What are the best coffee makers you can buy? The short answer is that the best coffee maker is that particular one that most reliably and easily gives you the best cup of coffee to suit your own personal coffee tastes.
The longer answer is more complicated because there are hundreds of different coffee maker brands and models available. You can find coffee makers to suit not only every coffee taste and preferred coffee brewing method but also every coffee lover’s budget and lifestyle. (See also Buying Espresso Machines.)
That said, specific makes and models seem to come up again and again when consumer experts and coffee lovers alike offer their opinions on the best coffee makers. Here’s the latest news on what they’re saying
Best Drip Coffee Makers
Some of the highest-rated drip coffee makers available at under $50 include those from Braun, Black & Decker, and Hamilton Beach; these generally cannot be programmed in advance for brewing, and come with glass carafes. Programmable models cost more than $50, and you may prefer the one from Hamilton Beach because it includes a thermos carafe rather than a glass carafe. Coffee machines from Salton also get good marks in both lower-priced and higher-priced models.
Best Vacuum Coffee Makers
You can still find beautiful old-fashioned glass vacuum coffee makers that you heat yourself. Looking like fantastic laboratory equipment, these can be expensive, and you’ll likely incur even more expensive due to their breakability. However, Bodum now manufactures an automatic vacuum coffee maker made of highly durable polycarbonate plastic that gets high praise from coffee lovers, not least for its beautiful design. You’ll find it in both a 12-cup size priced at around $160 or less and a 6-cup model for $100 or less. The vacuum coffee maker from Black & Decker, priced at around $70, also gets good marks.
Best Coffee Pod Coffee Makers
In this relatively new category, coffee lovers have received several coffee machines enthusiastically. Top coffee maker brands including Senseo (from Philips), Melitta, Nespresso, and Black & Decker have all been received enthusiastically for their convenience, compact and attractive design, and priced well below $100.
Best Automatic Coffee Makers
Coffee lovers show high enthusiasm for the durable, efficient, and beautiful automatic coffee makers from Capresso and Saeco, with prices ranging from around $200 to more than $1,000. These fully automated machines are capable of grinding coffee beans and tamping them down perfectly before brewing a cup of coffee to match your preferences to perfection.
A Single Cup Coffee Maker Brews to Order
The love and appreciation of coffee can evolve into a highly personal relationship with the beverage. You want your coffee that way whenever you want it, and you want to brew that cup of coffee just for yourself in the perfect single cupful right when you need it.
Behold the rise of the single-cup coffee maker, a personal coffee machine expressly designed to brew just one cup of perfect coffee whenever you want it.
The single cup coffee maker is not an entirely new concept or invention. Espresso machines were originally designed almost two centuries ago to brew cups of coffee one at a time and quickly. Many automated coffee makers allow you to brew coffee in a range of quantities. French press coffee pots come in small single-serving sizes. And old tried-and-true manually operated drip coffee filters, which you place on top of a coffee carafe and pour water into by hand, also come in single-cup models that sit atop a coffee cup or coffee mug.
A New Breed of Single Cup Coffee Makers
The current boom in drinking gourmet coffee, in which coffee lovers order cups to their precise personal specifications, has led manufacturers to offer more and more coffee makers tailored to the individual coffee drinker. You’ll find many different brands of single-cup automatic drip filter coffee makers, in which a custom cup or mug or your very own cup or mug sits beneath the filter basket where a coffee carafe would sit on a larger model; some versions even come with their own insulated coffee road mug into which the freshly brewed coffee directly drips. Good quality machines can be found for under $50.
One of the most exciting innovations in single cup coffee makers is the coffee pod. Pod coffee makers very quickly brew each individual cup of coffee to order, using prepackaged pods of freshly roasted freshly ground coffee. Pick the pod you want, set the desired strength of extraction if your particular pod coffee maker lets you do so, and in a matter of moments, you have the perfect personal cup of coffee brewed just for you. Many good coffee pod machines can be found for less than $100.