Some mornings you wake up and know it's a full-pot day. Maybe you have an endless to-do list and need an extra kick or there are several coffee drinkers in your household waiting to be caffeinated; either way, that coffee pot needs to be filled to the brim. Then, there are other times when you're content with a single cup of coffee—something most drip coffee makers are ill-equipped to make because of the differences in brew time and the water-to-coffee ratio.
Fortunately, dual coffee makers are becoming more and more popular, allowing users to alternate between a robust full pot and a well-balanced single-serve cup. We researched and tested top options to round up the best picks below.
Ninja CP301 Hot & Cold Brewed System
Compact design for a dual brewer
Easy to use
Thorough online recipe guide
Not the strongest frother
Calling the Ninja Hot & Cold Brewed System a "dual" coffee maker feels like an understatement. Instead of offering two serving sizes, this machine has six total options, including a single cup (9.5 ounces), travel-mug size (14 ounces), and up to a 10-cup carafe. (Keep in mind that coffee brands consider a "cup" to be 5 ounces, meaning this carafe holds 50 ounces total.)
There's a bevy of different drinks it can make beyond drip coffee, too. The cold brew setting adjusts time and temperature to deliver a richer, more refreshing beverage. It takes just 15 minutes to brew a full pot of cold brew, as opposed to letting the grounds steep for an entire day in a standard cold brew maker. Note that Ninja recommends adding an extra scoop of coffee grounds for cold brew.
On top that, the machine has a fold-away milk frother that opens the door for lattes and cappuccinos. The frother isn't as powerful as that of high-end espresso machines, but it gets the job done. The Ninja Hot & Cold Brewed System also accommodates tea drinkers. It comes with a separate filter for loose tea leaves and is programmed to pour hot water at the ideal temperature for five tea varieties.
Considering its versatility, convenience, and sturdy materials, the price for the item is fair. It's also more compact than most dual coffee makers, as all drinks are made via the same shower head instead of two separate ones.
Price at time of publish: $200
Capacity: 50 ounces | Dimensions: 11.8 x 10 x 15 inches | Wattage: 1,500 watts | Voltage: 120 volts | Warranty: 1-year limited
Hamilton Beach 2-Way Programmable Coffee Maker
Value for money
Easy to use
Programmable on both sides
Water reservoirs aren't detachable
Dual coffee makers tend to be more expensive than standard drip machines, but this two-way brewer has a budget price that makes each sip of joe a little sweeter. One side of the machine houses a 12-cup glass coffee pot, and the other is for single servings up to 14 ounces. Both sides are programmable up to 24 hours in advance, so you can have fresh coffee waiting when you start the day. The single-serve side is great for a quick cup at home, plus it provides enough space to fit a travel mug before the morning commute. No travel mug is included with this machine, however, despite one being featured in product photos.
Each side also has its own water reservoir, but neither one is removable. This is common for drip coffee makers, but it's worth keeping in mind that if you plan on placing the coffee maker under your kitchen cupboards, it could be harder to fill the reservoirs.
There's a simple dial on the front of the machine to alternate between single-serve and a full carafe. There, you'll also find a button to produce a stronger brew, which intensifies the flavor and body of the coffee. In all, the machine is extremely easy to use.
Price at time of publish: $70
Capacity: 60 ounces | Dimensions: 11.08 x 12.23 x 13.9 inches | Wattage: 950 watts | Voltage: 110-120 volts | Warranty: 1-year limited
Keurig K-Duo Plus Coffee Maker
Easy to use
Allows for coffee grounds and K-Cups
Carafe is not dishwasher-safe
Not best value for money
For many years, Keurig coffee makers only produced one cup at a time, but now, with models like the K-Duo Plus, some come with full-sized coffee pots. This two-in-one device features Keurig's signature single-serve brewing—done via K-Cup or reusable K-Cup—and adds a 12-cup thermal carafe for when you want a bigger batch. There's a filter that can be accessed on the front of the machine to add freshly ground coffee.
We tested roughly 20 Keurig coffee makers, and the K-Duo Plus brewed some of the strongest coffee of the bunch. It's a little weaker and thinner than what a good drip coffee maker brews, but it's tasty and enjoyable nonetheless. We also found that the insulated carafe kept the coffee hot for several hours. If you're making a full pot, you can choose between 6, 8, 10, and 12 cups; if making one cup, you can choose 6, 8, 10, or 12 ounces.
Keurig makes two other models with a carafe—the K-Duo and K-Duo Essentials—and we tested both but gave the K-Duo Plus the highest overall rating, particularly for its brew quality and space-saving design. It's more expensive than many other items on this list and perhaps not the best value considering the coffee quality is only solid and not outstanding. However, the benefit of the K-Duo Plus, like most Keurigs, is the convenience and ease of use.
Price at time of publish: $230
Capacity: 60 ounces | Dimensions: 15.88 x 7.68 x 14.19 inches | Wattage: 1,500 watts | Voltage: 120 volts | Warranty: 1-year limited
"Of all the Keurig coffee makers I tested, this is the most well put together. It feels like an upscale item from how solidly the pieces nest together, to the simple control panel, to the relative attractiveness of the machine itself."
Breville Precision Brewer Coffee Maker
Brews excellent coffee
Many customizable settings
Makes strong cold brew coffee
LCD screen might require learning curve
Breville added nearly every touch a coffee lover could want, or even think of, when designing its Precision Brewer. There are six brew modes to choose from, including the My Brew setting, which gives users unparalleled control over their coffee. It lets you adjust brew time, temperature, and flow rate. The other settings are: Gold, Fast, Strong, Iced, and Cold Brew. Gold is the default setting, which fits the parameters of the Golden Cup Standard—a set of guidelines the Specialty Coffee Association recommends for an ideal cup of coffee. That's not even mentioning the added versatility this machine offers with single-serve brewing.
We tested the item firsthand and found that every setting produces delicious results. All settings are displayed on an LCD screen and controlled by a dial below. We spoke with Allie Caran, Product Manager at BaristaValet, who mentioned the Breville Precision Brewer as a trustworthy brewing device. "I like that this coffee maker can adjust everything," she said. "It has two buttons that allow you to make cold brew or make coffee stronger, and it brews in about five minutes." One of the few hiccups we encountered is that the two-button interface and multitude of brewing options may feel daunting or confusing at first, but we got the hang of it quickly.
The Breville Precision Brewer can be purchased with a glass or thermal carafe, both 60 ounces. Thermal is slightly more expensive, but considering the item's already high price tag, it's not a significant difference. We used the thermal model ourselves and found the heat retention to be excellent. The brewer has a two-year warranty, which is longer than most, so you can be a little more comfortable making this pricey purchase.
Price at time of publish: $330
Capacity: 60 ounces | Dimensions: 12.7 x 6.7 x 15.7 inches | Wattage: 1,650 watts | Voltage: | Warranty: 2-year limited
"If you’re looking for a coffee machine that has many extra features, this is the one to buy. It also makes iced coffee and cold brew, as well as single and multiple serving sizes." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Best Coffee and Espresso
De'Longhi All-in-One Coffee and Espresso Maker COM532M
Can make a variety of coffee drinks
Strong steam wand
Polished, modern look
Easy to use
Drip tray fills quickly
Instead of single-serve drip coffee, this dual brewing device makes delicious espresso shots. It's even more versatile than a standard two-way coffee maker, too, thanks to the built-in steam wand, which lets users whip up lattes, cappuccinos, and more. We tested the De'Longhi All-in-One Coffee and Espresso Maker and found that the steam wand heats up quickly and produces rich milk froth on par with higher-end espresso machines. The steam wand can also alternate between making a denser foam for lattes and lighter, frothier milk for cappuccinos.
Normally, the closest you can get to drip coffee with an espresso maker is brewing an Americano, but this gives you the option for both. It has a 10-cup glass carafe and makes a very strong brew. Users can brew espresso and drip coffee at the same time rather than waiting for side one to finish—a perk for any caffeine-crazed people looking to make a red eye. It's easy to clean up after brewing is finished, and we were pleased to find that there weren't many stray coffee grounds clogging up the machine; the drip tray can overfill quickly, though, so it should be emptied often.
This model, the COM532, is a newer iteration in De'Longhi's line of coffee-and-espresso makers. The digital touchscreen is one of the biggest upgrades, which bumps up the price a bit compared to the other models.
Price at time of publish: $320
Capacity: 10 cups | Dimensions: 11.02 x 14.52 x 12.79 inches | Wattage: 1,500 watts | Voltage: 115 volts | Warranty: 1 year
"With a 10-cup carafe, this machine is a versatile crowd-pleaser for nearly any coffee drinker. But where it really draws a line in the sand from other models is with its impressive milk texturing for cappuccino fans."
Braun MultiServe KF9170SI Coffee Maker
Multiple brew strengths and sizes
Removable water reservoir
Dispenses hot water for tea
Space to fill a travel mug
Carafe is hard to clean by hand
A little pricey
A few different factors go into gauging a coffee maker's design. They can be as straightforward as how nice the machine looks in the kitchen or more in-depth, like how easy the machine is to use and how effective the brewing system is. The Braun MultiServe succeeds in all of these areas, which is why we recommend it as a worthwhile home coffee maker. It has a stylish, modern aesthetic, intuitive controls, and makes delicious drinks in several varieties.
There are seven size options, ranging from single-serve to a full pot. The brewing area is also tall enough to accommodate travel mugs. There's a setting to make fresh iced coffee as well as options for a stronger or lighter brew. One reason we prefer this specific model, the KF9170SI, to other models in Braun's MultiServe Coffee Maker line is because it dispenses hot water for tea in six different temperatures, which the slightly cheaper Braun models can't do. Every Braun MultiServe coffee maker, including this one, is more expensive than an average drip coffee maker, but they aren't exorbitant. Plus, they have a three-year warranty.
The Braun MultiServe is also certified with the Specialty Coffee Association's Golden Cup Standard. This means the machine has been tested to brew coffee at an optimal time, temperature, and solubility (the percentage of coffee extracted into the cup). We spoke about the Golden Cup Standard with Peter Giuliano, Chief Research Officer at the Specialty Coffee Association, who said, "Our standard is that a machine has to get to 195 to 205 degrees within one minute of turning it on, and it needs to stay there for the duration of the brew. That’s more challenging than you might expect."
Price at time of publish: $230
Capacity: 50 ounces | Dimensions: 7.1 x 13 x 15 inches | Wattage: 1,600 watts | Voltage: 120 | Warranty: 3 years
Best With Grinder
Cuisinart SS-GB1 Coffee Center Grind & Brew Plus
Large 12-cup carafe
The Cuisinart Coffee Center Grind and Brew Plus lets you brew a full pot of freshly ground coffee or quick mug's worth from a K-Cup. The carafe holds up to 12 cups—enough to satisfy a busy household. When we tested the machine, we found that it brews slightly slower than average, taking nine minutes for the full pot. The coffee is wonderfully hot, though, brewing at 188 degrees, and the flavor on both the carafe and single-serve side are strong and tasty.
The biggest knock against this machine is that it uses a blade grinder instead of a burr grinder. The latter is generally preferred because it grinds more evenly and with less heat and friction than a blade grinder. We found the grinder quite loud too, which is common with steel blades. The advantage of a blade grinder is that it's significantly more affordable, so the Grind and Brew Plus is a great value-for-money option considering it's a dual brewer with a built-in grinder.
The design is large, but reasonably so considering the addition of the grinder. Its height is an advantage in one way, however, as the drip tray can be removed to fit a travel mug on the single-serve side. Users have an option between 8, 10, and 12 ounces when brewing one cup.
Price at time of publish: $230
Capacity: 60 ounces | Dimensions: 10.75 x 11.73 x 15.93 inches | Wattage: 1,100 | Voltage: 120 | Warranty: 3-year limited
"It's very easy to use because it grinds and brews automatically. Overall, it brews nice, clean coffee that's fresh from grinding."
With numerous drink options and consistently tasty results, the Ninja Hot & Cold Brewed System is our favorite Dual Coffee Maker. Its price is reasonable, too, but if you're looking for a pure bargain pick, check out the Hamilton Beach 2-Way Brewer.
How We Tested
Coffee makers on this list were tested either at home by members of our review team or in our Lab alongside other options. In an effort to provide the utmost clarity and information on a coffee maker, we assess key areas like brewing time and temperature, coffee quality, ease of use, and more. Our writers detail the pros and cons of every item we test and explain why they would or would not recommend purchasing it.
What to Look for in a Dual Coffee Maker
Dual coffee makers inherently offer a range of drink sizes, from a single cup to a full pot. They are also likely to brew more varieties of coffee than just drip. Many dual coffee makers make drip coffee and espresso, for example. Other options can make cold brew or coffee meant to be poured over ice. If you're interested in a dual coffee maker to begin with, chances are you'd enjoy multiple drink options along with multiple drink sizes. So keep an eye on what settings these normally versatile machines offer.
Since dual coffee makers combine two devices into one, they tend to be larger than standard drip coffee makers. Many of them have a split design with a coffee pot on one side and a single-serve section on the other, so they can be nearly double the width of a typical coffee maker. It's worth checking item dimensions if you're worried about space in the kitchen or the room a dual coffee maker will take up on the countertop.
Grounds or Pods
Single-serve coffee is most commonly brewed with pods, such as Keurig's K-Cups or Nespresso capsules. Meanwhile, a full pot of drip coffee requires ground coffee beans. If you have a predilection for coffee pods, you should be able to find a dual brewer that uses them on the single-serve side. If you don't have a preference, the number of dual coffee makers you can consider becomes that much greater.
What grind size should I use?
A medium grind is best for drip coffee, unless otherwise specific by the manufacturer of your coffee maker. It gives the coffee sufficient flavor without becoming overly bitter from a fine grind or watered-down from a coarse grind. You can also stick with a medium grind if you use a reusable coffee pod for individual servings. Luckily, most bags of pre-ground coffee are a medium grind.
How much caffeine is in a cup of coffee?
Caffeine content varies depending on the type of coffee beans used, the number of scoops added, and even by the specific coffee maker you own. In general, however, a cup of drip coffee contains between 80 to 200 milligrams of caffeine. This is a wide range, but a normal cup typically falls on the lower end, around 100 milligrams.
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 could encounter different issues, ranging from the coffee being too weak to the machine not working at all. Usually, it's recommended to descale every one to three months. Once a month is certainly a lot, though, and most users should be fine going three months. The manufacturer of your coffee maker will likely note how often to perform this deep cleaning in an instruction manual. Many brands sell cleaning products specifically for descaling, but an at-home combination of vinegar and warm soapy water will also do the trick.
What is coffee concentrate?
Coffee concentrate is a stronger, shorter serving of coffee, often meant to be a substitute for espresso. While coffee concentrate is a nice alternative to have, it doesn't have the same consistency, punch, and crema as espresso. Some of the reasons for that are pressure, grind size, and flow rate. Espresso is made by hot water being rapidly forced through finely ground coffee beans with high pressure. Coffee concentrate (not to be confused with cold brew coffee concentrate) is made more like drip coffee, with which water is slowly filtered through more coarsely ground beans. Think of coffee concentrate as a cross between drip coffee and espresso.
Is a thermal coffee pot better than glass?
One isn't necessarily better than the other—they just have different benefits. The main appeal of a thermal carafe is that it keeps coffee warm without needing a hot plate, like a glass coffee pot. Over the coarse of a couple hours, a hot plate alters the taste of coffee because it's essentially cooking it. So, coffee brewed in a thermal carafe will retain its original flavor better than that brewed in a glass carafe placed on top of a hot plate. Thermal carafes are also more durable than glass.
That said, there are certainly advantages to a glass coffee pot. They are usually cheaper, easier to clean, and sometimes pour better than a thermal carafe. They are also significantly lighter if you don't want to pick up a hefty stainless steel pot filled with liquid all the time.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This article was written by Derek Rose, the Coffee and Tea Expert for The Spruce Eats. To make these selections, Derek assessed testing research of various coffee makers conducted by The Spruce Eats and read third-party articles and customer reviews. He has also interviewed a number of experts about what to look for in a drip coffee maker and pod-based coffee maker. Derek received an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University and a BA in Communications from Marist College. He joined The Spruce Eats in 2019.
Allie Caran, the Product Manager at BaristaValet, was interviewed for this piece. She previously worked as the director of education at Partners Coffee. Caran has been in the coffee industry for more than 15 years.
Peter Giuliano, who was interviewed for this piece, is the Chief Research Officer at the Specialty Coffee Association and Executive Director of the Coffee Science Foundation.
Specialty Coffee Association. Heritage coffee standards.