Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator Review: Brewing + More

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Rating and Summary

The Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Percolator is made of good quality materials, and after some time of frequent usage, the finish of the materials are still holding up well.

However, it’s definitely not a 12-cup, it’s more like a 9 or 10-cup, and it’s also not very user-friendly with its uncomfortable, not heat-resistant handle and lack of water level markings.

Brewing coffee outdoors with the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Percolator.
Brewing coffee outdoors with the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Percolator.
7.5
Brew Time
8
Capacity
7.8
Ease of Use
9.5
Clean Up
8.2
Quality
Overall Score 8.1 / 10
Pros: Good quality materials and finish
Cons: Capacity overstated, not user-friendly
Price: I paid US$47 for this Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Percolator.

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Product Details

Here’s what we’ll discuss here:

  • Unboxing
  • In the Box
  • Price
  • Specifications
  • How to Use

Unboxing

The Coleman Stainless Steel Coffee Percolator came in a nice Amazon box, but the Coleman packaging itself was not great. Here’s what it looked like:

Taking the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator out of the Amazon box.
Taking the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator out of the Amazon box.

In the Box + Price

In the box, you get the Coleman coffee pot, the lid with a perking knob, a filter basket, a spreader, and a stem with a base.

I paid about $47 U.S. dollars for it, but I think I just happened to buy it when it was more expensive. For the updated price as of now, you can check out Amazon.

Specifications

These are my personal measurements of the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Percolator:

  • Length from handle to spout, about 9 inches or 23 cm.
  • Diameter of lid, about 5.5 inches or 14 cm.
  • Diameter of base, 6.5 inches or 16.5 cm.
  • Height from base to perking knob, 9.5 inches or 24 cm.
  • Weight, 1,025 grams or 36.2 ounces.
  • Made in: China.

How to Use

There were no official instructions that came with this Coleman Percolator, so if you’re interested, here’s how I make my own percolator coffee. For me, I use 6 ounces of water for 1 cup of coffee. I grind my medium roast coffee into a coarse grind, I use 10 or 11 grams of grounds for 1 cup of coffee, and I pour it into the filter basket.

Next, I place the stem, filter basket, and spreader into the coffee pot, close the lid, and place the Coleman Stainless Steel Percolator on the stove. My personal preference is to bring the water to a boil on medium heat, and when it starts boiling, you can see the water perking in the transparent knob on the top of the Coleman Percolator.

The Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator on top of my Coleman Portable Butane Stove.
The Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator on top of my Coleman Portable Butane Stove.

After, I usually lower the heat slightly to medium low heat, and wait about 7 minutes, before turning off the heat entirely.

Then, I let the Coleman Percolator sit for a few extra minutes to allow the water in the filter basket to drain out and the grounds in the coffee to settle at the bottom, before pouring it out to drink.

Testing and Performance

Here’s how I tested the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Percolator:

  • Brew Time
  • Capacity
  • Ease of Use
  • Ease of Clean Up
  • Quality

You can also find all the test results in this section.

Brew Time

For brew time, I looked at the time to first perk, which is the amount of time it takes for the water to start boiling.

At a 3-cup capacity, or 18 ounces, it took 6 minutes for the water to boil in the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator. At a 6-cup capacity, or 36 ounces, it took 6 minutes and 45 seconds for the water to boil.

And when I filled the Coleman Percolator with water all the way to the bottom of the spout holes, which was about 64 ounces or 10.7 cups, it took 11 minutes and 45 seconds for the water to start boiling.

Steam coming out of the spout of the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator.
Steam coming out of the spout of the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator.

Bear in mind that these are estimates and can change depending on different factors like the temperature of your water, the surrounding temperature, the amount of heat you use, and stuff like that. I used tap water at room temperature, and brought it to a boil on medium heat.  

After the water started boiling, I let the coffee percolate for about 7 minutes on medium-low heat.

Capacity

This Coleman Stainless Steel Percolator is marketed as a 12-cup coffee percolator, but the maximum amount of water it could hold without touching the spout holes is about 64 ounces, or 10.7 cups. Also, with these 64 ounces of water, the Coleman Percolator started boiling over at about 3 minutes of percolation on medium low heat. So, maximum capacity is actually less than 64 ounces.

So, I tried 10 cups of coffee instead, or 60 ounces, and the Coleman Percolator did not boil over.

The water level when I filled the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator with 60oz of water.
The water level when I filled the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator with 60oz of water.

On the other extreme, what is the minimum capacity?

When I tried brewing just 3 cups of coffee or 18 ounces, my “brew” definitely did not look like coffee. This is because there wasn’t enough water to go up the stem and spread over the grounds. My 32 grams of coffee grounds were not fully used.

The same thing happened when I tried brewing 4 cups of coffee or 24 ounces. At 5 cups of coffee, or 30 ounces, my brew started looking like coffee, but tasted a bit diluted.

So, minimum capacity for my Coleman Stainless Steel Percolator is 6 cups, or 36 ounces. It worked perfectly and brews a real tasty coffee.

I also thought that the filter basket is a bit too small for 10 cups of coffee for me. When I packed it to the brim, it could hold at most 111g (or 3.9 ounces) of coarse grind coffee. At this amount, I think it was already a bit too full, and the lid did not close properly.

I packed the filter basket of the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator to the brim.
I packed the filter basket of the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator to the brim.

Personally, I would not fill it to the brim, because when water comes up from the stem and spreads over the grounds, the filter basket will overflow, and grounds will get into the coffee. I usually give the water about 15g of space, so I would put no more than 96g of coffee, which is only about 9 cups for me.

The Coleman Percolator only comes in this capacity, there are no other smaller or bigger options.

Ease of Use

The Coleman Stainless Steel Percolator does not have any scale or cup level markings on the inside or outside of the coffee pot, which is a little inconvenient.

The handle isn’t heat-resistant, so it gets really hot after percolation. Also, it’s not a comfortable handle for such a heavy pot. But I found that using a cloth around the handle really increases comfort and cuts out the heat.

The uncomfortable handle of the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator.
The uncomfortable handle of the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator.

There’s a small notch on the lid here. I usually align this notch with the spout, and I can pick up the entire pot with just the knob. The notch essentially keeps the lid tightly closed even when pouring. It can be a bit difficult to open, but I found that it’s easiest when you apply a bit of pressure forward, towards the notch, and lift the lid from the back.

The notch in the lid of the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator.
The notch in the lid of the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator.

The Coleman Percolator comes with a transparent perking knob, so you can tell when the water starts boiling, and also the color of your coffee. It also has a wide base so it’s pretty stable on the stove.

The glass perking knob of the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator.
The glass perking knob of the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator.

And because I used a coarse grind, only a minimal amount of grounds got into my last cup of coffee. If you find grinds in your coffee, you can either wet the filter basket or use coffee filter paper to line the basket.

Clean Up

To clean up, just toss the grounds and run water through all the components of the Coleman Stainless Steel Percolator. They can be taken apart easily for a good washing. I found that percolating water is more effective at getting rid of the coffee bean oils.

It also seems to be dishwasher safe from the reviews.    

Quality

The entire Coleman coffee pot, including the handle, is made of stainless steel. The outside isn’t exactly a mirror finish, but it’s pretty close to that. The finish on the inside is decent too, and there’s not much staining even after using this multiple times.

The coffee pot and handle of the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator.
The coffee pot and handle of the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator.

The stem, filter basket and spreader seem to be made of the same stainless steel, I think. At least it’s not aluminum for sure, and it’s pretty sturdy. The perking knob is made of glass.

The filter basket, stem, base and spreader (inner) of the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator.
The filter basket, stem, base and spreader (inner) of the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator.

I think the quality of all the materials used is great, but the design might not be so well thought out. Whenever I screw and unscrew the glass knob, I can hear it scraping against the sharp stainless steel rim. This part of the glass knob that meets the rim is now uneven because of the scraping, and sometimes I find metal flakes on it.

The glass rim of the perk knob that keeps scraping against the stainless steel of the Coleman 12-Cup Percolator.
The glass rim of the perk knob that keeps scraping against the stainless steel of the Coleman 12-Cup Percolator.

To be fair, the glass knob is actually very thick. It’s thicker than all the other knobs on my 9 camping percolators. But even so, Coleman recommends not screwing in the glass perking knob too tightly, I think because it expands when it gets hot. I find that loosening it by an eighth to a quarter turn is good, this gives the knob a little bit of wiggle room to expand when hot. Half a turn is a bit too much for me because I don’t like it too loose.

Also, the filter basket and stem don’t sit firmly inside the pot, and it rattles about when I shake it gently.

As with all other Coleman products, I think this should also have a 1-year limited warranty on it, so you can probably get your glass knob replaced by writing in. (This is just my guess, but honestly I couldn’t find concrete writing about the warranty.) But beyond that, Coleman doesn’t seem to sell replacement glass knobs anymore.

Pros and Cons

For pros, I found that the materials used are high quality and thick, and the finish of the stainless steel pot is good.

However, for cons:

  • It’s definitely not a 12-cup capacity. My maximum capacity was 10 cups, or 60 ounces of water without boiling over. Filter basket could fit only about 9 cups for me.
  • It’s also not the most user-friendly, because the handle is not comfortable and not heat-resistant, and there are no scale or cup level markings.
  • The weakest point of the Coleman Percolator is definitely the glass knob, and the design can be improved with a slightly bigger filter basket and getting the filter basket to sit firmly inside the pot.
  • The minimum number of cups of coffee you can brew is 6 cups. Not exactly a con, but just something to bear in mind.
The handle of the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator is not comfortable and not heat-resistant, so I had to use a cloth around it.
The handle of the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator is not comfortable and not heat-resistant, so I had to use a cloth around it.

Recommendation

Would I recommend the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Percolator?

Well, of my 9 camping percolators, 5 of them are made of stainless steel, and this Coleman Percolator is my least favorite stainless steel percolator.

It’s not a bad coffee percolator for sure, but it’s just not that great. It’s not the most user-friendly percolator that I have, the design can be improved slightly, and my main gripe is actually with the glass knob. Coleman gives only a 1-year warranty, and no longer sells replacement glass knobs. So, if the glass knob breaks, you will no longer be able to use the percolator, and this is too expensive a purchase to justify just junking it.

I placed the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator on a table outdoors.
I placed the Coleman 12-Cup Stainless Steel Percolator on a table outdoors.

Personally, I would prefer to go with other camping percolators that are more user-friendly with markings and better handles, that have better design, that give lifetime warranties, or at least sells replacement knobs.

To find out which camping coffee percolator I actually recommend, you can click here: The 9 Best Camping Percolators: I Bought & Tested Them All (complete with YouTube video).