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Drip coffee maker buying guide

Brew yourself a perfect cup of joe with these top picks.

Espresso machines dominate the coffee conversation, but what about non-espresso coffee makers? French press, filter and vacuum coffee makers all have something to say.

Compare some of the best drip coffee makers

NameAverage price
Max number of cupsProgrammable?Dimensions (inches)Purchase
Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Coffee Maker$2512No19.4 x 12.9 x 14.7Buy now
Hamilton Beach 49980A$5512Yes13.69 x 11.44 x 15.44Buy now
Ninja 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker$8012Yes8.74 x 9.94 x 14.61Buy now
Cuisinart DCC-3000$7012Yes11.25 x 8.75 x 14.7Buy now
Technivorm Moccamaster 79114 KBT$31010No15.25 x 11.50 x 6.75Buy now
OXO BREW$2009Yes5 x 8.3 x 17.2Buy now
BUNN NHS Velocity Brew$16010No11.6 x 13.7 x 9.1Buy now
Data obtained April 2019. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

What types of coffee makers are there?

Outside of specialized espresso machines, there are several types of regular coffee makers available.

  • Drip coffee makers.
    Also called filter or electric coffee pots, these machines are very easy to use. They can be pre-programed and can make large amounts of coffee at once.Most models have a water container and a section to place ground coffee beans. The machine will heat the water, pour it through the coffee grounds and pass it through a filter — all before it reaches your cup.
  • Vacuums or siphons.
    This type tends to look like it belongs in a science lab. Traditional vacuum coffee makers consist of two glass flasks. Ground coffee beans sit in the top flask, while water sits in the bottom.You place the water on a heat source, and as the water warms, it rises to mix with the coffee grounds. After the two fully combine, turn off the heat source and wait for the brewed coffee to fall to the bottom.
  • French presses.
    A French press has two main pieces: a container and a plunger. Most French presses work on a ratio of one tablespoon of coarsely ground coffee to one cup of hot water. Simply pour the water over the coffee grounds and place the plunger at the top of the container to trap the heat.Once your coffee has steeped, slowly push down the plunger to trap the coffee grounds. The longer you steep, the stronger your coffee will be. Most people recommend you steep your coffee three to five minutes.

What’s the difference between a coffee maker and an espresso machine?

Not all coffee is espresso. Espresso is a particular style of coffee, which you need to make in a certain way. Some of the differences between espresso machines and coffee machines include:

Coffee makerEspresso machine
SpeedSlower, since the coffee has to steepA shot of espresso can be made in a few seconds
Water pressureDoesn’t need high-pressured waterNeeds high-pressured water
Grind consistencyCan use more roughly-ground beansNeeds very finely-ground coffee beans
CoffeeCoffee brewed is less creamy than espressoCreamier coffee, due to fine grounds and high pressure

How to compare drip coffee pots

If a drip coffee pot sounds like your cup of tea — er, coffee — it’s time to start comparing your options. Keep these factors in mind to help you find the best pot for your brewing needs.

  • Grind size. This is less of a concern for drip coffee makers than it is for espresso machines. Generally speaking, the finer the grind, the creamier the coffee. Don’t go too far though. If your coffee is ground too finely for the filter on your machine, you’ll end up with coffee grounds in your cup.
  • Ease of use. Drip coffee pots are generally simple to use, but some come with more bells and whistles than others and can be a bit more complicated.
  • Size. While most drip coffee machines come with standard 12-cup pots, there are smaller and larger versions available. Figure in how often you brew coffee and for how many people to choose the size that’s best for you.
  • Price. Drip coffee makers can range anywhere from $10 to $700, depending on the size and model. Generally, the higher-end models are designed for commercial use in restaurants and cafes, while more affordable options are perfectly suited for everyday use at home.

How do you clean a drip coffee maker?

After every few uses, it’s a good idea to wash all removable parts like the carafe and filter basket with soap and water. Wipe down the warming plate and other external parts of the coffee maker.

Aim to deep clean your coffee machine at least once a month to remove calcium buildup and dirt, and to prevent mold growth inside your machine. The good news is that decalcifying your machine can be done in a few simple steps.

  1. Add equal parts white vinegar and water to the water reservoir
  2. Place an empty filter in the filter bask and turn your coffee maker on
  3. Let the machine run a full cycle, then repeat steps one and two
  4. Once the second cycle is complete, pour out the vinegar and water mixture from the carafe and add a full reservoir of cold, clean water
  5. Run two full cycles with clean water to ensure all traces of vinegar are gone

Bottom line

Drip coffee pots are popular here in the US, and are generally very affordable. But if you’re looking for something a little fancier and with extra features, it’s worth comparing a few top models to get the most bang for your buck.

How did we choose these products?

To choose our list of the best drip coffee machines, we conducted online research to determine some of the most popular models currently available, comparing the size, price and extra features.

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