Do Percolators Need Filters How To Keep Coffee Grounds Out Of A Percolator!

Do Percolators Need Filters? How To Keep Coffee Grounds Out Of A Percolator!

Last updated on October 24th, 2023 at 14:37

A commonly asked question for those interested in buying a percolator is “do percolators need filters?

Rather than drag this one out, I’ll give you the answer right away.


Percolators do not need filters to keep coffee grounds out of your cup of coffee. With introductions aside, let’s crack on with the meat and bones of this article.

By the time you have finished reading, you will know everything you need to know about coffee percolators and the various types of coffee filters that you can use, should you want to.

Grab a chair and keep reading!

What Is A Coffee Filter?

No doubt you are indeed very familiar with what a coffee filter is. It is a piece of coffee brewing equipment that is made of paper, cotton or metal and acts to trap the coffee grounds and prevent them from getting into your cup of coffee.

Brewing coffee with or without a filter is a personal choice. Most coffee lovers will at least use a filter of some kind. Paper is the most popular filter used, which there are three mail types.

  • 1. Unbleached paper.
  • 2. Regular paper. 
  • 3. Organic.

The same options apply to cotton filters. With metal filters there is usually only one material used, stainless steel.

The different types of filters affect how your coffee will taste. For example, a paper filter due to filtering out all the coffee oils from your coffee will result in a crisp, clean taste that reduces the bad cholesterol level of your coffee due to removing cafestol.

The different types of paper filter will also result in a slightly different tasting coffee. Similar can be said of a cotton filter.

A cotton filter results in a slightly deeper tasting coffee as it allows some of the coffee oils to drip into your cup of coffee. A metal filter will have the deepest, boldest flavor as it allows all the coffee oils from your coffee grounds to flow into your brew, including the heavy coffee oil that gets removed by the paper filters.

For percolators, your coffee basket can act as a metal filter, and you can be filterless if you so want. Strictly speaking, it is not unfiltered coffee as the coffee basket acts as a filter.

What Is A Coffee Filter
A Flat Bottom Coffee Filter

Read: How long to percolate coffee

Where Does the Filter Go in a Percolator?

Your coffee filter should be placed inside the coffee basket, which should be easily identifiable: it’s the place where you put your coffee grounds. It is usually a bowl shaped with perforated holes to permit the hot water to fall through.

Most coffee percolators have the same design or vary slightly.

Where Does the Filter Go in a Percolator
A Filter Goes On Top Of The Coffee Basket

Do Percolators Need Filters?

It is not essential or an absolute must that you have to use a paper filter or a cotton filter with your coffee percolator as they come with what is known as basket coffee filters which are permanent coffee filters.

Effectively speaking, these are metal coffee filters and, I mentioned above, leave you with a bolder, deeper tasting coffee.

If you are getting coffee grinds in your coffee, then you can consider using a filter or getting a new permanent percolator coffee filter by getting a replacement basket.

What Are The Different Filter Materials?

The different coffee filter materials are as follows:

  • 1. Metal – Stainless Steel. 
  • 2. Cotton.  
  • 3. Paper.
What Are The Different Filter Materials
A Metal Coffee Filter

How To Keep Coffee Grounds Out Of A Percolator – How To Filter Percolated Coffee

Keeping coffee grind residue from making their way into your cup of coffee is very easy. It is not something complex as, after all, you just need to place it in your coffee basket.


if you want the best tasting, coffee and get the most out of your percolator and brewing experience you will need to be thoughtful about the filter, its shape and the material it is made from.

Let’s talk about the various types of coffee filters that you can use with your percolator, and which basket coffee filter you should use for electric coffee pots.

Let’s start with the shape. of your coffee filter.

Choosing The Shape

You need to choose the shape that fits your stainless steel percolator coffee basket.

Determine which shape you’ll need for your specific percolator. Whether or not you choose to purchase some filters, or DIY your own, it’s important to use the ones that you think will fit best with the already built in filter. The paper filter will serve as a liner for the percolator filter, so a good fit is important.

Decide On The Material

Deciding on which material to use is an important step and something to give thought to as the flavor of your brew will change. Of the three options you have, use them in accordance to the kind of coffee that you want to brew.

Assembly Point!

All percolators are different and thus putting them together with your coffee and coffee filter in place will be slightly different for each brand.  Rather than giving direct instructions, I advise you to have a good look at your percolator and your instruction booklet.

It should be pretty obvious how it goes together and where the filter goes. Regardless of which machine you have, the filter goes inside the coffee basket.

Add Coffee And Water

Your brewing temperature and water quality will affect how your coffee will taste. Use the best possible water that you can. Bottled water is good; the best is distilled water. If neither is possible, at very minimum filter your water.

Filtering your water will also help you to maintain your percolator free from scale and mineral deposits building up.

Brew Your Coffee

Switch on your machine and brew your coffee. Keep an eye on the temperature as the brewing temperature to ensure you have the ideal temperature. Too high a temperature can result in a burnt coffee or one that is overtly bitter.

Be careful Of….

Be careful of over brewing. You need to keep an eye on your percolator so that you do not overbrew your coffee.

With regular use you will get used to how long to brew your coffee for before it becomes over brewed. Also, you must be careful or under brewing.

Frequently Asked Questions About Do Percolators Need Filters?

Can You Use a Regular Coffee Filter in a Percolator?

It is possible that you can use a regular coffee filter in your percolator, but it completely is dependent on which type of percolator you have. It is advisable that you use the correct filter size as suggested in the instruction manual.

I advise that you experiment with different filters and filter materials and find which one makes the best and most flavorful coffee for you.

Can You Use a Percolator Without a Filter?


you can indeed use your percolator without a filter. It is your own personal choice. Your coffee basket acts as a filter and will lead to a more flavorsome coffee as none of the oils will be filtered out.

The choice is entirely your own.

Can You Use a Percolator Without a Filter
A Cloth Coffee Filter

Do You Need a Filter For an Electric Percolator?

As per above, coffee percolators, be they stovetop or electric, do not need a filter in order to make great coffee. A filter is recommended, even a metal one, to eliminate tiny coffee particles from making their way into the brew and your cup of coffee.

In my own opinion, metal filters are best as you will get a full-bodied cup of coffee.

What Kind of Paper Filters Should be Used in a Percolator?

There are a number of different types of coffee filters that can be used in your percolator. This is a complete topic on its own. You have 4 main types of filter:

  • 1. Disc Filters.
  • 2. Cone Filters
  • 3 Wrap Around Filters.
  • 4. Regular filters.

Disc Filters

Disc coffee filters are flat round coffee filters that have a hole in the middle which allows the stem to fit through. They fit on top of your coffee basket and stop the very fine coffee grounds from getting into your cup of coffee.

This type of filter will not help if you allow your percolator to boil over as the coffee grounds will slip past the edge and into your brew.

Cone Filters

Which type of filter you use is ultimately a personal preference. There is research that indicates the shape of a filter can contribute to the flavor of your coffee. The studies indicate that cone-shaped filters help the percolator to get more flavor out of your coffee grounds. The humble conical filter is something to consider.

Wrap Around Filters

This type of filter provides you with the cleanest coffee and is the most effective filter for keeping coffee grounds from getting into the brew. Wrap-around filters are the preferred and most popular filter type of percolators. You can expect a good cup of coffee, which some say is the cleanest coffee in terms of taste due to the very smooth flavor.

Regular Coffee Filters

Cheap standard coffee filters can be cut to fit your percolator and are a pretty cool way of saving money on coffee filters. If you are a serious coffee drinker, of course buying reusable cotton filters is an option.

Some people even claim to make a cup of coffee taste a little better when they use either regular paper filters or a cotton filter and cut them to fit their percolator.

When you are cutting your filter, regardless of its shape, be fully aware of saving the material and less wastage of the paper or cotton.

Are There Filters For A Percolator?

Yes, there are coffee filters for a percolator even though it is common to brew coffee without them. It is very common for percolators to be unfiltered coffee.

How Do You Keep Coffee Grounds Out Of A Percolator?

The most important part of keeping your coffee grounds out of your percolator is to keep the filter basket well-maintained and clean and clear of old coffee granules. When you are adding your coffee to your percolator, cover the perk tube with your finger and make sure that you are using the correct grind size and that it is not too small

Ultimately you can use a paper filter if you so wish.

Why Are There Grounds In My Percolated Coffee?

Grinds can get into your percolated coffee if and when you use a grind size that is too small. Make sure that your coffee grounds are of the correct grind size and of an even and consistent size.

Are Coffee Water Filters Necessary?

Yes. Using a water filter ensures that your water is of good quality and has the secondary effect of ensuring that your coffee maker does not get or get a reduced build up of mineral deposits and lime scale.

Frappé-Ing It All Up – Do Percolators Need Filters?

If someone asks you do percolators need filters, you can confidently tell them that they are not necessary and entirely optional.

Personally, I have a strong choice for not using filters or using a metal filter due to the quality of the resulting cup of coffee.

What type of filter do you use, if any, on your percolator coffee? Join our cool coffee community on Facebook/Meta and let us know.

Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or, mentioning your name and location

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