The Best Drip Coffee Makers for a Consistent Daily Fix – Money

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It’s no secret that coffee makes the world a better place — and the people in it too. One of the easiest ways to make multiple servings of high-quality coffee is with a drip coffee maker. With an automatic drip machine, simply fill the water chamber with room-temperature water and add ground coffee to the filter basket. The water then heats and drips through the filter into a coffee pot, ready for you to enjoy. To help you get a perfectly balanced brew every morning, we’ve sought out the top drip coffee makers in 2023 based on overall quality, capacity and extra features. Our top picks offer a perfect match for every type of java lover.
Best Overall: Krups Simply Brew Drip Coffee Maker
Large Capacity: Cuisinart PerfecTemp Drip Coffee Maker
Budget-friendly: Black+Decker Drip Coffee Maker
Single-touch: Mr. Coffee Drip Coffee Maker
Dual-function: Keurig Drip Coffee Maker
List Price: $39.99 – $59.99
The Krups Simply Brew Drip Coffee Maker takes our number one spot because of its high-quality, user-friendly design. Compact and simple, its strong functionality makes us love it all the more. Let’s start with the pot: the glass design has clearly marked cup measurements, a drip-free spout and is even dishwasher-friendly.
This coffee maker boasts a five-cup brewing capacity and a handy “Pause and Brew” feature that allows you to pause the machine mid-brew to pour a cup before finishing its cycle. With a cup warmer to keep your mug of joe piping hot, you don’t have to worry about getting pulled away from your coffee and missing the optimal drinking temperature. The reusable filter makes for less waste, keeping this an eco-friendly option.
List Price: $99.95 – $129.99
The Cuisinart PerfecTemp Drip Coffee Maker has a range of wonderful features that allows you to enjoy your coffee just the way you like it. A digital display screen with buttons controls brew strength, carafe temperature and brew quantity, and it has an impressive maximum brewing capacity of 14 cups.
This machine will alert you when your coffee is ready, and it features 24-hour programmability so you can wake up to the smell of ready-made java. It also comes with a built-in charcoal water filter and a reusable gold-tone coffee filter, helping to keep your morning brew both pure and flavorful.
List Price: $39.99
This coffee machine is all about quick, easy and affordable, but that doesn’t mean it’s without some of your favorite fancy features. Black+Decker offers a budget-friendly programmable drip coffee maker that can brew up to 12 cups in one go, and it features a glass carafe with a thick, sturdy non-slip handle.
This coffee maker has an easy-to-read digital display with rubberized buttons that make programming it simple. The non-stick plate will keep your coffee warm for up to an hour after brewing, and it also has an auto-off feature that kicks in after two hours if it’s not being used.
List Price: $34.66 – $36.89
This single-touch drip coffee maker only requires you to fill the water reservoir, insert the coffee grounds and press one button. Easy to use and easy to clean, this 12-cup coffee maker from Mr. Coffee features a water window with measurement markings for best accuracy in water-coffee beans/pod proportions.
The glass coffee pot itself also has clearly marked measurements at two-cup intervals. If you need to sneak a quick cup before the brew cycle is finished, the machine will automatically pause when you pick up the carafe. When the carafe is placed back on the plate, the coffee maker will continue its cycle until the rest of the brewing is complete.
List Price: $189.99 – $229.99
Can’t decide between a filter or a capsule machine? Keurig makes sure you can reap the benefits of both this 2-in-1 drip coffee maker. Adding to its value, the machine houses a 60-ounce water reservoir that’s shared by the single-cup capsule feeder and the glass carafe’s filter.
On one side, this coffee maker can brew up to 12 cups of filter coffee into a glass pot, and on the other, you can pop a capsule into the machine for a 12-ounce cup. Built to conveniently adjust settings, buttons to adjust the quantity of coffee and brew strength are found on top of the machine.
Drip coffee makers have a host of advantages, making them a popular choice for homes and offices. For example, they’re so easy to use, they don’t require any brewing experience and you can make large quantities of coffee at a single time. Drip coffee makers are generally inexpensive, but the more bells and whistles your automatic barista has, the more the machine will set you back. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know when shopping for a drip coffee maker in 2023.
The size of the drip coffee maker you choose is certainly important, but there’s something else you should consider first: the features your machine includes. If you buy a large-capacity machine but only brew one cup of coffee at a time, certain features will affect the quality of your single-cup brew specifically. Others will be more important for a larger capacity machine. We’ll parse out both circumstances below, as well as discuss the other features to keep in mind.
Automatic drip coffee makers take care of most of the drip timing, temperature and measuring for you. Since some machines are built economically (both in terms of size and cost), manufacturers may prioritize factors other than what makes for optimal brewing. What is optimal, though?
Let’s say your drip coffee maker has a 12-cup capacity, but you only want to brew enough for two cups. A machine that runs or drips at the same speed regardless of the amount being brewed won’t allow the grinds enough time to fully absorb the water, which will result in under-extracted grinds and a weak brew.
If you consider yourself something of a coffee connoisseur, you’ll want to look for a drip coffee maker that allows you to select the number of cups you want to brew and then automatically adjusts its speed accordingly — this way, regardless of whether you make two cups or 10 cups, the brew’s quality and strength will always be the same (assuming the beans and grind are the same). Alternatively, some drip coffee makers allow you to manually adjust drip speed and temperature for a stronger brew.
Water that’s too cold, or grinds that are too coarse, will require additional time for flavor extraction. Drip coffee makers ideally use a medium grind, while espresso machines take a fine grind. Plunger or French press coffee makers, on the other hand, take a coarse grind to prevent over-extraction.
If you just need your caffeine fix and aren’t too concerned about slight inconsistencies when it comes to brewing smaller or larger amounts, drip speed probably isn’t something you’ll need to worry about too much. And if you only need a two or four-cup drip coffee maker, a single-speed machine will do the trick.
A two to four-cup drip coffee maker is a compact solution that’s ideal for two people. If you’re buying a machine for an office or a larger household, though, a machine with an eight to 12-cup capacity is a better choice. Even better, you may want to consider a dual-pot coffee maker — these machines are larger, but they allow you to brew either one or two pots at a time. You can even brew two different flavors of coffee at once, making them a super convenient option for the household divided on coffee flavor.
Drip coffee makers come with either a glass or a thermal pot. Thermal coffee pots are insulated, which allows you to brew a large pot of coffee and keep it at a consistent temperature without placing it on a hot plate. When coffee sits on a hot plate, the continued heating can cause it to become acidic and bitter due to “overcooking.” Some thermal pots are also easily to handle, allowing you to prepare coffee in the kitchen and take the pot to a meeting room or your entertainment area for guests to help themselves.
Glass coffee pots are not insulated, and drip coffee makers that come with a glass pot will have a hot plate. This hot plate will either automatically turn on and off, with a timer setting, or by manually pressing a button. The longer the pot sits on the heated plate, the more the brew’s freshness and flavor will diminish, but these plates are ideal if you just want to keep fresh coffee warm for a short period. The great thing about glass pots is that you can see how much coffee is inside, which you can’t do with an insulated pot.
Although buying pre-ground coffee is convenient, there are numerous benefits to having a drip coffee maker with a built-in grinder. If you’re a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur rather than simply a caffeine craver, this feature might be essential for you.
In the same way that avocados or bananas turn brown once cut and exposed to air, ground coffee beans are also affected by oxidation. In both of these cases, the fresh product starts to deteriorate quickly, which is anything but ideal.
Grinding exposes the bean structure to oxygen creating new molecules in the process. The moisture in oxygen also reacts with the natural compounds present and causes the flavorful oils to evaporate. In fact, releasing the natural oils is one reason freshly ground coffee beans smell so great. In short, light, air and moisture all affect the quality of the beans. Flavor only continues to escape while the beans sit after being ground and before being used.
Grinding beans right before brewing allows you to get the full flavor and aroma of freshly released oils. A built-in grinder allows you to grind just the right amount you need, and you can even mix in different beans to customize your blend. Without this feature, it will take far longer to prepare the same amount of fresh bean coffee or you will have to sacrifice taste.
To extract flavor, drip coffee makers traditionally have a single hole above their filter that releases a stream of water over the center of the grounds. However, coffee makers with showerhead holes can release a wider spray of water in the filter, which allows for better distribution of hot water and results in even saturation and flavor extraction.
A drip coffee maker that allows you to program various features will cost a little more, but if you like to wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee, it may be worth your while. You can program your machine to wake up at 6 a.m. and start brewing so that when your alarm clock goes off at 6:10 a.m., your coffee will be ready for you.
Other programmable features might include brewing temperature, the length of time you want the hot plate to stay on after brewing, and automatic machine shutdown after a drip cycle is complete.
High-end drip coffee makers also feature a programmable automatic pre-soak, or “bloom,” that lasts between 15 seconds and 4 minutes. When you add hot water to freshly roasted coffee, it rapidly releases CO2, and this degassing allows for better flavor extraction. If you’re using freshly roasted and ground beans, a pre-soak can intensify the rich aroma of your brew.
Drip coffee makers either require disposable paper filters or reusable mesh filters. Because they create less waste, reusable filters are more eco-friendly, and you also don’t have to worry about running out of filters or not being able to find the type that’s compatible with your machine.
A coffee machine usually lives on a countertop, whether that’s in your home’s kitchen or at work. It’s not the kind of appliance you’ll want to haul out of the cupboard every time you want a cup of java, so consider the counter space you have available before buying that extra-large, dual-pot coffee machine.
You should ideally place your drip coffee maker near a power outlet, but make sure it’s easily accessible from the top, front and sides. You’ll need to lift the top lid to fill the water reservoir and place grinds in the machine, so if you place the machine on a countertop under a set of wall-mounted cabinets, you might struggle to open it from the top.
It’s important to clean your drip coffee maker regularly to prevent limescale, mold and residue buildup. Clean the grinds out of the filter after every use, and if your machine uses a reusable filter, you’ll need to wash this with warm water daily. Grinds can settle in the filter holder and build up over time, which will prevent the liquid from dripping through. The coffee pot also needs a wash with warm soapy water after every use to help prevent stains.
Your drip coffee maker’s user manual will provide instructions for a thorough cleaning every one to three months depending on how often you use it. We recommend running a diluted vinegar blend through the machine once a month and a decalcifying agent through it once every three months.
To do this, run a small cycle (one or two cups) of equal parts vinegar and water through the machine — don’t place any grinds in the machine while doing so. After you’ve done one diluted vinegar cycle, run two or three more cycles with just water to remove any residual vinegar before using the machine again. The same process applies to descaling with a decalcifying agent.
Q: Do I need to clean a drip coffee maker before using it for the first time?
A: Before using your drip coffee maker for the first time, run water through it without any grinds to clear out any dust from the packaging.
Q: How long does a drip coffee maker last?
A: Your new drip coffee maker should last anywhere between five and 10 years — the exact length will depend on the quality of the machine, how often you use it and how well it’s maintained with regular cleaning.
Q: Can coffee makers get moldy?
A: Yes, it’s not uncommon for mold or yeast to develop in a drip coffee maker’s water reservoir. If you don’t regularly clean out the coffee grinds, mold can easily form in the filter as well, which is why it’s important to regularly run vinegar solution cycles through the machine.
Q: Can you reuse coffee grounds?
A: Typically, you shouldn’t use coffee grounds more than twice. By the second time, most of the flavor will be gone, so it’s better to only use them once if you can.
Q: How much coffee do you use to produce 2 cups of drip coffee?
A: You’ll want to have 16 oz of water and four tablespoons of coffee. For each cup of coffee you want, you should use two tablespoons of coffee and 8 oz of water.
Our commitment to the consumer begins with product selection and ends with the last word we write in each article. Each drip coffee maker is carefully vetted quantitatively through star ratings and number of reviews qualitatively through careful examination of reviews and the features each one has to offer. Leveraging our team of bargain hunters, we’re also always sure to keep your budget in mind while we find the best machines on the market. Our team of experts is dedicated to accurately depicting the pros and cons of each drip coffee maker, translating technical product specifications into information you can understand. Our mission is to make sure you get the most bang for your buck…or in this case, the most caffeine for your cash.
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