French Press vs AeroPress: Which is Better for You?
Making and drinking coffee is a daily ritual for thousands of individuals and families across the globe. Many people cannot make it through the day without their caffeine fix. That being said, there are multiple different machines you can use to brew your coffee, including the French press and AeroPress. But how do you know which of these devices is best for you and your lifestyle?
The French press is better for those who like full-bodied, rich coffee, do not mind waiting for longer for the brewing process to complete, and usually drink multiple cups of coffee at a time. The AeroPress is better for those who need a quick brew, prefer a less-grainy taste, and prefer portability.
This article will compare and contrast the AeroPress and the standard French press and other similar items to help you determine which manual coffee maker best fits your needs and lifestyle.
Aeropress and French Press: Which one Is Better?
First, let’s compare the two devices most often compared when in coffee brewing: the Aeropress and French Press.
Several factors of each machine will be discussed, including the volume of coffee made each time they are used, brewing time, durability, and much more, starting with the French press.
A French press is a manual coffee maker that contains a glass cylinder to hold the coffee beans while brewing, a plunger, and a filter that removes the coffee grounds.
It works via a technique called immersion blending, where the plunger is used to submerge the coffee in hot water as the filter removes the grounds from the brewing coffee.
- User Friendliness – Based on the above description, making French press coffee is easy and does not take up much time. You can leave your coffee to brew and get it when it is done. However, you do need quite a bit of extra equipment when working with it, including a coffee grinder, a scale, a kettle (or hot water), and a timer. You can get a pour-over coffee kettle at Barista Warrior.
- Brew Time – Brewing in a French press takes only four minutes. Although this is not a long time in retrospect, if you typically have a busy morning schedule, you may not be able to wait for your coffee to finish brewing before heading out the door.
- Brew Amount – The French press comes in multiple sizes to meet all kinds of coffee brewing needs. You can get a 1, 2, 4, or 8-cup French press to enjoy fresh coffee on your own or bring it with you to a large gathering.
- Cleaning Process – Cleaning a French press can be a hassle because coffee grounds tend to get stuck in all the machine parts, and you may have to take it apart to remove the bits thoroughly. It is recommended that the French press be cleaned every day to avoid the possibility of trapped coffee grounds interfering with the brewing process.
- Durability – French presses are made of either stainless steel, plastic, or glass. According to multiple sources, the stainless steel version was the most durable and thought to be worth the more expensive price tag because they last longer than French presses made of other materials.
- Quality and Flavor of Coffee – The French press creates a bold and full-bodied brew that does not lose its natural oils and extra coffee beans. The oils and coffee grounds leave you with a thick, heavy, satisfying, and comforting coffee. These elements also give the coffee a stronger flavor.
- Portability – Although French presses can be taken apart for easy transport, sometimes they are made of glass which could break if the proper precautions are not taken. Some parts can also be bulky, making it difficult to pack if you do not have enough space.
- Price – Price-wise, French presses reportedly run anywhere from $10-$70, meaning there are models to suit a wide variety of budgets. Of course, the price depends on the material the press is made of and the number and size of coffee cups it can brew.
Based on these findings, the French press is best for individuals and or families who like a rich and flavorful coffee, need to make more than one cup at a time, are okay with cleaning out the press regularly, and do not need to take their brewer out of their home.
To make French Press coffee, you need to learn how to use one. I wrote another article on using a French Press if you are keen to find out more.
Best French Press Coffee Makers
The French press coffee maker comes in a variety of styles and sizes. These are some of the best ones available on the market today:
- Freling Double Walled Stainless Steel French Press – This 17, 36, or 44 ounce stainless steel French press delivers a tasty and satisfying full-bodied brew, and the double-wall design can even be used to hold tea. It is an extremely durable piece of equipment that will last you through many caffeine cravings.
- Kona French Press – This ten or 34-ounce coffee maker comes with a reusable stainless steel filter and boasts a scratch and chip-resistant, insulating outer covering. It is also microwave and dishwasher safe.
- Le Cruset Stoneware French Press – Made of durable and high-quality stoneware, this 34-ounce French press coffee maker comes with a stainless steel plunger and mesh press. It also has an enamel finish that resists odors and protects against stains, chips, cracks, and is dishwasher safe.
- Espro Coffee French Press P7 – This is another stainless steel and double-walled French press that holds a copious 32 fluid ounces of coffee. It also comes with its own micro filter that is guaranteed to strain all the grit out of your coffee, and the insulation will keep it warm.
- Veken Insulated Stainless Steel French Press – This French press comes in 34 and 50-ounce sizes to make sure you have enough coffee for yourself and your family. The double wall helps keep your brew warm, and the extra-strength steel resists rusting and corrosion and provides you with a durable coffee maker.
An AeroPress is a small immersion coffee brewer made of plastic. It is essentially a syringe where the user takes the included plunger to flush hot water through the ground coffee and filter.
Retired Stanford University professor Alan Adler invented it because he wanted to create a hassle-free way to make a delicious cup of coffee.
- User Friendliness – The AeroPress is appropriate for both coffee brewing newbies and aficionados to use. All you have to do to make coffee with it is add your ground coffee and hot water, stir it, put the filter paper and filter in place, and push down the plunger to get your coffee.
- Brew Time – The reported brew time for an AeroPress is anywhere from under a minute to two minutes, depending on how fast the user is. This is perfect for individuals and families that need their coffee done quickly or a last-minute pick-me-up.
- Brew Amount – The AeroPress is technically only built to make one cup of coffee at a time. However, you can make larger batches by adding two to three times the coffee grounds and enough water to dilute it. The max amount of coffee an AeroPress can make in one brew is six mugs.
- Cleaning Process – When making coffee with an AeroPress, the coffee grounds end up pressed down at the bottom of the cap, so when you are done making coffee, all you have to do is dump out the coffee and give the rest of the device a good scrub and rinse. This makes for a simple and efficient cleaning process.
- Durability – The AeroPress comprises three different tough, BPA-free plastics: co-polyester, thermoplastic, elastomer, and polypropylene. Combining these creates a coffee press that is resistant to wear and tear and should last for several years as long as it is properly maintained.
- Quality and Flavor of Coffee – The AeroPress has a smaller filter than the French press that does not allow the natural oils and coffee ground pieces to filter through. The result is a light, less bitter, and a thin cup of coffee that is also clean and strong like an espresso. The AeroPress also does not steep the coffee, so it is good for users who forget about their coffee and end up steeping it too long.
- Portability – AeroPress has been touted as the world’s most portable coffee brewer. It is a lightweight and compact device that can be stored in a bag and taken anywhere, whether on a camping trip or to a friend’s house. The AeroPress is made completely of plastic, so it cannot break like a French press with glass parts.
- Price – This type of brewer runs anywhere from $20 to $40; it is likely less expensive than the French press because it does not have any glass or steel parts. Thus, the AeroPress may be a better option for coffee lovers who can’t afford a higher quality machine.
The AeroPress can also make multiple types of coffee, including cold brew, iced coffee, and a version of coffee similar to espresso. People have even made a full-body brew and have even developed their own creations.
The AeroPress is a small but mighty piece of equipment. It is best suited for individuals and small families that want a coffee maker that they can bring anywhere, is easy to clean and maintain, and is a one-stop, hassle-free shop for all different types of coffee that also happens to be economical.
I wrote an article on how to Aeropress coffee if you are keen to find out more.
Best AeroPress Coffee Makers
These are some of the top-rated AeroPress coffee makers on the market:
- The Original AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker– This is the original AeroPress made by the company. It comes with the plunger, chamber, seal, filter cap, funnel, filter holder, scoop, stirrer, and 350 filters.
- Aerobie AeroPress Coffee Maker– This AeroPress has the same features as the original that everyone loves. Still, the Aerobie also comes with two coffee mugs for you to use that are dishwasher safe.
Is the Chemex Better than AeroPress?
The Chemex is another manual coffee maker that uses an infusion technique where the hot water is continuously poured over coffee grounds poised over a filter. This technique is also called a “pour-over” and requires careful attention to ensure that all the coffee grounds are saturated so that you get an even cup of coffee.
It can be difficult for novices to use, but coffee drinkers love it once they get the hang of it. Many coffee aficionados vouch that it extracts more coffee and flavor than other techniques.
Everyone prefers a different coffee-making technique, so you can choose what works best for you based on how you like your coffee and whether you want to be in more control or leave your coffee alone to brew and pick it up in a few minutes.
Here are some other key differences between the Chemex and AeroPress:
Because the pour-over technique requires attention to detail and precise handling—including letting the water drip over the coffee grounds and then adding it slowly by pouring in circular motions—brewing a cup of coffee via a Chemex can take a maximum of seven minutes to complete.
If you are a coffee lover who does not mind waiting a few extra minutes for good coffee, then you will enjoy the Chemex and have fun showing off your best coffee-making skills to your friends.
If you think seven minutes is way too long to wait for coffee and you rely on your coffee more for energy rather than caring about the tastiness, the AeroPress is for you.
The Chemex comes in multiple sizes due to its straightforward design, making it a better choice for people who regularly find themselves needing to brew coffee for a large group. The Chemex is available in 1, 3, 6, 8, and 10-cup sizes and can make a maximum of 40 ounces of coffee at once.
As mentioned above, the AeroPress is only meant to brew one cup of coffee and, at the most, can make a 10-ounce brew—but it will need a lot of water and coffee grounds to make this size.
Thus, the AeroPress is better for individuals and small groups that do not mind waiting for their coffee to be done one cup at a time.
To clean the AeroPress, you only have to thoroughly rinse and scrub the plastic syringe and other parts for the device. Conversely, you need a special scrubbing brush to gently wipe the glass of a Chemex without damaging it, and there are several parts you need to clean, so it is more time-consuming than the AeroPress.
In this case, the brewer choice comes down to how much time you want to spend cleaning. If you think that the extra daily cleaning is worth the coffee the Chemex produces and are okay with taking the time to clean, then it may be for you. If you want a generally hassle-free experience and do not like to clean, the AeroPress is the better choice.
Durability and Portability
Since the AeroPress is made of plastic, it can be dropped without fear of breaking or chipping it, and it lasts for several years. However, the plastic may wear over time, which can impact the quality of coffee and the device’s safety. Its compact size and shape make it ideal for travel.
A Chemex press is partially or completely made of glass, so it is naturally prone to breakage and should only be moved by those who are cautious enough to handle it. It is best left on a counter so that you can make coffee for your friends and family. The glass makeup also makes it difficult to take with you.
So, it can be concluded that the AeroPress is meant for people that travel a lot and like to bring their coffee with them, while the Chemex does better as a stationary yet functional centerpiece for your kitchen.
Quality and Flavor of Coffee
These devices produce two different types of coffee, so it is up to you to pick one that best fits your coffee preferences:
- Like the standard French press, the Chemex makes a clean and full-bodied cup of coffee that is rich and flavorful but mild and devoid of bitterness. So it is perfect for people that do not like strong or bitter coffee and/or cannot have this type of coffee due to health conditions.
- The AeroPress produces a thinner, stronger, more espresso-like type of coffee. Thus, it is better suited for people who enjoy coffee drinks that call for espresso as the coffee base, such as cappuccinos, mochas, flat whites, americanos, and macchiatos.
The Chemex usually costs about $40 for a three-cup model, and the filters cost about $10 for a pack of 100, so this coffee maker is generally for those who have set aside a bigger budget for a coffee brewer. If you want to opt for a quality reusable filter, it costs about $35.
Meanwhile, the AeroPress retails for $30, and a 250 pack of reusable filters is only $5, so they will last you a while. Although not much more inexpensive than the Chemex, the AeroPress is better for coffee lovers on a tight budget.
Best Pour Over Coffee Makers
These are the best pour-over coffee makers on the market:
- Bee House Ceramic Coffee Dripper– This ceramic coffee maker is very durable and retains heat and was made for coffee lovers of all experience levels. It needs a Melitta filter to work, which is available at most grocery stores and has two half-circle openings so you can see how much coffee is in the device and prevent spills.
- Coastline Clever Coffee Dripper– This dripper is made of ultra-durable, BPA-free plastic, and the cone-like shape fits the common Melitta filter. It holds 18 ounces of coffee.
- Osaka Pour-Over Coffee Dripper– This coffee maker comes with a wood stand for a simple and clean look anywhere. It also has a metal filter and features a glass body that holds 20 oz of coffee and is heat and odor resistant. Brewing in this dripper is paperless, which allows the coffee to keep its natural oils.
- Coffee Gator Pour Over Coffee Maker – Coming in 10.5, 14, and 27-ounce sizes, this coffee maker has a BPA-free plastic body and a laser-cut stainless steel filter to avoid the need to constantly replace parts while providing high-quality flavor and preventing large quantities of coffee grounds from ending up in the brew.
- Asobu Insulated Pour Over Coffee Maker– Coming with a double-walled vacuum and stainless steel filter, this coffee maker is great for keeping drinks hot while preventing debris from getting in them. It is BPA-free, stain, and odor-resistant, made for easy clean-up, and travel-friendly.
Is the Bodum French Press Better Than the AeroPress?
The Bodum French press is another pour-over coffee maker like the Chemex, meant for those who enjoy making their cup of coffee at home as opposed to traveling with it. Both of them are similar yet still stand out from each other.
Learning to use the pour-over coffee-making method with the Bodum takes some time to practice. How you pour the water over the coffee grounds will significantly affect the flavor and texture of the final brew, so it is not recommended for those new to making coffee.
However, with the AeroPress, all you need to do is put the coffee grounds and water in and press down the plunger. Plus, you can change all the variables within a wide range and still end up with a decent cup of coffee, so as mentioned above, it is meant for anyone—including beginners—to use.
The Bodum French press usually takes about three and a half minutes to four minutes to brew coffee—if all the variables you have for making a cup of coffee are set correctly.
If anything is off, such as the water hardness, the brewing will take much longer.
With that being said, you have to be very patient to use a Bodum french press coffee maker. Meanwhile, the AeroPress has a much shorter brew time of around two minutes on average.
The Bodum French Press can make two or more cups of coffee during one brewing session, whereas the AeroPress was only built to make one cup at a time. Thus, the Bodum is better if you make coffee for a group.
Both the AeroPress and the Bodum share an easy clean-up process. As long as you gently scrub and rinse all of its parts after each use, you will get the best quality coffee you can get based on what you put into making it.
Durability and Portability
The Bodum French Press is generally made of ceramics, glass, and other breakable materials, so one bad fall will mean your Bodum is defunct.
The material also affects its ability to be transported to locations other than where you first set it up, and it requires so many extra pieces that it is a hassle to travel with.
Quality and Flavor of Coffee
The Bodum produces a thin but flavorful brew that highlights the taste of the coffee bean without all the oils or leftover coffee grounds. It is ideal for those who like their coffee strong but not heavy and dense.
The AeroPress makes a full-body cup of coffee that preserves the oils and may even leave you with some real coffee ground texture. It also highlights more of the fruitiness of the coffee or other flavors that you add in more than the flavors of the coffee bean itself. People who like a rich and comforting cup of coffee will enjoy the AeroPress more.
Bodum pour-overs come in 4, 8, or 12 cup sizes and range in price from $16 to $35 depending on the size, material, and model you choose.
Extra money will also have to be spent on accessories like a scale and a coffee grinder. Based on this, the Bodum is better for individuals and families with a slightly larger coffee maker budget.
Best Bodum French Press Coffee Maker
The Bodum French Press coffee maker is made with stainless steel and glass, available in 12, 17, 34, and 51-ounce sizes, so you have various options. It also comes with a stainless steel mesh filter to extract as much flavor as possible from the coffee grounds.
- Bodum Chambord French Press 3 cup (12 oz)
- Bodum Chambord French Press 4 cup (17 oz)
- Bodum Chambord French Press 8 cup (34 oz)
- Bodum Chambord French Press 12 cup (51 oz)
Although this was the only strong contender we found as far as Bodum coffee makers go, it seems to be the most reliable according to user reviews and well worth the price.
Final Thoughts on French Press vs Aeropress
The French press, Chemex, and Bodum are geared towards those who prefer rich and full-flavored coffee that they can make on their own time at home for friends and family.
On the other hand, the AeroPress is for the coffee maker on a budget that lives on their own or with a small family or roommates and wants to have coffee with them wherever they go.
Each manual coffee maker has its benefits and flaws, so no model truly stands out above the rest. Ultimately, everyone should choose the coffee maker that best suits their lifestyle and offers what they want out of their cup of joe.
Whatever you choose will bring you the caffeine fix you need—just the way you like it!