There’s nothing like waking in the morning to a carafe of hot, fresh, drip-style coffee. Drip coffee makers are simple to use, often very affordable, and cater to multiple people, or just one.
However, there’s a plethora of drip coffee makers on the market, each with different pros, cons, and features to consider. We have taken the hard work out of your choice and have found the top 5 best drip coffee makers available today.
CoffeeVerdict Top Pick: Ninja 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker
Best-Rated Drip Coffee Maker
- Removable water reservoir
- Small-batch setting for rich coffee from 1-4 cups
- Permanent filter (gold-tone)
- Programmable 24-hours in advance
The top pick for the best drip coffee maker goes to the Ninja 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker. When it comes to coffee makers, the price is extremely reasonable considering the quality and features.
Aesthetically, this model would fit nicely into any kitchen, made from black plastic and stainless steel. A compact control panel is located on the front side of the machine, with a small LCD screen and clearly-labeled buttons. You can program the machine to brew coffee at any time you like, up to 24-hours in advance. There are also buttons for “rich” and “classic” coffee, so you can adjust the strength and flavor profile.
Impressively, there’s a heating plate which can keep your coffee hot for up to 4 hours. This is a great feature considering many other affordable models don’t have a heating element. If the coffee is still brewing, you can just pull the carafe out, and pour a cup without waiting.
The carafe holds 12 cups, so you can make a full batch. Alternatively, you can select the “small batch” mode which brews up to 4 cups with perfect strength. Another great feature is the 60 oz water reservoir which is removable, so you can fill it straight from the water source. No need to carry a jug to the machine.
✔ Extra-hot coffee
✔ Warming plate can be programmed
✔ Easy to clean (plus built-in clean cycle)
✔ Easy to fill the water tank
✘ Coffee carafe is prone to breakages
✘ Carafe lid can be difficult to reattach
✘ Buttons too firm to press easily
Hamilton Beach 2-Way Brewer Coffee Maker Single-Serve and 12-Cup Pot
Best Drip Coffee Maker with Single Cup Option
- Single-serve option compatible with soft pods
- 24-hour programmable timer
- Permanent filter (no need for wasting paper filters)
- Hot plate
Our runner-up is the Hamilton Beach 2-Way Brewer Coffee Maker with Single-Serve and 12-Cup Pot. Price-wise, this model even more affordable than the Ninja model above. The construction is attractive and durable, with black plastic and stainless steel. The digital control panel and buttons sit on the top-front side, easy to access. For on-time coffee, you can program the machine to brew coffee up to 24-hours in advance, with a hour and minute buttons for accurate timing.
There are two brew options to choose from: bold and regular, so you can add a little extra body or keep it classic. However, the most impressive feature is the single-cup serving button. You can select “single-serve” and place a takeaway cup or mug under the single-serve spout and grab a hot cup of coffee without wasting a full jug. Alternatively, you can fill the large pot up to 12 cups.
The single-serve and 12-cup pot options both have their own easy-fill water reservoirs. What’s more, the single-serve option is compatible with soft coffee pods, (note that this doesn’t include K-pods or other hard pods. The Baronet brand soft pods are ideal).
✔ Easy to clean
✔ Makes very hot coffee
✔ Makes single-serve or a whole pot
✔ Can be programmed to make coffee at a chosen time
✘ Hot plate prone to rusting
✘ Single-serve feature only accepts soft pods
✘ Reports of faults after a few months
Technivorm Moccamaster 59616 KGB Coffee Brewer
Best High-End Drip Coffee Maker
- No-burn heating element
- 10-cup water reservoir
- Copper element ensures water remains hot (between 196-205 degrees F)
- Multiple color choices
The third product on our list takes a huge step up in price, construction, and technology. The Technivorm Moccamaster KGB Coffee Brewer has an attractive aesthetic with a tower-style heating component topped by the water reservoir. A water arm drips coffee shower-style onto the coffee grounds in a paper filter, dripping into the 10-cup carafe below. Impressively, the brewing process for a full carafe takes only 4-6 minutes.
In terms of temperature, the Moccamaster is very specific and suited to people who like their coffee consistently hot. The copper coil heating element heats the water between 196 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. What’s more, the heating plate keeps brewed coffee at either 175 or 185 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on which option you choose. The heating plate switches off after 100 minutes post-brew, which is great for safety and energy saving.
Most importantly, the flavor and quality of the coffee is excellent, backed by multiple customer reviews. However, some people have commented that the price isn’t really justified by the plastic parts and simplicity. Others praise the simple operation as part of the charm.
It comes down to what you value. If you want a coffee maker to be an aesthetic focal point in your kitchen, you want very hot coffee, and you’re looking for high-quality flavor, the higher price is justified for you.
However, if you simply want a decent cup of coffee fast, but aren’t fussed on aesthetics or the nuances of flavor, one of the cheaper options on our list will suit you better.
✔ Fast brew time
✔ Keeps coffee hot
✔ Great-tasting coffee
✔ Very simple to use
✘ Water reservoir prone to leakages
✘ No permanent filter included
✘ Plastic parts
Krups Grind And Brew Auto-Start Coffee Maker
Best Drip Coffee Maker With Grinder
- Built-in burr grinder with 5 grind settings
- Strength control with 3 strength settings
- Programmable timer
- Heating plate
The fourth product on our list is the Krups Grind and Brew Auto-Start Coffee Maker. The stand-out feature is the built-in burr grinder. Burr grinders are great (and better than blade grinders) because they crush the beans more evenly for a consistent grind. It also includes a 10-cup carafe and a gold-tone permanent filter.
What’s more, freshly-ground coffee provides the very best flavor as opposed to grounds that have been sitting around for a while. Even better, the grinder has 5 grind settings so you can choose a finer grind for a more intense coffee or a more coarse grind for a lighter flavor. Plus, there’s a “strength control” button which allows you to choose from mild, medium or strong brew. If you’re short of fresh beans, there is a pre-ground option too.
You can set the timer for any time (hour and minute buttons) for fresh coffee as you wake up. The carafe has a capacity of 10 cups, but you can brew a minimum of 2 cups, as directed by a “2-10 cup” button. Another great feature is the heating plate which keeps freshly-brewed coffee hot for 2 hours post-brew before automatically switching off.
Considering the many great features, the price is excellent, especially since it saves you from buying an external coffee grinder.
✔ Built-in grinder saves bench space
✔ Makes fresh coffee at set times
✔ Caters to various coffee strength preferences
✔ Great value for money
✘ Tricky to clean
✘ Many plastic parts
✘ Reports of inconsistent grind size
Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Manual Coffee Maker
Best Cheap Drip Coffee Maker
- 12-cup carafe
- Heating plate
- Illuminated on/off switch
- Auto-pause allows you to pour a cup before the brew cycle is finished
Lastly, we have the Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Manual Coffee Maker, awarded for the best cheap drip coffee maker. This is an extremely affordable coffee maker with very simple construction and operation. All the user has to do is pop in a paper filter, add some ground coffee, keep the water tank full, and press the on/off switch.
There are no fancy features, timers, or strength controls. While this could be a “con” for true coffee lovers, it is ideal for people who just want an easy, no-fuss, and extremely cheap coffee maker which makes a decent cup of coffee. It would be ideal for students who just need a hot cup of coffee with minimal cost and time involved. Similarly, it could be great for holiday homes or cabins.
The heating plate keeps the coffee warm, but you must remember to switch it off as there is no auto-off feature. The carafe has a 12-cup capacity, great for long, caffeine-fuelled work nights or large groups of people.
✔ Very easy to use
✔ Very easy to clean
✔ Extremely affordable
✔ Keeps coffee hot
✘ No auto-off feature for heating plate
✘ Lifespan is reasonably short
✘ Requires disposable paper filters
How to Choose a Drip Coffee Maker
Price and value
Start by narrowing down on a budget and what you’re prepared to pay upfront. Then, be aware of what your budget can realistically get for this. Do you want to go for a super-cheap model or even the cheapest you can find? Be realistic about what you can get for this. You likely won’t find customizable features, hard-wearing materials, or the best coffee around. However, you could enjoy simple, hot coffee for a year before trading in for a newer model.
Is the flavor, temperature, and strength of your coffee important to you? If so, you should adjust your budget to a higher range so you can find a model with customizable features. What’s more, a higher budget will give you a better chance at a durable machine which will serve you for years.
Figure out the size of the space in which you intend to store your drip coffee maker. Compare the size to the dimensions of your shortlisted products. Keep in mind that coffee makers do produce heat, so they’re best stored in clear spaces (i.e. without a cabinet close above).
How much coffee do you want to brew? Are you catering to large groups? If so, look for a 10 or a 12-cup carafe. If you often brew just for you, you could consider an option with a single-serve function (such as the Hamilton Beach 2-Way Brewer).
Customizable options and timers
You may want a drip coffee machine that gives you a few options when it comes to strength, temperature and delayed brewing. Most drip coffee makers offer a programmable timer so you can have fresh coffee upon waking. Also, consider a model with a hot plate if you like to sip coffee over a few hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between espresso and drip coffee?
An espresso maker forces hot water through finely-ground coffee beans with great pressure. This results in a small, rich shot of espresso with a “crema” made from coffee bean oils and air bubbles.
Drip coffee, on the other hand, is made by hot water infusing medium-ground coffee beans to extract the flavor before dripping into a vessel below. The espresso process is quick, while the drip process is a lot slower.
A cup of drip coffee is generally large, with high water content, while an espresso shot is very small, with concentrated coffee and little water.
How do I use a drip coffee maker?
The beauty of a drip coffee maker is that it’s very easy to use, which is true for almost all brands and models. The general process is as follows:
- Fill the permanent filter with medium-size coffee grounds, or use a disposable paper filter (depending on your machine)
- Make sure the water tank is full
- Select any variables your machine offers (i.e number of cups, strength)
- Press the on/off or “brew” button
Who makes the best drip coffee makers?
It depends on what you’re looking for, and what your budget is. For high-end, attractive drip-coffee makers with great heating tech, Technivorm is great. For cheap drip-coffee makers, Kenmore is a great place to start. For a high-quality coffee maker with a built-in grinder and a low cost, Krups is unbeatable.
What kind of coffee should I use in a drip coffee maker?
For the best-tasting coffee, freshly-ground beans are best. For this, you will need a burr grinder so you can make fresh grinds right before brewing. Aim for a medium grind, as a coarse grind can result in weak coffee, and a fine grind can result in cloudy and bitter coffee. It may take a little trial and error to find the perfect grind size for your taste preference.
Are drip coffee makers easy to clean?
Overall, yes, but it does depend on the machine, somewhat. Many people use a simple mixture of white vinegar and water to run through their drip coffee machines as though they are brewing a pot. If your coffee maker has a permanent filter, you need to keep it clean. Again, white vinegar and water work great for this.
In saying this, do make sure you research the cleaning requirements of your shortlisted products before purchasing. That way, you won’t be unpleasantly surprised if a lengthy cleaning process is expected.
Do drip coffee makers keep coffee hot?
Some do and some don’t. Some drip coffee makers (like the Technivorm Moccamaster) have a heating element that keeps the coffee warm for as long as you require it to. Others do not have a heating element but do have an insulated, thermal carafe which helps to keep the coffee hot.