If you start your day with coffee, buying a new coffee maker is a major decision. With so many options, finding the best one to suit your needs can be tricky. Here’s what you need to know before you shop.
Drip coffee makers brews larger quantities (4 to 12 cups) of coffee, so it’s a good option for households with multiple coffee drinkers or people who entertain. Drip brewers are pretty basic, so you won’t be making a cappuccino with one of these, but modern models offer helpful features. Automatic shutoff is standard on most machines. Programmable models allow you to set your coffee up the night before so that it’s waiting for you when you get up. If you’re an impatient drinker, you might also appreciate a pause option that interrupts brewing temporarily so you can remove the carafe to pour a cup without making a mess. Some units even allow you to adjust the strength and temperature of your brew. Prices for drip coffee makers range from $20 to more than $100.
Single-serve coffee makers. For convenience and speed, single-serve models can’t be beat. If you don’t need a pot of coffee at a time, one of these machines might be right for you. Many models use convenient prepackaged cups or pods. Keep in mind that these can be pricey and also produce a lot of waste. Small reusable baskets are a good option to overcome this. Fill them the night before and you’ll never know the difference. Make sure you choose a model that fits your favorite mug and has a reservoir that’s big enough. Prices on single-serve brewers start at $20, depending on features and size. Higher-end models with larger reservoirs and more features cost $60 and up.
Hybrid coffee makers. For those who like the speed and ease of a single-brewer, but sometimes need to make larger batches, hybrid coffeemakers offer the best of both worlds. They have single-serve and carafe settings. Hybrid coffee makers tend to be larger and pricier than single-serve or drip brewers. They start at $60 but can cost more than $200.
Espresso machines. If you’re a connoisseur who prefers custom coffees, an espresso machine may be right for you. These machines force a small amount of water through dense, finely ground coffee to create a shot of espresso. With this, you can create other drinks. Most models feature a steam wand. If you like cappuccinos, lattes, or other coffee drinks with milk, you’ll want one of these. Built-in grinders are another convenient feature. Espresso makers are available with varying levels of automation. Espresso machines run from $75 to several thousand dollars. Don’t be fooled: Steam models cost as little as $40, but generally don’t produce the thick, creamy results espresso lovers desire.
French press. For the coffee purists out there who want rich coffee, but don’t want to splurge on an espresso machine, the French press is a great option. It’s easy, inexpensive, portable, and allows you to make up to 4 cups of coffee at once simply by adding hot water and ground coffee, letting it steep, and pressing a plunger. Prices start at $10.