Cyber Monday Deals 2021 41 Cyber Monday deals that end tonight Jack Dorsey steps down as CEO of Twitter The Book of Boba Fett US restricts travel over omicron PS5 restock tracker

Making great coffee is hard, even for a machine. To do it right, many variables must come into alignment. Hot water needs to hit coffee grounds within a precise temperature range. The entire brewing process has to happen within an ideal window of time too. Only a handful of drip coffee makers can pull off this sort of alchemy -- the vast majority don't, and the java that they make tastes awful.

Luckily, we've found some noteworthy exceptions on the market that brew great coffee. Even better, you don't need to spend an arm and a leg to get the best coffee maker. Sure, you could drop almost $500 on a tricked-out Ratio Eight that's as gorgeous as it is capable, or on a programmable commercial coffee maker. But all it takes is less than 20 bucks to get the single-serve Oxo Pour-Over funnel, which makes a first-rate cup and easily bests your typical Keurig coffee pod.

Looking for Cyber Monday deals?
Don’t miss a minute of the action with our coverage of the best Cyber Monday 2021 deals.

And those aren't the only brewers that a coffee lover might want to check out. There's also the Oxo Brew 8-Cup, a winner of our Editors' Choice award and our pick for all-around best automatic coffee brewer. Another is the KitchenAid Siphon Brewer, which uses an ancient technique to achieve dramatic and outstanding results. No matter your budget or preferred brew strength, there's a coffee machine on this list that'll fit your drip needs perfectly and be the best coffee maker for you. We update this list periodically with new coffee brewing products as we test them, so you'll always have access to good coffee. We promise, you'll never have to drink coffee from pods or an ancient coffee pot again.

Brian Bennett/CNET

The Oxo Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker delivers SCAA Golden Cup-rated coffee that tastes just as good coffee from our previous favorite, the Bonavita Connoisseur, but Oxo's new coffee brewer is more thoughtfully designed. This drip machine also comes with a special single-cup filter basket for Kalita Wave filters. The Oxo Brew is compact, stylish and sturdy, plus it comes with a thermal carafe that doesn't drip or spill.

Read our Oxo 8 Cup Coffee Maker review.

 

Brian Bennett/CNET

While the GE Appliances Cafe Specialty Drip Coffee Maker doesn't come cheap, it does offer a lot for the money. It's an excellent brewer that brews fast and with exceptional water temperature control. It also offers a quality thermal carafe, makes 10-cup batches and links to Wi-Fi to provide smart app control. The Cafe is easy on the eyes, too, using lots of brushed metal in its design.

Read our GE Cafe Specialty Drip Coffee Maker review.

 

Chris Monroe/CNET

Cold-brew coffee is delicious, but it can be a pain to make. Oxo's cold-brew coffee maker takes much of the headache out of the process. This Oxo Brew coffee maker saturates coffee grounds evenly and lets you drain cold-brewed coffee from them into its glass carafe with relative ease.

Read our Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker review.

 

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Delicious coffee and great-tasting drip from a product that costs less than $20? It sounds unlikely but that's just what the affordable Oxo Good Grips Pour-Over offers. It only makes coffee one drink at a time and requires you to provide the hot water. That said, the simple brewer transforms the otherwise complex task of making pour-over into one that's easy, clean and almost foolproof.

Read our Oxo Good Grips Pour-Over Coffee Maker review.

 

Chris Monroe/CNET

Think of this kitchen appliance as the Swiss Army knife of the drip coffee maker world. The Ninja programmable brewer (with frother, thermal carafe and reusable filter) offers an uncanny degree of flexibility, making it the best coffee maker for those who don't always want the same cup. This coffee machine can create everything from solid drip to perfect cold brew or iced coffee to latte-style drinks with its milk frother, and it will adjust the temperature according to your choice. Its thermal carafe will keep tea or coffee hot for up to 2 hours. This programmable coffee maker even lets you brew iced coffee and hot coffee in multiple sizes, from small cups all the way up to full carafes.

Read our Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System review.

 

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

It's hard to find a coffee maker that beats the KitchenAid Siphon Brewer's unique combination of spectacle and quality. This coffee machine makes a coffee pot of distinctly rich, deep and seductively flavorful coffee. Its vintage brewing process, based on vapor pressure and vacuum suction, is also mesmerizing to watch as coffee drips into the glass carafe. No paper filters needed as the Siphon Brewer comes with a reusable stainless-steel filter.

Read our Kitchenaid Siphon Coffee Brewer review.

 

Those who seek lots of coffee in a hurry will love the quick brew cycle of this coffee maker. The Bunn Velocity Brew BT drip coffee maker with its stainless-steel-lined thermal carafe whips up a large pot of joe at an astonishing speed. In as little as 3 minutes, 33 seconds, the coffee maker can deliver full batches of tasty drip to drink.

Read our Bunn Velocity Brew BT review.

 

Megan Wollerton/CNET

Dutch company Technivorm has sold exceptionally good drip coffee makers for decades. Its Moccamaster drip coffee machine sports a design with clean lines and sharp angles that harkens back to 1968, the year the first Moccamaster hit stores. Retro design aside, the Moccamaster KBT 741 consistently puts out perfect freshly brewed coffee that will satisfy coffee connoisseurs. Its stainless-steel thermal carafe also keeps its contents hot for a full 6 hours.

Read our Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741 review.

 

How we tested the coffee makers

Evaluating the performance of a coffee maker is trickier than it might sound. The first step is to know what good drip coffee actually is. According to the Specialty Coffee Association, there are criteria critical to brewing quality java. Mainly these are brewing time and water temperature. Hot water should come into contact with grounds for no fewer than 4 minutes and no more than eight. The ideal water temperature range is between 197 degrees Fahrenheit (92C) and 205 F (96C).

To see how well each coffee maker meets that challenge, we log the length of their brew cycles. We also employ thermocouple heat sensors connected to industrial-grade data loggers. That enables us to record the temperature within the coffee grounds while brewing is underway.

We measure the temperature inside the brewing chamber of every coffee maker we test.

Brian Bennett/CNET

After brewing coffee, we take sample readings of the produced coffee liquid with an optical refractometer. Given that we factor in the amount of water and freshly ground coffee used, that data lets us calculate the Total Dissolved Solids percentage of each brew. From there we arrive at the extraction percentage. The ideal range is commonly thought to be between 18% and 20%.

We also back up measured data with a good old-fashioned taste test. If the taste of a cup of coffee is bitter, there's a good chance it was overextracted during the drip. On the opposite end, an underextracted cup of coffee will typically taste weak -- it can taste sour or have the flavor of soggy peanuts. And to be certain, we brew identical test runs a minimum of three times to get a sense of the average results.

Coffee maker FAQs

How long do coffee makers last?

If cared for properly a coffee maker can last for years. That said, with the exception of Technivorm Moccamasters that are covered under a five-year warranty, most coffee makers come with one-year limited warranties. Regardless of their length, all these warranties cover manufacturing defects, not ordinary wear and tear or misuse of the item. 

How do coffee makers work?

Even the most sophisticated coffee makers perform the same simple task. That's to run hot water over ground coffee, then collect that liquid inside a container. Of course, to achieve the perfect balance of strength and flavors for excellent coffee is difficult. Most machines fail because either they lack quality water-heating systems, run water through the grounds too slowly, or can't brew with enough grounds to begin with. Some coffee makers suffer from a combination of these issues -- or all three.

How do you clean a coffee maker?

Besides removing external dirt, stains and dust, all coffee makers require periodic deep cleaning. Specifically, their internal water heating systems should be descaled regularly. Some manufacturers instruct you to do this with a vinegar-and-water solution. Others don't specify except to say to use a store-bought descaling solution. For example, Technivorn says to use products like Durgol to descale its machines.

More for coffee lovers