One of the most basic ways to make coffee is to use a French press. They have almost no moving parts and there are certainly no water heaters, pumps or electronics. Even so, French press brewers conjure up coffee that is magically rich and complex. In fact, this Joe style is almost as focused as cold brew or espresso. And if done right, a French press can produce pots that match what comes out of it best filter coffee machines.

These brewers also come in one countless shapes and designsSo the choice is difficult. Fortunately, I've personally used and tested a group of the best-selling models. And after grinding pounds of beans and drinking dozens of cups of coffee, here's what I learned to find the best French press a coffee lover can buy. I update this regularly.

Brian Bennett / CNET

The Bodum Chambord has a classic French press design that has barely changed since it was first introduced in the 1950s. Even so, this model brews great coffee that is strong, balanced and rich in flavors. The steel parts are also available in different designs. I particularly like the bright red version shown here.

Brian Bennett / CNET

For just $ 15, the Bodum Brazil delivers hot coffee just as well as the company's more expensive Chambord model. To lower the price, Bodum uses plastic instead of steel for some parts of the coffee machine. However, the carafe is made of borosilicate glass. The coffee I brewed in Brazil was satisfactorily strong, yet balanced.

Brian Bennett / CNET

Veken's French press is very well stocked given its reasonable price. The kit contains a variety of tools that you won't find on other French press models: a fancy wooden mixing spoon, cleaning stick, and battery-operated milk frother for whipping café-style drinks like lattes and cappuccinos.

I also like the elegant copper finish on this French press. It really sets it apart from other models I've seen. Most importantly, the Veken brews exceptionally delicious cups of coffee.

Brian Bennett / CNET

The most expensive model in this group, the Frieling French Press, isn't cheap. What you get for the high price is a heavy duty stainless steel press construction that is built to last. Of all the French press coffee machines I've used, it felt by far the most durable. Its metal body also has insulating double walls that keep the coffee hot for hours.

Coffee that I brewed in the Frieling came out well extracted and yet strong. So if money isn't a barrier, this is the French press for you.

We put a number of French coffee machines to the test to see which is the best.

Brian Bennett / CNET

We tested others

Mueller French Press

Hamilton Beach French Press

Coffee Gator French press

Kona Press

SterlingPro French Press

OXO Brew Venture French Press coffee machine

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I test French press brewers in a similar way to standard filter coffee machines. I start by hand washing and drying each product. Then I grind enough coffee beans to achieve a certain brew ratio. For a French press, that's 4 ounces of ground coffee to 32 ounces of water.

We test French press coffee machines as well as standard drip machines.

Brian Bennett / CNET

I then add hot water Pour (203 F, 95 C) into the brewing chamber, stir the bottom and let it rest for 4 minutes. After that, I drop the plunger for each press and pour a sample cup. Next, I take a sample of the brewed coffee and measure its percentage of total dissolved solids. For this test I use a pocket reflectometer. From there, I can calculate the extraction percentage for every batch of coffee I brew.

Ideally the extraction percentage is brewed coffee should be in the range of 19% to 22%. While that number alone doesn't guarantee delicious joe, it is a strong indicator of it. Ultimately, the truth lies in a proper taste test.

Coffee extraction percentage

Bodum Chambord French press

Bodum Brazil French press

Hamilton Beach French Press

Coffee Gator French press

OXO Brew Venture French Press coffee machine

Note:

The ideal range is between 19% and 22%.

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