Coffee is the fuel that drives many of us in the mornings. Coffee lovers will tell you tim and again that without a cup of their favorite brew they would struggle to function. For those who cannot palate the cost of the price of a daily cup of coffee from the trendy coffee shop, though, what are the alternatives?

Drip coffee makers are often listed as one of the must-have appliances for large and small kitchens because they can provide you with barista-quality coffee at an affordable price and with the convenience that modern life demands. What are the best drip coffee makers available? In this article we put a handful of the best under the spotlight to give you the lowdown on the pros and cons and to help you decide which one is right for you.

  • 12-cup capacity
  • Single-serve facility
  • 24-hour programmable timer
  • Adjustable brew strength
  • 1-year limited warranty

  • QuickTouch programming
  • 12-cup carafe
  • Sneak-a-cup feature
  • Digital controls
  • 2-year limited warranty

  • 60 oz water reservoir
  • 12-cup carafe
  • Thermal Flavor Extraction
  • 24-hour programmable delay timer
  • 1-year limited warranty

  • Brew strength control
  • 24-hour programmability
  • 14-cup glass carafe
  • 1 – 4 cup settings
  • 3-year limited warranty

  • Gold Tone permanent filter
  • Stainless steel 10-cup carafe
  • Pause ‘n’ serve
  • Removable reservoir
  • 1-year limited warranty


For sheer numbers sold alone, this Hamilton Beach coffee maker eclipses all the competition on Amazon. What makes it unique is the 2-way brew facility that enables the user to either brew an entire pot of coffee or a single standard cup or a 14 oz travel mug for coffee on the go in a dedicated dispenser that adjusts in size.

The digital control panel is simplicity itself, with large buttons to distinguish between single serve or carafe, and timer buttons in minutes and hours. Like most of the featured coffee makers, this model has a programmable 24-hour timer so that you can set it before bedtime and then wake to a house smelling of fresh coffee.

On the downside, the travel mug isn’t included in the price, and the single-serve feature is only compatible with either pods or loose ground coffee. In addition, when you remove the carafe, some buyers have reported that the coffee maker continues to drip, staining the hot plate and making a mess.

Pros

  • 2-way brewing
  • Adjustable brew strength
  • Over 9,000 sold
  • Programmable timer
  • Great for coffee on the go

Cons

  • Travel mug has to be purchased separately
  • Drips continuously when the carafe is removed


This budget-friendly Black+Decker coffee maker has large rubberized buttons that make it easy to use, along with a clear digital display for those with sight problems. What makes this model unique is the QuickTouch programming, which enables you to set your desired time with ease so that when you rise in the morning you have the perfect brew waiting for you.

It has a water reservoir with a viewing window to see the levels easily, a 2-hour auto shut-off for energy saving, as well as a 1-hour, keep warm feature that keeps your coffee at a drinkable temperature. This model also has a sneak-a-cup facility to remove the carafe during the brewing process if you are so desperate for a cup of coffee that you can’t wait for the whole pot to fill.

Troubling, though, is that the manufacturer recommends that you unplug the machine when it’s not in use, which means you have to reset the clock every time you plug it back in. Moreover, watch out for the coating on the hot plate because it as a tendency to flake off with use.

Pros

  • Great price
  • 12-cup capacity
  • Sneak-a-cup feature
  • Large display and buttons
  • Simple to program

Cons

  • Has to be unplugged when not in use
  • The hot plate coating tends to flake off

We all know Ninja’s reputation in the world of blenders and juicers, but their coffee makers are pretty awesome too. This model has a 12-cup carafe but also has the facility to brew small batches of just 1 to 4 cups, which means that you don’t have to wait until the whole carafe fills before enjoying a fresh cup of your favorite coffee. The water reservoir is a large (60 oz) and removable, making it easier to fill and clean.

When it comes to flavor, Ninja employs something called Thermal Flavor Extraction, using a combination of consistent temperature, blooming, and saturation to ensure that the taste of the coffee is at its fullest. When you couple that with the flavor straw technology developed by Ninja, the coffee in the carafe is continuously circulated to ensure that every cup is the correct temperature and flavor.

Unfortunately, the price of the Ninja is on the high side. The carafe also sometimes drips coffee when you pour, and a replacement carafe could set you back almost half the price of the entire coffee maker.

Pros

  • Large water reservoir
  • Large or small batch brewing
  • Thermal Flavor Extraction
  • Flavor straw technology

Cons

  • Replacement parts, especially the carafe, can be expensive
  • Carafe spout leaks when you pour the coffee.

This Cuisinart model has a large customer following and sells in the thousands on Amazon. What sets this coffee maker apart is the 14-cup carafe capacity, which makes it the largest of all the coffee makers in the review. It also has a Gold Tone permanent filter so you won’t be shelling out for replacement filters at extra expense.

It has a self-cleaning facility, an adjustable keep warm function, a 60-second reset to recall previously selected settings if there is a loss of power, and auto shut-off to save energy. It also has a brew pause function that allows you to interrupt the brewing process if you are impatient to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee.

Cuisinart has produced these drip coffee makers in an array of different colors, from silver to stainless steel and black, and it has one of the best warranties of any coffee maker on the market, at 3-years. On the downside, this machine is similarly priced to the Ninja so is not cheap. In addition, the coating on the warming plate tends to come away, and the water reservoir is awkward to fill as the gap is relatively narrow.

Pros

  • Large capacity
  • Strong sales on Amazon
  • Brew pause function
  • Great warranty
  • Self-cleaning facility

Cons

  • Quite expensive
  • Warming plate coating flakes off
  • Awkward to fill the water reservoir

This Mr. Coffee model has a stainless steel carafe for that just brewed flavor. It also benefits from a faster brewing process, with Mr. Coffee claiming that their machine completes the process 20 percent quicker than rival manufacturers. This drip coffee maker also uses a Gold Tone permanent filter to remove 97 percent of the water’s impurities so that you get a better tasting cup of coffee, and you don’t contribute to the increased landfill with disposable filters.

What makes this coffee maker stand out is the Fresh Brew Timer, which tracks the time that the coffee was brewed and indicates how fresh it still is. It features the usual array of functions, like a removable water reservoir, a lift out filter for easy cleaning, a pause and serve function, a timer and delay setting, as well as a 2-hour automatic shut-off.

It’s too bad, though, that the pots tend to leak when you pour the coffee, and some have stated that size of this coffee maker is so substantial that it isn’t suitable for those whose kitchens struggle for space. In addition, the carafe has a tiny opening that makes it difficult to clean.

Pros

  • Stainless steel carafe
  • Removable water reservoir
  • Fresh Brew Timer
  • Permanent filter
  • Faster brewing time

Cons

  • The pot tends to leak
  • Bulky
  • Difficult to clean the carafe

Comparison Chart

Hamilton Beach 49980A Coffee MakerBlack+Decker CM1160BNinja Coffee MakerCuisinart DCC-3200Mr. Coffee Coffee Maker
Carafe Capacity12-cup12-cup12-cup14-cup10-cup
Timer
Pause featureX
Removable Water ReservoirXXX
Auto Shut-Off
Weight (lbs)11.854.456.488.755.1
Dimensions10.6 x 12.2 x 13.78.2 x 12.2 x 118.74 x 9.94 x 14.617.8 x 9 x 1414.12 x 11 x 9
Price$$$$$$$$$$$
Warranty1-year limited2-year limited1-year limited3-year limited1-year limited

Buyer’s Guide:

Drip Coffee Maker Basics

If you are the sort of person who looks at their bank statements and wonders how you managed to spend so much at the local coffee shop, you might be the ideal candidate to purchase a drip coffee maker for your home. Getting that authentic taste is so important to some coffee aficionados that they will spend a fortune to get their caffeine hit. Imagine, though, being able to achieve that taste without the expense with your own drip coffee maker in your kitchen.

Drip coffee machines are convenient, cost-effective, and, above all, they can produce great tasting coffee. If you don’t have the time to wait in the mornings while the carafe fills with steaming coffee, simply set the delay timer before bedtime so that the coffee is ready and waiting for you when you wake.

Some drip coffee machines have permanent filters that lift out of the top of the device, and you place your scoops of coffee in. The advantage of a permanent filter is that there is no need to invest in throwaway filters that are only good for one use. In addition, filters like Gold Tone employ charcoal to remove the impurities from your water for a better tasting brew. The only downside to permanent filters is that they require frequent cleaning, especially if you either drink lots of coffee or are always changing the type of coffee that you drink and don’t want the residue of previous brews to affect the flavor.

Replaceable filters are one-use items that you slip into the machine to hold your fresh coffee grounds. They are then discarded, along with the coffee, when the machine has done its job, and the device is ready for another batch of brewing. The advantage of a replaceable filter is the convenience: some people don’t have the time to empty and clean a permanent filter, so love the simple to use aspect of a throwaway filter. Discarding of the coffee can also be a messy business, but with paper filters, they act like a scoop which allows you to lift them out and neatly fold them around the discarded coffee creating a small package to drop them in the trash.

The disadvantages of a one-use filter are the costs. If you add up the ongoing price of buying them, you will find that you have probably spent more on disposable filters than the drip coffee maker itself. Then there is the environmental impact of tossing away all those filters; adding to the landfill problem is not good for the earth.

  • Cost effective in the long run – The initial purchase costs are far higher than the price of that shop-bought americano, but the long term savings are indisputable.
  • Convenient – Waking to freshly prepared coffee that was brewed while you slept cannot be more efficient.
  • Coffee when you want it – Buying a cup of coffee is a ritual for some, but when it’s gone, how do you get more? A drip coffee maker is always there to keep you topped up.

  • The initial cost – We accept that over the longer term the investment is worth it, but initially it is a large sum of money to spend.
  • Can only brew the basics – If you are into all the fancy coffees, with frothed milk and flavors, then a drip coffee maker is not going to quench your particular thirst.
  • Ongoing costs – Disposable filters are not cheap, nor are they good for the environment.
Drip Coffee Makers

Pros

  • Cost effective in the long run
  • Convenient to use
  • Coffee on demand 24/7

Cons

  • The initial costs are expensive
  • Coffee makers only brew the basic types of coffee
  • Costs of disposable filters can be a factor

  • Can you make 2 pots of coffee from the same scoop of coffee?
  • Yes, you can, but expect the second batch to be a lot weaker than the first pot. The object of a drip coffee machine is to saturate the coffee grinds so that they slowly drip feed into the carafe, thus increasing the intensity and flavor naturally.
  • Can you make tea in a drip coffee maker?
  • In theory, yes, but expect the flavor to have an essence of coffee, which will leave you with a substandard cup of tea. Later, when you decide to use the machine for making coffee again, it will affect the flavor of the coffee. The easy answer is to either use the coffee maker for either tea or coffee, but not both.
  • What temperature does the water need be to to make the perfect cup of coffee?
  • Most drip coffee makers heat the water to around 190-degrees Fahrenheit, which means that the coffee should be just about drinkable without scalding your lips. The hot plate will then keep the coffee warm in the carafe so that you have warmed coffee for refills.

Final Thoughts

Owning a drip coffee maker is a great way to ease your bank balance by reducing the amount of coffee shop consumption. Okay, so maybe your home coffee maker won’t brew you a skinny latte or a cappuccino, but it will deliver a good cup of strong filtered coffee to get your day off to the right start.

By far the best selling model is the Hamilton Beach 49980A Coffee Maker, and it’s not hard to see why: it has an auto shut-off feature, a 12-cup carafe, and a unique 2 way serving system that enables the user to select either an entire pot of coffupee or a single serve for a travel mug for coffee on the go.

For those with a restricted budget, however, the Black+Decker CM1160B is a strong choice. It does everything that the other models do, but at a fraction of the cost. If money is no object, the Cuisinart DCC-3200 offers all the bells and whistles and has the largest carafe of any featured, at 12 cups.

So instead of spending money needlessly, try switching to a drip coffee maker and see what a difference it makes to your life. Regardless of which of these machines you choose, you are sure to be happy to have fresh coffee when you want it at a more budget-friendly price.

Further Reading

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