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Best Tea Infusers

Updated October 2018
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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.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
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.
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How we decided

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

  • 21 Models Considered
  • 1 Models Tested
  • 16 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 113 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

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

    Why trust BestReviews?
    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.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    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.

    Shopping guide for best tea infusers

    Last Updated October 2018

    Are you team tea or team coffee? There’s no wrong answer, but if a nice cup of Earl Grey is your beverage of choice, we recommend a tea infuser to get the finest brew possible. The question is, what's the best tea infuser around? Ball or basket? Steel or silicone? With so many options available to you, it can be overwhelming trying to choose.

    Read on for our full guide to tea infusers to discover which one will best fit your teatime requirements. Then, when you're ready to buy, check out our top picks.

    Look for a tea infuser that you can easily remove from your mug or teapot without scalding yourself.

    Types of tea infusers

    Basket tea infusers

    Basket tea infusers – also known as "brewing baskets" – are large infusers designed to be placed inside a mug or teapot.

    Pros:

    • Brewing baskets are spacious, giving tea leaves ample room to mingle with the water and steep properly, resulting in a flavorful cuppa.

    • Most basket tea infusers are durable and long-lasting.

    • Basket tea infusers are versatile and can be used in conjunction with many mugs and teapots.
       

    Cons:

    • Some brewing baskets are too narrow to fit in wide-rimmed mugs.
       

    Price: An average basket tea infuser costs $8 to $10. High-end models can cost as much as $25.

    Some basket tea infusers come with a lid which helps keep your tea warm while brewing and doubles as a drip tray on which you can place the infuser when you’re done with it. However, basket tea infusers don't steep tea as effectively in a shallow cup.

    Ball tea infusers

    Ball tea infusers, as the name suggests, are small mesh balls with a hinge in the center so you can open them up to put tea inside. You then clip both halves back together to seal the tea in. They either come on a handle or chain for easy removal from your mug.

    Pros:

    • The small size of a ball tea infuser means it can be fully submerged in the water, even in shallow cups.

    • Ball tea infusers tend to be made of fine mesh which keeps small tea particles from entering your drink.

    • As a rule, ball tea infusers are very inexpensive.
       

    Cons:

    • The mesh of a ball tea infuser can become misshapen over time.

    • Due to the small size of the ball, there's not always enough room for water to circulate around the leaves once they expand, producing inferior results.
       

    Price: Expect to pay between $3 and $10 for a ball tea infuser.

    Ball tea infusers tend to give better results with finely cut loose-leaf teas than they do whole-leaf or large-cut varieties.

    Mug tea infusers

    Some mug tea infusers are simply ceramic mugs that come with a perfectly fitting brewing basket. Others are travel mugs or work in a similar way to a French press, albeit for tea.

    Pros:

    • A mug tea infuser is an all-in-one solution, serving as both a tea infuser and a drinking vessel.

    • Some mug tea infusers can be used on the go.

    • Mug tea infusers tend to have spacious brewing areas, giving you a great-tasting brew.
       

    Cons:

    • Not all mug tea infusers are particularly durable.

    • If you're considering a ceramic mug tea infuser and you already have plenty of suitable mugs, you may as well simply buy a brewing basket.
       

    Price: Mug tea infusers usually cost between $10 and $30, depending on the quality of the mug.

    If you notice a film floating on top of your tea once it's brewed, it's usually caused by "hard water" (water with a high mineral content). You can resolve this issue by making tea using filtered water.

    Teapots with tea infusers

    You can find teapots that come with infusers that sit inside them, so there's no need to use a tea strainer.

    Pros:

    • Teapots with tea infusers are ideal if you routinely make tea for more than one person at a time. Otherwise, each person needs their own tea infuser.

    • When you have a tea infuser that sits inside your teapot, you can take it out as soon as the tea has brewed sufficiently. If you put the leaves directly in the pot, they stay in there until the pot is empty, meaning the tea can steep too much and get a bitter taste.

    • Teapots with tea infusers are easier to clean than teapots without them.
       

    Cons:

    • If you're only making tea for one, it's much simpler to use a basket or ball infuser.
       

    Price: Small two- to three-cup teapots with tea infusers start at around $15, whereas larger and more ornate options can cost as much as $150.

    Different types of teas have their own recommended brewing temperatures and times.

    Novelty tea infusers

    Novelty tea infusers are crafted in cute or funny shapes and are usually made from plastic or silicone.

    Pros:

    • Novelty tea infusers add a bit of fun to tea-making.

    • You can find a wide range of novelty tea infusers, from the adorable to the bawdy.

    • Novelty tea infusers make great gifts for tea-loving friends.
       

    Cons:

    • Some novelty tea infusers aren't the best quality.

    • Tea purists often claim you get a better flavor from metal tea infusers.
       

    Price: Novelty tea infusers usually cost somewhere between $5 and $15.

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    If you choose a plastic tea infuser, watch out for those that contain BPA – overexposure to this controversial chemical has potentially been linked to various health problems.

    Considerations for selecting a tea infuser

    Size

    The larger your tea infuser, the more room your loose tea has to float around in the water, releasing all its flavor.

    Smaller tea infusers might be convenient, but if you're really serious about making the best tea you can, we recommend a large basket, mug, or teapot infuser.

    Keep loose teas in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.

    Material

    Most tea infusers are made from either metal – usually stainless steel – or silicone, though you can also find plastic options. Metal tea infusers are durable, reliable, and generally our top choice. Some users report an unpleasant taste when using plastic or silicone tea infusers, but plenty of people use them with no complaints.

    Mesh vs. holes

    Some tea strainers are made from solid material that's been perforated all over to create holes that let water in and out. Others are made from mesh. Mesh tends to be very fine, so it's less likely to let tea particles through into your drink. Tea strainers with holes don't filter small particles quite as effectively, so they are better suited to whole-leaf teas or fruit or herbal teas that are made from steeping large pieces.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Most tea lovers agree that loose tea produces a much tastier beverage than bagged tea does.

    Tips

    • Consider how often you'll use your tea infuser. If you make loose-leaf tea every day (or several times a day), it might be worth splurging on a high-quality infuser that will stand up to regular use.

    • Think about where you usually make your tea. If you tend to drink tea at work, a small, portable tea infuser or a travel mug infuser might be your best bet. If you make tea at home, you might prefer the ritual of using a teapot.

    • Be wary of quality. Not all tea infusers are created equally. Novelty types in particular can be poorly made, so don't be wooed by a cute infuser that's only going to last a few weeks.

    • Look for tea infusers that are easy to clean. Some tea infusers have lots of corners and crevices that make them difficult to clean completely. For ease of cleaning, we definitely recommend a dishwasher-safe model.

    If you're serious about brewing tea, consider buying an electric kettle with variable temperature control to go with your new infuser.

    FAQ

    Q. What water temperature should I use to brew my tea?

    A. The optimum water temperature for brewing tea depends on the variety of tea. Here are the recommended brewing temperatures for some of the most common teas.

    • Black tea: 194°F to 210°F

    • White tea: 185°F to 205°F

    • Oolong tea: 185°F to 205°F

    • Green tea: 175°F to 185°F

    • Herbal or fruit tea: 205°F

    • Pu-erh tea: 212°F

    • Rooibos tea: 205°F
       

    Q. How do you brew loose-leaf tea?

    A. Loose-leaf tea is very simple to brew. First, you measure the tea into the infuser and place it in a mug or teapot. We generally recommend one teaspoon of tea per cup, but some people like it stronger. Next, you heat water to the desired temperature and pour it over the infuser. Then you wait for the tea to brew (this generally takes between one and five minutes depending on the type of tea and how strong you like it). Remove the infuser, and enjoy your drink.

    Q. Can you steep the same tea leaves more than once?

    A. Yes, you can steep the same tea leave multiple times, as long as you keep them moist between steepings. This method has varying degrees of success, however, depending on the type of tea. Black tea leaves, for instance, produce a much weaker beverage the second time you steep them. We don’t recommend keeping the same leaves for more than 12 hours after you first use them to avoid the buildup of bacteria.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Amy
      Amy
      Writer
    • Chris
      Chris
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Lauren
      Lauren
      Writer

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