What's The Best Drip Coffee Maker in 2021?
Finding the best drip coffee maker is no easy task. There are literally hundreds to choose from, and each might be the “best” for a different person. That’s why we wrote this article to simplify your life.
We are a community of passionate coffee hobbyists who research, test and educate around issues relevant to the home barista market.
As a community we strive to simplify the mis-information in the home brewing market so that you can make better informed decisions about buying and brewing amazing quality coffee (without having to train as a professional barista).
Over the years, a team of coffee loving content creators and industry professionals have come together with the sole intention of ‘cutting through the noise’ and educating the home barista market on brewing better coffee without having to go through expensive and time consuming professional training.
Below, we'll show you exactly how to spot a good brewer from a bad one, teach you which important features to look for, and list our favorite coffee makers this year. Then all that’s left for you to do is to start brewing amazing coffee.
At A Glance:
The 11 Best Drip Coffee Makers (2021 Picks)
With all these points in mind, here are the best drip coffee makers for different needs.
| ||Technivorm Moccamaster KBT|
| ||Breville Precision Brewer|
| ||Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Coffee Maker|
| ||Cuisinart DCC-3200|
| ||Black + Decker 5-cup|
| ||Cuisinart DGB-700BC|
| ||Nostalgia RCOF12AQ Retro Brewer|
| ||Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker|
| ||OXO BREW 9 Cup Coffeemaker|
| ||Hamilton Beach 49980A Brewer|
| ||Bunn Classic Speed Brew BX|
The Moccamaster is a beautifully designed drip brewer that you've most likely seen in high-quality 3rd wave coffee shops. That's a statement itself (and this is our favorite drip brewer). It's at the higher end of the price spectrum, but it makes the best damn cup of coffee a drip brewer can possibly make, thanks to its pre infusion and brewing process. Also, this bad boy is SCAA approved.
It’s easy to take apart to clean, and also has a 5 year warranty, so you won’t have to worry about it breaking down on you.
When you see a Technivorm Moccamaster in someone’s home, you know they’re serious about good coffee
Breville’s Precision Brewer is quickly becoming one of the most popular drip coffee machines on the market, and it has proven itself a worthy rival to the more expensive Moccamaster. In fact, if you want a more programmable coffee maker, you might even prefer the Breville to the Technivorm.
As with the Moccamaster, the Precision Brewer is SCAA certified for its ability to brew coffee to the highest standard. It uses a PID to deliver precise temperature control throughout the ideal brewing window of 197 to 204 ℉.
It comes with six preset brewing modes, including Gold Cup mode, which is optimized to SCAA parameters. Or you can customize your brewing by adjusting bloom time, brew temperature and flow rate to perfectly suit the character of your favorite coffee beans.
Impressively, this model is compatible with both conical and flat filter baskets — and comes with one of each. With recent research showing that flat and cone-shaped baskets can highlight different aspects of a coffee’s flavor, it’s a real bonus to have the option of either.
If you want a simple and delicious coffee with minimal effort or expense, this basic Mr. Coffee 12-cup coffee maker has got your back. It’s super affordable, easy to use, and delivers a consistently tasty brew, making it both an Amazon’s Choice product and our favorite budget brewer this year.
Mr. Coffee highlights ease of use as the main feature of this machine, and they are right on the money. Set it up, add ground coffee and water, and get brewing. It’s as simple as that. After brewing, the hot plate will keep the glass carafe warm for up to two hours.
This coffee maker isn’t programmable, so you can’t change the brew temperature or have it brew on a timer, but this is by design. It’s simplicity is its selling point. It does, however, have the very handy grab-a-cup auto pause option, so you can sneak that first hit of caffeine even before the brew cycle is complete.
The Cuisinart DCC 3200, available in both 12 and 14 cups versions, has almost all the features you could want (without breaking the bank). It's one of the few that can brew a full carafe within this price range. Plus, it has a sweet feature of hot-plate temperature control, which customers love because it stops you scalding your coffee (and your tongue.)
Where it shines: it comes with fully automatic 24-hour programmability, just set it to your desires, and your coffee is handled. Every. Single. Day! It has a self-cleaning feature, a 1-4 cup setting, and auto shutoff. Unfortunately, some people find that making more than 10 cups of coffee pushes the coffee grounds in to your brew. That effectively reduces the capacity from 14 cup to 10, if it does that to you.
If you’re looking for a simple, all-around good drip coffee maker to brew large batches of coffee using hot water at a nearly perfect temperature, the Cuisinart DCC 3200 is the one for you. You can read more about this brewer in our Cuisinart DCC-3200 review here.
There are many excellent reasons to opt for a smaller coffee maker. Maybe you’re just one person with no need to brew 12 cups at a time. Or you have limited counter space. Maybe you’re searching for a brewer for a dorm room, RV, or office. No matter the reason, this little coffee maker from Black + Decker is a fantastic choice. It’s small in stature but big in quality.
Aside from its compact design, this brewer has a couple of standout features. First of all, it has the same automatic brew pause often found on larger machines, so you can grab a quick cup during brewing. This option is often overlooked in smaller brewers. It also has an illuminated power switch, a small but important addition so you’ll know at a glance if it’s hot or not.
I appreciate that it uses a metal basket filter that doesn’t require a paper insert. Minimizing paper waste is good for the planet and saves you money. Win-win! And don’t worry, after brewing, the filter basket is very easy to remove and clean.
This gorgeous programmable brewer has plenty of features that will get you excited. The main one being; it grinds your coffee beans automatically right before it brews (super fresh coffee).
However this Cuisinart model is a double edged sword; you'll need to follow the directions to access the grinder mechanism, and clean it often to keep it in tip top shape and tasting fresh (although many users say its easy to clean). The grind-and-brew might be your go-to if you want to save money and counter space on two machines in one.
If you’re cultivating a retro look in your home, you’re going to love the cool style of this coffee maker. I mean, what else would you expect from the brand Nostalgia? Everything from the baby blue color to the vintage scrawled font screams mid 20th century in the best possible way.
But unlike actual 50 year old coffee makers, this one is also equipped with the convenience of modern day features. It can be programmed to brew on a timer, always a win for those of us who struggle with the early pre-caffeine hours of the day. And it has the always popular brew pause option, so you can grab that first cup as soon as possible without making a mess.
After brewing, the hot plate automatically activates to keep your carafe of precious bean juice warm. Then two hours later, it shuts off, a handy safety feature to avoid burning the carafe dry.
If you’re hyped on the vintage style of this coffee maker, you’ll be happy to hear it’s part of a set, so you can keep the retro theme going throughout your kitchen. Nostalgia also makes a toaster and microwave in the same hip baby blue.
This Ninja gives you a plethora of options. It's a dual coffee maker, which means you can choose between brewing a quick cup of coffee or waiting for a whole pot of coffee to brew. Or maybe you want to tinker with the water amount to come up with a richer or more diluted brew? Or maybe you're bored with a standard black coffee and want to sip on a latte or a vanilla iced mocha for a change?
“You wish is my command” … is what this easy-to-use brewer would say in response. (if coffee makers could talk)
This is not your standard hot and cold coffee maker; it's a Ninja brewer that can do anything for you when it comes to coffee (almost anything; but not espresso, and not cold brew coffee). In terms of versatility, the Ninja Specialty wins. Now go off and make a new exciting coffee with a few touches of a button – because you can.
Just remember, while it can make iced coffee, it cant make cold brew coffee – and there's a big difference. You'll still need a cold brew maker separate to this.
The OXO Brew drip coffee maker imitates the manual pour over coffee process for you to brew one clean, tasty, and full bodied carafe of coffee. It is easy-to-use brews coffee so good that it has been SCAA approved – this is not some made up rating; it's the real deal.
Think of it like this: you have a personal pour-over barista on call to brew you a Chemex on demand. But he won't charge you $8 per cup of coffee or give you attitude for your lack hipster-ness. Minimalistic style and quality coffee at the touch of a button.
Besides all that good stuff, this OXO 9 cup drip coffee maker is one of the best BPA-free coffee brewers, a BIG plus in our opinion. We took a deeper look into the Barista Brain 9 cup brewer in our full review, which you can read here.
The Hamilton Beach gives two options to brew: the large carafe or a travel mug. This means can use it as a single serve or make it brew a large batch of brewed coffee. The carafe side is fitted with your standard coffee filter for drip brewing, and the cup side allows you to brew with pods – however, it's not compatible with K-cups.
It has a few notable functions that customers won't stop talking about (in a good way)
The program function allows you to set your brewing time up to 24 hours in advance so you can wake up to the smell of coffee. You can also choose the extraction level to alter the taste of your brew whether you like it strong or regular (all via the handy LED digital display).
The Hamilton Beach is a great programmable machine for an affordable price. A favorite all rounder. It's a shame it's missing a good thermal coffee pot, but it's still performed quite well as a drip coffee maker when we reviewed it here.
The Bunn Speed Brew is one of the fastest coffee makers available (as the name suggests). It will make a full pot of brewed coffee in under 3 minutes. Just add coffee and water, press a button, check your social media and your coffee is ready.
Is the quality of coffee sacrificed for speed? Probably, but not as badly as you'd think. Bunn is known for making great coffee machines (like these), and they haven't cut any corners with the Classic Speed Brew BX. Plus, they're also made in the USA.
The Bunn Speed Brew's internal water tank always keeps the water at perfect coffee brewing temperature, and the special spray head works hard to properly soak your grounds and improve the taste. It won't brew amazing coffee, but it's the fastest. If you are busy and rushed in the mornings, this Bunn drip coffee maker may save you precious minutes… to drink more coffee.
Tips for choosing the right brewer
Keep these tips in mind when looking for the right coffee maker for your home. It leaves with you the best chance of making the right choice.
Do you only want a single cup of drip coffee in the morning, or do you need multiple? Is it just you drinking the coffee, or do you have a family in need? Figure out how much coffee you need to make at one time, then factor that in to your decision.
Don't overlook carafe size as it can be annoying to be under/over ‘carafe-d'. You will find either 4, 10, or 14 cup carafes; 12, being the most popular.
In case you didn’t know, the “carafe” is the pot or container the coffee drips down in to. It is better to have a machine with a larger carafe as you don't HAVE to fill it up. Some will brew into a glass carafe, but ideally yours will be brewing into a thermal coffee pot. We explain this a little more below.
Style of Filter Basket
When buying a drip coffee machine, you’ll encounter two styles of filter basket, either the flat-bottom basket shape or the cone shape. The shape of the filter basket influences what style of paper filter to buy, but that’s not all!
Coffee nerds have long insisted that the shape of the filter also affects the taste of your coffee, and recent research sponsored by the SCA has proven them right (1). It’s not too surprising when you think about it. Because the shape of the filter changes how water flows through the ground coffee, it impacts the extraction.
If you like bright fruity, floral, and sweet coffees, such as you might find from Ethiopia, then flat-bottom baskets are known to best highlight these flavors. On the other hand, if darker, earthier coffees like those from Sumatra are more your style, a cone filter will be a better match. If you like them all, consider a brewer that comes with both styles of filter, like our Runner Up pick, the Breville Precision Brewer.
Compared to most coffee makers, some drip coffee makers can be programmed to turn on and off at certain times, remain hot for so long before shutting off, and more. These functions can be handy if you’re the kind of person who likes to wake up to the smell of coffee, or who doesn’t want to be bothered to brew a cup in the morning. You just want the coffee to happen. We get it. We are not all morning people.
Most coffee makers can be programmed to turn on at a certain time. However, some of them brew extremely quickly and don’t need this feature. Determine whether or not you’d like this feature, and put it on your list of wants.
Ability to Pause Mid-Brew (to steal a quick cup)
Some brewers are able to be paused mid-brew, allowing you to pour a cup before it’s finished. If you’re the kind of person who needs their coffee ASAP, you may want to add this to your wish list. We’ve looked at a few that do this.
Me no worky without coffee? You'll need this feature.
If you’re the kind of person who rushes out the door in the morning, it can be easy to forget to turn the coffee machine off. That’s where this feature comes in handy.
Do you have a filter in your kitchen sink?If not, you’re probably making your coffee with less-than-stellar water, which takes away from the flavor. Fear not – some coffeemakers come with a built in water filter inside the water tank and that makes your hot cups of coffee taste even better (2).
Keep in mind this comes with the added effort and expense of replacing the filters, so you may or may not want them. And if you already use a water filtration system, you don't need this.
Watch Steven's fun video on brewing better coffee at home:
Common Overlooked (yet important) Factors to Consider
Now lots look at some of the jargon terms that are easy to skip over but are important in making the right choice. Again – let me remind you that we are only looking at drip machines here – not manual coffee makers (e.g. the French press) or Keurig machines.
Hot Plate vs Thermal Carafe
The question here is whether you want energy efficiency/better flavor or a more affordable price tag.
Glass carafes tend to be cheaper but the hot plate heats the coffee further which over-extracts the oils and makes it taste bitter. Additionally, the warming plate has to be continually turned on to stay hot, which uses more energy.
A thermal (or steel) carafe keeps the coffee at an optimum brewing temperature of 195-205 degrees for 1-2 hours, which some believe to keep a better flavor. It also saves some energy in the process. However, they tend to be more expensive.
Gold standard = thermal carafe. If you're serious about brewing amazing tasting drip coffee every day, you need a coffee machine with one of these. Here's a complete list of the best thermal carafe coffee makers.
Do you have a coffee grinder already?
If you prefer freshly ground coffee (and you should) you have two options: Choose a machine with a built in grinder (like one of these) or buy a separate one. While coffee makers with in-built grinders are generally more expensive than brewers without grinders, it might still save you money over buying a separate grinder. Additionally, having both machines in one will save counter space.
But standalone coffee grinders are generally do a better job of grinding, and you can grind for other brew styles. Some coffee drinkers claim having a separate grinder is a must for the best flavor and the best size coffee grounds.
If you’re a stickler for the absolute best, or you want to experiment with other brew styles: buy a separate grinder.
The Specialty Coffee Association of America is reviews, tests and certifies coffee gear including drip coffee makers (3). When a body like the SCAA has given something the stamp of approval; you know you're looking at coffee makers as rated by industry professionals.
Developed by coffee science experts and professional coffee tasters, this program reviews brewers designed for in-home use to determine if they meet the rigorous requirements of brewed coffee quality as determined by the SCA
Here's a video explaining a little more:
Oh, would you look at that? We've included a few of them on this list. If you want a more complate list: read our write up of the most exciting SCAA coffee makers.
Something To Keep in mind
We have NOT included:
- Espresso machines – if you want espresso based coffee, or anything with a milk frother, read our guide to the best espresso machines here.
- Smaller, portable coffee makers – we cover coffee makers for travelers here.
- Single-serve coffee makers – you can read about them here.
- Manual coffee brewers – you'll want to see our french press reviews, or pour over brewer reviews here.
- Iced coffee and cold brewers – we've made a list of those here.
- Ninja hot and cold coffee brewers – these are popular so we did a separate review on them here.
- Cuisinart coffee makers – If you like this reputable brand, here's our list of amazing Cuisinart machines in the market.
- Capresso machines – another reputable home machine brand that we recommend.
- Miele coffee brewers – This brand offers all-around coffee brewers. Here's our list of the best models.
- Smart coffee makers – here are some really smart coffee machines you want to operate using your smartphone.
- Plumbed coffee machines – here are our top picks for the coffee makers with water line.
With coffee makers, you get what you pay for. So if coffee is a crucial part of your morning, then it’s worth investing in the best. And based on an overwhelming number of votes from coffee shops, consumers, and the SCAA, the best drip coffee maker is the Technivorm Moccamaster.
Sure, it’s a bit more expensive than average, but the value is there. Each one is handmade in the Netherlands and certified by the SCAA to deliver the ultimate cup of coffee, the thermal carafe keeps your coffee hot and delicious, and it comes with an industry-leading 5-year warranty. What’s not to love?!
An expensive coffee maker might be worth it depending on your habits. More expensive brewers typically make better coffee because they better control water temperature and flow. But you’re unlikely to notice this benefit unless you’re buying quality coffee in the first place. Expensive coffee makers also use higher quality components, more metal and less plastic, so they are more durable. It is up to you to weigh these advantages versus cost.
You should do a basic cleaning of your coffee maker after every use, because coffee oils and sediments can easily build up. A deeper descaling should be done less frequently based on the manufacturer’s recommendation, usually every 3 to 6 months.
The obvious difference between a cone and basket filter is the shape. A basket filter has a flat bottom whereas a cone filter narrows to a point. But more subtly, they also brew differently because their shape influences the flow of water. Basket filters promote sweeter flavors while cone filters highlight darker notes in a brew.
Most pre-ground coffee is ground to the right size for drip brew, so you can use it in your coffee maker. However, if you have access to a decent burr grinder, freshly ground coffee will always deliver better flavor.
- (February 26, 2019). Can Filter Basket Shape Affect The Flavor of Your Coffee? https://perfectdailygrind.com/2019/02/can-filter-basket-shape-affect-the-flavor-of-your-coffee/
- MÄKELÄ, K. (n.d.). Coffee and Water – How to Use High Quality Water to Brew the Best Coffee. Retrieved from. https://www.baristainstitute.com/node/275
- (June 1, 2019). Retrieved from. https://sca.coffee/certified-home-brewer