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Buying a coffee maker can be a surprisingly difficult decision. Not only are there multiple kinds to choose from—drip, pour over, French press—but, for most coffee drinkers, it is an appliance that will be used every single day. As a result, convenience and durability are two key areas to keep in mind when searching. A coffee maker typically has a permanent place on the countertop as well, so size and style are also worth consideration. But, above all, we just want a good cup of coffee, and this list covers a variety of reliable options.
From espresso machines to small non-electric devices, here are the best coffee makers to buy.
Best Overall: Cuisinart 14-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker
Programmable up to 24 hours
Adjustable brew strength
Temperature control keeps coffee hot
Difficult to fill the water reservoir
If waking up to a fresh pot of coffee each morning is what you crave, then a programmable coffee maker is the best option for you. The stainless steel construction on this machine lets it blend into your kitchen decor without being an eyesore.
It can brew as few as one to four cups and go up to 14 cups, so it's good for families that drink a little or a lot. Our reviewer found this feature really helpful, as she usually doesn't make more than four cups each morning.
Another key feature is its temperature control. With the touch of a button, you can set the carafe temperature to low, medium, or hot. Our reviewer said the strength and temperature of the coffee was exactly as she expected each time.
The 24-hour program setting lets you set your brew for the next day as you are finishing up the current one, and it has a 0- to 4-hour automatic shut off so you won't worry if you rush out of the house, travel mug in hand. A reusable GoldTone filter eliminates the need for pesky paper filters, saving you an early morning trip to the store. Did we mention the self-clean function?
This model has over 2,900 glowing reviews that applaud its design and ability to make a delicious hot cup of coffee.
"An investment in this product will transform your morning cup of coffee routine forever." — Lambeth Hochwald, Product Tester
Best Single Serve: Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker
Choice of thermal or glass carafe
Removable water reservoir
Not fully programmable
Thermal carafe is hand-wash only
Who says you need to be a pod person to achieve fantastic single-serve coffee brewing? This Ninja coffee maker eliminates the waste of plastic capsules while offering a wide range of possibilities for your individual coffee needs. Along with single-serve brewing, the machine has five other brew sizes, starting at one cup and working all the way up to a full carafe. Pick your favorite coffee beans and craft an array of hot or cold drinks, including brewed coffee, iced coffee, and even lattes, macchiatos, and cappuccinos, courtesy of a milk frothing wand. The frother folds away when you're finished, saving valuable counter space.
This item can be purchased with a glass carafe or, for a slightly higher price, a thermal carafe, which is more durable and retains heat longer. Both options are priced affordably, especially when considering the variety of features with which this machine is equipped.
Best Pour Over: Chemex Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker - Classic Series
Produces rich, flavorful coffee
Looks great on the counter
Chemex Bonded Filters are specifically recommended
Glass can break
Still one of the most gorgeous and useful brewing devices ever invented, the Chemex undoubtedly deserves its place in the permanent collection of NYC's Museum of Modern Art: Its stunning hourglass shape, subtle wood and leather accents, and extreme ease of use make the Chemex emblematic of the blend of form and function.
Unlike most pour-over brewers, the Chemex is suitable for large groups, as they come in sizes of 6, 8, and even 10 cups. The proprietary Chemex filters contribute to a clean, sweet, articulate flavor in the cup. Most users agree that these filters require rinsing, however. Their thickness and material can contribute a strong papery flavor to a brew without proper rinsing first.
"I love using my Chemex on slow mornings when I have plenty of time to brew and enjoy the coffee's incredible flavor." — Taysha Murtaugh, Associate Editorial Director, Commerce, The Spruce Eats
Best Specialty Brewer: Espressione Stainless Steel Machine Espresso and Coffee Maker
Takes ground coffee and E.S.E. pods
Removable water reservoir
Adjustable drip tray fits travel mugs
Possible learning curve for beginners
Separate water reservoirs for coffee and espresso
The Espressione Combination Coffee and Espresso Maker is the best of both worlds. On one side of the machine is a drip coffee system with a 10-cup glass carafe. On the other, a manual espresso filter and a built-in milk frother, perfect for whipping up specialty drinks, like lattes and cappuccinos, right at home.
The item has advanced features like electronic temperature control, programmable volume and strength settings for espresso, and a double spout for brewing two espresso shots at once. Some customers say all of these controls can be daunting at first, as well as the manual espresso head, but once you get the hang of it, this is a high-quality and versatile machine, with especially strong reviews in two of the most important areas: flavor and value for money.
Other key features include a heating plate to keep your pot of coffee warm, a thermoblock heating system that reaches ideal brewing temperatures faster and holds that temperature for longer, and finally the rare capability to work with both ground coffee and E.S.E. pods.
Best Pod: Keurig K-Café
Multiple drink options
Easy to use
Dishwasher-safe milk frother
Not "true" espresso
Takes up a lot of counter space
No other name is as synonymous with pod-based brewers as Keurig. The brand revolutionized the coffee game by focusing on speed, convenience, and ease of use one single-serve cup of joe at a time. The K-Café is the brand's top-performing and most versatile machine.
Not only does this item brew the quick and consistent coffee that so many know and love, it also gives customers the ability to make lattes and cappuccinos. The K-Café has a setting for bold coffee shots, similar to espresso, and it comes with a dishwasher-safe milk frother. You can brew regular coffee in four sizes (6, 8, 10, and 12 ounces) and even select a stronger setting for those who want a little more punch in their cup. Perhaps the only two drawbacks are that the machine is on the pricier end for Keurigs (though still reasonably priced overall) and fairly large for a pod-based coffee maker. Aside from that, however, the K-Café will make every day a little more delicious with all the different drinks it can brew.
"The Keurig K-Café makes quality coffee beverages with the added benefit of being very low maintenance." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Best Splurge: Technivorm Moccamaster KBTS Coffee Brewer
Fast brewing (4-6 minutes)
Adjustable coffee strength
Easy to fill water reservoir
Small capacity (32 ounces)
No heating plate
While the Technivorm Moccamaster KBTS is certainly a splurge, it's one of the best coffee makers you can find. In fact, it's one of the few coffee makers that meets the Golden Cup Standard—a set of guidelines established by the Specialty Coffee Association to achieve a higher quality cup of coffee.
Handmade in the Netherlands, this brewer has features you won’t find elsewhere, like a core copper heating element that keeps brewing temperature within the optimal range of 195 and 205 degrees and brews a full carafe in roughly five minutes.
This is just one key factor in the Golden Cup Standard, says Peter Giuliano, the Chief Research Officer at the Specialty Coffee Association and Executive Director of the Coffee Science Foundation.
"Our standard is that [a coffee maker] has to get to 195 to 205 degrees within one minute of turning on," Giuliano adds, "and it needs to stay there for the duration of the brew. That’s more challenging than you might expect. Most brewers that we test either get too hot or stay too cold, but the good ones can maintain that ideal temperature."
Another top-grade feature of the Technivorm Moccamaster is its three brew basket settings that let you control the length of time the coffee is steeped, and therefore control the strength of the brew. The item has an outlet arm—adding to the eye-catching design—that evenly saturates the coffee grounds every time. And when brewing is finished, the machine shuts off for safety.
Best Professional: BUNN 10-cup Thermofresh Home Brewer
Fast brewing (3 minutes)
Great heat retention
Easy to fill water reservoir
Go to any restaurant or diner, and you’re likely to see a BUNN coffee maker brewing coffee all day and keeping it warm for customers. This 10-cup Thermofresh coffee maker is made like a professional machine but designed for home users. It has a stainless steel vacuum-insulated carafe that keeps coffee hot without overheating or requiring a burner. It can brew up to 10 cups of perfect coffee in just three minutes since it keeps the water at the ideal brewing temperature at all time thanks to an internal thermostat. The patented spray head design optimizes coffee flavor extraction.
The thermal carafe is dishwasher-safe and includes a close-and-brew lid. When you won’t be brewing coffee regularly, a vacation switch turns off the tank heater. This includes a coffee funnel, de-liming spring, and filters.
Best Large Capacity: Hamilton Beach 45 Cup Coffee Urn and Hot Beverage Dispenser
Great for large groups
Brews a cup per minute
Interior stains easily
Can't see amount of coffee left
A single-cup coffee brewer is handy for that cup of coffee before work, but it won’t work for big family celebrations or parties when everyone wants a cup of coffee at once.
This brewer will be a welcome guest at those parties, serving coffee and more, since it can also be used for dispensing other hot beverages. Use it for hot cider, mulled wine, or even hot water for a party full of tea drinkers. The stainless steel exterior looks elegant and is easy to clean.
This is easy to fill and has a twist-lock lid that prevents spilling and helps to maintain an even temperature. It has large handles, and the cord is removable so it won’t dangle when you have to move it. A ready-to-serve light lets you know when it’s coffee time.
Best French Press: Frieling Double Wall Stainless Steel French Press
Great heat retention
Superior coffee flavor
Finish is prone to spots and smudges
Heavier than other models
French presses are wonderful alternative brewing devices for all coffee lovers. They are known for making a cup of joe that's stronger than what most drip machines can accomplish. They are also compact and, usually, affordable. Unfortunately, the Frieling Stainless Steel French Press is quite expensive, but for those who want the best French press out there this is the way to go.
The item's double-wall stainless steel carafe provides top-notch heat retention, so you can grab a cup long after brewing. We tested it ourselves and our reviewer added that the stainless steel is "durable and won’t shatter like glass beakers." It's available in a variety of sizes, starting at 8 ounces and working up to 44 ounces. You can also purchase it in a number of stylish finishes depending on what you prefer for your kitchen. Customers give the item high scores in several areas, including ease of use and, most importantly, flavor. It's easy to clean too, as all parts are dishwasher safe.
Best Espresso Maker: Breville The Barista Express
Reliable steam wand
Potential learning curve
Requires regular cleaning
For those tired of drinking the same old drip coffee every day, an espresso maker is a worthwhile investment, especially if it has the ability to froth milk for lattes and cappuccinos. And this espresso maker, the Breville Barista Express, is one of the best options you can find. It may be a little pricey for the casual coffee drinker, but it can brew a bevy of café-quality drinks in minutes. The machine even has a built-in burr grinder for the freshest possible coffee. Customers say it is quite easy to clean but do add that it requires frequent upkeep, usually after each use.
Upon testing the product, our reviewer had effusive praise for the Barista Express, saying it, "consistently delivers excellent espresso." Breville manufactures several highly reviewed espresso makers, and this one is somewhat of a middle ground as far as cost and convenience. Its value for money prompted our reviewer to add that, "For the quality of espresso produced with this machine, it’s an excellent option for those who have a keen interest in espresso but are unwilling to spend thousands of dollars."
"Its high-quality espresso, customizable settings, and convenient design make it well worth the price." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Best Non-Electric: AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
Fast brewing (2 minutes)
Small capacity (8 ounces)
The AeroPress started with a cult following in the early 2000s and quickly gained traction, becoming one of the most popular and recognizable non-electric coffee makers available today. It's affordable, easy to use, and a great travel companion—plus it makes a delicious cup of coffee.
Due to its immersion brew style and plunging method, AeroPresses are often seen as alternatives to French presses—comparable products with marked differences. Perhaps most importantly, an AeroPress uses paper filters to keep coffee sediment out of the bottom of your cup; this means no grit in those final sips, as well as a less acidic taste. They are also slightly faster than French presses, taking around two minutes to brew (not factoring in the time for the water boil), as opposed to five minutes for a French press.
While some users rely on an AeroPress as their primary at-home coffee maker, the item is better suited as a companion piece, a partner-in-crime to another coffee maker, as it only produces one or two cups at a time.
The Cuisinart 14-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker is our top pick because of its consistency and many great features, from adjustable brew strength to a 24-hour programmable timer. If you want a machine that offers more than just drip coffee, however, the Ninja Specialty Brewer (view at Amazon) is worth the extra cost, as it can whip up espresso-based drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, as well as iced coffee.
What to Look for in a Coffee Maker
Think about how much coffee you’ll regularly be making and what kind of coffee you use. If you use grounds and typically serve a crowd, choose drip coffee makers (they can make up to 12 cups at once!) or grind-and-brew coffee makers, which feature built-in bean grinders. If you generally make only one cup at a time, try a single-serve coffee maker that uses pods. If your needs vary, dual-design coffee makers are a great choice, since they can brew single cups or a whole pot.
If space is limited, you’ll need to rule out dual-design machines since they tend to be larger. A single-serve coffee maker or a compact drip coffee maker may be better suited to your space. Remember to check height, depth, and width to ensure it fits properly. And if the machine has a compartment that lifts, keep that in mind when taking your measurements.
Some devices have all kinds of bells and whistles, from automatic shut-offs to flavor strength and even temperature control. Some machines can make both hot and cold beverages, including tea and cocoa. And the newest premium machines even have Wi-Fi capabilities. If you’re looking for convenience, just be prepared to pay the price for advanced models.
What grind size should I use?
The ideal grind size depends on the type of brewing device you own. Those with a standard drip coffee maker, pour-over, or AeroPress should use a medium grind for best results. This is particularly fortunate for people who buy pre-ground coffee because medium is the standard grind size. Espresso machines, on the other hand, require very finely ground coffee to produce the rich, delicious shots we know and love. Many grocery stores and online distributers sell espresso-ground coffee for customers without a grinder at home. Finally, French-press owners should use coarse-ground coffee. If the coffee grounds are too fine, they will clog the filter and leave an unpleasant and gritty texture in every sip.
What is descaling?
Descaling is the process of removing mineral residue that builds up inside an electric coffee maker over time. If you don’t regularly descale, the device will likely face a number of issues that can range from the coffee being too weak to the machine not working at all. Check if the manufacturer recommends how often you should descale; otherwise, the task should be performed every one to three months. Many brands sell thorough and easy-to-use descaling products, but an at-home concoction of vinegar and warm soapy water will also do the trick.
What is a 1-4 cup setting?
Since drip coffee makers are designed to brew full pots of joe, many come with a 1-4 cup option to suit smaller batches. If you were to try making a few cups using the normal brew function, the water would pour through the grounds too quickly and result in a weak final product. A 1-4 cup setting adjusts the drip function to a slower speed and perfectly extracts the grounds for a smaller pot of coffee.
What is coffee concentrate?
Many devices, including espresso makers and Keurigs, brew coffee concentrate as a substitute for real espresso. The main difference between the two is pressure. To make espresso, highly pressurized water is rapidly forced through finely ground coffee beans. Coffee concentrate (not to be confused with cold brew coffee concentrate) is made more like standard drip coffee, where water is slowly filtered through coarse-ground beans. In short, think of it as a cross between coffee and espresso as far as taste and consistency goes.
What is the best water for coffee?
Taste is always subjective, so there isn’t one right answer for the best water for coffee. That being said, most experts say water with “sticky” minerals like calcium and magnesium improve taste, and this comes from hard water. The downside is hard water is harsher on your machine and will increase the frequency you need to descale. Those with soft or filtered water can still brew tasty coffee, of course; there is just a higher chance the coffee can end up weaker. As a positive though, soft water is gentler on your brewing device over time.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Erin Meister has spent years both working in and reporting on the coffee industry. Since moving to New York City in 2003, she has worked at Joe Coffee Company and Counter Culture Coffee. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Serious Eats, Rachael Ray Every Day, and more. Erin is also the author of New York City Coffee: A Caffeinated History.
This piece was edited by Derek Rose, the coffee and tea expert for The Spruce Eats. He researches a variety of coffee products, from measuring scoops to commercial espresso machines, and interviews field experts for their insight. One of his favorite coffee makers that didn't make this list is the Bodum BRAZIL French Press—a great budget option, especially for those who prefer non-electric brewers.