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Published Nov. 22, 2021

Whether you prefer to start your day with the latest latte art or a simple cup of joe, it all starts with your coffee maker. The term “coffee maker” encompasses a wide range of functionality and tastes. From a manual Aeropress to a nine-bar espresso machine, each type of coffee maker has its pros and cons, and some are easier to use than others. It all depends on your tastes, preferences, and level of coffee connoisseurship. The best coffee maker offers your favorite brew at the right quality with the time you have.

Take a look at the following guide to help you pick the best coffee maker to satisfy your palate. Whether you want a small, simple machine for brewing your morning cup or the option to make something fancy, we’ve got a coffee maker for you.

How we picked the best coffee makers

There are lots of options on the market when you search for “coffee maker.” But what’s the best model for you? Is it a simple one-and-done you turn on in the morning? Or do you prefer a model with a range of options. The best coffee makers hit all the right notes, including:

Versatility: Can the coffee maker brew different volumes or be used to make different kinds of coffee drinks? Versatility adds value and lets users expand their tastes. 

Adjustability features: Many factors influence how coffee tastes, from how you grind it to how hot you brew it. Some machines take the guesswork out of these aspect of preparing a cup of joe, which is good for users looking for easy-to-use options. Coffee makers that showed consistency in temperature and pressure or allowed for accurate adjustability stood out amongst the competition. 

Ease of cleaning: Maintenance is half the battle with a coffee maker. The ability to easily clean the machine also weighed into our selection of the best coffee makers.

Bonus features: Built-in milk frothers or grinders reduce the number of gadgets needed in the kitchen. We gave bonus points to coffee makers that incorporated with these extra features in their design.

Best coffee maker overall: Ninja 10-Cup Specialty Coffee Maker

Why it made the cut: The Ninja made the cut for the versatile brew sizes, quality of the brew, and the many, many drinks you can make with one machine—definitely one of the best coffee maker overall.

Specs:

  • Brew size: Up to 10 cups
  • Carafe material: Glass
  • Milk frother: Yes

Pros:

  • Make brews in six sizes, from single to full carafe
  • Makes four brews—classic, rich, iced, and specialty
  • Fold-away frother

Cons: 

  • Some units develop a leak

The Ninja 10-Cup Specialty Coffee Maker offers multiple morning coffee options. You can set it to make a single cup, extra-large single cup, travel mug, extra-large travel mug, half carafe, or a full carafe. It also offers four brew styles, including a classic, balanced coffee, rich brew with a more intense flavor, iced coffee, or super rich concoctions for cappuccinos, lattes, and other specialty drinks.

You can finish off those specialty drinks with the foldaway frother. Because it works with both hot and cold milk, the frother gives you more options in your drink design. The machine holds a consistent temperature, increasing the quality of each brew. If there’s a downside to Ninja, it’s that a few (very few) units develop a leak over time.

Best value: Black + Decker Programmable Coffee Maker

Why it made the cut: The Black + Decker’s classic looks and no-nonsense performance make it a great, budget-friendly choice for anyone who just wants a simple cup of coffee. 

Specs:

  • Brew size: 12 cup
  • Carafe material: Glass
  • Milk frother: No

Pros:

  • Can remove carafe mid-brew
  • Program it to automatically brew each morning
  • Easier cleaning with removable brew basket

Cons:

  •  Basket easily overflows

The Black + Decker Programmable Coffee Maker harkens back to a simpler time when most countertop coffee makers had a similar drip system. This model features a removable brew basket for easier cleaning, though that basket can easily overflow. It doesn’t waste time making coffee, though some people find its brew too weak for their tastes. 

However, it makes a good cup of coffee, and it does it quickly. The carafe can be removed mid-brew to pour a cup without dripping. Finally, an automatic timer lets you set it to start at a specific time each day so that you can wake up to a fresh brew.

Best drip coffee maker: Technivorm Moccamaster 59616 KBG, 10-Cup Coffee Maker

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Why it made the cut: The simplicity and consistency of the Moccamaster’s brews make it well worth the price and earn it the best drip-coffee maker spot on our list. 

Specs:

  • Brew size: 10 cups
  • Carafe material: Glass
  • Milk frother:  No

Pros:

  • Fast, easy setup
  • Hot plate maintains ideal temperature for up to 100 minutes
  • Copper heating element heats faster and more consistently

Cons: 

  • Expensive
  • Can’t make different types of drinks

The handmade Technivorm Moccamaster produces delicious coffee without the bells and whistles of more complex machines. Although its price tag might give you pause, know that you’re paying for quality. That quality includes copper coils that conduct heat better, faster, and more evenly, as well as a hotplate that keeps the brew at the perfect temperature for up to 100 minutes—perfect for anyone who gets sidetracked in the morning. 

You really can make your coffee with a single touch and no mess with this machine. However, it only makes basic coffee, so it’s not the best choice if you want to experiment with your brew or make your own coffeehouse drinks.

Best pour-over coffee maker: CHEMEX Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker

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Why it made the cut: Simple design and high quality meet in this beautiful pour-over coffee maker that can be used to make both hot and cold brew coffee. It’s one of the best pour-over coffee makers on the market.

Specs:

  • Brew size: 6 cups
  • Carafe material: Glass
  • Milk frother: No

Pros:

  • Beautiful, sculptural design
  • Carafe can be covered and refrigerated
  • Easy to clean

Cons: 

  • Carafe may chip or break

The Chemex Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker leaves pressure adjustments and specialty coffees for other coffee makers. This simple design looks amazing and artistic while brewing delicious, rich cups of coffee. 

The glass carafe holds up to six cups of coffee. Once brewed, you remove the grounds and filter and use the carafe to pour the coffee. You can also cover the carafe and put it in the refrigerator for an iced coffee later in the day. It’s a simple method that looks beautiful and produces a delicious brew. However, that’s all it does—make hot or cold coffee. There are no extra bells and whistles, and some reviewers report breaking or cracking carafes.

Best espresso machine coffee maker: Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine

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Why it made the cut: The Breville espresso machine lets you be your own barista with its built-in grinder and steam wand. 

Specs:

  • Brew size: 67-ounce water tank
  • Carafe material: N/A
  • Milk frother: Yes

Pros:

  • Make micro-adjustments to your brew with grinder, pressure, and temperature
  • Grind on-demand, making only as much as you want
  • Small footprint for an all-in-one machine

Cons: 

  • Sometimes needs help getting all the beans in the grinder
  • Expensive

The Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine provides plenty of options for creating your own specialty drinks from start to finish. And we do mean start, thanks to the built-in bean grinder, and finish, thanks to the included frother. The built-in grinder is on-demand, which means you can load it and only grind as many grounds as you need. Those grounds can be adjusted to further customize your drinks. 

The Breville also offers adjustable pressure and temperature to fine-tune each cup of coffee. The machine guides users through the process and helps time the pull of the espresso. Once everything’s brewed, the built-in steam wand froths milk to create coffee art. All of the adjustment features can be used to extract the perfect flavor and mouthfeel for each bean used. 

There aren’t many downsides to this machine except for the high price, and the beans sometimes need a little help getting into the grinder. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Coffee Maker

Brewing method

First, you’ll want to pick your brewing method. Brewing method affects the taste, quality, and time to make the brew from start to finish.

  • Drip: If you watched your parents brew coffee years ago, they used the drip method to make coffee. This method pours hot water through the coffee grounds. The water then seeps through the grounds, dripping through the other end. Pour-over coffee makers also use this brewing method.
  • Immersion: Aeropress, French press machines, and vacuuming brewing fall into the immersion category. The hot water and coffee grounds are mixed together for a specific length of time, and then the water is pressed out of the grounds.
  • Espresso: An espresso machine uses pressure to force hot water through the coffee beans to extract their flavor.
  • Stovetop: Stovetop brewing involves a Moka pot. It’s similar to an espresso machine in that it uses pressure to extract flavor from the beans. However, it’s a much simpler process that results in a strong cup of coffee.

Number of cups

How many cups of coffee do you want to make at once? A single-serve machine may be all you need if only one or possibly two people drink coffee in the morning. You could also use a pod machine for single servings. However, families or offices where several people need their morning cup of joe will require a machine that makes several cups at a time.

What kind of drinks do you want to make?

Cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos require a milk frother, which some coffee makers include. With others, you need to buy a milk frother separately. Some machines allow you to adjust the pressure, temperature, and other factors that influence the taste of the brew. A machine with more adjustments will cost more, so if you don’t fine-tune your brews, skip machines with the extra bells and whistles.

FAQs

Q: Are expensive coffee makers worth it? 

Expensive coffee makers are worth it for the right coffee drinker. More expensive machines often include built-in frothers, pressure or temperature adjustment settings, and different brew sizes. If you like to tinker with your brew, one of these machines might be the best coffee maker for your needs. A no-nonsense coffee drinker who just wants to make the coffee and go probably doesn’t need all the bells and whistles. 

Q: When should you replace a coffee maker?

You should replace the coffee maker when certain functions stop working or you can no longer find the right accessories for the machine. For example, if it stops brewing, it’s time. If it doesn’t get warm enough, it’s time. If it doesn’t make enough coffee for your family or guests, it’s time. You might also need a new coffee maker if your tastes have changed, or if the coffee maker doesn’t fit your lifestyle anymore. 

Q: How to make cold brew coffee?

Make a coarse grind with your favorite coffee beans. Add the grounds to the water, and steep them overnight. (Overnight = approximately 12 hours). In the morning, your cold brew is ready. Some coffee makers also make cold brew by using cold water and pressure for a quicker cool cup. 

Final Thoughts

The Ninja 10-Cup Specialty Coffee Maker is a great option for those who need to make varying brew sizes and want to dip their toe into more complex espresso drinks. However, if all you need is a quick cup, the Black + Decker Programmable Coffee Maker makes a strong brew in less than five minutes. 

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