No capsules, no paper filter — just smooth, bold coffee.
A French press is a small-batch coffee maker known for making strong, well-rounded java. Coffee aficionados love using this gentle brewing method that doesn’t scald the beans and allows for maximum flavor extraction. You can use coffee grinders, kitchen scales, and thermometers for a more specific brew, but making French press coffee is pretty straightforward: Add coffee grounds to the carafe with hot water, steep for about four minutes, strain and pour.
While most French presses look the same, they actually differ a lot. The materials of the carafes vary, as do their insulation, handles, pour spouts, plungers, and filters. That's why we put the best French presses to the test in the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliance Lab. We considered 14 highly-reviewed French presses, as well as top-selling ones from brands we trust, including glass, ceramic, and stainless steel options at a variety of sizes. Here are the best French presses you can buy in 2020:
Best Overall French Press: Bodum Eileen French Press
Best Value French Press: Hamilton Beach French Press
Best Single-Serve French Press: Frieling Insulated French Press
Best French Press for Beginners: OXO BREW French Press
Best Double-Walled Glass French Press: Kaffè French Press Coffee Maker
Best Insulated French Press: SterlingPro French Press
Cult-Favorite French Press: Espro P7 French Press
We evaluate each French Press for ease of use and performance, first using the manufacturer's brewing instructions and then comparing each brew side-by-side with our own recipe, checking how well-rounded the coffee tastes and the amount of coffee grounds and sediment left behind. We consider how easy each coffee maker is to set up, plunge, pour, and clean.
We also measure how well the carafes maintain temperature immediately after brewing and thirty minutes later, and pay special attention to how well the filters performed and whether or not they warped after several uses. The best French presses were easy to set up, plunge, and wash, and delivered big on taste while leaving behind little to no sediment.
Before you buy a new French press coffee maker, here's what to consider:
Material: French presses come in a variety of materials, including glass, ceramic, and stainless steel. Glass and plastic presses are great for seeing your coffee brew and tend to be more affordable, but ceramic and stainless steel are known to retain heat, keeping your coffee warmer for longer, especially if the carafe is double-walled (just expect to spend a little more!).
Filter: A nested three-layer filter made of stainless steel fine mesh is an integral part of a French press. The filters should fit tightly inside the walls of the carafe to ensure coffee grounds don’t get into your coffee.
Size: French presses come in a variety of sizes, from 12 ounces (which is great for a solo drinker) to 34 ounces, enough for four cups of coffee.