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Updated November 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best drip coffee makers

Drip coffee makers provide a simple way of making coffee, whether you take it black or with cream. They might not produce specialty coffees or rich espressos, but sometimes all you want is a basic brew. 

Drip coffee makers are essentially automatic pour-over machines, and with pour-over coffee experiencing a resurgence, now might be the perfect time to try a drip coffee maker. This style of coffee maker usually brews a large carafe of coffee, which is ideal when you have several coffee drinkers in your household. However, more models are offering adjustable brew sizes for those times when you only want a single cup and anything more will go to waste. 

Best Drip Coffee Makers
Best Drip Coffee Makers

How to buy the best drip coffee maker

Drip coffee vs. pour-over

Drip coffee makers produce coffee by saturating a basket of ground coffee with hot water and allowing that infusion of ground coffee and water to gradually drip through the filter into the waiting carafe or mug. 

Pour-over coffee makers work using the same basic principle, except you manually pour the hot water over the ground coffee. As such, you could consider pour-over coffee makers a manual type of drip coffee maker. 

Automatic coffee makers offer an undeniably more hands-off approach, but some people prefer the flavor of pour-over coffee, as it allows you total control over water temperature and the saturation of the ground beans. 

Brew size

Drip coffee makers generally brew large quantities of coffee into a carafe that holds somewhere between five and 12 cups. This is convenient if you have several people in your household who drink coffee or you're happy to drink the same pot of coffee throughout the day, but it isn't always practical for smaller households. Some higher-end models allow you to adjust the brew size so you can brew a full carafe when you want to, or anywhere from half a carafe to a single cup if that's all that you need. 

Pod compatibility

In addition to using baskets of ground coffee, some of these coffee makers are also compatible with pods, so you have the option to use them either way. Since pods only contain a small amount of ground coffee, you can generally only brew one serving of coffee at a time when using your coffee maker in pod mode, so you'll need to use it in the conventional way when making a full carafe of coffee.

Keep-warm options

Drip coffee makers can keep coffee warm either by using a hot plate or a thermal carafe. While you can keep your coffee warm indefinitely using a hot plate, this can burn the coffee and turn it bitter. Thermal carafes can keep coffee warm for hours and won't affect the flavor in any way. As such, thermal carafes are the better option if you regularly make coffee in the morning and keep drinking the same batch throughout the day. The only major downside to coffee makers with thermal carafes is that they're usually more expensive than those with glass carafes. 

Dyk1
Did You Know?
Hot and cold coffee brewers can brew both hot coffee and cold coffee to serve over ice or mix into homemade frappuccinos. 
Staff
BestReviews

What features do drip coffee makers have? 

Brew pause

The brew pause function allows you to temporarily pause brewing so you can pour a cup or two of coffee before the carafe is full. This is handy for those times when you simply can't wait another minute for your caffeine fix. 

Timer

Some of these appliances feature a programmable timer so you can load it up with coffee and water in advance and have your coffee ready and waiting for you when you need it, whether that's first thing in the morning or after you get home from a busy day at work. 

Brew strength control

Most mid-range and high-end drip coffee makers allow you to adjust the brew strength so you can have your coffee just how you want it. 

Water filter

You can find models that feature built-in water filters. This improves the flavor of your coffee without the need to filter water yourself before you add it to the reservoir. 

St2
Staff Tip
If you're not getting the best results from your drip coffee maker, try changing the coffee you use — it can make a significant difference. 
Staff
BestReviews

What accessories do I need for a drip coffee maker?

Coffee filters

You'll need coffee filters. If You Care Unbleached Coffee Filters are an eco-friendly choice that are fully compostable, don't tear and don't impart flavor into your coffee. 

Travel mug

If you use your drip coffee maker to brew coffee to take with you on your morning commute or school run, a quality travel mug can up your game. The Contigo Snapseal Insulated Travel Mug has a totally leakproof lid and fits in most cupholders. 

Coffee grinder

Grinding your own beans to make drip coffee results in a better-tasting brew than using pre-ground coffee. The Cuisinart Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill creates a uniform grind with burrs rather than blades and is affordably priced. 

How much do drip coffee makers cost? 

Inexpensive 

You can buy drip coffee makers starting around $20 to $50. These are generally quite simple coffee makers without features such as programmable timers and brew strength control. 

Mid-range

Mid-range choices cost approximately $50 to $100. These models are much more feature-rich with programmable settings, adjustable brew strength, and the ability to brew in differing quantities. 

Expensive 

The priciest drip coffee makers cost from $100 to $350. These models may have desirable features such as thermal carafes and pod compatibility.

Dyk3
Did You Know?
Some drip coffee makers give you the option to brew short, strong coffee to mix into specialty drinks. It's a nice feature if you love lattes or cappuccinos, but don't expect it to rival espresso. 
Staff
BestReviews

Tips

  • Choose a drip coffee maker from a well-known brand. There's no guarantee that a coffee maker from a well-known brand will definitely be of high quality, but there's a far higher chance that it will be compared to a model from an unknown brand. While some lesser-known manufacturers make great coffee makers, it's more of a gamble. 
  • Consider choosing a model with a built-in grinder. If you want to grind your own beans and you don't already own a coffee grinder, consider a drip coffee maker with a built-in grinder. This costs more than one without, but it makes the brewing process quicker and simpler. 
  • Make sure to clean your coffee maker regularly. Not only is a dirty coffee maker unhygienic, it also affects the taste of your coffee. Some drip coffee makers have auto-clean cycles or alert you when it's time for a clean. 
  • Run water through your new machine before using it. The first time you use your new coffee machine, run water through the machine without adding coffee. This will flush out any dust or debris that may have got inside the machine during manufacturing or from the packing material. 
     
I2
You can find drip coffee makers with the option to dispense hot water, which is great if you don't own an electric kettle. 

FAQ

Q. Is a drip coffee maker worth it? 

A. If you're wondering whether a drip coffee maker is worth the money, this isn't a question with a single answer. A drip coffee maker is worth investing in for anyone who enjoys drip coffee or who wants a simple and fairly hands-off way of making coffee. On the other hand, a drip coffee maker could be a waste of money for an espresso aficionado who rarely drinks tall black coffees. Consider what you want from a coffee maker and what style of coffee you prefer to drink to work out if a drip coffee maker is worth it for you. 

Q. How do you make drip coffee taste better? 

A. Drip coffee is easy to make, but it has a reputation for not being the tastiest of coffees, especially if you're used to drinking barista-pulled espressos or specialty drinks. Luckily, there are some simple ways you can make your drip coffee taste better. Start by choosing quality coffee beans and not just any old grocery store coffee — choose whole beans and grind them yourself for the best results. In addition to this, you can make your drip coffee taste better by using filtered water, cleaning your machine regularly, and avoiding leaving your coffee on a warming plate, as this can scorch it and ruin the flavor. 

Q. Are all drip coffee makers the same? 

A. It’s understandable that some people think all drip coffee makers are the same and will produce the same results no matter how much or little you spend, but this isn't strictly true. Extra features aside, some drip coffee makers simply make better-tasting coffee than others. While they brew coffee in the same way, factors such as water temperature and distribution of water over the ground coffee can make a huge difference to the finished result. Pricier coffee makers have generally had more time in development to get all these factors just right, thus producing better-tasting coffee. 
 

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