For most people, the day doesn’t officially start until the first sip of coffee in the morning. If you want to make sure your breakfast is brewed to perfection, you’ll need a quality coffee maker. There are several variables that go into brewing the perfect cup. The water needs to be heated to a precise temperature range when it reaches themand the brewing process must occur within a specific time window. There are certainly coffee makers who can manage this kind of alchemy, but they are few and far between. Most of the coffee makers you see on store shelves will fail and start your morning with a bitter and unpleasant cup of hot bean juice.
However, we have found some notable exceptions to the market for excellent coffee makers. Even better, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get a great coffee maker. Of course, you can drop almost $500 on a tricked-out Ratio Eight that’s as nice as it gets, or line your wallet with monthly K-cup purchases.. But it’s less than $20 to get a single-serve Oxo Pour-Over funnel that makes a first-rate cup and easily improves upon your typical Keurig coffee pot.
And these aren’t the only brewers a coffee lover might want to check out. There is also one, winner of our Editors’ Choice award and our pick for the all-around best automatic coffee maker. The other one , uses an ancient technique to achieve dramatic and outstanding results. No matter your budget or your preferred brewing power, this list of the best coffee makers has a machine that’s perfect for your drip needs. We periodically update this list with new coffee brewing products as we test them, so you can always get good coffee. We promise you’ll never have to drink coffee out of pots or an ancient coffee pot again.
The Oxo Brew 8 Cup Coffee Maker delivers SCA Golden Cup rated coffee that tastes like our previous favourite, Bonavita Bilici, but Oxo’s new coffee maker has been designed in a more thoughtful way. This drip machine also comes with a special single cup filter basket for Kalita Wave filters. Oxo Brew is the ultimate drip coffee maker that is compact, stylish and comes with a sturdy, plus drip- and spill-proof thermal carafe.
Read our Oxo 8 Cup Coffee Maker review.
The GE Appliances Cafe Specialty Drip Coffee Maker isn’t cheap, but it offers a lot for the money. If you are a coffee lover who loves a smart coffee maker, you can enjoy the perfect coffee with the automatic brewing feature. This is a great beer that brews fast and with exceptional water temperature control. It also offers a quality thermal carafe, makes 10-cup batches, and connects to Wi-Fi to enable smart app management. The cafe design is also easy on the eyes, using lots of brushed metal.
Read our GE Cafe Specialty Drip Coffee Maker review.
Cold brew coffee is delicious, but it can be a pain to make. Oxo’s cold brew coffee maker takes most of the headache out of the process. This Oxo Brew coffee maker evenly saturates coffee grounds and allows you to pour cold brew coffee into a glass carafe with relative ease.
Read our Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker review.
Great coffee and great tasting drip from a product that costs under $20? It sounds difficult, but that’s what the affordable Oxo Good Grips Pour-Over offers. He only drinks coffee once and asks you to give him hot water. However, a simple brewer makes the otherwise complicated task of pouring something easy, clean, and almost seamless.
Read our Oxo Good Grips Pour-Over Coffee Maker review.
Think of this kitchen appliance as the Swiss Army Knife of the drip coffee maker world. The Ninja programmable brewer (with frother, thermal carafe and reusable filter) offers an extraordinary degree of flexibility, making it the best coffee maker for those who don’t always want the same cup. This coffee machine can create everything from solid drip to perfect cold brew or iced coffee to latte-style drinks with frothed milk and will adjust the temperature to your preference. The thermal carafe will keep tea or coffee hot for up to 2 hours. This programmable coffee maker even lets you brew iced coffee and hot coffee in a variety of sizes, from small cups to full carafes.
Read our Ninja Hot and Cold Brew System review.
It’s hard to find a coffee maker that beats the KitchenAid Siphon Brewer’s unique combination of performance and quality. This coffee machine makes a cup of coffee with a clear rich, deep and attractive aroma. Its brewing process based on steam pressure and vacuum suction is also fascinating to watch as the coffee drips into the glass decanter. There is no need for paper filters as the Siphon Beer is equipped with a reusable stainless steel filter.
Read our Kitchenaid Siphon Coffee Brewer review.
Those looking for lots of coffee in a hurry will love the quick brew cycle of this coffee maker. With a stainless steel lined thermal carafe, the Bunn Velocity Brew BT drip coffee maker whips up a large pot of coffee at amazing speed. In as little as 3 minutes, 33 seconds, the coffee maker can deliver full batches of delicious drops for drinking.
Read our Bunn Velocity Brew BT review.
The Dutch company Technivorm has sold some pretty good drip coffee makers for decades. Its Moccamaster drip coffee machine has a design with clean lines and sharp angles that harkens back to 1968, when the first Moccamaster was sold in stores. Retro design aside, the Moccamaster KBT 741 consistently delivers perfectly freshly brewed coffee that will satisfy coffee connoisseurs. The stainless steel thermal carafe also keeps the contents hot for a full 6 hours.
Read our Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741 review.
How we tested coffee makers
Performance evaluation ais trickier than it looks. The first step is knowing what good drip coffee really is. According to the Specialty Coffee Association, there are critical criteria for brewing quality java. Mainly these are brewing time and water temperature. Hot water should be in contact with the ground for no less than 4 minutes and no more than eight. The ideal water temperature range is between 197 degrees Fahrenheit (92C) and 205 F (96C).
To see how well each coffee maker responds to this challenge, we record the length of their brewing cycles. We also use thermocouple temperature sensors connected to industrial grade data loggers. This allows us to record the temperature during coffee brewing.
After the coffee is brewed, we take sample readings of the produced coffee liquid with an optical refractometer. Given the amount of water and freshly ground coffee used, this data allows us to calculate the percentage of Total Dissolved Solids of each brew. From there we arrive at the percentage of production. The ideal range is usually thought to be between 18% and 20%.
We also back up the measured data with a good old taste test. If a cup of coffee tastes bitter, it’s likely that it was overextracted during the drip. On the other hand, an underextracted cup of coffee will usually taste weak—it may have a sour taste or a wet peanut flavor. And just to be sure, we brew the same tests a minimum of three times to get a feel for the average results.
Coffee maker FAQ
How long do coffee makers work?
If properly maintained, a coffee grinder can last for many years. Most coffee makers come with a one-year limited warranty, except for the Technivorm Moccamasters, which is covered by a five-year warranty. Regardless of their length, all of these warranties cover manufacturing defects, not normal wear and tear or abuse of the product.
How do coffee makers work?
Even the most sophisticated coffee makers perform the same simple task. This involves pouring boiling water over ground coffee and then collecting the liquid in a container. Achieving the perfect balance of strength and flavors for the perfect coffee is difficult. Most machines fail because they either don’t have quality water heating systems, or the water flows too slowly through the floors, or they don’t brew enough grounds to begin with. Some coffee makers suffer from a combination of these problems – or all three.
How do you clean a coffee maker?
In addition to removing external dirt, stains and dust, all coffee makers require a deep cleaning from time to time. In particular, their internal water heating systems must be regularly descaled. Some manufacturers recommend doing this with a vinegar-water solution. Others mention nothing but using a store-bought descaling solution. For example, Technivorn says to use products like Durgol to descale their cars.