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I love coffee, but not the price. While the cost of making your own coffee at home is likely less expensive than a daily trip to your local coffee shop, the cost of setting up a brewing station in your kitchen adds up quickly. At a minimum, you’ll need a coffee maker and the beans, grounds, or single-serve pods to go with it. However, most coffee enthusiasts enjoy collecting a plethora of devices, accessories, and specialty items to spice up their new hobby.
Fortunately, you don’t need all the bells and whistles to get your daily caffeine fix. There are plenty of budget-friendly coffee makers that get the job done. A few lower-end automatic coffee makers out there come with some of the features you'd find on larger, more expensive machines. To really stay within budget, it also helps to look at manual machines. You'll need to do a little more measuring to get the perfect cup to pair alongside a slice of coffee cake, but it's definitely within reach.
If you’re a coffee drinker like me who can’t justify spending hundreds of dollars on a full-blown coffee bar at home, here are the best budget coffee makers.
Best Overall: Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Drip Coffee Maker
What We Love: Large 12-cup capacity, auto-pause, easy to clean, easy to store
What We Don’t Love: Plastic construction, no auto-shutoff
The advantage of a traditional coffee pot with a carafe is that you'll get a large capacity. On the other hand, a single-serve coffee machine doesn’t require you to wait for the entire pot to brew before enjoying your morning cup. This coffee maker by Mr. Coffee offers the best of both worlds. It brews up to 12 cups at a time, but the pause-and-serve feature allows you to pour a cup mid-brew instead of waiting until the end, a definite perk if all your breakfast is a slice of chocolate chip banana bread.
For a simple coffee maker, this option checks a lot of the boxes. Though this model doesn’t have an automatic shutoff feature, it has an indicator light that lets you know when the machine is on or off. The 26-inch cord tucks away into a storage compartment to eliminate clutter on your countertops. When filling up the water reservoir, the dual water window lets you see where you’re pouring to prevent overflows. While this option may take up more storage space than others, it’s worth it to some for the large capacity.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 12.3 x 11.76 x 13.8 inches | Weight: 3.6 pounds | Capacity: 60 ounces | Wattage: 900 W
Best Budget: Black+Decker Brew 'N Go Personal Coffeemaker
What We Love: Space-saving design, automatic shutoff, travel mug included
What We Don’t Love: Only brews 2 cups at a time
If you’re looking for a coffee maker under $20, this model by Black+Decker is a strong contender. Perfect for busy mornings, it’s a single-serve machine that brews directly into your travel mug. This is a convenient and time-saving alternative to waiting for an entire carafe to brew for just one person. A 15-ounce travel mug is included with the machine, but it can brew up to 16 ounces of hot coffee at a time.
Designed to be your personal coffeemaker, this machine is very easy to use. It features a one-touch operation so making your morning brew is as easy as pressing a button. The machine has several well-thought-out features, including auto-shutoff and a permanent mesh-metal grounds filter. It's also compatible with soft pods if you don't want to measure in the morning. You’ll have to rinse the filter by hand, but the included travel mug is dishwasher safe.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 7.4 x 6.7 x 10 inches | Weight: 2.4 pounds | Capacity: 16 ounces | Wattage: 800W
Best Pour Over: Coffee Gator Paperless Pour Over Coffee Maker Set
What We Love: Easy to use, brews coffee and tea, reduces waste
What We Don’t Love: Glass may shatter
There are many different ways to brew coffee, and pour-over coffee is one of them. In fact, this coffee brewing method has picked up steam (pun intended) in recent years. As the name suggests, you pour hot water over the coffee grounds to produce your cup. This method is often preferred by those who want more control over the temperature of their water. Traditional coffee pots may promise to use ideal water temperatures for brewing, but coffee lovers prefer to ensure this for themselves. With a pour-over coffee maker, you can boil water in a separate pot or kettle to guarantee it is the proper temperature for your liking.
This pour-over coffee maker set by Coffee Gator can yield up to 5 cups of freshly brewed coffee in the glass carafe that acts as a reservoir for brewed coffee. It also comes with a reusable stainless-steel mesh filter to hold the coffee grounds, so you'll get a great-tasting cup while saving money and the environment. Most pour-over sets require a new paper filter every time and that can remove some coffee flavors and oils. The glass beaker also features a cool-touch handle for pain-free mornings.
Another advantage of pour-over coffee makers is that they can be used to make iced coffee to drink straight or in a coffee smoothie. They can also be used for tea and are very portable, making them the perfect travel companion. However, some user reviews note that this glass carafe is fragile and prone to cracking or breaking, so be sure to pack it well.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 5 x 5 x 8.2 inches | Weight: 1.3 pounds | Capacity: 27 ounces
Related: The Best Coffee Grinders
Best Single-Serve: Hamilton Beach The Scoop Single-Serve Coffee Maker
What We Love: Stainless steel construction, brews quickly, automatic shutoff, scoop is included
What We Don’t Love: Not compatible with pods
Single-serve coffee machines revolutionized the way I make coffee. I also prefer a bolder strength. This option allows for both. It brews up to 14 ounces of regular or bold strength coffee at a time, and the stand is adjustable to fit a variety of mugs and tumblers. Whatever size you choose, you'll have a hot cup of coffee within 3 minutes.
To use this single-serve machine, you’ll need coffee grounds. Don't worry if you’re new to measuring coffee grounds or can never get it right, the included mesh filter doubles as a scoop. This means the machine doesn’t require any paper filters or pods, making it a more environmentally friendly option. However, that lack of compatibility with pods can be an inconvenience for some.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 8.3 x 6.7 x 13.5 inches | Weight: 3.3 pounds | Capacity: 14 ounces | Wattege: 1300W
Related: The Best Single-Serve Coffee Makers
Best French Press: Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker
What We Love: Coffee scoop included, chrome metal finish, dishwasher safe
What We Don’t Love: Glass carafe may crack or break
French press coffee makers are a popular manual alternative to automatic coffee pots. Able to brew coffee in about 4 minutes, the concept is simple. Add ground coffee to the French press, and pour not-quite-boiling water over it. Allow it to steep, and push the plunger down to contain the grinds. If you want to cool down with cold brew coffee, simply place the coffee and water into the fridge for a day before pushing down the plunger. This model by Bodum comes recommended by Jessica Easto, coffee expert and author of "Craft Coffee: A Manual." This attractive French Press is large enough to make a couple of cups at a time, with an easy-to-wash 3-part stainless steel plunger to hold back the grinds.
"If you're on a budget and looking for a well-brewed, high-quality cup of coffee, opt for a manual device over an automatic machine," she says. "A French press is perfectly suitable for those who are just getting into handmade coffee or value convenience in the morning. Specifically, look for a model that has a glass carafe so you can see what you are doing and more sturdy stainless steel parts than plastic, such as this Bodum model."
While Easto generally recommends an insulated carafe for automatic machines, she doesn’t think they are worth the upcharge for a French press. "French press coffee is best when you transfer it to a cup or pitcher directly after brewing—otherwise, the coffee continues to extract and you'll end up with overly bitter coffee," she explains. Foregoing the borosilicate glass carafe also helps if you’re on a budget.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 6.75 x 4.25 x 9.75 inches | Weight: 1.25 pounds | Capacity: 34 ounces
Related: The Best French Press Coffee Makers
If you’re looking for a coffee maker on a budget, the Mr. Coffee model (view at Amazon) will likely meet your needs. It holds up to 12 cups of coffee and allows you to pour a cup mid-brew. If you want to manually make your coffee, the Coffee Gator Paperless Pour Over Coffee Maker Set (view at Amazon) allows you to control every aspect of your cup.
What to Look for in a Budget Coffee Maker
The right size coffee maker depends on the size of your household, storage space, and how much coffee you intend on making. Traditional coffee makers typically include a large carafe that can yield up to 12 cups of coffee, while individuals may prefer single-serve models that can make up to 16 ounces per serving. If you're on a budget, it's difficult to find the former, but very easy to find the latter. Most coffee makers will live in a spot on your counter, but if you're buying a glass French press or pour-over coffee maker, you might want to make sure you have a place to store it safely.
Convenient features aren’t exclusive to high-end coffee makers. Many of these budget-friendly models have useful settings, such as automatic shutoff, adjustable brew strength, and automatic pause. Certain features increase the versatility and convenience of a machine that you’ll likely use every morning, so they may be worth the extra cost.
Manual and automatic coffee makers alike require some cleanup after each brew since proper care and cleaning can extend the longevity of your coffee maker. Manual options made with glass, such as French press and pour-over models, may require extra care as they are made with fragile materials. Automatic coffee makers require descaling every few months, which is the process of removing mineral buildup from parts that come in contact with water. Larger drip coffee makers may have some removable parts that are dishwasher safe, while the exterior can be wiped clean with a microfiber towel.
What's the best affordable coffee?
Like coffee makers, there is no shortage of coffee brands out there for all price points. If you’re looking for the most affordable coffee, opt for coffee grounds. However, since freshly ground coffee is superior in flavor, if you don’t mind grinding your own coffee, go for fresh coffee beans. Blends tend to be more affordable than single-origin coffee.
How long does a coffee maker last?
A coffee maker can last as little as a few months to as long as several years. The longevity of your coffee maker depends on the quality and construction of the model as well as the proper maintenance and care. Some automatic budget coffee makers might give up the ghost after a few months if not taken care of properly.
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Lacey Muinos is a health and wellness writer with a specialty in food-related topics and a passion for kitchen gadgets. She has an impressive collection of small kitchen appliances and tools, including a single-serve coffee maker that she practically sprints to every morning.
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