The 4 Best Drip Coffee Makers
Whether you like waking up to the aroma of brewing coffee or just want a bare-bones caffeine-delivery machine, there’s a drip coffee maker for everyone. But when picking from the best drip coffee makers, there are a few key things to keep in mind as you shop.
Before buying, research how a machine functions and whether it has any auto-programming or a timer. Some of the best drip coffee makers are pretty sophisticated with precision water temperature gauges and variable strength settings. Others have one-touch functionality to take the guesswork out of getting your coffee fix. As with any purchase, consider your budget. You don't have to spend a lot to get a great drip coffee maker (they're actually some of the more affordable coffee makers you can buy). But, if you're willing to spend a bit more, you can find one with all the bells and whistles.
When it comes to kitchen countertops, drip coffee makers are notorious space hogs. If you have limited real estate or just like to brew one or two cups of coffee, you might want to consider a compact model. Likewise, you can find coffee makers to serve a crowd, including some that brew up to 14 cups at a time.
Whichever kind you need, the best drip coffee makers should brew a flavorful cup of coffee, just the way you like it. Here are a few great choices to consider.
1. The Best Overall: Cuisinart PerfecTemp 12-Cup Thermal Drip Coffeemaker
One of the most common complaints about drip coffee makers is that the hot coffee they brew is, quite simply, not hot enough. The PerfecTemp stainless steel thermal coffee maker from Cuisinart brews perfectly hot coffee that doesn’t taste bitter or burnt. This and a few other intelligent programming features make it the overall best drip coffee maker. (If you’re skeptical, just take a look at the more than 6,000 reviews on Amazon.) Depending on the type of coffee you use and your preferences, you can change the brew strength by selecting the "Bold" button.
At 12 cups, the carafe is big enough to serve a crowd, but if you only want to brew a few cups, select the 1-4 cup setting. This unit double-heats the water so even small volumes come out at the right temperature. A 24-hour timer can be set to brew at a designated time, and if you want to steal a cup before your coffee is finished brewing, the "Brew Pause" feature will allow you to remove the carafe to pour without annoying drips. If 12 cups isn’t quite enough for you, the same machine is available with a generous 14-cup glass carafe.
2. The Best For Pour-Over-Style Coffee: OXO Brew 9-Cup Drip Coffee Maker
Do you love the flavor of pour-over coffee, but have better things to do with your morning than make it? Think of this coffee maker from OXO as a hands-free pour-over machine with a few bells and whistles, most of which you actually can’t see. The OXO has an internal microprocessor (yes, we’re talking about a coffee machine here), that automatically heats and dispenses water at timed intervals, mimicking the pour-over process. The showerhead design of the water dispenser saturates grounds to get the richest flavor from your coffee, without having to manually adjust the strength.
The machine is operated with a single dial, where you can select the number of cups, press start, and let the machine do the rest. It pulls the precise amount of water from the reservoir and brews into the double-wall stainless steel 8-cup carafe. The only other choice you need to make is whether or not to set the 24-hour timer. One note: If you’re doing a double-take at the price, remember that this is a super technical machine, wrapped up in a simple-to-operate system, intended to take the guesswork out of brewing a perfect cup of pour-over coffee.
3.The Most Versatile: Cuisinart Stainless Steel 8-Cup Drip Coffee Brewer
If you’re someone who likes to be a little more hands-on and experimental when making coffee, check out this versatile machine from Cuisinart. Addressing the two main pain points of making coffee at home — coffee temperature and strength — the Cuisinart gives you the power to adjust both. Select either hot or very hot for your brew temperature, and have the machine optimize the brew to be mild, medium, or bold, depending on your preferences. Like the other Cuisinart featured here, the drip-free "Brew Pause" feature is a bonus for anyone who doesn’t want to wait for the entire pot to brew before enjoying a cup.
Serious coffee enthusiasts will be happy to know that this model from Cuisinart meets the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s “rigorous technical requirements for exemplary home brewers.” The 8-cup thermal carafe will keep coffee warm longer than a glass carafe, but if you want to spend a little less, the same model is available with a glass carafe.
4. The Space-Saver: Zojirushi Zutto 5-Cup Drip Coffeemaker
This compact 5-cup coffee maker from Zojirushi is a great compromise for people who don’t have room for a full-sized drip coffee maker but want more than a single-serve machine. Perhaps just as important is that, according to the reviews, it brews a great cup of coffee. This is due in part to a replaceable charcoal water filter that purifies water in the tank, and can last for up to two years. The primary space-saving feature is the integrated coffee filter, which nests within the carafe to save on vertical height (this is just 11 inches tall, several inches shorter than the next tallest option on this list). The water tank sits inside an outer housing and can be removed for easy cleaning by hand or in the dishwasher.
A single switch controls the on/off functionality of the Zojirushi, and though this somewhat pared-down design is easy for anyone to operate, it doesn’t include some common features like a timer or audible tone to let you know that your coffee is ready (although, you'll likely be able to hear the machine go silent when it is done). Given its small footprint, the Zojirushi would also make a great addition to a desk area if you’re tired of drinking stale or burnt coffee from your company break room.
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