool touch handle.
If you’re someone who likes a percolator for an easy and fast way to enjoy full flavour coffee, the Farberware Percolator 2 – 4 Cup is the one for you. The 1 cup per minute brewing speed and easy to clean properties, make this percolator the best product for someone who needs a quick energy jolt in the morning.
Overall, percolators are a fabulous way to create great tasting coffee whilst filling your home with the smells and sounds that remind you of being a child, and bring back all those sentimental memories of grandparents. These electric percolators allow this whilst accommodating the modern, fast paced life we all live now.
Let us know which one you went for in the comments!