Best Cheap Coffee Maker: Inexpensive Models for Your Budget
Coffee is important. Sure, buying a cheap coffee maker to save a few bucks is great, but only if you’re not sacrificing your precious morning brew in the process.
Let us spare you that tragedy!
We’ve done the research and tested the products, so we can promise that these 10 coffee makers will satisfy all your caffeination needs without breaking the bank.
At A Glance (Amazon links):
The 10 Best Cheap Coffee Makers in 2020
Are you looking for the best coffee maker for home, office, or travel use but are restricted by your budget? We’ve got you covered with these 10 great coffee makers. Regardless of the size of your space or your favorite style of coffee, you’re sure to find the best inexpensive coffee maker to meet your needs!
As a brand, Mr. Coffee has built their reputation on no-frills coffee makers. Their priority is simply to make great coffee. If that’s your priority too, you’ll love our pick for the best cheap coffee maker this year, the Mr. Coffee Switch 12-Cup Coffee Maker.
The Mr. Coffee Switch is a basic coffee machine that offers great-quality brew at a super low price by keeping just the features you need and skipping the ones you don’t. Well, that explains its INCREDIBLE RATINGS on Amazon.
This automatic drip coffee maker’s design focuses on ease of use, with just one button and an indicator light. All you need to do is turn it on and wait for the magic to happen. And if you can’t wait for the magic, an auto-pause means you can grab a cup of coffee while it’s still brewing without risk of a spill.
You can brew flavorful pots of between 4 and a dozen cups of coffee, but this machine doesn’t have a special mode for brewing even smaller quantities. If you’re regularly making single servings, this is probably not the best coffee maker for you. If you do brew up a big pot, a warming plate will keep it toasty warm for up to 2 hours.
New to the Mr. Coffee Switch is dual water windows, making it easier to see the water level when refilling. If you’ve ever overfilled and spilled water all over your countertop in a bleary, pre-caffeinated stupor, you’ll appreciate this update.
Once your coffee is ready, cleaning up is nearly as simple as brewing. The lift-and-clean filter basket makes it easy to discard the used grounds. While there’s no auto shut-off, the power-on indicator light serves as a good reminder to switch your brewer off.
Are you surprised you can find a feature-packed 12-cup coffee maker for under $50? I certainly was! When testing this one, I kept waiting for something to go wrong, but the Hamilton Beach 46310 continued to deliver.
This is a real gem for such a bargain price.
Hamilton Beach 46310 comes packed with a ton of functionality, especially for a budget machine. It’s a fully programmable coffee maker, so you can set your brew time in advance and use the brew strength selector to choose regular or bold brew strength.
It also has a 1-to-4-cup option, optimizing the brew cycle for smaller servings, so you don’t have to worry about losing flavor. The Hamilton Beach 46310’s automatic brew pause lets you remove the carafe for a quick cup of coffee during the brewing cycle.
New to this Hamilton Beach model is the front access water tank, making it EXTRA EASY to refill. This is an especially nice feature if you keep your coffee maker under a cupboard because you won’t need to pull it out every time you brew. Likewise, the filter basket swings out rather than opens from the top.
The hot plate turns off automatically after 2 hours, so you can have peace of mind knowing you won’t accidentally leave it on all day.
CHULUX’s cute and colorful travel-sized drip coffee maker is the brewer I wish I’d had as a college student. It would make a perfect dorm room accessory. This is not to say it wouldn’t be equally at home in an RV, small kitchen, or office cubicle. And at this price, why not buy one for each? It even comes in 6 fun colors so that you can match the decor of each space.
Aside from its small size, the best thing about this coffee maker is its easy use. A single button controls the entire machine. It’s pretty hard to go wrong, even before you’ve had coffee.
CHULUX works with all brands of K Cup-style coffee capsules. You’ll be happy to hear this if you’ve been frustrated by Keurig’s widely panned 1.0 and 2.0 capsule line-ups (1). Even better, you can use a refillable pod filter filled with your own favorite ground beans.
The water reservoir holds up to 12 ounces, but the idea is for you to fill it as much as you want, and it will brew until it’s empty. For a stronger coffee, just add less water.
A nice perk of small drip coffee makers is how quickly it can heat up and brew. The CHULUX can get a delicious steaming cup of coffee in your hands in less than three minutes. And another three minutes later, it will automatically turn off.
Even though this brewer’s overall footprint is small, it can accommodate a 5.3”-tall travel mug thanks to the removable drip tray.
Black + Decker’s CM2035M automatic drip coffee maker has a few things going for it that put it a cut above the average cheap coffee maker.
First of all, there’s the coffee quality, which is enhanced by their patented Evenstream Showerhead. This system dispenses water uniformly over all the coffee grounds, guaranteeing better extraction, and a more flavorful coffee pot. This is a common feature of much more expensive drip coffee makers like the famed Technivorm Moccamaster, one of the best drip coffee makers on the market.
Secondly, it comes standard with a thermal carafe that can hold up to a dozen cups of coffee. We love thermal carafes, and you rarely find them with cheap coffee makers. Not only are they far more durable than their glass counterparts, but coffee makers like these keep your coffee hot for hours without using a hot plate.
Black + Decker’s carafe is larger than average, which is great for serving big crowds or just drinking cup after warm cup all day long.
The digital controls, paired with an LCD display, are easy to use. You can choose between regular, strong, and bold coffee strength, and you can program it to brew automatically at a specific time. There’s nothing like waking up to the aroma of a fresh pot of coffee!
Unique to this machine is a special feature that tracks how long it has been since you brewed the last pot. You won’t have to wonder if that pot has been sitting around getting stale.
The K Classic is Keurig’s flagship coffee maker, beloved by fans of the style worldwide. Its popularity results from PERFECT BALANCE; it has enough functionality to be practical but not enough to make it expensive or complicated.
Like all Keurig coffee makers, it brews using K Cups, which makes it incredibly convenient and user friendly. Just pop in your favorite flavor of K Cup (and these days there are literally hundreds to choose from), and let it do its thing.
When it’s done, all you need to do is sit back and enjoy your coffee.
There are no coffee grounds to clean up! Anyone with rushed and busy mornings will certainly find value here.
The large 48-ounce water reservoir means you don’t need to refill often, which is another lovely time saver. The K-Classic can heat and brew a cup of coffee in less than a minute, and you don’t even have to worry about turning it off because it automatically shuts down after 2 hours.
You can brew three cup sizes, 6, 8, or 10 ounces, but because all use the same K Cup, keep in mind that the larger coffees will simply be weaker. This is an unfortunate feature of all Keurig coffee makers.
The Ninja CE201 is the most expensive coffee maker on the list, but that’s for an excellent reason. It’s packed with more features than any of the others, and it brews a super tasty coffee that we’d argue more than justifies its (still low) price.
For starters, like the Black + Decker, it uses a showerhead style water dispenser to ensure even wetting of all the grounds. This is paired with what Ninja calls their Thermal Flavor Extraction Technology, which guarantees a consistently optimal brewing temperature for the best extraction (2).
What does this combination of features mean for you? It means you’re getting every ounce of delicious flavor from your ground coffee.
The CE201 is a 12-cup programmable coffee maker. You can set it to brew on a timer, and you can choose the coffee strength between classic and rich. For smaller households, you can opt for a particular setting for lower volume brewing. Their Custom Brew Technology ensures that no matter your choice, you’ll get a more flavorful result.
The large 60-ounce water tank is removable, a feature not always found on cheap coffee makers. You won’t have to refill it very often, and when you do, it’s as easy as pie.
An exciting feature only found on Ninja coffee makers is the glass carafe equipped with their patented Flavor Straw. This pipe running through the center of the carafe keeps the coffee circulating while it sits on the hot plate, so the entire pot stays the same toasty temperature.
What started as a simple invention to make better single-cup coffee, the AeroPress has become a worldwide sensation. In fact, people now use them in hipster coffee shops. There’s even an AeroPress World Championship (3)!
Yes, it takes a little more elbow grease than an automatic drip machine, but it’s well worth the effort. This is some of the best coffee you can make at this price point.
I spent nearly a year perfecting the design, experimenting with different variations. I was just absolutely blown away by how sweet the coffee tasted–it wasn’t bitter!
This is mostly thanks to its inventor Alan Alder’s dedication (4). The AeroPress makes such good coffee that you’ll probably want to use it all the time.
Yet, where it really shines is when you’re traveling.
It’s built from BPA-free plastic that is both light and incredibly durable. So you can toss your AeroPress in a suitcase or backpack and never worry about finding it cracked when you reach your destination. And while older models were prone to scratching, the latest update is even tougher.
AeroPress has found a particularly avid following among backpackers. Since it doesn’t require electricity, you can use it to brew a delicious cup even deep in the backcountry. The whole setup, including the scoop and funnel, weighs just 13 ounces, so even ultra-light hikers won’t feel weighed down.
AeroPress coffee is a UNIQUE EXPERIENCE.
Because it brews using pressure, you get a super-strong coffee shot that almost feels like an espresso. This rich shot is a really versatile starting point. Of course, you can just down it like an espresso. But you can also dilute it with hot water to make up to 4 cups of coffee. Or you can add frothed milk for a very passable latte, even without an espresso machine.
For a very small, very efficient, and very easy way to make coffee, you can’t beat the Keurig K-Mini. This cute little single-serve coffee maker is less than 5 inches wide, and it can have a coffee in your hand in under 2 minutes.
This coffee maker comes in three colors: a classic Black, a neutral Studio Gray, and my favorite, a calming Oasis Blue. It’s a very soothing color to encounter first thing in the morning. If an Oasis Blue K-Mini could talk, I think it would say, “Chill out and relax. Your coffee is on its way.”
It can brew any cup size from 6 to 12 ounces. It just depends how much water you add to the single-cup reservoir. But as always, if you’re brewing with a K Cup, a bigger drink just means a weaker coffee. That’s why we suggest opting for a refillable pod-style filter if you prefer a large brew.
For such a small coffee maker, the K-Mini has an impressive amount of clearance under the spout. In fact, if you remove the drip tray, it can accommodate a full-size 7-inch tall travel mug.
Another nice feature for those bleary early mornings?
The drip tray can actually hold a full 12 ounces. So if you accidentally start the machine without a mug in place (no judgment; we’ve all been there), you won’t have a spill to clean up.
After brewing, the K-Mini powers down automatically in 90 seconds, a nice touch for energy efficiency, and one less thing for you to remember.
If you want a top-of-the-line espresso with nuanced flavors and rich crema, perhaps a cheap espresso maker is not the way to go. But suppose you want a strong and flavorful coffee to serve as the base for your homemade latte or cappuccino. In that case, you will be pleasantly surprised by the Sowtech espresso machine—especially given its ROCK-BOTTOM PRICE.
With 3.5 bars of pressure, the Sowtech isn’t making true Italian espresso, but it certainly makes a tasty facsimile (5). It actually generates more pressure than a typical Moka pot, and many people consider those to be stovetop espresso makers.
It’s about as easy to operate as a Moka pot too. It’s operated with just a single knob, and it heats up in only 90 seconds.
Though this machine’s capacity is small, don’t forget it’s making extra strong espresso-style coffee. If you want to serve several people, you can easily dilute the concentrated brew with hot water to yield something more like a standard drip coffee.
That said, it’s not going to be the most practical choice for an office or a big brunch crowd.
The Sowtech has a very compact design, so it fits nicely in small kitchens or makes a classy addition to an RV. With its stainless steel casing, it not only has an expensive look, but it’s very durable. You can schlep it around on the road trip without worrying about damage.
Shockingly, for such a low priced little brewer, it even comes with a manual steam wand for frothing milk. Of course, you probably can’t produce the velvety microfoam of a high-end espresso machine, so your latte art might suffer.
But the taste of your Latte will be top-notch.
A French press makes a very specific style of coffee because it uses a metal mesh filter as opposed to paper filters. This allows the coffee’s oils to remain in the cup, giving a heavy-bodied coffee with a creamy mouthfeel.
Does that sound delicious? Then a coffee press is for you!
Put it all together, and French press brewing is less finicky than most other methods and can result in a more full-flavored brew with a deeper sweetness and syrupy body.
We love Secura’s inexpensive all-stainless-steel version (6). It’s made from 3 layers of top-quality 18/10 stainless steel, so it’s incredibly durable. You could probably run this thing over with your car and still enjoy a tasty coffee afterward.
If you’re worried that a metal brewer will be dangerously hot to the touch, don’t be. Secura uses a double-wall construction as insulation, so your coffee stays hot while the exterior stays cool. On top of that, it’s equipped with a Cool Touch handle and lid knob.
The stainless steel isn’t just practical and functional; it also gives this coffee maker a classy and expensive look. We love the shiny silver option, but it comes in 8 other colors, from a classic black to a fun hot pink if that’s not to your taste. It’s also available in 3 other sizes, 12 oz, 17, oz, and 50 oz, with prices varying accordingly.
One thing many users don’t like about French press coffee is the fine grounds that tend to find their way through the metal filter and into your cup. They might go unnoticed until you take that last sip and are walloped with a gritty mouthful.
To solve this, every Secura French press is sold with an EXTRA FILTER SCREEN. That way you can double them up to ensure a much smoother brew.
How to Choose the Best Cheap Coffee Maker
Choosing the best affordable coffee maker is no different than choosing any other coffee maker, except that you have an upper limit to your budget. You still want to buy one that suits your lifestyle, your household size, and how you like your coffee.
Not sure how to do that? This buyer’s guide will walk you through it.
||Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Coffee Maker||
||Hamilton Beach 46310||
||CHULUX Travel Size Coffee Maker||
||Black + Decker CM2035B||
||Keurig K Classic||
||Sowtech Espresso Machine||
||Secura French Press||
How do you take your coffee?
Cheap coffee maker is a pretty broad category, so this list includes a huge variety of coffee maker styles. That might feel overwhelming, but it’s a good thing! There’s a best budget coffee maker to suit every type of coffee lover.
So what kind of coffee lover are you?
- If you prefer a mild-tasting coffee with a smooth mouthfeel, one of the automatic drip coffee makers is going to be your cup of tea (or a cup of coffee, I suppose).
- If you like a small and strong shot of coffee that’s almost more like espresso, the AeroPress or Sowtech coffee makers are going to float your boat.
- If you like a rich coffee with a heavy body, the French press is your perfect brewer.
Another thing to consider is how much variety you enjoy in your coffee drinking. If you like to mix it up a lot, you might want to consider one of the pod-style coffee makers. This way, you can easily try different flavors or even make tea or hot cocoa to suit your mood.
Are you brewing for a crowd or just you?
The number of people you need to serve should play a significant role in helping you choose your ideal cheap coffee maker.
If you need to serve a crowd, it makes sense to opt for a coffee maker with a 10-cup or higher capacity. This will save you a lot of time and hassle versus making ten consecutive AeroPress or espresso shots. On the other hand, if you mostly brew for just you, a smaller capacity or single-cup coffee maker makes sense. These little coffee makers are faster, more energy-efficient, and less expensive.
Then there’s the situation where you need both a coffee maker that can serve one as quickly as it can serve 10. In this case, there are two practical choices.
The first option is to consider a single-serve pod-based brewer like a Keurig. These are wildly popular in office settings. Everyone can brew their own K Cup and get exactly the flavor of coffee they want. And pod-style coffee makers are so fast to brew and easy to clean that it’s not an inconvenience to brew many cups of coffee in a row.
The other option is to get a large-capacity automatic brewer that has a mode for small volume brewing. Many drip coffee makers these days have a feature that adjusts the brew cycle when making less than 4 cups of coffee.
Ground coffee or coffee pods?
At Homegrounds, we’re dedicated to great coffee, which means we always advise that you buy whole bean coffee and grind it yourself right before brewing, preferably with a good- quality burr grinder, or you can opt for a grind and brew coffee maker like these amazing machines instead.
As soon as coffee is ground, it starts to lose flavor, and we want you to get all that flavor in your cup!
If maximizing flavor is a priority for you, choose a coffee maker that uses freshly ground coffee instead of a coffee capsule.
Of course, we understand that sometimes you’re not making coffee for optimal flavor; you’re making it so that you can jumpstart your brain for the day. We’ve all been there. In that case, it can be really convenient to just pop in a coffee pod. There’s nothing wrong with opting for a single-serve pod-style brewer.
If you want the speed of a single-serve machine with the quality of freshly ground beans, there’s a happy medium. You can invest in a refillable pod filter. They aren’t quite as convenient as K Cups, but you’ll get better tasting cups of coffee and generate less plastic waste (7).
Glass or thermal: A tale of two carafes
Automatic drip coffee makers usually come bundled with a carafe, which can be either glass or thermal. A thermal carafe is essentially a carafe-shaped thermos. It’s made from double-wall stainless steel with vacuum insulation, so it keeps the coffee hot without relying on an additional heat source (8).
There are pros and cons for each carafe style, so you should weigh them all when choosing your coffee maker.
- Price: Glass carafes are cheaper than thermal carafes, so it’s actually somewhat rare to find an inexpensive coffee maker that comes standard with a thermal carafe.
- Durability: A stainless steel carafe will naturally be far more durable than glass. If you’re in a busy and chaotic household, it might be worth spending more for a carafe that won’t break.
- Size: For a given size of the coffee machine, a glass carafe will always have a larger capacity because it doesn’t lose volume to double-wall construction.
- Coffee quality: With a thermal carafe, your coffee will stay hot for hours without a hot plate. This is generally a plus for coffee quality because too much time on a hot plate can add a burnt flavor to your coffee. But if you always drink your brewed coffee right away, this is a non-issue.
- Energy efficiency: Because thermal carafes don’t require a hot plate, you can turn your coffee machine off right after brewing. This should save a little money on your power bill.
Is portability important?
Maybe you already have an expensive brewer on your kitchen counter, but you’re looking for the best affordable coffee maker to take along when you hit the road. In that case, you’ll want to prioritize size, weight, and durability. Depending on your travel style, you might also want to consider whether or not you need electricity.
For camping without access to a power outlet, the French press or the AeroPress are perfect. Both are durable enough to get tossed in a pack. The AeroPress is far lighter, so it’s a better choice for backpacking, while the French press is more suitable for car camping.
If you’re planning on staying in a hotel or bringing your coffee maker to and from the office, any compact brewer will fit the bill. The K-Mini or Chulux are both small enough to fit in a purse or backpack. And because they use K Cups, you don’t need to worry about bringing ground coffee or measuring spoons.
The Sowtech brewer is also small enough to be easily portable, and its stainless steel construction is plenty durable. Just be cautious with the glass carafe.
It’s easy to find cheap coffee makers, but it’s much more difficult to find the best value coffee maker. You deserve one with a low price that doesn’t have corresponding low quality. Fortunately, these unicorn coffee makers do exist, and we’ve tracked down the 10 best.
Our favorite is the easy-to-use Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Coffee Machine. This no-frills automatic drip coffee maker makes excellent, simple cups of coffee at a price that you can’t beat.
An expensive coffee maker is sometimes worth it. This depends on your priorities. They usually make them from higher-quality materials, so they last longer. And they are designed for better extraction and thus a more flavorful brew.
If you’re buying specialty coffee beans and grinding them fresh (9), it is probably worth investing in an expensive coffee maker, like one that has been SCAA-certified. These are some of the best drip coffee makers that exist and their SCAA-certification guarantees you’re getting your money’s worth out of your coffee beans.
You should replace a coffee maker about once every five years. If you take good care of your coffee maker, it may last as long as ten years. But for five years, your tastes are likely to change, and coffee maker technology will probably advance. So you’ll probably want to upgrade at that point anyway.
Buying a used coffee maker might be tempting to save a little money, but it’s rarely worth it. Coffee makers don’t have an overly long lifetime, and with a used machine, you won’t know its maintenance history. And if this list has taught us anything, it’s that a brand-new coffee maker need not break the bank.
- D’Ambrosio, D. (2015, June 11). Keurig 2.0 flopped, can it rebound? Retrieved from https://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/money/2015/06/11/keurig-reacts-others-capitalize-brewer-backlash/71020340/
- National Coffee Association. (n.d.). How to Brew Coffee. Retrieved from https://www.ncausa.org/About-Coffee/How-to-Brew-Coffee
- Guevara, J. (2018, July 20). How Have World Aeropress Champion Recipes Changed Over the Years? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2018/07/how-have-world-aeropress-champion-recipes-changed-over-the-years/
- Sprudge Staff. (2014, May 8). “A Good, Single Serve Coffee For Myself” — Our Interview With AeroPress Inventor Alan Adler. Retrieved from https://sprudge.com/alan-adler-aeropress-designer-56009.html
- Nosowitz, D. (2012, June 12). FYI: What is Espresso? Retrieved from https://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-06/fyi-what-espresso/
- Cho, N. (2019, October 30). Coffee Science: How To Make the Best French Press Coffee at Home. Retrieved from https://www.seriouseats.com/2014/07/how-to-make-better-french-press-coffee-tips-technique-grind-timing.html
- Brown, D. (2019, March 13). K-cups and coffee capsules: Is your quick java fix killing the environment? Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2019/03/13/heres-why-your-used-k-cups-coffee-pods-arent-usually-recycled/3067283002/
- Andal, J. (2014, October 27). The Physics of a Thermos (& All About Heat Transfer). Retrieved from https://futurism.com/physics-thermos-heat-transfer
- Lee, J. (2015, January 20). Why Grind Coffee Fresh Every Time? Burr or Blade? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2015/01/why-grind-coffee-fresh-every-time-burr-or-blade/