Chemex Vs Siphon: Which Is Best Coffee Maker?

While I don’t consider myself a coffee connoisseur, I enjoy fresh and masterfully brewed coffee, so I wondered which was best: a Chemex vs Siphon coffee maker.

Chemex Vs Siphon
Chemex vs. Siphon

I love my coffee makers, and both the Chemex and Siphon coffee makers brew coffee using elementary principles to obtain maximum flavor, making it hard to choose. These are not your typical electronic coffee makers. Their appearance sets them apart from the coffee machines at your local coffee shop.

Let’s find out more.

Chemex Vs Siphon: A Brief Overview

The Chemex has an hourglass design, with a collecting chamber at the bottom and a filtering chamber at the top. You insert the filter, add your coffee grind, then add sufficient hot water for your desired cup of coffee.

Coffee filters through to the bottom chamber, which is heated on your glass top or gas stove. For me, this is easy enough to appreciate, and the coffee is ready in a snap, which is great for early mornings.

With a slight twist, the Siphon may look like a steam-punk relic, but this coffee maker is the embodiment of purity and pleasure. The machine works on scientific principles where water is heated, drawing condensed steam into a second chamber where the coffee filtration happens.

Once the heat is reduced, the coffee either flows back into the main chamber or collects in the secondary chamber, from where it can be dispensed via a built-in tap. 

To me, the Siphon sounded a bit technical. I was concerned that it would be complicated to operate the Siphon, yet most models simply require an on-off action according to a predetermined time, and even I could do that.

Chemex and Siphon Key Features



Made from high quality non-porous borosilicate glass to avoid any odor absorption or flavor transfer.

Made from heat-resistant borosilicate glass to ensure quality and avoid any flavor transfer. 

Capacity: From a single 5 ounce one-cup model to 23 fluid ounces or multiple serving models.

Capacity: From a single serving Siphon to 5 cup models.

Pour over design.

Uses the scientific process of siphoning heated water.

Uses paper, fabric, or steel filters.

Uses the built-in steel or paper filters.

Requires no assembly, and coffee can be stored in the refrigerator in the Chemex coffee maker. Travels well.

Requires substantial assembly and disassembly to wash. Full disassembly required to transport.

Small enough to fit on the shelf with your barista or Disney coffee cups.

Requires substantial space in the kitchen on a counter. 

What Do Siphon and Chemex Have In Common?

a man pouring coffee using siphon coffee maker
The siphon is the embodiment of purity and pleasure

Both produce high-quality filtered coffee using natural filtering processes. While heat is applied, both use the basic process of percolation to drip water onto the coffee grind to create coffee in a collection chamber.

Both make an impressive visual statement that any coffee lover will appreciate. Both Chemex and Siphon produce pure coffee with a richer aroma.

Chemex Vs Siphon: The Differences

Chemex is quite simplistic in its functioning, using gravity to draw the heated water through the coffee grind and filter to produce coffee. Siphon is much more complex, relying on the science of siphoning liquid using heat to a secondary chamber.

Most Siphon coffee stations come with their own heat source, whereas the Chemex can be placed on a glass-top stove or even on your gas burner (with an appropriate steel mesh cover to keep the glass from cracking).

Check out our reasons why you should choose Siphon coffee.

What’s Better About the Chemex? 

The Chemex is much more affordable, and it’s easier to use too. Cleaning is a breeze as you simply remove the leather handle and rinse. Removing the coffee grind is easier: I simply pull out the paper filter and dispose of it with my household garbage. 

What’s Better About the Siphon?

The Siphon is a coffee-making experience. Guests often sit with me and watch the fascinating “science” of making a great cup of coffee. Visually, the Siphon coffee maker is a stunning feature on the sideboard or kitchen counter.

Clean-up isn’t nearly as difficult as I initially imagined but still requires some disassembly. The coffee produced is of the highest quality and purity. 

Who Should Get The Chemex (And Why)?

Chemex is for those coffee lovers that prefer affordable presents and simple to use

The Chemex is for anyone starting to dip their toes in the coffee world. I bought a few for my family, too, as they are affordable enough to make great presents and don’t require a degree to operate. 

Who Should Get The Siphon (And Why)? 

The Siphon is perhaps for the more serious coffee addict who makes drinking a great cup of coffee an art form. This is not for a quick morning cuppa, and you will find yourself socializing around this fascinating coffee maker while it brews your beverage to perfection. It’s an ideal gift for someone who likes to entertain or for those with a home coffee bar. 

Chemex Comparisons

Chemex Vs V60

Chemex Vs Stagg

Chemex Vs Kalita

Chemex Glass Handle Vs. Wood

Chemex Vs Coffee Maker

Chemex Vs Moccamaster

Chemex Vs Drip Coffee Maker

Chemex Ottomatic Vs Ratio Eight

Chemex Handblown Vs Classic

Chemex Square Vs Circle Filters

Chemex Vs Bodum Pour Over


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.