Coffee Maker Buying Guide: How To Find Your Perfect Choice.

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My love of coffee has taken on many forms over the years. Like so many of us, I started off drinking coffee just to get by, and, later, for a hit of sugar and caffeine in the form of frappuccinos and caramel macchiatos. But over time, I began to learn more about coffee, experimenting with different brewing methods, from pour-overs to espresso machines. This love of coffee eventually led me to work as a barista at a local coffee shop near me. My years working behind the coffee shop bar led me to try many different brewing methods.

Over time, I have found out what works best for my preferences. However, everyone is a little different. Each unique brewing method produces a distinctly different (and delicious) cup. But with the myriad of options available on the market, choosing the right coffee maker can be a daunting task. This comprehensive coffee maker buying guide aims to simplify the process, helping you find the model that makes your perfect pot of coffee.

Why Buy a Coffee Maker?

I love having a coffee maker in my kitchen—I actually have several. While this may seem excessive, it’s almost essential for anyone who loves their coffee. Different brewing methods can produce startlingly different results. But even if you’re just interested in a simple way to brew coffee at home, there are many things to consider.

Making coffee at home generally saves you money compared to daily coffee shop visits, but it also allows you to experiment with different coffee beans and brewing methods. Having a coffee maker at home means you can enjoy your favorite brew anytime, whether first thing in the morning or a pick-me-up in the afternoon. I have had many different kinds of coffee makers in my home over the years, from drip coffee machines to French presses to pour-overs. Here are some of my favorites:

Types of Coffee Makers

Drip Coffee Makers

Drip coffee makers are the most common type found in homes and offices. They work by heating water and then dripping it over ground coffee beans. The brewed coffee flows into a carafe or pot, ready to be poured and enjoyed. Drip coffee makers are best used for families or households with multiple coffee drinkers and/or for people who are on a budget.

Drip Coffee Maker


  • User-friendly and easy to operate.
  • Suitable for making multiple cups of coffee at once.
  • Available in various sizes and designs to match your kitchen decor.
  • Affordable, with a wide range of price options.


  • The brewing process may not be as fast as other methods.
  • May not offer the same level of control over brewing variables as some other coffee makers.
  • Coffee quality can vary depending on the machine’s build and brand.

Single Serve Coffee Makers

Single-serve coffee makers, also known as pod coffee makers, use pre-packaged coffee pods or capsules. You simply insert a pod, press a button, and your coffee is ready in seconds. This is ideally suited for households with varying coffee preferences and for kitchens with limited counter space. These are excellent choices for people on the go and can produce a surprisingly delicious cup.

Capsule Machine


  • Extremely convenient and quick, perfect for busy mornings.
  • Minimal cleanup – no need for filters or grinding coffee beans.
  • Offers a variety of coffee flavors and styles with different pod options.
  • Ideal for households with varying coffee preferences.


  • Limited to the coffee brands and flavors available in pod format.
  • Can be more expensive per cup compared to other brewing methods.
  • Some models are not environmentally friendly due to the non-recyclable nature of coffee pods.
  • Some brands lock you into using only their brand pods

Espresso machines

Espresso machines are designed for crafting concentrated, rich coffee known as espresso. They force hot water through finely-ground coffee beans to create a concentrated shot of coffee. While one of my favorite ways of brewing coffee, espresso machines are not for everyone. This type of coffee maker is best suited to espresso enthusiasts who don’t mind spending more for their morning cup. Additionally, even budget/beginner-friendly espresso machines can be more difficult to use than other coffee makers. My experience as a barista has helped me feel comfortable using one of these machines. However, they can be quite complicated for the beginner.

Espresso Machine


  • Allows you to make espresso-based drinks like cappuccinos and lattes.
  • Offers precise control over the brewing process, including water temperature and pressure.
  • Creates a high-quality, strong coffee with a rich crema.


  • Typically more expensive than other coffee makers.
  • Requires a learning curve to master the art of espresso brewing.
  • Takes up more counter space.

French Press

A coffee-making classic, the French press brews a bold, delicious, and no-fuss cup of coffee. It consists of a cylindrical glass or stainless steel container with a plunger and a metal or nylon mesh filter. To brew coffee, add coarsely ground coffee beans in hot water and let it steep. After a few minutes, you press down the plunger to separate the grounds from the brewed coffee. To many a coffee aficionado, simplicity is the ultimate in sophistication.

French Press


  • Simple, elegant design with no need for electricity.
  • Delivers a full-bodied and bold coffee flavor.
  • Affordable and easy to clean.


  • Requires manual effort and attention to detail.
  • Can produce sediment in the cup if not used correctly.
  • Brew time is longer compared to other methods.
  • Possible exposure to harmful chemicals

Cold-Brew Coffee Makers

Cold brew makers are designed to create a smooth and less acidic coffee by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in cold or room-temperature water for an extended period, usually 12-24 hours. The result is a concentrated coffee that can be diluted with water or milk before consumption. The cold brew maker is perfect for anyone who prefers a less acidic coffee. I love making cold-brew coffee on hot summer days!

Cold Brew


  • Produces a smooth and less acidic coffee concentrate.
  • Ideal for making iced coffee and coffee-based cocktails.
  • Can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.


  • Requires advanced planning due to the lengthy steeping time.
  • May not suit those who prefer hot coffee.
  • Typically produces lower caffeine content per serving.

Considerations Before Buying


Determine your budget before shopping for a coffee maker. While there are options available at various price points, remember that higher-end models often offer more features and better build quality. Decide on a budget that aligns with your priorities and preferences.

Store Display


Determine how many cups of coffee you need to brew at once. If you often host gatherings or have a large household of coffee drinkers, opt for a coffee maker with a larger brewing capacity of 10-12 cups. Single individuals or small households may prefer single-serve or smaller 3-4 cup machines.

Ease of Use

Ease of cleaning and maintenance can significantly impact your overall coffee-making experience. Look for machines with removable parts that are dishwasher-safe or easy to clean manually. Espresso machines, for instance, require more regular cleaning and maintenance. Some coffee makers come with programmable features like timers, allowing you to set a brewing schedule to match your daily routine. If you value waking up to freshly brewed coffee, programmability is a key feature to consider. For ultimate simplicity, try a Nespresso or Keurig coffee maker. Drop in a pod and press the button. Done.


To ensure the durability of your coffee maker, look for brands that use high-quality materials; stainless steel and durable plastic are great choices. Daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning, as well as descaling on a regular basis, are all necessary to ensure that your coffee maker, no matter the type, style, or brand, stays in good condition for years to come. High-quality beans, paying attention to the maximum water level of your machine, and monitoring your water quality are all factors in the longevity of coffee makers.

Features To Consider

Coffee Grinder

If you opt for a coffee maker that doesn’t have a built-in grinder, a separate coffee grinder is essential for achieving the freshest flavor. Choose between manual or electric grinders, depending on your preferences and budget. Consider the following factors:

  • Grind Consistency: Look for a grinder that can produce a consistent grind size, as this is crucial for brewing great-tasting coffee.
  • Grind Settings: Choose a grinder with adjustable grind settings to cater to different brewing methods such as espresso, drip coffee, French press, etc.
  • Burr or Blade Grinder: Burr grinders are generally preferred for their ability to produce a more uniform grind, while blade grinders are more affordable and suitable for basic grinding needs.
  • Capacity: Consider the amount of coffee you typically grind at once and choose a grinder with an appropriate capacity.
  • Durability and Build Quality: Opt for a grinder made from high-quality materials that can withstand regular use.
  • Noise Level: If you’re concerned about noise, look for a grinder with a quieter operation.
  • Price: Set a budget and choose a grinder that offers the features you need within that range.
Coffee Grinder


For those who enjoy lattes and cappuccinos, a milk frother is a valuable addition. It allows you to create frothy milk for your favorite espresso-based drinks.

Water filter

The quality of water used in brewing significantly affects the taste of your coffee. Consider using a water filtration system to remove impurities and improve the flavor of your brew.


Programmable coffee makers are a great choice for anyone who needs a cup first thing in the morning. Many different models offer different customizations such as brew-time, flavor profile, customizable volume, self-cleaning, delay brewing, and mid-brew-pause features (for those who just can’t wait). There are many different options available for programmable coffee makers at different price points.

Auto Shutoff

Automatic shutoff coffee makers are great for those who are busy or forget to turn their appliances off. This saves energy and is a good preventative against overheating and damaging your machine. Most (though not all) modern drip coffee makers have this feature.

Adjustable Brew Settings

Depending on the model, many drip coffee machines offer lots of options for customization. There are options such as brew time, brew strength, and number of cups; some even offer options for hot or cold brewing, and others are even WiFi-operated (for those of you who want to brew coffee and stay in bed at the same time). On the higher end, there are even coffee makers with built-in burr grinders that let the user select grind size before brewing. 

Coffee Machine Display

Thermal Carafe

Thermal carafes are a great option for those who want something other than glass in their drip coffee makers. These are wonderful for keeping coffee hot longer and won’t leave your coffee tasting burnt (if it’s sat for a while); on top of all of this, they are durable and not likely to break if dropped.


Depending on the make and model, displays can be very different for different coffee makers. Some will simply show brewing time or offer a screen for choosing between different customizable options.

Top Brands


Keurig is a well-known brand that specializes in single-serve coffee makers and brewing systems. Their products have become popular for their convenience and versatility in brewing coffee, tea, and other beverages. Keurig offers a wide range of coffee makers to cater to various preferences and needs, from simple and compact models to more advanced machines with specialty beverage capabilities. When choosing a Keurig coffee maker, consider your brewing preferences, available space, and desired features to find the best fit for your lifestyle. Their K-Classic and K-Elite series are popular choices for any coffee lover.

Mr. Coffee

Mr. Coffee is a well-established brand that produces a wide range of coffee makers and coffee-related appliances. They offer products to suit different brewing methods and preferences. They offer not only drip coffee makers but espresso machines and single-serve coffee makers. Mr. Coffee is a great brand for anyone on a budget who is looking to get into coffee-brewing at home.


De’Longhi is a reputable Italian brand that specializes in producing a wide range of kitchen appliances, including coffee machines and espresso makers. Their offerings are typically on the higher end and price point. De’Longhi offers everything from coffee grinders to drip coffee makers to espresso machines. They even make 2-in-1 machines that can brew a single cup as well as a whole carafe. They are a great choice for anyone who is looking to upgrade the quality of their coffee-making.


A personal favorite of mine, Nespresso coffee machines have quickly become one of the most popular brands for at-home coffee brewing. They are best known for offering single-serve coffee and espresso machines. They are known for their convenience, quality, and wide range of coffee capsules. Their machines are available at all different price points to accommodate a wide range of consumers.

While the kind of espresso brewed is not quite the same as an authentic espresso from an espresso machine, coffee from a Nespresso machine has its own distinct and delicious flavor. Still, while Nespresso machines brew a delicious cup, you are forced to buy directly from Nespresso because they only use their proprietary capsules, which can be expensive. For those who are looking for a high-quality cup of coffee or espresso at the push of a button, Nespresso is an excellent choice.


For a more authentic experience of brewing espresso, Breville is an excellent option. This Australia-based company offers a higher-end coffee-making experience. They offer both semi-automatic and fully automatic options. These allow the user to have more control over temperature and milk frothing. Breville has many offerings, from drip coffee makers to espresso machines. Typically, their price point is much higher than other brands. 


Gaggia is an Italian brand renowned for its top-of-the-line coffee machines, particularly espresso machines. They have a rich history in the coffee industry, dating back to the 1940s. They offer both automatic and manual machines. Gaggia’s classic espresso machines are known for their traditional design and exceptional espresso-making capabilities. They offer super-automatic machines that automate the entire espresso-making process, from grinding beans to brewing. All of their products are sleek and highly functional. While on the more expensive side, these are still very reasonable options for those who want only the very best.

How To Clean And Maintain

Maintenance and Care

To keep your coffee maker in excellent working condition and ensure the best-tasting coffee, follow these maintenance and care tips:

Cleaning A Coffee Machine

Cleaning and Descaling

Regularly clean your coffee maker, including removable parts like carafes and filters. Daily maintenance may just look like dissembling parts (depending on the type of coffee maker) and rinsing with soap and water. Monthly cleaning is dependent upon the type and brand of coffee maker—consulting your manufacturer’s guide is the first step in proper cleaning. 

Typically, a good monthly practice is to descale your coffee maker. This may sound daunting, but it’s really quite easy. This has become a regular monthly practice for me. It’s a great way to ensure that your daily cup tastes excellent!

Descaling is essential for machines that use hard water to prevent mineral buildup. A great DIY solution is to use 50% water and 50% vinegar to flush the coffee maker’s system.

Depending on the type of coffee maker, descaling can look a little different. The process is very straightforward for simple coffee makers like the French Press. Just disassemble all the pieces and let them soak for four hours overnight in a solution of equal parts water and vinegar.

For single-use coffee and espresso makers, consult the manufacturer’s guide. They will typically suggest a cleaning solution and will walk you through the steps to descaling your machine.

Steps to Descaling a Drip Coffee Maker:

Prepare the Solution

  • If using white vinegar, mix a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. For example, if you need 10 ounces of liquid, use 5 ounces of white vinegar and 5 ounces of water.
  • If using a commercial descaling solution, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct dilution ratio.

Empty and Clean the Coffee Maker:

  • Ensure the coffee maker is turned off and unplugged.
  • Remove any used coffee grounds or filters from the machine.
  • Empty the coffee pot or carafe and any remaining water in the reservoir.

Prepare the Machine

  • If your coffee maker has a removable water reservoir, remove it.
  • Pour the descaling solution (white vinegar mixture or commercial descaler) into the water reservoir.

Start the Descaling Process

  • Replace the water reservoir (if removed) or ensure it’s securely in place.
  • Turn on the coffee maker, and start a brew cycle as if you were making coffee. Use the largest cup or carafe size setting to ensure all parts of the machine are descaled.

Pause the Brewing Process

  • After a small amount of the solution has flowed through the coffee maker (usually a few ounces), pause the brew cycle.
  • Let the machine sit for about 15-20 minutes to allow the descaling solution to work on dissolving the mineral deposits inside.

Complete the Brewing Cycle:

  • Resume the brewing cycle and allow the rest of the descaling solution to flow through the machine.

Rinse the Coffee Maker

  • Empty the coffee pot or carafe and discard any remaining descaling solution.
  • Rinse the coffee maker thoroughly by running two or more cycles with clean water. This helps flush out any remaining descaling solution and residue.

Clean Removable Parts

  • Remove and clean any removable parts, such as the coffee pot, filters, and water reservoir.
  • Check for any remaining scale buildup and clean if necessary.

Finish with a Water Rinse:

  • Continue running clean water through the coffee maker until you no longer detect the smell or taste of vinegar or descaler.

Final Cleaning

  • Wipe down the exterior of the coffee maker to remove any spills or splashes.
  • Reassemble all parts and return them to their proper places.

Test and Enjoy:

  • Brew a cup of plain water to ensure the coffee maker is clean and free from residual taste or odor.

Related: The Best Automatic Espresso Machine For Home

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I consider when buying a coffee maker? 

When buying a coffee maker, it’s important to consider several factors. First, think about your preferred brewing method. Do you enjoy the convenience of a drip coffee maker, the versatility of a single-serve pod machine, or the authentic taste of espresso from an espresso machine?

Next, consider the capacity of the coffee maker. If you often brew for multiple people or enjoy hosting gatherings, a machine with a larger capacity may be more suitable. Additionally, think about the ease of cleaning. Look for models with removable parts or self-cleaning features for convenience. Programmable features, such as auto-start and brew strength settings, can also enhance the user experience. Lastly, consider the overall build quality of the coffee maker to ensure durability and longevity.

Three Coffee Machines In A Row

What are the different types of coffee makers available? 

There is a wide variety of coffee makers available, each offering unique brewing methods and features. Drip coffee makers are popular for their simplicity and ability to brew multiple cups at once. Single-serve pod machines provide convenience and a wide range of beverage options. Espresso machines are favored for their ability to produce rich, concentrated coffee.

French presses offer a traditional method of brewing with full control over the brewing process. Pour-over brewers provide a hands-on brewing experience, allowing for precise control over the extraction. Cold brew makers are designed specifically for producing smooth, low-acid coffee through a cold brewing process.

How do I choose the right coffee maker for my needs? 

Choosing the right coffee maker involves considering your specific needs and preferences. Start by determining your preferred coffee type and quantity. If you enjoy a variety of coffee drinks, an espresso machine or a versatile single-serve pod machine may be suitable. Consider your preferred brewing style as well. For those who appreciate the ritual of manual brewing, a French press or pour-over brewer may be a good fit. Additionally, factor in your budget and the available space in your kitchen to ensure the chosen coffee maker aligns with your practical requirements.

What features should I look for in a coffee maker? 

When selecting a coffee maker, consider the features that align with your preferences. Programmable settings, such as auto-start and brew strength options, can enhance convenience and customization. Automatic shut-off is a safety feature to look for, providing peace of mind if you tend to forget to turn off appliances. Temperature control is important for achieving optimal brewing conditions. The ability to brew multiple cup sizes may

What is the best coffee maker for a specific budget? 

The best coffee maker for a specific budget depends on individual preferences and needs. When working within a budget, it’s important to research and compare different models to find the most suitable option. Consider the features that are essential to you, such as brewing capacity, brew time, and programmable options. Look for a model that offers the best balance of quality and features within your budget range. Reading reviews and seeking recommendations from coffee enthusiasts can also provide valuable insights into the performance and durability of different coffee makers.

Woman Enjoying A Cup Of Coffee


Finding the perfect coffee maker is an exciting journey that revolves around your preferences and lifestyle. My own journey has taken years—I started off, like most, with a regular drip coffee but soon began to experiment with many different methods. Recently, I’ve gone back to the simple, tried-and-true French Press. But I’m sure there will be a time in the future when I want something more complex or, when I’m in a rush, something even simpler. Everyone’s preferences and needs are as unique as they are! By understanding the different types of coffee makers and considering key factors like brewing capacity, brewing time, and maintenance requirements, you can make an informed decision. 

Remember that the best coffee maker for you is the one that aligns with your unique coffee tastes and daily routines. Whether you prefer the simplicity of a drip coffee maker, the convenience of a single-serve machine, or the art of espresso brewing, there’s a coffee maker out there to suit your needs. Once you’ve made your choice and invested in the right coffee maker, your mornings will be filled with the delightful aroma of freshly brewed coffee, setting the perfect tone for your day. I hope that you enjoy your coffee-making journey, and may your cups always be filled with your favorite brew!

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Isabella Hsu

Isabella is a freelance writer specializing in all things food related. She has a background in classical liberal arts and grew up in a family of restaurateurs. For the first few years of her life, she practically lived in restaurant kitchens. Isabella started cooking at an early age and hasn’t stopped. She’s worked in many sectors within the food industry including wine, beer, and even traditional Japanese cuisine. She loves to share her knowledge and passion with anyone who will listen (and even some who won’t). When not writing, cooking, or eating, you can find Isabella hiking on the nearest mountain or rock climbing at the gym.