Just about every home needs a coffee maker. After all, aside from water, java is our favorite drink, with the average American downing 3.2 cups a day. While many of us are looking for a better-tasting cup and indulging in espresso and cold brew, some coffee drinkers still just want that morning fix fast. Regardless of your preferences, there's a coffee maker out there to suit your needs and your budget.
Companies are brewing up new coffee makers all the time. Here are some that look intriguing.
Based on our research, these are the 10 best coffee makers for families and homes of all types.
1. Braun Brew Sense Drip Coffee Maker KF6050
The best overall coffee maker, complete with an attractive design
Cup Capacity: 12 cups | Size: 14.2 x 7.9 x 7.9 inches | Features: Programmable, permanent filter, adjustable keep-warm temperature, adjustable automatic shut-off (15 minutes to 5 hours), cleaning alert and cycle, charcoal water filter
The Braun Brew Sense Drip Coffee Maker is the best coffee maker for a number of reasons. With its attractive design and squared-off shape, this automatic-drip coffee maker with a glass carafe will look classy and fit neatly on your countertop. Reviewers pretty much unanimously agree that this device makes a good cup of coffee, and it gives you the option of adjusting the strength to your own taste. The Braun hits a nice moderate price but has plenty of extras: You can program it ahead of time, so you can wake up and smell the coffee; a permanent filter means you don't have to worry about constantly buying paper ones, and it has a charcoal water filter.
If you're one of those people who never think your coffee's hot enough, you can set the warming plate to a higher temperature. Some testers found the LED buttons easy to program, but others found these controls confusing. While this coffee maker will fit under a cabinet, you'll have to pull the device forward when it's time to fill it with ground coffee and water. It's available in white, black or stainless.
2. Mr. Coffee Easy Measure
This top budget coffee maker packs lots of features for the price.
Cup Capacity: 12 cups | Size: 14.1 x 11.7 x 9.1 inches | Features: Programmable, permanent filter, color-coded scoop, display indicates time from brewing, automatic shut-off (4 hours), clean cycle, water filter
The Mr. Coffee Easy Measure is the best coffee maker if you're not looking to spend a bundle but still want a great mug. It has a compact design, so it won't hog too much space on your countertop. Unlike most inexpensive coffee makers, it has a generously sized filter basket, which means it can handle more than a tablespoon of ground coffee per cup, to give you a richer brew. To help you determine how much coffee to use, the scoop, carafe and tank are color coded. The controls are clearly marked and easy to program. After the machine brews, its display counts up to show you how long the coffee's been standing. So if you can't abide a stale cup, you can toss what's left and brew a new pot. The Easy Measure shuts itself off automatically after 4 hours.
3. Cuisinart PerfecTemp 14-Cup Programmable
A huge carafe means enough coffee for a crowd
Cup Capacity: 14 cups | Size: 14 x 9 x 7.75 inches | Features: Programmable, permanent filter, adjustable brew strength, can silence the ready tone, adjustable keep-warm temperature, adjustable automatic off (up to 4 hours), clean alert and cycle, charcoal water filter
Have to brew a pot for a crowd? The Cuisinart PerfecTemp 14-Cup is the best coffee maker for the job. It makes more coffee than any other programmable automatic-drip coffee maker in the marketplace. That makes the machine ideal for large households, people who return for cup after cup throughout the morning, or for those entertaining guests. If a ding telling you your coffee is ready annoys you (especially before you've had your morning Joe), you can turn off the sound. You can control how hot you want your coffee to be as well as how long you want the coffee maker to remain on before it shuts itself off. So, you won't have to worry about whether the machine's on when you leave the house. The PerfecTemp comes in a selection of finishes, including white, black, black stainless steel and copper.
4. Technivorm Moccamaster
Pricey, but makes some of the best-tasting coffee
Cup Capacity: 10 cups | Size: 14 x 12.5 x 7 inches | Features: Automatic shut-off (40 minutes)
Handmade in the Netherlands, the Technivorm Moccamaster is the best coffee maker for those who prize a great-tasting cup above all else. This pricey coffee maker has a unique industrial aesthetic that some people love and others hate. It's designed to brew at the optimal time and temperature for the very best cup of coffee, and indeed, many testers rated it tops in taste tests. However, it has fewer features than most coffee makers. You can't program it the night before, but it does brew quickly, so you won't have to wait too long for your morning jolt.
5. Cuisinart Grind & Brew
Coffee maker with a built-in grinder
Cup Capacity: 12 cups | Size: 16.4x 11.6 x 8.3 inches | Features: Programmable, permanent filter, adjustable brew strength, adjustable automatic shut-off (up to 4 hours), charcoal water filter
If you like to grind the beans right before you brew, the Cuisinart Grind & Brew is the best coffee maker for the task. It has a burr grinder that grinds evenly and then transfers the ground coffee directly into the filter. However, be forewarned that when the grinder goes off in the morning, it's loud enough to wake up any one who's still sleeping, even one floor above the kitchen. And occasionally, you'll have to clean the grinder, which is an additional chore. If you sometimes want to use preground coffee, you have the option to turn the grinder off. As you would expect from a pricey model, you get a lot of extras, including the ability to control the strength of your coffee and how long it stays on before shutting itself off.
6. Ninja Hot- and Cold-Brewed System with Thermal Carafe
Coffee and tea maker with built-in frother
Cup Capacity: 10 cups | Size: 11.8 x 15 x 10 inches | Features: Programmable, permanent filters for coffee and tea, hot and cold settings, built-in frother, scoop, adjustable brew strength, automatic shut-off (one hour), clean alert and cycle
We get it. Not everyone likes coffee. The Ninja Hot- and Cold-Brewed System with Thermal Carafe is the best coffee maker for those households with differing tastes. Not only does this machine makes hot and cold coffee in a variety of sizes and strengths, but it can also brew tea as well. There are separate baskets for coffee and tea, and the machine recognizes which one you're using and offers you the appropriate settings for each. If you're one of those households with single-serve and multicup brewers, this appliance can replace both and make a single cup without those pricey and bad-for-the-environment coffee pods.
Ninja claims that, using the specialty coffee setting and the frother on the side of the machine, you can make coffee-bar drinks at home. That's true if you're not super fussy about the quality of the coffee in your 'ccinos, as the machine brews strong coffee but not espresso like the coffee shop's. But being able to easily top even a plain ol' cup of Joe with hot, frothed milk is a nice perk. This maker comes with a large scoop, and there's a place to stash it on the side of the machine.
7. Keurig K-Classic
Convenient, but bad for the environment
Cup Capacity: Single cup, 48-ounce water tank | Size: 13.3 x 13 x x 9.8 inches | Features: Brews coffee, tea, hot cocoa, specialty and iced beverages; brews 6-, 8- and 10-ounce cups; automatic shut-off (2 hours)
There are lots of reasons not to love a single-serve machine. First of all, it makes only so-so coffee. And it uses pods that are pricey and add to the landfill. But there's no arguing with the Keurig's convenience. It can brew a travel mug's worth of coffee in just a minute or two, so there's no waiting or messy pouring when you're rushing to make the train.
Plus, you brew only what you need, eliminating all those half-pots that inevitably go down the drain. Pods are available in a wide assortment of brands and drink types, including hot chocolate and cider, in addition to coffee and tea, so you can easily meet a variety of preferences in your family. Keurig makes a wide variety of machines, so be sure to check out our list of the best Keurig coffee makers.
8. Nespresso VertuoPlus
Best single-serve coffee and espresso maker
Cup Capacity: Single cup, 57.5-ounce water tank | Size: 12.8 x 12.7 x 8.7 inches | Features: Brews coffee, espresso and other coffee drinks; built-in frother, automatic shut-off (9 minutes)
Using recyclable aluminum capsules, the Nespresso VertuoPlus machine churns out espresso and coffee in a variety of sizes and varieties in just a minute or two. It reads the bar code on the capsules to determine the proper brewing time. Espresso-making is this machine's strong point; little cups come out with a picture-perfect topping of crema, the frothy head that's the hallmark of a true espresso. Perfect the art of producing crema in a more hands-on machine takes a lot of practice.
Coffee comes out slightly frothy and doesn't have the same body as Joe made in a more traditional coffee maker. However, if you want the option of quickly and easily making espresso or coffee, depending on your mood, this machine is a good choice. The VertuoPlus is available with a shiny or matte black, silver or dark gray finish.
9. Melitta Pour-Over Coffee Maker & Glass Carafe Set
A simple but effective pour-over coffee maker
Cup Capacity: 10 | Size: 9.5 x 7 x 6.25 inches | Features: Pour over
It doesn't get simpler than this classic Melitta coffee maker with a glass carafe and plastic, cone-shaped filter. In fact, this is the original pour-over system, making it one of the easiest, and cheapest best coffee makers around. The filter is large, so after you line it with a paper filter, you can load it with a big dose of coffee. You boil water and pour it over the grounds. While the whole process doesn't take any longer than brewing with an automatic coffee maker, once the water's near boiling, you do have to manually pour it over the grinds. If you want to keep a pot hot, invest in a heat diffuser to put over a burner to insulate the glass carafe.
10. Oxo Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker
The best cold-brew coffee maker
Cup Capacity: Three 8-ounce cups of coffee concentrate or 12-14 beverages | Size: 14.7 x 9.5 x 9.5 inches | Features: Measurement markings on carafe
If you love the smooth, nonacidic flavor of cold brew, this machine provides the best and easiest way to make your preferred coffee at home. You combine ground coffee and water in the coffee chamber and allow the mixture to sit for 12 to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Then, you use a lever to release and filter the concentrated coffee into the glass carafe, a process that takes about 20 minutes. To serve, you add water, ice or milk to dilute to your taste. A lid for the carafe is included. No skill is required, only patience.
How we picked
To come up with a list of coffee makers, we looked at the top picks from Wirecutter, Reviewed, Good Housekeeping and other sites, as well as the top-selling models at Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, and other retailers. From there, we narrowed the list down to 10 models based on features, price, design and other factors.
What to Look for in a Coffee Maker
Will it fit?
A coffee maker sits on the countertop, so measure the space where you plan to keep the machine before you buy one. Be sure to determine the clearance between the countertop and the bottom of your cabinets. Most, but not all coffee makers will fit under a cabinet.
If you're passionate about coffee, look for a brewer that says it meets the Specialty Coffee Association's Golden Cup Standard. This means the coffee brews at what is regarded as the perfect time and temperature for the best cup of Joe. But be aware that this standard calls for using 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for each 5-ounce cup, which produces a very full-bodied, strong cup of coffee that is not to everyone's taste.
Keep in mind that coffee-maker cups are the equivalent of 5 ounces, or an old-fashioned teacup that isn't filled to the brim, leaving room for milk. Most coffee mugs in use today hold upward of 8 ounces. Therefore, a typical 12-cup coffee maker brews enough coffee for about seven mugs at the most.
What kind of carafe?
Models with thermal carafes tend to be more expensive than those with glass carafes. You can bring thermal carafes to the table, where they'll keep coffee hot for refills. However, these carafes have narrow openings that are difficult to hand-wash, and most can't be cleaned in the dishwasher.
Paper or permanent filters?
Decide if you want to use a permanent filter or paper, disposable ones. Permanent filters are better for the environment, and you don't have to constantly replace them, but they do need to be thoroughly washed by hand and they tend to stain. Also, it's easier to toss paper filters in the trash than knock grounds out of a metal filter. You may also find that the taste of the coffee produced differs depending on filter type and that you prefer one over the other.
Do you want to set it and forget it?
With many machines, you can program them ahead of time to brew in the morning or right before you get home, and you can even set them to brew at the same time every day. But such features add to the price and work only if you take the time to read the manual and figure out how to use the setting.
How to Care for and Maintain a Coffee Maker
- To avoid a stale-tasting brew, start with cold water and fresh-ground coffee.
- Don't overfill the basket with coffee grounds. If you add too much, the grounds can overflow and clog the machine.
- Regularly clean all the parts of the coffee maker that come into contact with coffee grinds. The grinds leave behind an oily residue that builds up over time and affects the taste of the coffee.
- Run a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water through the machine to descale it, or prevent build-up of mineral deposits that can clog the device and slow the brewing time. If you're waiting longer than usual for your Java to be ready, your brewer is overdue for a descaling.