The perfect cup of tea can take years to perfect. Buying high-quality tea leaf is just the first step in the process. The right tools are essential to steep a cuppa that’s made just to your liking. While many people simply use tea bags, most tea aficionados prefer loose leaf teas, which require an infuser. Infusers are placed in a cup or teapot and have tiny holes that allow your tea to steep.
Tea infusers come in a wide variety of shapes and styles, from baskets to balls, to infusing mugs and more. Some tea infusers are designed for specific types of teas, while others are more universally compatible. Turn on your kettle, get cozy, and read on to learn more about how to choose the best tea infuser for you.
- BEST OVERALL: Finum Stainless Steel Tea Infusing Mesh Basket
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: House Again 2 Pack Extra Fine Mesh Tea Infuser
- BEST WITH HANDLE: OXO BREW Twisting Tea Ball Infuser
- BEST INFUSER MUG: Sweese Porcelain Tea Mug with Infuser and Lid
- BEST FOR LARGE BREWS: Hiware 1000ml Glass Teapot with Removable Infuser
- BEST FOR TRAVEL: Teabloom All-Purpose Beverage Tumbler
- BEST CUTE INFUSER: Fred and Friends Slow Brew Sloth Tea Infuser
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Tea Infuser
The following sections detail some of the most important qualities to keep in mind when shopping for the best tea infuser for your needs.
Tea infusers come in a number of shapes and forms.
- Infuser balls hold a small amount of tea and are best suited to brewing a drink for one person. Because of their small size, they won’t work well with teas that expand during the brewing period. They work well for herbal teas, green teas, and some black teas. They’re typically made from mesh or metal. Infuser balls usually have a chain or handle, allowing you to easily remove them from your cup.
- Standing tea infusers are similar to infuser balls but are designed to rest at the bottom of your mug or teapot.
- Floating tea infusers can be made from a variety of materials and are designed to float in a mug or teapot.
- Infuser baskets hold more tea than infuser balls. Because they’re larger, they allow teas to expand. This often makes them the preferred choice of tea connoisseurs.
- Teapots with infusers are useful for brewing large quantities of tea.
- Infusing mugs have built-in filter baskets allowing you to brew and drink your tea from the same vessel. Travel versions are also available that act like thermoses and let you brew while on the go.
Most high-quality tea infusers are made from metal, plastic, or silicone, though materials like glass and ceramic are occasionally used. One of the most important things to consider is how fine is the metal mesh (or how small are the holes) of the infuser. This will dictate which types of teas the infuser is best suited for.
- Metal tea infusers are used because of their heat resistance. Most basket and ball infusers are made from either stainless steel or other types of metal.
- Silicone tea infusers are often available in quirky shapes, adding an element of whimsy to your tea brewing experience. While they are heat resistant, some people do find that silicone may impart an unwanted flavor to your tea.
- Plastic tea infusers are inexpensive and readily available. Like silicone, however, they have the potential to give your tea unwanted flavors, even if they’re BPA-free.
A tea infuser’s capacity is an important consideration because it dictates how much tea you’re able to brew.
Smaller ball infusers are ideal when you prefer to freshly brew your tea one cup at a time. However, it may limit your brewing capabilities because a ball infuser doesn’t allow tea to expand.
Basket-style infusers tend to have larger capacities, allowing you to steep a larger quantity of tea. When looking to brew a whole pot of tea, the larger the infuser, the better. This is because larger infusers allow your tea to expand fully.
While ball and basket infusers are handy, they’re essentially single-purpose items. However, teapots with built-in infusers are more versatile because they can be used for both steeping tea and serving it. The infusers can usually be removed, allowing them to be used as a simple serving vessel. Tea-infusing travel mugs offer great versatility because many of them can also be used for brewing cold-brew coffee or infusing water with fresh fruit.
Our Top Picks
Now that you know more about tea infusers, you may be ready to start shopping. The following picks consider all the features above, including type, material, capacity, and versatility. This list offers a variety of choices for a top-notch tea infuser that may suit your needs and budget.
The large size of this Finum tea infusing basket is what sets it apart. It’s made to fit in most standard cups and mugs, with a height of 3 inches and a total width of 3.85 inches. It’s also available in an even bigger size with a height of 4.25 inches. The filter itself is made from stainless steel micro-mesh, while the lid, frame, and handles are made from BPA-free plastic. Because the handles aren’t made from stainless steel, they remain cool to the touch, allowing you to easily remove the infuser when done steeping. For ease of cleaning, this filter is dishwasher-safe.
If you have multiple tea drinkers in your household but prefer to brew individual cups of tea, this set of two ball-style tea infusers is an affordable choice. They are made entirely of stainless steel and have a threaded connection design that makes them easy to open and close. Each one comes equipped with a screw lid and a saucer, so you’ll have somewhere to put the infuser when you’re done brewing your tea.
They each measure 2 inches high and 1.5 inches wide and have a 4.7-inch chain with a hook at the end.
The OXO Twisting Tea Ball Infuser features a unique design that allows it to do double duty as a scoop and a tea infuser. The twisting mechanism allows you to easily fill the ball with a large amount of loose leaf tea. It’s made from stainless steel and has a soft, nonslip handle. This infuser is suited for whole leaf teas, like pearl teas, full-leaf green teas, and large-leaf black teas.
The infuser measures 4.5 inches by 1.5 inches by 10.5 inches. It’s made from BPA-free materials and is dishwasher-safe.
The Sweese Tea Mug includes a removable mesh basket infuser. The mug and lid are made from porcelain, while the infuser itself is made from stainless steel. The lid is also designed to be used as a coaster when inverted, so you have a tidy place to put the infuser when you’re done steeping. It has a heat-resistant handle to protect your hands while you’re taking a sip. The mug has a 15-ounce capacity and is available in a range of 11 colors.
The mug is 5.2 inches tall and 3.4 inches wide at the top, while the infuser is 3 inches tall and has a total width of 4.4 inches, including the handle. The depth of the infuser makes it compatible with teas that require room for expansion including green teas, black teas, herbal teas, and oolong teas.
A teapot with a built-in, removable infuser is a great choice for those with multiple tea drinkers in the house—or those who like to have a whole pot to themselves. This Hiware teapot is made from heat-resistant borosilicate glass and has an ergonomic handle and easy-pour spout. The included filter is made from stainless steel mesh and includes a matching lid. The lid can be used on the teapot whether you’re using the infuser basket or not.
It has a 1-liter capacity and can be used on gas or electric stovetops. The teapot is also microwave-safe, once the metal parts are removed, and it can be cleaned on the top rack of the dishwasher.
Tea drinkers who tend to run late in the morning may appreciate this Teabloom tea flask, which lets you steep your tea on the go. The stainless steel tumbler has a 16.2-ounce capacity and a slim design, allowing it to fit in standard car cup holders. It’s made with a double-walled base and a vacuum-sealed, leak-proof lid. The .5-millimeter holes in the filter make this bottle a versatile product that can brew cold-brew coffee, cold tea, or hot tea—or simply infuse your water with fresh fruit.
If you’re looking for a gift that can put a smile on a tea lover’s face, consider this cheeky tea infuser from Fred and Friends. The Slow Brew Sloth Tea Infuser is both functional and adorable. It’s made of BPA-free, food-safe silicone that is both dishwasher- and
microwave-safe. The sloth’s arms rest on the edge of a teacup or mug, making it look like he’s casually lounging while steeping your tea. This also makes the infuser easy to remove when your brew is done. Its dimensions are 3.25 inches by 1.14 inches by 4.75 inches.
FAQs About Your New Tea Infuser
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about tea infusers.
Q. What is the difference between a tea strainer and a tea infuser?
The term “tea strainer” typically refers to a device that’s used to strain tea after it has been brewed. The term “tea infuser” is most often used for smaller devices that are inserted directly into your mug or teapot. However, the terms are sometimes used interchangeably.
Q. Can you use tea bags in a tea infuser?
Yes, you can theoretically use tea bags in a tea infuser. However, because tea bags are essentially mini tea infusers, it’s not necessary to put them in an infuser.
Q. Does tea get stronger the longer it steeps?
Most teas have a recommended steeping time. If you steep them for longer, they may become bitter, but they won’t get any stronger. For stronger tea, add more tea leaves or additional bags to your brewing process.
Q. Why should you not squeeze a tea bag?
Tea aficionados agree that you should never squeeze a tea bag or press it against the side of your cup with a spoon. That’s because doing so releases the bitter tannins that will impart an unpleasant taste in your final brew.