My less than 1 year old glass French Press broke down today. There's a small circular piece of the glass which came off at the bottom. After doing some research, it looks like glass French Press breaks regularly. I've seen some stainless steel version, are those more solid and make good coffee? If not, should I keep buying glass versions every year?
Stainless steel French presses work fine. In fact, you can construct a French press out of any chemically inert material: stainless steel, class, ceramic, high-temperature plastic, enameled copper, even marble, and it will make perfectly good coffee. I myself have a collection of porcelain and stoneware presses. What material you choose is really a matter of aesthetics and how you use the press.
All of that being said, my experience is that high-quality glass carafes do not break regularly unless you drop them (which is, admittedly, an issue). I'm wondering if you bought a cheaper carafe with inferior glass, like one from Ikea. I have a Bodum which is at least 8 years old.
Also, for brand name presses, you can usually buy replacement carafes, since breakage (due to dropping) is a frequent issue. Sometimes the replacements cost as much as a whole new press, but you should at least check it out.
There are also "unbreakable" poly-carbonate beakers that you can get for french presses. I'd also agree with FuzzyChef that the quality glass beakers don't break very often - I carried mine around in a backpack for 5 years of school, and it lasted 5 more years after that. It was only after dropping it on a tile floor that it finally broke.
The plastic replacement beaker has so far lived up to its shatterproof claim, but even with a silicon plunger, it does accumulate scratches that the glass version didn't suffer from.
The stainless steel ones would last a lifetime. I must say and the design itself supports the double wall feature which is a very essential if you have several members in your family and don't want the coffee to go cold within minutes. I purchased a sterling pro after seeing an in-depth review about the device here which suggest to go with the sterling pro french press.