The 5 best coffee makers in 2021

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When shopping for a drip coffee machine, there are a few key questions to ask yourself. How much time would you like to devote to your morning coffee routine? Do you want to roll out of bed and press a button, or would you rather wake up to already-brewed coffee?

While some people are perfectly fine with a basic model that just has an on/off switch, others might appreciate fancier features like scheduling, a built-in grinder, or the capability to make specialty drinks.

The picks in our guide below run the gamut, but they all have at least a 10-cup capacity and some sort of display for programming. Here are the best coffee makers on the market right now, after hours of research and personal testing.

Here are the best coffee makers in 2021

The best coffee maker overall

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The Cuisinart Coffee Plus 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker not only makes great coffee, but its built-in hot water system also lets you make tea, oatmeal, and more.

Pros: Separate hot water system, 24-hour programmability, carafe temperature control

Cons: Doesn’t have a backlit display, awkwardly placed water fill container, not the quietest machine

The Cuisinart programmable coffeemaker comes with its own hot water system so you can brew coffee and get your favorite tea or snack ready at the same time with hot water on demand. The hot water system is controlled via a power button and can be used even if you don’t want coffee, or if you’re already done brewing a cup. The hot water is ready almost instantly, so all you need to do is press the lever down to dispense it. 

If your day can’t start before you’ve had coffee, you’ll appreciate this machine’s 24-hour programmability so you can have a cup ready and waiting for you each morning. The machine also automatically turns on and shuts off so you’ll never have to worry about it running after you’ve left the house.

You’ll find low, medium, and high carafe temperature control settings for keeping your pot warm. The machine comes with one charcoal water filter and a gold-tone filter to eliminate any impurities that can impact the taste of your coffee or other beverages. When it’s time for cleaning, just use the self-cleaning function. A “Brew Pause” feature also lets you stop the brew cycle temporarily if you’ve made a mistake with the beans or put a too-small cup under the spout.

This particular machine has settings for one, four, or 12 cups. A slightly smaller 10-cup model is also available. However, most models this size actually brew cups that are closer to five or six ounces, rather than the full eight ounces, according to Consumer Reports.

The best budget coffee maker

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The Black+Decker Programmable Coffee Maker is a budget-friendly machine with a large capacity, digital control panel, and plenty of features for the price.

Pros: Small footprint, the brew-pause feature makes it easy to sneak a cup, removable filter basket

Cons: Can be tough to see the water level, can’t remove carafe lid for cleaning, warming plate surface may peel over time

It’s not the fanciest coffee maker around, but the Black+Decker Programmable Coffee Maker gets the job done. There’s a lot to appreciate for such an affordable price, from the 12-cup capacity to a water window that lets you keep track of the amount.

The coffee maker is a good choice if you’re looking for a compact coffee maker for your home, office, or both. You’ll also find a digital control panel with soft-touch buttons. It’s easy to program the machine to make coffee ahead of time thanks to its 24-hour programming functionality.

If you simply can’t wait for the brewing cycle to finish, you can grab a cup before it’s done thanks to the brew-pause function. And as long as the glass carafe is properly positioned underneath the basket, you shouldn’t experience any dripping or leaking.

The best coffee maker with water filtration

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From its high brew temperature to delay-brew and auto-pause features, the Mr. Coffee – 10-Cup Coffee Maker with Thermal Carafe is a solid value.

Pros: Delay brew feature, filter greatly reduces chlorine taste from water, high brewing temperature, stainless steel carafe keeps drink warm

Cons: Plastic construction cheapens the appearance, produces a fair amount of steam when brewing, doesn’t have a permanent filter

If you’re looking for overall value in a programmable coffee maker, consider this Mr. Coffee model. For starters, it’s equipped with many features you’d expect on a higher-end coffee maker, such as the delay brew function and an auto-pause feature that lets you grab a cup of coffee before brewing is finished. The machine automatically shuts off after two hours, which is a big plus if you’re the forgetful type.

A built-in water filtration system helps to remove up to 97% of chlorine, which is a huge plus if you find that your tap water doesn’t taste great. The filter ensures that any mineral or elemental tastes don’t make their way into your coffee.

If you can’t get to your coffee right away or you want it to stay warm, you’ll appreciate the double-walled stainless steel carafe. Unlike some models in this price range that come with a glass carafe, the extra insulation in this thermal carafe maintains a warm, but not scalding, temperature. Whether you like your coffee strong or mild, the brewing temperature also plays a major role. This machine brews up to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Not only does this keep your coffee from tasting burnt, but you also won’t have to rely on a warming plate or a microwave to get your coffee back to a drinkable temperature.

The best coffee maker with a built-in grinder

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Not only is the KRUPS Grind and Brew Auto-Start Maker fully programmable for brewing, but it can also grind your coffee beans for an even fresher brew.

Pros: Built-in burr grinder, auto-start function, three brew strength settings

Cons: Grounds can get stuck on the container walls, carafe lid is prone to opening when pouring, can get loud when grinding coffee

The highlight of the Krups Grind and Brew 10-Cup Coffee Maker is its built-in grinder. Whether you’re a bit short on space or you simply prefer the convenience, having a built-in grinder lets you grind beans and then brew all within one machine. You can adjust the settings on this machine according to the type of bean you’re using as well as your desired drink.

As far as built-in grinders go, this one is fairly bare-bones, but it will produce good drip coffee (just don’t expect to be able to pull espresso from it). Cleaning the hopper, or storage container can be a bit of a chore, but that’s always the case with a burr grinder. Using a smaller brush can help reach into tight spaces for easier cleaning.

The main drawback to having a grinder attached to your coffee machine (as is the case with espresso machines), is that beans stored in the hopper will be heated and dried out every time you turn on the machine, degrading their quality. The best way around this issue is to store your beans in an airtight jar or container and dose them into the hopper as needed.

If you’re looking for user-friendly features to help make your mornings easier, you’ll appreciate the straightforward controls on the Krups Grind and Brew. For starters, you can push a button to select anywhere from two to 10 cups. An auto-on feature allows you to program the machine to start at a time that’s most convenient for you. After you put the beans in the grinder and add water, the machine automatically takes the correct amount of beans to grind depending on how many cups you want and the strength you choose.

The best coffee maker for specialty drinks

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The Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System brews your favorite hot and cold coffee and tea, and it comes with a built-in milk frother and tea brewing basket.

Pros: Pull-out tray accommodates smaller mugs, makes specialty coffee and tea, one-touch technology

Cons: Stainless steel smudges easily, doesn’t have an espresso setting, doesn’t produce the hottest coffee

With a coffee maker or espresso machine, you’re only able to make just that — coffee or espresso. But if you’re looking for a multitasker that can make several types of coffee and tea, and at different temperatures, try the Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System.

It has a built-in frother and a tea brew basket, which you can use for loose leaf and bagged tea. There’s a menu with options for hot or iced drinks, along with different drink varieties like cold brew coffee, or green or oolong tea.

Programming the machine may take a few minutes longer than expected, but the extended menu and sizing options ensure you get the drink you want when you want it. A delay brew option lets you make your favorite hot beverage in advance.

When the beverage is done, it’s automatically kept warm via the hot plate. However, you can adjust the plate to a warm setting instead to ensure your drink doesn’t get too hot.

What to look for in a coffee maker

Aside from programmability, size, and price, certain features can help make the decision easier.

If the flavor is crucial, you’ll want to consider the brewing temperature. In general, coffee makers that reach a range of 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit deliver the most precise results. Some machines come with a warming plate to keep your beverages hot after brewing, which is particularly helpful if you’re not going to be drinking your coffee right away, or you want the remaining coffee to stay warm.

Impurities in the water you use to brew, such as chlorine, could also impact the taste of the coffee; machines with carbon block filters work particularly well. What you don’t want is hard, mineral-rich water, which will calcify inside your machine and while you might not necessarily notice it in your coffee, it will eventually give your machine trouble.

How important are fresh grounds?

What gives coffee its flavor is the oils stored in the beans. Older beans will be dried out, and lacking flavor. If you like a rich, flavorful cup of coffee, it’s best to always use freshly ground beans each time you brew.

To maximize flavor, it’s also important to store your beans properly. We recommend keeping your beans in an airtight container in a dark, cool space.

Another thing to consider is that while built-in grinders are convenient and generally more compact, storing your beans in a hopper above or next to your coffee maker isn’t great. Heat and coffee are enemies, and as you run your coffee machine, your beans are going to heat up and the precious oils inside them are going to evaporate, leaving you with prematurely stale coffee. That said, grinders are expensive, and it’s a matter of weighing out the conveniences and expenses as they pertain to you and your kitchen.

Check out our other great coffee guides

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