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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
Planetary Design French Press
Photo: Amazon
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $55 List
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 Mary Witlacil and Penney Garrett  ⋅  Apr 29, 2020
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66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 19
  • Taste - 40% 7
  • Ease of Use - 25% 8
  • Group Cooking - 15% 10
  • Portability - 10% 2
  • Weight - 10% 1

Our Verdict

The Planetary Designs French Press with Bru-Stop is an excellent insulated press available in 20-ounces, 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 once pressed between your coffee (or tea) and the water. This means you can take your time enjoying your beverage without worrying that it will become over-extracted and bitter. This press brews decent coffee surprisingly well and relatively quick, which is why we awarded it our Top Pick for Large Groups. If you anticipate making coffee for two or three, get the 32-ounce, more than that grab the 48-ouncer. While cleaning a French press after making a pot of coffee requires more water than other methods, the mouth on this press is rather wide, which makes accessing the inside for cleaning that much easier.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award  
Price $55 List$9 List$9.67 at Amazon$29.95 at Amazon
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$39.95 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, tiny and light, consistently good tasteAmazing flavor, versatile, very portable, simple cleanupExcellent clean flavor, double-filtered to eliminate sediment, press completely stops extraction, vessel can be used as a leakproof travel mug
Cons Takes more water to clean, heavySpecial shaped filters are harder to find, expensive for a plastic dripper, heavier than other brandsMust lift filter out of most cups to avoid steeping, poor for large groupA lot of little pieces to keep track of, on the heavy side for backpackingLots of pieces to keep track of, heavy, on the pricier side
Bottom Line This press is insulated, durable, and has a screen that fully stops extraction once pressedGreat taste, easy to use, and lightweight - we love this plastic iteration of the classic glass and ceramic versionsDurable, light, and compact, this is a fantastic option for backpacking trips or any kind of light travelWhile this unique brewer has a bit of a learning curve, the final flavor is the best in our test suiteThe superfine double filter and extraction-stopping plunger of this press make for a very excellent brew
Rating Categories Planetary Design French Press Hario V60 Plastic Dripper Primula Coffee Brew Buddy AeroPress Coffee Maker Espro Travel Press
Taste (40%)
7
9
7
10
8
Ease Of Use (25%)
8
7
9
7
8
Group Cooking (15%)
10
6
4
4
5
Portability (10%)
2
5
9
6
6
Weight (10%)
1
8
9
5
3
Specs Planetary Design... Hario V60 Plastic... Primula Coffee... AeroPress Coffee... Espro Travel Press
Weight 1 lb 14.8 oz Dripper alone: 2.95 oz
Dripper + scoop: 3.37 oz
1.1 oz Press alone: 7.98 oz
Press + spoon + stirrer: 9.39 oz
12.3 oz
Brew Type French Press Pour Over Pour Over Pour Over/Press Hybrid French Press/ Pour Over
Main Material 18/8 Stainless steel Hard plastic Nylon filter BPA-free polypropylene Stainless steel
Filter needed? No Yes No Yes No
Notable Features Double filtration system Cone shape, large hole, ribs along side Rests on any mug Easy to clean, re-usable filter Can be used as french press, pour over, or for tea
Notes Filtration system keeps more grounds out and double insulation keeps things hot longer Makes strong, smooth coffee Filter hangs in coffee for most cups Eliminates bitterness while keeping a good flavor Brews a really clean cup, keeps liquids nice and hot

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Planetary Designs French Press is a bomb-proof, insulated press perfect for those mornings when you need to caffeinate the whole squad. This rad little buddy is available in 20, 32, and 48-ounces, and it features 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...
Welcome to your new French press: durable, insulated, and able to produce a clean sludge-free cup.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Brew Features


Brewing with this press is as straightforward as it gets: add coffee and 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 to know that extraction stops after pressing, and no icky 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 with a tall skinny design.

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

We like brewing a French press with a medium grind and a timer, rather than just guessing or leaving coarse grinds steeping so long that they get bitter. 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 decently well in this metric.


Historically, coffee snobs and professionals have looked down on the humble French press because coffee continues to brew unless you pour everything out after brewing, which leaves you with an over-extracted and bitter pot. On top of that, the final pour is always thick with unsavory sludge and particulates. Not any more. You don't have to settle for undrinkable sludge ever again. If you love French press coffee for its ease of brewing and its well-balanced flavor, treat yourself to an expertly designed press from Planetary Designs.

Starting the day off right with a delicious brew from the well-sized...
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.
Photo: Penney Garrett

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. Though, if you take your Planetary Designs press on the road in your van, be careful driving around corners! One of our reviewers launched their press across the van by taking a corner too fast. The rubberized base typically holds it in place, but it has its limits. Thankfully, the contents of the press had been emptied, so our reviewer did not lose any of their precious coffee.


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.

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

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 it's also available in a 48-ounce size (and 20-ounces if your group is just one or two). Brewing takes just 4-5 minutes so you can churn out coffee back-to-back easily and quickly.


Not only is this a sizeable press, but it's also insulated. You can make more than you would otherwise, without worrying that it will get cold. The patented Bru-Stop dual filter will also ensure that your coffee won't get muddy or sludgy, even as it sits around.

Everything we needed to caffeinate our whole testing crew over and...
Everything we needed to caffeinate our whole testing crew over and over again.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Portability


If you're backpacking this is not the ideal option for you. This press is probably not even remotely on your radar unless you love loading up your pack with all the most ridiculous things you can carry, like whole pineapples, a cast-iron dutch oven, multiple growlers of beer, and the biggest french-press imaginable. Nope, this is not our top pick for portability, not even in the slightest. However, if you're in a vehicle larger than a Prius, and you're setting up camp nearby, then this is a great choice, especially if you're camping with a crew of caffeine fiends.


This press is large and in charge, 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 easily lost 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...
This is a highly portable option depending on what style of camping you are doing.
Photo: Penney Garrett

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, glamping, or van/RV life.


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.

Delicious fresh ground coffee ready for its boiling water bath.
Delicious fresh ground coffee ready for its boiling water bath.
Photo: Penney Garrett

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. Its patented Bru-Stop 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 (and 20-ounces if it's smaller!) We genuinely enjoyed every cup from this excellent press and have no doubt that you will too.

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

Mary Witlacil and Penney Garrett