Coffee Maker Buying Guide

A Guide To Learn Which Coffee Makers Are The Best Match For You

The Greatest Appliances Coffee Maker Buying Guide shares all you need to know to make an intelligent decision before buying your next coffee maker, espresso machine, or cappuccino machine.

For a lot of us, including me, the day doesn’t officially start until after having that initial cup of hot coffee-so getting the perfect coffee maker is of extreme importance.

Although you could spend north of $200 for a brewer that offers interactive displays and fine stainless steel detailing, our testing has revealed that you can get a consistently awesome cup of coffee out of coffee makers that cost more than half of that price. If you already know all about coffee makers and just want to find the best one to meet for your needs, be sure to check out our Coffee Maker Reviews. You should also check out all of our Appliance Buying Guides.

image of a coffee maker buying guide

Still, you may prefer having more features than just a simple switch to turn the machine on or off. A bit more cash buys you many conveniences like programability, a thermal carafe to keep coffee hot for longer periods of time, settings that allow you to adjust brewing strength, and much more.

Keep in mind: Greatest Appliances is presently updating our espresso maker reviews, so we omitting information about them here.

Begin your journey to the perfect cup of coffee, cappuccino, or espresso by finding the ideal coffee maker. Check out our Coffee Maker Reviews to determine which machine suits you best.

How Do You Take Your Coffee?

image of keurig single cup coffee makerHow Many Cups Do You Need?

If a single cup of coffee is adequate to get your day started, select a one or two cup model or even a single-serve coffee maker. If you need more, opt for a bigger automatic drip or one of the specialty makers, like the electric French Press Coffee Maker. The majority of the bigger coffee Makers brew up to 12 cups, however, a typical cup is only 5-6 ounces instead of the traditional 8.

How Frequently Do You Need a Fix?

If you like to space out your coffee drinking throughout the entire day, look at the models that have a carafe or insulated mug. They help to keep the coffee fresh and hot for hours. The warming plates that you find with glass pots can sometimes make the coffee taste burnt and stale from sitting too long.

Blurry Morning Vision?

There are some folks that have an issue with setting up the coffee maker and turning it on in the morning. If you fall into this category, getting a machine with an automatic on switch is ideal. You simply set it up to start the night before. If you find yourself forgetting things, rushing out of the house to get to work or school, having one that comes with an automatically timed feature to turn the machine off is important as well.

Consider The Size

Available countertop space should also be a consideration when you are choosing the coffee maker that is best for you. All of the machines Greatest Appliances has reviewed fits nicely underneath cabinets above countertops. However, for most of these, you will need to pull them up when you need to fill them with water.

Match the Coffee Maker to Your Habits

You’ll can find many varieties of coffee makers in the marketplace, including manual-drip systems, coffee presses, and single-serve “pod” coffee makers which brew individual cups using ready-to-use packets of coffee. Below you will find the most typical types.

image of cuisinart automatic drip coffee makerDrip

Easily the most well-known and used type. With automatic-drip coffee makers, you pour water into a chamber, pour coffee into basket with a filter, and turn on a switch that heats the water, runs it through the grounds and down into the pot. Our best-rated conventional drip coffee makers reached 195° to 205° F for 5 to 6 minutes. This time is considered optimal brewing temperature in the industry.


These machines force water to run through a small pod, either a soft, teabag-like, pod or a hard-shelled capsule. Some of these types allow you to use an adapter that lets you use standard coffee grounds. If you don’t mind the extra expense with needing to buy the special refills, you may like pod machines.


These machines complete the brewing process in a way that is different from the standard drip method. Some copy traditional French presses, which suspends the coffee grounds in hot water for a time prior to filtering. (Automatic drip machines, by contrast, just spray hot water over the grounds and it then seeps through.)

1- to 2-Mug Drip

These are made to produce smaller amounts and are available as either drip or pod models, the latter uses an adapter to hold grounds. They often brew straight into an insulated mug that’s ready for you to take with you on the go. Others will be fine for your “World’s Best Mom” coffee mug.

The Skinny on Features

Despite making your machine more convenient and easier to use, some of the coffee maker features are not really needed. To figure out the features you want or need, check out the following.

Brew-Strength Control

When set, it reduces the speed of the water flow to create a stronger brew.

Pause and Serve

The majority of machines allow you to pull the carafe away to fill your cup without the danger of spilling coffee everywhere. Keep in mind that if you dip in after only one or two cups have brewed, the coffee might be a little bit stronger than you want.


These machines keep the brewed coffee inside—instead of dispensing it into a carafe or mug—and allows you to fill your cup directly from the machine, so the coffee remains hot until you want some.

Self-Clean Cycle

A few of the models will alert you to sometimes add white vinegar and water in order to clean the brewing mechanism. Then there are some that will tell you periodically that the coffee maker needs to be cleaned.

Water Filter

This should get rid of odors and eliminate odd-tasting coffee. However, you have to replace the filter after a specific number of brewed pots to avoid bacteria buildup. If you’re concerned about the quality of water, a faucet-mounted or a whole-house filter may be a better option for you.

Built-In Grinder

If you enjoy your coffee the tasting the absolute freshest possible but possess minimal counter space, this feature can be handy. The bad part of this feature is that some grind-and-brew coffee makers can be difficult to use and clean. They can also be quite loud. If you prefer whole coffee beans, you might want to think about getting a grinder that is separate from your coffee maker.