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The Best Tea Infusers

A good tea infuser should be able to brew a balanced, flavorful cup of tea while keeping the leaves contained. Could we find one that does both?


Published June 22, 2022.

See Everything We Tested

What You Need To Know

A good basket-style tea infuser should brew a full-bodied cuppa—no wan, weak tea, please! It should also prevent bits of tea from escaping and settling at the bottom of your cup. We tested six basket-style tea infusers to find one that did both. Our favorite, the Finum Stainless Steel Mesh Brewing Basket, Large, successfully brewed three very different styles of tea (broken-leaf black, full-leaf green, and whole flower bud herbal). It kept tea leaves and flower buds contained while still allowing them to fully expand and infuse the water with their flavor. Its long basket worked well in standard 16-ounce mugs but was also long enough to work well in larger mugs and teapots. It was also the only infuser we tested that let no particulate escape into our tea.

Brewing a cup of tea is a simple ritual enjoyed by people around the world. While many turn to the convenience of a tea bag, some prefer loose-leaf tea, which is often fresher and has more diverse options. But what’s the best way to brew loose-leaf tea? Many use tea infusers, aka tea steepers, which contain the tea leaves while also allowing them to fully expand and steep in the hot water. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes (ball steepers, floating infusers, and even tea pincers), but in previous tests we found that basket-style tea infusers performed best; they were large enough to allow tea to fully expand while still containing small particles, and they were the simplest to use.

To use one, just place the infuser in a mug or teapot, spoon tea leaves into the infuser, add hot water, and steep for the suggested time. When the tea has finished brewing, remove the basket with the leaves inside. Ideally, the dried tea leaves will have expanded, and the infuser will have contained the tea leaves, letting no particulate escape. We set out to find an infuser that would give tea leaves enough space to fully steep while ensuring a clean, particle-free brew.

What to Look For

  • Ultrafine-Mesh Baskets: The baskets of most of the infusers we tested were made of metal perforated with small holes, which often let small pieces of tea get through. Our favorite was lined with tightly woven mesh, so it did the best job of keeping tea leaves contained. It was also one of the easiest to clean by hand since no tea particles got stuck in the mesh. 
  • Longer Baskets: While the infusers we tested ranged in length, we had a preference for longer baskets because they proved to be more versatile; they sat lower in both taller and shorter mugs, ensuring that tea leaves moistened fully. Shorter baskets were better suited to smaller cups and mugs; when we used them in a 16-ounce mug, they sat ...

Everything We Tested

Good : 3 stars out of 3.Fair : 2 stars out of 3.Poor : 1 stars out of 3.
*All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.
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