Tea strainers v/s tea infusers. We all rely on strainers and infusers alike for that perfect cuppa. Now, have you ever thought about what sets them apart or makes them similar? Read my 23 points of differences that will take your curiosity to the next level.

I am a passionate tea blogger and a tea enthusiast who plans to be able to brew her own blends. I also run a tea cafe in Kolkata city and am here with an interesting topic that every tea lover ought to know. 

Tea strainer versus tea infuser-23 prime differences to consider

Tea Strainer V/s Tea Infuser- 23 Focal Points Of Differences That All Tea Lovers Ought To Know

I am a tea person and like mentioned at the start, I run my own cafe too. The strainer and infuser are what help me supply cups after cups of the beverage and this led me to write about their contrasting nature. Now, I have drawn a table below so that you know what all is going to be covered.

Tea Strainer

A device to trap tea leaves

Tea Infuser

A device to brew tea

Tea Strainer

Early 1900s

Tea Infuser

19th Century

Tea Strainer

For a smooth, tea leaves free and rich beverage

Tea Infuser

To brew an ideal cup of tea

Tea Strainer

Basket, plastic, steel, etc

Tea Infuser

Basket, ball or flower shapes, quirky, etc

Tea Strainer

Brew quantity & tea leaves

Tea Infuser

Type of brew

Tea Strainer                                     

For a clear and uniform tasting liquid

Tea Infuser

When a strong and hassle free brew is desired

Tea Strainer

Tea filter

Tea Infuser

Tea Maker, Tea ball, tea egg

Tea Strainer

Dried and loose tea leaves

Tea Infuser

Dried loose tea leaves with spices and herbs

Tea Strainer

Smooth and refined tea

Tea Infuser

Can be used anywhere

Tea Strainer


Tea Infuser


Tea Strainer

Animal shaped DIY, etc.

Tea Infuser

Wand-shaped, animal-shaped, DIY, etc.

Tea Strainer

Slotted spoon, colander, sieve, etc.

Tea Infuser


Teabags, kettle, teapots, saucepan, etc.

Tea Strainer

Frequent cleaning, can be risky in case of a hot brew, etc.

Tea Infuser

Frequent cleaning

Tea Strainer


Tea Infuser


Tea Strainer

Smaller to large brews

Tea Infuser


Tea Strainer

Teacups or tea-mugs

Tea Infuser

Teabags, teacups and tea-mugs

Tea Strainer




Tea Infuser




Tea Strainer

Smooth, rich and a flavorful tea

Tea Infuser

An aromatic and an even tasting brew

Tea Strainer


Tea Infuser

User and type dependent

Tea Strainer


Tea Infuser

Depends on the tea variety

Tea Strainer

Plastic, stainless steel

Tea Infuser

Metal, silicone, glass, etc

Tea Strainer

Top of the cup’s or glass’s rim

Tea Infuser

Immersed in a cup filled with hot water

Tea Strainer


Tea Infuser

Depends tough makes little sense

Now, that we have clarity from the above table, let us take one point individually and dwell deeper for a better understanding.

1. How To Define A Tea Strainer And An Infuser?

Tea strainers and infusers are both widely used to make tea and each has its own significance. Let us start by understanding what one means by the word strainer or an infuser.

A strainer is a device that catches the loose and dried tea leaves in a mesh or filter and stops it from coming in contact with the brewed liquid. This ensures that you get a smooth and particle-free tea.

Infuser on the other hand is often used to make tea with just tea leaves, or teabags and hot water. I make sure that I always have an infuser with me when on the road for long hours for tea is one drink that I can have the urge to drink anytime.

2. Considering How Tea Infusers & Strainers Were Discovered

The history or origin of tea strainers and infusers is as fascinating a read as the history of the drink itself. Let us learn how the two popular devices were discovered.

The history or origin of a strainer can be traced back to the 1900s, when a tea merchant, Thomas Sullivan used to ship tea samples in small silk bags. These bags were boiled with the leaves enclosed as the basic idea of emptying the contents into the water wasn’t known.

Infusers, on the other hand, dates back to the early 19th century, the era of heavy-duty and sturdy infusers reigned supreme. These were made from fine silver and were an expensive buy as they were custom made for the select few who could afford them.

3. Tea Infuser V/s Tea Strainer: How They Differ In Usage

Let us understand how the two items fare in terms of usage as an important point of comparison.

I hope that you have a basic idea about what a strainer is. However, do you know why it is used? A strainer is placed on the top of your teacup or mug. The brewed liquid is passed through and all that remains are the tea leaves in the mesh. 

An infuser, on the other hand, is the best bet whenever tea is on the mind. One just needs to add the loose dried leaves inside and immerse them in hot water. 

4. Tea Strainers And Tea Infusers Are Both Available In Different Types

The next factor that surely deserves to be compared is the types or options that both strainers and infusers offer.

Well, the most common type of strainer available is one that is made from stainless steel. I personally love and recommend this over its plastic counterpart as it fits more snugly and is easy to clean too. Other options that deserve a mention are the quirky or DIY options. 

Now, the infuser isn’t giving up so easily and has its reasons ready. Basket, travel infusers, tea bottle infusers, silicone, glass, etc are some note-worthy varieties that deserve a mention. 

5. Tea Strainer V/s Tea Infuser: The Method of Choosing

Have you ever thought about choosing the right piece of equipment that will solve your purpose? If you haven’t considered it, I am sure my method will help you weigh your options seamlessly.

The strainer is a device that traps and holds loose tea leaves so they do not spill in your cup and you get a smooth drink that is free from any particles.

An infuser on the other hand is dependent on factors like the leaves used, the size of the utensil that you would be pouring the tea in, the quantity, etc. So, in the case of a larger brew, using a big-sized infuser is suggested.

6. When To Use A Tea Strainer & An Infuser?

I hope by now you have a fair idea about what is generally meant when someone mentions an infuser or a strainer. Let us now check the time or when one should use them ideally.

A strainer as the name suggests is a device that is used to catch and trap the brewed tea leaves in the mesh. This way you are ensuring a liquid that’s devoid of any leaves or residue and the end result is a smooth beverage that will delight the taste buds. Now, it may also interest you that we can also make our own strainers and this will be covered later on in the blog.

Infusers on the other hand are primarily used to brew tea irrespective of the time and place. If you ask me, I would say that this is the second most economical equipment to make tea as not only can I carry it with me but, hot water and a vessel to hold hot water are what’s required. This fits snugly inside my cup and I even have the option of an insulated mug.

7. Tea Strainers and Tea Infusers Are Known By Different Names

The next point of difference I would certainly like to mention is how strainers and infusers are called by.

Strainers are by far and at large used for a sole purpose and which is to catch the tea leaves from falling into the vessel that will be used to drink tea. Thus, it can rightfully be called a tea filter. 

Infusers too are called by different names. Tea ball, tea maker, tea egg, steeper, etc are some names that it is synonymous with. 

8. Tea Strainers V/s Tea Infusers: The Kind of Tea Leaves That Should Be Used For A Great Tea

Let us now compare them on the basis of the tea leaves that are best suited.

I hope by now you know the basic purpose of a strainer and so, let us see what tea leaves should be ideally used. I highly suggest using loose dried tea leaves and if you are using a regular strainer, then filtering a small quantity is ideal. You can always opt for larger filters to serve more people.

Infusers on the other hand should be filled with loose tea leaves and for a better infusion, I suggest mixing it with spices and herbs for a taste enhancement.

9. Comparing Strainers And Infusers For The Benefits Offered

Let us now compare the infuser and strainer based on their meritious side and some of which have been discussed below.

Strainers catch the tea leaves like no other device or utensil can in a compact and spill-proof manner. This results in a smooth consistency and texture and no other filter is required too.

Infusers enclose the tea leaves and change the color of the liquid on coming in contact with the hot water. The infusion is so much refined and flavorful that a cup alone won’t suffice.

10. Comparing The Daily Usage of Tea Strainer and Tea Infuser

Let us compare strainers and infusers based on their daily usage.

Strainers surely can be used daily to filter tea in tea cafes, households, tea parlors, or just anywhere tea is brewed. I too use it to strain my tea and have both the plastic as well as the steel one. I will vouch that I am highly dependent on a strainer for my day-to-day tea ritual and hence, I prefer keeping both plastic and steel varieties with me as a backup. 

Infusers too on the other hand are used widely in tea drinking nations largely to make the ideal cup. Filled with tea leaves or tea bags they start bleeding on coming in contact with hot water and at the same time emit aromas that depends on the kind of tea leaves used.  

11. Tea Strainers And Tea Infusers Offer Unique Buys

I have always advocated that tea is a very versatile drink and can be unique at the same time. Well, it does offer some uncommon varieties. White tea is a rare tea and if you want to know more about this variety, read my blog white tea v/s black tea and discover the reality through 23 reasonable reasonings. Let us check out some unique buys that infusers and strainers offer.

Strainers are everyday kitchen equipment used to strain a perfect cup of tea and over the years it has come a long way. One can customize strainers too and some rare or unique buys are heart-shaped filters, animal-shaped, etc. 

Infusers isn’t far behind in the rat race and has its varieties ready to be rolled out to its takers. Infusers resembling teacups, kettles, dinosaur-shaped, rocket-shaped infusers, infusers resembling wand, etc are some unique varieties available.  

12. Tea Strainers V/s Tea Infusers: Some Alternatives That Ought To Be Known

For us tea lovers, the drink is an emotion. I have a dedicated tea time as I hate if my routine gets upset. Well, this is rarely the case for I always have backups ready and this is what I will be telling you too so you will never have to miss out on your routine.

Ever thought of ways to strain tea without an infuser? Like you, I too cannot imagine my life without a tea filter but, its absence will not stop me from sipping a cup of tea and thus I decided to come up with my own makeshift ways. Slotted spoon, fork, double cup, French press, etc are some ways and if you want to know some other cool options, do read my blog about 23 unconventional ways to strain tea without an infuser. 

The infuser is another item of brewing tea and it too can be replaced with some amazing methods. Teabags, kettles, teapots, saucepans, etc are some everyday items that can be used to make tea without an infuser. 

13. Comparing Strainers and Infusers For Their Disadvantages

Nothing in the world is perfect and has its own share of advantages & disadvantages ready. Let us compare strainers and infusers based on the disadvantages they offer.

Strainers no doubt are indeed a boon but, come with some negatives too. Cleaning can be a hassle, especially in the case of small tea leaves getting stuck in the mesh, and taking them out can be a hassle as well as a time-consuming process. Apart from this, it gets filled fast if not cleaned well so it causes leakage or spills. I recommend cleaning it thoroughly with cold water after every strain and in the case of a steel mesh every week with a soap dish that’s mixed with baking soda.

Infusers aren’t far behind and some known downsides are cleaning thoroughly after every infusion, tea leaves should be small so it can perfectly infuse with hot water and one has to keep the size also in mind. 

14. Tea Strainers V/s Tea Infusers: The Better Choice For Gifting

Another point that I would like to compare is the better choice to be gifted to a tea lover.

Strainers make for a great gifting item and if I am to receive one as a gift, I would be a happy girl.

Infusers too make for great gifts and I highly recommend it.

15. Infusers and Strainers Both Depend on The Brews

Let us now compare them based on the brew type.

Since the main purpose of a strainer is to catch and hold the tea leaves, it is not dependent on the brew. I would suggest choosing one wisely and which would depend on the number of people for which tea is being prepared. You get tea strainer baskets that are good for large strains as compared to the household ones suitable for 5-6 cups approximately.

Infusers are highly dependent on the brew type and thus, loose dried tea leaves are recommended. Now, it would be fitting to add that one has to go with the size of an infuser depending on the quantity. For a better infusion, I recommend herbal and fruit teas that are further mixed with spices or herbs. Now, if you want to know how tea and tisane differ, read my blog about 31 comparable aspects between tea v/s tisane. 

16. Comparing Tea Strainers And Tea Infusers Based On Other Pieces of Equipment Dependency

Let us now compare the two talked about utilities, strainers, and infusers based on their dependency on other items.

Strainers are self-sufficient, giving a smooth and rich textured tea without the need for other items to help it do its job right. Thus, we can rightly say that a strainer isn’t dependent on other utensils.

In the case of infusers, I wish I could say the same thing, A teacup or a tea mug that can accommodate it, teabags, kettles, etc are some items that it is often dependent on.

17. Tea Strainers And Tea Infusers Are Loved In Different Parts Of The World

Infusers and strainers have been around for quite some time and hence, let us compare them on the countries they are popular.

Strainers are used in mostly all tea brewing countries. India, Sri Lanka, Russia, Ireland, Pakistan, etc are some erstwhile countries where the strainer is largely used.

Infusers are used in India(a slow trend-catching country), the UK, etc.

18. Comparing What Makes Strainers & Infusers Popular

Have you ever wondered why strainers and infusers are popular? Let us check out the reasons below.

Strainers give the ease of tea anytime and anywhere as cups are inbuilt with filters that give a smooth textured liquid. They can also be easily substituted with other items and one can carry a strainer with them too.

Infusers will not take the jab lightly and has its reasons ready. Fits snugly in a handbag giving the ease of carrying it, no need for a teapot, kettle, or saucepan. Just hot water and your tea is ready.

19. Tea Strainers & Tea Infusers: The Better or Cheaper Buy

Let us attribute strainers and infusers based on the better buy.

Strainers are used to catch the loose tea leaves preventing them from falling into cups. If you look into its history, one might say it was at one time an expensive buy that only the elite could afford. However, over the years it is easily accessible to the common man too. However, there are some pieces that might burn a hole in your pocket though on the whole, they can be called a cheap bargain.

Infusers too have come a long way since its inception where it was available to the upper class and in modern times is the way to brew tea for most countries. So, like strainers, it too is a cheap and good value for money.

20. Strainers V/s Infusers: The Brewing Time

Let us now compare them based on the brewing time.

Strainers are not dependent on the brew time as their main aim is to trap and hold the tealeaves from coming in contact with the liquid.

On the other hand, with infusers, time is certainly a factor for if brewed longer than required, the drink will taste bitter. Now, the brew varies from one tea leaves to the other. I would advise steeping for 1-4 minutes in the case of milk tea, 1-2 minutes in black tea, and 15 minutes approximately for herbal infusions including various fruit teas. 

21. Comparing Strainers & Infusers Based On The Common Materials Used

Let us lay emphasis on the materials that our items of discussion are made of as a means to be used in everyday life.

Strainers use plastic and stainless steel as some commonly used materials. If using its alternative, then paper, cloth, tin foil, etc can be used too.

In the case of infusers silicone and metal are generally used. Some fancy ones too are handy and come in various shapes, sizes, or colors.

22. The Correct Way To Place Strainers & Infusers

Strainers and infusers both are supposed to be used a certain way. Let us check the correct method below.

Strainers should fit snugly on top of the cup’s surface and depending on the balance you can hold it with one hand too.

Infusers should be able to fit inside the vessel that you would be using to brew the tea so that the liquid can absorb the natural aroma and color from the tea leaves when it comes in contact with hot water.

23. Comparing Tea Strainers & Infusers Based On TeaBags Dependency

The last point that I would like to discuss is the dependency of strainers and infusers on teabags.

Strainers aren’t dependent on teabags at all but are more inclined towards loose and dried tea leaves.

Infusers on the other hand is used with teabags though it makes little sense. However, many people prefer using it and so, we can say that it is dependent on teabags.

This concludes my blog and I hope I was able to help you in knowing how tea infusers and tea strainers differ from each other. Now, if you feel like asking me something or have any questions, please do drop them in the comments section below and I will be happy to answer them. I would also like to thank all my readers for showing their love towards my site, where I update my blogs.

Happy Sipping!