Thanks to its ease of use and intuitive programming, the Cuisinart Brew Central DCC-1200 (*Est. $80) receives more positive feedback than any other standard coffee maker. This 12-cup automatic-drip brewer is packed with features, including an adjustable hot plate (low, medium or high) to keep coffee at your preferred temperature and a zero- to four-hour, automatic shut-off in case you forget to turn it off before leaving home. If you drink just a cup or two, you'll appreciate the capability to make smaller batches if you need less than five cups.
If you consistently brew just a few cups, the Mr. Coffee DRX5 (*Est. $ 25) has a four-cup capacity and the same 24-hour programming function as the Cuisinart Brew Central DCC-1200, but at a fraction of the cost. However, the Mr. Coffee DRX5 doesn't have an adjustable hot plate, and its auto shut-off feature is permanently set to two hours.
For those who need the capacity of the Cuisinart Brew Central DCC-1200 but not its bells and whistles, the Mr. Coffee VBX23 12-cup programmable coffee maker (*Est. $35) is worth considering. Aside from capacity, its feature lineup is identical to the smaller Mr. Coffee DRX5.