The 5 Best Chemex Pour Over For Your Budget and Lifestyle

Chemex coffee makers come in various shapes and sizes. To help you decide on the best Chemex coffee maker, I have jotted down a few points you can consider.

Best Chemex
Chemex makes a great cup of pour-over coffee

Invented in 1941, the Chemex has been around for generations. This pour-over coffee maker is well-known for its iconic design, which has earned it a place in more than one art museum.

The enduring popularity of this coffee maker is due to more than its timeless, elegant design; the Chemex makes a great cup of pour-over coffee.

If you’re thinking of investing in a Chemex, it may be helpful to inform yourself about your options. While I invested in a Chemex Classic many years ago — and never looked back — I recently did something that coffee purists will probably criticize me for. I invested in the Ottomatic 2.0., which is an automatic Chemex.

 I use both coffee makers. Each has its time and its place. To find out which Chemex will suit your lifestyle best, read on.

What To Look For In Chemex Pour-Overs

You can recognize the Chemex from a mile away, with its hourglass shape, polished wood collar, and leather tie. However, there are other reasons to invest in a Chemex.

These coffee makers are made from non-porous borosilicate glass, which is a material that does not absorb or impart odors, so your drink will never contain any off-flavors, no matter how old your coffee maker is.

Another thing to look out for is the proprietary filters used in Chemex coffee makers. These filters are based on laboratory paper and are thicker than regular paper filters, which means that they are more effective at removing oils, acidity, and sediment.

These amazing filters are responsible for the wonderfully clear cups of coffee you get from a Chemex coffee maker.

Although other manufacturers may tell you that their products are just as good as Chemex coffee makers, the quality materials featured with the Chemex elevate this coffee maker above the rest. Remember that each Chemex is still inspected, polished, and hand-tied before leaving the factory in Massachusetts.

If you love pour-over coffee, you might find out guide on the best coffee grinders for pour-over coffee helpful.

How To Pick The Best Chemex Pour-Overs

A person pouring coffee using chemex into a mug.
Select the best Chemex out of a number of factors

Chemex coffee makers come in different shapes and sizes. Here are a few factors to consider when you’re deciding which Chemex to go for:

Size

Before looking at how many cups a specific Chemex brewer makes, note that one cup in Chemex language equals five ounces. If you’re in the habit of drinking large mugs of coffee, you may easily drink 10 ounces or more at a time.

Knowing how much coffee you and your family typically drink at a time will help you decide which size Chemex to go for. Chemex coffee makers come in different sizes. For instance, the handblown Chemex is the only coffee maker available in a 13-cup size, while the Funnex can provide a maximum of 15 ounces of coffee.

Versatility

Different Chemex coffee makers also offer varying degrees of versatility. While the Funnex, for instance, is a portable coffee maker that you can take with you on camping trips, the other coffee makers should instead not leave your home.

On the other hand, while the Funnex only provides five to 15 ounces of coffee, the other coffee makers are available in multiple sizes. The three-cup Chemex coffee makers are probably the least versatile of all Chemex, whether in the Classic, Glass Handle, or Handblown series.

This is because this model comes with a smaller and steeper drip cone than other Chemex models, which takes a different half-moon filter. All the other coffee makers use the same size filter. You might also be interested in our explainer if Chemex can go in the dishwasher.

Ease Of Use

Because of its design, which features a large opening at the bottom of the drip cone, as opposed to a series of small holes in the base of the dripper as found in many other types of pour-overs, the Chemex requires skill.

To brew a good cup of coffee with a Chemex, you need to be more careful with variables such as water flow and grind size. If you lack the patience and the interest in playing around with brewing variables, you will be better off investing in the Ottomatic 2.0.

Price

In general, Chemex coffee makers are more expensive than many other pour-over coffee makers. However, the price depends on the type of Chemex coffee maker. The different models vary significantly in price. 

The Funnex and the Glass Handle series are your cheapest options, while the more expensive models include the Handblown series and the Ottomatic 2.0.

The Best Chemex Pour-Overs For A Variety of Coffee-Drinking Needs

Tasty coffee in chemex on wooden table
Chemex coffee

To help you gauge which type of Chemex coffee maker would be the best for your needs and pocket, I have compiled a short overview of each.

1. Classic Series

The Classic Series Chemex is the original Chemex coffeemaker. It features the iconic Chemex shape, wood collar, and rawhide leather tie that distinguish this brand. This coffee maker offers simple function and visual elegance. However, it is generally a bit more expensive than other pour-overs on the market.

The Chemex Classic is available in three-, six-, eight-, and 10-cup sizes. You can also choose from different rawhide colors, including Original Leather, Kelly Green, Saffron Yellow, and Royal Blue.

Pros

  • It’s a beautiful coffee maker
  • It’s available in various sizes
  • The Chemex Classic is dishwasher safe. Just make sure you remove the collar and tie.

Cons

  • This coffee maker is not fit for traveling or camping
  • It’s more expensive than many of its competitors

2. Glass Handle Series

The Glass Handle series features the same hourglass carafe as the Chemex Classic. However, instead of the wood collar and rawhide leather tie, which serve as an insulated handle, the Chemex Glass Handle series comes with a graceful and sturdy handle.

As is the case with the carafe, the handle is resistant to heat, so it will not burn your hand. This coffee maker is also available in three-, six-, eight-, and 10-cup versions.

Pros

  • Apart from the Funnex, the glass handle Chemex is the cheapest coffee maker
  • Some users prefer a coffee maker with a handle
  • The Chemex Glass Series is dishwasher safe

Cons

  • This coffee maker is not fit for traveling or camping
  • The handle sans the wooden collar and leather tie make this an overall less appealing design

3. Handblown Series

Spoil yourself with a handblown Chemex if you don’t mind splurging on a manual pour-over brewer. These coffee makers, wade from Croatian glass, are hand-produced by artisan blowers. Because they are made by hand, each model features slight variations which make them unique.

The beauty and fine workmanship of the handblown Chemex has earned it a home in the permanent collection of multiple museums. This coffee maker is available in three-, five-, eight-, and 13-cup versions.

Pros

  • With the handblown Chemex, you receive a truly unique coffee maker

Cons

  • This coffee maker is not dishwasher safe
  • It’s not fit for traveling or camping
  • The Handblown series is pricey

4. Ottomatic 2.0

As its name implies, the Ottomatic 2.0 is an automatic Chemex coffee maker. This coffee maker is a good option if you’re a coffee drinker who doesn’t like to fret about water temperature and pouring techniques.

The machine automatically takes care of brewing variables such as pre-infusion and the correct extraction time. 

Plus, you can make both hot and iced coffee with the Ottomatic.

The coffee maker also comes with a hot plate, automatically switching off after 90 minutes. Although the Ottomatic 2.0 comes standard with a six-cup Chemex Classic, it can accommodate any Chemex model, except for handblown eight- and 13-cup coffee makers.

Pros

  • Since it’s an automatic pour-over, less input and expertise is required

Cons

  • Because of the automated coffee-making process, you can’t experiment and play around with the brewing variables
  • It’s the most expensive Chemex coffee maker

5. Funnex

The Funnex is a portable little coffee maker with superb functionality making it the perfect brewer for the office, campus, or camping ground. Made from double-walled borosilicate glass, the Funnex is quite sturdy. The coffee maker comes with a silicone gasket, which can be used with all types of cups, mugs, and thermoses.

Despite its diminutive size and lower price, the Funnex brews a quality cup of coffee. It works with the same proprietary filters as the other Chemex models. Also, its conical shape allows for proper water-to-grounds contact.

With the Funnex, you can brew one to five to 15 ounces of coffee.

Pros

  • The Funnex is very portable, making it suitable for a camping trip
  • It’s dishwasher safe
  • It’s the cheapest Chemex brewer

Cons

  • It brews a maximum of 15 ounces of coffee
  • Compared to the other Chemex models, the Funnex is quite unassuming

Testing Criteria

I don’t necessarily think that one Chemex model is better than the other. The various Chemex models can function as the perfect coffee maker depending on your budget, needs, and lifestyle.

Instead of looking for the best Chemex, I focused on the distinguishing characteristics of the various models to determine which Chemex is best for you.

Why You Can Trust Me

Since my parents were passionate about their coffee and their Chemex coffee maker, my relationship with Chemex started when I was a child.

Horrified about the coffee I was being served on campus, watery and flavorless, I already invested in my six-cup Chemex Classic when I was a freshman. The rest, as they say, is history.

The Final Word On Best Chemex Pour Overs

To help you decide which Chemex is best for you, you can consider the factors I mentioned in this article, such as size, price, and ease of use. Regardless of which Chemex pour over you choose, however, you can be assured you're investing in a quality coffee maker.

Author

  • Born and bred in South Africa, Niki B now does her writing from the distant shores of South Korea. A self-proclaimed coffee addict by day, and a writer by night, she gladly shares her knowledge with fellow coffee lovers.