Retro Coffee Maker: 7 Picks For Vintage Style Lovers
A retro coffee maker is an affordable way to add fun appeal or a pop of colour to your kitchen. But you don’t just want a great-looking machine; you also want to brew great coffee. We tested a ton of funky, beautiful, and downright weird retro brewers to bring you this list of the seven best retro coffee makers that pair great coffee with great style.
At A Glance:
- TOP PICK: Haden Heritage Coffee Maker
- BUDGET CHOICE: Brentwood Coffee Maker
- GREAT VALUE: Rae Dunn Coffee Machine
The 7 Best Retro Coffee Makers in 2023
The best retro coffee maker should make delicious coffee while showcasing your fun sense of style. The interior design experts at Designbx describe retro style as a mix of old and new, with modern elements taking inspiration from the past (1).
Any era can be tapped into here, with the 50s, 60s and 70s the most common. It embraces a kaleidoscope of contrasting design features, colours, shapes and form.
Whether you’re looking for a retro drip coffee maker that’s small or large, colourful or subtle, feature-filled or basic, we have the perfect choice for you in this list of the seven best.
1. Haden 75302 Heritage Coffee Maker – Best Overall
Capacity: 12 cups
- Colour(s): Turquoise, Black/Chrome, Black/Copper, Ivory, Ivory/Copper, Putty, Steel/Copper
- Programmable: Yes
The Haden Heritage Coffee Maker is our top choice for retro coffee makers this year, thanks to its great style and even better functionality.
The circular clock and arrangement of silver buttons give it a distinctly retro flair, especially if you opt for the turquoise colour. But the sleek lines and brewing features are entirely modern. It would look right at home in 1950 or 2050 – and will brew great coffee in any era.
The Haden Heritage is a 12-cup programmable coffee maker has a glass carafe and a built-in warming plate to keep your coffee warm. You can program it to brew up to 24 hours in advance, and the hot plate turns off automatically after up to two hours.
My favourite feature is the brew strength selector. The option for a boldly flavoured brew is always a hallmark of some of the best coffee makers. The 30-second anti-drip function ensures you can grab a quick cup during the brew cycle without making a mess. Because who has the self-control to wait for that first delicious cup?
2. Nostalgia Electrics Retro Coffee Maker – Runner Up
Capacity: 12 cups
- Colour(s): Red, Aqua, Yellow, Cream, Pink, White
- Programmable: Yes
With a name like Nostalgia, it’s no surprise this brand makes a gorgeous retro-style coffee maker. Indeed, they make a whole kitchen’s worth of brightly coloured throwback appliances, so you can nab yourself a complete matching set! The only reason it’s our runner-up is it lacks a brew strength control option.
The Nostalgia Electrics coffee machine has a more vintage style than the Haden Heritage. This old-style coffee maker radiates the 1950s in everything from the chrome accents to the font choice and vibrant colour selection. But don’t let appearances fool you; this is a well-made appliance with all the convenient modern features.
This retro-looking coffee maker has a programmable 24-hour clock and a delay-brew option. So you can set it, forget it, then wake up to a steaming pot of coffee. The 12-cup glass carafe has a dripless spout for spill-free pouring, and the removable water reservoir is marked for user-friendly water measuring.
Like the Haden coffee maker, it has boil-dry protection, an automatic shut-off that turns off the hot plate after two hours, and a pause-and-serve function for grabbing a cup during the brew cycle.
3. Rae Dunn 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker – Best Value for Money
Capacity: 12 cups
- Colour(s): Cream, Black, Chrome
- Programmable: Yes
The Rae Dunn 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker is a relatively new product, and we aren’t the only ones quickly singing its praises. This retro drip coffee maker has been enjoying universally positive reviews. That might have something to do with its cute retro styling, including a circular digital LED display and the word “COFFEE” emblazoned on the front in a fun font. But we think it has more to do with the number of features it’s packing at a low price. It was a no-brainer for our Great Value award.
This 12-cup vintage coffee maker is fully programmable, at just half the cost of the Nostalgia Electrics brewer. It even includes a reusable coffee filter, so you don’t need to spend more money on paper filters. Brewing is as simple as filling the tank and pressing a button, and it’s just as easy to clean thanks to a removable brew filter. The pause-and-serve function means you can grab a cup anytime.
Rae Dunn makes a matching burr grinder, charmingly labelled GRIND in the same font, at an equally impressive price point. Treat yourself to the pair if you’re decking out your coffee bar from scratch. For just over $100, you have everything you need to brew great coffee in style.
4. SMEG 1950s Style Coffee Maker – Best Build Quality
Capacity: 10 cups
- Colour(s): Brushed Stainless, Black, Cream, Pastel Blue, Pastel Green, Red, Pink
- Programmable: Yes
SMEG is one of the first brands to jump to mind when considering retro appliances. You’ve certainly seen (and probably coveted) the iconic SMEG Fab28 fridge, a popular choice among wealthy trendsetters, according to Ekaterina Tsyganova of Casa Design Boston (2).
We usually get requests about this brand from Millennial couples who move into the city…They look for the specific retro look of SMEG products.
If you want the SMEG look without the $5000 price tag, the brand’s 10-cup programmable coffee maker is a stylish and affordable alternative.
This vintage coffee maker is still the most expensive model on this list. This is only partly because you’re paying for the SMEG branding. You’re also paying a premium for superior build quality. The SMEG retro-style coffee maker has an all-metal aluminium exterior. So while you’ll pay more upfront, it is built to last with high-quality materials.
Of course, the SMEG retro coffee maker has every feature you expect in a high-end drip coffee maker – a programmable brew timer, automatic hot plate shut-off, digital display, coffee strength control, and anti-drip system. It includes a low-volume mode, so you can brew just 4 cups without sacrificing full flavour. That’s an especially useful option if your daily coffee consumption habits tend to vary.
5. Chulux Single Serve – Best Retro K-Cup Coffee Maker
Capacity: 355 ml
- Colour(s): Pink, Red, Cyan, Black
- Programmable: No
They may not have had K-Cups in the mid-20th century, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them with a retro-style coffee maker today (3). This single-serve model from Chulux is compact, affordable, incredibly easy to use, and has an ultra-quick 3-minute brewing time.
The best part is that it’s compatible with K-Cups and ground coffee beans, so you don’t need to feel limited. Pop in a capsule on a busy morning when convenience is a priority, or choose ground coffee when you have enough time to savour the morning ritual. In either case, you can brew between 5 and 12 ounces at the touch of a button. After brewing, it shuts off automatically.
A significant advantage to single-cup coffee makers is their small size. The Chulux retro coffee maker measures just 10.9 cm x 18.8 cm x 23 m and weighs just under a kilo – portable enough to take to and from the office. It’s available in four colours, but it’s hard to beat the retro pink coffee maker for a fun, throwback vibe. And with such a compact machine, the bright colours won’t overwhelm your kitchen decor.
6. Diguo Belgian Siphon Brewer – Best Vintage Vacuum Coffee Maker
Capacity: 500 ml
- Colour(s): Classic Gold, Rose Gold, Silver
- Programmable: No
If the word “retro” makes you think more 1850s than 1950s, this stunning vintage vacuum coffee maker by Diguo is the one for you.
This Belgian-style balance brewer is as much a work of art as a coffee maker, with an elegance unmatched by modern machines.
A Belgian balance brewer works on the same principle as any vintage siphon coffee maker, using a vacuum to suction steeped coffee through a reusable coffee filter. The only difference is that the brewing and vacuum chambers are positioned side by side rather than stacked.
Siphon coffee makers are notoriously complex to use and difficult to clean; this one is no exception. It’s best as an occasional brewer to impress your friends at brunch, not a daily driver. However, these retro coffee makers have an enduring appeal despite their inconvenience because they make fantastic coffee.
The immersion brew, cloth filter, and steady heat combine to produce a bold and complex cup of morning coffee – like a happy middle ground between a pour over and a French press.
7. Brentwood TS-213 Coffee Maker – Budget Pick
Capacity: 4 cups
- Colour(s): Blue, Black, White
- Programmable: No
The Brentwood TS-213 coffee maker is a bare-bones brewer, much less expensive than the other retro coffee makers featured here. A perfect first coffee maker, it offers exactly what you need to brew coffee and nothing more. If you want a simple brewer with a charming retro appeal and no fancy features, this budget-friendly pick is it. We recommend the blue model, made from BPA-free plastic, for a classic retro design.
Simple isn’t bad when the price is right, and it ensures this brewer is super easy to use, with no programming to master. Add water and coffee grounds, and turn the brewer on. That’s it. After brewing, the hot plate keep-warm function keeps your coffee hot for as long as you need.
This Brentwood Coffee Maker includes a tempered glass carafe and a reusable filter, so you don’t have to budget for paper filters. This retro coffee pot has a low 4-cup capacity and a small footprint, making it a great choice for a single person or couple in a small kitchen, dorm room, or office cubicle.
How to Choose the Best Retro Coffee Maker
Buying the best coffee maker is, first and foremost, about brewing a great cup of morning coffee. But when it comes to retro coffee makers, great design is an equally important factor. This buyer’s guide will walk you through finding the perfect retro-style coffee machine.
How Much Coffee Do You Need To Brew?
This may seem self-evident, but match the capacity of your retro coffee maker to the amount of coffee you drink daily. Most automatic drip coffee makers are notoriously bad at brewing less than their capacity. Brewing 4 cups of coffee in a 12-cup coffee maker often yields a bland brew. And brewing a full carafe and tossing multiple cups down the sink is even sadder.
A single person or couple should consider a single-serve brewer or small retro coffee maker with a four or five-cup capacity. Larger households or offices will need a 10 to 12-cup coffee maker.
Remember that capacity also impacts dimensions. If you don’t drink a lot of coffee, there is no need to waste counter space with a large coffee machine.
What Programmable Features Do You Need?
Programmability is a significant difference between cheap retro-style coffee machines and mid-priced coffee machines. Do you like to set your coffee to brew the night before, knowing you’ll wake up to a steaming fresh pot? Then splurge on a programmable coffee maker. On the other hand, if you don’t mind waiting a few minutes for your morning brew, save money with a more basic model.
Automatic hot plate shut-off is another premium feature that is useful for forgetful types. If you’re apt to head to the office and forget to turn off the coffee maker, your peace of mind is worth its weight in gold.
Brew strength control is the final feature to consider. This option slows the brewing cycle to extract more flavour from the ground coffee for a more robust cup. Adding extra coffee grinds also ups the flavour of your brew, but not to the same extent. And you’ll spend more money buying ground coffee in the long run.
We don’t usually prioritize aesthetics when buying coffee gear. But when you’re shopping for a retro coffee machine, funky style and fun colours are a big part of the appeal!
Every machine listed makes excellent coffee, so there’s nothing wrong with choosing based on colour or design to match your kitchen decor.
Most of the models listed here come in various colours. There are retro design classics like teal and red or more subtle plain colours like black, cream, and chrome. Many of the coffee makers are part of complete retro-style kitchen sets – something to consider if you’re also shopping for a toaster, blender, or other small appliance.
The best overall retro coffee maker this year is the Heritage Coffee Maker from Haden. It pairs cool vintage style with an array of features – all at a reasonable price. With coffee strength control, programmable brew delay timer, automatic shut-off, and more, there is little it can’t do. Plus, it comes in various colours to suit any kitchen decor.
In the market for something simpler? Or more complicated? Check out the rest of the list. All seven coffee makers featured here brew great coffee and have the retro aesthetic you crave. One of them is sure to suit your needs and deliver your perfect cup!
A percolator is a retro-style brewer that makes coffee by continually cycling brewing water through coffee grounds. Percolators aren’t popular any more because specialty coffee lovers claim they make a burnt or bitter-tasting cup. But fans love them for their extra strong and hot coffee (4).
People made coffee in the old days by steeping coffee grinds in boiling water, sometimes filtering them out with varying degrees of success. Cowboy coffee and Turkish coffee are examples of old-school brewing methods (6).
Yes, refurbished coffee makers are worth it in some instances. Buying a refurbished model is an affordable way to access a pricey high-quality or commercial coffee maker. Just make sure you buy from a reputable dealer.
- Designbx. (n.d.). Retro style guide. Retrieved from https://designbx.com/blog/retro-interior-design/
- Raczka, R. (2017, March 16). How SMEG became the coolest fridge on the block. Retrieved from https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/2017/03/16/how-smeg-became-coolest-fridge-block/tOVm1ybiZ2JMKKlxOFj36M/story.html
- Evans, P. (2015, March 5). K-Cup creator John Sylvan regrets inventing Keurig coffee pod system. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/k-cup-creator-john-sylvan-regrets-inventing-keurig-coffee-pod-system-1.2982660
- Meister, E. (2021, December 2). How To Use A Coffee Percolator. Retrieved from https://www.drinktrade.com/blog/education/how-to-use-a-coffee-percolator
- Guest Contribution. (2019, March 14). History of Coffee Brewing. Retrieved from https://historycooperative.org/history-of-coffee-brewing/