Hario V60 vs Kalita Wave: A pour-over face-off
The Kalita Wave and Hario V60 are two of the most popular pour-over drippers. They’re both affordable, available in various materials, and produce the complex cup of coffee you expect from a pour-over brew. But they have some key differences that lead each to have their own set of rabid fans.
So which is right for you? Read this Kalita Wave vs V60 showdown and find out.
The Hario V60
The name Hario means “King of Glass” in Japanese (1). Hario is a Japanese company founded a century ago as a specialty company manufacturing heatproof glass. These days, most of us know them better as a coffee company, manufacturing iconic products like Hario V60 pour-over coffee maker and Buono gooseneck kettle.
Hario V60 takes its name from its V shape and the 60-degree angle of its side. In short, it’s a conical brewer with spiral ribs on the inside and one large hole at the bottom. It comes in three sizes, the 01, 02, and 03, serving between one and six people. V60 is most popular in plastic or ceramic, but it’s also available in glass, stainless steel, and copper.
- More control when dialling in the perfect cup of coffee
- Filters are cheap and available
- Affordable and portable
- Takes more skill to be consistent
- Steeper learning curve
The Kalita Wave
Kalita is another Japanese coffee brand that started in the 1950s, making inexpensive knock-offs of Melitta coffee equipment, hence the similar name. However, they eventually began innovating their designs, the Wave among them (2).
The Kalita Wave is an even newer brewer than the V60, released in 2010 to capitalize on the growing trend of pour-over brewing. It was designed to be easy to use, even for those new to making coffee this way. So if you want reliably excellent drip coffee, Kalita Wave has your back.
Compared with the V60, the Kalita Wave is more of a basket shape, with a flat bottom, three smaller holes, and concentric ribs on the inside. It comes in two sizes, the single-serving #155 and the larger #185. It’s available in plastic, glass, ceramic, Tsubame steel, and stainless steel, with the stainless steel far from the most popular.
- Easy to produce a consistent brew
- Available in many materials
- Affordable and portable
- Filters are more expensive and harder to find
- Can’t brew larger volumes
A Face-to-Face Showdown
Now that you know a bit of each pour-over coffee dripper let’s get down to business. Keep scrolling to find out which coffee dripper reigns supreme! In this section, we’ll pit the Hario V60 vs Kalita Wave head to head in categories like Brewing Quality and Ease of Use.
To a large extent, coffee quality is subjective. Even coffee experts don’t all agree on the flavours and textures of a perfect cup of coffee. So consider this section with a grain of salt.
First, let’s assume we’re using both brewers properly, which you can do using our guides on how to use the Kalita Wave and how to use the Hario V60.
The V60 generally yields a more exciting cup with a richer texture. You can get away with using cheaper coffee beans and a lower-quality grinder and still enjoy a complex and flavourful cup. No wonder it’s the favourite pourover brewer of many specialty coffee shops and home baristas. On the other hand, the Kalita Wave produces a clean, bright cup of coffee, which is ideal for showcasing the subtleties of specialty coffee beans.
However, the advantage of the V60 is that its design gives you more leeway to adapt your coffee to your taste. You can make subtle changes to your resulting brew by varying your pouring pattern and flow rate, which is harder to do with the restricted flow of the Wave.
Winner: The Hario V60 wins by a hair because it allows you more freedom to dial in your perfect cup of coffee.
Materials and Design
Most pour-over type coffee drippers look similar to a layman, so it’s easy to assume they all produce the same coffee. Very subtle design differences can have a significant impact on the resulting brew.
Both V60 and Kalita Wave have angled sides and a flat plate around the exterior that allows them to sit atop a mug or carafe. And both are available in the same collection of materials: ceramic, glass, plastic, and metal. But it’s there that the similarities end.
The stainless steel model is most popular for the Kalita Wave, whereas the plastic and ceramic V60s are more common. The material of a pour-over dripper affects more than just how it looks and feels; it also impacts the coffee you brew because different materials have different thermal properties (3).
Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. Lighter materials like stainless steel and plastic will rob less heat from your coffee during extraction than ceramic and glass. However, as a better insulating material, ceramic will keep a more stable temperature during brewing. And of course, plastic and metal drippers are more durable if you plan to travel with them.
The shape matters
The V60 is cone-shaped. It comes to a point at the bottom where the coffee flows through a single hole. The interior has a pattern of spiral ribs on the inside. Finally, the ribs are designed to keep the filter paper from sticking to the sides and clogging the hole.
Unlike the V60, Kalita Wave has a flat bottom with three holes and a set of concentric circular ribs to keep the filters off the side walls. However, these ribs aren’t always perfect. In particular, with the stainless steel Wave, a common complaint is that the filter can easily clog one or more of the holes, drastically altering the brewing coffee.
Both of these brewers are available in different sizes. The Hario V60 comes in sizes 01, 02, and 03. The 01 is perfect for a single-serve, the 02 is the most popular choice and serves two to four, and the 03 is ideal for larger batches of up to six cups. The Kalita is available in two sizes, the single-serve #155 and the larger #185.
Winner: The Hario V60 wins this round. It has fewer clogging issues thanks to its larger hole and spiral rib design, and it’s available in more sizes.
One of the biggest differences between these two coffee makers isn’t even apparent from the brewers themselves, and that’s the type of filters needed for each.
The Hario V60 uses conical filters. Available bleached on unbleached and with or without tabs, these filters are made by a number of brands, making them inexpensive and easy to find.
The Kalita Wave uses wave-shaped filters, which is how the dripper got its name. These filters are designed to help push the brew bed away from the sides of the dripper, thereby helping with thermal retention. This is especially useful in materials with a low thermal mass, like the popular stainless steel.
The downside of the wave filters is that they’re less common. Fewer brands manufacture them, so they’re harder to find and more expensive. If you ever come across a great bulk deal on Kalita Wave filters, be sure to take advantage!
Winner: The Hario V60 wins again, thanks to the affordability and availability of its filters.
Ease of Use and Consistency
This category is the Kalita Wave’s time to shine. Because it has three small holes rather than one large one, the flow rate is restricted. That makes the Kalita Wave far less sensitive to poor pouring technique. For this reason, this dripper is often recommended to beginners first exploring pour-over style coffee. You can practice the perfect pour, but if you go a little astray one morning, you’ll still get an even extraction and won’t ruin your coffee.
That said, one thing to bear in mind is that the flow rate isn’t the same between Wave brewers of different materials. This is not true for the Hario V69, which is relatively consistent across all materials. So if you switch from a ceramic version to a plastic version, you may need to adjust your brewing technique.
Winner: The Kalita Wave is the victor when it comes to consistency. With perfect technique, it will brew a fantastic cup of coffee. But with imperfect technique, it can still brew a great cup of coffee.
Both of these pour-over drippers make a perfect cuppa joe, and both are relatively inexpensive. So it’s honestly worth keeping one of each in your arsenal.
However, if you need to prioritize one over the other….
Use the Hario V60 if:
- You want more flexibility in your brewing style
- You have some experience with pour-overs
- You want cheap and available filters
Use the Kalita Wave if:
- You’re new to pour-over coffee brewing
- You prefer consistency to flexibility
- You like a crisp and clean cup
Yes, the #185 size Kalita filters fit nicely in the V60 size 02 and can help with thermal retention. However, given that Kalita filters are more expensive and harder to find than Hario filters, this may not be a worthwhile experiment.
In the immersion brew method, the ground coffee is left to steep in hot water before the coffee grounds are filtered out. This is in contrast to the pour-over brewing. Coffee is extracted as hot water seeps through coffee grounds. Immersion brewing typically yields a full-bodied and more rounded flavour, while a pour-over produces a crisper flavour and lighter body.
Chemex is another pour over brewer. Compared with both the Kalita Wave and the Hario V60, it is more expensive and most people consider it more challenging to use. However, it is undeniably beautiful and produces fantastic coffee once you’ve mastered the technique.
- Kumstova, K. (2018, May 16). The Story and Development of Hario V60. Retrieved from https://europeancoffeetrip.com/hario-v60/
- Pugh, G. (2015, August 17). Kalita Wave: The Story & Brewing Guide. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2015/08/kalita-wave-the-story-brewing-guide/
- Rosas, A.P. (2020, November 3). How Does Your Dripper Material Affect Pour Over Coffee? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2020/11/how-does-your-dripper-material-affect-your-pour-over-coffee/