June 25, 2022 4 min read

So you have outgrown your trusted drip coffee machine and are looking for new ways to get a good brew without breaking the bank. While expensive espresso machines are the holy grail to recreating café-quality coffee at home, they may not make economic sense for everyone. Which leads us to this age old question: are there any inexpensive, fast and easy to use devices to brew a great cup of coffee without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on an espresso machine?

Which Options Are Available For Coffee Lovers On A Budget?

Fortunately various budget friendly coffee makers are available in the market, and here we present two of the most popular alternatives coffee lovers swear by: French press and AeroPress. 

To start with, both French press and AeroPress are great low-cost ways of brewing coffee that produce rich, deeply flavoured results. Their main difference lies in how they operate. A French press uses steam pressure to force the grinds down into the cup. Conversely, an Aeropress forces air through the grinds. 

So how do they compare and which coffee maker is right for you? 

French Press

hot coffee brewed by French press coffee maker

A French press is one of the more popular ways of preparing coffee, as it gives you the flexibility to brew the exact amount you need, and it works particularly well for serving coffee to a large group of people. It extracts pure, robust coffee, obtained by totally immersing the coffee grounds in hot water to brew, followed by the filtering of the coffee with a mesh sieve and plunger. This allows for a complete infusion of coffee grains, resulting in a maximum release of their aromatic oil, giving you a rich, velvety cup of coffee with minimal effort.


  • Inexpensive. French press price varies, but usually starts at around $20. 
  • The coffee is strongly flavoured, yet rich and smooth.
  • Easy to use. All you need to do is to add coarsely ground coffee and hot water and then wait until it is ready.
  • Easy to clean and to store. The carafe and the mesh plunger are removable and can go in the dishwasher (always check your device’s instructions first). They can then simply be stored together when not in use. 
  • It comes in a number of different sizes and versions that can make enough coffee for 8 or even more people. 
  • It’s versatile. You can use a French press to also make cold brewed coffee or loose-leaf tea.


  • It’s easy to use, yet not as simple as a drip coffee machine. The coffee grind size and water temperature are very important. There’s also a risk of over-extraction, resulting in an overly bitter coffee, if not enough attention is given to brewing time. 
  • It takes time and additional equipment to prepare. First you must boil the water, and then wait for the coffee to properly brew  before it can be poured and consumed.
  • You may end up with sediment or sludge in the bottom of the cup if the grind is too fine or the mesh sieve is not properly fitted.


Aeropress is a relatively small device that sits on top of a large glass or mug. It works by filling the plastic cylinder with coffee grounds and hot water, and with a press on the inserted plunger, it produces a perfectly brewed coffee in under 60 seconds. AeroPress is ideal for any coffee lover looking for a rich and smooth, espresso-style cup of coffee without the expense of an espresso machine.

coffee brewing using Aeropress coffee maker










  • Inexpensive. You can find it for under $50 at most coffee and espresso machine stores.
  • Extremely portable. Great for travelling, camping/RV, or office use.
  • Easy to use and easy cleanup. To clean, just remove the spent coffee grounds and rinse the device.
  • Short brew time.  No waiting is necessary, especially compared to drip coffee makers.
  • Durable.  Plastic is less prone to breaking than glass.
  • Superb taste. The resulting brew is  rich and smooth without acidity or bitterness.


  • It makes a single, maximum two, small cups of coffee. Not ideal for serving big groups. 
  • The device consists of a paddle, funnel, filters, cylinder, plunger and scoop. It’s relatively easy to lose the parts and can be tricky to store. 
  • Not very eco-friendly. The paper filter is single use only and has to be constantly replenished, although reusable metal filters are now available.
  • Like French press, you do need a separate equipment to boil the water.

So Which Of The Two Coffee Makers Should You Choose?

Comparing the pros and cons listed above, we can all agree that French press and Aeropress are equally great options. They both make excellent coffee and are affordable alternatives to a drip coffee maker or an expensive espresso machine. They are simple and quick to use, with the two devices capable of producing delicious, aromatic coffee in under five minutes.

In the end, it all comes down to your personal preference and on the number of cups of coffee you usually prepare in one setting. If you regularly only need a quick cup or two of coffee, Aeropress is perfect. For bigger servings, French press is the clear winner.

Here’s an idea, if your budget allows it, why not get both?