Everyone understands the need for a great cup of coffee.
To some, coffee provides the jolt of energy they need to get the day started. To others, it’s simply a delicious beverage that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. No matter how you take your coffee or why you drink it, a whopping 64% of adults in the United States drink at least one cup of coffee a day. Many of us drink significantly more.
Going to a coffee shop daily to get your caffeine fix can get costly fast. The good news is that cafe quality coffee drinks are easily attainable at home with the right tools. Same as any other home product, you want to find the best to add to your wedding registry, and coffee makers are no exception.
Before pulling the trigger and adding just any coffee maker to your registry, let’s figure out which one is right for your tastes and needs. Just like coffee’s complex flavors and notes, coffee makers have their own complexities and specificities that need to be explored.
Best Coffee Makers: Score Sheet
For the sake of keeping our product analysis simple, we’ll only be outlining the best coffee makers for the home for drip, press/plunger, pour over, and cold brew. We’ll reserve espresso machines, single-serving, and multi-functional coffee makers for later reviews.
Our top picks for best coffee makers includes analyses of real customer reviews, Consumer Reports, and overall value.
|Best Coffee Makers||Amazon Score||Blueprint Score||Overall Score|
|Cuisinart PerfectTemp 14-Cup Programmable||4.2||4.4||4.3|
|Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Programmable||3.4||4.2||3.6|
|Chemex 8-Cup Pour-Over Coffee Maker||4.5||4.5||4.5|
|Bodum Brazil 8-Cup French Press||4.3||4.7||4.4|
|Melitta 6-Cup Pour-Over with Carafe||4.4||4.6||4.5|
|Ovalware 1L Cold Brew Coffee Maker||4.4||4.6||4.5|
How Do You Like Your Coffee?
There are some coffee drinks that you’ll always prefer to buy from your favorite coffee shop. And then there’s the coffee you like to brew and enjoy at home. Unless you’re a seasoned barista with all the coffee bells and whistles at home, that nonfat triple mocha java latte may be a bit tricky to make for yourself before work.
Are you willing to get all the equipment to prepare a perfectly brewed cappuccino with a milk steamer? Or will a perfectly brewed drip or pressed cup of coffee more your taste? Think of how you like to take your coffee and how much work you want to put into your coffee at home before buying.
Ways to Brew Coffee
It’s important to know how you prefer to drink your coffee at home before you decide on the best coffee maker for your needs.
Drip coffee is one of the most popular, and simplest ways, to brew coffee because it can be done easily at home. Standard electric coffee pots, ceramic or glass drippers, and the Chemex are all considered pour-over or drip coffee makers.
The AeroPress and French press are the most commonly known pressed coffees. This method is similar to brewing loose leaf tea. Measured coffee grounds are placed in the pitcher and hot water is poured on top. One the coffee grounds have steeped to your liking, a plunger or press pushes and traps the grounds to the bottom and the delicious coffee is left to drink in the pitcher.
Espresso is generally the base of most specialty coffee beverages you find at coffee shops: lattes, cappuccini, americanos, and even frappes. Extra fine coffee grounds are pressed and then brewed with very little, but very hot water, thus producing a strong and condensed shot of coffee. Steamed milk, hot water, and flavorings are added to create new drinks, but some people love the effect of drinking the espresso straight.
Cold brew coffee is all the rage right now—even coffee shops are creating a slurry of their own cold brew drinks. It’s well loved by those that prefer cold, less acidic coffee drinks. Cold brew packs a nice caffeine punch and has an impressively long refrigerator shelf life. Stir in your favorite milk, creamer, sweetener—or even coconut La Croix—and you’ve got a fantastic beverage to kickstart your day.
Types of Coffee Makers for the Home
Drip electric coffee pots are some of the most common and least fussy methods to brew coffee at home. They can make anywhere from 4-12 cups of coffee at once—just add the filter, measure the grinds, pour water in the receptacle, and turn it on. Some come with handy timers and additional programming, so you can set it up the night before and wake up to a pot of fresh coffee.
We’re sure you’ve heard the buzzwords “pour over coffee” floating around, and it turns out it’s another super easy—albeit more time consuming and manual—way to brew coffee at home. The process is simple: coffee grounds are held in a filter (usually paper), and boiling water is poured over the grounds until they’re wet. Let them sit for 30 seconds to “bloom” and slowly pour the rest of the water.
The speed at which the hot water is poured over the grounds, as well as the size of the grounds themselves, depends on your specific tastes tastes and/or the coffee maker you’re using. The slower you pour the hot water, the stronger your coffee will be. We can smell it now.
A French press may sound fancy, but it’s also one of the easiest ways to brew a few cups of coffee at home. The whole apparatus consists of a carafe, a plunger, and a filter screen. French presses come in a variety of sizes, but most conventional models can brew between 1-8 cups of coffee.
The plunger and the filter screen are attached and should be removed to add the coffee grains to the carafe, depending on how many cups you’re brewing. Boiling water is poured to the cup measurement of your choosing, and the plunger/filter are inserted. Once the coffee steeps to your desired potency, the plunger is pressed down to trap the coffee grains at the bottom of the carafe. Pour the coffee in to your favorite mug or container and enjoy.
The Chemex is an increasingly hip way to make pour over coffee in a beautifully designed, all-in-one carafe. Chemex has specialty cone-shaped filters that are thicker, thus making them more sturdy. The coffee grounds are poured into the filter that rests on the opening of the carafe. Boiling water is then poured over the grounds just enough to saturate them, wait 30 seconds or so (this allows the grounds to bloom and brew), and slowly pour the remaining water until enough coffee is made. The filter is discarded, and coffee can be served directly out of the carafe.
Cold Brew Maker
Coffee grounds are placed in a very fine, often metal, filter and placed into a carafe. The carafe is usually made from high quality glass for maintaining the coffee’s flavor. Cold, filtered water is poured into the filter until the carafe is full, and the grounds steep in the fridge until you’ve reached your desired boldness. 8-10 hours should do the trick for easy drinking, and 12-24 hours will achieve a deep cold brew concentrate that can be mixed with water, ice, milk, or your favorite mixers.
Once the cold brew is exactly how you like it, remove and clean the filter, and enjoy the cold brew for up to two weeks. Yes—two weeks!
Single serving coffee makers are well-loved for their convenience, but probably aren’t the best option for those who enjoy more than one cup of coffee at a time. The coffee ground pods for single serving coffee makers are inserted, and the machine brews the coffee directly into your mug.
Some single serving coffee makers will also steam milk to make your favorite specialty coffee drinks, but they can get costly. Most basic models don’t come cheap either, and the coffee pods tend to be more expensive overall than buying your own coffee beans or grounds.
Best Programmable Coffee Maker
- Coffee maker allows brews between 1-14 cups
- Glass carafe with plastic handle
- Stainless steel body with LCD digital screen and programming capabilities, including clock, bold flavor setting, auto brew, or small batch brew (1-4 cups)
- Includes gold tone reusable filter and fits #4 cone paper filters
- Includes 3-year manufacturer warranty
- Can make an entire pot of coffee in quickly—typically around 10 minutes for the full 14 cups
- This style of coffee maker can be tricky to clean: it may take up to several cycles of brewing hot water with a splash of vinegar to clean thoroughly
- The lid that opens the water reservoir doesn’t open far enough to add water with the carafe. You’ll have to use a smaller container to get water in the reservoir without spilling
Best Budget Programmable Coffee Maker
- Glass carafe with plastic handle holds up to 12 cups of coffee
- Digital screen displays clock and button settings allow for programmed delayed brew, brew strength, and auto pause for when you want to fill up your mug while brewing
- Includes filter basket that can be removed for easy cleaning and fits 8-12 cup paper filters
- Transparent water-fill gauge is visible from both sides of the coffee maker for easy measuring
- Coffee maker keeps pot of coffee hot for up to two hours after it’s been brewed
- There is no light on the digital screen, so it could be difficult to read from a distance or certain angles
- Some reviewers have mentioned that the machine drips slightly when the carafe is removed, spilling coffee onto the warming plate
Best All-In-One Pour-Over Coffee Maker
- Chemex carafe is made from borosilicate glass, which is said to prevent odor from being absorbed
- Carafe hourglass shape is designed to hold the cone-shaped filter on top, and collect the brewed coffee at the bottom
- Uses Chemex’s special, three-ply filters
- Heat-safe wood handle allows for easy handling and pouring
- Chemex coffee can be chilled in the refrigerator and coffee can be reheated without loss of flavor
- Chemex is available in 3, 6, 8, or 10-cup sizes
- Carafe can be placed on a glass or gas stove to gently reheat the coffee on low
- Carafe is dishwasher safe
- Because Chemex uses specialty filters, they can get expensive. Some reviewers prefer a reusable filter instead
- The glass carafe is very delicate, and should be handled carefully. Some dishwasher settings may be too rough, and many prefer to wash by hand
Best French Press/Plunger
- Includes 8-cup glass carafe and stainless steel filter and plunger
- No additional filters required
- Brews coffee grounds into delicious coffee in as little as four minutes
- Includes stainless steel spiral plate that helps trap the grounds at the bottom of the carafe while letting water pass through
- Glass beaker/carafe is dishwasher-safe and won’t get cloudy
- Plastic, removable handle and lid make pouring easy and safe
- With use and cleaning, the mesh can get warped and coffee grounds will come through. The mesh can be reshaped to the right size, however
- Some reviewers had trouble re-attaching the plastic base/handle, resulting in a broken beaker
Best Budget Pour-Over Coffee Maker
- Melitta is a long-loved coffee and coffee maker brand
- Box includes plastic dripper, scoop, starter paper filters, and 6-cup glass carafe
- Carafe includes plastic lid that screws on tightly and helps keep the coffee warm
- Plastic dripper can be placed over the carafe, your favorite mug, or container
- Uses size 4 Melitta brand paper coffee filters
- Carafe is microwave and dishwasher safe
- Great for one cup or small-batch coffee drinkers
- Some reviewers have noted that the dripper is too small for the carafe. You may have to brew a couple batches to fill the entire carafe
- Although the carafe is technically dishwasher and microwave safe, it’s very delicate. Hand washing and careful handling may extend its life
Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker
- Box includes 1 litre glass carafe with glass handle, stainless steel fine filter, and airtight stainless steel top
- Carafe has measurements printed on its side for easy measuring
- Unique design meshes function with science, for a sleek look suited for any kitchen (or science lab)
- The carafe is made from delicate-feeling glass, but is strong enough to withstand the dishwasher
- Cap has leak proof rubber lining that also helps to seal in coffee’s flavor for up to 2 weeks in the fridge
- Comes in a slightly larger 1.5L size carafe, as well
- Even though the stainless steel filter is very fine, the sediment from course grounds can still make it through
- Some reviewers have noted that the smaller Ovalware is more durable than the 1.5L carafe, with the 1.5L carafe breaking much easier
You may find the best coffee maker for your needs and rarely visit your neighborhood coffee shop again. Or you may discover that you enjoy variety of coffee drinks and decide you need more than one kind of coffee maker. No matter your preferences, our list of best coffee makers covers all the bases. From hot to cold, speedy to slow brew, automated or manual, your perfect cup of coffee awaits.
What are some of your favorite coffee drinks you don’t bother to make at home? Maybe we can help you find the right products to add to your registry! Tell us all about it on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.