What To Look For When Buying A French Press (Helpful Guides)

Last Updated on February 21, 2022 by John Moretti

When I walk into my kitchen and smell that strong, rich flavor of freshly brewed coffee, it may not solve all my problems, but the glorious aroma certainly takes the edge off a long and stressful day.

And it’s such a pleasure to own a French press when I need a quick injection of excellent coffee. When buying a French press, there are some things to consider to get the best possible one for you.

With the endless varieties of French presses available, one should consider several factors when purchasing one. Important things to bear in mind are the quality of the components, the material from which it is made, price, aesthetics, and the specific purpose and place that the buyer would use it.

The French press also has other aliases, such as cafetiére, press pot, coffee press, or coffee plunger. In 1923 Italian born Ugo Paolini came up with the idea of a coffee pot with a filter and press action.

He assigned his patent to Giulio Moneta and Attilio Calimani, and they would file it in 1929. It is almost 100 years old, still popular, and comes in various forms to suit each coffee drinker.

What To Look For When Buying A French Press?

What To Look For When Buying A French Press?

It’s certainly not a complicated issue to choose a French press when you want to prepare your own fabulous cup of joe at home, but if you keep a few factors in mind, you will find one that suits your purposes down to a tee.

1. Three Main Parts Of A French Press

French Press parts

Every variety is composed of the carafe, the lid, and the plunger, and examining each of these will be helpful when making your choice. 

The Carafe

French Press Carafe

The carafe is the part that holds the water and coffee, and these can be made of stainless steel, tempered glass, or plastic, each of which has its benefits and disadvantages.

  • Tempered glass is pretty to look at, doesn’t have any negative effects on the brewing process, but it is very fragile – we all need to replace them regularly.
  • Some believe that plastic French presses aren’t as good for the brewing process, but at least they don’t break.
  • Stainless steel ones don’t affect brewing, they aren’t easily destroyed, but you can’t view your freshly brewed coffee.

The Plunger

French Press Plunger

The plunger, with its filter, is the most important component to inspect before buying your French press. If the sides of the filter are plastic, they will deteriorate over time, particularly if they are cleaned in a dishwasher.

The grounds will then begin to sneak through the cracks in the plastic edges, leaving unpleasant sediment in your coffee. Metal edges will not break down and last longer.

The Lid

French Press Lid

Inspecting the lid may seem irrelevant when choosing a French press, but if it is ill-fitting, it won’t prevent the heat from escaping while the coffee is brewing. Some of the nicer versions have guards that keep the heat inside the pot.

When the coffee is ready for serving, you twist the guard to unblock the spout, giving you a hotter cup of coffee. Coffee is never good lukewarm.

2. Consider Size When Buying A French Press

French Press

They come in several different sizes, so it’s best to assess how many cups your  French press will regularly have to serve. Common capacities are 12-cup, 8-cup, and 3-cup.

If there are just one or two coffee drinkers in the household, a small one will do, but coffee lovers often socialize with other coffee lovers, so having a second, the larger one may be a good idea too.

3. Decide What Your French Press’s Main Job Will Be

French Press Coffee

Brewing at Home

If your coffee brewing happens mainly at home, decide whether you prefer a glass or stainless steel press. These points will help you decide between the two.

  • If you love to watch your coffee brew – choose a glass one.
  • Glass French presses will always eventually break, so if you have a busy child or a curious cat, perhaps a stainless steel one would be the better option.
  • Stainless steel pots will keep the coffee hot for longer, which is great if you take your time to drink your coffee.
  • A glass French press should have a sturdy frame and base for occasions when you need to use a bit more force in pressing down finely ground coffee.

French Press Travel Mugs

For travelers who can’t go without their freshly plunged coffee, there are also some good options. French press travel mugs are available. The coffee is brewed in the mug, and if it has a good seal, there will be no coffee grounds slipping past into your coffee. Many of these are designed to fit into the cupholder of your vehicle. These mugs hold approximately 15 ounces.

Outdoor French Press

If you are going on a long trip or camping, you would want something that holds more than the travel mug discussed above, but you still need it to be portable and durable. A glass one will not do. Special outdoor French presses are available that hold 50 ounces of liquid, are made of plastic, and come complete with an insulating sleeve that keeps the brew hot for longer.

4. The Price Of A French Press

Buy French Press

The prices can vary anywhere between $10 to over $100, but those in the $20-$40 range are of decent enough quality to produce a good cup of coffee. Your budget is one of the most significant deciding factors, but looking at the price range, there seem to be a few reasons why you will not be able to brew your very own great coffee.


If you are a coffee lover or coffee addict, in some cases, a French press can be your best friend at home, in the office, and even on a road trip. It’s affordable, and there are options to suit the needs of all coffee drinkers. The French press produces a delightful cup of coffee in minutes, so consider the size, design, your budget, and spoil yourself with a French press. It will be worth it.