In theory, drip coffee makers are dead simple machines. You give them grounds, hit them with hot water, and then let gravity and time do the rest. It sounds easy, but it’s not. Most drip coffee makers fail miserably at this basic task — some because they don’t get water hot enough or brew too slowly. Others overcompensate, and end up scalding their grounds completely. Few drip coffee makers have what it takes to deliver drip coffee at its best.There are noteworthy exceptions, and whether you prefer to brew iced coffee, perfect lattes or freshly ground coffee, you don’t need to spend a mint to get the best coffee maker. You can drop over $600 on a tricked-out Ratio Eight that’s as beautiful as it is capable. But all it takes is $15 to get Oxo’s superb Single Serve Pour Over funnel. Read: 8 gifts for coffee lovers | Coffee products you never knew you needed | The best coffee grinder you can buy right now | The best espresso machines for 2019And there are plenty of compelling choices in-between. One is our Editor’s Choice winner, the Bonavita Connoisseur, our pick for best all-around automatic brewer. Another is the KitchenAid Siphon Brewer, which uses an ancient technique to achieve outstanding and dramatic results. No matter your budget, there’s something on this list that’ll fit your drip needs perfectly and be the best coffee maker for you.
Despite its snobby name, the Connoisseur from Bonavita is the best automatic drip coffee maker you can buy for the least amount of cash. It reliably brews full pots of great coffee that rival what you would get from your favorite coffee shop or barista, and it’s a cinch to use. This perfect coffee maker also works fast, has all the bells and whistles including a stainless steel lined thermal carafe, and it’s a snap to keep clean with a removable, dishwasher safe filter basket and carafe lid.
If you find that brewing an entire pot of coffee each morning is overkill, then consider the Bonavita Immersion Dripper. This small gadget makes perfect single cups of strong, flavorful joe. You just have to supply the hot water.
Read our Bonavita Immersion Dripper review.
Those who seek lots of coffee in a hurry will love the quick brew cycle of this drip machine. The Bunn Velocity Brew BT drip coffee maker with its stainless steel lined thermal carafe whips up large pots of joe with astonishing speed. In as little as 3 minutes, 33 seconds, the coffee maker delivers full batches of tasty drip.
Read our Bunn Velocity Brew BT review.
It’s hard to beat the KitchenAid Siphon Brewer’s unique combination of spectacle and quality. The coffee it makes is distinctly rich, deep and seductively flavorful. Its vintage brewing method, based on vapor pressure and vacuum suction (no paper filters needed here), is also mesmerizing to watch.
Read our Kitchenaid Siphon Coffee Brewer review.
Think of this kitchen appliance as the Swiss army knife of the drip coffee maker world. The Ninja brewer (with frother, thermal carafe and reusable filter) offers an uncanny degree of flexibility. It can create everything from solid drip, to perfect cold brew, to 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 up to two hours. It even lets you brew in multiple sizes, from small cups, mugs, travel mugs, all the way up to half and full carafes.
Read our Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System review.
Cold brew coffee is delicious, but it can be a pain to make. Oxo’s cold brew contraption takes much of the headache out of the process. It saturates grounds evenly, and lets you drain cold brewed coffee from them with relative ease.
Read our Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker review.
Great tasting drip from a product that costs just $15? 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 pour-over into one that’s easy, clean and almost foolproof.
Read our Oxo Good Grips Pour-Over Coffee Maker review.
Judging by their Ratio Eight appliance, the people at Ratio believe coffee makers should be beautiful as well as functional. Starting at $495, each brewer is crafted from a selection of premium materials like walnut, mahogany and glass. (Both the water reservoir and carafe are made from hand-blown glass.) Their sturdy aluminum bases are available in numerous finishes as well. And yes, the Ratio Eight also makes excellent drip.
Read our Ratio Eight review.
Dutch company Technivorm has sold exceptionally good drip coffee makers for decades. Its Moccamaster KBT 741 sports a design 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. It’s stainless steel thermal carafe also keeps its contents hot a full 6 hours.
Read our Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741 review.
A note on testing coffee makersEvaluating 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 less than 4 minutes, and no longer than 8 minutes. Additionally, the ideal water temperature range is between 197 degrees Fahrenheit (92C) and 205 degrees Fahrenheit (96C).To confirm how 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.
After brewing coffee, we take sample readings of the produced coffee liquid with an optical refractometer. Given 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 the coffee is bitter, there’s a good chance it was over extracted. On the opposite end, under extracted coffee will typically taste weak — it can even taste sour or have the flavour of soggy peanuts. And to be certain, we brew identical test runs a minimum of three times to achieve average results.