Our Guide to the Best Coffeemakers

We put them to the test (and drank a ton of coffee) to find our favorites.

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February 07, 2019
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Photo By: Jean-Francois Schmit

Which Coffeemaker Is Right for You?

What makes a great coffeemaker? It depends on the person. Some love the convenience of auto brew and permanent filters. Others like compactness and value, while some people care about style, color or craftsmanship alone. However, one thing all coffee drinkers can agree on: your coffeemaker of choice should make coffee you crave. Whether you typically brew for a crowd, are rushing out the door or make time to grind your own beans, we've got a coffeemaker just for you.

Best Overall: Bodum Bistro 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Machine

With a slight modern curve and glass carafe reminiscent of a French press (Bodum's wheelhouse) this incredibly affordable model is the one we think is best for most people. Programming is easy, and you can watch the rain shower brewing (which is said to provide a more balanced flavor) in action thanks to the clear lid. The rubberized handle on the carafe is a great safety touch and cleaning is simple with some dishwasher-safe parts. And finally, our tasters liked the coffee and price tag.

Buy It: Bed Bath & Beyond, $39.99

Good for a Crowd: Cuisinart PerfecTemp 14-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker

At 14 cups, this model made our biggest brew and with the Brew Pause feature the caffeine-deprived can sneak a quick cup before the pot is full. Coffee stays hot for up to two hours (perfect for big brunches) and the auto brew feature means the machine will be up and brewing before you. Choose from three model colors that make regular or bold brews — depending on your crowd's taste. There's also a charcoal water filter that needs replacing every 60 days, so set yourself a reminder. Pro tip: You can register your model with a simple photo text — the only one we tested with this special customer service feature.

Buy It: Bed Bath & Beyond, $88.99

Perfect for Small Kitchens: Hamilton Beach 46205 Programmable Coffee Maker

Cute as a button with a small footprint, this compact machine still manages to make 12 cups of coffee, which was a favorite among our tasters. The bottom swivel feet make it easy to travel on your countertop and the water reservoir is removable, so filling is a cinch. Choose between two model colors with regular and bold brew settings — and the price is great for small budgets.

Buy It: Amazon, $39.99

Best for Old School Coffee Drinkers: Black + Decker 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker

Don't need any bells and whistles on your machine? This super affordable model is simple all around: from programming to brewing and cleaning. But it’s not too bare bones! Thanks to the auto brew feature you can sneak a cup before the pot is full and rely on the automatic 2-hour shut off for peace of mind.

Buy It: Bed Bath & Beyond, $29.99

Made for the Coffee Craftsman: Technivorm Moccamaster 59162 KBG Coffee Brewer

The box is fun and mysterious (like opening a present), and inside you'll find a serious and solid machine handmade in the Netherlands. For the pour-over coffee lover who still wants the convenience of automatic drip, this sustainably developed machine brewed our favorite tasting coffee by far. The hefty price reflects the craftsmanship of the machine, which comes in 20 colors, so you can be sure you’ll get exactly what you want.

Buy It: Amazon, $309.00

Perfect for the Vintage Lover: Russell Hobbs CM3100RDR Retro Style Coffeemaker 8-Cup

For those who want character in their kitchen, this small retro-inspired coffee machine adds a pop of color — there are five to choose from. The front gauge and on/off switch are reminiscent of a vintage car, but it's not all about looks. There's a permanent filter (so ditch those paper ones) and pause-and-pour feature for quick caffeine fixes. The scoop has a permanent home right on the machine, so losing it won't be easy. And a bonus for environmentally conscious people: The packaging waste was minimal and the least of all the machines we tested.

Buy It: Amazon, $79.99

Best for the Aspiring Barista: Ninja Coffee Bar Glass Carafe Coffee System CF091

Put on your barista apron and get ready for some caffeinated fun. This machine is perfect for those who have family and friends with very different coffee orders. The different 5-brew and 6-size settings (and the built-in milk froth wand) will ensure that everyone sips happy. Use the recipe booklet and online videos to make everything from black coffee to cappuccinos and to help troubleshoot (which is important since this stealthy machine only comes with a 1-year warranty).

Buy It: Target, $149.99

Best for the All-Day Coffee Drinker: BUNN 10-Cup Velocity Brew BX Coffee Brewer

Stop microwaving that same cup of coffee, because this machine is always ready (thanks to the heated stainless-steel water tank) and will brew a fresh and full pot in just three minutes (it's true, we timed it). Perfect for people who drink coffee all day or a small business owner who treats customers to a cup of joe. With a three-year warranty, it's a safe investment if you need a real workhorse.

Buy It: Walmart.com, $101.20

How We Tested

We got nerdy. After careful research from reputable consumer buying guides, we purchased 12 coffeemakers. Each was assigned a testing letter ID (so our taste tests were blind) and then we took copious notes — about everything. We noted how much trash each machine left behind after it was unpacked, read every instruction manual and set up all the machines according to manufacturers' specifications. Then we began to brew (about 20 pots total) with the same coffee across the board, following the recommended coffee-to-water ratio for each machine. We took the temperature three times: while brewing, right when the pot was done and two hours later. And then our tasting panel of six spent two days tasting coffee. (What we learned about taste: It's super subjective. Some people love weaker coffee while others prefer bold. Perhaps there is no such thing as a bad cup of coffee?) We tested every feature claimed by the manufacturer and then we cleaned them all.