Best Iced Tea Pitcher of 2020
Claiming the top spot overall, the Hiware 68 Ounce Glass Pitcher scored well in every category. This multitasking glass iced tea pitcher is roomy, attractive, lightweight, and easy to clean. Unlike the pear-shaped glass pitchers we tested, its cylindrical shape gives it a sturdy feel and better center of gravity when carrying it or storing in the fridge. A big bonus for the Hiware 68 is that it can go directly on the stovetop—convenient for brewing right in the pitcher. Amazingly, the glass handle stayed absolutely cool to the touch even while the water boiled inside (which was not the case for the two other stove-safe glass pitchers we tested).
The Hiware 68's stainless steel lid includes a filter spout option as well as a fine mesh strainer—think the type of filter you see on a French press—that filtered loose leaf tea with no problems. The result? Clear, perfectly brewed tea with no leaves or debris floating around. Cleaning also was a breeze: The wide mouth allows for easy handwashing with the included brush, and the whole thing is dishwasher safe. Just make sure to rinse this style of lid well right away after use: Tea bits or fruit pulp—if you're tossing in lemon slices with your iced tea or using the pitcher for infused water, for example—could easily get lodged in the lid parts. One potential downside: The lid has no silicone ring and is not meant to be airtight. So those who are rough on their pitchers will find that it leaks big-time if tipped. The lid didn't result in any odor transfer between pitcher and refrigerator, though. Overall, the Hiware 68 ounce is a wonderful choice for just about any kitchen, especially those where loose-leaf tea is a favorite.
Chances are that you've seen the boxy Bormioli Rocco Hermetic Seal before; this timeless design is ever-present at coffee shops and restaurants and would look great in just about any kitchen. We like that the glass is thick and sturdy, making the risk of tipping minimal. Its short stature also gives a nice center of gravity and allows the Bormioli to fit on lower-clearance fridge shelves (hello, elusive under-the-cheese-drawer spot). The pour was steady with hardly any drips, and the hermetic seal, once engaged—which was not an intuitive process, unfortunately—was almost airtight, with only a few drips when the pitcher was held upside-down.
A major downside to the Bormioli is its lack of heat-resistance. If you plan to use the product for iced tea, you'll need to use cold-brew teabags or brew separately, then cool before pouring into the pitcher. The heavier glass makes it, well, much heavier when full; we weren't comfortable storing the full pitcher in the fridge door compartment or even carrying it one-handed. The handle is only connected at one point, so it's eery to see how it could snap off when the Bormioli is full or if it's used while still hot from the dishwasher. We also struggled quite a bit with getting the lid to fit and seal; after consulting the bare-bones directions, we learned that it first needs to be screwed into the mouth the "wrong" way to pop in, then back the "right" way to seal. Note that you're in for a big mess (and possibly the lid popping off mid-pour) if you don't do this properly first. If you need a shorter pitcher or don't mind brewing your tea in another container, the Bormioli would be a nice stylish option at a great price.
For families with kids—or simply the clumsier people among us—the Pratico QuickPour Airtight Pitcher is an absolute game-changer. We recommend this plastic pitcher for anyone who has unsteady pourers in the house, tends to be rough on their kitchen products or is tight on refrigerator door space. A huge plus to the Pratico is the locking spout. The thumb slider itself can stick, but once it's engaged and locked, this pitcher does not leak even while held upside down. It can even be stored horizontally in your refrigerator if you're low on vertical space or have shallow shelving. (The only trick is remembering to put the spout lock back in the "locked" position every time you put it on its side.) The surprisingly large volume of this pitcher has a nice narrow footprint; we could see keeping a few of these with different beverages stocked side-by-side in the door of the fridge. We tested the Pratico indoors and outdoors to get a feel for its durability. The bottom did show a significant amount of scratching after sitting on concrete steps, but the sides remained in great shape even after being tossed around in a sinkful of dishes.
There was a lot of sloshing and gurgling while pouring (although only a few drips). The Pratico lid can be tricky to screw on, and it seems slightly off-kilter when it's secure—but if you force it on too tight, it may leak. While the Pratico can handle boiling water poured into it, the plastic does get extremely hot. In our lead tester's house, it took at least 45 minutes to cool down enough to handle. And with the handle attached only to the lid, you'll have no choice but to pick up that heavy hot pitcher with your bare hands if you want to move it. Overall we recommend the Pratico for those who want a large-capacity pitcher that can handle getting knocked down and dragged around.
If you're someone who plays refrigerator Tetris with groceries and likes everything in its proper place, we recommend the Komax Large Pitcher. This square plastic iced tea pitcher fits nicely on a shelf or in the door of a fridge, and its skinny shape means it will save on space and fit well among other containers. It held up to being knocked off a counter (while empty) several times and didn't show any scratches after a couple of days of repeated use. The Komax handled boiling water and cooled enough to touch in about 20 minutes. The flip-up, removable spout that sits on a corner made for a fast, steady pour with no drips.
The spout contains no filtration, so you'll need to use tea bags—or a tea ball for loose-leaf tea—if brewing iced tea right in the Komax. The lid also had a couple of instances of popping up randomly on its own when the pitcher was very full, but once pushed back down, or if some tea was poured out, it stayed put. All pieces held up well in the dishwasher and handwashing, however, the square shape made it a little tougher to scrub every nook and cranny of the inside corners. We found the lid's silicone seal to be pretty solid, but it's not completely leakproof by any means—and we did notice some very slight fridge odor transfer to the inside after about 24 hours. We recommend the Komax for anyone with limited refrigerator space or who just wants a no-frills, durable pitcher.
For those who want something slightly smaller and more stylized than the Hiware 68 ounce, we recommend the Artcome 65 Ounce Carafe. This pear-shaped pitcher also can be heated right on the stove burner and cleaned with the included brush—or in the dishwasher. The Artcome was bumped against another glass container and accidentally tipped almost all the way over in the refrigerator, but never cracked. It has the same mesh filter-style lid as the Hiware 68 ounce and Hiware 64 ounce, so it likewise filters loose leaf tea like a champ with no floating bits in your drink.
The Artcome handle conducted a fair amount of heat when using it to boil water on the stove. It wasn't enough to require a potholder like the Hiware 64 ounce, but something to keep an eye on while heating. The mouth of the pitcher just barely fits a hand—instead of forcing it in and potentially breaking the glass, anyone with large hands should probably just use the brush to be safe. It also showed a minimal amount of staining after housing strong iced coffee for 24 hours, even after a dishwasher cycle. The pear shape may not work in some refrigerator doors, but it does lend a slightly more sophisticated air to your countertop than the Hiware 68 ounce's cylinder shape.
Very similar in style and functionality to the Hiware 68 ounce and the Artcome, the Hiware 64 Ounce Glass Pitcher is another pitcher that will look great on your countertop when it's not in use. Brewing-wise, the Hiware 64 ounce held up just as well as the Hiware 68 ounce and Artcome did on the stove burner. It features a similar mesh filter lid that could be prone to leaks if the pitcher tips over, but we found it to hold its ground quite well both on shelves and in the door of the fridge.
In our tests, the Hiware 64's handle got extremely hot after only a few minutes with the product over a low flame. We couldn't safely touch the handle to take the pitcher off the stove. Unfortunately, this drawback is twofold: A potholder or towel was necessary to get it off the stove, but that affected our grip and caused our hand to slip while holding a glass pitcher full of boiling water. (Not an ideal safety scenario.) Like the Artcome, the mouth will fit a smaller hand, but it's probably better to clean it with the included brush or in the dishwasher. Overall, this pitcher is fine for anyone who loves to brew loose leaf tea right in the iced tea pitcher—but if you do use it on the stove, make sure to let it cool completely before attempting to touch the handle.
The Boqo 50 Ounce Carafe is a breeze to use, and we like the extra security of the silicone coaster on the bottom to keep it from slipping on surfaces. The coaster adds stability to the uniquely tapered pitcher, so the risk of it toppling over is minimal even when full, although it's quite tall, skinny, and lightweight. The Boqo does include a cleaning brush, which comes in handy since the pitcher has a narrow mouth.
While boiling water can be poured into it and the lid has a filter spout, the pitcher isn't meant for brewing loose-leaf tea; you'll need a tea ball or bag to keep debris out of your drink. We noted one potential issue while handwashing is that water can easily get trapped between the pitcher and coaster, and removing the coaster could be a slippery process—so we recommended doing so with dry hands before you begin cleaning. We recommend the Boqo for those who have limited storage space and want a unique, non-slip pitcher that fits in just about any refrigerator.
We were excited to test the aesthetically pleasing Delove 68 Ounce Glass Pitcher, and it performed well in several metrics. The spout pours heavily and steadily with very few drips. The shatterproof shell protects the glass pitcher, making it a decent choice for kids. The handle has a good grip—much less slippery than some of the glass handles we tested—and feels extremely secure. The Delove leaked very little when jostled or tipped and fit nicely in the fridge door. We also liked that there are a few different shells to choose from to add a pop of color to your countertop.
To effectively clean the Delove and avoid a waterlog between the glass pitcher and shatterproof shell, you must remove the glass pitcher by disassembling the shell, which involves unscrewing two large pieces on the bottom. However, those pieces are tricky to get off; doing so requires two hands and significant upper body strength. In our attempt to unscrew the bottom to drain a waterlog that persisted after a dishwasher cycle, the glass pitcher shot right out of the open-shell bottom, landing on the floor and fracturing into glass shards. Additionally, the pitcher's mouth is not quite large enough for a hand—and since the product does not come with a brush, you'll need to buy one if you choose to wash it by hand. While there was no odor transfer or leak issues in the refrigerator, the Delove's lid does fit quite loosely. All in all, we recommend the Delove for households that like a pop of color or want a sturdy juice, water, or iced tea pitcher that kids can use. We don't recommend letting little hands disassemble or clean it—and an adult should always make sure that the bottom is screwed on securely.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our expert iced tea pitcher tester, Dana Raidt, worked as a barista for more than a decade and has a family that is just as hooked on iced tea as she is. She's made countless batches and used probably hundreds of different types of pitchers to do so, with varying degrees of success (and plenty of smashed, cracked, and scratched pitchers and in-fridge spills to show for it).
We started our evaluation by researching dozens of the top iced tea pitchers on the market, looking at different sizes, materials, filter/infusion components, and aesthetic styles before narrowing it down to the final products we purchased for testing. We spent dozens of hours in the kitchen, brewing batch after batch of iced tea, and running each pitcher through rigorous handwash, dishwasher, tipping, fridge storage, leakage, and several other tests. Our testing involved brewing everything from strong Earl Grey tea to blood-red hibiscus, stain-prone turmeric ginger, and light chamomile—as well as loose-leaf styles for the products that featured in-pitcher filtration. We also tested heat resistance for the items that made that claim—including the ones that claimed to be safe for stovetop use. We also let strong iced coffee sit in each pitcher for 24 hours, specifically to measure staining. We used each pitcher just like you would at home, keeping it in a crowded fridge, setting it out on the dinner table, occasionally knocking it over or dropping it, tossing it into the sink when empty, and running all the parts through the dishwasher. To test the taste and quality of the brew and odor containment, we evaluated each product with several types of tea.
Analysis and Test Results
Following our trial period, we ranked each product by how well it performed regarding durability, design, ease of cleaning, leakage potential, and its brewing and/or infusion function.
In this metric, we measured how well the pitchers could contain liquid. (After all, that is their most important job.) We looked at drips while pouring, how much liquid spilled out if the pitcher was jostled or tipped over, and in cases where a product made leakproof claims, whether it could handle being stored on its side or held upside down.
The plastic pitchers—the QuickPour Airtight and the Komax—scored well in this metric, as did the Bormioli, thanks to their tight seals. The QuickPour lived up to its horizontal storage claim, sitting on its side in the fridge for several hours with absolutely no leaks. We tipped the QuickPour completely upside down for a few seconds, and nary a drop of tea escaped. Neither Komax nor Bormioli can be stored horizontally, but both did demonstrate much less sloshing and leakage than other pitchers when tipped over or jostled in the fridge. No pitchers had significant drip issues when pouring as long as the lid was affixed correctly, and the spout was set all the way to "open."
To test durability, we evaluated the strength of the handle, how easy each product was to slip or tip over when gently pushed, plus how each pitcher stood up to bumping up against other fridge items, a sink full of dishes, and the bottom rack of the dishwasher. It shouldn't be a surprise that the plastic options fared well in this category, however, the Boqo and Hiware 68 also scored highly thanks to excellent scratch resistance and stable designs that didn't slip or tip over as easily. The Artcome and Hiware 64 were scratch-resistant, but their pear shape could make them a little unwieldy in a crowded fridge or if little hands were to grab them.
Despite its shatterproof shell—which did live up to its name—the Delove lost major points in this category. We discovered in our dishwasher testing that if you don't remove the pitcher from its shell before washing, water collects in the space between them. To let the water out, the entire bottom of the shell has to be unscrewed. Since the glass pitcher is not attached in any way to the shell, while you're unscrewing the bottom, it can easily shoot right out of the silicone casing and into a million pieces on your floor, as was our experience. There was nothing included about the waterlogging or the need to unscrew the bottom in the Delove directions (which were smaller than a business card), so we gave it a lower score.
This metric encompasses ease of storing (e.g., how many small parts there were to keep track of), aesthetics, and ergonomics, as well as how each product fits in a standard, crowded, top-freezer style fridge with door compartments.
The Delove gained points for its fun matte shatterproof shell, which comes in three color options: pink, baby blue, and black. The Boqo's unique silicone coaster not only kept it from slipping but made it look a little more modern. Most of the glass pitchers scored highly in this category as well, thanks to sophisticated looks, few parts, and sturdy handles, except for the Bormioli, which becomes unbearably heavy when full of liquid and has a handle only attached at one point—features that made us feel like we always had to carry it with two hands. While very functional and ergonomically appealing, the two plastic pitchers, Komax and QuickPour, weren't exactly countertop display-worthy—but both also deserve kudos for their fridge-friendly shapes.
Despite brewing with strong black Earl Grey and a stain-prone, bright-yellow turmeric tea—and letting each pitcher also hold iced coffee for 24 hours—only the Artcome showed any evidence of staining, which was very minimal and went away with a second scrubbing.
All pitchers survived handwashing, with the Artcome, Hiware 68 ounce, Hiware 64 ounce, and Boqo all coming with a brush (although the Boqo's brush was quite flimsy).
The only major cleaning issue arose with the Delove. It requires significant two-handed disassembly while cleaning, which in our tests caused the pitcher to slip out of the plastic shell and break. The sharp interior corners of the Komax could require a little extra elbow grease, but it's not a dealbreaker by any means. All pitchers and parts emerged from the bottom rack of the dishwasher intact and spotless.
Brew and Infuse Functionality
This category is what separates the true iced-tea lovers' pitchers from the rest. The Hiware 68 ounce, Hiware 64 ounce, and Artcome all excelled in this metric for their multitasking abilities: Boil the water and brew the tea (even loose-leaf) right in the pitcher, then simply cool down and store in the fridge. Of these three pitchers with mesh filters, none let any debris or leaves through, resulting in clear, perfectly brewed tea—as well as debris-free fruit-infused water and juices.
While not stovetop-safe, the Boqo, Komax, QuickPour, and Delove all are heat-resistant, so brewing was as easy as dumping in hot water from a separate kettle or pot. However, the QuickPour took an extremely long time to cool—and since its handle is attached to the lid, and the lid can't be screwed on until it cools off, it had to just sit there for on the counter for about an hour or be iced down heavily, which would dilute the tea.
The Bormioli was the only non-heat resistant pitcher in the bunch. While brewing with this product isn't possible, it's fine if you use cold-brew tea bags or usually brew in a separate container anyway.
We hope that this review has helped you narrow down your iced tea pitcher selection so you can easily and effectively brew up and serve batch after batch of your favorite cold beverage. Our recommendations are based on plenty of research and rigorous, unbiased kitchen testing for just about any scenario. We hope you've found the pitcher that's perfect for your next refreshing herbal blend or extra-caffeinated concoction.
— Dana Raidt