Best Drip Coffee Makers America’s Test Kitchen

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You’ve probably already tossed the coffee maker that came free with your last apartment. But what’s the best replacement? After researching top models across five categories—programmable, pour-over, French press, vacuum-press, and instant—we found one drip coffeemaker that can’t be beaten. It offers an intuitive interface, customizable settings for both temperature and brew strength, and a thermal carafe that keeps your java hot for hours. We had high hopes for this affordable machine’s single-cup brewing, but the results were underwhelming.

Before we get to our main picks, let’s talk about why you might want a coffee maker in the first place. For most people, it boils down to convenience and price: Coffee makers are convenient because they brew for you while you sleep or pour you a cup before you head out the door. They’re also considerably cheaper than most gourmet coffee shop drinks—and just as easy, once you learn how to work your machine.

If none of that sounds like a compelling reason to buy one, then perhaps the ritual of making good coffee is rewarding enough. It’s definitely more fun than staring at a drip coffeemaker until your water goes cold or your pot of pre-ground beans is drained. 

Bonavita Connoisseur 8-Cup Carafe Coffee Brewer

Bonavita 8-Cup Carafe Coffee Brewer is one of the top picks. Its thermal carafe is one of the best features of this machine. Bonavita’s brew temperature was nearly 200 degrees Fahrenheit—the ideal brewing temperature for many drinks—so our coffee tasted great. It’s also automated, with an intuitive interface that lets you easily program the machine to turn on when you want it to.

The design of this machine is compact and excellent for small spaces. The Bonavita even has a programmable pre-infusion mode, so the coffee grounds are wet before the whole pot of water goes in. And unlike other ceramic carafes that can break in transit or when dropped, this one’s solid borosilicate construction protects it from damage. This is a programmable machine with stainless steel accents.

Pros

  •     Filters are easy to remove
  •     Wells catch stray coffee groundswell

Cons-

  •     The short power cord may not reach an outlet for some setups
  •     May over-steep coffee if left on the warming plate

 

Breville BDC450BSS1BUS1 

Breville BDC450BSS1BUS1 Precision Brewer Coffee Maker with Thermal Carafe is one of the top picks. It has an intuitive interface, customizable settings for both temperature and brew strength, and a coffee maker that can be programmed to start brewing at a set time every morning (so you don’t even need to get out of bed). A thermal carafe keeps your java hot for hours without burning it.

The Breville provides complete control over every aspect of the brewing process. For instance, you can adjust brew strength—for lighter or darker coffee—by adjusting the number of ground beans the machine uses. You can also adjust the water temperature to taste, but if you don’t want to bother with customizing your drinks one at a time, you may prefer our programmable pick below.

A removable water tank is easy to fill from the tap, and a clever spout arrangement makes it impossible for spilled coffee to get trapped in the handle of the carafe. Simply flip up the little black plastic door on top of the machine when you want to add or remove water.

Pros-

  •     Wells catch stray coffee ground
  •     Still hot after 2 hours
  •     Various settings, strength, and temperature

Cons-

  •     Cannot choose the warming plate duration
  •     Noisy when brewing a lot of coffee at once

Braun BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker, Black – 12 Cup – KF7000BK

Braun BrewSense is one of the top picks. It is programmable with an auto-off feature, and you can also choose when to start brewing. If you want coffee in the morning but aren’t ready to brew until after your shower, for instance, this ensures that your java will be ready when you are.

It has a sleek design with an easy-to-read water reservoir, and the machine is reasonably quiet when it’s in action.

The Braun BrewSense has a hidden element design, so you don’t see anything but the bottom of the carafe when you pull it out. This means that any stray coffee grounds go right into your cup instead of getting trapped in the machine, and there’s no need to open up the water tank and dump them.

Pros

  •     Intuitive temperature and brew settings for a customized cup
  •     Brews quickly and quietly
  •     Comes with reusable filter for freshness

Cons

  •     Requires charcoal filter change every couple of months
  •     The carafe has a risk of breakage due to handle

 

Cuisinart Stainless Steel Thermal Coffeemaker, 12 Cup Carafe, Silver

Cuisinart is easy to program, and you can choose when the machine starts brewing. If you want java first thing in the morning but aren’t ready for it until after your shower, this ensures that it’s ready by the time you are.

It has intuitive settings, so whether you prefer lighter or stronger coffee, Cuisinart lets you program it to brew the way you like. It also has a delay feature if you want your java ready when you are, but don’t want to wait up all night for it.

The Cuisinart is easy to use with no special programming required, and you can pause mid-brew if need be (to pour yourself another cup mid-way through brewing). The carafe has a non-stick interior that you can clean in the dishwasher, and the machine is easy to operate with an intuitive interface.

Pros

  •     Amazing brew-strength control
  •     Offers temperature adjustment for light or dark coffee
  •     The charcoal filter keeps water tasting great without affecting the taste of coffee
  •     The minimalist design makes it easy to clean
  •     Brew pause feature

Cons

  •     The carafe is made of glass, which makes it easier to break than other materials
  •     The size is on the smaller end, so you can only brew 12 cups at once
  •     Corrosion can occur on the warming plate.

 

Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Trio 2-Way Single Serve Coffee 

If you are not a fan of carafes, this option might work well for you. The Hamilton Beach has an easy-to-clean pod design with no complicated components or small crevices to get gunked up in.

It is compatible with K-cups, and also comes with a regular ground coffee basket if that’s more your style.

You can choose between strong, regular, and weak coffee with Hamilton Beach. If you like different kinds of coffee throughout the day (for example regular first thing in the morning, then decaf at night), this machine offers that kind of flexibility without restricting you to one or two options.

The Hamilton Beach is programmable with a clock and offers three different brew sizes. It also has an automatic shutoff feature for safety’s sake.

Pros

  •     Compatible with K-cups or grounds of your choice
  •     Includes ground coffee basket as well
  •     Offers three size options to suit your needs
  •     Consistent temperature control makes for optimal brewing results every time
  •     Brew pause feature
  •     Auto shut-off feature
  •     The carafe is made of glass, which makes it breakable but easier to clean than stainless steel
  •     Lacks a backlight and can be hard to read in low light.

Cons

  •     Water spills out of the machine while it’s running
  •     The carafe is made of stainless steel, which is harder to clean.

Cuisinart DCC-1200BKS 12 Cup 

The stainless steel carafe looks sleek and modern in any kitchen. It’s also durable and easy to clean, which is important because you’ll be cleaning it a lot.

This machine has an auto-shutoff feature that goes off when the coffee is ready, so if you’re into that kind of convenience this could work for you. The clock is also programmable, so if you sleep by an alarm clock this machine will turn itself on and brew you a fresh pot of coffee before your feet hit the floor.

This model has a charcoal filter to improve water taste and maintain purity. It also comes with a gold-tone commercial-style permanent filter that doesn’t require paper filters, which means fewer filters to buy and less waste.

Pros

  •     Automatic shut-off for safety purposes
  •     Programmable clock with backlight for easy readability in low light conditions
  •     Includes a permanent gold-tone commercial-style filter to reduce paper waste
  •     Water filter improves taste and maintains the purity of water so your coffee is always tasting great
  •     Brew pause feature

Cons

  •     The lid is difficult to remove and has a tendency to break (although Cuisinart does replace it for free)
  •     Water spills out of the machine while it’s running.
  •     Coffee on the counter can be problematic with this model if you brew large batches.
  •     The coffee maker needs a paper filter, though class-style metal filters are included.

On a concluding note, you can find many great drip coffee maker reviews. The best one for you is the one that suits your needs, so keep in mind how much space you have, what kind of carafe design works best with your cooking style, and whether or not water spills are a concern. Once you find the drip coffee maker that suits your own personal cooking style, brewing a great cup of coffee every morning will be just as fun and easy as making dinner. Moreover, all of the machines listed above can be found on Amazon and would make a great addition to your kitchen.

 

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