What's The Best Coffee Maker of 2021? (Drip Coffee Makers)
Finding the best drip coffee maker is a difficult process, mostly because the “best” is different depending on what you need. Below we'll show you exactly how to spot a good brewer from a bad one, and then we show you how to find the best coffee makers available right now. Then, all you have to do is brew coffee, knowing it will be amazing.
Buying Guide: 5 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.
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. (1)
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.
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 (2). 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.
The 11 Best Drip Coffee Makers (2021 Picks)
With all these points in mind, here are the best drip coffee makers for different needs.
Keep in mind however, 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.
- 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.
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|Mr. Coffee 4-Cup Switch||
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|Cuisinart DCC 3200 Perfect Temp||
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|Zojirushi Fresh Brew||
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|Cuisinart DGB-700BC Grind-And-Brew 12-Cup Automatic Coffeemaker||
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|Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker||
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|OXO On Barista Brain Coffee Brewer||
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|Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew Coffee System||
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|Hamilton Beach 49980A Brewer||
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|Bunn Classic Speed Brew BX||
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For years running, this simple, cheap, and effective brewer has been considered the best cheap coffee maker. As a brand, Mr. Coffee has always created reliable and affordable products that cover the basics. While it is very simple with next to no features, it gets the job done. However, with a mid-brew pause, it might have enough to keep you happy at its price.
It won't brew coffee quite like the other picks in this article, but if you're not a coffee snob, it is a great option that will fit you budget. Ideal for those who simply want a decent cup of joe at a great price, without the fancy stuff.
- Small size won’t take up a lot of counter space.
- Reusable filter basket means (don't need to buy tons of paper filters)
- Pause feature lets you sneak a cup mid-brew.
- You can’t program it to start in the morning.
- It doesn’t brew using hot water at the ideal 195-205 degree temperature.
- It makes 4 *5 ounce* cups (not 8 ounces) It only makes 2 normal sized cups.
2. Cuisinart DCC-3200 Perfect Temp 14-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker – Best VALUE overall
Dimensions: 7.75” x 9” x 14”
- Weight: 9 pounds
- Materials: Stainless steel & plastic
- Carafe: Glass
- Capacity: 12 and 14 cups
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.
- Handy programmable features.
- Includes a pause feature to allow sneaking a cup mid-brew.
- Between the water filter and the coffee brewing temperature of ~200 degrees, the coffee tastes excellent.
- Excellent value!
- Reusable filter means you’ll have to clean it often.
- No sensor to tell the machine whether the carafe is present for automatic brewing.
As mentioned earlier, thermal carafes offer fresher, hotter coffee that lasts longer than glass coffee pots. You’ll want a thermal pot if you like to brew one pot and drink from it throughout the day. Because this is a 10-cup coffee maker, you'll save so much time NOT having to re-brew again and again (it adds up).
Thermal carafes tend to be expensive; but not the Zojirushi coffee maker! And it has many useful features; automated cleaning, a reusable filter basket, and an easy to access, removable water canister (a simple yet surprisingly handy feature). Many users DO report however: it IS large and takes up a lot of counter space. It also doesn’t have an auto off feature, which may or may not be a deal breaker.
Overall if you’re looking for an budget friendly thermal brewer, this option is for you. (As you're about to see, thermal brewers get quite expensive).
- Thermal pot offers hot coffee for hours after being brewed.
- Reusable filter basket.
- Automated cleaning (with indicator when cleaning is recommended) and all the programmability you need.
- Rather large design takes up a lot of counter space.
- The directions say you need to unplug it after every use.
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.
- Built-in grinder allows for freshly ground coffee beans every time.
- All the programmability you need, including automatic shutoff after brewing.
- Lets you control the strength of your coffee at the press of a button.
- You have to clean and dry it often.
- Too big for one person
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.
If you just want the best of the best: this is the brewer for you. Both this Moccamaster and the Bonavita (above) are our favorites. Read our full review of the Technivorm Moccamaster here.
When you see a Technivorm Moccamaster in someone’s home, you know they’re serious about good coffee
- Amazing coffee: SCAA approved.
- All metal parts (in the brewing process) that come apart for easy cleaning.
- Heating element shuts off automatically when water reservoir is empty.
- You can’t program it to do anything automatically.
Dimensions: 12.4” x 6.8” x 12.2”
- Weight: 6.13 pounds
- Materials: Stainless steel
- Carafe: Thermal
- Capacity: 8-cup
The Bonavita BV1900TS One-Touch is a popular drip coffee maker among serious drip coffee drinkers. It's easy-to-use and more importantly, it is SCAA APPROVED. We've done a full review of the Bonavita BV1900ts here.
Why? The features; first of all, there is the 8 cup thermal coffee pot that keeps your brew hot for hours (without burning it). Holes in the filter basket lid allow steam to escape from the coffee grounds, and a pre infusion setting allows your coffee to bloom before brewing (mimicking the pour over method). All this leads to friggen' amazing tasting coffee.
The one-touch button design makes it extremely simple to use – just add water and coffee. However, this means no programmable features for those who like tweaking (although it makes amazing coffee. What else do you want?)
The Bonavita BV1900TS is for you if you want a mind-blowing pot of coffee that stays hot for hours and is simple to use. You'll see hundreds of great reviews for this online, so you know you're choosing something with a great track record
- Large shower head for evenly wet grounds and better extraction.
- Shower head, brew basket, and carafe all dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
- SCAA approved
- With one button comes no programmability.
- Does not automatically shut off.
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.
- Can brew 6 different brew sizes at the touch of a button.
- Thermal pot WILL keep your coffee hot.
- SCA certified.
- An overwhelming drip coffee maker for some
- Makes iced coffee, NOT cold brew coffee
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.
- Brews SCAA quality coffee (certified)
- Super stylish 9 cup coffee maker
- Works hard to maintain an optimal brewing temperature for great coffee
- Slower than most brewers
This Mr. Coffee drip machine represents amazing value for money (but It won't come with all of the handy features that others on this list have). But the Optimal Brew will do what you want it to do: make decent drip coffee, and keep your coffee hot at the right brew temperature.
Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew DOES have a few extra features that will make you smile: A delay start function, a ‘grab-and-go' (allows you to pause mid brew and grab a cup) and an inbuilt water reservoir filter (improves the taste of your brew).
- Grab-a-cup feature lets you be impatient while brewing and pull one cup out
- Carafe keeps your coffee hot without burning it
- Built-in filter in water reservoir
- Other brewers on this list will brew a better quality coffee
- Seems to create lot of steam as it brews. Don't use it under a kitchen cabinet or it may cause damage
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.
- Schedule it to brew up to 24 hours in advance
- Brew in a carafe or a travel mug
- Great price
- No thermal coffee pot
- No permanent mesh filter for carafe brewing; you'll need to use paper filters, or buy your own mesh filter.
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.
The Bunn Spped 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.
- Has a 3-minute brew time.
- Still brews a decent cup.
- No thermal carafe.
- Quality of coffee is slightly inferior.
With coffee – you get what you pay for. Therefore, when choosing something as crucial as your daily coffee maker, it pays to invest. You’ll be using it daily, right? Based on an overwhelming number of votes from coffee shops, customers and the SCAA, the award for best coffeemaker goes to the Moccamaster.
Yes, it’s not as cheap as a Mr coffee drip machine, but if you break the price down to a per cup cost – you’re paying peanuts for a great quality coffee experience. Handmade in the Netherlands (3). SCAA approved. Its QUALITY. Enough said.
It’s designed to deliver the best-possible cup of coffee, it includes a high-tech carafe to keep your coffee at the ideal temp for longer, and it has a solid 5 year warranty – what’s not to love?
The best 12 cup coffeemaker is the Cuisinart DGB-900BC Grind & Brew. It has a built in grinder, and a high quality thermal carafe. This means your pot of coffee will taste great, and stay hotter for longer. Great for large batch brews, or very caffeine addicted individuals.
Yes, a coffeemaker can make bad coffee. If you use a cheap one, the resulting brew may be hard to improve. But always start with the coffee grinds. If you coffee tastes bitter, try using coarser grinds (because you've over extracted your coffee). You should also try using better quality water, or giving your coffee brewer a good clean.
All drip coffee makers should brew coffee at the optimal temperature which is between 195 F and 205 F. Any hotter than this and you will burn your coffee and thus, ruin it. If you want hot coffee, choose a machine with a thermal carafe. It will keep your coffee at the right temperature for longer.
Drip coffee makers that have been SCAA certified make the best tasting coffee. There are 3 of these in the above list: The OXO Barista on Brain, The Bonavita BV1900TS, and the Technivorm Moccamaster. These have been certified by the Speciality Coffee Association of America and brew coffee at very high standards.
Hamilton Beach ‘The Scoop' Single Serve Coffeemaker is the best single cup brewer according to an overwhelming number of positive customer reviews online. You can find out more about single serve brewers here.
- MÄKELÄ, K. (n.d.). Coffee and Water – How to Use High Quality Water to Brew the Best Coffee. Retrieved from https://www.baristainstitute.com/inspiration/coffee-and-water-how-use-high-quality-water-brew-best-coffee
- SCAA Certified Home Brewers. (n.d.). Retrieved June 1, 2019, from https://sca.coffee/certified-home-brewer
- About Technivorm. (n.d.). Retrieved June 1, 2019, from https://technivorm.com/about/