There’s only so much you can expect from your old, out-of-date coffee maker. New models include features like automatic scheduling, infused coffee grounds, programming functions, and automated maintenance reminders. The best coffee makers of 2020 can make you a hot and tasty cup of coffee just the way you like it.
Here are our picks for the top coffee makers of the year.
At a glance
- The best coffee maker: Bonavita Connoisseur
- The best programmable coffee maker: Cuisinart DCC-3200
- The best coffee pot: Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew
- The best single-cup coffee maker: Keurig K-Elite
- The best combo coffee/espresso machine: Mr. Coffee All-in-One Occasions
- The best coffee maker for connoisseurs: Technivorm Moccamaster KBG
Why we picked the Bonavita Connoisseur:
Possibly the last drip-coffee machine you’ll ever want to own, the Bonavita Connoisseur is an improvement over its already stellar predecessor, the BV1900TS. The Connoisseur takes up little more than a sliver of real estate in your kitchen with its incredibly compact design, which prevents it from sticking out like a sore thumb.
Aesthetics aside, this Bonavita model packs a serious punch, arguably producing the best cup of drip coffee you’ll ever taste. It does so by utilizing the underused process of pre-infusion, which wets the coffee grounds a few minutes before brewing. Pre-infusion allows for your coffee to extract evenly, producing a more consistent brew — and a hell of a good cup of coffee.
Moreover, the device’s thermal 8-cup carafe keeps the coffee piping hot for hours after the brew cycle completes. Compact, sleek, and efficient, this machine is the cream of the coffee-maker crop.
Why we picked the Cuisinart DCC-3200:
Cuisinart’s 14-cup DCC-3200 improves upon its predecessor in so many ways that its reasonable price tag is difficult to believe. The included water filter and permanent gold-tone filter ensure you’ll always get a clean pour and it even allows you to pause the maker mid-brew to pour yourself a quick cup, in case you’re short on time. If you’re low on time in the morning, you can leverage the coffee maker’s 24-hour programmability — so you can have that perfect cup of coffee ready as soon as you roll out of bed.
The feature-laden DCC also boasts adjustable brew strength, allowing you to make coffee that’s as rich or as watery as you want. In addition, self-cleaning capabilities and auto-shutoff timers make this one of the most convenient, versatile coffee rigs on the market. The 3200 features a revamped system that’ll simultaneously make hotter and better-tasting coffee, however, the only drawback is its relatively large countertop footprint — this guy isn’t terribly small.
One common complaint about the DCC-2650 was its glass carafe. Luckily, Cuisinart realized this as an issue and upgraded the DCC line to include double-walled insulated carafes. Now, your java never gets cold. Plus, the whole machine is BPA free, so no need to worry about harmful chemicals sneaking into your brew. All in all, the DCC-3200 is an admirable upgrade to an already excellent line of coffee makers.
Why we picked the Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew:
Consistency and efficiency go a long way in making a coffee maker stand out from the crowd, both of which Mr. Coffee’s Optimal Brew machine achieves with ease.
Outfitted with a stainless steel thermal carafe, the Optimal Brew keeps your beverage hotter than your average coffee maker. Moreover, the vacuum-insulated carafe keeps each pot hot regardless of whether it’s sitting within the machine or conveniently on your kitchen counter. Mr. Coffee also equipped the machine with a removable water reservoir, rendering the task of refilling the tank an absolute breeze.
Users can program the machine to brew at a set time each day, too, and choose from either normal or bold-brew cycles. Delicious coffee and a straightforward feature set simply can’t be had for a cheaper price.
Why we picked the Keurig K-Elite:
One of the most user-friendly coffee makers in our roundup, this Keurig model brews five different cup sizes quickly and quietly. The device has a 75-ounce reservoir, and you can brew eight or more cups of coffee before you have to refill the water. The machine also tells you when it’s time to descale, so you’ll always have the best-tasting cup of Joe.
With a sleek brushed display (comes in brushed silver, slate, or gold), the Keurig Elite looks like a high-quality machine that coordinates with your kitchen appliances. With features like a strong brew option for when you need an extra boost and an iced button to brew over ice, you can make a variety of different coffee, tea, cocoa, and iced beverage creations.
Why we picked the Mr. Coffee All-in-One Occasions:
The Occasions coffee maker manages to stay relatively compact while offering both coffee and espresso creations as needed. It has a 10-cup carafe for brewing traditional coffee, and also allows you to make a single pour for 6-, 8-, 10-, or 12-ounce cups. Then, in another mode and with a little platform, it can make two shots of espresso with a 15-bar strength pump. There’s also a built-in milk frother for creating lattes and such. It can even switch to K-Cups if you so desire.
There’s also some handy smart technology built into this model, including automatic mode switching based on the attachments that you’re using, automatic water dispensing based on your choices, and temperature control options. Yes, there are a lot of components to this coffee maker, but it can also do just about everything!
Why we picked the Technivorm Moccamaster KBG:
If you need to brew 10 cups of coffee fast–but still want to focus on coffee quality –then this Moccamaster model is the perfect fit. The 40-ounce carafe is just the right amount for 10 cups of coffee (well, normal-sized cups of coffee, make allowances for people who like extra-large portions), and the overall design of this beautiful coffee maker is made to facilitate ideal coffee heating and flavor.
The copper heating element keeps the water at an ideal temperature and can brew in only several minutes, while the nine-hole outlet arm allows for just the right amount of ground saturation. The hot plate is designed to keep the brewed coffee between 175 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit, making this model especially ideal for a busy office where everyone cares a lot about their coffee.
- How does a coffee maker work?
- Can you use K-Cups in a regular coffee maker?
- How many watts does a coffee maker use?
- Are Keurig coffee makers safe?
- Do all coffee makers have an automatic shut off?
- How often should you replace a coffee maker?
- What temperature do coffee makers brew at?
- Can I make tea in a coffee maker?
- How does Digital Trends test coffee makers?
- What other things should I consider when purchasing a coffee maker?
Coffee makers work by heating water and mixing it with coffee grinds. Single-cup makers use pre-portioned amounts of coffee grinds in a pre-made package (like a K-Cup pod). When you place the K-Cup in the machine and press start, the machine places a small pinhole in the K-Cup and then delivers hot water through pressurized hoses from the reservoir into the K-Cup, the water then mixes with the grinds, and then the coffee falls into your cup. Standard drip coffee makers also work by holding water in a reservoir. When you place a coffee grind-filled filter into your coffee maker to start making your Joe, the machine transfers the hot water through a tube and onto a perforated disc so it drips over the grinds to create coffee.
Sort of. You can empty the contents of a k-cup into a standard drip coffee maker filter, use the correct amount of water as directed on the packaging, and then brew a cup using a regular coffee maker. You typically cannot, however, just plop a K-Cup into a standard coffee maker and brew it as you would with a Keurig machine.
A typical coffee maker uses around 800 watts in about 10 minutes.
Some people fear Keurig coffee makers can be hazardous to health because they can accumulate mold, and some also fear that Keurig machines or K-Cup pods may contain materials that can be harmful to health.
Keurig K-Cups are BPA-free and are generally considered safe. In terms of mold, all coffee makers must be cleaned and maintained for maximum safety and effectiveness. If you clean your coffee maker regularly, you shouldn’t have much to worry about. However, if you’re concerned about your machine’s safety, consult the manufacturer or the product manual for additional warnings and information.
The environmental impact is another question. Single-use coffee cups inherently involved a lot of wasted material. However, there are ways to be more environmentally friendly when using a K-Cup model, including looking for recyclable or compostable cups.
No. Not all coffee makers have an automatic shutoff feature, but most modern coffee makers do.
The lifespan of each coffee maker depends on the brand, how well you maintain the machine, and other factors. However, if you notice your machine is not brewing coffee well (even after cleaning), the coffee tastes bad, or if it’s having other issues with performance (shuts off randomly, doesn’t get hot enough, etc.), it’s probably time to replace your machine.
Typically, between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit, although some coffee makers have wider temperature ranges so you can customize your brewing options. The Speciality Coffee Association of America says that best practices limit water temperature to around 200 degrees, plus or minus 5 degrees, so it’s no wonder that so many machines meet this qualification.
Yes. But it’s a good idea to clean it first.
In many ways, coffee is a subjective experience. Some like it bold and piping hot, while others want a mild experience, in terms of both taste and temperature. When we test coffee makers, we take that into account and look at how customizable the process is.
Many people only care about a couple of things (other than the taste) when it comes to their coffee makers: Time and temperatures. We look at how hot the coffee gets while brewing and see if it falls within the range recommended by the National Coffee Association. We time how long it takes to brew a single cup and full pot. We also look at how hot the coffee is when it’s poured into the carafe and how well the carafe holds the brew’s temperature after two hours.
More subjectively, we look at the device’s design. Is it going to take up the whole counter? Will guests be able to stumble into the kitchen in the morning and get it going without having to Google the manual? Does the carafe slosh everywhere when you try to pour a cup? Usability is just as important as our benchmark tests.
If there was ever a time that the saying “spend money to save money” applied, it’s when picking out a coffee maker. If you’re used to buying your morning caffeine fix at a coffee shop once a week, this appliance will practically pay for itself in a few weeks.
Take some time to figure out what you need in a coffee maker before you make your purchase. Here are some questions you might want to consider:
- Do you want your coffee quickly? Look for a brewer with a “pause brew” option or a coffee maker that can be scheduled to automatically brew at a specific time.
- Do you refill your cup multiple times a day? Look for a coffee maker with an insulated carafe.
- Do you prefer K-Cups or fresh grounds? While most coffee makers make you choose one or the other, there are some versatile options on the market.
- Do you have limited counter space? Some of the best coffee makers come in small packages.
- Are you brewing for yourself or for multiple people? Make sure to check the carafe size before your purchase.
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