Percolator Coffee vs. Drip: Which is Better?

Last Update: August 3, 2021
This is an honest comparison between percolator coffee and drip. Determine which product is better than the other.

What is a Coffee Percolator?

If you dare to step away from the coffee drip machine and try your hands on different coffee brewing methods, one option you must try is making your brew with a coffee percolator. But what is a coffee percolator and what makes it special?

A coffee percolator is essentially a coffee pot or kettle that brews using hot water and steam. The pot is composed of a water chamber at the bottom. On top of it is a chamber for ground coffee. A tube runs the coffee percolator pot. There are stove-top and electric coffee percolators. Using coffee percolators was the most popular brewing method in the 19th century before automatic drip coffee machines were created.

The coffee percolator was created by American-born British Physicist Sir Benjamin Thompson, who is also known as Count Rumford.

It is easy to buy a stovetop percolator or electric coffee percolator today. The main perk of brewing coffee with this method is that it produces smooth and bold coffee flavor. However, coffee brewed with percolators tends to be stronger and may have a slightly more bitter taste. If you enjoy strong coffee, you are likely to enjoy the taste of coffee made with a coffee percolator.

What is a percolator

Percolator Coffee vs. Drip

Today, drip coffee makers are still one of the top choices of many coffee lovers worldwide. Yet, some people think that percolators can do the process better. So, we came up with this thought - percolator vs. drip coffeemaker: which is better? This time, we will make a percolator coffee vs drip comparison and see which one is better than the other.

The percolator coffee maker has been famous from the 1950s to 1960s. This is considered a common household item responsible for making quite a potent blend of coffee during these years. But the popularity of percolators started to fade during the 1970s because some automatic drip coffee makers joined the picture. As its name says, this coffee maker can do the coffee-making process automatically, producing a full-flavored drink with ease.

Percolator Coffee Maker

  • The brewing process is percolation.
  • Coffee extraction speed is between 5-10 minutes.
  • The effort required is minimal.

Drip Coffee Maker

  • The brewing process is drip/filtration.
  • Coffee extraction speed is between 5-10 minutes.
  • The effort required is minimal.

Key Differences Between a Dripolator and Percolator Coffee Pot

A dripolator is an electric drip coffee machine while a percolator coffee pot is a pot used to brew in a kettle. One of the biggest erroneous assumptions people who argue about percolator vs drip coffee make is that these two brewing methods can or should be compared. They’re completely different and produce coffee for different purposes, just like when people try to compare iced coffee versus cold brew coffee.

Virtually, all modern coffee machines are drip coffee makers. When you use an automatic drip coffee maker, the device heats water and pours it over your coffee ground. Then the brew drips into your cup. On the other hand, a coffee percolator brews coffee as steam and hot water flow out of the tube in the pot and runs through the coffee grind.

The most significant difference between the percolator vs drip brewing technique is the number of times the coffee ground is run through the boiling water. With a drip coffee maker, your coffee ground is run through hot water once. However, with a coffee percolator, the process is repeated several times. The repeated filtering of the coffee bean explains why brews made with a coffee percolator are stronger and have a more robust flavor than those made with a dripolator.

Breaking it Down - Percolator vs Drip

There are three essential categories that we need to discuss when it comes to comparing the percolator with the drip coffeemaker. Each category's winner will be given a point, and the winner will be the coffee maker that gets the most points. The three types are:

  • The method or process of brewing the coffee
  • The required time for making coffee
  • The ease to use and effort needed when using the device

Brewing Technology

The two coffee makers have different ways when making coffee. This difference explains why you will end up with a unique cup of coffee whenever you use any of the two coffeemakers. The question is, which method can produce the best cup? We will find out here.


The coffee percolator makes coffee using the process called percolation. With this device, you will have different chambers for coffee grounds and water and a central tube that vertically runs through the pot. The water chamber is underneath the coffee chamber. The pot is heated till the water boils, goes up to the central tube, and flows out above the ground coffee before seeping back into the water chamber. The cycle will continue until the coffee is ready.

Drip Coffee Maker

With making your drink using this coffee maker, you will need a filter to place the coffee grounds. Then you will need to pour the hot water over the coffee filter. Your coffee grounds will stay in the coffee filter as the hot water extracts its taste and brings it down to the pot.

When you purchase a modern model, you can enjoy an automated process of making your drink. Technology has done its part to improve the product, so you will have a component responsible for pouring water evenly to the top of coffee beans, and the machine will handle the rest of the process. The automation process of drip coffee makers was the reason why percolators lost their popularity in the market.

Winner: In this category, drip coffee makers won over percolators. The two principal reasons are a better quality blend of drink and convenience.

Coffee Extraction Speed

The next category is speed. We will know which coffee maker can brew a drink faster.


The required time with percolating coffee will depend on the type of product that you are using. But the usual process will take around five to ten minutes. If you are using stovetop percolators, your drink will be ready in five minutes. But if you have electric percolators, it will take seven to ten minutes before you will enjoy your blend of drinks.

Drip Coffee Maker

A drip coffee maker can prepare your blend of drinks in between five to ten minutes as well. Some factors that will affect the brewing time are how strong you want your coffee and the number of cups you wish to make.

Winner: In this category, we can call it a tie between the two coffeemakers since their average brewing time is between five to ten minutes.

Effort Required

The last category that we will discuss is the effort that you need to use each coffeemaker. 


Considering the type of device that you will use, a percolator is relatively straightforward. If you are using a stovetop model, you need to keep an eye on the process because your drink may burn. The electric model is more convenient to use since you don’t need to think about cooking the coffee or boiling the water.

Drip Coffee Maker

The unmatched convenience of this machine is the top reason why coffee lovers prefer this to a percolator. You can add water and coffee, press the on button, and after a while, you can enjoy your fresh and tasty blend of drinks.

Winner: For this category, a drip coffee maker grabs the point again. Though the two devices will only require minimal effort to make a drink, this machine's automated process wins the battle. You can leave your coffee and enjoy a cup of it after doing other things that you need to do.

After all the research and comparison, it’s safe to say that drip coffeemakers win over the percolators. The convenience that any user can enjoy using this coffeemaker is unmatched, and this is why the product became more popular over the decades.

Drip Coffee Machine Keurig vs Coffee Percolator

drip coffee machine vs percolator

Keurig is known to be a dream come true for many coffee lovers. With this machine, you don’t need to wait for so long to taste your favorite drink. Say goodbye to filling up a big pot or measuring out the messy coffee grinds since Keurig is here to rescue you.

The Keurig machines were not only designed for brewing coffee. You can also make your hot chocolate, tea, or other hot beverages that you wanted to drink for the day. Using the K-Cup or Vue Cup, the grounds are pre-measured. In as fast as 60 seconds, your drink is ready to be delivered by Keurig.

If you want to know more about this machine, its pros and cons are as follow:


  • Enjoy your instant drink in a minute without instant flavor
  • It is not limited to coffee. You can also make hot chocolate, hot tea, lemonade, lattes, and more
  • Choose your desired size from 4 oz to travel size
  • The drink is pre-measured, which means no mess and no wasted coffee
  • The machine can heat the water itself
  • Excellent drink at a lower price than buying from local coffee shops
  • Buy K-cups from a local grocery store


  • The machine is a bit expensive.
  • You are missing many features with a low-end Keurig. Some of them are heat strength, brew strength, and smaller water reservoirs.
  • You can only make a single-serve coffee at once, so it will not suit a group.
  • Since it is a drip coffeemaker, you cannot have the thick and creamy flavor like the other coffees.
  • VUE is a new machine, so you will have limited options with the flavors

Considering the pros and cons of Keurig, you will find that the advantages strongly outweigh the cons. Paying the high price of the product will be worth it as you keep on using the machine. The fact that you can make a drink in less than a minute and the chance to choose the flavor that you want is a big reason to go for Keurig.


For those who consider this machine as their coffeemaker, here are the pros and cons of this device.


  • The machine will brew your coffee at a high temperature, which means you will get the best taste of your drink.
  • You will get a more robust and tastier brewed coffee with this device. 
  • The non-automatic models will allow you to control the brewing time.
  • The machine is perfect for outdoor use.
  • Coffee lovers who are into vintage will love the design of this device.
  • This device is very durable that you can bring and use it anywhere.


  • Over-extraction can happen anytime with this machine, and you will end up with a bitter drink. 
  • You cannot specify the temperature, which is a crucial factor in making the best drink.
  • You will have a slower time using this method compared to the other available means. Time is an essential factor for coffee enthusiasts because most of them want to drink instantly.
  • The cleaning process can be complicated because you will need to remove and rinse various parts of the device.

Which is better: Drip or Percolator Coffee?

Percolated coffee and dripped coffee are both famous up to these days. But have you ever wondered the difference between these two? What makes people want the percolator method while others go with the other process?

Here is a summary that will help you in determining how drip coffee is different from percolator coffee.

Coffee lovers who make dripped coffee filter their drink using paper, eliminating almost all the coffee oils and fines.

The coffee percolator doesn’t usually use paper filters, which end up in an oily coffee.

Drip coffee is made using a single speed, so if you want to make your brew more substantial, you need to add more coffee grounds. Percolators work differently.

The taste and strongness of your drink will depend on the time you give for the process. If you want a bitter drink that can kick off your day, percolate the ground coffee longer, and you can enjoy your blend of drinks.

You can purchase an electric model or a stovetop model. For those who want an automatic model, they must have the electric one.

But for those who are planning to use a machine during outdoor trips like camping or hiking, the non-electric model is perfect! For drip coffee makers, they are not portable, and they cannot do their purpose without electricity. 

That’s why those who love the magic of drip coffee makers usually get an alternative method when electricity is not available, or they will need to brew coffee outdoors.

Which is the better method of making coffee?

If you want to get the most out of your money, the percolating process can do it. With the best coffee maker, it can brew the tastiest and most potent blend of drinks. But if you are a coffee lover who is not into the bitter taste of coffee, then you may like the idea of making a coffee using the dripping process. 

Individuals who haven’t tried making a percolated coffee must try this method once or twice to determine if this brewing process can meet their preference when it comes to coffee. The percolator method can be done with a single serve coffee maker, and you can make a great blend for yourself.

Health Benefits Between a Drip and Percolated Coffee

coffee health benefits

We all know about the purported health benefits of coffee, but what is the best brewing method for your coffee to get the full health benefits? Numerous studies show that drip coffee is healthier than percolated coffee primarily because the former includes filtration.

A Swedish university study published in 2020 revealed that unfiltered coffee contains substances that may increase LDL cholesterol and triglyceride. These substances, which include cafestol and kahweol, are found in the oil droplets that float on the surface of unfiltered coffee. They are also present in the sediments. When you make drip coffee, the filter traps these substances so they’re not present in your final brew.

After assessing over half a million Norwegian men aged 20 to 70 years for 20 years, the researchers behind the study concluded that drinking unfiltered coffee increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and mortality among men aged over 60 years.

Going with these findings, filtered cold brew coffee may also be healthier than unfiltered coffee made with a percolator. The filtration is the important factor that determines how healthy the brew is. There are antidrip coffee makers on the market today. And if you prefer coffee made with a percolator, you can get paper filters to filter your brew as you pour it out. So, the next time you’re filling up your carafe with your favorite brew, consider filtering it.

How Does a Coffee Percolator Work

We’ve covered a lot of information about percolators, but are you still wondering ‘how does a coffee percolator work?’ Here are some more details to satisfy the budding coffee brewer in you.

As indicated above, a coffee percolator pot/kettle is made up of a water chamber, coffee chamber, and a central tube. When you want to brew coffee, all you have to do is fill the pot/kettle with water, and, of course, put in your coffee ground.

Then turn it on if you’re using an electric percolator or put it on the stove if you are using a stovetop percolator.

As the water boils, steam and hot water come out through the central tube, passing through the perforated lid where the hot water is equally spread across the coffee chamber, extracting your coffee in the process.

percolator coffee

With a manual coffee percolator, the extraction continues until you turn it off the stove. An electric percolator will automatically shut down when the brewing process is complete.

To avoid over-extraction when you’re using a manual coffee percolator, the pot/kettle is designed in such a way that it stops making the perking or spurting sound as soon as the internal temperature of the brew reaches boiling point. If the coffee extracts for too long in a percolator, it tends to have a bitter taste. Some coffee aficionados have mastered the art of timing the coffee percolator accurately to get a brew with their preferred strength level.

How Does a Drip Coffee Maker Work

As you sip on your espresso, have you ever found yourself wondering ‘how does a drip coffee maker work?’ Here’s everything you need to know.

The technology at the heart of drip coffee machines has not changed in several decades although the general design of these machines has become more sophisticated. When you fill the reservoir of your drip coffee maker with water and turn it on, the heating element is activated.

As the boiling water starts to produce steam and bubbles, these water droplets flow through a tube and are led to the filter chamber where the water runs through coffee and extracts your brew.

After passing through the coffee ground, the water goes through a filter before it reaches your cup. Regardless of the size or complexity of any drip coffee maker you find, this is how it functions.

Drip coffee

A drip coffee maker is every coffee drinker’s dream because it is easy to use and makes the coffee making process safe and virtually automatic. The device even turns off after the water boils. It is easy to see why many people adopted drip coffee makers quickly over coffee percolators. The downside of drip machines is that you have to use more coffee beans to get strong coffee like you would from a coffee percolator pot.

How to Clean Your Drip or Percolator Coffee Maker

It is essential to clean your coffee maker periodically regardless of whether you use a drip or percolator coffee maker. The buildup of limescale can affect the flavor of your coffee and could also damage the coffee maker. Here’s how to clean your drip coffee maker and percolator coffee maker.

Cleaning a drip coffee maker is a straightforward process, and you can choose to use either a homemade cleaning solution or purchase cleaning tablets or cleaning solutions. There are numerous types of cleaning solutions on the market, and you can make your own using simple ingredients. Fill your reservoir with equal parts water and equal parts cleaning solution. If you’re using cleaning tablets, the product will come with instructions on how many tablets to use depending on the size of your tank.

Once that is done, all you have to do is run your coffee machine like you’re making coffee. Let it run for a few cycles. Then empty your reservoir, fill it with water and let it run a few more times. After that, you’re good to go. The other parts of a drip coffee maker can be wiped clean or run through a dishwasher.

Cleaning a percolator follows a similar process. Fill your percolator with equal parts of water and a cleaning solution. If you’re using cleaning tablets, ensure you’re using the right amount. Then set the coffee percolator to heat it and let it run through a few cycles. Pour the water out and let the pot cool down. Then scrub the inside with normal dish soap. Rinse it well and your stainless steel percolator is as good as new.

What is the Best Coffee to use in a Percolator?

coffee grounds

When choosing the coffee for the percolating, you will have many choices on the list. The market will offer you a variety of coffee and brands, but the best coffee is a medium roast from your favorite brand for a percolator.

The top 6 coffee that you can choose from are:

  1. Sumatran Coffee
  2. Colombian Coffee
  3. Ethiopian Coffee
  4. Guatemala Coffee
  5. Kenyan Coffee
  6. Peruvian Coffee

Can you use Drip Coffee in a Percolator?

Since the filter used with this machine is not as refined as the filter that you can find in a drip coffee maker, using a drip coffee in this machine is not a good idea. This means that the finely ground coffee may settle in the bottom of the pot. If you want to achieve the best coffee blend with a percolator, you will need coarse ground coffee.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does percolator coffee have more caffeine?

Yes, a coffee drink brewed with a percolator coffee pot will have a higher caffeine content than a brew made with a drip coffee maker – even if they used the same amount of coffee and water for the brewing process.

The reason why percolator coffee contains more nicotine is that the extraction process is repeated numerous times as water runs over the coffee ground. This guarantees maximum extraction so you get the full flavor and full caffeine content of any amount of coffee. On the other hand, drip coffee is extracted once.

Is percolator coffee any good?

Yes, percolator coffee has a rich flavor and strong taste that makes it stand out. Using a percolator, you can brew a perfect cup of coffee each time without having to figure out any settings and even without electricity (if you have a stovetop coffee percolator). It takes just a few minutes to make coffee using a percolator. This is an ideal brewing method if you have to make coffee for a lot of people.

Do you use a filter in a percolator?

Originally, coffee percolators did not come with filters. However, as the benefits of filtered coffee become well known, the demand for percolator filters has grown and the market gave in to the demands of coffee lovers. So, you will find different types of filters on the market today that are designed specifically for percolators.

How much coffee do you use in a percolator?

This varies depending on how strong you want the brew to be. Generally, one tablespoon of coarse coffee ground per cup of water that you put in your coffee percolator. You can get 2 to 3 cups of coffee from one or two spoons of coffee grounds.

Conclusion - Percolator Coffee vs Drip

To summarize this percolated coffee vs. drip coffee comparison, here are some of the essential things that you need to keep in mind with choosing between these two methods.

If you want to make strong and bitter drinks, then you will go with a percolator. But if you prefer a light taste, dripped coffee is best for you.

Brew Size

If drinking coffee with a big group is your thing, you should go with a percolator because they can make a large amount of coffee in a single process. If you are drinking as a couple or a group of 4, dripped coffee is enough to meet the needed number of cups.


When it comes to convenience, a drip coffee maker takes the spot to automate the heating and brewing time. Even the cheapest model can do it. However, you can get a percolator at an affordable price compared to a drip coffee maker. So if you are considering your budget, the percolator is the way to go.

Any of these options can give you a great blend of coffee without burning your pocket. But the most important thing, whether you have a percolator coffee vs drip, is to enjoy every sip of your cup to get you ready for the day. 

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