Best Coffee Makers
Consumer Reports' experts round up the top brewers from Cuisinart, Nespresso, Ninja, and more
Our tests have found that you don’t have to pay top dollar to score a good coffee maker. You can brew a good cup of joe with a model that costs around $100. Once you hit $200, you’ll start seeing interactive displays, programmability, stainless steel detailing, adjustable brew strengths, thermal carafes, and other bells and whistles you’d find on professional-grade models.
So if you’re looking to replace your old machine or you’re in the market for a new one as you check things off your back-to-school list, consider these top-rated products. Consumer Reports’ experts tested about 150 coffee makers to see which ones are worthy of space on your kitchen counter. Learn more about the different types of coffee makers in our coffee maker buying guide, and explore additional options in our complete coffee maker ratings. There, you can search according to price, dimensions, capacity, and other criteria to find the best one for you and your kitchen.
Below are reviews of the best coffee makers we’ve evaluated that are currently on the market, listed by category and in alphabetical order. The roundup has a number of configurations: drip machines, single-serve models, and cold-brew makers. CR members can click on each model name below for more detailed ratings and specs.
Best Drip Coffee Makers
Drip machines are the most popular type of coffee maker because of their ease of use. You simply fill a chamber with water, load coffee into a filter basket, and flip the switch to heat the water. These machines deliver coffee by “dripping” water into a heating tube. Once the water is heated, it’s poured on the ground coffee, goes through a filter, and comes out as a hot cup of coffee. These top-rated models feature an automatic shutoff, and some have more advanced features like a removable reservoir and indicator to tell you when cleaning is needed.
CR’s take: The Cuisinart Coffee on Demand DCC-3000 is a self-serve coffee maker, meaning it forgoes a carafe and allows you to fill a mug straight from its heated reservoir. This machine does well in our tests, and it excels when it comes to brewing performance. Cuisinart self-serve machines have very good predicted reliability, and their owner satisfaction scores in our member surveys are some of the best around. This model comes with a removable reservoir, permanent filter, water filter, cleaning indicator, auto-shutoff, programming, and a small-batch setting.
CR’s take: A traditional drip coffee maker with a modern twist, the Cuisinart DCC-T20 offers slick touchscreen controls and makes plenty of coffee for a full house, thanks to its 14-cup glass carafe. This model aces our tests for brewing performance and convenience, and it’s better than most when it comes to handling the carafe. It features programming, auto-shutoff, a cleaning indicator, a permanent filter, a water filter, brew-strength control, and a small-batch setting. It’s a bit pricey, but for the investment, you can count on an all-around great machine.
CR’s take: If you want a basic glass-carafe drip coffee maker, you can’t do much better than the large-volume Cuisinart PerfecTemp 14 Cup Programmable DCC-3200, one of the highest-ranking models CR tests. This 14-cup machine earns an excellent rating for brew performance, reflecting optimal brew temperature and coffee intensity. It can be programmed to have fresh coffee waiting when you wake up, and it lets you adjust the brewing strength to make weaker or stronger coffee. Cuisinart drip coffee makers receive a stellar rating for owner satisfaction and a very good score for reliability in CR’s member survey.
CR’s take: The unassuming, inexpensive Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Programmable 49465R might be easy to miss, but it can brew a mean cup of joe at a fantastic price. It has all the essentials in a basic black plastic finish. It’s programmable and has auto-shutoff. What’s more, it does a superb job in our brewing test and can make a fresh pot in just 10 minutes. This model also performs strongly for convenience and carafe handling in CR’s lab tests. But it’s worth mentioning that this model is more prone to overflow, unlike other models listed.
CR’s take: The Ninja Specialty CM401 is one of the most versatile coffee makers we’ve tested. This terrific all-in-one machine is capable of brewing hot and iced coffee, lattes, macchiatos, and other specialty brews. In our tests, it receives the highest possible marks for brew performance, and its glass carafe handles comfortably. This model is easy to clean and comes packed with features, including an over-ice brew mode for iced coffee, a built-in milk frother, brew-strength control, and brew-size adjustment for everything from travel mugs to full carafes.
Best Single-Serve Coffee Makers
Single-serve coffee makers serve one cup of coffee rather than two or three. These highly rated makers, which include a mix of drip and pod coffee models, feature an automatic shutoff, a height-adjustable drip tray, and a removable water reservoir.
CR’s take: With its built-in milk frother, the high-scoring Nespresso CitiZ EN267BAE takes single-serve coffee to the next level. It’s great when you’re hosting events, especially because it aces CR’s tests for both speed and size consistency. The brand’s single-serve coffee makers also get top marks for reliability and owner satisfaction in our member surveys. This machine requires a bit more maintenance due to the milk frother, but if you love your morning latte, it’s a quick and easy way to get your fix.
CR’s take: One of the top-rated single-serve machines in our tests, the Nespresso Essenza Mini stands out for speedy brewing and its ability to control the brew volume for different strengths. This compact model is great for the office or anywhere you need to accommodate a variety of tastes. The adjustable drip tray and auto-off function add to its low-maintenance profile. Like other Nespresso models, it requires Nespresso capsules, which the company recycles at no charge.
Best Cold-Brew Coffee Makers
CR’s take: The Primula Burke Cold Brew Coffee Maker PBPBK-5101 is the most inexpensive manual cold-brew model in our ratings—and one of the best. This model receives a top-notch rating for convenience. It comes with a glass carafe, and most of its parts are dishwasher-safe. It’s the only cold brewer in our ratings that calls for a full 24-hour brew time, but you might find the results to be worth the wait.
CR’s take: A major draw of the Asobu Insulated Brewer is that you can brew your coffee on the go. It offers excellent ratings for convenience and is the only model in our ratings to get a very good score for taste from CR’s experts. The Asobu isn’t dishwasher-safe, but it has a stainless steel insulated carafe (rare for a manual model) and brews in 12 to 24 hours, depending on how strong you like your coffee.
How CR Tests Coffee Makers
For drip coffee makers, we conduct a brew-performance test and measure contact time (how long water stays within the sweet spot of 195° F to 205° F for brewing).
For single-serve pod machines, our engineers evaluate the temperature and size consistency of individual cups of coffee. And for cold-brew coffee makers, our engineers assess the ease of cleaning, and taste testers judge each brew.
Have you started back-to-school shopping for a coffee maker and more? Check our Back-to-School Guide for laptop deals as well as reviews of bedding and other dorm and apartment essentials.