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Planetary Design French Press Review

This press is durable, insulated, and fully stops extraction once pressed so there's no sludge in the bottom of your cup.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $45 List | $44.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Brews a clean cup, insulated, durable, good size for a small group and available larger, no filters needed
Cons:  Takes more water to clean, heavy
Manufacturer:   Planetary Design
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 28, 2019
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78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 20
  • Taste - 40% 8
  • Ease of Use - 25% 9
  • Group Cooking - 15% 10
  • Portability - 10% 5
  • Weight - 10% 3

Our Verdict

The Planetary Designs French Press is an excellent insulated press available in both 32-ounces (the size we tested) and 48-ounces. It's durable, easy to use, and has a patented "Bru-Stop" screen that creates a true barrier between your coffee (or tea) and the water once pressed. This means you can take your time enjoying your beverage without worrying that it will get over-extracted and bitter. Because of how well this press brews and the fact that it's a relatively quick brewing method, we awarded the Planetary Designs press our Top Pick for Large Groups. If there's two or three of you, get the 32-ounce, more than that grab the 48-ouncer. While cleaning a French press between pots requires more water than other methods, the mouth on this press is nice and wide making access to the inside that much easier.

If you love the idea of a cleanly-brewed French press but don't need to brew so much, be sure to read about the Espro Travel Press, our Top Pick for a French Press. It also has a dual-filtering system that stops extraction once pressed, but it's all housed within an insulated travel mug with a leakproof lid. Additionally, if you want an even cleaner cup reminiscent of a pour-over, there are paper filters that can fit between the two parts of the main microfilter. If you'd rather just stick with a simple pour-over device and save quite a few bucks, our Editors' Choice Hario V60 is the way to go.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award  
Price $44.99 at Amazon$7.48 at Amazon$15.99 at Amazon$6 ListCheck Price at Amazon
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Pros Brews a clean cup, insulated, durable, good size for a small group and available larger, no filters neededGourmet flavor, well-conceived design, ceramic version available for home useNo filter needed, great taste, stylishLight, simple, affordable, design allows you to see level of coffee while brewingPacks down flat, produces a good cup, lightweight for non-plastic, works on top of many different-sized vessels
Cons Takes more water to clean, heavySpecial shaped filters are harder to find, expensive for a plastic dripper, heavier than other brandsExpensive, requires water and more time to fully cleanNot as refined a flavor as the V60, bulkyCan collapse while brewing if not careful, certain filters hang very low due to large bottom hole
Bottom Line This press is durable, insulated, and fully stops extraction once pressed so there's no sludge in the bottom of your cup.The iconic pour over model in a light plastic package, delivering a consistently great flavor.The best model that does not require filters and one of the few that does not involve hot water on plastic.This is a very light and inexpensive pour over option that provides solid taste and stellar value.This collapsible stainless steel dripper is a bit on the heavy side but it folds down flat for easy travel and brews a nice cup.
Rating Categories Planetary Design French Press Hario V60 Plastic Dripper Paperless Pour Over Melitta 1-Cup Pour-Over Collapsible Coffee Drip
Taste (40%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
Ease Of Use (25%)
10
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9
10
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9
10
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8
10
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9
10
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7
Group Cooking (15%)
10
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10
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7
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7
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7
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7
Portability (10%)
10
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5
10
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7
10
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7
10
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7
10
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8
Weight (10%)
10
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3
10
0
8
10
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8
10
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9
10
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7
Specs Planetary Design... Hario V60 Plastic... Paperless Pour Over Melitta 1-Cup... Collapsible Coffee...
Weight 1 lb 14.8 oz dripper alone: 2.95 oz, dripper + scoop: 3.37 oz 3.3 oz 2.01 oz 4.8 oz
Brew Type French Press Pour Over Pour Over Pour Over Pour Over
Main Material 18/8 Stainless steel Hard plastic Stainless steel Hard plastic Stainless steel
Filter needed? No Yes No Yes Yes
Notable Features Double filtration system Cone shape, large hole, ribs along side No filter pour over Can see cup without lifting dripper Collasible cone filter
Notes Filtration system keeps more grounds out and double insulation keeps things hot longer Makes strong, smooth coffee Requires some water to clean between uses Doesn't brew as well as the Hario dripper Folds down flat for easier transport than most other cone drippers

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Planetary Designs French Press is a well-made insulated press perfect for those mornings when you need to caffeinate more than just yourself. Available in both 32 and 48-ounces, this press offers a patented dual-filter that completely stops extraction once pressed. The days of mucky sludge at the bottom of your cup are gone for good.

Performance Comparison


Welcome to your new French press: durable  insulated  and able to produce a clean sludge-free cup.
Welcome to your new French press: durable, insulated, and able to produce a clean sludge-free cup.

Brew Features


Brewing with this press is as straightforward as any other: add coffee, add water, stir, add more water, cap, wait, press. Voila! Plunging the filter on this device takes a wee bit more muscle because of the tight seal it creates, but it's worth it knowing that, once pressed, extraction stops, and no particles or sludge will sneak back into your cup. The Planetary Designs press also has a nice wide mouth, so getting in there to clean is easier than a tall skinny design.

The patented Bru-Stop filter on this press does a stellar job of keeping your spent grounds separate from your cup.
The patented Bru-Stop filter on this press does a stellar job of keeping your spent grounds separate from your cup.

We like brewing a French press with a medium grind instead of coarse and a shorter brew time. Add water to fill the press about 1/3 of the way, wait 30 seconds to 1 minute, stir, add water to the top, cap, and press at 4-5 minutes — fast, easy, delicious. We used 48 grams of ground coffee in this 32-ounce press and loved the result.

Taste


With a dual-filter that presses away everything that shouldn't be in your final cup and an insulated body to keep everything toasty warm, it's no wonder the Planetary Designs French Press scored well in this metric.


Historically, coffee snobs and professionals have looked down upon the humble French press because, unless you pour everything out when brewing is complete, your coffee will continue to brew and become over-extracted and bitter. On top of that, the final pour is always thick with unsavory sludge and particulates. But you don't have to settle for that old story anymore, those days are long gone. If you love French press coffee for its ease of brewing and its well-balanced flavor, treat yourself to an expertly designed one from Planetary Designs.

Starting the day off right with a delicious brew from the well-sized Planetary Designs press. We can share and still have enough to feel decently caffeinated.
Starting the day off right with a delicious brew from the well-sized Planetary Designs press. We can share and still have enough to feel decently caffeinated.

Ease of Use


It doesn't get a whole lot easier than a French press. Add coffee, add water, wait, press. It's also a forgiving way of brewing in regards to brew ratios: depending on your grind size, you can steep for a longer or shorter amount of time to achieve your preferred strength. We also like how the Planetary Designs press has a rubberized base so that it doesn't slip and slide around, even if you're in the back of a moving RV or van.


While you do need more water to clean one of these than you do with a paper-filtered option, the wide mouth on this press makes dumping everything out and rinsing even easier. Be sure to clean the dual filter on this baby often and thoroughly to keep it in tip-top shape. However, if you find you find a new part at some point, you're in luck: Planetary Designs offers replacement parts for all their products.

If you want easy brewing for your sleepy mornings  a French press is an excellent option.
If you want easy brewing for your sleepy mornings, a French press is an excellent option.

Group Cooking


This press is our Top Pick for Large Groups! It's 32 ounces (enough for 2-4 people to at least get started) and Planetary Designs also offers it in a 48-ounce size. Brewing takes just 4-5 minutes so you can churn out the coffee back to back easily and quickly.


Not only is this a sizeable press, it's also insulated. So you can make extra to ensure everyone has enough with no worries that it will get cold. The patented Bru-Stop dual filter will also ensure that, even as your coffee sits, it won't get muddy or sludgy.

Everything we needed to caffeinate our whole testing crew over and over again.
Everything we needed to caffeinate our whole testing crew over and over again.

Portability


If you're backpacking this is obviously not a portable option. However, if you're in a vehicle of any kind and setting up camp nearby, this is a great choice, especially if you're with a group.


This is a large press with a burly handle that sticks out, so it will absolutely take up some real estate in your camp kitchen. However, if you want to brew coffee for several people at once, this is comparable or smaller than anything else of similar capacity. It also doesn't have any tiny parts that might be easy to lose or anything fragile to worry about damaging — it's rugged and durable, perfect for the great outdoors.

This is a highly portable option depending on what style of camping you are doing.
This is a highly portable option depending on what style of camping you are doing.

Weight


The 32-ounce Planetary Designs press weighs 1 pound 14.8 ounces. Not light if you're counting ounces, but perfectly reasonable for car camping or van/RV life.


Delicious fresh ground coffee ready for its boiling water bath.
Delicious fresh ground coffee ready for its boiling water bath.

Value


French presses aren't usually super cheap and this one is no exception. However, it's insulated, makes a lot at once, and offers a plunger that fully separates the grounds from your brew and completely stops extraction. It's also durable and doesn't require the additional expense of filters. If you like French press coffee, this is a worthy one to invest in for the long haul.

Conclusion


Whether you're chilling at home for the weekend or heading out into nature, if you want to be able to make coffee for more than just yourself and one other person, this French press is a fantastic option. Durable, insulated, and easy to use, it's hard to go wrong with the Planetary Designs French Press. It's patented dual filter removes all the pesky sludge of a typical press and, once pressed, it stops extraction completely. We tested a 32-ounce press, but it's also available in a 48-ounce size if your crew is even bigger. We genuinely enjoyed every cup from this excellent press and do not doubt that you will too.

This press is durable  well-made  and produces a really nice cup of coffee. Highly recommended for those days when you two cups just won't cut it or you're with friends. Or both!
This press is durable, well-made, and produces a really nice cup of coffee. Highly recommended for those days when you two cups just won't cut it or you're with friends. Or both!


Penney Garrett