Updated August 2022
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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 all opinions about the products are our own. 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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Best of the Best
SYBO Commercial Grade Stainless Steel Percolate Coffee Maker, 100 Cup
Commercial Grade Stainless Steel Percolate Coffee Maker, 100 Cup
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Fastest Brew Time
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Commercial-grade coffee urn with impressive brewing speed and capacity.


Large-capacity coffee urn; can brew 100 cups of coffee in only 40 minutes. Made of durable, food-grade stainless steel, and can withstand regular use. Ideal for professional settings such as restaurants, offices, or catering events. Does not require a paper filter, and its stainless steel filter basket is easy to clean.


Some consumers found the metal filter was prone to rust.

Best Bang for the Buck
Hamilton Beach 45-Cup Coffee Urn
Hamilton Beach
45-Cup Coffee Urn
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Simple Yet Solid
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A fast-brewing coffee urn; it takes just 1 minute per cup to make coffee.


Interior markings indicate the correct water level for the number of cups you need to brew. It has an easy dispenser for a single cup or continuous filling, and a bright indicator light. Perfect for large crowds.


The appearance is a little bit bland. Is functional rather than aesthetically appealing.

Hamilton Beach Commercial Stainless Steel Coffee Urn, 60 Cup
Hamilton Beach
Commercial Stainless Steel Coffee Urn, 60 Cup
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Easy to Clean
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This sleek, stainless steel coffee urn is great for large gatherings and is easy to use.


60-cup capacity with heat-resistant handles for easy and safe transportation. Convenient 2-way dispenser allows for single-cup pouring and hands-free dispensing. Does not require a paper filter, and the stainless-steel brew basket is dishwasher safe.


A few consumers found parts such as the lid and glass sight tube to be flimsy.

West Bend Highly Polished Aluminum Commercial Coffee Urn, 42 Cup
West Bend
Highly Polished Aluminum Commercial Coffee Urn, 42 Cup
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Durable Design
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A quick-brewing, commercial-grade aluminum coffee urn.


This durable aluminum-body urn brews 1 cup per minute, with a total capacity of 42 cups. Two-way faucet does not drip and allows for easy, versatile dispensing. Features automatic temperature control to keep coffee hot and a safe heat-resistant base. Cool-tip filter basket is easy to handle and does not require paper filters.


Consumers noted it does not have a detachable cord or an on/off switch.

Nesco Professional Coffee Urn, 25 Cup
Professional Coffee Urn, 25 Cup
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Best for Small Spaces
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Smaller than other listed options but still provides fast brewing and convenient features.


25-cup capacity with a speedy brew time of approximately 1 cup per minute. Lid features a Cool Touch handle and a secure twist-to-lock design. Matte stainless-steel construction is durable and easy to clean. Plastic, dishwasher-safe brew basket does not require a paper filter. Rubber feet ensure the brewer will not slip around on surfaces.


Users noted that it is a bit noisy.


We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for best coffee urns

If you live in America, you’ve probably made a pot of coffee at least once in your life. If you’ve ever studied for final exams or worked a job that requires long or early hours, you’ve probably made many pots of coffee. There are dozens, if not hundreds of professions where drinking coffee is de rigueur.

But what about those times when you need to make lots of coffee for lots of people? Product shows, job fairs, weddings, pot lucks, business conferences, training classes, and graduations are just a few of the occasions that would call for large amounts of piping hot java.

For those occasions, you need a coffee urn. A coffee urn is any type of jug or pot that brews coffee for 20 or more people at a time, sometimes up to 100 or more. The urn performs the actual brewing function, then continues to keep the finished coffee warm for an extended period of time. Read on to get piping hot tips and advice about buying the best coffee urn for your needs.

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“Cowboy coffee”, which requires boiling the grounds over an open fire for four minutes, is a favorite among some coffee drinkers, but it can’t be done in a coffee urn.

Key considerations


The size of a coffee urn is measured in cups of coffee. That’s different from actual cup measurements. Most coffee cups are rated to hold about six ounces of fluid, not eight. So when an urn, or a regular coffee pot for that matter, specifies a certain number of cups, keep in mind that it means six-ounce cups, not eight-ounce ones.


  • Electric: Virtually all coffee urns today are electric. Other than antiques, there are only a few exceptions.

  • Gas: Coffee makers that are powered by gas are either commercial coffee makers for restaurants or small pots for camping that use butane. Some coffee pots are designed without any internal power of their own and will state that they are intended to be used on an electric or gas stovetop.
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For your safety
Water weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon. An urn full of water will be very heavy and difficult to move.



  • Aluminum: Coffee makers intended for stovetop use are designed to be as lightweight as possible. Therefore, some of them are made from aluminum. For people with kidney problems, aluminum can leach into the coffee and cause medical issues. Luckily, very few coffee urns are made from aluminum, but there are some.

  • Stainless steel: The preferred material for modern coffee urns is stainless steel. It is easier to clean and maintain than aluminum, doesn’t corrode, and doesn’t pose any known health risks.


Coffee urns are mainly stainless steel with back spigots, bases, and lids. If you want any other color, you must custom order it.

Brewing speed

How fast an urn brews the coffee is dependent on the urn’s cup capacity. The larger the urn, the longer it will take to brew the coffee. Be sure to start brewing the coffee well ahead of time.

For 40 cups of coffee, plan on an hour of brewing. For 60 cups of coffee, plan on an hour and 15 minutes of brewing. For 110 cups of coffee, plan on one and a half hours of brewing.


  • Two-handed: Most coffee urns have spigots that require the use of two hands to operate: one hand to hold the coffee cup and one hand to push or pull the handle of the spigot. This is the industry default.

  • Single-handed: Some coffee urns have a pressure switch on the spigot. You press your coffee cup back against it and it begins filling your cup. This is helpful if you’ve got a plate of food in the other hand. Be careful, though. You need to ensure that the urn can’t slide backward when someone starts filling their coffee cup.


Urns are too big to put in a dishwasher. You’ll have to clean them a different way. After each use, wash them by following the first two steps listed here. After every fifth use, add step three as well.

  • Step one: Drain the urn and fill it with warm water. Run a complete brewing cycle (without coffee grounds) then scrub the entire inside of it with a long-handled brush. Using warm water helps shorten the brewing cycle.

  • Step two: Drain the water and repeat step one.

  • Step three: Fill the urn with warm water and add coffee urn cleaning compounds or tablets. The directions will be on the package. Run a complete brewing cycle, and then scrub the urn with a long-handled brush. Empty the urn and rinse it out. Fill it with warm water and run a complete brewing cycle.


Coffee urns are full of hot coffee. If they’re rocky or unstable, you have a potentially dangerous situation on your hands. If you purchase an unstable urn, send it back and get a replacement.


  • Drip tray: Every coffee urn ever made drips now and then. You need a drip tray to put under the spigot so it won’t stain the table cloth. This value pack from Winco includes four drip trays for an appealing price.

  • Carafe: A carafe that dispenses coffee and keeps it warm is a great accessory to help ease congestion around the coffee urn. Make your coffee in the urn or a small pot. Then, pour it into the carafe and set it out wherever appropriate. This stainless steel carafe from Cresimo keeps hot beverages warm for up to 12 hours.

  • Coffee urn filters: You can’t make coffee without coffee filters, but be sure to buy the right size for your coffee urn. For example, this 250-pack from BUNN is for commercial-size coffee urns.

  • Coffee urn cleaner: Stainless steel coffee urns need to be cleaned on a regular basis. For the best-tasting coffee, you need to use cleaners that won’t leave a residue behind. Urnex makes a lot of great products for cleaning coffee makers, including this 48-count box of cleaning packets.

Coffee urn prices

Inexpensive: The low end of the coffee urn price range runs from $35 to $60. That gets you a simple coffee urn that will make 25 to 40 cups of coffee per batch.

Mid-range: From $60 to $110 is the middle range price for coffee urns. These urns have a larger capacity, from 40 to 50 cups, and a glass-tube level indicator to let know how much coffee is left inside.

Expensive: Anything over $110 is the high end of the coffee urn price range. Some of these urns have capacities of up to 100 cups, automatic brewing controls, one-handed spigots, and better quality construction.


  • Never use chlorine bleach to clean a coffee urn. The chlorine in the bleach will eat the stainless steel as well as the rubber gaskets in the urn.

  • Before filling the urn with water, unlock the center pole in the urn and remove it. Pour in the water then replace the center pole. You will have to turn it to lock it into place.

  • The minimum amount of coffee you can make in most urns is 20 cups. If you’re making less coffee than that, use a regular coffee pot.

  • You can use vinegar to clean a coffee urn, but it’s not recommended, since vinegar tends to leave an odor behind.

  • Make a number of cups of coffee equal to the number of people who will attend an event, plus 25%. For example, if 40 people will be coming, you want to brew 40 cups plus 25% (10) for a total of 50 cups of coffee.

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Moving a coffee urn full of hot coffee is dangerous. The best practice is to put the urn in place, then fill it with cold water and brew the coffee where it will be used.


Q. What is the difference between a percolator and a drip coffee maker?

A. In a percolator, hot water is forced up a hollow center tube. The water splashes off the lid of the coffee maker and falls back down onto the coffee grounds. A drip coffee maker forces hot water up through a tube that drips it on the coffee grounds.

Q. What is the best temperature for brewing coffee?

A. The optimal temperature for making coffee is 198ºF. If you boil the coffee (212º F), it will burn the coffee grounds and leave a bitter taste.

Q. Should I reheat cold coffee?

A. You could nuke it in the microwave, but some people feel that process leeches out any remaining taste.

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