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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, and French press, just to name a few—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. Above all, we just want a good cup of coffee, and this list covers a variety of reliable options.
And the best way to find out whether a coffee maker is worthwhile is by using it firsthand in your own home. That's why we sent a variety of coffee makers to our expert food writers so they could test them in their kitchens. They judged each one on its ease of use, ease of cleaning, heat-up time, and brew quality, among other areas.
From espresso machines to non-electric brewers, 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 you dream of waking up to a fresh pot of coffee each morning, then a programmable coffee maker is the best brewing device for you. One of our favorite options is the Cuisinart 14-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker. The stainless steel construction on this machine lets it blend into any kitchen décor. It can brew a small amount or a full carafe of 14 cups, so it's good if you need a little joe or a lot. Our product tester found the 1-4 cup feature really helpful, as she usually doesn't drink more than that in a single day.
Another key feature is the item's 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. She added that the coffee maker is well-designed and handy for large gatherings.
The 24-hour programmable setting lets you schedule your brew for the next day as you are finishing up the current one, and it has a zero- to four-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.
Electric: Yes | Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: 14 cups (70 ounces) | Dimensions: 7.75 x 9 x 14 inches | Warranty: 3-year limited
"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? This Ninja coffee maker offers a wide range of drink options, including a single cup, and you know your coffee will be extraordinary since this is one of the few machines certified by the Specialty Coffee Association.
The Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker has six brew sizes in all, 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. Our product tester praised the machine's versatility and said the frother works exceptionally well. The frother also folds away when you're finished, saving valuable counter space.
Note that this brewer doesn't make true espresso. Instead, it produces a rich coffee concentrate meant to be an espresso substitute Our reviewer said it's not as strong as espresso but works well enough for lattes and cappuccinos.
This coffee maker 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 affordably priced, especially considering the variety of features with which the machine is equipped.
Electric: Yes | Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: Single serve and 10-cup carafe (50 ounces) | Dimensions: 12 x 15 x 8.8 inches | Warranty: 1-year limited
"The Ninja CM407 Specialty Coffee Maker is a powerhouse appliance with excellent versatility. With multiple brew functions, serving sizes, and other extra features, this coffee maker creates the perfect cup of joe to wake you up in the morning." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Best Pour Over: Chemex Classic Series Coffeemaker
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 ease of use make the Chemex an ideal blend of form and function.
Unlike most pour-over brewers, the Chemex is suitable for large groups, as it comes in sizes of 6, 8, and even 10 cups. The proprietary Chemex filters contribute to a clean, sweet, articulate flavor in the cup. Remember to rinse the filters before brewing because their thickness and material can lead to a strong papery flavor. You probably want to drink up before your coffee gets cold, too. The Chemex isn't insulated, so it won't stay hot for long.
Taysha Murtaugh, editorial director for The Spruce Eats, has used a Chemex for years and says she would absolutely recommend it to anyone who has the time to commit to brewing café-quality coffee. Plus, it's stylish, doesn't require electricity, and is more efficient to clean than a French press.
She said pour-over makers take some time to master and require continuous monitoring while brewing, so they're not ideal for those who are short on time. But when you can spare a few moments, it's a nice experience that will make you feel more connected to your morning cup.
Electric: No | Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: 3, 6, 8, and 10 cups | Dimensions: Varies by capacity | Warranty: 1 year
"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, Editorial Director
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 a wonderful alternative brewing device 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 on the expensive end, but for those who want the best French press out there this is the way to go.
The item's double-walled stainless steel carafe provides top-notch heat retention, so you can grab a cup long after brewing. We tested it ourselves and our reviewer said 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 going 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. If you do choose to wash it by hand, that's no problem either. It took us no more than a minute to take it apart, and once everything was washed and rinsed, it was a breeze to put back together.
Electric: No | Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: 8, 17, 23, 36, and 44 ounces | Dimensions: Varies by capacity | Warranty: 5 years
"The Frieling Double-Wall Stainless Steel French Press Coffee Maker is a high-style, impeccably engineered coffee maker for those willing to spend more money for great coffee." — Tracey Minkin, Product Tester
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 at a time. The K-Café is the brand's top-performing and most versatile machine.
Not only does it brew the quick and consistent coffee that so many know and love, it also gives customers the ability to make lattes and cappuccinos. There's a setting for bold coffee shots, similar to espresso, and it comes with a dishwasher-safe milk frother. After testing the K-Café firsthand, our expert food writer said the frother is great for an amateur latte or cappuccino. She added that it’s not at the same level as what an expensive espresso machine can make, but it’s definitely a close second.
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 main drawback is that this machine is fairly large for a pod-based coffee maker. Our tester called it oddly shaped because of the two wings on each side of the K-Cup pod holder. Aside from that, the K-Café will make every day a little more delicious with all the different drinks it can brew.
Electric: Yes | Grounds or Pods: Pods (or reusable K-Cup filter) | Capacity: 6-, 8-, 10-, and 12-ounce servings | Dimensions: 12.5 x 15.3 x 11.7 inches | Warranty: 1-year limited
"The Keurig K-Café makes quality coffee beverages with the added benefit of being very low maintenance." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Best Espresso Maker: Breville The Barista Express Espresso Machine
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, as well as digital temperature control and a sensor for when it's time to clean the machine. Customers say it's easy to clean but note that it requires frequent upkeep, usually after each use. This was corroborated by our product tester too.
Our reviewer had effusive praise for the Barista Express overall, however, 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 say that the quality of this machine makes it an excellent option for those who have a keen interest in espresso but are unwilling to spend thousands of dollars. It's sold in three striking colors—stainless steel, cranberry red, and black sesame—and is widely available in-store and online.
Electric: Yes | Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: Single serve | Dimensions: 12 x 11 x 13.5 inches | Warranty: 1-year limited
"Its high-quality espresso, customizable settings, and convenient design make it well worth the price." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
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 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.
Electric: Yes | Grounds or Pods: Grounds and E.S.E. pods | Capacity: Single serve and 10-cup carafe | Dimensions: 14.6 x 11.4 x 13 inches | Warranty: 1-year limited
Best Splurge: Technivorm Moccamaster KBGV Select Coffee Maker
Fast brewing (4-6 minutes)
Eye-catching design in multiple colors
Very wide shape
The Technivorm Moccamaster KBGV certainly comes with a high price tag, but it's one of the best coffee makers you can find. In fact, it's one of the few coffee makers to meet 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.
Such speed 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 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.
Electric: Yes | Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: 10 cups (40 ounces) | Dimensions: 12.75 x 6.5 x 14 inches | Warranty: 5 years
"I'm obsessed with my Moccamaster. Not only does it look beautiful on my counter, but it also brews the best coffee at warp speed—making it well worth the price, in my opinion." — Taysha Murtaugh, Editorial Director, Commerce Food Group
Best Professional: Bunn BT Velocity Brew 10-Cup Thermal Carafe Home Coffee 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 use. 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 coffee in just three minutes because the internal thermostat keeps water at the ideal brewing temperature at all times. The patented spray head design optimizes coffee flavor extraction.
The thermal carafe should be washed by hand or cleaned with a descaling solution, not placed in the dishwasher. 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.
Electric: Yes | Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: 10 cups (50 ounces) | Dimensions: 13.9 x 7.1 x 15.1 inches | Warranty: 3-year limited
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 brewer is handy for that jolt 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. It holds up to 45 cups, which equates to a little over 200 ounces (Hamilton Beach, like many coffee brands, denotes a coffee-sized cup as 5 ounces). 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.
Electric: Yes | Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: 45 cups | Dimensions: 11 x 11 x 16.12 inches | Warranty: 1-year limited
Best Non-Electric: AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
Brews high-quality coffee, fast
Small capacity (8 ounces)
Not aesthetically pleasing
The AeroPress started with a small but fervent 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.
While some users rely on an AeroPress as their primary at-home coffee maker, the item may be 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. We tested the item ourselves and think it's a wonderful brewing device for those who regularly make one cup of coffee at a time or travel often. But coffee lovers who make large batches may prefer something like a Chemex instead.
Electric: No | Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: 8 ounces | Dimensions: 11.3 x 5 x 4.25 inches | Warranty: 1-year limited
"It's made of several parts that can conveniently be broken down to make it more travel-friendly." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
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 is worth the extra cost, as it can whip up espresso-based drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, as well as iced coffee.
How We Tested
The majority of coffee makers featured in this article were tested firsthand by our expert food writers. They spent weeks evaluating the items, whether they be sophisticated espresso makers or simple pour-overs, in their kitchens to see how they performed with everyday use. After testing, our writers submitted feedback about what they liked and disliked. They also rated each brewing device on its ease of use, ease of cleaning, heat-up time, and brew quality, among a number of other areas.
What to Look for in a Coffee Maker
Think about how much coffee you regularly make 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 distributors 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 a 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. 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?
This piece was written 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. For this piece, he researched various types of brewing devices, their ideal grind sizes, and ways to clean them.
Peter Giuliano was interviewed for this piece. He is the Chief Research Officer at the Specialty Coffee Association and Executive Director of the Coffee Science Foundation.