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Published Oct. 5, 2021

For most people, morning coffee is a necessity. Whether you love the ritual of brewing and enjoying a piping hot cuppa joe each morning, or you’re simply on a mission to get some caffeine as soon as your feet hit the ground, you can’t have a complete kitchen without a coffee maker.

Of course, there is a lot to consider when buying a new coffee machine. Whether you want to brew individual cups or a full carafe each morning, there’s a great appliance out there for you. And to help cut through some of the confusion and decision-making to choose a great coffee maker, we’ve found the five best machines for every kind of coffee drinker and kitchen space.

How We Picked the Best Coffee Makers

Methodology

We took care to investigate a wide range of coffee makers to select the best products for this list. From expansive espresso machines to minimalist single-serving brewers, the products on this list reflect thoughtful research and product testing, including reading dozens of consumer reviews. In particular, we paid attention to the following criteria:

  • Brew style: From manual French presses to fully digital espresso machines, we wanted to include a selection of machines that any kind of coffee drinker could use. We included both feature-rich and pared-down coffee makers.
  • Maintenance: if you’re using your coffee maker daily, you want one that’s easy to keep clean, so the products on this list are low-maintenance.
  • Durability: A great coffee maker should last for years of regular use, so we made sure to find appliances that can withstand the test of time from trusted brand names.
  • Sustainability: To avoid racking up excess waste and cost, we opted almost exclusively for machines that don’t rely on single-use products like pods or filters.
  • Value: The coffee makers on this have demonstrated value based on their features, ease of use, and long-lasting construction.

Best Overall: Cuisinart Stainless Steel Thermal Coffeemaker

For Hot Coffee Lovers

An insulated all-stainless coffee maker with features that make brewing easier than ever.
Cuisinart

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Why It Made The Cut: This coffee maker is a great size and capacity for most homes. It’s also outfitted with features that put it above the average drip brewer, including programmability and brew pause. 

Specs: 

  • Dimensions: 9 x 7.75 x 14.25 inches
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Capacity: 12 cup

Pros

  • Insulated for hotter coffee
  • Control brew strength
  • Auto-off feature 

Cons 

  • Well-sealed carafe design can be difficult to pour

If you love your coffee hot and want it to stay hot all morning, this stainless steel brewer is for you. It’s smartly designed to maintain heat for hours, thanks to the 12-cup thermal carafe and heating plate. 

Feature-wise, this coffee machine doesn’t disappoint. You can program the machine to start your brew early in the morning so you can wake up to the wafting aroma of fresh coffee. It has a 24-hour window for programmability. And when you’re ready to fill your mug, you don’t have to wait until the brew is finished. A handy auto-pause feature will prevent spills or leaks. 

The side of the machine has an easy-view window so you can accurately measure the right amount of water, up to 12 cups per pot. For smaller servings, the machine has a 1-4 cup setting. 

This machine also fits nicely into most kitchen designs, with its sleek stainless steel exterior and compact footprint. The digital screen on the front displays the time, and you can opt to have the appliance beep when your brew is finished. 

Best Value: Black+Decker 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker

Affordable and Reliable

A workhorse of an appliance with programmability and a spacious 12-cup glass carafe.
BLACK+DECKER

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Why It Made The Cut: This coffee maker has several advanced features at an affordable price, including programmability, digital controls, and an auto-off feature. 

Specs: 

  • Dimensions: 11.38 x 8.50 x 12.44 inches
  • Material: Plastic
  • Capacity: 12 cups

Pros:

  • Brew pause
  • Digital clock
  • Clear water window for accurate measuring

Cons: 

  • Filter sold separately 

This coffee maker is reliable and durable without the steep price tag of other brand-name machines. It brews up to 12 cups at a time and has 24-hour programmability so you can go to sleep assured that your coffee will be hot and ready in the morning. 

The removable brew basket makes discarding your used coffee grounds easy and clean. And if your busy morning has you forgetting to shut off the appliance, it will automatically turn off after two hours. 

The coffee maker has a clear, easy-to-read digital display that doubles as a clock. The buttons are easy to use and setting a program is straightforward. The carafe is made from shatter-resistant glass that’s also dishwasher safe. 

Best Personal Coffee Maker: Keurig K-Mini Plus Coffee Maker

Perfect for One

This compact miniature brewer is the perfect size to sit on a desk or in a small kitchen. Keurig

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Why It Made The Cut: It’s hard to find a small coffee maker that does its job as well as this one from Keurig. This product is ideal for its portability and its ability to fit into small spaces.

Specs: 

  • Dimensions: 11.3 x 4.5 x 12.1 inches
  • Material: Plastic
  • Capacity: 1 cup

Pros:

  • Includes pod storage unit
  • Accommodates taller travel mugs
  • Auto-off feature for safety 

Cons: 

  • Requires K-cups
  • Not environmentally friendly

This diminutive pod-style coffee brewer is the best for single-serve brewing. It takes up as little space as possible but reliably brews hot, fresh, and tasty mugs of your favorite K-cup pods. The machine even comes with a pod organizer that fits nine K-cups for better organization and portability. 

If you’re looking for a compact coffee maker to bring in an RV or that can travel, this is an excellent choice. The machine has a removable water reservoir that can brew 6 to 12 ounces at a time. It even comes in six attractive colors to fit into any kitchen design scheme. The small size of this machine means that it heats your water efficiently, so there’s no need to wait for your brew. The machine will also shut itself off after just 90 seconds of inactivity for safety. 

For sustainability, you can use your own ground coffee in a reusable K-cup coffee filter instead of single-use K-cups.

Best French Press Coffee Maker: SterlingPro French Press Coffee Maker

Old-School Brewing

A well-insulated manual coffee maker for a minimalist brewing experience. SterlingPro

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Why It Made The Cut: For coffee lovers who don’t want to deal with electronics every morning, this French press gives you full control over brewing delicious, well-balanced coffee without the fuss of other machines. 

Specs: 

  • Dimensions: 9.10 x 6.00 x 4.40 inches
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Capacity: 1.7 liters

Pros:

  • Rust-free stainless steel
  • Includes two replacement filters
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cons: 

  • No hot plate

A classic French press coffee maker puts you back in touch with one of the simplest ways to brew your cup of joe. Without the bells and whistles of more advanced electric machines, it’s just you, your beans, and some hot water in the morning. So while you won’t be able to pre-program your brew with this stainless steel maker, you do have full control over the flavor, temperature, and brew time. There are also no disposable pods or filters. In fact, this product comes with two replacement filters, which should keep you covered for a long time. 

The appliance is also the easiest to clean of any coffee maker on this list. Simply rinse out the used coffee grounds after use, and pop the entire unit in the dishwasher for a deeper clean. 

You can even make cold brew in your French press. Simply start with cold or room temperature water, add your ground beans, and place the French press in the fridge overnight. You’ll have a smoother, less acidic brew to enjoy in the morning that’s especially refreshing on a summer day. 

Best Barista-Style Coffee Maker: Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine

At-Home Coffee Shop

This shiny do-it-all coffee maker is for coffee aficionados who want a real coffee-house experience in their own kitchens. Breville

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Why It Made The Cut: This advanced coffee maker is easier to use than other barista-style offerings, and has advanced features to make the best-tasting brew every time. 

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 12.5 x 12.6 x 13.1 inches
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Capacity: 2 cups

Pros:

  • Built-in bean grinder
  • Full control over the grind size
  • Digital temperature control

Cons: 

  • Expensive

This shiny and fully equipped espresso machine is sure to draw attention in any kitchen. It can brew your favorite espresso drinks, milk foam and all. From cappuccinos to lattes to mochas, you can truly become your own barista with this machine in your kitchen. 

If you’re particular about your brew, you’ll have full control with the features on this espresso maker. Breville has the science of great-tasting espresso down. Each drink is made with 19 to 22 grams of ground beans for the optimal aroma and flavor. The machine gives you full control over the water temperature with a digital temperature gauge. And that water flows at a carefully calibrated pressure to produce the fullest-bodied espresso. 

The machine’s built-in milk foamer also uses microfoam technology to produce the lightest, airiest, and sweetest-tasting foam perfect for practicing your latte art skills. And for non-coffee drinkers, the appliance has a hot water dispenser that puts a piping-hot mug of tea at your fingertips at all times. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Coffee Maker

Do you prefer hot or iced coffee?

Before investing in a new coffee maker, consider how you like your java. If temperature matters and you’re all about an extra-hot drink in the morning, look for a machine with an insulated carafe and a hot plate that will keep your brew hot for hours. On the other hand, if you’re an iced coffee lover, a French press is a great option because it doubles as a cold-brew maker and requires no heat.

How much counter space do you have?

Make sure to measure your available counter space before buying a new appliance. Depending on the kind of machine you get, it may take up more room than you expect. Of course, a single-serve machine or a French press are great options for kitchens low on space or if you prefer to store your coffee maker in a cabinet or pantry.

FAQs

Q: Do I need to grind my own beans for a coffee maker?

The question of grinding your own beans is more about personal preference. All of the coffee makers on this list can accommodate pre-ground beans. However, the Breville espresso maker has a built-in grinder for a bolder taste. Freshly ground beans tend to produce a more robust, flavorful and aromatic cup of joe.

Q: What size coffee maker is best?

The right size appliance for your needs will depend on how many people you’re serving and how high their caffeine tolerance is. Many drip coffee makers have 12-cup carafes, which is great for a crowd of up to 8. Pod-style coffee makers are perfect for one-off single-serving cups of coffee for one.

Q: Is French press coffee stronger?

In many cases, coffee made in a French press is stronger than that made in a drip coffee maker. This is because the French press has a single fine mesh filter and is typically used with larger coffee grounds than a drip coffee maker, which may have multiple layers of filtration. You can also allow your coffee beans to steep for as long as you like with a French press, so if you prefer a weaker cup, simply press the plunger earlier.

Final Thoughts

No matter how you take your coffee, the strength, flavor, and temperature will always affect your experience. That’s why the Cuisinart Stainless Steel Thermal Coffeemaker is our all-around favorite coffee brewer. It reliably brews steaming-hot black coffee with the press of a button, and you have full control over the strength and volume of each carafe. This appliance is also easy to clean and keeps your coffee nice and hot for hours, thanks to the insulated stainless steel carafe. This is the kind of reliable countertop appliance that you can feel good about having on display at all times.

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