If you’re hoping to brew a gorgeous cup of coffee at home, you don’t need an expensive coffee machine and professional barista expertise. Instead, an immersion brewer is a cost-effective way of doing just that.
You’re probably familiar with the Clever Dripper, which, over the last 10 years, has been the immersion-style dripper of choice for many domestic brewers. However, in 2019, Hario launched the Switch, which immediately provided stiff competition for the more established Clever Dripper.
Each dripper looks similar and shares some of the same features, but which is better? We purchased both to help offer a definitive answer. This article gives a side-by-side comparison so you can decide which is the best option for you.
You can find our in-depth review of each coffee dripper.
Hario Switch vs Clever Dripper
About The Companies
Hario translates as “The King of Glass” in Japan. Meanwhile, the company has produced glassware for a century, with the most celebrated in its range being the Hario V60 dripper. Hario launched the V60 in 2004, and it rapidly grew in popularity, gaining prominence in specialty cafes and regularly appearing in the World Brewers Cup Championship. The V60 dripper is still popular today.
In 2019, Hario launched the Switch, which converted the V60 dripper into an immersion-style brewer. Unsurprisingly, it has garnered considerable attention in the coffee world since launching.
Inventor Of The Clever Dripper
A Taiwanese company, ABID, launched the Clever Dripper. The company name is an acronym of Absolutely Best Idea Development, and the dripper certainly lives up to that claim. The patented design offers a combination of drip coffee and immersion brewing methods to offer coffee lovers a convenient, cost-effective brewer for making a virtually hassle-free, clean cup of gorgeous coffee.
Design And Build Quality
Both Clever Dripper and Hario Switch are immersion brewers that allow you to steep the ground coffee in water before dripping the coffee into your cup via filter papers. The mechanisms of each are similar. However, there are some differences in their designs.
Hario Switch – It comes in two parts. The heatproof glass upper cone has interior spiral ribs. Meanwhile, its build is as impressive as you’d expect from a company known as “the king of glass,” with crystal clear glass an incredibly smooth edge. The glass cone screws into the dripper’s other section – a silicone rubber base. Underneath that is a stainless steel ball that you control via a switch. The Hario Switch is only available in one color: a black base and a transparent glass cone.
Clever Dripper – It is a one-piece made from BPA-free plastic. Meanwhile, the interior of the basket-shaped cone has straight ribs.
A rubber valve at the bottom of the dripper controls the water flow. It also has a lid and a plastic base, while a handle makes moving the dripper during brewing straightforward. Unlike the Hario Switch, the Clever Dripper is available in several colors: red, yellow, blue, black, java, and transparent.
The Hario Switch has a higher build quality than the Clever coffee dripper. It’s also heavier and looks more appealing. However, the glass cone is easier to break than the plastic cone of the Clever Dripper. The latter is also lighter and more portable, with more color options.
Brew Sizes And Filter Papers
The Hario Switch immersion dripper is available in two sizes – the 02 and 03, with 200ml (7fl oz) and 360ml (12.5fl oz) capacities. Meanwhile, they are compatible with either 02 or 03 Hario V60 paper filters, which are V-shaped.
The Clever Dripper is also available in two sizes – the 300ml (10fl oz) and 500ml (18fl oz). It uses either number two or four Melitta-style paper filters.
The Clever Dripper offers greater capacity than the Hario Switch in either size. And the larger size of Hario Switch 03 is sometimes unavailable. If you usually make more than one cup of coffee at a time, the Clever Dripper is your best option. Meanwhile, paper filters for both are cheap and readily available.
How Do They Work?
The mechanisms of Hario Switch and Clever coffee dripper are very similar. Meanwhile, a medium grind size for pour-over is ideal for both. The brewing process of each coffee dripper has two parts:
- Steep the coffee in the water
- Release the liquid into the cup
Here is a recipe we recommend. We suggest a 1:16 coffee to water ratio, with 15g of beans and 240ml of water.
The first few steps are identical using each coffee dripper:
- Grind your fresh coffee beans to a medium size
- Fold and place your paper filter into the cone and rinse it with hot water
- Add the coffee grounds to the brewer
- Pour water over the grounds and give the mixture a stir
- Allow it to steep for 2-4 minutes
The main difference between the Hario Switch and Clever Dripper is how they release the coffee into your cup:
Hario Switch – the base has a stainless steel ball. If you flick the switch down, the ball pushes up, allowing the coffee to draw down into your cup. However, when you flick the switch up, it blocks the water flow. So, always flick the switch up before pouring your water!
Clever Dripper – at the bottom of the Clever Dripper is a shut-off valve, which, thanks to gravity, is securely sealed. When you position it on your cup, the bottom and valve push up, which creates a gap. This allows the coffee to drip through. Therefore, it’s important to remember not to place the dripper on your cup before the brewing process is complete.
The switch on the Hario is undoubtedly more convenient than the valve of the Clever Dripper. The switch lets you easily control the water flow while brewing, meaning you can alternate between immersion and percolation at will. This lets you try out different brewing methods more easily.
Of course, you can control the valve of the Clever Dripper too. However, taking the dripper of hot water on and off your cup is neither as convenient nor safe as flicking a switch.
The Hario Switch doesn’t have a lid, so after four minutes of steeping, the temperature drops from 194F (90C) to 164F (73C). Not surprisingly, thanks to its lid, the Clever Dripper keeps the liquid hotter for longer, with the temperature remaining above 173 F (78C) after brewing.
To counteract this issue with the Hario Switch, you can preheat the cone before brewing.
We brewed coffee with both, using the same grind size, coffee beans, and dosage. It took the Clever Dripper around 37 seconds longer to draw down the coffee.
If you add water first, then the coffee grounds, the drawdown time speeds significantly with both drippers. Compared to adding the grounds first, the brewing speed is 20 seconds quicker with the Clever Dripper and 50 seconds faster with the Hario Switch. As well as being faster, if you’re concerned about small particles becoming over-extracted and negatively affecting the flavor, this method is worth trying.
In general, if you’re using a lower temperature and a shorter steeping time, your coffee will be weaker. However, the coffee flavor each dripper produces is strikingly similar. In short, the Hario Switch is the better of the two drippers for extraction, while the immersion method each uses offers a forgiving brewing method.
Immersion coffee has a markedly different flavor to pour-over or French press coffee. This is because the paper filters capture the oils, leaving the sediment-free and bright cup of coffee. Meanwhile, the immersion method results in a full-bodied cup. When combined, the coffee is beautiful.
We experimented with different coffee beans, from light roast Kenyan beans to dark roast Sumatra Mandheling. Using identical brewing parameters, the Hario Switch offers a heavier body with brighter, sweeter notes. In contrast, Clever Dripper produces a cleaner and crisp cup of coffee with a smoother mouthfeel.
The Hario Switch also has a higher extraction rate than the Clever Dripper, so with either coffee brewer, you’ll need to make tweaks to your grind size and brewing time to find your sweet spot. However, as long as you use freshly ground beans, each of them brews a delicious cup of coffee.
You can also use the Hario Switch and Clever Brewer to brew iced coffee. Pour some ice cubes into the carafe, use less water than you ordinarily would, then leave the coffee to drip directly over the ice. This will give you a refreshing, crisp, and cold drink.
Ease Of Use
Brewing coffee with either dripper offers plenty of room for error. You don’t need expert pouring technique, and you needn’t even pour steadily in a circular motion. Neither do you need to use a timer to control the water flow. Also, any electric kettle will suffice, so there’s no need for a gooseneck kettle.
Using either of them is as straightforward as using a French press. However, the French press leaves grounds residues in the chamber and coffee oils in the filter, which are tricky to clean. In contrast, the Hario Switch and Clever Drippers use paper filters that you can discard along with the spent grounds, which is clean and hassle-free.
The immersion method also offers room for error with your grind size and consistency. So, even if you use pre-ground coffee or your grounds are a little too fine or coarse, they’ll still brew delicious coffee.
Overall, both coffee drippers make manual coffee brewing easy, with outstanding results.
Value For Money
Both brewers are relatively inexpensive compared to most electric coffee makers.
The Clever Dripper is a similar price to AeroPress, French press, or Moka pot. Meanwhile, the Hario Switch is almost double the cost for the larger model. However, the heatproof glass is a higher-quality material than the Clever Dripper’s plastic.
The paper filters of both drippers are compatible with other drip coffee makers, making them inexpensive and easy to find. Indeed, the disposable filter papers won’t significantly increase your costs in the long run.
Overall, both the Hario Switch and the Clever Dripper are excellent immersion-style drippers that produce excellent coffee.
We own both immersion coffee brewers and prefer the Hario Switch for day-to-day coffee brewing. That’s because it’s more convenient and flexible, allowing us to easily switch between the brewing methods. Nevertheless, the Clever Dripper has its advantages, too, including its increased portability and lighter weight.
Ultimately, your personal preference is likely to determine which one you choose. However, regardless of your choice, you’ll be getting an easy-to-use, relatively expensive dripper capable of producing beautiful coffee consistently.