Do you want a hot plate or thermal coffee maker? The main difference between thermal coffee makers and glass carafe coffee makers is that thermal coffee makers brew directly into an insulated carafe instead of a glass carafe. These insulated carafes are designed to maintain hotter temperatures after coffee is brewed, thus eliminating the need for a warming plate and the continual cooking that a heating element causes. Thermal coffee pots get slightly better reviews for flavor, but glass carafe coffee makers are generally less expensive -- sometimes substantially so -- and often draw good user reviews for value, durability and the quality of coffee they produce.
Do you prefer to grind your own beans? Coffee grinders are available as stand-alone units or as a built-in component of grinder-brewer combos. The latter are more convenient, and take up less storage space, but coffee purists often prefer the control that a separate grinder offers them.
Measure your cabinets. Some coffee makers are taller, requiring more clearance between countertops and the bottom of your cabinets. If your coffee maker is too tall to fit, you'll need to determine where you'll store it when it's not in use. Also, if you're looking at one where the reservoir is on top of the coffee maker, be sure there's enough clearance to open it properly.
Is a manual coffee maker right for you? If flavor is your top priority, and you don't mind taking extra time to produce the perfect cup of Joe, you might consider a specialty one-cup coffee maker, like a French press or pourover model. Many coffee devotees say these manual coffee-press gadgets allow for the most control over each necessary variable to extract the most flavor from ground coffee beans.
Check for specific grind requirements. Certain types of coffee makers perform better with finer or coarser grinds than what's used in most automatic drip coffee makers.