The classic drip coffee maker is simple but offers great and consistent results. It's no surprise that these are often considered the best coffee makers, and are so ubiquitous.
Drip coffee is simple: water is pulled through coffee grounds by gravity, and as it flows down, it absorbs the flavors and oils from coffee. The last step is going through a filter which removes any sediments.
Drip coffee makers are easy to use and very versatile: many brewers have glass or thermal carafes along with non-stick warming plates which make sure that the coffee will be still warm for an extended time after the brewing is complete.
What kind of coffee maker should you get?
For most of us, coffee is an essential part of our morning routine. Personally, I go to sleep looking forward to a hot cup of coffee in the morning.
But good coffee can take a lot of work, especially if you make pour-over or french press coffee. While those are perfectly legitimate and delicious ways to make coffee, not everyone will be willing to put in the effort to brew first thing in the morning.
You also have an option to use an espresso machine, but that’s also a bit of effort.
Add this to the fact that you may have many household members in line for a cup of coffee, and the effort increases that much more.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have single-serve coffee makers like Keurigs and Nespresso that require zero effort altogether. Just pop in a pod and you’ll have a hot cup of coffee in less than a minute.
However, single-serve coffee is of questionable quality and coffee aficionados won’t touch a Keurig with a ten foot pole.
The sweet spot between excessive work and excessive convenience, however, is with drip coffee makers.
What’s so special about drip coffee makers?
Drip coffee makers work by dripping hot water through coffee grounds in a filter. The water is pulled through the coffee grounds by gravity, and they absorb flavors on the way down.
Most drip coffee makers can brew a variety of cup sizes from just 4 cups in small coffee machines up to 8 and 12 cups.
The differences between cheap and high-end drip machines are as follows:
Some coffee makers let you program the brew cycle so the coffee will start brewing at a particular time. This is especially useful for having a cup of coffee ready for you first thing in the morning.
The only disadvantage here is that you have to pre-ground your coffee 10-12 hours before you brew, which may slightly affect the freshness.
If nothing beats a hot cup of coffee immediately after you wake up, though, you may find this to be a non-issue.
Not all drip coffee makers brew the same way! Cheaper coffee makers may not have much temperature control, and just end up dumping water on the coffee grounds.
More expensive machines have better-controlled brews. Some coffee makers have a pre-wetting stage, where the machine will first wet the coffee with a small amount of water to bloom the coffee, then shower the coffee grounds for even distribution of water.
Heating plates and thermal carafes
Most drip coffee makers have some form of heating mechanism: either a heating plate that the glass carafe sits on or a thermal carafe.
Heating plates heat the coffee from the bottom up, and if you leave the pot on a heating plate for too long, you’ll end up overcooking the coffee.
Thermal carafes are much better for keeping your coffee warm, as they uniformly keep the coffee heated without overcooking it and messing up the flavor.
Best Drip Coffee Maker For The Money: Our Favorite Picks
Technivorm Moccamaster: best high-end gourmet coffee maker
The Technivorm Moccamaster is royalty in the drip coffee world. It’s a great machine that’s handcrafted – something that can’t be said for other coffee makers.
It is certified by both the SCAA(Specialty Coffee Association of America) and the ECBS(European Coffee Brewing Center). Very few coffee makers can boast of having both certifications!
The machine brews up to 5 cups in one go, which is less than what other coffee machines can do, but each cup will probably be the best gourmet coffee you’ve had in your life.
The temperature-controlled brew takes place through a showerhead with 9 holes which extracts all the flavor evenly from your coffee.
If you happen to brew less than 5 cups, a small lever lets you adjust the water flow so you can concentrate the showering on the grounds and not anywhere else.
A single button gets the brew started, and that’s all you need to do for good coffee.
It’s worth noting that any coffee machine is only as good as the coffee you put into it: pairing fresh coffee beans with this coffee maker will result in a cup of heaven.
- 5 year warranty
- Handcrafted and great design
- Excellent coffee brewing
- Not programmable
- Not dishwasher safe
OXO Brew 9 Cup Coffee Maker
The OXO Brew 9 Cup coffee maker is one of the coolest coffee makers on our list. It seems they have gotten the inspiration for the brewing system from the extremely popular Technivorm Moccamaster.
The aesthetics of this drip coffee maker are very pleasing and a single dial controls the brewing. You can use the one dial to set the number of cups to brew, as well as set the brew timer up to 24 hours.
You also get a double-walled thermal carafe to keep your brew nice and warm for up to a couple of hours after brewing.
The brewing system is temperature-controlled and uses a rain shower head to evenly distribute water all over the coffee grounds.
The OXO is SCAA-certified, so you know you’ll get very good tasting coffee.
- Good value for features
- Sleek looks
- Relatively unknown brand name
Black and Decker 12 Cup Coffee Maker: Best 12 Cup Coffee Maker With Thermal Carafe
The Black and Decker CM2035B is one of our favorite 12 cup coffee makers. If you need something that can brew a lot of cups in one go, the CM2035B is a superb option.
The brewing system uses what Black and Decker calls the EvenStream Showerhead, which wets all the coffee grounds easily for maximum flavor extraction and consistency.
You can program the coffee maker to brew at a specific time(in a 24 hour period), and the coffee maker displays how much time has passed since the coffee was last brewed. This is a super neat function to make sure you’re picking up a fresh cup of coffee.
Just because this is a 12 cup coffee machine doesn’t mean you can’t brew less coffee: there is a function for brewing 1-4 cups as well.
As with most coffee machines in this category, you can pause the brew to pour yourself a cup before the rest of the coffee finishes brewing.
The coffee brews into a stainless steel thermal carafe which is vacuum insulated and double walled to keep your coffee warm for hours.
- Great value for money
- Can brew between 1 to 12 cups
- No-spill spout
- Not quite as long lasting as other coffee makers
Bonavita BV1900 8-Cup Coffee Maker: best tasting coffee maker
The Bonavita Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker is a great SCAA-certified machine that makes coffee that lives up to the Golden Standard. The Bonavita has been independently tested to meet these standards, which is why we consider it the best tasting coffee maker.
Why is this coffee maker so good?
The 1500 watt heating element makes sure the water temperature is consistent throughout the brew. This helps with even extraction.
You can brew with a pre-infusion stage that first blooms the coffee, after which the grounds are showered with an even distribution of hot water.
The operation is quite straightforward: one touch of a button and the machine starts brewing.
The carafe lid, filter basket, and showerhead are all dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
However, you should note that this coffee maker is not programmable, so you’ll need to set up the brew yourself right before making your coffee.
It takes about 6 minutes to brew a full 8 cups with this drip coffee maker.
- SCAA certified coffee machine that makes great tasting coffee
- Solid construction of stainless steel and BPA free plastic
- Available with a glass carafe and heating plate or thermal carafe
- Not programmable
BUNN GRB Velocity Brew 10-Cup Home Coffee Brewer: fastest coffee maker
The BUNN GRB Velocity Brew coffee maker makes our list of the best coffee maker choices for one main reason: it’s hella fast.
From the time you pour water into the water tank, it takes just 3 minutes to brew a whole pot of coffee.
A showerhead evenly distributes water all over the coffee grounds for even extraction and good flavor.
Bunn have done something unique with the glass carafe spout: they’ve made it in a way that they claim reduces spills when you pour. I am not totally convinced, but it’s a good sales pitch.
One thing you must note here is that the heating element will only work as long as the coffee maker is always on. The 3 minute brew does not work if you’re going to unplug the machine and plug it back in.
- Pulsing showerhead for even saturation
- Extremely fast 3 minute brews
- Not programmable
- Requires a slow flow nozzle in some cases where water flow is too fast
Cuisinart Brew Central DCC-1200 12 Cup Coffeemaker: best programmable coffee maker
The Cuisinart Brew Central is an incredibly sleek and functional coffee maker that’s built well and will look great on your kitchen counter.
We really like the fact that it has a built-in charcoal water filter as well as a permanent gold-tone filter so you can use it without needing to purchase any extra paper filters.
You can program a brew for up to 24 hours, and also enable auto shut-off for up to 4 hours so you don’t need to worry about forgetting to turn the machine off.
In case you’re making less than 5 cups of coffee, there is a dedicated mode for that so you don’t have to brew a full pot every single time.
There’s no thermal carafe, but the glass carafe sits on a metal plate that you can adjust the heat setting for from low to high. This way you can prevent unnecessarily burning your coffee after brewing it!
- Very sleek profile
- Option for brewing 1 to 4cups of coffee
- Pot is dishwasher safe
- Cuisinart customer service is not the best
Mr Coffee Simple Brew Coffee Maker: best simple coffee maker
It’s no coincidence that our choice for the best simple coffee maker is the basic but functional Mr Coffee Simple Brew.
If you want something that makes a fresh pot of coffee without much hassle and without digging too deep into your pockets, the Simple Brew is a good choice.
At this price point, don’t expect any fancy features like precision temperature control or programmable brewing.
The heating element is 650 watts, which is much less than the 1400 watts you’d find on a more expensive brewer. Still, the resulting coffee is not that bad.
There is a pause brew feature to pull out the carafe and pour yourself one cup as you wait for the rest to brew.
The main selling point of the Simple Brew is the price point. If you have the budget, we really do recommend a slightly higher-end machine.
- Very cheap
- You get what you pay for – many people feel the coffee is disappointing
Zojirushi EC-YGC120 Fresh Brew Plus Coffee Maker: best coffee maker for iced coffee
The Zojirushi EC-YGC120 is a pretty unique offering on the market mainly because of the nifty iced coffee function.
To brew iced coffee, fill the included ice canister to the recommended amount with ice and place it in the glass carafe. Then brew coffee as you would – the coffee drips into the ice canister, from where it flows out into the carafe.
If you’re brewing iced coffee, the maximum capacity drops to 6 cups from 12 for hot coffee.
Even then, it holds its own as a very good coffee maker. The brew is temperature controlled at 200 degrees F which results in a very rich and flavorful cup.
The carafe is easy to clean and rests on a warming plate with four settings: off, low, medium, and high.
It’s really neat that you can turn the warming plate off. This way you can prevent any unnecessary overheating of your coffee.
The Zojirushi coffee maker comes with a permanent filter but you can also use paper filters if you prefer.
- Brews iced and hot coffee
- The water tank and filter basket are removable
- Very rich and flavorful coffee
- Quite large – not suitable for smaller kitchens
Cuisinart DGB-800 Automatic Coffee Maker: best drip coffee maker with grinder
Cuisinart’s DGB-800 brewer is one of our favorite coffee makers because it has a grinder built in. The key to great coffee every single time is to grind just before you brew, and the DGB-800 combines grinding with brewing for an incredibly fresh cup every single time.
You simply add beans to the 1/2 lb capacity hopper and the lid goes on with an airtight seal to ensure freshness.
When you want to brew, just press a button and the machine will grind the beans and start the brew. Please note that you need to measure out the beans before adding them to the hopper, as it will grind everything!
You can also choose flavor strengths from regular, strong, and extra-strong.
In case you want to brew with pre-ground coffee, you can turn the grinder off and add grounds directly to the filter basket, too.
The DGB-800 comes in another version with a thermal carafe. That version is significantly more expensive, though.
- Built in grinder for super fresh coffee every single time
- Programmable up to 24 hours and has auto off as well
- Charcoal filter and gold-tone filter included
- You need to measure out the beans before each brew
- Cleaning process is cumbersome
Ninja CM407 Coffee Maker: best specialty coffee maker
The Ninja Coffee Bar CM407 is an incredibly versatile coffee machine that can brew 10 cups of drip coffee or even concentrated coffee shots for lattes, macchiatos, cappuccinos, and more.
Let’s talk about the drip side first.
The CM407 is SCAA certified, which means it brews temperature-controlled, golden-standard coffee. The resulting cup will be full of flavor and rich.
There is a permanent filter built in, or you can use paper filters – whatever works better for you. The thermal carafe ensures that your coffee stays hot for even a long time after you finish brewing.
The aesthetics of the machine are super cool, too – it’s sure to be a conversation piece in your kitchen!
You can also brew over ice to make iced coffee, much like the Zoijirushi machine above.
You have the choice of 6 brew sizes: single cup, XL single cup, travel mug, XL travel mug, half carafe(5 cups), or full carafe(10 cups).
If you’re in the mood for specialty coffee, the Ninja can brew a coffee shot to which you can add frothed milk. The milk frother is built in and folds away neatly so it does not get in the way when you are not using it.
- Brews drip or specialty coffee
- Brew quality is great
- Built in milk frother
- Coffee concentrate is not the same as espresso, so manage your expectations
More coffee maker reviews
How to get the most out of your coffee maker
Now that you’ve got yourself a good coffee machine, here are a few useful tips to make sure you brew great coffee every single time.
Use freshly roasted coffee beans
The secret to good coffee is good coffee beans. For optimum results, you want to use freshly roasted coffee beans. Stay away from supermarket coffee!
Once you start drinking coffee made from freshly roasted beans, I promise you that you’ll never go back to pre-ground coffee.
Grind your coffee just before brewing
As soon as you grind coffee beans, they begin losing their freshness and you have a very limited window to brew coffee for best results.
Ideally, you want to grind right before you brew. This does not really work with a programmable brew, but grinding a few hours before is always going to be better than buying pre-ground coffee that was ground who knows how many months ago.
It’s also important to get the grind size correct. Drip coffee typically uses a medium grind, which falls between an espresso grind and a french press grind.
I hope this overview of the best coffee machine was useful! There’s a reason that drip coffee makers are commonly understood as just coffee makers, and that’s because this is a timeless method of brewing.
They’re the best way to get a rich, wholesome cup of coffee every single time!
Last update on 2021-02-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API