Best Coffee Makers

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Skip the trip to Starbucks and make your own cappuccino on the cheap.

For that perfect cup of joe, you might want to choose a coffeemaker that's a little over your budget. But it will be worth it. 

Our Picks

Hamilton Beach BrewStation 48465
Mr. Coffee BVMC-PSTX91-RB
Cuisinart PerfecTemp DCC-3200
Keurig K-Classic K50
Hamilton Beach 46205
Cuisinart DCC-3650
Mr. Coffee Simple Brew DRX5-RB
Chulux Pod Coffee Maker
Bonavita Connoisseur BV1901TS
Black & Decker Brew 'n Go DCM18S
Hamilton Beach 49976
Oxo 9-Cup Coffee Maker

Hamilton Beach BrewStation 48465 Review

From $50 Best

Best Value Coffee Maker

Pros:

  • 12-cup internal reservoir keeps coffee warm and dispenses 1 cup at a time; no need for a carafe or hot plate.
  • Easy to use, fill, and program; tank is removable.
  • 4 brewing options: regular, bold, 1-4 cups, and iced coffee.

Cons:

  • Slow brew times.
  • Very tall, at 15.16 inches.

Takeaway: The Hamilton Beach BrewStation 48465 is a fully programmable coffee maker that does away with the carafe and stores up to 12 cups of brewed coffee in an internal tank, which dispenses one cup at a time. The tank keeps java hot for up to four hours, and there's a dedicated iced-coffee option. Most reviewers say this model is very easy to fill, use, and clean. The only consistent complaint we saw is that it's slow to brew even a smaller quantity. One last caveat: While this machine doesn't take up much counter space, it's just over 15 inches tall with the lid closed; be sure you have room for it under your cabinets.

Mr. Coffee BVMC-PSTX91-RB Review

From $70 Best

Best Thermal Coffee Maker Under $100

Pros:

  • Fast brew time of 7 minutes from start to finish; pause and serve feature.
  • Removable water reservoir; water filter to remove chlorine.
  • Permanent filter included.
  • Delay timer and a freshness timer that lets you know how old the coffee is.
  • Thermal carafe keeps coffee hot for about 2 hours, users say.

Cons:

  • Some reviewers complain of leaking.
  • Filter may overflow at maximum 10-cup capacity.
  • No brew-strength settings.

Takeaway: Drip coffee makers with thermal carafes are generally more expensive than those with glass carafes, but they've come down in price in recent years. The 10-cup Mr. Coffee BVMC-PSTX91-RB is a relatively inexpensive option that gets good reviews from both experts and users. Thermal coffee makers like this one have an advantage over traditional coffee makers with glass carafes: They can keep coffee hot for hours without the brew taking on that "burnt" flavor from sitting on a hot plate for a while. Also, the insulated carafe can come right to the breakfast table with you. The complaints we spotted mostly centered on leakage, and grounds sometimes overflowing into the cup. Even taking those into account, this fast-brewing, programmable coffee maker is an easy recommendation.

Cuisinart PerfecTemp DCC-3200 Review

From $100 Best

Best Large Coffee Maker Under $100

Pros:

  • 2 brew-strength settings: regular and bold.
  • Programmable for delayed start up to 24 hours.
  • Keeps coffee warm for up to 4 hours.
  • Adjustable temperature control on the warming plate.
  • Permanent cone filter included.
  • Charcoal water filter and clean function.

Cons:

  • Very large footprint.
  • Scattered complaints about difficulty filling the water reservoir and fully emptying the carafe without removing the lid.
  • A few reports of the grinds spilling over or coffee dripping on the hot plate.

Takeaway: If you have a larger family, frequently make coffee for a crowd, or just drink a lot of coffee yourself, look to the 14-cup Cuisinart DCC-3200. It features two brew-strength settings (regular and bold, for those who like their coffee with an extra kick) and gets props from consumer product experts and owners alike for its ease of use and programming options. Still, some find this this coffee maker difficult to fill and would prefer the convenience of a removable water reservoir. Also, be warned: The large capacity makes for a large machine, so be sure you have the space for this highly popular coffee maker.

Keurig K-Classic K50 Review

From $90 Best

Best Large Pod Coffee Maker

Pros:

  • Fast, 1-minute brew time.
  • Always ready to brew.
  • Vast selection of pods.
  • Takes ground coffee with an optional adapter.
  • Easy to use and fill.

Cons:

  • Pods are expensive compared with ground coffee.
  • Most pods are not biodegradable.

Takeaway: While many experts sneer at pod coffee makers, plenty of coffee drinkers appreciate the convenience and wide selection available with these "always ready" coffee machines. If that's you, it's hard to do better than the Keurig K-Classic K50. This Keurig features a large, 48-ounce water reservoir; three cup sizes (8, 10, and 12 ounces); and a super-simple interface. On the downside, K-Cups (and pods in general) are pricey and most are not recyclable, which is problematic for environmentally conscious consumers. You can brew with ground coffee using the optional, reusable filter, but many owners say there's a learning curve.

Hamilton Beach 46205 Review

From $36 Good

Good 12-Cup Coffee Maker Under $50

Pros:

  • 3 brew-strength settings, including a 1-4 cup option for smaller pots.
  • Automatic pause and serve feature stops brewing so you can "sneak a cup."
  • Removable water reservoir for easy filling.
  • Doesn't need clearance under cabinets to lift a lid, with the removable reservoir and a swing-out filter basket.

Cons:

  • Some durability complaints.
  • A few reports of leakage from the reservoir.

Takeaway: The Hamilton Beach 46205 is a full-featured 12-cup coffee maker that experts and users agree is a great value for the price. It has multiple brew-strength settings, so you can tweak the coffee to your taste, but where this model really shines is in ease of use. The base swivels for easy access to the water reservoir, which is located on the rear of the machine and removable for filling at the faucet. The filter basket swings out with the push of a button, so there's no need to pull this model out from under cabinets or lift a lid to add water and ground coffee. We did spot some leakage and durability complaints, but Hamilton Beach representatives are proactive in responding to unhappy customers online.

Cuisinart DCC-3650 Review

From $63 Good

Good 12-Cup Coffee Maker Under $100

Pros:

  • 2 brew strengths, plus a 1-4 cup option; 3 heat settings.
  • Brew pause.
  • Adjustable temperature control on the warming plate and programmable auto shut-off (0 to 4 hours).
  • Comes with a permanent cone filter.
  • Charcoal water filter; clean light indicates when the coffee maker needs decalcifying.

Cons:

  • Quite a few reviewers assert that this coffee maker isn't built to last.
  • Some reports of leaks.

Takeaway: The 12-cup Cuisinart DCC-3650 is easy to use and program, reviewers say. It features two brew-strength settings (regular and bold) and three heat settings (regular, hot, and extra hot) for an even more customized cup. Some users would have preferred a carafe with a hinged lid; they say this one has to be completely removed to get all the coffee out. We also saw complaints of the machine failing in the first year and reports of inadequate customer service. But Cuisinart is a popular name in coffee makers, and experts and users say this coffee maker mostly lives up to the brand's reputation for quality.

Where to buy

Mr. Coffee Simple Brew DRX5-RB Review

From $25 Good

Good Small Coffee Maker

Pros:

  • Small footprint; great for tight spaces.
  • Programmable delay timer up to 24 hours.
  • Pause and serve function.
  • Cord storage.

Cons:

  • Hard-to-read display contrast.
  • Some complaints of grounds overflowing.
  • No brew-strength settings.

Takeaway: Reviewers agree that the Mr. Coffee Simple Brew 4-cup programmable coffee maker is ideal for singles, light coffee drinkers, dorm rooms, and RVs. In spite of its diminutive size, it's programmable, so you can wake up to freshly brewed coffee in the morning. If you forget to set it, the pause and serve function allows you to sneak a cup before brewing is finished. Built-in cord storage makes this coffee machine even more compact and easy to stow in a cupboard, keeping excess length off the countertop or the entire cord neatly tucked away between uses. While some users say that grounds end up in the coffee too frequently, most are very happy with this little coffee machine.

Chulux Pod Coffee Maker Review

From $40 Good

Good, Small Pod Coffee Maker

Pros:

  • Small footprint; fits under most cupboards.
  • Easy to use: Just fill, insert a pod, lock, and push a button.
  • Compatible with all variations of K-Cup pods.
  • Accepts ground coffee with an optional, reusable filter.

Cons:

  • Not programmable for delayed start.
  • Slow; brewing can take up to 4 minutes for a single cup.
  • Clogs easily and needs to be cleaned frequently.
  • Maximum 12-ounce capacity.

Takeaway: Never heard of Chulux? Thousands of users say this is a great little machine for light or occasional coffee drinkers. The Chulux Pod Coffee Maker is compatible with all types of K-Cups, and reviewers appreciate that there are so many varieties to choose from. The drip tray is removable to accommodate taller cups, like travel mugs, up to 12 ounces. Brewing is slow, though, taking 3.5 to 4 minutes for a full cup. We also saw reports that you have to keep up with the cleaning cycle or it clogs — although that appears to be an issue mainly for owners who subject this little coffee maker to heavy use.

Bonavita Connoisseur BV1901TS Review

From $150 Think Twice

Pros:

  • Brews at an optimal temperature prescribed by the National Coffee Association.
  • "Shower head" technology evenly distributes water over the grounds.

Cons:

  • Awkward design affects the temperature of the brewed coffee.
  • Leaky carafe, according to some reviews.
  • Very few features for the price.
  • "Done" signal is premature.

Takeaway: This automatic pour-over coffee maker is popular with experts, but users have more than a few quibbles. Specifically, you have to remove the lid to brew, then remove the carafe to put the lid back on — which allows significant heat loss, especially if you happen to be out of the room when it finishes. The "done" signal alerts you when the water is done heating, not when it's done dripping, leaving you to guess when it's time to pull out the carafe. Many reviewers also note that the carafe leaks when pouring, even after a redesign by Bonavita. While part of this coffee machine's purported charm is its simplicity, many users still wish it were programmable, so they wouldn't have to mess with it in the morning.

Buying Guide

Choosing a Coffee Maker

About two-thirds of American adults drink coffee every day, according to a 2018 survey by the National Coffee Association. Many get their coffee from a local coffee shop, but that can get pricey over the long run — and it also doesn't help them get going in the morning before leaving the house. That's where a good, reliable coffee maker comes in. A full-featured, programmable coffee maker can be had for less than the price of a week's worth of Starbucks. And you don't have to stand in line.

There is a vast array of coffee makers out there, from pour-over cones to French presses to espresso machines. In this report, we cover drip coffee makers — both with and without a removable carafe — and single-serve coffee makers in a range of sizes to fit any kitchen or lifestyle. All our picks are highly affordable and get props from experts and/or users in online reviews.

Pricey vs. Cheap Drip Coffee Makers

Unless you're really into coffee — or high-end appliances (which is A-OK!) — there's no reason to buy an expensive drip coffee maker. You can buy a highly rated model for $25 to $100. Even welcome convenience features don't necessarily add to the price: Virtually all drip coffee makers have, at the very least, brew pause and automatic shut-off. Most have a programmable timer, although the very cheapest coffee makers have only an on/off switch. Thermal carafes are generally more expensive than glass carafes, but even they have come down in price in recent years.

What does add to the price is technology that precisely heats and distributes the water. Some coffee makers time the gradual release of the water, or trap the water for a specified period of time to allow the grounds to "bloom" and extract maximum flavor. The most expensive coffee maker in this report, the $200 Oxo 9-Cup Coffee Maker, features a trademarked Rainmaker "shower head" that evenly disperses the water over the grounds. This and other high-end models also heat the water to the temperature recommended by the Specialty Coffee Association of America — between 197.6 and 207.8 — for four to eight minutes. The question is: Does all that expensive technology work? On the one hand, the pricey Oxo coffee maker earns no higher ratings from users than the $25 Hamilton Beach 46205. But you might notice a difference if you have an especially discerning palate.

Single-Serve Coffee Makers

As their name implies, single-cup coffee makers brew one cup of coffee at a time. Some use single-serve pods, most notably Keurig coffee makers, which originated the concept. Others use ground coffee that you put in a small, reusable filter. There are also machines that do both, and many Keurig machines also come with a reusable filter, or you can purchase one as an optional accessory. Most single-serve coffee makers also dispense hot water for tea, hot cereal, or instant soup. There are some legitimate environmental concerns with pods. Many are not recyclable, but many are, and Keurig has pledged to make all its pods recyclable by 2020. Pods also cost a lot more per cup than ground coffee does, so they are not a budget-conscious choice unless you drink coffee only occasionally. They also provide a variety of options for guests or a shared space like an office.

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Coffee Maker Reviews: What We Considered

Most of the coffee makers in this report have at least one expert recommendation from sites such as Consumer Reports, Wirecutter, Good Housekeeping, Top Ten Reviews, and Epicurious. We also evaluated reviews from customers on retail sites such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond to see how the products work with "real world" use.

Coffee maker reviews are some of the most difficult to evaluate, because they are among the most subjective. That's always an issue where taste is involved. Many of the lower ratings are related to the perceived flavor or strength of the brewed coffee, but one person's too-strong sludge is another person's too-watery slop. Experts sometimes conduct taste tests as part of their roundups, but those results are usually mixed as well. That's why we focused instead on features, ease of use, and durability. These are more objective, quantifiable metrics that can separate a consistent coffee maker from the rest of the pack. If you're picky about taste, we suggest buying a coffee maker with as many brew-strength settings as you can find, so you can tweak it to your heart's content.

Size

How much coffee maker you need depends on how much coffee you drink on a regular basis. A large coffee maker is convenient for a family, frequent guests, or people who just drink a lot of coffee, but it's probably overkill for one light coffee drinker. Moreover, making only one or two cups in a large coffee maker often produces weak coffee, experts say, unless the machine has a special "1-4 cup" or small-batch setting. This function adjusts flow of the water so it spends the proper amount of time in contact with the grounds, producing an optimal pot when you need only a few cups. Also, keep in mind that a "cup" in coffee speak is not an 8-ounce mug; it's more like 4 to 6 ounces. We read plenty of reviews from unhappy buyers claiming that a "four-cup" coffee maker really makes only two cups.

Cup count isn't the only size to think about. Height and footprint are also considerations, because coffee makers generally need to fit under kitchen cabinets, and most have a lid that lifts up to provide access to the water reservoir. A common complaint about most coffee makers is that they have to be moved out from under a cabinet to be filled. Be sure to measure the available space where you want to put the appliance.

Carafe

Most drip coffee makers have some type of carafe that holds four to 14 cups of coffee. Beyond size, the biggest choice to make is between a glass and a thermal carafe. Glass carafes sit on a warming plate that keeps the coffee hot — some for up to 4 hours. Thermal carafes keep coffee hot with various layering technologies, usually for about 2 hours. Some people feel that coffee in a glass carafe on a hot plate continues to "cook," which can alter the taste of the fresh coffee, especially toward the end of the pot. Some say thermal carafes don't keep the coffee hot enough or keep it hot for long enough. But one nice benefit of a thermal carafe is that it doesn't have to stay with the coffee maker; you can take it to the table, or outside, or wherever you happen to be coffee-ing.

Some coffee makers don't have carafes at all. These self-serve coffee makers are still drip coffee makers, but instead of brewing into a carafe, they brew into an integrated tank. The tank holds the coffee, keeping it hot with various warming technologies. With this "on demand" system, you put your cup under a spout and fill it with the desired amount of coffee. Fans of these coffee makers say the coffee tastes fresher; others complain that it doesn't stay as hot. Self-serve coffee makers often aren't as easy to use and seem to brew more slowly than traditional drip coffee machines, so they're not as popular.

Filters

Drip coffee makers use either cone-shaped or flat-bottomed basket filters. Some experts (and coffee drinkers) assert that a cone results in a stronger, more flavorful cup of coffee, because the grounds are saturated longer. Others say the difference is subtle, if it's even noticeable. The biggest filter decision to make is whether to use paper filters or a permanent mesh filter. There's no doubt that permanent filters are better for the environment, but some users say they clog too easily and are a hassle to empty and wash. Most of the coffee makers in this report come with a permanent filter, or the manufacturer has one available as an optional purchase.

Programmability

It's probably no exaggeration to say that there are people who can't even think until they've had their first cup of coffee. If you're one of them, a coffee maker that can be programmed to start brewing at a set time every morning is a must, so you can get that jolt right away. Programmable coffee makers are by no means confined to the high end of the market. (In fact, some of the most expensive machines don't offer this option.) All the best drip coffee makers we recommend are programmable, although a few of the models we reviewed are not.

Pause and Serve

If you don't want to wait for a full pot to finish brewing, an automatic "pause and serve" option suspends brewing to let you pour a cup before the entire cycle is finished. Almost all automatic coffee makers, including all our top picks that make more than one cup, come with this feature.

Automatic Shut-Off

Most automatic coffee makers shut off on their own after two hours, a boon for users likely to run out the door and leave the appliance on. Many of the coffee makers in this report with glass carafes have a "keep warm" feature that heats the plate for two to four hours.

Durability

Let's get one thing straight right off the bat: Coffee makers are not made to last forever. And those with more electronic features also have more that can possibly go wrong. We saw many 1- and 2-star reviews from owners unhappy that their coffee makers conked out after two or three years, a lifespan that might be considered pretty reasonable for a cheap coffee maker. Instead of dwelling on those, we scoured reviews for consistent complaints about leakage — a surprisingly common problem with some models — or a lot of reports of failure within a few months to a year. Coffee makers with that kind of negative feedback were disqualified from our list of top picks.

Additional Products We Considered

Black & Decker Brew 'n Go DCM18S Review

From $20

Personal Single-Serve Coffee Maker for Commuters

Pros:

  • Small footprint; makes one cup at a time.
  • Versatile; brews from soft pods or grounds.
  • Includes a travel mug that users say keeps coffee hot.
  • Comes with a permanent cone filter.

Cons:

  • Not programmable.
  • Doesn't always brew completely.
  • Not enough capacity for heavy coffee drinkers.

Takeaway: The Black & Decker Brew 'n Go DCM18S has been around for many years in one iteration or another, and for good reason: It's a very handy little appliance if your main focus is coffee to go. It brews from grounds or soft pods into the included travel mug — or any cup you'd like to use. While the capacity is up to 15 ounces, we did see quite a few comments that the water doesn't always brew completely, leaving some in the reservoir. Several users note that they have to push the brew button a second or third time to get a full cup. Still, those complaints are in the minority; most reviewers are fond of this little coffee maker.

Hamilton Beach 49976 Review

From $90

Most Versatile Coffee Maker

Pros:

  • Makes a full pot or a single-serve cup.
  • Accommodates grounds and K-Cups.
  • Programmable on the full-pot side.
  • 2 brew-strength options: bold and regular.

Cons:

  • Slow brew times on both sides.
  • Large footprint.
  • Some durability issues with the single-serve side.

Takeaway: For shoppers who can't decide between a single-serve coffee maker, like a Keurig, or a more traditional model that makes a full pot, the Hamilton Beach 49976 does both. The full-pot side brews up to 12 cups directly into a carafe; the single-serve side can brew up to 12 ounces from a K-Cup or 14 ounces from grounds. All that flexibility gives it a large footprint — like having two coffee makers on the counter. We also saw complaints of the single-serve side failing prematurely. But this coffee machine is versatile and replete with features: a delay timer, keep-warm mode, auto-off function, and more.

Oxo 9-Cup Coffee Maker Review

From $200

Worth a Splurge: Automatic Pour-Over Coffee Maker

Pros:

  • Brews at an optimal temperature.
  • Rainmaker "shower head" evenly distributes water over the grounds.
  • Very simple to use.
  • Thermal carafe keeps coffee hot, and a freshness timer shows how long it's been sitting.

Cons:

  • Pricey.
  • Some complaints of drips/leaks.

Takeaway: In order for a coffee maker to meet standards set by the Specialty Coffee Association of America, it must be able to heat and hold the water to the recommended temperature of 197.6 to 204.8 degrees for four to eight minutes. The Oxo Barista Brain 9-Cup Coffee Maker does just that, earning it a rare SCA certification. You can program the time you want it to start and sneak a cup while it's still brewing. One constant complaint we noted is that the machine continues to drip after the carafe is removed — sometimes significantly. Users say the thermal carafe keeps the coffee hot for about two hours.