We spent over 25 hours researching and testing 15 different types of coffee makers and found that capacity, features, and warranty were most important. The Cuisinart 12 cup programmable coffeemaker scored high above the rest of the coffeemakers we tested in all categories and is our top pick. The double-wall insulation of the coffee carafe keeps the coffee hot even after it is done. The auto shut off prevents scorched or burned coffee. We liked the 12 cup capacity that provided plenty of coffee for us, as well as refills. The 24 hour timer allows the coffee maker to be set as much as one day in advance.
Coffee Maker Reviews
Depending on how you like your coffee you can spend anywhere from one to five dollars for every cup, when purchased from a retail establishment. Having a coffee maker at home will provide you with both financial savings and the convenience of being able to have a fresh and hot cup of coffee anytime you like.
Coffee makers range from $40 to over $200 depending on the features and brand you select. Yet the most expensive coffee maker may not be the one you need, even if you have discerning taste. With such a popular product and the growing coffee consumption rate,there are many manufacturers and many different styles and brands on the market today, giving you hundreds of coffee makers to choose from. With each one offering different features, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the vast array of options.
Our objective is to provide you with the research needed to determine which coffee maker will meet your family’s needs. We have provided you with our top picks along with a buyer’s guide that can help you decipher the many options and see what features are most important. We have also researched and selected coffee makers from the top manufacturers to bring to you the best makers from companies with strong reputations in customer service.
The Cuisinart DTC-975 BKN Thermal 12 Cup Programmable Coffeemaker is a top pick because it offers a fully automated unit that is programmable up to 24 hours. This allows the coffee maker to be set to brew coffee and be hot and ready as you wake up in the morning. The 12 cup capacity is enough to make for several people at a time. You can also control the strength of the coffee. The thermal carafe is made from stainless steel materials and helps to keep the coffee hot and fresh after brewing.
The Cuisinart coffee maker was built to North American electrical standards and works with incredible efficiency. This coffee maker is fully automatic with 24 hours of programmability allowing you to program the exact time of the brew. When the coffee has finished brewing the machine will automatically shut off, preventing the coffee from becoming burnt or scorched.
It has a double wall insulation to keep your coffee hot all day long, and since it does not have the hot plate beneath it like some traditional coffee makers, it even saves electricity. The side of the carafe is marked so that it is easy to determine the water level for the number of cups you wish to brew. You are also able to pause the unit, pour a cup of coffee and then finish brewing the entire pot.
The unit is black with a completely stainless steel carafe fora modern look. The unit is also easy to clean. The coffee maker has a patented brew-through and pour-through lid that keeps air out ensuring the coffee stays fresh. It comes with a spill proof seal for maximum freshness in every cup, and has the ability to dispense right into your coffee mug, fora refreshing cup of coffee even on the go.
Coffee filters and an instruction manual are included in your purchase. The cone shaped coffee filters that are used in the machine will help to extract the coffee grind flavors better than traditional filters. The design is attractive enough to be left on the counter top and is built to be compact, not taking up much counter space. The coffee maker is approximately 16 inches tall, 11 ½ inches deep, and 7 and a half inches wide so it fits almost anywhere. The Cuisinart DTC-975 BKN Thermal 12 Cup Programmable Coffeemaker comes with a 3 year warranty.
Tips for using the Cuisinart DTC-975 include only filling with water up to the 12 cup mark. Only use one paper filter or gold tone filter at a time, and never both.Ensure the carafe lid is on correctly and check to make sure coffee is not too fine of a grind.
Customers love the fact that you can set the time you want coffee brewed up to 24 hours ahead of time. They also love the stainless steel carafe that keeps coffee hot for hours without giving it a burnt taste, like makers that have a hot plate underneath. For some the brewing process was slow taking 15 minutes or so to brew a full pot of coffee. For most the ability to wake up to the aroma of freshly made coffee, before you even get out of bed, made it worth the longer brew time. There is also a pause feature which enables you to get a cup of hot coffee before the entire pot finishes brewing.
The Melitta Coffee Maker- 10 Cup Thermal (46894A) unit is a top pick because it brews rich tasting coffee consistently. This coffee maker give you the option of a regular, Robust or Bold blend so you can select the coffee strength you like the best. The unit is programmable and has an automatic shut off after 2 hours. The pause feature will allow you to stop the brewing process to pour a cup and then start the brew once again.
This is a great way to keep your mind at ease while eliminating any potential safety hazards. This machine also has the ability to dispense right into your travel mug for on the go use, and ultimate freshness. The Melitta Coffee Maker is built from only top quality materials and stainless steel, so it has a modern and sleek look, while being easy to clean. Another popular feature with this coffee maker is the cone shaped filter which provides for maximum coffee extraction. The unit can make both regular and iced coffee.
The carafe can accommodate 10 cups of coffee and will keep the coffee piping hot in the thermal carafe for several hours. The pour spout is activated with your thumb allowing you to pour with one hand. There is no need to twist the lid and the lid is sealed so it resists spilling. The cone basket flips out making it easy to put the coffee beans into the unit.
The Melitta Coffee Maker is only 9 ½ inches wide, 12 inches deep and 11 ½ inches high. The sleek and compact design will look great in any kitchen and the unit is small enough to leave on the counter top. The drip feature and coffee selection gives you control over the finished strength of the coffee being brewed. You will no longer want to go to a coffee shop to get a great tasting cup of coffee, when you can create your own right from the comfort of your own home.
One popular way to drink coffee during the summer months is with iced coffee. This can be accomplished by filling the reservoir up to the 5 cup mark and then filling the carafe with ice to just below the rim. Then brew your coffee at double strength. When the brewing has completed pour the coffee into a glass filled with ice and add your preferred sweetener. You will have a refreshing cup of iced coffee that will rival what you purchase in a Barista.
Tips for using the Melitta Coffee Maker include cleaning your machine often for optimum freshness of coffee brews. The top of the coffee maker is top rack dishwasher safe for easier cleaning. Use only one filter at a time. If you begin with very hot tap water when you fill the carafe the hot water will heat the carafe and this will result in your finished coffee remaining hot for a longer period of time.
Customers love the design and its compactness. It looks sleek and ads to the kitchen décor. The unit makes a great cup of coffee and the coffee with stay hot for hours in the thermal carafe. The high brewing temperature extracts the most flavor possible from the grinds allowing you to use less coffee and still have a strong cup of Joe. It will also make iced coffee, which has become a very popular option during the warm summer months, among coffee lovers.
The Mr. Coffee BVMC-PSTX91 Optimal Brew10-Cup Thermal Coffee Maker is a top pick because of a few unique features like the separate reservoir for the water. This allows the thermal carafe to remain warm and keep fresh coffee hotter for a longer period of time. The coffee maker is a 10 cup thermal coffee maker with a stainless steel vacuum insulated carafe for maximum freshness and the ability to keep every brew, hotter for a longer period of time. Imagine going on a picnic and having hot coffee several hours later.
This coffee maker is also very fast, with the ability to brew up to 8 cups of coffee in under 8 minutes and ensures a thorough extraction so that every brew has a full bodied flavor. This is a much faster brew time than traditional coffee makers. With a quicker brew time you are granted the luxury of coffee on the go even when you’re running behind.
It has a 24 hour programmable feature so you can control the exact time of day for your liquid gold will be produced. You can set it to have a fresh pot ready when you arrive home from work, or when you wake up in the morning. There is nothing better than waking up to the smell of fresh brewed coffee. The unit also has a pause function, which will allow you to stop the brewing to pour a cup of coffee, and then continue the brew until the pot is complete. The Mr. Coffee BVMC-PSTX91 offers audible ready signals to let you know when your coffeemaker is in use or in the off function, and operates very quietly. The Mr. Coffee optimal brew comes with a removable water reservoir and water filtration system. This provides fresh filtered water and also makes cleaning the machine easier than ever.
The coffee maker measures 14 ½ inches tall, 11 inches deep, and 8 ⅞ inches wide taking up only a small amount of space in the kitchen. The black and stainless steel design will match any kitchen décor and will look great even when stored on your counter top. It comes with a 1 year warranty that guarantees the item be replaced or fixed if damaged from manufacturing defects. There is also an instructional booklet provided for any questions or product use information you may need. When receiving the coffee maker you should follow the pre-use instructions as there are a few things you need to do, in order to begin making exceptional coffee right from your own kitchen.
Tips for using the Mr. Coffee BVMC-PSTX91 include bringing the water reservoir directly to the sink for filling up and avoid having to pour into the top of your coffeemaker. Don’t cool down your carafe with cold water because that will lead to coffee that is not as hot and will not remain hot as long.Removing the coffee filter drawer from the side will give you easy access to the coffee maker without having to slide it out from under your cabinets. This feature compliments the design by eliminating the need for a lid on your coffeemaker. The thermal carafe eliminates the need for a hot plate or heater under the coffeemaker. This provides fresh hot coffee for hours without a concern over a burnt flavor that can occur with hot plates.
Customers love this thermal coffee maker. It makes coffee fast and stays hot for hours even if you carry the carafe to the table or other spot. The no drip feature, separate reservoir for the water and the ability to program the coffee maker up to 24 hours in advance are among the favorite features.
– Sarah Lytle
Summary of Our Top Picks The top three picks we selected are all thermal coffee makers. This provides significant advantages over traditional coffee makers. Most importantly it keeps the coffee hotter for long periods of time, without giving the coffee a scorched or burnt flavor. All three coffee makers also are programmable which will enable you to set the finish time and let it go. The coffee makers will shut off when the coffee has finished brewing and you can wake up each morning to a fresh cup of coffee. Each unit also offers a pause features which allows you to begin enjoying a fresh cup of coffee before the complete pot has finished brewing.
The Mr. Coffee Machine has the shortest brew time, with under 8 minutes for up to 8 cups of coffee. The Cuisinart has the longest warranty of the three machines and also offers the largest capacity at 12 cups. The Mr. Coffee and the Melitta both have a 10 cup capacity.
All three coffee makers are black and stainless steel and offer a compact design that is small enough to reside on your countertop for daily use. The Meliita unit has the option of choosing a regular, robust or bold flavor which will affect the strength and taste of your brewed coffee. The other brands must be adjusted to your preferences through trial and error.
The Cuisinart and the Melitta both offer cone shaped filters which will provide better flavor extraction. The Mr. Coffee unit includes a separate water reservoir which will prevent the carafe from cooling down with cold water used before brewing.
Coffee makers are made for both home and commercial use. The basics of the brewing process is similar for most machines.
How Does it Works?
When you make a pot of coffee, you first fill the holding chamber with cold water.Inside the chamber, you will see a piece of rubber tubing stretching from the bottom of the chamber to the top. At the bottom of the holding chamber, you will see a hole.When you turn the coffee maker on, water is drawn into the hole at the bottom of the chamber. At the same time, the heating element heats the water. The water travels through a one-way valve into an aluminum tube which wraps around the base of the heating element. Inside the tube, the water is boiled. Once heated, the water travels back up the rubber tube and drips onto and through the grounds of coffee.The coffee maker has a number of temperature sensors designed to cut the power to the coil if it starts getting too hot. As the coffee grounds are heated with the hot water, flavors are extracted and it then drips into the coffee pot.
Quest for the Perfect Cup of Coffee
Coffee starts with the water. Since 98% of a cup of coffee is water, it is important to use good quality water. If you don’t like the water that comes out of your tap, those same flavors will mix with the coffee grinds. Using filtered or purified water will result in a better tasting cup of coffee.
The quality of the coffee. All the flavor of the coffee will come from the beans. 40% of the beans aroma is lost within a few minutes of being ground and as a result many coffee lovers choose to grind their own beans to produce a better cup of coffee. There are also ground coffee that is sealed in vacuum packed packages which seal in the flavor of the coffee beans. These should be stored in an airtight container to maintain freshness. Only buy enough beans or coffee to last a few weeks at most, since the quality will degrade quickly.
Grind of the coffee beans. The grind will determine the flavor extraction when the hot water is poured over the ground coffee beans. Too fine of a grind can result in bitter coffee. Fine grinds should be used for expressos and coffees that are very quick. A medium to fine grind is best for most coffee makers. This allows the water to spend the right amount of time extracting the most flavors. Grinds that are course may produce a weaker cup of coffee.
Coffee strength is mostly a personal preference. Start by following the recommended portions on your coffee maker and then adjust the amount to suite your taste.
Automatic Drip Traditional Coffee Makers. These units heat water that drips over the coffee. They filter into a coffee pot that is heated with a heating element under the pot. This brews a traditional cup of coffee and is good for making large amounts of coffee as pot can often hold 10 or 12 cups. They are larger than newer models and do not have as many features. Many are programmable.
Thermal Coffee Makers which are reviewed here. These units are more compact that traditional makers and come with a thermal insulated coffee pot or carafe, which will keep your fresh brewed coffee hot for hours without the use of a heating element. This keeps the coffee from burning and maintains the flavors over time. These carafes are generally marked so you can make a single cup of coffee or an entire pot depending on your needs.
Single Serve Coffee Makers have become popular in recent years. The drawback is that they only make one cup of coffee at a time and they require expensive single serve cups, rather than the ability to use fresh ground coffee. Those who love coffee generally want more control over the coffee making process than the single serve has to offer. The advantage of a single serve unit is that you can also make hot chocolate, hot apple cider and other hot beverages, in addition to coffee.
French Press coffee makers make coffee without the use of paper filters. The units also do not require electricity and will make one cup of coffee at a time. These are good for those who do not like paper filters and want control over the strength of the coffee. They are also great for when you are on the road and activities like camping.
Expresso Makers create a cup of coffee very quickly. They provide more intense flavors and require a finer grind of coffee to extract those flavors. Generally they are served in smaller cups.
How Much Coffee Do You Drink? If you live alone and only drink one cup of coffee at a sitting then either a single serve or a thermal coffee maker that allows you to adjust the quantity will be the best choices. If more than one person in the house drinks coffee or you like multiple cups in the morning before heading to work then a traditional or thermal coffee maker will meet those needs.
When buying a coffee maker consider the capacity. If you entertain, perhaps a larger unit will meet your needs better, even though on an everyday basis you may only drink a few cups.
Is it programmable? Most consumers drink a cup of coffee in the morning and love the idea of being able to set the unit up before bed and wake up to the smell of fresh brewed coffee. The programmable feature of at least 12 hours will provide that convenience. Otherwise you must wake up, start the coffee maker and then wait for the coffee to be ready.
Will you drink your coffee immediately? Traditional coffee makers with a heating element really need to be drunk immediately. If the coffee sits then it must be thrown out and restarted as it will get a burnt flavor. The thermal coffee makers have an insulated carafe and a top that is sealed. This not only allows you to have hot coffee even after several hours of sitting but also creates a portable feature. Take it with you to work or on a family picnic without the worry of it spilling or being left with cold coffee.
How Strong Do You Like Your Coffee? If you like your coffee strong then a top quality machine will be the best option for producing strong coffee. Espresso machines are also an option if you only drink espresso coffee. Many coffee makers allow you to create more intense flavors by adding more coffee to the brew. Other units will offer flavor setting like bold and robust and will adjust the brewing time to the flavor intensity you prefer.
Other features that add to the convenience of making coffee include a pause button. This allows you to stop the brewing process and pour your first cup of coffee and then continue the process to complete the pot. Auto Shut Off is a great feature for those who might be forgetful. With busy schedules it is easy to forget to turn the coffee maker off. When it turns off automatically you don’t need to worry about the appliance overheating and burning the coffee. Water Filters are useful if you do not filter your water at home. This can result in better tasting coffee as it will take the impurities out of the water.
Coffee makers are a common appliance found in most American homes. With upgrades and new features that are producing restaurant quality coffee at home, many coffee drinkers are upgrading to the newer models. They offer features like longer programming times, the ability to keep fresh coffee hot longer, pause buttons for instant coffee, and portability.
Finding a coffee maker that will meet the needs of your family can be decided by evaluating how you drink coffee and then identifying a machine that has the features that are most important to you. There are many options and popular features that are found in most units. Then there are features for added convenience like a separate water reservoir, or a larger capacity, that will help to narrow down your search.
Tired of drinking mediocre coffee? Looking for a better tasting brew to enjoy at home? Try one of the above coffee makers and learn to enjoy coffeehouse quality coffee at home.
Sarah's passion for cooking and eating healthy is what drives her to research and educate others. Sarah is our expert researcher who manages the Home and Kitchen category. When she's not writing you'll find her listening to Paleo Diet podcasts and educating people on how to live and eat primally.