It’s not hyperbole to say that finding the perfect coffee maker is key to the…
It may be hard to believe, but there was a time when there was no such thing as an automatic drip coffee maker. The first patent for this machine was filed back in 1971, and Mr. Coffee was born a year later.
It’s only been 50 years, but now it’s hard to imagine a home or a hotel room without this ubiquitous appliance. In our quest for the best drip coffee maker, we came across a staggering variety of features and price ranges. Here are our results.
You’ll find hundreds of designs for a home automatic drip coffee brewing machine. Before you can decide on the best drip coffee maker for you, you need to know what styles are available. Here we’ll break down the different types of drip coffee makers so you know what category to look for.
When it comes to drip coffee makers, some have a max capacity of four cups while others can brew 14 cups or more. If you’re only making coffee for yourself, you might want to choose a brewer that has a small capacity. If you have several coffee drinkers in the house (or office) or you drink a lot of coffee, it’s easy to find a coffee maker with a 10-, 12-, or 14-cup capacity.
But what if you sometimes want a cup or two and other times serve guests? If you try to make a couple cups in a large drip brewer, you’ll likely end up with weak coffee. There’s nothing you can do to fix that. Luckily, there’s an option to make a small batch. It will automatically adjust settings to be able to brew a full-flavored cup or two. It usually does this by allowing the grounds to steep before releasing into the carafe. Some brewers even provide a different filter for when you are brewing a small or large batch.
If you’re reading this, you are probably set on getting a drip coffee brewer. But there may be times when you want the speed and convenience of a single-serve coffee maker. A number of brewers on our list have the ability to either brew a carafe of coffee or to make a single-serve coffee. Most of these will be compatible with K-cup-style coffee pods. If you prefer to use your own freshly ground coffee, some machines can also make a single-serve coffee with fresh grounds.
If time in the morning is limited or you just can’t think straight before your morning coffee, then look for a drip coffee brewer that is programable. You can set this type of machine up the night before and wake to the aroma of brewing coffee. Yes, convenience is key when it comes to the best drip coffee makers on market.
Most coffee makers come with either a glass carafe and warmer / hot plate or with a thermal carafe. Deciding between a hot plate and the thermal carafe is more of a personal preference. Some feel that a thermal carafe won’t keep the coffee as hot as they want it. Others don’t like the burnt taste you can get with some machines when you leave the hot plate on for hours.
While a glass carafe is usually easier to pour from, thermal carafes have other advantages. You can take the carafe anywhere you want. This might be ideal for those with a home office. You can brew the coffee in the kitchen, then carry the thermal carafe into your office to refuel as necessary. You also don’t have to worry about dropping and breaking a thermal carafe.
Some coffee makers have a steep learning curve while others just need the touch of a single button. If you just want plain old coffee, then you’ll probably want a coffee maker with a simple push-button interface.
If you’re pickier and want to be able to fine-tune the brewing process, you’ll probably need a machine with a more complex interface. Some machines have dials, touchscreens, or a combination of both. With the more complicated models, you will probably want to read the manual to get the most out of the brewer.
When looking for the best drip coffee maker, we kept several things in mind. The main criterion was that it made really good coffee. After that, we took into consideration the bells and whistles it comes with and how easy it was to use.
If precision and quality are your thing, you'll want to look at Technivorm's Moccamaster. It's handmade in the Netherlands and is designed to deliver superior drip coffee. This brewer features a pre-immersion drip-style system that allows the coffee to bloom. It also gets high marks for ease of use. Just add water and coffee and turn it on.
The copper heating element quickly heats the water to between 198 and 205 degrees. The cone filter facilitates even extraction for the best-tasting coffee. To prevent over-extraction, this coffee maker completes brewing a full pot of coffee in six minutes! The warming plate keeps the coffee hot at 170 degrees Fahrenheit, so it won't burn the coffee.
The Moccamaster is part of an elite group of coffee makers that are certified by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) Home Brewer Program. Requirements for certification are based on water temperature, brew time, and the ability to produce a cup that meets the SCA's Golden Cup Standard.
This coffee maker is an investment, but it is built for durability and carries a 5-year warranty. It is constructed with metal housings and BPA/BPS/BPF & Phthalate free plastics. The parts are removable and can be replaced to extend the life of this brewer. While this featured model has a glass carafe, it is also available with a thermal carafe.
Wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee with this programmable brewer. You can set it up to 24 hours in advance. The Ninja programmable brewer has one of the largest carafes on the market. It takes about 15 minutes to brew a full pot. But what about those times when you just want a cup or two? You can select the Small Batch function.
This Ninja Coffee Maker has an advanced boiler that gets the water all the way up to the recommended temperature. Then, it will keep it hot. The warming plate will automatically shut off after two hours. But if you want your coffee kept hot longer, you can set it to stay warm for four hours.
How strong do you like your coffee? You can customize the strength of your coffee to Classic or Rich. Another nice feature is what Ninja calls the "Flavor Straw." This circulates the coffee within the pot so that the first cup is just as rich and hot as the last. It also has a removable water reservoir. That helps eliminate messes when pouring from a carafe into the machine.
This brewer is also certified by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) Home Brewer Program. Requirements for certification are based on water temperature, brew time, and the ability to produce a cup that meets the SCA's Golden Cup Standard.
At first glance, you may not think this is programable, but it is. There's a single button/dial that sets the various features. Settings appear on a digital display above the button. You can set this to make a small batch (2-4 cups) or a large batch (5-9 cups). It also has a "Wake-Up Timer" which will start the brewing process at the programmed time.
The technology in this brewer allows the coffee time to bloom. The showerhead design evenly disperses hot water over the grounds. It works in bursts to replicate a barista making a pour-over coffee.
Like the Technivorm Moccamaster and the OXO On Barista Brain, Bonavita's Connoisseur coffee maker is a Specialty Coffee Association certified home brewer. The powerful 1500-watt heater keeps the water between 195- and 205-degrees Fahrenheit.
The large showerhead design and flat basket help with even saturation and extraction. Operation is simple with a single on/off switch. This brewer has an optional pre-infusion feature. Simply press and hold the on/off button to enable this setting. This allows the coffee to bloom and will mimic the process of a pour-over coffee.
Although this brewer makes exceptional coffee, there are a few drawbacks. A common complaint is that you must remove the carafe lid before brewing. After brewing, because there is no thermal plate, you must immediately remove the thermal carafe from the machine and screw on the lid. Otherwise, the coffee with go cold quickly. This can be annoying. Another drawback is that there is no small-batch option. It's best to always brew a full, 8-cup pot.
This is the largest brewer on our list of coffee maker reviews. But it also has a small batch feature if you want to make between one and four cups of coffee. The Perfectemp comes in a range of colors, including an eye-catching copper or light gray. It is also available as a 12-cup model.
This drip coffee maker is easy to use. It has several push buttons and an easy-to-read LED display. If you like a stronger cup of coffee, just press the Bold button. A unique feature of this brewer is its adjustable temperature warming plate. You can set it to keep the carafe at Low, Medium, or High heat, depending on how you like your coffee.
Wake up to freshly brewed coffee by taking advantage of the programming feature. You can set this up to 24 hours in advance. This coffee maker does take longer to brew a full pot than many on this list. The good news is that it has a brew-pause feature. Sometimes you just can't wait until it's done!
What you'll notice first about this coffee maker is that there is no carafe! It holds the coffee internally, keeping it piping hot. You can then get a hot cuppa with one hand. Simply press the cup under the spout. It's quite helpful when you seem to always have your hands full. It also means there's no carafe to drop and break.
The Brewmaster has several features that make it convenient. The removable water reservoir is on the side for easy filling. The push-button interface and large digital display make setting and brewing easy. You can delay the brewing process for up to 24 hours. You can set the brewer to keep the coffee hot for up to four hours. If you like a bolder flavor, press the Brew Options button.
It's also easy to make iced coffee. You fill the coffee tank with ice prior to brewing. After the coffee maker stops, simply hold your cup under the dispenser for ice-cold coffee. This coffee maker also has a small batch option if you want to make between one and four cups.
One drawback is that it is easy to overflow the coffee tank. Be sure to drain all the coffee from the tank before brewing a fresh batch. The coffee tank has a see-through window on the side to see if it still has coffee.
Breville is well known for high-end espresso machines. The brand brings the same exacting standards to this Precision Brewer. The coffee this machine produces has earned the SCA's Golden Cup Standard, making it an SCA certified home brewer.
This is one of the most customizable coffee makers on our list. You can control the water temperature, flow rate, and contact time. Choose from six modes: Gold, Fast, Strong, Iced, Cold Brew, and My Brew. On the Gold setting, the machine automatically adjusts the water temperature to between 197 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. You can choose a preset mode or tailor a brew to fit your preferences.
The Precision Brewer comes with two baskets. Use the cone filter when brewing small amounts. The machine automatically detects when you are brewing a small amount (up to 20 ounces) and allows the coffee to steep longer to get the full flavor.
Whether you want a little or want a lot, this flexible coffee maker can deliver many or just one cup of coffee. A key feature is the single-serve brewing capability. The brewer has two sides: one for making a pot of coffee and one for making a single-serve coffee. Each side has its own reservoir. This brewer has a simple touch-button interface with an easy-to-read display.
When making a full pot of coffee, you don't have to wait until the brewing is finished. The FlexBrew Trio has an automatic pause so you can pour a cup mid-cycle without making a mess.
On the single-serve side, you can use a K-cup or your own ground coffee. You can brew up to 14 ounces of coffee. It fits a travel mug up to 7-1/4 inches tall.
Making coffee doesn't get much simpler than this: fill it up, turn it on. This classic design does exactly what a coffee maker should. It makes a rich pot of coffee and keeps it warm with a hot plate heating the glass carafe.
Mr. Coffee was the first home automatic drip brewer. It was invented back in the 1970s, and quickly sold over a million machines. It was synonymous with "automatic drip coffee maker." If you want a reliable brewer without any fuss, this is the one for you.
This is another combo unit that can serve one person or a crowd. Each side has its own water reservoir. It's available in four colors to make a statement on any counter: black, copper, silver, and white.
The single-serve side has a 40-ounce removable water reservoir. You can choose to brew a 6-, 8-, or 10- ounce coffee. There is enough space to brew directly into your travel mug. This brewer is compatible with K-cups. If you want to use your own coffee grounds, it comes with a reusable filter cup.
The carafe side has a 60-ounce reservoir. The carafe features a stainless-steel handle for durability. You can select regular strength or bold flavor. Wake up to freshly brewed coffee with the 24-hour programable function. You can also program the heater plate for both temperature level and how long to keep it warm. For those impatient people, the brewer has an automatic brew-pause function so you can fill your cup without making a mess.
While all coffee makers can make coffee, there’s a number of features to look for that will elevate your morning routine into a memorable experience. Here are some features that can make a big difference in the taste and aroma of your brew.
If you had to look at a defining characteristic of a superior coffee maker, it would be a certification from the Specialty Brewers Association (SCA). To earn this certification, the drip brewer must be able to produce a brew that meets their Golden Cup Standard. They have a detailed list of the minimum certification requirements.
Besides the standards of brew time and temperature, the testing also checks that the brewer delivers an excellent cup every time. For models that haven’t been tested before, the SCA may test up to 10 brewers and run each brewer 10 times. If it passes that, then you can rest assured that it will deliver consistent results at home. When looking through these coffee maker reviews, you will find several models that carry this certification.
Some coffee makers on our list have a pre-infusion feature. If you’re buying commercial coffee off the grocery store shelf, this may not be something you need. But with freshly roasted and ground coffee, it is imperative.
Fresh coffee still has a lot of carbon dioxide inside from the brewing process. When you pour hot water on fresh ground coffee, you will notice it bubbling. When you let this sit for 30 or 60 seconds, it’s called pre-infusion, or letting the coffee bloom. This allows the escape of gasses and promotes even extraction.
You may wonder if a cone-shaped or flat filter basket makes better coffee. The answer is… yes! In some circumstances, a cone filter will produce a better brew. In other circumstances, a flat filter basket will out-perform. The key is how much coffee you are making.
If you’re making a smaller amount of coffee, say one to four cups, then you’re usually better off with a cone filter. This will allow a more thorough extraction with a smaller amount of water pouring through. For larger pots of coffee, you’ll often get better results from a flat filter basket. This is especially true with coffee makers that have a larger showerhead design. Some coffee makers, like the Breville Precision Brewer Thermal, allow you to swap out between the two types of filters.
In our search for the best coffee maker, we came across many that have an adjustable brew strength. What does this do? Can’t you just add more coffee for a stronger brew?
The brew strength setting adjusts the time that the coffee is exposed to hot water. A longer extraction time will pull more flavor out of the bean. If left too long, this can result in a bitter coffee. But with many coffees, you may need this to get a fuller flavor.
This is one of our favorite features of a coffee maker. Nobody loves staring at the coffee maker with bleary eyes waiting for the last drop to fall. That’s why many coffee makers have a brew-pause feature. On these machines, when you pull the coffee pot out, the drip spout automatically closes. That means you won’t be scrubbing burnt coffee off the warming plate.
Just be sure to replace the carafe quickly. If the brew is paused too long, it may overflow the filter or result in over-extracted coffee. But for just pouring a cup or two, this is a handy feature.
Different brewing methods require different amounts of time for the water to be in contact with the ground coffee. You might not always realize that your coffee maker has the ability to adjust the time. For instance, with a small batch setting, the coffee maker might adjust for a longer infusion time. Also, with colder brew temperatures, the coffee needs a longer extraction time to achieve a full flavor.
Some machines have settings to allow you to fine-tune the immersion time. This can be especially helpful if you drink a variety of specialty coffees. Some types of coffee beans yield better results with a longer brew time.
You can have the fanciest coffee maker in the world, but it won’t necessarily make the best coffee. Here are some factors that go into making the perfect cup.
If bad water goes in, bad coffee comes out. Sounds simple, but most people just use their tap water to make coffee. If you don’t like your water straight out of your tap, don’t use it to make coffee. At the same time, distilled or other “pure” water won’t make good coffee either.
According to Christopher H. Hendon, a chemist at MIT, the minerals in your water have a huge impact on what the final product will taste like. These minerals affect what is extracted from the bean. What may be surprising is that some types of coffee beans do better with harder water while others will do better with softer water.
Some coffee makers actually have an onboard water filter, which can help. After you test your water, you could ask your favorite roaster what beans they would suggest.
We cannot stress this enough. Always use freshly roasted beans. Many roasters will include the roast date on the bag. Then, be sure to grind your beans immediately before brewing. Ground beans that have been sitting around a while will leave you with a flat, stale-tasting coffee.
Be sure to use the grind size appropriate for your brewer. Your better coffee makers will include information in the manual about the proper grind size. Most automatic drip makers will use a medium grind. It’s best to use a conical burr grinder to get the evenest grounds. Evenly ground beans lead to uniform extraction which leads to heaven in your cup.
Getting the right ratio of water to coffee will make or break your morning routine. We have a drip brewer maker chart to help. Most guides will tell you to use one or two tablespoons of coffee per 6-ounce “cup” of coffee. However, if you want reliable results, it’s best to weigh your coffee.
This type of brewer first heats the water. It then pipes the water up and sprinkles it over the coffee grounds. The water percolates through the grinds and drips into a carafe.
This is highly variable. It depends in part on the quality of the machine, the hardness of your water, and how often you clean and descale it. Most coffee makers should last at least three to five years. Signs it's time to get a new brewer include if the coffee is not hot as it used to be, if it takes longer to brew a pot of coffee, or if the taste changes.
The optimal water temperature for brewing coffee is between 198 and 205 degrees. Any brewer certified by the SCA Home Brewer Program will get the water to that temperature. The Technivorm Moccamaster Coffee Brewer and several other brewers on our list meet that.
Usually, you get what you pay for. However, some of the more expensive drip coffee makers may have features that you don't need. If you don't need programmability or a small batch option, you can find affordable brewers without these.
For our money, we like the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Trio Coffee Maker as it has the most versatility. You can brew a full carafe or pop in a K-cup. What we really like is that you can use your own freshly ground coffee on the single-serve side.
Absolutely! Without good water, fresh coffee, and the proper coffee/water ratio, even the best brewer will deliver swill.
We think so. The biggest factor is the ability to use your own coffee. With K-cups, you are limited to what they offer. You won't find that limited batch, single-origin Ethiopian in a K-cup. Plus, coffee in the K-cup was roasted and ground long before it made it to the grocery store shelf.
We like the Ninja 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker. It can replicate the action of a manual pour-over, and it has a small batch function.
Usually, yes. Some thermal carafes might be difficult to clean if the opening is narrow. Be sure to descale the brewer regularly.
Our vote is with the Technivorm Moccamaster Coffee Brewer. But you could argue a close second for any brewer that holds SCA certification.
Not much can beat the convenience of an automatic drip coffee maker. While labeling something “the best” is highly subjective, we’ll give it a shot anyway.
When it comes to speed, reliability, and a truly satisfying cup of coffee, we feel that the Technivorm Moccamaster Coffee Brewer is the best coffee maker. First, it’s certified by the Specialty Coffee Association’s certified home brewer program. In short, it can brew an excellent cup of coffee. It also wins in the speed category. No one likes waiting around for the brewer to finish, and this machine brews a full pot in six minutes. And if you like fun home décor, this powerful brewer is available in 26 colors.
If you’re looking for a versatile brewer, you might like the Breville Precision Brewer Thermal. You can fine-tune the temperature, flow rate, and extraction time. Or you can choose one of the presets: Gold, Fast, Strong, Iced, and Cold Brew. If you need just a simple brewer to fit the tightest budget, you can’t go wrong with Mr. Coffee’s 12-cup coffee maker.
Whichever machine you choose, just be sure to follow the basics: good water, fresh coffee, and proper ratio. We hope this helps, and happy sipping.