If you’re looking for an Above Average Coffee you’re going to need to think about the filter.
Because if you’re here you’ve probably realized what coffee filter you use makes a difference to the coffee in a cup.
So you need the best coffee filter…
But where do you start? So many different types and sizes, I get it, it’s a minefield. Which is why I wrote this article, I’ve covered all the different top coffee filters so you can find the exact one you need and know you’re going to get an excellent cup of coffee.
With that said let’s start with the top 6 before we go deeper. And these are all linked through to Amazon so you can click through and order yours.
Top 6 Best Coffee Filters
- Best Reusable/Permanent – Hamilton Beach Permanent Gold Tone Filter, Fits Most 8 to 12-Cup Coffee Makers
- Best Paper – 8-12 Cup Basket Coffee Filters (Natural Unbleached, 500)
- Best for Pour Over – Reusable Pour Over Stainless Steel Coffee Filter
- Best #4 Coffee Filters – Melitta #4 Cone Coffee Filters, Natural Brown, 100 Count
- Best 4 Cup Drip Paper Coffee Filter – Tupkee Coffee Filters 4-6 Cups – Junior Basket Style, 400 Count, White Paper, Chlorine Free
- Best 4 Cup Drip Permanent Filter – THE ORIGINAL GOLDTONE BRAND Reusable Basket-style 4-8 Cup Coffee Filter with Handle
1. Best Reusable/Permanent – Hamilton Beach Permanent Gold Tone Filter, Fits Most 8 to 12-Cup Coffee Makers
Brand: Hamilton Beach
- Universal fit for drip machines
- Stainless steel mesh
- Dishwasher safe
- Robust and long-lasting
- Fits Mr. Coffee, Bunn, Black & Decker, and more
My first drip machine came with a reusable filter just like this one and I’m so glad it did. It’s saved me from throwing 100s of filters into the garbage and 2 years later and it’s still going strong.
There is a taste different with a permanent filter compared to a paper filter, the coffee tastes a little thicker because it lets some of the grinds through. But I like that, it adds an extra boldness to the coffee.
I picked the Hamilton Beach because it’s the most universal basket filter, if you’ve got a drip machine, even a Bonavita or a Technivorm Moccamaster this filter will fit nicely into the basket slot.
8-12 cups is a pretty standard size but if you’ve got a smaller machine than that I’ve got a suggestion further down.
The filter is durable stainless steel and the whole thing can go into the dishwasher to be cleaned, Just rinse it after it comes out and make sure you’ve gotten most of the grounds out and into the garbage before it goes into the dishwasher.
An easy choice of the best reusable coffee filter.
2. Best Paper – 8-12 Cup Basket Coffee Filters (Natural Unbleached, 500)
Brand: Rupert and Jeoffrey’s Trading Co
- Huge pack
- Requires a rinse before use
- Sturdy sides don’t collapse
- Smoother tasting cup
- Best Coffee filters for Bonavita
- Best coffee filters for Technivorm Moccamaster
If you don’t like the taste of a reusable filter, I get it, the clean up is easier too just lifting the whole thing into the bin.
In which case these will see you right, they’re unbleached coffee filters so you can a more organic and natural cup, and you get a 500 pack which doesn’t take up too much room and will stop you from ever running out.
Because they’re unbleached it’s worth giving them a rinse under the tap before they’re used, otherwise, you might notice a slightly papery taste to the coffee. Most people don’t notice but it’s something to be aware of.
I like these because they’re nice and sturdy and won’t tip over once they’re in the basket pouring coffee grounds everywhere and ruining the pot of coffee. You want a high-quality filter to make your coffee if you want to get high-quality coffee at the end after all.
Anything at all that is coming into contact with your food is always going to be better unbleached than bleached in my opinion. That’s why these have gotten my top spot.
3. Best for Pour Over – Reusable Stainless Steel Pour Over Coffee Filter
Brand: Best Trade
- Suitable for Chemex, Bodum, Hario V60, and more
- Dishwasher Safe
Again the toss-up is whether or not to use paper vs reusable, I like reusable because it’s less wasteful, and they aren’t that expensive to try them out yourself.
Making this a great choice, the stainless steel is much easier to clean and maintain than a cloth filter and is a nice fine mesh to keep a lot of the fines out of your coffee.
Fits most of your standard pour-over methods except the larger sizes of Chemex, but read on for those recommendations.
Dishwasher safe you just have to scrape out the old coffee grounds before you put it in, and make sure it’s in upside down so the grounds can escape.
Then just set it up in your preferred coffee brewer and rinse it through with hot water, which has the double bonus of pre-warming your carafe.
Give it a try and discover all the coffee oils you’ve been missing out on with your paper filters.
4. Best #4 Coffee Filters – Melitta #4 Cone Coffee Filters, Natural Brown, 100 Count
- The original coffee filter
- 100 filters included
- Protected for bursting during use
- Available as white or brown
100 years ago Melitta Bentz herself crafted a coffee filter out of paper and the rest is history. Today they are still the leading manufacturer of paper filters producing delicious coffee.
Their number 4 filter is everything you could want, double crimped for effective filtration and ensuring the filters don’t burst while you brew keeping your cup clean and crisp.
And the paper has micro-perforations in it to ensure the maximum flavor is released from your grind. More similar to a metal filter but without the fines getting through.
They’ve got a white and a brown version, the white is chlorine-free being beached using an oxygen process and the brown is the more natural of the two which I prefer.
They come in a range of pack sizes but through the Amazon link above you can find them in packs of 100 for your convenience.
5. Best 4 Cup Paper Coffee Filter – Tupkee Coffee Filters 4-6 Cups – Junior Basket Style, 400 Count
- 400 pack
- Thicker paper to prevent breakages
- 100% compostable
- For 4-6 cup coffee machines
As I learned writing about the best 2 cup coffee machines small machines are hard to find, which means that small filters are also hard to find.
And so I bring you the Tupkee 4-6 cup junior filter. It’s a good sturdy paper that won’t break, you get 400 in a pack to keep you making coffee all year and they are universal to fit in all small dripper coffee makers.
The material is compostable and the white bleaching process uses chlorine-free methods.
You don’t have to but I’d still give them a light rinse under the tap to completely remove any paper taste that might be present.
Cheap, cheerful, and excellent quality, the perfect basic coffee filter.
6. Best 4 Cup Permanent Filter – THE ORIGINAL GOLDTONE BRAND Reusable Basket-style 4-8 Cup Coffee Filter with Handle
- Fits most 4 cup drip coffee makers
- stainless steel mesh
- Sower environmental impact
This goldtone filter fits nicely into most 4 cup coffee machines and while it’s a touch small for 5 and 6 cup machines it still works. you just have to place it centered rather than haphazardly.
The fine mesh steel keeps the grounds out while letting the coffee oils through for a thicker coffee taste. A few more fines get through compared to a paper filter but across a pot of coffee, it isn’t noticeable in my opinion.
It’s 3.5 inches in diameter and the basket depth is 2 inches while the total depth is 3.5 inches if you need to measure your machine to compare.
Again I love a reusable filter, so much more eco friendly compared to disposable filters. And the one I’m currently using which is almost identical to this one (a different shape) has been going strong for 2 years without signs of slowing down.
Small reusable filters are hard to come by and this one does a tremendous job.
Bleached vs Unbleached Paper Filters
I wrote a different article on this if you want more information but the general idea is that brown filters are unbleached.
Now once upon a time, a bleached coffee filter was bleached using chlorine which when ingested just can’t be good for you. Luckily today coffee filters are bleached using an oxidization process which is far far safer. Now, most modern filters should be bleached using the oxygen method, but a lot of them come from overseas where regulations are slacker so who can be sure?
That’s why I always go for a brown paper filter myself. It needs to be rinsed out before use to make sure there isn’t any papery taste transferred to your cup but that isn’t a hassle.
And if you don’t believe a taste is transferred then put a filter in a glass of boiling water, let it cool and taste the water, I bet it doesn’t taste like plain water!
But I digress, if you’re less skeptical of the world than I am you’ll get on absolutely fine with either filter, bleached or unbleached as far as most coffee drinkers are aware, there isn’t a huge difference it has to be said.
Reusable vs Paper Coffee Filters
They aren’t the same, the coffee at the end doesn’t taste the same even with the same brewing process and it will make the same coffee beans taste noticeably different. Some coffee machines will even be supplied with a reusable filter.
But what are the differences?
Reusable Filters Let Oils Through
Reusable filters have bigger holes in them, and the result of that is you get more coffee fines in your cup but you also get more of the coffee oils that get lost in a paper filter. These coffee oils offer more complex flavors to your cup but also make your coffee taste “thicker”, a little more buttery. This is why coffee from a french press tastes different than coffee from a drip machine.
Is this better? impossible to say, it just depends if you prefer it. And there is of course a flip side…
Paper Filters Give A “Cleaner” Cup
The paper traps in the oils and fines and the coffee that gets through have a cleaner and crisper feel to it. This is what most people like because it’s what they’re used to, but if you lean into it and embrace doing your bit for the environment then I think you’ll find that reusable filters are the way forward.
This goes for unbleached and bleached filters.
Paper Coffee Filters Clean Easier
Pick up the filter, put it in the garbage. Can’t argue with that as a process can you?
Reusable filters however have to be bashed into the bin and then awkwardly rinsed to get them clean. I’m sure you should put them through the dishwasher for a deeper clean periodically but I just rinse mine and it’s fine. We’re talking Above Average Coffee here not barista world championship level coffee.
Reusable Filters are better for the environment
Pack it full of coffee, pick it up, and put it in the garbage. Every day, everyone, all over the country doing the same. that’s a lot of waste. Like a seriously large amount of waste. When a reusable filter is properly cleaned and cared for will last you for years and years.
Are bamboo coffee filters better?
It depends, do they make better coffee? Probably not, are they better for the environment? Almost definitely. Bamboo is self-generating so you can cut it back and it regrows. It also uses less water than paper trees do so they are a better choice for the environment. And Melitta bamboo filters, which are the most common, only use 40% bamboo inside them so not going to be a huge difference no matter what.
Are paper filters better for coffee?
Entirely personal preference, some people prefer a paper filter but I like a reusable filter. I’d recommend trying out a reusable one to see if you like it before going back to paper.
How many coffee filters should I use?
Just the one, any more than that is just excessive and you’re coffee won’t brew properly. Just one at a time is fine.
What can I use instead of a coffee filter?
You can use a paper towel or a dishtowel. But seriously… just don’t have coffee, that’s not going to leave you with a nice cup of coffee. Run hot water through and have that instead.
Are gold coffee filters better?
There is a myth floating around the internet that gold filters allow more of the anti-oxidants through the filter compared to stainless steel or paper. This simply isn’t true, a gold filter isn’t going to change up how the taste is. But the care taken to make a gold filter might be better made and so leave you with a higher quality cup at the end compared to a cheap stainless steel filter
What is the difference between #2 and #4 coffee filters?
The difference between a #2 filter and a #4 filter is the size. A #2 filter is for 4-6 cup machines and a #4 filter is made for 8-12 cups.
Other Coffee Filter Reviews
Best Coffee Filter For Chemex
CHEMEX Bonded Filter – Circle – 100 Piece
- The original and best
- Thicker paper for a cleaner cup
- Fits all CHEMEX Coffeemakers except CM-1, CM-1C, CM-1GH
If you’ve got a Chemex, what better way to go than to get a Chemex filter? There are loads of off brands that are a little cheaper but the truth is… They aren’t as good!
Chemex went above and beyond ensuring that they’ve got a great filter to match they’re an exceptional coffee maker.
I was curious about the difference between the square filter and the circular filter… It turns out there is no impact on flavor, some people prefer the square because it’s easier to remove after and some people prefer the circle because it’s more nostalgic.
I like the circle because it’s more compact and I don’t bash the kettle off the raised edges while I’m pouring.
You can buy the filters cheaper direct from the website but I’ve linked to Amazon above for the sake of continuity in the article.
These are designed to fit all the standard sizes of Chemex carafes. But if you want a reusable filter I’ve got something a little different below…
CoffeeSock Reusable Filters Made to Fit Chemex 6-13 Cup Carafes
- Organic Cotton
- Made in the USA
- Superb coffee taste
Cotton coffee filters are an excellent way to make coffee, they allow some of the oils through more like a metal filter while keeping the fines out like a paper filter. The result? A superb tasting coffee that is the best of both worlds.
But there’s a catch…
They aren’t the easiest to store, this one recommends you drying it out completely after each use, which is fine if you live somewhere with a hot desert climate, but if you don’t it’s going to a little mildewy and start to smell.
If you’re using it regularly you should keep it submerged in water in the fridge and rinse it under warm water before use. Or in a zip lock bag in the freezer and defrost under warm water for use.
So it takes a little work but if you’re looking to try something a little different with your Chemex then this is a great way to go.
And CoffeeSock is easily the best choice, high quality, durable, organic, and the perfect shape for use in a Chemex.
Best Coffee Filters For Cold Brew
NUOBUNG Cheesecloth, 20X20 Inch, Grade 90, 100% Unbleached Organic Cotton
- Fits in most containers
- Organic cotton
- 4 Pack
Cheesecloth is the perfect cold brew companion because once you’ve made it you’re not always straining it straight into something that a regular coffee filter will fit in.
And if you empty it into all the different jars you happen to have handy you need something versatile that can handle them all. Enter, cheesecloth.
Just fit it in whatever container you’re pouring into, or your cup and pour the cold brew through. Grounds get caught, as do a lot of the fines and you’re left with a delicious cold brew coffee.
The Nuobung cloths are made from organic cotton and are relatively simple to clean and keep so you can use them time and time again. An excellent reusable choice for cold brew.
50PCS Cold Brew Coffee Filter Bags, 6inX10in
- Fits 32oz mason jar
- Easy cleanup
- Can also be used for tea
This is pretty much the easiest way you can make cold brew coffee. Grounds in the bag, bag in a big jar and add water on top, couldn’t be simpler!
And while I’ve gone on and on about how great it uses a reusable filter. As far as a cold brew filters go you really can’t ask for easier than this, and that outweighs the need to keep and look after a cotton filter.
You can also use these to make large batches of tea if that’s your thing. They’re heat resistant to give you plenty of support for brewing, and they’ve got a drawstring top to keep everything in them.
Best Metal Coffee Filter
Reusable 8-12 Cup Washable Permanent Coffee Filters Basket
- Fits standard basket size
- Dishwasher safe
The construction of this is much more like a fine mesh strainer than it is a regular coffee filter. An all-metal stainless steel construction as opposed to a stainless steel weave, one isn’t better than the other that’s just how it feels.
Although I will say it’s easier to scrub this because it’s more solid. I also think the holes to let coffee through are a little smaller than most mesh filters so you get a cleaner cup at the end. Not as much as with paper but still very clean.
It also comes as a #4 cone filter for use with other coffee machines.
If you’re looking to use less or no plastic then this is an excellent choice.
TITANIUM COATED GOLD Pour Over Coffee Filter
Brand: Barista Warrior
- Compatible with Chemex and Hario V60
- Dual Filtration for a smoother cup
- 6-month Guarantee
So… Why gold? Well, I can tell you that the gold itself doesn’t add anything to the coffee, but it does make it look very stylish. And the quality of the craftsmanship in this filter goes a long way to making a top-notch cup of coffee that would make a barista proud.
Some people report clogging after about 3 months of use. But these people must not know how to clean something properly! Because if you take care to make sure you periodically give it a thorough clean or a go through the dishwasher then it’s good to go day in and day out.
Rinsing is fine for your daily clean but when it’s a hard mesh-like in this filter you’ve got to give it a good deep clean now and then. Even if you just use it every day for a single-serve of coffee.
The dual filtration system allows you to get a cleaner cup than most metal filters allow and give you a much more comparable flavor and mouthfeel to that of a regular paper filter.
All in all, if you’re looking for a metal pour-over filter, look no further.
Best Coffee Filter For Hario V60
Ovalware Paperless Stainless Steel Pour Over Coffee Filter
- Fits 02 and 03 drippers
- Dual filter construction
- Clean with warm running water
Now, this is incredibly similar to the coffee filter, with the exception that it’s a good deal cheaper.
And you get a choice to get either gold, copper, or stainless steel look on the outside. These don’t affect the flavor but do affect the aesthetic so just pick your favorite looking one.
You get a double filtration system with a fine mesh on the inside and a laser cup filter on the outside for an exceptionally clean cup of coffee.
You also get a 90-day guarantee with this, if you don’t like it you can return it for a full refund. Not bad at all right?
If you’re looking for a reusable Hario V60 filter then this is the way to go
Hario 02 100-Count Coffee Natural Paper Filters
- The original and the best
- 100 pack
Now I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you too much about why the Hario filters are the best for a Hario…
But they are, there’s no point going elsewhere if you’re looking to make a great cup of coffee. The paper is high quality and the size is of course perfect.
Best For Aeropress
Reusable Premium Metal Filters by Slimm Filter for Use in the AeroPress Coffee Maker
Brand: Slimm Fitter
- Fits all Aeropress
- Lifetime guarantee
- Clean by rinsing under the tap
Now, this is pretty cool, because your traditional filter in the Aeropress is paper but adding a metal filter changes the taste to give you a thicker richer cup of coffee.
More similar to the taste you’d get from a French Press because it also uses a metal filter.
These are well built, sized perfectly and because they’re a solid disk they’re easy as pie to clean, just rinse it under the tap and you’re good to go.
Considering it doesn’t cost that much more than a pack of paper filters either has to be a good thing. Plus, less waste and all that good stuff too.
An easy way to start doing your coffee shop customization to try and get a coffee a professional barista would be proud of.
AeroPress Replacement Filters, 2 Pack
- The original and the best
- 700 filters included
- 2.5 inches diameter
If you need an Aeropress filter and you don’t want a metal one. Then buy the filters from Aeropress themselves, no need to get a cheaper off-brand version, they’re inexpensive and of course, made to measure.
Don’t go elsewhere, stick to the on-brand filter.
Best Filter For Percolator/Moka Pot
100 Pcs No.6 Coffee Filter Moka Pot Filter Paper
- 6cm diameter
- unnecessary but fun to try
Do you need to use a paper filter in a percolator? Not, is it fun to get one to try? Yes absolutely, especially because it’s only a couple of bucks with free shipping!
Your percolator has a built-in filter, it doesn’t need anything extra to make coffee, but I love a good coffee experiment so I recommend trying out a Moka pot filter just to see what it’s like.
You never know you could transform your cup into coffee heaven you’d never dreamed of before!
Best Cloth Coffee Filter
Pinyon Cloth Reusable Cone Coffee Filter
- Range of sizes and styles
- 55% organic hemp 45% organic cotton
- Made in Canada
The Pinyon is everything you could want from your coffee filter, reusable, delicious coffee, compact to store. And it’s organic!
The cloth is high quality and while they recommend drying it out completely between uses I think storing it in a glass of water in the sink will be a better idea.
Of course, if you’re looking for a coffee filter for travel you can’t do that and this is still a great choice. Rinse it out after use, dry it out in the sun, or clipped to the back of a backpack and left to dry that way. Once it’s dry it folds away nicely into a bag.
Before you use it you should soak it in some boiling water just to clean it out as a heads up. And the more you use it it’s going to end up getting stained, but it’s just that a stain, it won’t affect the taste of your coffee that’s coming out the other end.
A superb choice of cotton cloth coffee filter.
Wow, that was a bit of an epic to get to hear, wasn’t it? I hope I’ve covered all the possible types of coffee filters you might need but if there are still any questions you might have or recommendations you might need then let me know in the comments below.
9 Best Chemex Alternatives
Best 1-2 Cup Coffee Makers
24 Best Coffee Makers For College – The Complete Buyer’s Guide
30 Uses For Used Coffee Grounds (From Fertilizer To Fish)
Can I Put Coffee Grounds In The Garbage Disposal? (Find Out The Truth…)
8 Ways To Make Coffee Without A Filter (2021 Edition)