People love drip coffee because it’s affordable, delicious, and convenient, but most people realize that not all drip coffee is created equally. So, how does one find the best drip coffee maker for them? Of course, there are plenty of considerations to factor in, from price to functionality to end results. We made this guide to simplify your search by highlighting some of the best drip coffee makers on the market today and letting you know what sets them apart from the rest.
We researched dozens and dozen of drip coffee makers before making our final decisions. We started off with models from both well-known and lesser-known companies, reviewing manufacturer listings and considering their respective reputations.
After that, we read user reviews from actual customers to get a better idea of how well these coffee makers worked in real life, the sorts of features consumers wanted, and what they liked or would change about each product. It also gave us the opportunity to compare and contrast various products to one another.
Once we narrowed our selection down to fewer than 10 drip coffee makers, we turned to the experts. We spoke directly with and read reviews from former baristas to see what they found most useful and detrimental in drip coffee makers. With their input, we narrowed down the selection to the best five products.
Why buy a drip coffee maker?
When you think of a coffee machine, odds are, you envision a drip coffee maker. They’re considered classics for a reason. Many people love and prefer these devices because they’re so easy to use. All you have to do is insert your filter, fill it with the coffee grounds of your choice, add water, hit a button, and the machine does the rest. They’re great for busy mornings since you can leave the coffee maker to its brewing cycle, work on other parts of your daily routine, and then come back to a fresh vat of steaming hot coffee. They don’t require a hands-on approach or constant maintenance and attention.
Drip coffee makers are known not just for their simplicity but for their speediness. Many are capable of making a vat of coffee within 3 to 10 minutes. And even if you don’t come back for your coffee right away, a drip coffee maker with a thermal carafe will keep your beverage hot for an extended period of time; not all types of coffee makers are capable of this level of temperature regulation.
What should you look for in a drip coffee maker?
- Coffee Quality: Although taste is subjective and based on many factors, there are still things to look for in a coffee maker. Brewing temperature and hot water distribution are especially important, so look for a device with a large “showerhead” that dispenses perfectly heated water evenly over the packed coffee. Additionally, consider which models can keep your coffee hot in the carafe throughout the morning without burning it.
- Advanced Features: Some drip coffee makers have great advanced features that give you more control over your coffee. While these aren’t for everyone (and come with a higher price tag), finding a model with adjustable brew strengths, auto-off functionality, programmability, and an adjustable heat plate can help ensure you get a perfect cup of coffee each morning.
- Quality Carafe: Seek out a model with a no-spill design that is easy to pour without making a mess. Thermal carafes can also be a great value since they keep your coffee hot without using a heating plate, which means more energy savings. Carafes with measurement markings along the side are helpful, too.
Is there anything else worth looking for in a drip coffee maker?
Quantity is an important consideration. Check the maximum and minimum number of ounces or cups of coffee that a machine can make in one brewing session. If you live in a large household with multiple coffee drinkers, a mini model with a 4- or 5-cup capacity probably isn’t going to cut it.
It’s also worth checking how easy a drip coffee maker is to clean. Some carafes and reusable filters are dishwasher safe, which makes this task a lot easier. Round carafes with small necked openings can be tricky to wash by hand, after all. And if you like to use different flavored coffees, you’re probably not going to want the lingering flavors to overlap inside the carafe.
How expensive are drip coffee makers?
You can find models that cost under $50 and others that cost $100 or even well above. There really isn’t a true median or average price for drip coffee makers since they have such a wide cost range. However, it’s safe to say that most will run over $50. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find a good quality model that costs less, but you should be prepared to spend a decent bit of money on a new drip coffee maker.
Should you use paper or reusable filters with a drip coffee maker?
Traditionally, drip coffee makers are paired with paper filters. However, you may want to consider a drip coffee maker that is compatible or comes with a reusable filter. These may be a preferable alternative to paper filters for several reasons. Reusable filters are more eco-friendly since you won’t be throwing out your filter each time you use it, which means less trash. They also save you money in the long run, as you won’t have to buy new paper filters every couple of weeks or months. And reusable filters don’t leach out as much flavor and oil from your coffee grounds as paper filters do.
That said, reusable filters will need to be cleaned frequently since the oil and debris from coffee grounds will accumulate and affect the taste of your coffee. If you use ultra-fine grounds, they may slip through your reusable filter, especially if it’s not a mesh-style filter, which means finding sediment or grains in your coffee. This is rarely a problem with paper filters. And there are biodegradable or recyclable paper filters on the market, though they will be more expensive.
|Our Reviews of the Best Coffee Makers|
|Drip Coffee Makers | Single-Serve Coffee Makers | French Press Coffee Makers | Cold Brew Coffee Makers | Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Makers | Stovetop Coffee Makers | Siphon Coffee Makers | Espresso Machines with Milk Frothers|
BLACK+DECKER 12-Cup Thermal Coffeemaker
This drip coffee maker features a high-quality showerhead for an even brewing process and a double-walled and vacuum-sealed carafe.
Pros: There’s a lot to love about this compact yet high-capacity drip coffee maker. Its 12-cup carafe is double-walled and vacuum-sealed to keep your coffee warm for an extended length of time without its own heating function. It’s thicker, sturdier, and more resistant to stains than a glass model. This drip coffee maker is also easy it is to keep clean. The brew basket is dishwasher-safe (top rack only), and the carafe has an extremely wide mouth to fit your hand and a sponge inside. The automatic shutoff is both a useful safety feature and one that will help save your electricity. The 24-hour auto brew function allows you to program the machine to start making your coffee whenever you want. And the “sneak-a-cup” feature is essentially a pause button that allows you to temporarily halt the flow of your drip coffee as it pours into the carafe and fill yourself a cup without making a mess, then resume brewing.
Cons: The lettering on the buttons and the digital display screen is on the small side, and they aren’t backlit. It’s compatible with paper and reusable filters, but you’ll have to shoulder the added expense of separately supplying your own.
Bottom Line: For those seeking a well-designed coffee maker with some great features, the BLACK+DECKER 12-Cup Thermal Coffee Maker is for you. It has an Evenstream Showerhead that evenly dispenses water over the packed coffee for a reliably delicious brew and easy-to-use settings. The star of the show is the large thermal carafe that can keep coffee warm for hours. Since this model doesn’t use a heating plate, it’s very energy-efficient without making you sacrifice the taste or warmth of your morning cup of joe.
Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Coffee Maker
This budget-friendly drip coffee maker comes in two colors (black and white) and features simple operation.
Pros: Thanks to its simplicity, this is a great drip coffee maker for beginners or those who aren’t particularly good with technology. There’s only one button, the on/off button. And while it’s simple, it still possesses a few useful features. Not only is there an auto-pause function but there are windows on either side of the coffee maker, both clearly marked, to help guide you in filling your machine to the proper amount of water. The other big benefit to such a simple, straightforward drip coffee maker is its affordable price tag.
Cons: The flip side to this drip coffee maker’s simplicity is its lack of extra functions. There aren’t any advanced brewing options or preset functions.
Bottom Line: If you like your coffee maker to be simple and efficient, the budget-friendly Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Coffee Maker is as good as it gets. This coffee maker doesn’t have any extravagant bells or whistles but brews a very satisfying cup of coffee and is durably constructed for many years of heavy use.
KRUPS Simply Brew Compact Filter Drip Coffee Maker
This compact drip coffee maker sports a 5-cup capacity and a sleek, modern design.
Pros: This is an ideal drip coffee maker for singles, couples, or smaller households. A lot of modern coffee machines have large maximum capacities, often too much for one or two people’s needs. And these machines tend to be bulky and take up more room due to their size. This sleek, modern model doesn’t have those issues. The 5-cup capacity is great for singles and couples alike. The glass carafe is clearly marked to help you achieve just the right fill level, and it’s dishwasher safe for your cleaning convenience. It comes with a reusable filter and a measuring spoon for scooping and pouring your coffee grounds.
Cons: While this drip coffee maker’s pot is useful in many ways, it isn’t as well insulated as compared to those found with other coffee machines. The glass body is more fragile and doesn’t hold heat as well as stainless steel coffee pots will. It’s quite easy to use, but it doesn’t have a timer, display screen, auto-shutoff, or presets.
Bottom Line: The KRUPS Simply Brew Compact Filter Drip Coffee Maker is a fantastic product for those who enjoy coffee but try not to drink it to excess. Featuring a sleek stainless steel design and 5-cup capacity, this product is another one that won’t complicate the coffee-making process. Those who are short on counter space will also love the compact design, and the permanent coffee filter it comes with is yet another great touch.
Cuisinart Perfectemp Coffee Maker
This drip coffee maker features a large capacity and offers advanced functions.
Pros: If you live with multiple roommates or a larger family where most are coffee drinkers, you’ll need a coffee maker to accommodate you. This coffee maker can brew and hold up to 14 cups of coffee at once, more than most other large-capacity drip coffee makers. You can adjust the temperature of your coffee, select your brew strength, and make a smaller vat of coffee if ever needed. There’s even a self-cleaning feature, something not a lot of other drip coffee makers can boast. All the buttons are clearly marked and backlit when selected. As a bonus, it’s available in several different colors to better match your kitchen’s aesthetic.
Cons: The glass carafe’s opening is on the smaller side, which makes it harder to wash. You might have to tilt the pot a lot to pour the coffee properly, risking the lid popping off at an inopportune moment. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, you might want to look elsewhere.
Bottom Line: For households filled with coffee lovers, the Cuisinart Perfectemp Coffee Maker offers a large 14-cup capacity and some incredible features. With adjustable brew strength, 24-hour programmability, auto-shutoff functionality, and more, this coffee maker sports a wealth of functions.
Braun BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker
This coffee maker features a large easy-to-clean carafe and an adjustable self-cleaning mode.
Pros: This model takes easy cleaning to a whole new level. Its parts are dishwasher safe and it has a customizable self-cleaning feature. This function can be set to accommodate different water hardness levels. This means a more thorough clean for your coffee maker to keep it running smoothly and extend its service life. It has a programmable timer, two different coffee strength levels, temperature control, the option to make a smaller quantity pot, and an auto-shutoff feature. Basically, it’s incredibly easy to customize your coffee-making experience and end up with a vat of coffee personalized to your preferences.
Cons: It’s definitely on the expensive side, even by electric coffee machine standards. This model takes around 10 minutes to make a vat of coffee, on the higher end of average.
Bottom Line: Rounding out our list is the Braun BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker. This product features a lot of great functions and an intuitive interface to help you access them. Its cleaning feature can be customized to different water hardness levels, which should be great news to those with hard water that clogs up their coffee makers. This model also features dishwasher-friendly parts and a carafe that is wide enough to be cleaned by hand without discomfort. If the stress of cleaning your coffee maker takes away your enjoyment of the finished product, this unit is a no-brainer.
Technivorm Moccamaster 79112 KBT Coffee Brewer
Known for its reliability and performance, this high-end coffee maker is worth every penny.
Pros: There’s a lot to love about this high-quality drip coffee maker. It’s incredibly well-made and reliable, with the entire machine (minus the brew basket) made from stainless steel and aluminum for strength and durability. This also provides it with a nice sleek, modern look. The brew basket itself is manually adjustable for greater customization during the coffee making, and the markings along the side make it easier to measure out your ingredients properly. It’s incredibly easy to use, only button required for operation, and your coffee pours into a thermal stainless carafe. The metal body keeps your coffee hot and insulated for longer than plastic ones.
Cons: This model is more expensive than many similar automatic drip coffee makers. This coffee maker also isn’t quite as self-contained as some others. Since the carafe is placed off to the side of the machine rather than sitting within it, this unit will take up more counter space than most.
Bottom Line: Rounding out our list is coffee maker Technivorm Moccamaster 79112 KBT Coffee Brewer. This company has a reputation for being the Cadillac of home drip coffee makers; in other words, it’s reliable, well-made, and luxurious all at once. You’ll get a nice long, consistent service life out of this coffee maker. While the price tag is high, this is a model that’s well worth the extra money.
How often should you clean your drip coffee maker?
The carafe itself should be washed after every use if possible. As mentioned, you don’t want the lingering taste of flavored coffee or old, bitter coffee dregs finding their way into your next batch.
The machine itself is a different story. It doesn’t have to be cleaned after each use, thankfully. However, you will want to clean it out every so often to avoid buildup from coffee residue and minerals. This can affect both the taste of your coffee and the coffee maker’s overall performance. Every couple of months is a sufficient time frame for cleaning out the machine itself, depending on how often you use it. If you’re a frequent coffee drinker, somewhere around every three months is ideal. If you don’t make coffee in your drip coffee maker every day, you can probably get away with cleaning it every six months or so.
Are there manual drip coffee makers, or are they all electric?
If you want to manually make drip coffee instead of letting a machine do all the work, you’ll want to invest in a pour-over coffee maker. They’re technically considered a separate kind of coffee maker, but they use the same process—pouring water through grounds—to create coffee. Pour-over coffee makers are a more involved, hands-on method of creating drip coffee, but they do allow you greater control over your pouring speed and water temperature, which some coffee lovers appreciate.
Should you grind your own coffee beans for your drip coffee maker?
It depends on your personal preference and what works for your schedule and routine. Grinding coffee beans with your own grinder will inevitably add more time to the coffee-making process. And the finer you like your coffee grounds, the longer it’ll take to grind them. Not everyone has that time to spare in the morning. In these cases, buying pre-ground coffee is the better choice.
It’s worth keeping in mind that if you do choose to grind your own beans, you will get a fresher and more flavorful cup of coffee as a result. And buying whole coffee beans is a bit less expensive than buying coffee grounds. Thus, some people find the taste of freshly ground coffee to be worth the time tradeoff.
Drip coffee makers are classics for a reason. They’re simple to use and work quickly. With more features and functions available in drip coffee makers than ever before, it’s easy to find one capable of brewing your perfect cup of coffee.
If none of the drip coffee makers feature in this article are exactly what you’re looking for, here are several other models we also considered: