Coffee maker vs French press — which device comes out on top?

Pro baristas weigh in on the coffee maker vs French press debate

Brewing coffee in French press
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you're deciding between a coffee maker and a French press, you're in luck. We've got all the details on these two types of coffee-making devices. 

We asked coffee experts and pro baristas about the features and key differences between the two. See everything you need to know about making coffee in a French press and a coffee maker.

We also included some of our recommendations for the best coffee makers once you decide which is right for you.

Coffee maker vs French press

From small coffee makers to pod coffee makers, there's a lot to choose from on the market. If you're new to the world of coffee, you may be wondering what the difference is between a coffee maker and a French press. 

We got the low-down on all the pros and cons of each device and which one may be right for you. Baristas and coffee pros share everything you need to know to start brewing your perfect drink at home. Say goodbye to coffee shops!

Prices were correct at the time of publishing.

Pouring milk into coffee mug

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Brewing method

One of the first things to know before buying a coffee maker is which brewing method you would like to utilize day-to-day. A coffee maker is an electronic device that brews coffee automatically, while a French press is a pitcher, typically made of glass, that you use to brew coffee manually. 

"Most coffee makers use a drip brew system, in which hot water (typically around 195°F to 205°F) drips over coffee grounds held in a paper or metal filter, extracting the coffee’s flavors, oils, and essences as it passes through to a pot below," says Kayla Stavridis, a former barista and the current head of marketing at

If you're looking for something easy to use, a coffee maker may be your best bet. "They are convenient and user-friendly, especially for brewing multiple cups at once (up to 12 cups, depending on the model); programmable models can be set to brew coffee automatically at a specific time," says Kayla. If you're looking for a smooth and mellow cup of drip coffee, consider a coffee maker like the Nespresso Vertuo Plus (available on Amazon) which just so happens to be Kim Kardashian's favorite coffee maker

Meanwhile, using a French press is a manual process. "Also known as a press pot or plunger pot, the French press brews coffee by steeping coffee grounds in hot water (about 200°F) before pressing them to the bottom of the pot with a metal or plastic plunger after about four minutes of steeping," says Kayla.

While it may be a bit more work, a French press allows for a custom blend if you prefer more control over the strength of the final product. "French presses offer superior flavor extraction as the coffee oils remain in the brew, creating a richer, fuller flavor; it also allows for control over the strength of the coffee," says Kayla. You can snag this BAYKA French press from Amazon, for a solid option as it has over 14,000 ratings and 4.5 stars.


The taste of the coffee can differ depending on the water-to-coffee ratio you use in each device. "The 'best' coffee depends on personal preference. A French press generally produces a richer, more robust flavor, appreciated by those who like a strong cup of coffee. In contrast, a coffee maker might appeal more to those who prefer a cleaner, smoother cup," says Kayla. 

It may depend on the model you get but typically when using a coffee maker, the functions are pretty simple and it makes a standard cup of coffee. "Both options make great coffee, and it really comes down to personal preference. I have found that French press coffee tends to have a richer dark flavor than a standard coffee maker. Since a coffee maker uses the same settings every time, the flavor tends to be more consistent. The French press is more manual, so the flavor varies from day to day," says Kelsey Patterson, a food blogger for Sigsbee Street.


If you're not sure where to store appliances in a small kitchen, the size of each device may be an important factor in your decision. French presses tend to be smaller as it's not an electric small kitchen appliance. The BAYKA model is 9.6"D x 5.6"W x 5.3"H and weighs just 1.3 pounds.

"A coffee maker is typically much larger than a French press. This is great if you are looking to make coffee for a crowd or a large family. If you are just making coffee for yourself or one other person, a French press may be a better option. You can store a French press away, and it will take up less space in your kitchen," says Kelsey. 

But not all coffee makers are huge. There are plenty of single-serve coffee makers on the narrow side like the Keruig K-Mini Coffee Maker (Amazon's #1 bestseller in single-serve brewers) which is less than five inches wide and weighs 4.6 pounds.

The verdict

Overall, which device is right for you depends on your lifestyle and barista skills. If you prefer a simple option that will brew coffee at just a click of a button, an automatic coffee maker may be the right choice. However, if you like a stronger brew, pick up a French press. Just make sure you're keeping your French press clean so you get the best results.

"Personally, I recommend a French press if you enjoy crafting a richer coffee flavor and don’t mind a bit more cleanup. It’s especially great for those who appreciate the art of making coffee and have the time to enjoy the process. However, a coffee maker might be the better choice for ease of use, consistent results, and the ability to brew large quantities of coffee more conveniently," says Kayla. 

As well as the brewing method, you can also experiment with the types of coffee beans you use. Decide between pods and ground coffee and experiment with different flavors and textures. "Both brewing methods have their unique benefits and can suit different lifestyles and preferences. Whether you prefer the ease of a coffee maker or the richer brew of a French press, both can make excellent coffee with some practice and care," says Kayla.

Emily Lambe
Deputy Editor

Hey! I’m Emily and I’m the deputy digital editor at Real Homes. I’m here to bring you the latest decor trends, inspirational ideas, informative how tos, the latest celeb homes style and the best budget-friendly buys. I live in a rented apartment, making the most of small spaces and using accent pieces to make things pop. When I’m not writing, I’m usually doing yoga, eating chocolate or working on my skincare routine.