Coffee filters serve as a tool to brew better coffee. They come in different shapes, sizes and materials, each one designed to help you brew the best cup of coffee possible.
When choosing coffee filters, one must take into account what type of coffee they want to brew and the results they’d like to achieve with their coffee filter. For example, do you want to have a clean, sediment-free cup or would you rather retain some of the oils from your coffee beans?
Below we list the best paper, cloth, and metal coffee filters currently on the market, with the aim of making it easy for you to find an option that works best for your coffee gear and preferred tastes.
Best Paper Filters
The Hario v60 paper filter is one of the most popular cone filters in the market.
As the title suggests, they are designed specifically for brewing in the V60 and come in a pack of 40 or 100 bleached filters.
These filters are disposable and ensure that your cup of coffee is sediment-free while still bringing out the flavours from your beans.
The Hario white paper filter is available in 01 (1-2 cups) and 02 (1-4 cups) sizing.
These Hario v60 paper filters are 100% unbleached and are made with paper pulp. They are cone-shaped and like the white filters come in a pack of 40 or 100, with each filter being meant only for single use.
As with the white filters, these are available in Hario’s 01 or 02 sizings.
If You Care filters are compostable paper filters that are chlorine-free and eco friendly.
These filters are made with laboratory-grade materials that resist heat and prevent coffee grounds from reaching your cup of coffee. They are a size 2 (compatible with most small filter coffee machines) and come in packages of 100 filters.
This reusable filter is both budget and environmentally friendly and does not require you to rinse the filter before brewing coffee.
The Chemex natural filters are unbleached filters designed to be used with 6,8 and 10 cup Chemex models. They are made out of specialty fibres designed to keep oils and ground coffee in place while you are brewing.
You get 100 filters per box, which have been pre-folded for convenience. One of the advantages of the Chemex coffee filters is that they will fit other cone-shaped coffee makers, making them a versatile option.
Harris coffee filters are unbleached paper filters designed to brew between 10 and 12 cups of coffee. They are a size 4 and come in a package of 40 filters.
This low mess paper filter is specifically designed for filter coffee brewers that have a flatbed.
Thanks to the natural pulp and zero beaching process, this is an eco-friendly option for those that brew a lot of coffee at home.
This presentation of If You Care reusable filters are a size 4 and are meant for brewing larger amounts of coffee. These reusable filters are chlorine-free and feature a “never break” wave seam, which guarantees that your filter won’t break during the brewing process.
The company has the goal of reducing the amount of pollution in the environment. They come in a pack of 100 filters and are a great option for those that brew constantly and want to reduce their carbon footprint.
Bleached vs Unbleached Paper Filters
Paper filters prevent unwanted coffee oils from reaching your cup and are a great option when making pour-over coffee.
Paper filters have either a white (bleached) or a brown (unbleached) colour. Both come in a couple of varieties such as those designed for cone or flatbed filters.
Bleached coffee filters have been usually bleached with chlorine or CO2. These coffee filters are safe to use for brewing and the bleaching process does not add any unwanted flavours to your coffee. Bleached coffee filters are more popular with baristas as the paper taste is not as present in the coffee.
Unbleached coffee filters do not require as much processing, which makes them better for the environment. However, because this type of coffee filter is made out of natural paper pulp, it might affect the taste of your coffee if not rinsed properly before use.
Remember that both types of filters need to be rinsed with hot water before using in order to get rid of the paper taste, but with unbleached filters this step is even more important, to ensure paper tastes are not present in your coffee.
In the end, choosing between a bleached or unbleached coffee filter comes down to whether you want to focus on having a low environmental impact or ensuring that your coffee does not have any paper-like taste.
Best Cloth Filters
Hario cloth filters are designed to let coffee’s natural oils pass to your cup while trapping micro-grounds. These filters are available in two sizes: 1 cup or 3 cups and are compatible with Hario drip pots.
As these are reusable flannel cloth filters, it is advised that you keep them in the fridge with a small amount of water in order to keep them hydrated and prevent them from breaking. If you like pour-over coffee that retains the beans’ natural oils, this filter is a great option.
The Boao Flannel is a reusable coffee filter that is made out of flannel cloth. It features a stainless steel handle that makes it easy to clean and remove without making a mess.
This option is great if you plan on making traditional Cuban coffee as it filters out the bitterness of the bean. You will get 4 filters, each one measuring 10 x 7 cm, meant for brewing small quantities of coffee.
Best Metal Filters
This stainless steel coffee filter fits most coffee cups and carafes thanks to its versatile cone shape. It features a dual stainless steel mesh wall that ensures all coffee grounds stay trapped and even comes with a polyester bag, perfect for making coffee while travelling or camping.
This filter can be hand washed and it is also dishwasher friendly, saving you from using potentially hundreds of paper filters a year. Thanks to the compact size it can fit easily in a drawer or your pantry.
The Sivaphe stainless steel is one of the most complete metal coffee filters out there thanks to its removable stand. The cone shape is designed to fit Chemex and the Hario V60 as well as most other coffee makers.
The removable stand allows the Sivaphe to sit comfortably on top of coffee mugs and carafes. A silicone hand grip rubber is attached to the brewing method for easy removal. This coffee filter can be cleaned by hand or in the dishwasher.
The Best Aeropress Filters
The official AeroPress Micro-Filters come in a pack of 350, which should last you many months of coffee brewing.
These filters remove grit and unwanted oils thanks to the microfibre materials, delivering rich flavour and low acidity. They are designed to be used with the Aeropress only and offer a good value for the money.
RELATED: Aeropress vs V60
CoffeeSocks are reusable filters made from organic cotton. Cotton is a tasteless and odourless material that will not affect the quality of your coffee, making it a great option for filters.
These filters are meant to be used with the Aeropress and are easy to clean both by hand or with a dishwasher.
You get three cotton filters and CoffeeSock claims that they will each last a year or more, making them a great option if you are a frequent Aeropress user and want to cut down on paper filters.
The Able filter is made out of stainless steel. It is a reusable filter designed for Aeropress that has a metal mesh that traps most coffee grounds. However, if you are grinding very finely, be aware that some coffee particles might reach your cup.
The Able disc is an option for people that want an eco-friendly filter that is not made out of cloth. Due to how thin this filter is, you should try to handle it carefully to avoid damage.
Ten Miles offers a stainless steel disk filter for the Aeropress. This filter fits all Aeropress models and is designed to deliver a full-bodied cup. The small holes allow for some of the coffee’s natural oil to reach your cup.
This filter is very easy to clean and it stores within the Aeropress for travelling. For cleaning, all you need to do is rinse thoroughly and you are good for brewing again.
Metal vs Paper Filters
The main difference between metal and paper filters is the ability of paper to trap micro-fine coffee grounds and prevent oils from reaching your cup of coffee.
Most metal filters are not made with a fine enough mesh to catch micro-fine grounds, which means that you will have a cup that is full-bodied thanks to the oils that make their way through the filter. You might also have more sediments compared to the cleaner brew achievable with a paper filter.
Paper is thinner, which means that both oils and fine grounds will get trapped, delivering a smoother cup. Paper is also the preferred filter in most coffee shops and with baristas thanks to how versatile it can be. One disadvantage is that you have to rinse each filter prior to use in order to get rid of any paper taste.
Another important difference is that metal filters are reusable while most paper filters are not, which may result in a negative environmental impact.
Once again, it all comes down to preference. If you favour bold, rich coffees such as something that you might get from a french press, then metal filters will work best. Metal filters are also cheaper in the long term as they are reusable.
However, if you prefer bright, clean and smooth coffees you should definitely go with the paper version. Another advantage of paper filters is they come in all shapes and sizes which makes them easier to experiment with.
Coffee Filter FAQ
What can I use instead of coffee filter paper?
If you run out of coffee filters you can try the following: thick paper towels, clean dish towels, cloth napkins or a cloth filter. You could even try steeping your coffee in something designed for loose-leaf tea. Take into account that your cup of coffee might have a different body and taste but these are all accessible options if you do run out of coffee filters.
Do coffee filters have chemicals in them?
White paper filters need to go through a bleaching process that can be done with either chlorine or CO2. Chlorine bleaching involves the use of chemicals that can be harmful to the environment but have been removed from the filter and are therefore considered consumer-friendly.