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We like that you can control plenty of settings with this coffee maker. It gives you options for brew strength, water temperature and brew size up to 10 cups. You can program it to make coffee at a set time using the auto-brew function. It has an insulated carafe.
The water reservoir isn't removable.
You can always have fresh coffee when you wake thanks to the 24-hour timer. With the sneak-a-cup brew-pause feature, you can pause the flow of coffee and grab yourself a quick cup. The front-facing window lets you see how much water is inside.
While some like the two-hour automatic shut-off safety feature, others wish it would stay hot all day.
We appreciate the temperature-adjustable keep-warm setting with low, medium and high options. It brews up to 14 cups at a time but also has a setting for 1 to 4 cups. It includes a permanent filter. You can choose between regular and bold brews.
The carafe is hard to empty completely without practically tipping it upside down.
This machine is extremely easy to use with one-touch controls for four kinds of coffee: espresso, espresso doppio, coffee and coffee doppio. It has programmable coffee strength settings, and you can also program the amount of water used. We like the built-in grinder.
It's an expensive investment.
We love that you can make classic, rich and iced brews in six sizes, from a single cup to a full carafe. It features stay-warm and programmable brew-delay functions. The water reservoir is removable and easy to fill.
The full carafe holds 10 cups, which is on the smaller side.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
A programmable coffee maker gives you more control over your brew. Some models let you program a time for the machine to start brewing, meaning you can wake up or come home to a fresh pot of coffee. Others allow you to program the strength of the brew and the water temperature, tailoring your coffee just how you like it.
We interviewed the CEO and founder of Home Grounds, Alex Mastin, to find out what he thinks of programmable coffee makers and to get his recommendations. The BestReviews Testing Lab also tried a couple of models in our quest to find the best programmable coffee makers.
After careful consideration, the Cafe Specialty Drip Coffee Maker emerged as the best on the market. We particularly appreciate its smart features, adjustable-strength settings and thermal carafe.
Best programmable coffee maker
Coffee Maker Type: Drip | Carafe Size: 10 cups | Cup Settings: 1 to 10 cups | Filter Type: Reusable | Smart Features: Yes
The Cafe Specialty's smart features are part of what makes it stand out. It's Wi-Fi compatible, so you can control it via the app or a smart-home system. With its voice-to-brew technology, you can simply tell your smart-home system you want to brew a cup of coffee, and it'll start the cycle.
It's easy to program the timer with the auto-brew function. It has a 10-cup capacity, but you can set it to brew any amount up to that. The carafe is insulated to keep coffee warm without the risk of scorching that comes with a warming plate. Four brew strength settings — gold, light, medium and bold — give you options so you can drink it just how you like it. You can also adjust the brew temperature, which makes a difference in the finished coffee.
We chose this machine for its wealth of features, but it doesn't hurt that it looks great on the counter, either.
Best basic programmable coffee maker
Coffee Maker Type: Drip | Carafe Size: 12 cups | Cup Settings: Full carafe, sneak-a-cup | Filter Type: Paper | Smart Features: No
This is our favorite basic model thanks to its reliability and ease of use. It's simple to set a timer on this 12-cup programmable coffee maker so your coffee will be ready whenever you want it.
While you can't brew less than 12 cups, there's a sneak-a-cup function so you can pour yourself a cup while it's still brewing without making a mess. To keep your coffee warm, there's a built-in warming plate with a two-hour auto-shutoff for safety.
If you're looking for a no-nonsense coffee maker at an affordable price, this is an option worth considering. It's an intuitive machine that makes decent coffee without any complicated settings.
Best 14-cup programmable coffee maker
Coffee Maker Type: Drip | Carafe Size: 14 cups | Cup Settings: Full carafe, 1 to 4 cups | Filter Type: Reusable | Smart Features: No
This generous 14-cup programmable coffee maker is great for large households and anyone who goes through a lot of coffee. You can program it to brew coffee up to 24 hours in advance of when you want java. Programming it is easy; just use the buttons on the control panel.
Its default is to brew a full carafe, but there's also a setting for one to four cups that adjusts the strength of the coffee. We appreciate that there's a bold setting for those times when you want a more robust coffee.
This machine is easy to use and performs reliably. With low, medium and high settings on the warming plate, it’s nice to be able to keep coffee warm for up to four hours.
Best programmable coffee maker
Coffee Maker Type: Automatic | Carafe Size: Single cup | Cup Settings: 4 sizes | Filter Type: N/A | Smart Features: Yes
While most programmable coffee makers are drip machines, this is a single-cup automatic coffee machine. It has a built-in grinder and is capable of making espresso, double espresso, long coffee and taller long coffee with a double shot.
We like that it's Wi-Fi compatible and has smart features. It can connect to JURA's app so you can control it from your phone. You can also program the strength and water quantity settings to get coffee you love every time.
It isn't cheap, but this is an excellent coffee maker for those willing to invest in it. Owners get the convenience of a pod machine with the scrumptious coffee of a high-end espresso machine. There's no need to grind or tamp; just press a button, and the machine does the rest.
Best programmable coffee maker with iced coffee capabilities
Coffee Maker Type: Drip | Carafe Size: 10 cups | Cup Settings: 6 sizes | Filter Type: Paper | Smart Features: No
We're fans of the versatility of this coffee maker. It can produce coffee in six sizes: cup, XL cup, travel mug, multi-serve travel mug, half carafe and full carafe. You can also choose between classic and rich settings for hot coffee and the over-ice setting for cold coffee.
It has a delay-brew function that you can program up to 24 hours in advance. Programming it is a snap, too. We love the user-friendly removable water reservoir and the smart scoop that tells you exactly how much coffee to use for each brew size. When it’s time to clean, simply activate the press-button cleaning cycle.
Best programmable coffee maker with touch-activated display
Coffee Maker Type: Drip | Carafe Size: 14 cups | Cup Settings: Full carafe, 1 to 4 cup | Filter Type: Reusable | Smart Features: No
The Beautiful 14-Cup Programmable Drip Coffee Maker looks as gorgeous as its name suggests. When it's in stand-by mode, there's no discernible display, but when you touch the front of the unit, it reveals a digital control panel.
Not only can you program it to brew coffee at a later time, but you can also switch between regular, gourmet and bold brew strengths. You can make a full 14-cup carafe of coffee or use the smaller setting when you don't need as much.
We like that this coffee machine looks great and works reliably, all for a reasonable price. It can keep your coffee warm with settings ranging from 30 minutes to four hours.
Best programmable coffee maker with easy-touch programming
Coffee Maker Type: Drip | Carafe Size: 12 cups | Cup Settings: Full carafe, 1 to 4 cups | Filter Type: Paper | Smart Features: No
This might be a basic coffee maker, but programming and using it is a pleasure. With its easy-touch programming, it takes just seconds to set a brew delay, letting you enjoy coffee any time up to 24 hours later.
You can brew either a full carafe or a smaller pot of 1 to 4 cups. There's also the choice between regular-strength and bold-strength settings. The warming plate keeps coffee warm, but it automatically switches off after two hours to save energy and prevent burnt coffee.
While you don't get any high-end features, we like how easy this machine is to use. It does the job it's supposed to do at a reasonable price.
Best 12-cup programmable coffee maker
Coffee Maker Type: Drip | Carafe Size: 12 cups | Cup Settings: 1 to 12 cups | Filter Type: Paper | Smart Features: No
This is the favorite programmable coffee maker of our coffee expert, Alex Mastin. "The Breville Precision Brewer is one of the best drip coffee makers on the market," he says. "Breville is a brand which is renowned for its integrative technology and for its focus on making high-quality, easy-to-use products. The Precision Brewer is no exception."
Mastin likes how versatile it is. "It has more settings than the average drip coffee machine, giving users more control and more options for customization," he says. We particularly like the six presets: fast, gold, over-ice, strong, cold brew and my brew. The “my brew” setting lets you control factors such as the bloom time, flow rate and brewing temperature. This might sound complicated, but Mastin notes that the controls are fairly intuitive and “easy to engage with.”
This is a solid 12-cup programmable coffee maker with an admirable range of settings. "The advantages of this coffee maker are the amount of choice, control and customization it offers users," he says. "It is a little on the expensive side, but it is worth it for those who want to be more involved in the process and who enjoy experimenting with different brews.”
Best 9-cup programmable coffee maker
Coffee Maker Type: Drip | Carafe Size: 9 cups | Cup Settings: 1 to 9 | Filter Type: Paper | Smart Features: No
If you're looking for a compact drip coffee maker, this OXO model is smaller than most with its 9-cup capacity. In our testing, it performed well overall. We loved the quality of its build and how warm the double-wall carafe kept our coffee. We tested it right after brewing, and it was 185 degrees. On taking the temperature an hour later, it had only dropped to 175 degrees.
It can brew anywhere from a single cup to 9 cups. It took 5 minutes, 45 seconds to brew 5 cups, and it took 8 minutes, 15 seconds to brew 9 cups. We appreciated the rainmaker shower head and noted that it definitely distributes water over the grounds more evenly than coffee makers without this feature.
This is a wonderful choice if a little on the pricey side. We found that it wasn't as intuitive to program as some coffee machines, but once we got the hang of it, it was fairly easy to use.
Best programmable coffee maker with espresso option
Coffee Maker Type: Automatic | Carafe Size: N/A | Cup Settings: 6 sizes | Filter Type: N/A | Smart Features: No
We tested the De'Longhi TrueBrew Drip Coffee Maker and, while it has some flaws, we still think it's worth recommending. One of the things we loved about it was how easy it was to use and program. You can use the auto-on setting to program the machine to have a cup of coffee waiting for you when you wake.
We found it easy to select a cup size, from a 3-ounce espresso-style brew to a 24-ounce mug. There are five coffee styles to choose from: light, gold, bold, over ice and espresso. We found the light and gold options slightly weak and watery, but this could come down to preference, and users always have the option to use the stronger coffee settings. While there was some inconsistency in the quality of the coffee, this could be addressed by fiddling with the settings and experimenting with different beans.
The first thing you should ask yourself before you select a programmable coffee maker is what you’re looking for in the following categories.
As this appliance will likely be a central focus on your kitchen counter, appearance matters. Some manufacturers go the extra mile by offering machines that visually stand out from the pack, such as the Cafe Specialty Drip Coffee Maker or the Beautiful by Drew Barrymore 14-Cup Programmable Drip Coffee Maker.
Any machine you consider should be durable and long-lasting. Coffee machines with stainless steel bodies such as the Breville Precision Brewer Thermal Coffee Maker are particularly durable. That said, those well-made from high-quality plastic can also stand the test of time. When it comes to plastic models, we hate to say it, but cost matters. For instance, none of the parts on the Jura Ena 4 Automatic Coffee Machine are likely to break anytime soon after buying it, but the same can't be said for a coffee maker under $30.
The capacity of a programmable coffee maker — how much coffee it can produce in one brewing — varies from machine to machine. The standard capacity for programmable coffee makers of this type is 12 cups, but capacities of anywhere from 8 to 14 cups are fairly common.
If you love coffee or are brewing it for a big family or group, it’s smart to get the largest-capacity machine you can. If you also brew smaller amounts — single servings or partial pots — there are machines that let you do this in addition to brewing large pots. For example, the Ninja Hot & Iced has six brew sizes options: single cup, XL cup, travel size, XL travel size, half carafe and full carafe.
You might be wondering what type of programmability exists among coffee makers. With most programmable machines, there's a timer so you can set a specific time for brewing to start. This means your coffee will be ready when you need it without you having to manually start the brewing process.
Some coffee makers are compatible with smart home systems, meaning you can control and program them using your smartphone. This can include setting brewing times, adjusting settings and more.
With a lot of coffee makers, there are other features you can program to get your coffee just how you like it, including brew strength and water temperature. The Cafe Specialty Drip Coffee Maker, for instance, lets you adjust both the brew strength and water temperature.
The majority of programmable coffee makers use an LCD screen to keep track of time, aid in programming and provide information. That LCD screen should be large and bright enough for you to easily read. The OXO Brew 9-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Maker has a particularly large, clear LCD display.
Controls vary depending on the machine’s capabilities and can include buttons or knobs to set the time and programmed time, change the brew temperature and strength, brew the coffee and more.
Used with glass carafes, the warming plate keeps coffee hot after it has been brewed. Some coffee makers give you lots of warming plate options. For instance, the Cuisinart Perfectemp 14-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker lets you set the warming plate for between one and four hours. After that point, it automatically shuts off. The same machine also lets you select between low, medium and high warming temperatures.
With some inexpensive coffee makers, you don't get this level of control. For example, the warming plate of the Black+Decker 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker automatically shuts off after two hours and doesn't offer temperature controls.
The trouble with warming plates is that they can give coffee a scorched, bitter taste if used for too long. Some programmable coffee makers — such as the Breville Precision Brewer Thermal Coffee Maker — have thermal carafes to keep coffee warm instead of a heated plate.
For holding coffee grounds, there are two types of filters: paper and reusable. Paper is more common, although some machines ship with a reusable filter made from nylon, metal or another material. You can often get a reusable filter separately for your type of coffee machine, should you prefer something more environmentally conscientious.
While not standard, some programmable coffee makers include a charcoal water filter for removing impurities from water during the brewing process.
Programmable coffee makers start around $30 and can run up to around $1,000, though most cost under $150.
Basic machines such as the Black+Decker 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker cost around $30 to $75 and have simple features without many extras.
Machines in the $75 to $150 range can have more advanced features, such as brew temperature control and programmable warming plates. The Cuisinart Perfectemp 14-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker has some great features of this kind.
Then you have high-end programmable coffee makers, most of which cost $150 to $300, though they can cost up to $1,000 or more. These may have smart features, like the Cafe Specialty Drip Coffee Maker, or they might have an espresso-making option, like the ENA 4 Automatic Coffee Machine.
A. While this will largely depend on how you use your coffee maker and when you drink coffee throughout the day, here are a few pros and cons of each type.
The most common type of carafe is glass. With glass, the coffee is usually brewed into the carafe, which is then kept warm on a warming pad. Glass is best if you drink a pot of coffee fairly quickly, as the warming pad can continue to “cook” the coffee, resulting in a burnt taste. Another negative is the fact that glass can shatter easily.
With a metal carafe, the coffee is brewed into the carafe, which then keeps it hot. There is no heating pad involved. Metal carafes are best if you slowly go through a pot of coffee. On the downside, metal can be heavier and more expensive, and it gives you no way to see how much coffee remains. Some also feel that metal is less elegant than glass.
A. Your best bet is to use a product specifically designed to descale and clean coffee makers. Simply follow the directions on the package. You could also run a 50/50 water/white vinegar solution through your machine followed by a couple cycles of plain water to remove any lingering vinegar traces.
A. Some feel paper coffee filters provide the best cup of coffee; others rave over reusable filters. It may largely depend on your own preference, but there are some pluses and minuses to each choice.
While convenient, paper filters are a constant expense that can add up over time, and you’re adding to your local landfill each time you use one. Reusable filters, while expensive upfront, incur no further cost. They are also easy to use and less wasteful.
We interviewed Alex Mastin, the founder and CEO of Home Grounds, to get his opinion on the best programmable coffee maker. We also tested a selection of coffee makers to see how they performed. Aside from this, we compared programmable coffee machines based on factors such as capacity, control options and smart features to find our top models.
Lauren Corona is an experienced food and drink writer and has been penning articles in this space since 2010. Before becoming a writer, she did a brief stint as a barista and is serious about good coffee. She's used a range of programmable coffee makers over the years, so she knows what makes a good one and which features leave something to be desired. She's written dozens of articles about coffee makers and other coffee-related products for BestReviews.
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