Chemex vs Aeropress: Very Different Coffee Makers

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There are so many different types of coffee makers, probably more than you know about. However, two of the big specialty coffee makers on the market today are Chemex and Aeropress. These two coffee makers make delicious coffee, but in two very different ways. So which is best for you and your kitchen? Let’s take a look!

[Images courtesy of Chemex and Aeropress]

I’ll be comparing Chemex’s smallest version of their classic pour over maker to the Aeropress, so that it will be as close of a comparison in size and capacity as possible.

Chemex Pour OverAeropress
Capacity3 cups1 cup
Brew StylePour OverPressurized
Tastes LikeDrip CoffeeEspresso
Height8 ¼ inches5.26 inches
Diameter3 inches4.22 inches
Primary MaterialGlassPlastic
Secondary MaterialWoodN/A
Color Options8 colors1 color
Filter TypeChemex FilterAeropress Micro Filters

The differences between the two

These two styles of coffee makers couldn’t be any different! However, yes, I know you want to get into specialty coffee makers, and these two are some great options. They both offer delicious coffee, that while different, is awesome.

So let’s discuss how these two are different, and go from there!

The Brew Process

The Chemex uses the pour over method, of which if you have used an electric drip coffee maker you will be familiar with this style, as these coffee makers try to replicate what the Chemex does. 

You can learn more about how to make pour over coffee by reading my article about that here. That said, basically you are going to pour hot water over top of coffee grounds to extract the flavor from the grounds.

The Aeropress still extracts the flavor from the grounds, but in a much different method. In this style, you are going to pressurize water through the grounds by pushing down on the plunger on the inside of the Aeropress. This method gives you a much more intense flavor of coffee. You can also get an accessory from Fellow Products call the Prismo to give you an even more intense flavor. You can learn how to make Aeropress coffee by visiting my article I wrote about that here.

There isn’t really a clear winner on the brew method, however the Aeropress is going to prove to be a little less complicated and not quite as labor intensive.

Taste of the coffee

Because of the way that each coffee is made, the taste of coffee is going to be quite different. 

With the Aeropress, because of the pressurized style brew, you will get a more espresso taste that will be much more intense.

As for the Chemex, it will likely taste similar (but better) than your drip coffee maker that you probably already have. However once you get the hang of it, you will find you will like this much better than your electric one.

Capacity of each coffee maker

The Aeropress is going to make you a single cup of coffee, so if you have visitors over, you will be making coffee for a while. 

Meanwhile, the Chemex can make three cups of coffee in the version we are discussing here, however you can always buy a larger version, and make 8 or more cups at a time if you upgrade sizes.

Because of the flexibility in the amount you can make at one time, the Chemex is going to win out in this category.

Material of the products

There is no way around it, the Chemex is made really well. It even has made its way into design museums. It is made from glass, wood, and leather. 

The Aeropress, on the other hand is made of plastic, and has a very utilitarian design. It’s not meant to win any awards in this department, but works the way it should.

It really isn’t much of a debate that the Chemex wins in material and craftsmanship. It deserves it for sure.


This is really where the Aeropress begins to shine. If you are on-the-go constantly, you won’t find a better coffee maker out there, especially if you get the Aeropress Go version of it. It’s meant to take with you, pull out of your backpack, and make a cup of coffee. All you need is hot water, coffee grounds, and you are good.

The Chemex really isn’t meant to take with you on the other hand. Just the way it is made doesn’t lend well to taking it with you. You definitely don’t want broken glass in your backpack, so its probably a best bet to just leave it at home.

Aeropress wins this category for sure.

Filter Types

Both coffee makers use special filters. This isn’t something that I find ideal, however thankfully they aren’t that expensive, and you will get some with the product when you buy it.

The Chemex uses their own branded cone style filter. It allows it to extract the right amount of time to give that right flavor of coffee that you come to expect. I’m sure you can probably buy other types of filters, but it probably just won’t be the same.

Aeropress uses a tiny microfilter, and this allows it to pressurize just the right amount. It also means you can very easily clean the coffee maker out.

Both coffee makers use very different filters, just in different ways. So there isn’t a real winner in this category.

So what is the same?

While each of these coffee makers may be extremely different, there are just a few things that actually are similar.

The Price

Both coffee makers are similarly priced. If you are on a budget of around $30, then you are good to go for each one. I’m sure if you did some shopping around, you could find them for cheaper.

It’s coffee

While the coffee may taste different, they both still make coffee. Let’s be honest that is what you want, and both of them make great tasting coffee. Different, but the same.

The need for a Kettle

You probably forgot that you needed a kettle eh? Well both of these coffee makers need a kettle to heat up your water. Once boiling, you will want to leave the water for a couple minutes to cool down to around 200 degrees, then use it to put water over, or in the coffee maker of choice.

Competitors to each

If you are on the hunt for one of these coffee makers but want to see what else is out there, here are a couple options.

The Aeropress

There aren’t a ton of competitors to the Aeropress at the moment. However you can look at the FrankOne coffee maker (you can read more about it here), as it basically is an automatic version of the Aeropress, meaning it pressurizes it. There is also the Delter, however at the moment I don’t know a ton about it, so take that with a grain of salt.

The Chemex

This coffee maker has a lot more competitors on the market now. There are quite a few different styles of pour over coffee makers out there, however the most similar is going to be the Bodum Pour Over coffee maker.

I personally own the Bodum, and can say it is a great option.

Accessories you will need

No great cup of coffee is complete without the right great. Here are a couple other items you may want if you want to own one of these.

  1. A coffee mug: I personally like both a Yeti Camp Mug, as well as the Carter Everywhere Mug. I probably would opt for the Carter Everywhere Mug if you are getting the Aeropress because it is a true to-go mug.
  2. Delicious coffee: Make sure you have your favorite coffee mug.
  3. A Kettle: You need to make sure you have a Kettle for each. Chemex makes one called the Chettle you should look into. You can read more about that one here.

Conclusion and Verdict

These two coffee makers really can’t be any different. If you have a to-go lifestyle or you like espresso coffee then the Aeropress should be your choice. If you just want to be more involved int the process of making your drip coffee then the Chemex is you obvious choice.

If you are buying this as a gift for someone, I think the Chemex would be your choice. It is less confusing at first glance, is larger, and more impressive overall.