A pour-over is a great way to brew coffee because it gives you complete control over the brewing process and makes a good beverage. Selecting a specific pour-over can be challenging, though. Three of the most popular models, and three of our favorite pour-overs, are the Kalita, Melitta and Chemex. All three of these pour-overs make great coffee, but each has advantages and disadvantages. Below, we’ll rank each of these pour-overs in six significant categories: price, filter cost, filter thickness, durability, look, and size.
Most Affordable: Melitta
None of these models are terribly expensive, especially when compared to some other coffee makers. The Chemex commands the highest price, but it is still under $50. You should be able to find a Melitta for around $10, perhaps less, making it the cheapest of the three. The Kalita’s price is between these extremes, usually in the $20 to $30 range.
Cheapest Filters: Melitta
Melitta is also the least expensive pour-over to use, with filters costing about 6.5 to 7 cents each. Chemex and Kalita filters run around 10 cents each, although prices will fluctuate for all of these. While Melitta has the cheapest filters, the difference in price is negligible.
Thickest Filters: Chemex
Chemex has the thickest filters, but Kalita’s style is unique and intriguing. Because they are thicker than most, including Melitta’s, Chemex’s filters sit flush against its glass walls. This slows the flow of water and increases the dwell time.
Instead of focusing on dwell time, Kalita’s design tries to maintain an even water temperature throughout the brewing process. The waves in the filter insulate the water with air, causing the water to cool more slowly.
Melitta’s filters are neither thick nor unique, which is perhaps why they are the most affordable.
Most Durable: Melitta and Kalita
The Melitta and stainless steel Kalita tie for most durable. Neither the plastic or stainless steel Kalita will break if you drop it. The Chemex, being made of glass, may break, as will the ceramic and glass versions of the Kalita.
Best Looking: Chemex
This is a close contest between the Chemex and Kalitta, and the true winner might be a matter of personal taste. The Chemex has a distinctive look, with its glass decanter, glass top and wood collar. It brings out the artistic aspect of brewing coffee. The Kalitta, in comparison, might fit in better with your current kitchen appliances. It’s available in glass, ceramic and stainless steel.
The Melitta is the only one that doesn’t do well in this category, as its black plastic can look inexpensive.
Best Size: Melitta, Kalita and Chemex
The most appropriate size will depend on how many people you’re making coffee for. All of these models are available in different sizes:
- Melitta comes in 1- and 6-cup sizes
- Kalita is available in 1-2 and 3-4 cups
- Chemex has models for 3, 6, 8 and 10 cups
Our Choice: The Stainless Steel Kalita
Our top pick is the stainless steel Kalita. We like both the Chemex and Kalita, but the stainless steel’s increased durability is the deciding factor for us.