The Best Coffee Makers of 2021

The Best Coffee Makers of 2021


Getting the day going with that all-too-crucial cup of coffee is paramount for many of us. While rolling through the Starbucks drive-thru is a decent last-ditch resort if time is limited, brewing coffee at home is usually preferable. After all, no one knows your taste in coffee better than you, and making coffee at home can save you quite a bit of cash, too. Like most small appliances, there are hundreds of coffee makers to choose from, which doesn’t make trying to buy a new model easy.

From single-cup coffee makers to barista-style espresso makers, there’s a coffee maker for everyone in this extensive roundup. Our top choice, the Bonavita Connoisseur, is easy to use and makes a delicious cup of drip coffee, but there are plenty of alternatives. We even rounded up the best coffee maker deals, if you’re working with a tight budget.

At a glance

The best: Bonavita Connoisseur

Why we picked the Bonavita Connoisseur:

Possibly the last drip-coffee machine you’ll ever want to own, the Bonavita Connoisseur is an improvement over its already stellar predecessor, the BV1900TS. The Connoisseur takes up little more than a sliver of real estate in your kitchen with its incredibly compact design, which prevents it from sticking out like a sore thumb.

Aesthetics aside, this Bonavita model packs a serious punch, arguably producing the best cup of drip coffee you’ll ever taste. It does so by utilizing the underused process of pre-infusion, which wets the coffee grounds a few minutes before brewing. Pre-infusion allows for your coffee to extract evenly, producing a more consistent brew — and a hell of a good cup of coffee.

Moreover, the Bonavita Connoisseur‘s thermal eight-cup carafe keeps the coffee piping hot for hours after the brew cycle completes. Compact, sleek, and efficient, this machine is the cream of the coffee-maker crop.

The best programmable coffee maker: Cuisinart DCC-3200

Cuisinart DCC3200

Why we picked the Cuisinart DCC-3200:

Cuisinart’s 14-cup DCC-3200 improves upon its predecessor in so many ways that its reasonable price tag is difficult to believe. The included water filter and permanent gold-tone filter ensure you’ll always get a clean pour and it even allows you to pause the maker mid-brew to pour yourself a quick cup, in case you’re short on time. If you’re low on time in the morning, you can leverage the coffee maker’s 24-hour programming — so you can have that perfect cup of coffee ready as soon as you roll out of bed.

The feature-laden DCC also boasts adjustable brew strength, allowing you to make coffee that’s as rich or as watery as you want. In addition, self-cleaning capabilities and auto-shutoff timers make this one of the most convenient, versatile coffee rigs on the market. The 3200 features a revamped system that’ll simultaneously make hotter and better-tasting coffee. However, the only drawback is its relatively large countertop footprint — this guy isn’t terribly small.

One common complaint about the Cuisinart DCC-3200 was its glass carafe. Luckily, Cuisinart realized this as an issue and upgraded the DCC line to include double-walled insulated carafes. Now, your java never gets cold. Plus, the whole machine is BPA-free, so no need to worry about harmful chemicals sneaking into your brew. All in all, the DCC-3200 is an admirable upgrade to an already excellent line of coffee makers.

The best for pod brewing: Nespresso Vertuo

Nespresso Vertuo

Why we picked the Nespresso Vertuo:

Taking your hot-brewed beverage game to the next level, the Nespresso Vertuo lets you concoct barista-grade coffee and espresso drinks from the comforts of your kitchen. Best of all, the drinks come courtesy of Nespresso’s capsule system. Once a pod is inserted, the Vertuo decodes info from the capsule bar code and sends it to the coffee maker, ensuring that each pour features the perfect crema layering based on the cup size you’re looking to fill. Choose between five different cup sizes, based on brewing preferences. These include espresso, double espresso, gran lungo, coffee, and alto. For those looking to craft up cappuccinos and lattes, the Vertuo is paired with Nespresso’s Aeroccino milk frother for that next-level beverage. Plus, with heat-up times of only 15 seconds, you’ll have your caffeine fast.

The starter pack comes with 12 capsules to get you started. While you won’t be able to run any stand-alone grounds through the machine (pods only), the Nespresso Vertuo is perfect for those looking to brew without needing to measure quantities of this or that, as the machine does all the thinking for you.

The best multi-cup maker: Cuisinart SS-15P1

Cuisinart SS-15P1

Is quantity just as important as quality? Then it sounds like the Cuisinart SS-15P1 coffee maker is for you. Allowing you to brew up to 12 cups of coffee with the glass carafe portion, the maker’s second terminal is a dedicated single-cup coffee maker that will net you 6-, 8-, and 10-ounce beverages.

For those looking to get the most out of their day, you can program the coffee maker up to 24 hours in advance. Want an extra blast of caffeine in your mug? Use the Bold Coffee option for extra zing in your drink. Using Cuisinart Coffee Bar pods (Medium Roast, Dark Roast, and French Vanilla for flavors), the SS-15P1 also comes with a reusable filter cup for when you want to run your own grounds through the machine.

This is a great machine for those who want the best of both brewing worlds: Coffee for the whole family and single cups for when you want to grab and go. Either way, the Cuisinart SS-15P1 is worth it.

The best coffee pot: Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew

Mr Coffee Optimal Brew

Why we picked the Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew:

Consistency and efficiency go a long way in making a coffee maker stand out from the crowd, both of which Mr. Coffee’s Optimal Brew machine achieves with ease.

Outfitted with a stainless steel thermal carafe, the Optimal Brew keeps your beverage hotter than your average coffee maker. Moreover, the vacuum-insulated carafe keeps each pot hot regardless of whether it’s sitting within the machine or conveniently on your kitchen counter. Mr. Coffee also equipped the machine with a removable water reservoir, rendering the task of refilling the tank an absolute breeze. There’s even an onboard water filter that helps eliminate the chlorine from your tap water, that way you’re getting the best tasting cup of joe possible.

Users also can program the Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew to brew at a set time each day, too, and choose from either normal or bold-brew cycles. Delicious coffee and a straightforward feature set simply can’t be had for a cheaper price.

The best single-cup coffee maker: Keurig K-Elite

Keurig K-Elite

Why we picked the Keurig K-Elite:

One of the most user-friendly coffee makers in our roundup, this Keurig model brews five different cup sizes quickly and quietly. The device has a 75-ounce reservoir, and you can brew eight or more cups of coffee before you have to refill the water. The machine also tells you when it’s time to descale your Keurig, so you’ll always have the best-tasting cup of joe.

With a sleek brushed display (comes in brushed silver, slate, or gold), the Keurig K-Elite looks like a high-quality machine that coordinates with your kitchen appliances. With features like a strong brew option for when you need an extra boost and an iced button to brew over ice, you can make a variety of different coffee, tea, cocoa, and iced-beverage creations. We’ve also found some of the best Keurig deals going on right now if you’re looking for some savings.

The best combo coffee/espresso machine: Mr. Coffee All-in-One Occasions

Mr Coffee All in One Occasions

Why we picked the Mr. Coffee All-in-One Occasions:

The Occasions coffee maker manages to stay relatively compact while offering both coffee and espresso creations as needed. It has a 10-cup carafe for brewing traditional coffee, and also allows you to make a single pour for 6-, 8-, 10-, or 12-ounce cups. Then, in another mode and with a little platform, it can make two shots of espresso with a 15-bar strength pump. There’s also a built-in milk frother for creating lattes and such. It can even switch to K-Cups if you so desire.

There’s also some handy smart technology built into the Mr. Coffee All-in-One Occasions, including automatic mode switching based on the attachments that you’re using, automatic water dispensing based on your choices, and temperature-control options. Yes, there are a lot of components to this coffee maker, but it can also do just about everything!

The best coffee maker for connoisseurs: Technivorm Moccamaster KBG

Technivorm Moccamaster

Why we picked the Technivorm Moccamaster KBG:

If you need to brew 10 cups of coffee fast — but still want to focus on coffee quality — then this Moccamaster model is the perfect fit. The 40-ounce carafe is just the right amount for 10 cups of coffee (well, normal-sized cups of coffee, make allowances for people who like extra-large portions), and the overall design of this beautiful coffee maker is made to facilitate ideal coffee heating and flavor.

The copper heating element of the Technivorm Moccamaster KBG keeps the water at an ideal temperature and can brew in only several minutes, while the nine-hole outlet arm allows for just the right amount of ground saturation. The hot plate is designed to keep the brewed coffee between 175 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit, making this model especially ideal for a busy office where everyone cares a lot about their coffee.

The best on-the-go coffee/espresso maker: Wacaco Minipresso GR

Wacaco Minipresso

This could be one of the coolest hot beverage accessories we’ve ever laid eyes on, and an excellent travel companion. The tiny but mighty Minipresso GR by Wacaco is a portable coffee maker that brews pint-sized shots of your favorite blends. Just add your grounds, pour hot water in the water tank, and pump the device’s main piston to compress and pour your steamy drink.

The Wacaco Minipresso GR is certainly more of a personal coffee maker, as the mini-carafe only produces up to 50 millimeters of liquid; but its sleek, ergonomic design, portability, excellent price, and delicious results are grounds enough (pun intended) to land the Minipresso on our list. Just be mindful that you’ll want to bring a kettle on your next camping trip, as the Minipresso cannot do the water-boiling for you.

FAQs

How does a coffee maker work?

Coffee makers work by heating water and mixing it with grinds from a coffee grinder. Single-cup makers use pre-portioned amounts of coffee grinds in a pre-made package (like a K-Cup pod). When you place the K-Cup in the machine and press start, the machine places a small pinhole in the K-Cup and then delivers hot water through pressurized hoses from the reservoir into the K-Cup, the water then mixes with the grinds, and then the coffee falls into your cup. Standard drip coffee makers also work by holding water in a reservoir. When you place a coffee grind-filled filter into your coffee maker to start making your joe, the machine transfers the hot water through a tube and onto a perforated disc so it drips over the grinds to create coffee.

Can you use K-Cups in a regular coffee maker?

Sort of. You can empty the contents of a K-cup into a standard drip coffee maker filter, use the correct amount of water as directed on the packaging, and then brew a cup using a regular coffee maker. You typically cannot, however, just plop a K-Cup into a standard coffee maker and brew it as you would with a Keurig machine.

How many watts does a coffee maker use?

A typical coffee maker uses around 800 watts in about 10 minutes.

Are Keurig coffee makers safe?

Some people fear Keurig coffee makers can be hazardous to health because they can accumulate mold, and some also fear that Keurig machines or K-Cup pods may contain materials that can be harmful to health.

Keurig K-Cups are BPA-free and are generally considered safe. In terms of mold, all coffee makers must be cleaned and maintained for maximum safety and effectiveness. If you clean your coffee maker regularly, you shouldn’t have much to worry about. However, if you’re concerned about your machine’s safety, consult the manufacturer or the product manual for additional warnings and information.

The environmental impact is another question. Single-use coffee cups inherently involved a lot of wasted material. However, there are ways to be more environmentally friendly when using a K-Cup model, including looking for recyclable or compostable cups.

Do all coffee makers have an automatic shut off?

No. Not all coffee makers have an automatic shutoff feature, but most modern coffee makers do.

How often should you replace a coffee maker?

The lifespan of each coffee maker depends on the brand, how well you maintain the machine, and other factors. However, if you notice your machine is not brewing coffee well (even after cleaning), the coffee tastes bad, or if it’s having other issues with performance (shuts off randomly, doesn’t get hot enough, etc.), it’s probably time to replace your machine.

What temperature do coffee makers brew at?

Typically, between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit, although some coffee makers have wider temperature ranges so you can customize your brewing options. The Speciality Coffee Association of America says that best practices limit water temperature to around 200 degrees, plus or minus 5 degrees, so it’s no wonder that so many machines meet this qualification.

Can I make tea in a coffee maker?

Yes. But it’s a good idea to clean it first.

How does Digital Trends test coffee makers?

In many ways, coffee is a subjective experience. Some like it bold and piping hot, while others want a mild experience, in terms of both taste and temperature. When we test coffee makers, we take that into account and look at how customizable the process is.

The most significant aspects to consider when searching for a coffee maker are time and temperature. The taste relies heavily upon the quality of the coffee grounds you’re purchasing. The National Coffee Association indicates the proper temperature range for a delicious cup of coffee, and we use these protocols when determining whether a coffee maker is working at the right temperature. We record the amount of time it takes to brew one cup vs. a complete pot. We also consider the coffee’s temperature when poured into the carafe and how well the carafe maintains the hotness after two hours. 

In addition, we might also observe a coffee maker’s architecture and appeal. Most people probably don’t want their coffee maker to take up too much space. We know that the carafe must serve a clean pour and that the coffee maker needs to be easy to use (so much so that anyone in your home could make a cup or a pot without disturbing everyone else). We acknowledge that convenience is appreciated and is certainly required for optimal functionality. 

What other things should I consider when purchasing a coffee maker?

It’s important to go for the highest quality when you’re looking for a solid coffee maker. We can assure you that this appliance will be a wonderful investment, especially if you’re someone who consistently buys their caffeine at a local coffee shop. 

Spend the necessary time to figure out what your dealbreakers are regarding your coffee needs and preferences. We’ve listed out a few questions you may want to consider before saying yes to any coffee maker: 

  • Do you want your coffee quickly? Look for a brewer with a “pause brew” option or a coffee maker that can be scheduled to automatically brew at a specific time.
  • Do you refill your cup multiple times a day? Look for a coffee maker with an insulated carafe.
  • Do you prefer K-Cups or fresh grounds? While most coffee makers make you choose one or the other, there are some versatile options on the market.
  • Do you have limited counter space? Some of the best coffee makers come in small packages.
  • Are you brewing for yourself or for multiple people? Make sure to check the carafe size before your purchase.

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