Modern and carefully constructed model that optimizes flavor and brews up to 14 cups at a time. Includes permanent filter. Allows for choice of regular or bold brews with adjustable 'keep warm' temperature. Alerts when cleaning is needed. Available in a variety of modern finishes, including matte black, umber, and gold.
An expensive investment.
Offers exceptional value for money with its 12-cup capacity. Simple to fill, program, and clean. Features convenient water window and a temporary pause button to grab a quick cup. Keeps your brew warm for 1 hour; includes automatic 2-hour shutoff. Available in white or black.
Plastic construction is not durable. Brew quality may not suit connoisseurs.
With its high 12-cup capacity, this is big enough for large families but also caters to smaller brews with its optimization for 1 to 4 cups. Basket swings open from the front. Includes 2-hour shutoff, cleaning alert and temporary pause function.
Rather unattractive model. Water is filled from the top, so cabinet clearance may be an issue.
This stunningly built machine allows you to make drip, espresso, lattes, and even iced drinks. Features stay-warm and brew-delay functions and 6 different-sized brews. Includes glass carafe, milk frother, and removable water reservoir.
All these features add up to a high cost. Carafe only holds up to 10 cups.
Easy to use and simple to program. Features brew strength selector, adjustable temperature control for the heater plate, and 1- to 4-cup option for smaller brews. Designed to brew fast without losing flavor. Easy-to-fill reservoir with water level indicator. Includes permanent filter and charcoal water filter.
Brew doesn't come out hot enough for some. Cabinet clearance may be a problem.
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.
If you are a coffee fan, you know that even the smell of your favorite grind brewing can be enough to lift you up and drive you out the door in the morning. With a programmable coffee maker, that can be the first scent to reach you the moment you wake up.
With a programmable coffee maker, you can program your coffee brew time up to 24 hours in advance. This is obviously great for the morning rush or for any time you want a pot ready and waiting for you.
There are hundreds of quality programmable coffee maker options available that offer a wide range of feature sets. Consider which features, like capacity, will work best for you.
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 be a central focus on your kitchen counter or other location, appearance is important. Some manufacturers go the extra mile by offering machines that visually stand out from the pack. Any machine you are considering should be durable and long-lasting. Pay special attention to any reported design issues, such as leaking.
The capacity of a programmable coffee maker — how much coffee it can produce in one brewing — varies a bit from machine to machine. The standard capacity for programmable coffee makers of this type is 12 cups, although some pots offer less.
If you love coffee or are brewing it for a large family or group, get the largest-capacity machine you can. If you also brew smaller amounts — either single servings or partial pots — check whether a machine you are considering can easily do this as well. Some offer special single-serving capabilities or one-button brewing for partial pots.
While you won’t need an advanced degree to program these appliances, some are considerably easier to set up and use. How long will it take you to program your coffee maker to brew a pot? Can the machine be programmed to run at the same time each day? Find out the answer to these questions as you look at particular products. Also, check how far in advance you can set the programmable coffee maker to brew. The standard here is 24 hours.
Selecting a brand-name programmable coffee maker can be beneficial. A reputable brand will normally have fairly comprehensive manufacturer protection and is more likely to be there for you if you encounter problems or have questions. They also tend to offer more quality assurances.
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.
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. All buttons and dials should be clearly labeled for ease of use.
Used with glass carafes, the warming pad keeps coffee hot after it has been brewed. There are some important questions to ask here about a potential selection. Does it shut off after a certain time? Is there any way to regulate the temperature of the pad?
Try for a pad with an automatic shutoff (two hours is common). The ability to set the pad temperature allows you to align the machine more closely with how you consume coffee and to prevent brewed coffee from “burning” too quickly.
The tank where you add the water pre-brew should be easy to fill without splashing, and it should not leak. If it is constructed from plastic, it should be BPA-free. A water level indicator will help you meet the best water-to-grounds ratio. While not standard, some reservoirs can also be removed for filling or cleaning.
The carafe is the pot the coffee brews into. The majority are made of glass, although you can find metal carafes with some searching. A decent carafe should be shatterproof (if glass) and pour without dripping. Water level indicators are standard here, so you can easily tell how much coffee you will be brewing.
For holding coffee grounds, there are two different types of filters: paper and reusable. Paper is more common, although some machines will ship with a reusable filter made from nylon, metal, or some other material. You can often get a reusable filter separately for your type of coffee machine, should you prefer something more environmentally conscious.
While not standard, some programmable coffee makers also 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 $150 or more.
You will find the majority of these machines priced in the $50 to $100 range.
With machines priced over $100, you will find more advanced features: brew temperature controls, dedicated single-serve ports, and better build quality are common. Extras such as disposable paper coffee filters and charcoal water filters can add to the overall cost over time.
Q. Which is better to use: a glass carafe or a metal carafe?
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 for 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: 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, more expensive, and leave you no visible way to tell how much coffee remains. Some also feel that metal is less elegant than glass.
Q. How should I clean my coffee maker?
A. Your best bet is to use a product that is specifically designed to descale and clean coffee makers. To use, simply follow the directions on the package. You can also run a 50/50 water/white vinegar solution through your machine followed by a couple of cycles of plain water to remove any lingering vinegar traces.
Q. Is it better to use paper coffee filters or reusable ones?
A. Some feel paper coffee filters provide the best cup of coffee, while 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 are adding to your local landfill each time you use one. Reusable filters, while expensive up front, will incur no further cost. They are also easy to use and less wasteful.