A great cup of coffee doesn't have to cost a fortune. There are inexpensive coffee makers out there that make an excellent cup of joe, but when choosing the
best coffee maker under $50, finding the right balance between price and all of the features you want can be a challenge.
To make things easier, consider focusing on two specific elements: How much time do you have and how strong do you like your coffee?
For the quickest way to start your morning, both K-Cup machines (which are pod based) or drip coffee makers are fast and easy.
Drip coffee makers brew large volumes of coffee, ranging from 4 to 12 cups, whereas K-Cup-compatible makers deliver drinks one cup at a time.
If you prefer more control in the brewing process, a manual coffee maker may be a great choice. French presses, moka pots (which are similar to
percolators), and pour-over containers do not require electricity. These are great for use at home, but also small enough to bring with you camping or to a vacation rental. A French press may take a little more patience in the morning, but your coffee will have a fuller, more aromatic flavor. The same holds true for a moka pot, though this kind may take some trial and error to master. Pour-over coffee makers are the fastest of this bunch, but they also require some experimenting to ensure you don't get a weak cup.
Whatever way you prefer to stay caffeinated, the
best coffee makers listed below are all under $50 and come highly rated on Amazon.
The Best Drip Coffee Maker Under $50
coffee maker is beloved by more than 875 Amazon users who refer to it as a "workhorse" and a "dream machine." It makes enough coffee to fill up to 5 cups (27 ounces), which means it's a great appliance for smaller households. There are no paper filters required, so that's less waste and less money for you to worry about in the long run.
The reservoir window lets you see exactly how much water is in the machine, which prevents you from over pouring. There's a pause feature allows you to remove the carafe without making a mess; brewing continues when the carafe is replaced. Though it's not dishwasher safe, fans say the carafe is not hard to clean after each use. "You can use a cloth or paper towel it cleans easily," notes one. With only one button to worry about (an on/off switch that lights up to signal that it's on) and a warming plate, this coffee maker is as simple to operate as it gets. At only $20, the price for such an intuitive machine is hard to beat. "It [doesn't] take long to brew," a user reports. "Easy to fill water tank, and easy to clean filter. This is the best coffee maker I have owned."
The Best Programmable Drip Coffee Maker Under $50
If you're the type that likes to wake up to the smell of fresh coffee in the air, you'll appreciate the programmable features on
this Hamilton Beach coffee maker. Consumer Reports named it as one of the best drip machines out there because of its "extraordinary value" — the brewing performance is excellent, and it comes with all of the essentials. There's easy-to-understand controls, an auto-shutoff function, and just like the Mr. Coffee version above, it will auto pause if you remove the carafe mid-brew to pour a cup.
Amazon reviewers say they are not only delighted by how warm the coffee stays on the hot plate, but also by how strong the brews are for such an inexpensive appliance. "I have been enjoying coffee often where before I didn’t ever drink it at home. I am very happy with the quality of the coffee this machine produces," writes one fan.
An Inexpensive K-Cup Coffee Maker
For a single cup of coffee, this
single-serve coffee maker is quick, simple, and easy to use. This machine is a life-saver for rushed mornings because with just the press of a button, you can get a fresh cup in under three minutes. The small, compact design makes it easy to take it store when not in use; it's also the perfect size for dorm rooms, smaller office spaces, and RVs.
This model has a 12-ounce, BPA-free water tank and is compatible with all K-Cup pod brands. Alternatively, you could also choose to use our own grinds by purchasing a
reusable filter cup. Clean up is a cinch — just pop out the capsule and it's ready for the next brew. "Love this coffee maker," writes one Amazon reviewer. "This works better than the expensive brands [...] This machine focuses on one thing...MAKING COFFEE. No bells or whistles. Just a good hot cup of coffee."
It's worth noting that the small clearance underneath the spout limits what size cup or mug you can use before having to manually hold it at an angle during brewing. The good thing is you can remove the drip tray to get more space, but reviewers still suggest using a mug that's 5 inches or less for the best fit.
The Best Budget-Friendly French Press
For those who want portability and a more fuller-bodied brew, this
French press from Mueller is a great option. With a near-perfect 4.9-star rating across more than 2000 reviews, people say this model is one of the best of its kind. Its multi-screen system keeps grounds from getting through during the brewing process, so what you end up with is a smooth, bold cup of joe that can be enjoyed virtually anywhere (a French press doesn't need to be plugged in, after all). The stainless steel decanter is thicker and more insulating than many other French presses, allowing coffee to stay warm longer.
People also rave about the durability and functionality of this machine. "With the double wall, the coffee is still piping hot after... 8 min. As a backup, the steel double mesh filter screens out finer grit from getting into my drinking vessel. The coffee is not only hot but full bodied and flavorful" says one reviewer.
When it comes to the typical French press, you usually need to factor clean up time into your process, but that's not the case here. It's simple to disassemble and reassemble and all the pieces are dishwasher safe.
The Best Pour-Over Coffee Maker
pour-over coffee maker from Bodom features a stainless steel reusable filter, making it more eco-friendly than most in this category. It costs less than $20, is available in three different sizes (4 cups, 8 cups, or 12 cups) and brewing only takes a few minutes for each. Reviewers say both the filter and carafe are dishwasher-safe and that clean-up is otherwise a breeze. The carafe is also made with borosilicate glass, which is heat-resistant and keeps coffee warm for at least an hour. "Pour-over coffee is the easiest and best tasting in my opinion, and this is perfect for making large batches," one reviewer attests.
It's worth noting, however, that some reviewers recommend adding a paper filter — in addition to to the mesh one— to solve any issues with grinds falling into the glass.
A Classic Stovetop Coffee Maker
Coffee connoisseurs rejoice! Java that comes from an Italian-made moka pot like
this one by Bialetti is typically two times more concentrated than coffee from a traditional drip machine. This unique maker works entirely via an electric or gas stove top: pressure from heat forces water up through grinds into a top chamber resulting in a very robust drink. However, if you're in the market for a moka pot, keep in mind that measurements can be a bit confusing — a 6-cup maker like this one can typically fill one 8-ounce sized mug (bigger 9-cup or 12-cup models are also available).
Such an intense brew means that moka pots are also great for making espresso. Several of the nearly 8,000 reviewers mention that they are really impressed by the flavor. "This thing ruined coffee shops for me in the best way," raves one.
One thing to consider is that an aluminum pot like this is not dishwasher safe, so you may want to factor some clean up time into your morning routine.
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