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Finding the ideal coffee maker can be a challenging endeavor. Coffee machines range in style (drip, French press, espresso), size, and cost. But morning coffee is a ritual for many people, and, as a result, the coffee machine that’s right for you is the coffee machine that provides high-quality coffee while still managing to be easy to use. If you’d rather have coffee ready as you roll out of bed, you’ll want to make sure it has an internal timer. Also, if you intend to leave your coffee machine on the kitchen counter for accessibility, it’s worth considering some aesthetic elements, too.
Our list of top machines offers something for every type of discerning coffee drinker. These are the best coffee makers to consider.
Best Overall: OXO Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker
Fast, convenient, and full of useful features, the OXO Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker takes the top place for coffee making. Coffee tastes good, is kept piping hot with a thermal, stainless-steel carafe, and offers bonuses like a programmable timer, for those who prefer to wake up to their brew.
The machine brews at optimal water temperature and timing meet the Specialty Coffee Association's Golden Cup standard. For those who prefer one fresh cup at a time, there’s even a single-serve brew option, with a removable well cover for larger travel mugs. There’s also a cleaning mode for regular descaling.
At 10.5 x 7 x 13.5 inches, this coffee maker is not unnecessarily large and can live on the countertop of nearly any size kitchen. Making hot or iced coffee with this machine does not disappoint.
Best Drip: Hamilton Beach 2-Way Brewer with 12-Cup Carafe
The Hamilton Beach is an affordable drip coffee maker that produces good coffee without much fuss. For flexible households with differing coffee needs, this piece of equipment is a must-have.
The big bonus to this machine is its dual capacity: brewers can use it to make a full 12-cup carafe of coffee or, alternately, to make a single-serving cup (which is ideal for smaller households, late-afternoon coffee, sweet pick-me-ups, or coffee-on-the-go).
The 15 x 10 x 12.5-inch machine is fully programmable for a fresh cup when you wake up and automatically shuts off after two hours. There’s also a brew strength selector for those who like a bold cup of coffee. This coffee maker is also easy to clean and durable and will stand up to whatever you happen to throw at it, proverbially speaking.
Best Pod: Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker
The pod is definitely not for everybody, but if you’re interested in that instant gratification coffee-based lifestyle, the Keurig K-Café is the machine for you.
Compared with other types of Keurig machines, the K-Café is the most flexible, with options for coffees, lattés, cappuccinos, and more. (A dishwasher-safe milk frother is included.) The 60-ounce reservoir makes it possible to brew up to six cups of coffee at a time without refilling. With its Smart Start function, the machine simultaneously heats up and brews coffee, so there’s no waiting.
The K-Café can also accommodate travel mugs up to 7.2 inches tall. The machine’s energy-efficient setting automatically turns off two hours after brewing. And because it makes small volumes, the Keurig is also great for recipes that require a little bit of coffee. This way, you don’t have to brew a whole pot.
Related: The Best Nespresso Machines
Best Single Serve: Cuisinart SS-10 Premium Single-Serve Coffeemaker in Matte Black
Cuisinart’s single-cup coffee maker offers five different cup settings, from 4 to 12 ounces, making it flexible for one; both small- and large-cup coffee drinkers can be accommodated here. Brewing is fast, so you won’t have to wait too long for your cup to arrive, another asset of this high-quality machine. It is compatible with K-Cups but also comes with a removable filter cup so you can enjoy your favorite coffee.
In addition to coffee, this coffee maker has a hot water button, which can make hot chocolate, tea, alternative hot beverages, and even instant soup. An automatic rinse feature cleans the machine in between cups, and the 72-ounce water reservoir, which has its own charcoal filter, can be removed for cleaning. The machine is a little on the large side, so it can be challenging to keep on the counter. But overall, it’s the best bet for small households.
Best French Press: Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker
The French press is a decidedly low-tech way of getting your coffee, and for some, it remains the only way. Bodum has long reigned as the king of the French press, and they continue to show their force in the field with the Chambord model, which makes pristine coffee from its glass carafe.
Although some French presses are known to leave behind stray grounds, that is not the case with the Chambord. From the petite 12-ounce to the 51-ounce option, it’s an elegant piece of equipment that’s easy to store (and appealing to look at, should you prefer to leave it on the countertop). After adding your grounds and hot water, brewing only takes four minutes before you take the plunge. A spill-proof lid and strong carafe keep messes to a minimum, and it’s all dishwasher safe.
French presses are also flexible; you can use them to brew tea or cold brew if you wish. A great choice for those who are not committed to a full coffee maker but who still want the ability to brew when the mood hits.
Related: The Best Milk Frothers
Best Professional: Technivorm Moccamaster 79112 KBT Coffee Brewer
You get what you pay for with this upscale model, which is renowned for its even brewing and temperature control. This is a durable machine that will last, too, so you’re investing in a coffee maker that will be around for the long haul.
The Moccamaster brews 40 ounces of coffee in six minutes with ideal brew saturation and the water heated to between 196 and 205 degrees. The brew basket can be manually adjusted should you want a longer steep. The thermal carafe keeps your coffee hot for up to an hour, with an included travel lid if you need more time than that.
Another benefit to this machine is the way that it looks. Three different slick, aesthetically pleasant designs make this machine well suited for countertop use, especially if your kitchen tends toward the modern. This is the machine for you if you’re looking for a long-lasting, good-looking coffee maker that makes consistently delicious coffee.
Best Espresso Maker: Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine
Espresso drinkers require a specific kind of apparatus for their tightly packed, concentrated grounds, and Breville’s The Barista Express is one of the best. With its built-in grinder, you can brew your coffee to order. In addition to espresso, an attached steam wand means you can also serve up espresso-based drinks, like cappuccinos and lattés.
What sets this espresso machine apart is the conical burr grinder that places ground beans straight into the portafilter. Then your espresso is brewed with increasing water pressure, at the optimal water temperature, for the perfect cup. You can manually change grind size to your desired liking, and it comes with interchangeable filters.
For serious espresso drinkers, this is an incredible option that will definitely last.
Related: The Best Espresso Machines
With a thermal carafe to keep coffee hot, a sleek design, a programmable timer, and consistently high-quality coffee, the OXO Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker (view at Amazon) is our top pick. But if you’re in the market for an upgraded model that brews coffee in four minutes and gets high marks for design and durability, consider the Technivorm Moccamaster Coffee Brewer 40-Ounce (view at Amazon).
What to Look For in a Coffee Maker
In order to pare down what type of coffee maker is best for you, consider your own preferences. How much coffee do you drink? What type? Drip coffee makers are preferable for those who prefer to use ground coffee, while low-tech coffee makers like the French press are ideal for those who prefer to grind their own. Small households can benefit from single-serve makers, although some coffee makers offer options for a single cup or whole pot.
The size and capacity of the coffee maker you choose will depend on how much coffee you drink, how many people drink coffee in your home, and how large your kitchen area is. If you plan on leaving your coffee maker out on the counter, don’t forget to check the measurements beneath your cabinetry.
Not everyone will use some of the features provided by some coffee makers like programmable timers and temperature control. But if you are interested in more advanced features, the price will likely accompany the extras, so be aware as you shop.
Do all coffee makers need filters?
The quick answer here is: no. Coffee makers like the French press, where grounds are poured directly into the apparatus, do not require filters. Espresso machines can also be filter-free appliances, though they need to be cleaned with more regularity as a result. Drip coffee makers, however, do require a filter. Some use paper, and others use reusable plastic or metal baskets.
Are the materials safe?
Since you’ll be drinking from a coffee maker regularly, it’s normal to wonder about the materials used to make your coffee machine. Even coffee makers that use plastics that contain BPA, a chemical that should be avoided, typically only use them in areas like the base, which has no contact with either the coffee or the water, meaning that no toxins are transferred in brewing.
How long do coffee makers last?
An average coffee maker will last about five years, though some higher quality machines can last a full decade. In order to get more length out of your coffee maker, clean and descale it regularly. To descale a coffee maker, all you need is water and white vinegar.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Hannah Selinger has written about food and drinks for local and national publications since 2015. A former sommelier, Hannah has worked for some of New York’s top restaurant groups, including Laurent Tourondel’s BLT group and David Chang’s Momofuku group. Her work has appeared in Eater, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Wine Enthusiast, and more. Hannah lives with a coffee-obsessive, whose unparalleled taste informs her high level of coffee-based knowledge.
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