French press coffee makers, also known as cafetières or plunge pots, have been around since the 1920s but have seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years. This classic manual brewing method produces a robust, full-flavored cup of coffee that many people prefer over drip or other automatic coffee machines.
One of the key advantages of the French press is that it gives the user more control over the brewing process. You can adjust factors like steep time, water temperature, and coffee-to-water ratio to customize your perfect cup.
While glass French presses have been the norm for decades, stainless steel variants have surged in popularity for their durability and insulating properties. Stainless steel French presses don’t chip or break like glass, and many are double-walled to help retain heat. This makes them great for camping or travel, as they’re nearly indestructible.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about choosing the best stainless steel French press, from key features to look for to detailed reviews of the top models on the market. Let’s dive in!
Top 5 Stainless Steel French Presses
With so many stainless steel French presses now available from various brands, it can be tough to determine which one best fits your needs. To make the decision easier, we’ve highlighted the 5 best stainless steel French presses based on factors like durability, heat retention, ease of use, and overall value.
1. SterlingPro Double Wall Stainless Steel French Press
Our top overall pick is the SterlingPro Double Wall Stainless Steel French Press. Here’s an overview of its key features and benefits:
- Made of food-grade 18/10 stainless steel with a mirror finish
- Double-wall construction keeps coffee hot up to 1 hour
- 3-layer filter system prevents grounds from escaping into your cup
- Dishwasher safe for easy cleanup
- 1 liter (34 oz) capacity makes 6 cups
- Cool-touch handle and knob protect hands
Reviewers love this French press for its exceptional insulation, simple design, and affordable price point. The 3 filters create an airtight seal to trap coffee oils and flavor for a delicious brew. It’s also sturdy enough for camping and travel. Potential downsides are that the 1 liter capacity is on the smaller side, and the plunger can be tricky to push down.
2. Coffee Gator Insulated French Press
Next up is the Coffee Gator Insulated French Press, which offers similar insulation to the SterlingPro but with a larger capacity. Key features:
- Vacuum-layered stainless steel walls retain heat for 60+ minutes
- 34 ounce capacity makes 8 cups
- Ergonomic handle for comfortable pouring
- Durable steel mesh filter won’t corrode or rust
- Includes bonus filter screen and travel canister
Reviewers say thisFrench press brews flavorful coffee that stays hot for a long time. The steel filter is easier to clean than mesh filters. Some report issues with grounds getting into the coffee, so you may need to use the bonus filter for a cleaner brew. The Coffee Gator is great for home use with its large capacity.
3. Espro P3 Stainless Steel French Press
For those willing to splurge, the Espro P3 Stainless Steel French Press is a top-tier choice. Notable features:
- 18/10 stainless steel with attractive mirror finish
- Triple-layer micro filters stop all grounds and sediment
- Insulating double-wall design retains heat well
- Leakproof sealed lid prevents spills and mess
- Comfortable handle and knob stay cool
- 36 oz capacity makes 6-8 cups
The Espro P3 is praised for its precision filtration system that yields an ultra-clean brew free of any grit or sludge. It’s also engineered extremely well with an airtight lid and comfortable handle. The high price tag may deter some buyers, but reviewers say it’s worth it for the quality. One downside is the larger footprint may not fit under some cabinets.
4. CoffeeBear French Press with Rustproof Stainless Steel Filters
For a budget-friendly option, the CoffeeBear French Press is a great choice. Key features:
- 18/10 stainless steel body is rustproof and durable
- Bonus 4-stage filter set eliminates need for paper filters
- Cool-touch handle for safe pouring
- 1 liter capacity makes 4-5 cups
- Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
If you want stainless steel filters at an affordable price point, this CoffeeBear press is the pick for you. It brews a full-bodied cup of coffee thanks to the multiple filters. Some users report grounds escaping into their coffee, so you may need to adjust the filters to prevent leakage. But for the price, most are very satisfied with the performance.
5. Mueller French Press with Stainless Steel Filter
Rounding out our top 5 is the Mueller French Press, featuring:
- Durable 18/10 stainless steel construction
- Extra-thick steel filter prevents grounds in coffee
- No plastic parts come in contact with liquid
- 1 liter capacity makes 4-5 cups
- Dishwasher safe components
This simple but well-made French press gets high marks for its steel filter that brews a clean cup of coffee with no grit. The ergonomic handle makes pouring comfortable. It’s also backed by a 2-year warranty. Potential downsides are that it loses heat quickly and doesn’t have a double-wall insulated design. But overall an excellent value pick.
How to Choose the Best Stainless Steel French Press
Now that you know the top stainless steel French press options, let’s go over some key factors to consider when choosing the best one for your needs:
Size and Capacity
One of the first things to decide is what size French press you need. Common capacities are 12 oz, 17 oz, 34 oz, and 36 oz. Consider how many cups of coffee you normally make at once. An 8-12 cup or 34-36 oz capacity is ideal for a family or if you entertain frequently. Solo coffee drinkers can opt for a smaller 12-17 oz press.
A key benefit of stainless steel models is that they often come with stainless steel filters, which are more durable and easier to clean than paper or mesh screens. Look for multiple filtration layers, ideally 3-4, to stop all coffee grounds from getting in your cup. More filters mean better filtration but can make plunging slightly more difficult.
Insulation and Heat Retention
One of the main benefits of stainless steel over glass is better heat retention. Double-wall insulated presses keep coffee hot for 1-2 hours. If insulation is important to you, check manufacturer specs on heat retention times. Some budget models may not be double-walled.
Quality of Materials
Make sure to choose 18/10 food-grade stainless steel, which is the highest quality option. It won’t impart metallic flavors to your coffee.Lower grade stainless contains nickel and other metals that can leach into hot liquids. The finish is also important—polished or mirror finishes look nicer than brushed stainless.
Ease of Use
Look for a press with an ergonomic handle that feels comfortable when pouring. Lid design is also important for keeping coffee secure while pouring. Some lids lock while others rely on a tight seal. Consider your daily use to decide which style you prefer. Also make sure the knob and handle stay cool to the touch even when filled with hot coffee.
Stainless steel French presses range widely in price from $15 to $100+. Considering shelling out more for premium brands with excellent insulation and filtration like Espro or Coffee Gator. But there are also very good options under $30 like Mueller and CoffeeBear. Set a budget and look for the best press you can afford.
FAQs About Stainless Steel French Presses
What size/capacity French press should I get?
Choose a 12-17 oz press for individual use or a 34-36 oz model to make coffee for 3-8 people. Know how many cups you typically brew at once before deciding on capacity.
Is stainless steel better than glass for a French press? Why?
Stainless steel is more durable, insulating, and travel-friendly than glass. It resists cracks and chips while retaining heat far better. Glass may be more affordable but it breaks easily. Stainless is ideal if you take your French press camping or to work.
How do I use a French press properly?
- Add coarse ground coffee to the empty French press
- Pour hot (not boiling) water up to capacity line
- Gently stir crust on top and place plunger lid on (don’t press down)
- Steep for 4 minutes then slowly press plunger all the way down
- Pour coffee gently to avoid stirring up grounds
Any tips for getting the best-tasting coffee from a French press?
Use a coarse grind, brew with water between 195-205°F, use a coffee to water ratio of 1:12 to 1:16, and steep for at least 4 minutes but no more than 8. This extracts the best flavor without over-extracting. Purge old grounds out before brewing fresh coffee.
How do I clean a stainless steel French press?
Disassemble all parts and rinse thoroughly after each use. Soap and water is fine for cleaning the body and lid. Use a brush to scrub the plunger and filters. Avoid abrasive scouring pads. Many parts are dishwasher safe but hand washing extends the lifespan.
What’s the benefit of double or triple filtration?
The more filtration, the less coffee sediment and grit in your cup. 2 filters is good, but 3 or more is ideal for getting a perfectly smooth cup without any grounds escaping. Just know that more filtration can slow the plunging process slightly.
How long do stainless steel French presses last compared to other materials?
Stainless steel lasts 5-10 years on average with proper care. Glass breaks much easier and lasts 2-3 years typically. Plastic presses wear out quickest at 1-2 years. So stainless is the longest-lasting material for French presses.
Is a stainless steel French press good for camping/travel?
Definitely! Stainless steel is virtually unbreakable so it’s perfect for outdoor adventures. The insulation keeps your coffee hot when off the grid. Stainless presses are also great for commuting since they won’t shatter if dropped or tossed around.
What should I look out for when buying a stainless steel French press?
Focus on number of filters, insulation, ease of use, capacity needs, and quality of materials. Make sure to get 18/10 stainless with a polished mirror finish. Grips and knobs should be cool-touch. Check reviews and warranty before purchasing.
Are stainless steel French presses safe? Any health/safety concerns?
Stainless steel is perfectly safe if using food-grade 18/10 steel. Avoid presses made with nickel and other metals that can leach into hot liquids. Also make sure plastic components like lids and knobs are BPA-free. Then there are no major health or safety issues.
With their durability, heat retention, and clean flavor extraction, stainless steel French presses are perfect for brewing a hot cup of fresh coffee at home or on the go. Choosing the model that fits your budget and needs comes down to key factors like capacity, insulation, filtration system, ease of use, and material quality.
Any of our top picks like the SterlingPro Double Wall, Coffee Gator Insulated Press, or Espro P3 would make an excellent and lasting choice. Just determine how much insulation and filtration you need. For travel and camping, prioritize double-wall insulation. And for the cleanest brew, opt for 3 or more built-in filters.
Whichever stainless steel French press you choose, be sure to use the proper technique for the best results: coarse grind size, 195-205° water, 4 minute steep time, slow plunge, and thorough cleaning after each use. Follow these tips and your French press will consistently brew a robust, flavorful cup of joe.