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Coffee Maker Reviews

By: Kelly Burgess on October 11, 2017

Editor's note:
Some coffee makers are just destined to become classics, and for this update that means Cuisinart and Bonavita still rule the roast; with a few others running close behind. And, if you're not a coffee snob, Hamilton Beach and Mr. Coffee -- two big names in coffee makers -- will give you a buzz without dinging your wallet.

Cuisinart DCC-3200 Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Capacity - 14 cups Programmable - Yes Pause and brew - Yes

Best drip coffee maker

The 14-cup Cuisinart DCC-3200 is a very popular option in a line of well-reviewed coffee makers that get raves from experts and owners for producing hot, flavorful coffee. Owners love the variety of adjustments, which include brew strength settings as well as an adjustable keep warm feature. The DCC-3200 is fully programmable; you can set it for up to 24 hours in advance, and an alert tone sounds when the coffee is ready. See our full review »

Buy for $80.99
Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Coffee Maker 49467 Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Capacity - 12 cups Programmable - Yes Pause and brew - Yes

Best budget drip coffee maker

Experts and owners give the Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Coffee Maker 49467 high praise for its simplicity and for its ability to brew an excellent cup of coffee. In spite of its tiny price, it has the features that are most popular on coffee makers -- programmable timer, pause and brew and auto shutoff. The carafe and filter basket are dishwasher safe, and an optional Medelco #4 Cone Permanent Filter (Est. $5) makes it even more affordable. See our full review »

Buy for $34.99
Cuisinart DGB-550BK Grind & Brew Review
Also Consider
Specs that Matter Capacity - 12 cups Programmable - Yes Pause and brew - Yes

Best grind and brew coffee maker

The Cuisinart DGB-550BK Grind & Brew was made for those who love fresh ground coffee, but want a minimum of hassle. Just measure the beans into the hopper, pour the water in the reservoir, then set it and forget it. Reviewers say that the DGB-700BC brews an excellent cup of coffee and is easy to use and clean. Many add that it makes waking up in the morning an olfactory pleasure.

Buy for $70.99
Bonavita BV 1900TS Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Capacity - 8 cups Programmable - No Pause and brew - No

Best thermal coffee maker

Coffee freaks and geeks agree: the best coffee makers are those that use "showerhead" technology, and among those the Bonavita BV 1900TS is a top choice for both price and performance. Experts say it makes a superior pot of coffee quickly and consistently -- taking about seven minutes to brew a full, 8-cup pot. It brews coffee at the ideal temperature range and then keeps it hot for hours in the thermal carafe. See our full review »

Buy for $131.99
Mr. Coffee BVMC-PSTX91 Review
Also Consider
Specs that Matter Capacity -- 10 cups Programmable -- Yes Pause and brew -- Yes

Budget thermal coffee maker

If you want the perks of a thermal coffee maker, but don't want prices that kill your caffeine buzz, look no further than the Mr. Coffee BVMC-PSTX91. It gets raves for its unique, side-fill design that's easy to use, and for making an excellent cup of coffee every time. The thermal carafe keeps coffee hot for hours, users say, and they love the fact that this Mr. Coffee is programmable so they can wake to hot coffee.

Buy for $69.93
Presto 12-cup Stainless Steel Coffee Maker
Also Consider
Specs that Matter Capacity - 12 cups Programmable - No Pause and brew - N/A

Coffee percolator

If you love a strong cup of coffee and don't like a lot of fuss, you may want to go back to basics by using an electric percolator -- and coffee lovers say there's no better choice than the Presto 12-cup Stainless Steel Coffee Maker. It makes from two to 12 cups of coffee is less than a minute, and the coffee is tasty and stays hot for hours. The Presto features a classic design and is very easy to use, too.

Buy for $52.50

Types of Coffee Makers

Drip Coffee Makers

Drip coffee makers can make multiple cups of coffee, usually in a fairly short period of time. Coffee grounds are placed into a filter, water is added to a separate reservoir, the water heats up, is poured over the grounds, and the brewed coffee drips into an included glass carafe. The carafe sits on a heating element that keeps the coffee hot, usually for several hours. Drip coffee machines can be very simple -- just an on/off switch -- or highly programmable with clocks, delayed start and brew-strength settings. Most have some sort of automatic shut-off just in case you forget.

Grind and Brew Coffee Makers

Most people are fine with buying pre-ground coffee, which is available in a vast array of flavors and blends, but there are plenty who prefer to buy whole beans and grind them at home. The idea is that the fresher the ground coffee, the more flavorful the coffee will be. In addition, grinding your own beans lets you tweak the size of the grind, thus more specifically customizing the final flavor. Most people who grind their own beans use a separate coffee grinder (which are covered in their own report), but many love being able to put the coffee beans into one container, water in the other, program the machine, and walk away. Expert reviewers often pan grind and brew coffee makers, but users give them a lot of love, and that's what's most important.

Thermal Coffee Makers

While these are also drip coffee makers, they do not have a hot plate. Rather, they have a thermal carafe instead of the heated pad that a glass carafe sets on that keeps coffee hot. Thermal carafes can usually keep coffee hot for up to two hours, but sometimes for much longer. A lot of people prefer this type of coffee maker because they say keeping coffee hot in a container, rather than on a hot plate, better maintains the original flavor.

Coffee Percolators

Remember these? They were probably a fixture on your grandparents' (or parents') counter and they're still wildly popular with people who want to brew a hot, strong pot of coffee as quickly as possible. They couldn't be simpler to use and, although they lack features, many people hook them up to a separate programmable timer so they can wake up to a ready pot.

We also recommend these coffee products:

In this report, we cover full-size coffee makers. If you prefer a making one cup at a time, or are into lovingly preparing each cup from scratch as pour-over and French press aficionados do, see our report on one-cup coffee makers. Also, no serious coffee fanatic's life (or kitchen) is complete without a good coffee grinder for that perfect blend every time.

Finding The Best Coffee Makers
Our Sources
"Coffee makers"
"Best Coffee Maker (Automatic Drip) "
"The Best Coffee Maker"

Of all of the small appliances we review, it's probably safe to say that coffee makers get the most contradictory ratings of all. For everyone who absolutely loves their coffee machine, there is an equal number who insist that it is the worst thing they've ever owned. For every expert that puts a specific coffee maker at the top of their test or list, there are hundreds of owners who say that same machine is nothing but a buzz kill.

We could blame this disconnect on cranky people who post reviews before they've had their first caffeine fix of the day, but, in fact, this merely highlights how important it is to understand exactly what type of coffee maker you want before you buy one. People who love a lot of bells and whistles and buy an expensive coffee maker whose sole function is to customize the act of coffee making are often sorely disappointed in their purchase because they wanted a programmable timer, brew strength settings, a clock, pause and serve functions, or other conveniences. By the same token, if you like to be able to tweak and customize every pot you make, a $40 drip coffee maker that's loaded down with electronic controls won't give you what you want.

To find the best coffee makers in all of this confusion, we pored over the results of professional tests from ConsumerReports.org, Cook's Illustrated and TheSweethome.com, read up on what the coffee "experts" had to say, and evaluated thousands of owner reviews. Fortunately, in spite of the strong opinions of everyone involved, we were able to find some consensus in all the noise to recommend the best coffee makers around, from high-end specialty brewers to your basic set it and forget it models. If you're passionate about coffee, one of these will give you the jolt you need.

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