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Mornings begin with coffee, from the first rejuvenating sips before work to cozy book-in-hand weekends. Now, imagine the waft of a fresh pot before you even get up, stretch your arms, and slog to the kitchen to make it. That’s the luxury of programmable coffee makers. With the touch of a button, they let users pre-set a brew time, usually up to 24 hours in advance. In this round-up, we list our favorite devices and sort them into a number of convenient categories, like best budget, best single serve (yes, those can be programmable too!), and more.
To start the day a little brighter, here are the best programmable coffee makers.
Best Overall: Cuisinart 14-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker
Strong, consistent coffee
Adjustable brew strength
Temperature control keeps coffee hot
Difficult to fill the water reservoir
For a wonderful cup of coffee every morning, get the Cuisinart 14-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker. This modern, stainless steel appliance will look great on your kitchen counter, and it has a number of sought-after features that make a delicious brew every time.
It can whip up one to 14 cups of coffee, so it suits everyone from those who live alone to large families to avid hosts. You can set a brewing time up to 24 hours in advance, and you can also choose between a regular or bold flavor profile.
After testing the product, our reviewer especially praised the 1-4 cup setting. "We usually don't make more than four cups of coffee in the morning," she wrote, "so we found this feature really helpful. The strength was exactly what we expected."
The Cuisinart machine also has an auto-off setting, a temperature-adjustable hot plate, as well as a permanent filter that you can use again and again. There’s even a self-cleaning mode to decalcify the interior of the machine.
Capacity: 14 cups (70 ounces) | Dimensions: 7.75 x 9 x 14 inches | Warranty: 3-year limited | Wattage: 1,050 | Voltage: 120
"An investment in this product will transform your morning cup of coffee routine forever." — Lambeth Hochwald, Product Tester
Best with Reusable Filter: Ninja CE251 12-Cup Coffee Brewer
Includes customization features
Brews small and large batches
Easy to use
Made of mostly plastic
Coffee is too hot
Average for drip coffee
If you want to do away with paper coffee filters forever, pick up the Ninja 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker. This programmable machine comes with a permanent filter that you can simply rinse and reuse each morning. It even has a coffee scoop that snaps onto the side of the machine—how’s that for convenience?
This coffee maker has a 60-ounce reservoir and can make up to 12 cups of coffee, and if you want to make a small batch, it has a special 1-4 cup setting. The machine uses thermal flavor extraction to give you a rich, delicious cup of coffee, as well as a bold flavor option, delay brew setting, and mid-brew pause feature. Reviewers love how easy to use this Ninja Coffee Maker is, and many say it makes delicious and hot coffee.
Capacity: 12 cups (60 ounces) | Dimensions: 8.7 x 9.9 x 14.6 inches | Warranty: 1-year limited | Wattage: 1,100 | Voltage: 120
"I found the control panel to be one of the coffee maker's best features: I didn’t have to do a lot of reading to figure out how to use it." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Best Budget: Black+Decker 12-Cup QuickTouch Programmable Coffeemaker
Removable filter basket
Large capacity considering the price
Some users say clock is inaccurate
Grounds can spill, end up in coffee
Certain budget coffee makers, such as the Black and Decker 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker, come with an auto-brew option. This inexpensive model can make up to 12 cups of coffee in its glass carafe, and it boasts many of the same features as high-end models.
This coffee maker has QuickTouch programming that lets you set a time for your coffee to brew. It also includes a two-hour auto shutoff, nonstick hot plate, and “sneak-a-cup” technology for those times you just can’t wait for it to finish brewing. Reviewers love the simple, easy-to-use design, saying that it makes a nice, hot cup of joe for a truly affordable price. While it's never easy to choose a coffee maker, this is an excellent option for those on a budget, college kids, or even an office space.
Capacity: 12 cups | Dimensions: 9 x 11.25 x 13 inches | Warranty: 2-year limited | Wattage: 975 | Voltage: 120
Best Single Serve: Cuisinart SS-10 Premium Single-Serve Coffeemaker in Matte Black
Compatible with K-Cups and ground coffee
Large, removable water reservoir
Prone to leaking
Grounds often spill into cup
Making coffee for one? The Cuisinart Premium Single-Serve Coffeemaker is the ideal solution for those who live alone, as it makes single cups of coffee in minutes. This machine boasts a 72-ounce reservoir, and you can make five different beverage sizes, ranging from 4 to 12 ounces. It’s fully programmable, and it comes with a reusable filter cup so you don’t have to rely on K-cups (though you can use those in it, as well!).
According to reviewers, this single-serve coffee maker is an unbeatable value and more versatile than a Keurig. Many say it’s fast and makes a great cup of coffee, and you can’t beat the auto on/off feature, which can save you precious time in the morning.
Capacity: 4- to 12-ounce servings | Dimensions: 11 x 9.3 x 12.1 inches | Warranty: 3-year limited | Wattage: 1,200 | Voltage: 120
Best with Grinder: Krups FCM Grind and Brew KM785
Five-setting burr grinder
Multiple strength settings
Adjustable cup size
Like to grind your own beans? Then you need a product like the Krups Grind and Brew Auto-Start Coffee Maker with Burr Coffee Grinder, which has a conical burr grinder built into the machine. It can make anywhere from two to 10 cups of coffee, and the grinder has five settings from fine to coarse that you can tailor depending on your coffee preferences.
You can schedule this coffee maker to start at any time, and it will keep the brew warm for two hours. There are three brew strengths to choose from, and the machine has a pause-and-serve option that lets you pour a cup while it’s brewing. Plus, the glass carafe has a curved spout to prevent drips, and the coffee maker has a reusable grounds basket, too.
Reviewers say this grind-and-brew coffee maker takes a little practice to get used to, but most agree it makes a great cup of coffee. You can’t beat the taste of freshly ground beans!
Capacity: 10 cups | Dimensions: 9.45 x 11.54 x 15.16 inches | Warranty: 2-year limited | Wattage: 900 | Voltage: 120
Best Splurge: Braun MultiServe KF9170SI Coffee Maker
Multiple sizes and brew strengths
Removable water reservoir
Takes up counter space
Hard to clean carafe by hand
If you rely on coffee to get you through the day, you might want to splurge on a high-end option like the Braun MultiServe. This sleek machine is an absolutely stunning centerpiece for your kitchen, and you’ll love the delicious pot of coffee it makes.
The item's name comes from the multiple drinks and drink sizes it can brew—all of which can be pre-programmed hours in advance. Unlike most drip machines, this one is able to make a balanced single cup of coffee, like a Keurig but without the pods. There are seven size options in total, as well as three strength settings (light, gold, and bold). Another detail that sets this machine apart is its setting for iced coffee.
A removable water tank makes it easy to fill before use, and the included permanent filter means you won't be running to the store over and over again for paper ones. While the price tag is fairly high, the Braun MultiServe is an extremely versatile machine that's built to last.
Capacity: 10 cups | Dimensions: 7.25 x 13 x 15 inches | Warranty: 3-year limited | Wattage: 1,750 | Voltage: 120
"This is one of the few coffee makers certified by the Specialty Coffee Association. To achieve that standard, the Braun MultiServe is guaranteed to brew at the optimal temperature and extraction percentage, all under six minutes." — Derek Rose, Coffee and Tea Expert for The Spruce Eats
Most Versatile: Mr. Coffee Occasions All-in-One Coffee Maker
Uses both grounds and K-Cups
Durable thermal carafe
Not the easiest to use
It doesn't matter whether you prefer coffee or espresso, the Mr. Coffee Occasions All-in-One Coffee Maker can make both. When you're in the mood for drip coffee, this machine has a 10-cup thermal carafe that can brew anywhere from 4 cups to a full pot. When you want to shake things up, you can easily switch to the built-in espresso maker and pull two rich shots at once. There's even an attached frothing wand for coffeehouse drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, and more.
On top of all that, this highly versatile machine can brew with both coffee grounds and K-Cups! To make a single cup, simply pop in a pod and hit go; this is also convenient if you bring a travel mug to work in the morning. The removable water reservoir is easy to fill and clean, and the drip tray is also removable. The main downsides are a high price tag and that many customers say the machine is quite loud.
Capacity: 10-cup carafe and single serve | Dimensions: 16.6 x 11.2 x 18.6 inches | Warranty: 1-year limited | Wattage: 1,500 | Voltage: 110 to 120
Best for Large Quantities: Hamilton Beach 14-Cup Programmable FrontFill Coffee Maker
Option for glass or thermal carafe
Convenient front fill
Doesn't brew at optimal temperature
Caffeine lovers will appreciate this extra-large coffee maker from Hamilton Beach. Most programmable machines make 12 cups of coffee, but this one can brew up to 14 cups at a time.
It's not some low-tech bulk option, however. The machine is equipped with an array of features and customers give it high marks for ease of use, easiness to clean, and, most importantly, flavor. You can program your coffee to brew 24 hours in advance and adjust the strength to either regular or bold. The automatic pause-and-serve feature is handy when you need to grab a cup and go before the whole pot is finished brewing. There's also an automatic shut-off feature, which you can program in 10 minute intervals up to four hours total. Customers also have the choice between a glass carafe and a slightly more expensive thermal carafe. All in all, this is a reliable and highly reviewed coffee maker that comes with the added bonus of extra coffee each time you brew.
Capacity: 14 cups | Dimensions: 9.6 x 7.9 x 14.3 inches | Warranty: 1-year limited | Wattage: 1,025 | Voltage: 120
Best Dispenser: Hamilton Beach BrewStation 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker 48465
Easy to clean without carafe
Adjustable brew strength
Prone to leaking
Must remove filter to fill reservoir
One of the latest trends in coffee makers is to have a dispenser-style pouring mechanism instead of a carafe. If you like this feature, you’ll love the Hamilton Beach BrewStation 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker, which lets you pour out one cup at a time using the dispensing lever.
This coffee maker is packed with other features too, like multiple brew strengths, an internal heater for four hours of piping hot coffee, and of course the option to program a brew time hours in advance. The lack of carafe also makes it easier to clean, as all you need to do is empty the filter basket (and do routine descaling). Several customers report leaking from the base of the machine, so keep that in mind before purchasing. But overall this is a reliable coffee maker at an affordable price.
Capacity: 12 cups | Dimensions: 11 x 8.2 x 15.16 inches | Warranty: 1-year limited | Wattage: 950 | Voltage: 120
There's a lot to like with the Cuisinart 14-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker—consistent flavor, a large carafe, versatile settings—which is why it lands in our top spot. Those interested in another alternative can turn to the Ninja 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker (view at Amazon), a slightly cheaper option with a permanent filter and removable water reservoir.
What to Look for in a Programmable Coffee Maker
If you're interested in a programmable coffee maker, there's a good chance you'll enjoy a variety of other features. Think about your ideal coffee maker. Does it have automatic shutoff? Multiple strength settings? While programmable coffee makers tend to be more advanced, some might lack features you simply can't live without—just be prepared for a higher price tag with more features included.
If space is limited, you might have to rule out a few options. Fortunately, programmable coffee makers aren't any larger than standard machines. Remember to check height, depth, and width to ensure an item will fit properly. And if the machine has a compartment that lifts, keep that in mind when taking your measurements.
While larger capacity coffee makers generally sound more appealing, a 14-cup carafe might not always be best for your coffee needs, especially if you only drink one or two cups a day. Consider the number of coffee drinkers in your home, as well as your own coffee intake. If you're primarily purchasing a drip machine for personal use, keep an eye out for items with a 1-4 cup setting.
What is a programmable coffee maker?
A programmable coffee maker is one that can be preset in advance to brew at a specific time later on. All you have to do is fill the water reservoir and filter basket, set your desired brew time, and the machine will complete the process on its own. Drip coffee makers are by far the most popular type of programmable coffee maker. Some brands manufacture programmable espresso makers, but the feature is less useful in these instances because espresso brews so quickly. Most programmable coffee makers can be set up to 24 hours in advance. They often come with other features like a 1-4 cup setting or different brew strengths, but these are not necessary for a device to be classified as a programmable coffee maker.
What is a 1-4 cup setting?
Drip coffee makers are designed to brew a full carafe’s worth of joe, whether it be 8, 10, 12 cups or more. This renders the normal drip speed too fast for when you only want to make a few cups, leading to a weak pot of coffee. That’s where a 1-4 setting comes in. It calibrates a machine’s brew cycle to suit smaller batches by slowing down the drip speed to perfectly extract the amount of coffee you want.
How much caffeine is in drip coffee?
The caffeine content in drip coffee ranges widely depending on the type of coffee bean and number of scoops used when brewing. In general, an 8-ounce cup of drip coffee contains anywhere from 80 to 200 milligrams of caffeine. This puts drip on the more caffeinated end of the coffee spectrum, especially because customers often drink it in large servings. Espresso has more caffeine by volume—roughly 60 to 75 milligrams per single shot—but it is of course served in smaller portions. It may seem counterintuitive but light roast coffee is slightly more caffeinated than dark roast, so keep this in mind too if you are monitoring your caffeine intake.
What is descaling?
Descaling is the process of removing mineral residue—also known as “scale”—that builds up inside a coffee maker over time. If the task isn’t performed regularly, a device can face issues that range from brewing weak coffee to the machine not working at all. The general rule is to descale at least once every one to three months, but users should default to manufacturer instructions if a different interval is recommended. Descaling can be done with a simple at-home combination of vinegar and warm soapy water, and many brands sell liquids or powders specifically for descaling. The first step in the process is to fill your coffee maker’s reservoir with a mixture of water and descaling solution. Second, run the brew cycle. Third, empty the carafe (now full of descaling solution) into the sink and rinse clean. Finally, run the brew cycle with just water to remove any leftover descaling product.
What is the best water for coffee?
There isn’t one set answer to this question. Taste is so subjective that even coffee experts have differing opinions on the best type of water to use when brewing. That said, most experts say water with “sticky” minerals like calcium and magnesium improve taste, which means hard water is a better bet than soft water. The downside to hard water is that it’s harsher on your coffee maker and will increase the frequency you need to descale. Those who use soft or filtered water can still brew tasty coffee, of course, but there is a higher chance the coffee can end up weak, so users may need to compensate by adding more coffee grounds. On the plus side, soft water is gentler on your brewing device over time.
How should coffee be stored?
The best way to store your coffee is in an airtight container and placed in a cool, dark place. Any exposure to oxygen, sunlight, moisture, or heat will make your coffee lose freshness faster, whether it’s whole bean or ground. Some people turn to the fridge or freezer to store their beans and, while this may seem a logical method of preservation, it actually damages coffee due to the high levels of moisture that come from freezer use—not to mention the temperature fluctuation of taking it in and out every day. Coffee can also be stored fairly well—though, not optimally—in the bag it comes in. Most bags have a circular, one-way valve on the front that can be used to release carbon dioxide and keep oxygen out.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Camryn Rabideau is a full-time freelance writer living in Rhode Island. She covers all topics related to the home, contributing to popular sites like Martha Stewart, InStyle, and Food52.
This piece was updated by Derek Rose, the coffee and tea expert for The Spruce Eats. He uses the Bialetti Moka Express (view at Amazon) to shake up his everyday coffee routine and make café-style drinks, like lattes and Americanos, right from home. It’s the perfect partner to his primary coffee maker, the Bodum Brazil French Press (view at Amazon).