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Whether you're spending a hot afternoon on the porch or a humid evening at a backyard barbecue, there's nothing like a glass of iced tea. And regardless of your preferred flavor—green or black, sweetened or straight up—this cold drink is a summertime staple. But unless you're making sun tea, you'll likely need to put in the effort to brew and chill your favorite tea.
Luckily, there's a lot of iced tea makers out there to help you. Some manual options simply rely on an immersed basket to slowly steep your tea, and a few of those are useful for making iced coffee as well. Electric models can quickly brew up tea for you, iced and hot, and some of those feature advanced tea making.
But because there are so many types of iced tea makers out there, we had one of our home cooks test out some of the best ones on the market, selected based on reviews and our own research. We had her note how much tea each maker can hold, how easy it was to set up and use, how long it took to steep the tea (and chill it, if that's included), how well the tea turned out, and whether there were any helpful extra features. In the end, the Primula Flavor It Pitcher stood out among the rest for its versatility and handy interchangeable cores.
Iced tea makers should take most of the work out of brewing your favorite refreshing treat—leaving you more time to sip and chill. With that in mind, here's our list of the best iced tea makers on the market, home tested.
Best Overall: Primula Flavor It Beverage System Pitcher
What We Love: Multipurpose, airtight lid, leak-proof spout
What We Don’t Love: Infuser baskets are delicate
If you want to get creative with your iced tea, this is the pitcher for you. The Primula Flavor It Beverage System comes with three interchangeable cores, so you can make iced tea, flavored waters, sangria, and other infused beverages. One of the cores is filled with a freezable gel that can keep your finished drinks cold. Plus, two of the cores (not the freezer gel) are dishwasher-safe. It has an airtight lid and leak-proof spout, too. The pitcher is safe for both hot and cold brewing methods.
This pitcher's 2.9-quart capacity makes it great for entertaining. Plus, setup is easy and quick, taking "only moments," says our tester. Then, just brew your tea and then insert the fruit core and fill it with lemons for a delicious and beautiful-looking pitcher. Our tester chose to cold-brew the tea according to the included instructions, and it only took about 8 to 10 hours. The pitcher fits nicely into the side door of most fridges.
Our tester also liked the extra features this pitcher offers, such as the option to add herbs or fruit to the tea infuser basket, and the ability to adjust the placement of the tea container depending on the amount of water you're using.
The tea infuser basket is smaller than what you may usually find in other pitchers (mostly because you can infuse herbs and fruits in a separate vessel), but it can also be a little bit more delicate, so be careful as you use and clean it.
"It's super easy to fill the basket, and it was very intuitive, even though it did not have specific tea instructions." — Samantha Lande, Product Tester
Dimensions (LxWxH): 8.2 x 5.5 x 10.6 inches | Capacity: 93 ounces (2.9 quarts) | Material: Tritan plastic | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes
Best Budget: The TUBE Cold Brew Coffee Maker and Tea Infuser Kit
What We Love: Multipurpose, comes in two sizes, affordable
What We Don’t Love: Mason jar not included
This no-frills iced tea maker is simply a well-constructed, stainless steel filter. If space is a concern, this makes for a great option because it can easily be stored in a drawer or small cabinet. Made for both cold brewing tea and coffee, The TUBE is intuitive to set up, our tester discovered: It simply fits into a wide-mouth mason jar (she tested the 64-ounce version). If you already have this mason jar at home, this is a plus, but our tester admits it is a slight nuisance to have to buy one if you don't already. However, she says it's easy enough to buy one, especially because it should last forever.
The cold brew method is recommended for this version—simply fill the filter with loose-leaf tea and add cold water through the filter, stirring once along the way. You can easily leave it on the countertop (it needs to be at room temperature while it brews) for 12 to 24 hours. Then refrigerate after you pull out the filter or just pour over ice.
"You could certainly add fruit or herbs to this easily," our tester observes, adding that it would be great for infusing alcohol or making herb-infused oils. You can buy multiple mason jars and easily gift them or bring them to a party without worrying about not getting your container returned.
"I can see this having many applications, including iced coffee and also infusing different liquors." — Samantha Lande, Product Tester
Dimensions (LxWxH): 3.25 x 2.75 x 6 inches | Sizes: Two versions can fit 16-ounce, 32-ounce, and 64-ounce mason jars | Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes
Best Cold Brew/Iced Tea Maker Combo: Ovalware Cold Brew Maker and Tea Infuser
What We Love: Superfine strainer, rubber base adds extra protection
What We Don’t Love: Small capacity, doesn't filter leaves from tea bags as well as loose-leaf
If you like a modern aesthetic, this is a great pitcher. It is on the smaller side with a 1-liter capacity (Ovalware does make a larger option), but it is certainly a statement piece with its beaker shape and rubber cushioned bottom. The instructions recommended opening up the tea bags (if you were using them instead of loose-leaf), so our home tester did so, which resulted in some sediment. She recommends using loose-leaf tea for this one: "I think there may be less sediment with the larger pieces of loose-leaf tea."
This gadget was easy enough to set up and use, with a relatively short brew time, depending on the tea type. "I used green tea, so it was a 6 to 8 hour brew time, and it should take 8 to 12 hours for black tea. It took only a few minutes to fill the infuser," she notes.
You can also add in fresh herbs or fruit. The pitcher is glass, but dishwasher-safe, with a silicone lid to provide a secure airtight seal.
It’s perfect to set it up while you sleep for fresh tea in the morning. It is also designed to make cold brew iced coffee.
"I thought the product looked sleek but the capacity was smaller [than the others on this list]. It was very easy to fill the basket; however, some sediment did seep out." — Samantha Lande, Product Tester
Dimensions (LxWxH): 5.9 x 5.9 x 10.4 inches | Capacity: 34 ounces (1 liter) | Material: Glass, 18/8 stainless steel | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes
Related: The Best Cold-Brew Coffee Makers
Best Manual: Takeya 2-Quart Flash Chill Iced Tea Maker
What We Love: Comes in a range of fun colors, simple and fast brewing, airtight
What We Don’t Love: Tall pitcher may not fit in every dishwasher, not intended for side storage
If you want to make iced tea on demand, this 2-quart Takeya Iced Tea Maker chills fresh iced tea in only 30 seconds without refrigeration like many of the other pitchers. It is one of the quickest, from steep to serve, that our home tester tried.
First, fill the pitcher halfway with hot water: Heating up the water is the longest part of the process, our tester notes, adding that she needed to make sure it cools from boiling. Then, let the fine mesh infuser basket that holds bagged or loose tea steep according to directions—which took only 2 minutes—then discard the tea and add ice (she recommends using loose-leaf). Shake the pitcher for 30 seconds to chill the tea.
Our tester really liked this tea maker, "especially if you want ice tea on demand. It was simple to use and there wasn't much downtime at all," she says. One thing she does note is that while you could add fruit or herbs into the infuser to add some oomph to your tea, you may not get such strong flavors because of the short brew time.
The airtight lid prevents spills, and the silicone handle means it won't slip out of your hand. The 12.2-inch tall BPA-free pitcher is narrow enough to store in the fridge door but may be too tall for some dishwashers.
"All in all, with boiling the water (I have a hot water kettle), the whole process took no more than 7 minutes." — Samantha Lande, Product Tester
Dimensions (LxWxH): 6.1 x 4.1 x 12.2 inches | Capacity: 64 ounces (2 quarts) | Material: Tritan plastic | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes
Best Electric: Brentwood KT-2150BL Iced Tea and Coffee Maker
What We Love: Cool retro color, has a brew-strength gauge, large capacity
What We Don’t Love: Pitcher isn’t airtight or leakproof, takes up a lot of counter space, drip tray can get messy
The Brentwood Iced Tea and Coffee Maker works similar to a traditional coffee maker, where you pour water into the reservoir and put your tea into a filter basket. You’ll fill the pitcher up to the “ice” line before you start brewing tea for the 64-ounce container. The filter has an additional removable filter to add in finer-grained items, such as sugar or matcha, to your brew (but it’s recommended to throw a disposable filter in the basket).
The lidded plastic container has a hole at the top for easy brewing, but it does not make it air-tight and leakproof like some of the other pitchers. Brewing starts with the touch of a button, and there is a dial to adjust brew strength, although our tester found little explanation of how strong each level is.
"There weren't too many instructions included on the various strength buttons, so I would be curious to play around and see what the differences between each strength are," she notes. Once the entire process was done, it was cold enough to drink over ice; she noted that the entire process took less than 10 minutes.
The large capacity and short brewing time make this one a nice option for entertaining a larger group. The pitcher itself is dishwasher-safe.
"This one takes up a lot of counter space—especially if you already have a coffee maker—and seems unnecessary when you can get slimmer sleeker models. Although I think it is nice to set it and forget it." — Samantha Lande, Product Tester
Dimensions (LxWxH): 9.5 x 6.75 x 14.5 inches | Capacity: 64 ounces | Material: Plastic, stainless steel | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes, when the heating element is off
Related: The Best Tea Kettles
Best for Big Batches: Primula The Big Iced Tea Pitcher, 1 Gallon
What We Love: Large capacity and good design, flexible for brewing temperature and ingredients, multipurpose
What We Don’t Love: Large pitcher can be a refrigerator hog
The Big Iced Tea Pitcher's 1-gallon capacity means you'll make fewer batches to stay hydrated during the heat of summer. The manual design is simple yet effective. The airtight lid prevents leaks and spills, while the ergonomic handle and pour spout make refilling your glass easy.
The BPA-free Tritan plastic pitcher is dishwasher-safe, while the central brew core accommodates everything from loose or bagged tea to berries, fresh mint, and lemon wedges. You can also use a hot or cold brew method for making your tea.
The biggest drawback? The pitcher, which measures 8.5 x 8 x 11.4 inches, may not fit in the refrigerator door.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 8.5 x 8 x 11.4 inches | Capacity: 1 gallon | Material: Tritan plastic | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes
Best for Artisan Iced Tea: Breville One-Touch Tea Maker
What We Love: Adjustable settings, large capacity
What We Don’t Love: Expensive, not designed for secure storage, some reviewers say it's fragile
This expensive iced tea maker is not for everyone, but if you're serious about the quality and strength of your brew, it might be your cup of tea.
This Breville tea maker features adjustable settings that let you select brew strength, time, and temperature. The 1500-watt machine gently moves the tea basket automatically while brewing to ensure a well-steeped tea, with "keep warm" and "agitate" functions. The former function, in particular, is great if you drink slowly or are entertaining a large group and have a big batch of tea. Or, you can just use the machine to quickly boil water.
The electric kettle is glass (which some reviewers note is fragile, so take care when cleaning), with a protective stainless steel bottom and a capacity of 51 ounces.
Since there is no airtight lid, you'll need a second pitcher for storage.
Dimensions: 9 x 7 x 11.75 inches | Capacity: 51 ounces | Material: Glass, stainless steel, plastic | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes, tea basket and scoop
Related: The Best Electric Kettles
For a multi-use tool for your many summer beverages, Primula Flavor It Pitcher 3-in-1 Beverage System (view at Amazon) can help you serve up iced tea, flavored water, and sangria. For an electric iced tea maker that can quickly brew up a whole pitcher, choose the Brentwood KT-2150BL Iced Tea and Coffee Maker (view at Amazon).
What to Look for When Buying Iced Tea Makers
Electric or Manual
Manual iced tea makers are inexpensive, common, and work well, but you'll need to boil water and brew tea yourself. If you prefer a done-for-you option that might also brew your tea quickly, shop for electric iced tea makers. Electric makers are also more inclined to let you choose brew strength. Both might require post-brewing cleanup.
Capacity is the most important variable; if you go with something that's too small, you'll be brewing iced tea constantly. During the heat of the summer, when you really want a refreshing drink, this can be a drag. If you pick something too large, on the other hand, you'll struggle to fit it into your fridge. Find your sweet spot!
Do you want a dedicated iced tea maker or something that can be used for other purposes, such as infused water or cold-brew coffee? Your availability of kitchen space might make the call for you; many people don't have room for single-use appliances, particularly those that are seasonal in nature. A few electric iced tea makers can also be used for hot tea in the cooler months.
What are the best teas for iced tea?
Loose-leaf teas are preferred to bagged tea since the tea is of higher quality. Bagged tea tends to contain bits of broken tea leaves that don't have the volatile oils that give tea its flavor. If you must brew with bags, or if you're choosing a blended tea rather than pure tea, buy the best quality bagged tea you can afford. As far as black versus green or herbal, it's your choice.
What's the best way to sweeten iced tea?
Traditionally, sweetened iced teas like Southern sweet tea are made with sugar rather than simple syrup or an alternative sweetener. Mix sugar into the tea while it's hot so it dissolves. If you’re sweetening the tea to remove bitterness, add a pinch of baking soda, which neutralizes the tannins in tea.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Lindsey Danis is a freelance food writer and former professional cook who loves all things tea, coffee, and baked goods. There is always a pitcher of iced tea in her fridge.
Samantha Lande tested most of our top iced tea makers and updated this piece. She is a freelance writer specializing in food, health, and wellness.
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Food and Drug Administration. Bisphenol A (BPA): Use in food contact application.