Best Iced Coffee Makers

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

23 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
364 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best iced coffee makers

Last Updated October 2019

When temperatures start to heat up, the last thing anyone wants to do is grab a hot cup of coffee. Iced coffee is the perfect refresher for those summer mornings when you just can’t go without a hit of caffeine. With the right iced coffee maker, you can create a delicious, strong, cold brew to get you through the day.

The long steeping process helps to draw out complex coffee flavors without any bitter aftertaste. Making iced coffee at home is easy and less expensive than hitting up your local cafe. A tight seal keeps your brew fresh for a couple of weeks in the fridge, and the liquid stays flavorful a lot longer than hot coffee.

Creating tasty iced coffee requires more than dropping a few ice cubes into a glass of hot joe. Our iced coffee maker guide includes everything you need to know to purchase the right cold brew maker for your fridge, along with tips on how to get the most flavor out of your purchased grounds. We’ve included some of our favorite iced coffee makers, too.

A tight seal on the carafe guarantees prolonged freshness and keeps your concentrate from absorbing other odors lingering in your fridge.

Key considerations

Add ice cubes to hot coffee and all you’ll do is dilute your cup of joe. Your beverage will taste more like watery coffee than a bold iced concoction. The right way to make iced coffee involves steeping grounds to extract a strong coffee flavor. The resulting concentrate is potent enough that adding a few cubes of ice won’t ruin it and leave you with a weak-tasting brew.

An iced coffee maker is essentially a sturdy pitcher with a filter that allows for steeping. Iced coffee makers also have a lid with an airtight seal to preserve the freshness of your iced coffee concentrate. When shopping for an iced coffee maker, consider the following:

Size

Iced coffee makers come in different sizes, but one-liter models are the most widely available. A few brands sell extra-large units with spouts for dispensing the liquid. Oversized coffee makers are ideal for those who drink iced coffee frequently or for serving guests at a gathering. A little dose of coffee concentrate goes a long way, however. You only need a small amount of strong-tasting concentrate to create a tasty iced coffee, so consider this when choosing your unit.

Time

Be forewarned that making iced coffee requires a bit of patience (the steeping takes at least 24 hours), but once you have coffee concentrate ready, the process is a breeze. Use the brew too early and you’ll experience a weak-tasting iced coffee without much flavor. Be sure to store the liquid appropriately and you’ll have concentrate at the ready.

Supplies

If purchasing whole beans, you’ll need to buy a grinder. If you’re a coffee lover, a grinder is a crucial piece of equipment to have in your arsenal. Freshly ground coffee beans result in a better tasting brew.

EXPERT TIP

Not enough room in your refrigerator for a pitcher? Pick a slim carafe that fits in your fridge door to save space.


Staff  | BestReviews

Iced coffee maker features

Material: You can choose from iced coffee makers made of plastic or glass. If you’re at all prone to dropping things in the kitchen, opt for plastic. The pitcher, whether it’s glass or plastic, should have thick walls. When buying a plastic iced coffee maker, verify that it’s BPA-free to prevent chemicals from leaching into your concentrate.

Filter: Nearly all iced coffee makers have a mesh filter, though there are a few options that require paper filters for steeping coffee grounds. Filters are typically made of sturdy plastic or stainless steel. A fine mesh ensures that grounds are appropriately steeped, allowing them to leach into your brew without leaving behind sediment. While paper filters allow for a quick, easy cleanup, you’ll need to buy new ones regularly, so they’re not as environmentally friendly or economical as a mesh filter. 

Maintenance: Don’t forget to read the care instructions for your iced coffee maker. Not all parts may be dishwasher safe, and you might need to wash certain components by hand. For convenience, choose a model you can put in the dishwasher.

Spout: A spout is convenient for pouring out your iced coffee concentrate, but the lid should fit tightly on the pitcher and create a seal that keeps air from getting inside. Why is this important? Your iced coffee brew will stay fresher a lot longer if there’s a tight seal.

Design: Choose from a variety of pitcher designs, including sleek vessels stylish enough to display and simple, no-nonsense practical options for serving a crowd.

Machine: Not interested in sacrificing fridge space? Don’t want to manually measure out coffee grounds for your cold concentrate? Choose an automatic coffee maker that also features an iced coffee option. Keep in mind that machines are much more expensive than simple pitchers.

CAUTION

Watch out! Read the instructions that come with your carafe. Not all pitchers are designed to hold both hot and cold liquids.

Iced coffee maker prices

Inexpensive: Regular iced coffee pitchers won’t set you back more than $20. Basic designs made of sturdy plastic can be found at this price point. Portable options for on-the-go single-serving iced coffee goodness are also available in this price range.

Mid-range: Pay between $20 and $50 for a supersized iced coffee maker designed to hold several liters of iced coffee concentrate. You’ll also find stylish pitcher designs made of glass in this price range.

Expensive: Stainless steel pitchers, brand-name carafes, large-capacity units, and machines with an iced coffee function cost $50 and up.

Tips

  • Invest in a coffee grinder. Freshly ground beans deliver complex flavor. Buy quality coffee beans and choose a medium or dark roast for best results.
  • Don’t overfill the filter. Read the instructions for your iced coffee maker to find out the correct ratio of water to ground coffee. Follow the guidelines and avoid filling the filter all the way to the top.
  • Choose the water temperature. Fill the pitcher with warm, cold, or hot water. The different temperatures may result in different flavor profiles.
  • Be patient. Stick the pitcher in the fridge. It will take at least 24 hours before you can use your iced coffee concentrate. Let the grounds steep long enough to extract all that coffee flavor.
  • Remove the coffee grounds when the concentrate is ready. After the grounds have steeped long enough, throw away or compost the grounds and rinse out the filter. If you leave the grounds in too long, the concentrate may turn bitter.
  • Drink up! Enjoy your iced coffee whenever you crave a bold cup of joe or a caffeinated pick-me-up. The concentrate is very strong, so remember to dilute it with milk, cream, ice cubes, or cold water.
EXPERT TIP

For maximum durability, opt for a stainless steel filter.


Staff  | BestReviews

Other products we considered

If none of our top iced coffee maker picks fit your needs, here are a few additional suggestions. The Nostalgia Iced Coffee Maker features a three-quart pitcher and automatically brews concentrate ready for pouring over ice. The glass vessel has an airtight lid, so your iced coffee stays fresh in the fridge. The Willow & Everett Iced Coffee Maker is a sizeable one-gallon vessel with an adjustable spout, perfect for setting out iced coffee to serve guests. It’s ideal for those who want to drink cold brew every day. The Coffee Bear Iced Coffee Maker is made of thick glass and is conveniently dishwasher safe. We also love that it’s a little bit larger than a standard carafe. Finally, the Mr. Coffee Iced Tea and Coffee Maker is an automatic brewing option for making cold coffee and tea beverages. We’re particularly fond of its handy self-cleaning cycle.

Are you using coarsely ground coffee and still finding sediment at the bottom of your pitcher? Your filter may need to be replaced.

FAQ

Q. Can I brew anything else in my iced coffee maker?
A.
Sure! Use your iced coffee maker to steep loose-leaf tea. Whether you prefer black tea or fruity white tea, it’s possible to use your pitcher to brew a tea-based concentrate. Experiment with water temperatures and steeping times. You may find it takes less time to steep tea than coffee. Leaving tea to steep too long in water that’s too hot may leave behind a bitter aftertaste.

Q. How do I grind coffee beans for use in my iced coffee maker?
A.
Avoid grinding beans too fine. A fine grind is more likely to pass through a pitcher’s mesh filter and leave behind sediment. Notice sludge at the bottom of your pitcher? You’re likely grinding the beans too much. Opt for a coarse grind instead.

Q. Should I buy already ground or whole coffee beans for making iced coffee?
A.
If you plan on using ground coffee beans straight away, go right ahead and buy them. Once opened, however, pre-ground coffee begins to go stale quickly. Freshly ground coffee beans are the best choice for a delicious tasting brew.

Q. How much caffeine is in a cup of iced coffee?
A.
There’s more caffeine in a cup of iced coffee concentrate than in a cup of brewed hot coffee, but once diluted, most iced coffees have about the same amount of caffeine as a regular cup of coffee.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Writer
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