Electric vs Aluminum vs Stainless Steel Moka Pots

Moka pots are quite spectacular if you ask me. They make an excellent cup of coffee that comes very close to that made with an espresso machine. Plus, they are much cheaper.

These brewers are also called stovetop espresso makers. However, there are many different kinds of these stovetop brewers made with different materials to choose from and they are not all the same.

So, now the question arises, which should you choose?

In this post, I will give you all the information about the aluminum, stainless steel, and electric ones, so you can choose for yourself. But first, here is a quick overview of what a moka pot is and where they come from.

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What is a Moka Pot?

A Moka pot is a coffee maker that is used on a stove to make espresso-like coffee. It has three chambers an upper chamber, a middle chamber, and a bottom chamber.

When you make coffee in a Moka pot you put the water in the bottom chamber and the coffee grounds in the middle one. During the brewing process, steam pressure builds up and the water works its way through the grounds and into the top chamber.

Origin of the Moka Pot

The Moka pot was invented in 1933 by Alfonso Bialetti. He was an Italian engineer who wanted to give people the ability to drink strong coffee at home without an espresso machine. I’d say he did a pretty good job. Don’t you think?

Stainless Steel Stovetop Espresso Maker

Okay, let’s start with the stainless steel models.

Advantages

Durability

Stainless steel is a more durable metal as compared to aluminum. This means that stainless steel Moka pots might not scratch as soon as aluminum pots.

In terms of corrosion, a stainless steel pot is also a bit more durable than an aluminum one because they don’t rust quite as fast.

Induction Abilities

Something great about stainless steel stovetop espresso makers is that they can work on induction stovetops. The Bialetti Venus​ is an example of such a Moka pot.

Ease of Cleaning

A stainless steel Moka pot is really easy to clean and if you do it often you will never struggle to get it clean.

These models can usually go into the dishwasher (just check the manufacturer’s notes) which is a big selling point for some.

Open moka pot and cleaning supplies.

Manual

The fact that stainless steel Moka pots are manual means that you have the freedom to experiment with your methods to perfect your final brew to your taste.

Disadvantages

Heat Conduction

When it gets to heat conduction, however, stainless steel is not so great. It doesn’t conduct heat quite as well as aluminum. This means that a stainless steel Moka pot will take a little bit longer to brew.

Cost

Stainless steel pots are a bit more expensive than the aluminum models.

Ease of Use

These pots are not crazy hard to use, but they do need some extra monitoring as compared to electric ones to make sure that the coffee doesn’t over-brew or burn.​

Aluminum Stovetop Espresso Maker

The original Bialetti Moka pot, known as the Bialetti Moka Express, was and is still made of aluminum. So, let’s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of an aluminum Moka pot.

Advantages​

Heat Conduction

Aluminum is a great heat conductor. This means that the coffee will brew faster and more evenly. This is great for the taste of the coffee.

Cost

An aluminum coffee maker is less expensive than a stainless steel stovetop coffee maker. This is quite nice if you are on a budget.

Ease of Cleaning

Some people believe that aluminum pots are harder to clean, especially because they can’t go in the dishwasher and you can’t use harsh cleaning supplies on them.

However, I disagree. While it is true that you shouldn’t put them in the dishwasher or use abrasive cleaners on them, they are not hard to clean.

There are many non-abrasive cleaning supplies out there that you can use that will do the job in no time. In fact, if you clean your pot often, you won’t ever need to struggle with getting it clean.

Baking soda, white vinegar and toothbrush.
The cleaning supplies that I use to clean my Moka pot.

Manual

Like a stainless steel Moka pot aluminum pots are completely manual and although it makes it harder to use, it also gives you the advantage of experimenting with taste.

Disadvantages

Durability

Unfortunately, when it comes to durability the aluminum espresso makers come a bit short. Aluminum scratches and gets dents much easier than stainless steel. It is also more prone to rust.

Aluminum pots tend to last only five years as compared to ten years for a stainless steel pot.

Induction Abilities

Another downfall of an aluminum moka pot is that it cannot work on an induction stovetop. You’ll have to stick to electric stovetops or a gas stove.

Ease of Use

Similar to stainless steel stovetop espresso makers aluminum ones are not 100% straightforward to use. Yet, they are not really hard to use. It is, once again, more a thing of having to monitor it to make sure that everything goes right.

Electric Moka Pot

This kind of Moka pot is far newer than the others. However, the fact that it is more modern doesn’t make it better than a manual Moka pot. Let’s look at all the pros and cons before we make a call.

Advantages

Ease of Use

When it comes to user-friendliness, the electric Moka pot wins by a long shot.

Manual Moka pots have to be monitored to ensure that the coffee doesn’t over-extract or burn. Electric pots, on the other hand, can sense when the coffee is done and then automatically stop brewing.

No External Heat Source

Another thing that is great about the electric models is that they do not need an external heat source. They provide their own heat.

Consistency

Because everything in an electric Moka pot is automated you are guaranteed of a consistently good cup of coffee.

Disadvantages

Ease of Cleaning

​Unfortunately, these pots are a bit more high-maintenance. They are a bit harder to clean than the manual ones.

Cost

These pots are quite pricey and since they aren’t as durable as the manual ones, they end up being even more expensive.

Automation

​The fact that these pots are automated is good because of consistency. However, this also means that you cannot experiment and adjust the taste as much as you might like to.

Comparison: Stainless Steel vs Aluminum Stovetop Espresso Makers

Now, let’s put it all together so we can decide which pot is really the better option.

Durability

Electric Moka pots have a lot of extra parts that can break. The manual ones are almost all metal and less fragile. So, the competition is between an aluminum and stainless steel pot.

Stainless steel is a more robust material than aluminum and is less likely to rust. A stainless steel espresso maker will probably last you about double as long as an aluminum one.

​This means that in this category, the stainless steel Moka pot wins.

Cost

Once again, the electric models lose the battle. It is more expensive than the others and is less durable.

Then it comes to the manual Moka pots, it is actually a tie. Aluminum is a cheaper material and thus an aluminum Moka pot will be a bit cheaper than a stainless steel version.

However, I wouldn’t base my decision on price. Although aluminum is cheaper, stainless steel will last longer. This reduces the price gap significantly.

Heat Conduction

Here, aluminum once again takes the win, kinda. It conducts heat better than stainless steel and this influences how fast and evenly your coffee brews. This does influence the taste of the coffee, however, a high-quality Moka pot should help counter that.

​This category doesn’t apply to the electric pot.

Weight

Aluminum is lighter than stainless steel. This is an important consideration if you are going to use your pot for camping etc.

Type of Stove

So, we already determined that aluminum Moka pots don’t work on induction plates, whereas the steel models do.

However, both of these kinds of Moka pots work on gas as well as electric stoves. So, if you are set on using an induction stove, an stainless steel Moka pot is the right choice for you.

On the other hand, when it comes to electric pots, the discussion changes completely. The reason is that they have their own heat source, so you never have to worry about having an external one.

Consistency

In this category, it is the two manual Moka pots against the electric one. Because the electric pot’s process is very much automated, you are more guaranteed of a consistent brew.

Freedom for Experimentation

​Although it is nice to be more sure of a consistently good brew, it is also good to be able to play around with the process to be able to adjust the taste to your preferences. The manual pots give you that freedom. So, here they win.

Ease of Cleaning​

Manual Moka pots are really easy to clean. Although aluminum pots can’t go in the dishwasher and you have to be careful which cleaners you use on them, I do not consider them hard to clean. I believe that if you clean your pot regularly it will never be necessary to use harsh cleaners on it. You can follow my instructions for cleaning a Moka pot if you are unsure of how to do it easily and properly.

Moka pot drying after cleaning.

Electric Moka pots, on the other hand, are a different story. They are a bit harder to clean and thus a bit more of a hassle.

So, Which One Is Better?

​Okay, so that was a lot of information. However, I think that the answer is quite simple.

In most cases, the electric version is inferior to the manual ones in my opinion. Honestly, the only thing that I like about them is that they have their own heat source.

When it comes to the manual pots, I guess the answer is less clear-cut, however, I think that the aluminum ones are better. It is true that they are less durable than the stainless steel ones, but because they are cheaper to replace I don’t really think that that should influence your decision. The aluminum ones are lighter, which is great when you want to travel with your pot. In all other areas, except for one, they are pretty much the same if you opt for a high-quality pot.

The only real difference that I think is worth mentioning is the heat source. You can use the aluminum ones on an induction plate, which, I think is pretty great. It gives you more freedom to use your pot whenever you want. Induction stoves also tend to use less electricity, which is always a plus.​

Moka Pot vs AeroPress

Have you ever heard the name “AeroPress” and went like… “what?”. Wonder no more. In my post about the differences between a Moka pot and an AeroPress, all your questions are answered.

Read my comparison now: Moka Pot vs AeroPress.

AeroPress and Moka pot.

Moka Pot vs Perculator

Have you ever wondered what the differences are between a Moka pot and a percolator? Now is your chance to find out.

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Moka pot and percolator on a stove.

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