Choosing the right-sized coffee filter is important. This article will discuss the difference between #2 and #4 coffee filter sizes.

#2 vs #4 Coffee Filter Sizes

Purchasing coffee filters can be surprisingly challenging. There are many options, and not all coffee filters are labeled in a way that makes sense. Coffee filters in #2 and #4 types are some of the most common. Knowing the difference between the two can help you make the right choice for whatever coffeemaker you’re using.

Size

The biggest difference between a #2 filter and a #4 filter is the size. A #2 coffee filter is smaller. It’s 4 inches tall and 6.25 inches wide at the widest part. A #4 coffee filter is 5 inches tall and 7.5 inches wide at the widest part.

Both #2 and #4 coffee filters have the same cone shape, which helps them fit into the basket of a coffeemaker. Some filters have a small hole at the bottom. This hole is designed to work with a percolator coffeemaker. The hole fits over the pipe where hot water bubbles up to brew the coffee.

white coffee filters

Use

Both #2 and #4 coffee filters are designed for specific types of use. A #2 coffee filter is usually used in a one to two-cup non-electric coffeemaker or a two to six-cup electric coffeemaker. A #4 filter is typically used in an eight to 10-cup non-electric coffeemaker or an eight to 12-cup electric coffee maker.

How do I know which coffee filter to use?

The best way to decide what coffee filter to use is to read the instruction manual for your coffeemaker. Most coffeemakers give you options regarding which size filter works best.

If there is no manual, you can use the capacity of the coffeemaker to make an educated guess about which size will work. You can also check the coffee filter box.

Next to the number of the filter or somewhere in smaller print, most coffee filter packages say what type or size of coffeemaker they are designed for.

Can you make a #4 filter into a #2 filter?

Most #2 and #4 coffee filters are the exact same size until the top of the filter, where the #4 filter widens and gains height. Therefore, if you only have #4 filters on hand but you need a #2 filter, you can easily make one by cutting 1 inch from the top of the filter.

You can also use a #2 coffee filter in a machine that requires #4 filters. However, because the edges won’t come up as far and the filter won’t spread to touch each side of the filter basket, it won’t function as well.

If you use a coffee filter that’s too small, you’ll most likely end up with grounds in your finished coffee. However, this is still a better option than forgoing a filter altogether.

If you need a percolator coffee filter but you only have regular coffee filters, you can convert one of the regular coffee filters by folding it in half vertically once or twice.

When you have a narrow cone with a pointed end, use a pair of kitchen scissors to snip off the end. This should create a hole in the middle of the filter, which will fit over the percolator tube.


Coffee filter size

FilterSize
#2 Coffee filter4 inches tall x 6.25 inches wide
#4 Coffee filter5 inches tall x 7.5 inches wide

What types of coffee filters are available?

Paper filters are the most common type of coffee filter. These filters are used for only one brew, and then they’re thrown away. Paper filters catch nearly all of the grounds and create a clean flavor profile. It’s also very easy to find the right filter size for your particular coffeemaker.

You can choose either white or brown paper filters. Brown paper filters are simply unbleached. Because they’re less processed, brown paper filters can leave behind a slight paper taste. Giving the filter a quick rinse before using it can solve this issue, however.

Many people prefer brown filters because they’re more environmentally friendly. Some brown paper filters are even made with recycled paper.

Cloth filters are less wasteful than paper coffee filters. They’re generally inexpensive, and they can be used over and over again. However, the weave of a cloth filter isn’t always as tight as a paper filter’s, so you might find a little more sediment in your coffee cup compared to using a paper filter.

Cloth filters will also need to be cleaned regularly to remove any coffee bean oil or grounds. Boiling cloth filters helps to tighten the weave, making them more effective.

Metal coffee filters are also a popular choice. These filters are reusable, and they often last longer than cloth filters, making them the most environmentally-friendly option.

However, the weave of a metal coffee filter is generally much looser than that of a paper or cloth coffee filter, which means you’ll probably find more grounds in your cup. Metal coffee filters will also need to be cleaned regularly, and they can be more expensive upfront.

brown coffee filter with coffee grounds

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