What’s the best coffee maker? We’ve curated a list of the best coffee makers in each category across a range of price-points.
The Best Coffee Maker Olympics – Gold Medals From Every Category
A lot of people often ask me, “Which is the best coffee maker? Which coffee maker should I buy? Come on, be a sport! Tell me what’s what?” And I answer, “Well, my old friend, here’s the short version.”
Then we leave our 1950s black and white public service announcement and step into full technicolor where I talk, and talk, and talk… And put myself into a situation where everyone is avoiding me or pretend they are on their way to the restrooms when I try to engage them.
For the sake of my social life, I’m listing some of the best coffee makers. That way, I can just give them a link and we can concentrate on discussing the greatest NBA games, or just play poker.
Since I’m an okay fella, I’ll allow you to take a peek at the list as well.
The Best Pod Coffee Makers
Pod coffee has changed the way we brew coffee at home. It’s all about speed, convenience, and great flavor.
And that’s what a good machine is supposed to do.
Nespresso is somewhat of the leader in the world of pod coffee. They are usually where some of the most original innovations come from.
Take the VertuoPlus, for example. A gorgeous machine that produces a large amount of crema even in a mug-size brew.
This coffee maker looks like it was made by a car designer and meant to just sit pretty in an executive’s office. However, it’s a great performer that delivers the smoothest and velvetiest cups of coffee.
It’s also very unique in the Nespresso line-up – a brand that concentrates solely on espresso and not on other hot drinks. It’s the serving sizes. While the similar machines usually come only with a single shot and espresso lungo option, this guy comes with whopping five different serving sizes – espresso, double espresso, gran lungo, with coffee at 8 ounces and alto coffee as a 14-ounce serving.
- Holy Art Deco, Batman! – This is one seriously pretty coffee maker.
- A smart cookie – The machine reads the bar code on each coffee pod and adjusts its settings for a perfect extraction.
- Patented extraction technology known as Centrifusion – The machine pre-infuses each serving by spinning each pod up to 7000 times to fully wet each particle. Combined with the customary 19 bars of pressure, this provides for massive crema even in a 14-ounce serving.
Special Vertuo pods – And completely different from the rest of the Nespresso line. So, if you don’t like the flavors they have on offer, tough cookies.
The Nespresso Pixie is so named because it hails from the magical land of hobbits, fairies, elves, and gnomes. And what do they all have in common? They are tiny and live in tiny houses.
This model is barely above 4 inches wide, and just above 9 inches tall. The drip tray also folds in if that extra inch or two means something to you.
It’s also very beautiful and a lot of attention was put into the design. Quite a few elements have that classic Italian engineering feel to them.
But, what’s more important, it’s super easy to use and it makes great coffee. Just open the chamber, add the pod, choose the serving size, and you’ll have your coffee within 30 seconds. Done.
- Itsy bitsy – The coffee pod machine that you can pack into an evening purse.
- 19 bars of pressure – A signature Nespresso feature that always delivers amazing coffee.
- The Nespresso coffee club – With the purchase and registration of the machine, you can gain access to some pretty cool deals and offers.
100% of the excellence only with Nespresso cups – While you will be able to use a cup from another brand, you won’t enjoy the same quality of the brew. It’s all because the cup shape, material, and the way the coffee is packed are perfectly calibrated to work with the machine and vice versa.
As the brand that started it all, Keurig machines are the gold standard we measure all the others against. And the K-Elite kinda demonstrates that – it’s their original design, but all souped up and ready to rumble.
The very recognizable Keurig shape is this time packed with more features than any other machine from the classic series.
Next to the standards 6, 8, and 10-ounce serving sizes, now we also have a 4 and a 12-ounce serving as well. And it takes less than a minute to brew every single one of them.
You can also play with the temperature settings – especially useful if you are using an eco pod with your coffee. This feature is in the settings menu together with the “auto-on” setting. Want to wake up to a freshly brewed coffee? Chuck a K-cup in and set it to brew the second your alarm clock goes off.
Also if you live in a high-altitude location and are used to other machines disappointing you, you have to check out the K-Elite. They have an app for that.
- Intuitive and easy to use – No ambiguous controls, no confusion.
- Iced coffee – It still makes hot coffee, but the perfect amount and at a perfect ratio so you can serve it directly over ice.
- Disability-friendly – One of the best features of Keurig machines. The lever is nice and big. Buttons are easy to access. The pod chamber opens at an angle so it’s easy to chuck in and remove the pods. A plus.
The water tank is on the left side, and there is no front level view – So, if you want to keep eye on things and remove it easily, you’ll have to park it somewhere where that side stays open.
The Best Drip Coffee Makers
Most of us have grown up around these types of coffee makers. However, they’ve leveled up in recent years and are now producing sheer poetry out of humble coffee beans.
Technivorm Moccamaster 59616 KBG
Shall I compare thee to the warm Summer’s day? Or shall I start a religion and make the whole world worship you?
It might be a bit difficult to notice since I’m so discrete and all that jazz, but I love Technivorm. I’m going to marry it when I grow up. And Lisa McManus from America’s Test Kitchen agrees with me, so there.
So, what’s so special?
Well, just the fact that for so long these were the only drip machines that provided ideal temperature and time for brewing coffee. Oh, and the coffee baskets – from the start, they had enough space for the real amount of grounds you need for a good brew.
On top of that, there are no flashy features that are supposed to make you believe that this is a good coffee maker. The coffee itself is enough.
The machines are completely hand-made in the Netherlands and so finely calibrated that all your half-asleep brain just has to remember where is the power switch. Then they do everything on their own – both the pre-infusion and the extraction.
Besides all that glorious precision, the Moccamaster introduced the showerhead that sprinkles the water over the whole basket instead of only one spot. This feature is now regularly replicated in many new drip coffee maker models from various manufacturers.
- Best drip coffee ever – Period. Once it went “mainstream” (thank you America’s Test Kitchen), everyone has been trying to match its standard.
- Easy to operate – Fill the water tank. Fill the coffee basket. Power switch. Hot plate switch. And you don’t even need this second one because you’ll gobble up the whole carafe with one go.
- Will survive the zombie apocalypse, rise of the machines, and the reboot of the Matrix – Or at the very least regular daily abuse.
It doesn’t come in bright fuschia or leopard print – Technically, the only con is that this model doesn’t come with a thermal carafe like the more expensive Moccamasters, but honestly… You know what, if you don’t like it, give it to me. I’ll make sure it has a warm and loving home. (By the way, it does come in 28 different colors).
Breville Precision Brewer
It’s very difficult (in my eyes at least) to compete or stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Moccamaster. But Breville took everything great about Technivorm and gave it their spin. Enter the Precision Brewer.
Yeah, at first glance, you get to see where the inspiration comes from. Then it hits you – the Brevilleness of the stainless still with the screen and the dial. Oh, and the buttons that light up.
Pretty much it’s the same Technivorm concept dressed up like almost any other appliance they’ve introduced in the past decade or so. But, there’s more.
If you need your coffee maker to multitask, this guy has six pre-set modes – Gold, Fast, Strong, Iced, Cold Brew, and My Brew. My Brew is where you go if you’re a complete control freak and want to set everything to be just right. In the Gold Cup mode, the machine will give you the same type of brew you would get from the Moccamaster.
And if the name is not already revealing it, the Cold Brew mode is for cold brewing. Set the machine and leave it overnight to slowly drip, drip, drip – just like one of those suspiciously expensive plastic setups.
And here you do get a 60-ounce insulated carafe, so your coffee stays warm and you don’t have to down it in one go. Also, there are two filter baskets in the kit – a cone and a flat bottom one. This allows you to adjust the volume that you’re brewing.
- Choices, choices – With about 50 million options for brewing
- The insulated carafe – A very welcome detail.
- Size selection – Don’t want to brew the full 60 ounces? You don’t have to.
No “a bit more” button – Because who doesn’t want a bit more coffee. Translation: this one is also pretty great as it is.
The Best Manual Espresso Machines
While it takes some skill and training to be a decent barista, most domestic espresso makers aim to do most of the heavy lifting for you. The only trick is to pick one that delivers on the right kind of pressure.
It’s very easy for any manufacturer to simply add yet another appliance to their lineup. However, what it takes to make said appliance stand out on the market is an embarrassingly small amount of planning and innovation. For the example of that, see the De’Longhi Dedica.
Dedica is a very basic espresso maker designed for home use. What makes it special is the tiny footprint. There was someone who sat down and properly thought about all the people who love espresso and live in tiny spaces, or like to have a machine in their RV where the counter space is at a premium. And the same person answered with, “Okay, here’s an espresso maker that is only 6 inches wide. How about that?”
But even with the altered size, the Dedica still has everything a good machine should come with – 15 bars of pressure, the cup warmer, milk frother, etc.
The other thing this machine comes with is the 3 in 1 portafilter system. The single and the double shot filters help to take out as much of the user error possible from the “il Mano” process. And having a few E.S.E. pods laying around never hurt anyone.
The only thing to pay attention to is the manufacturer’s cleaning instruction. As in, ignore them. This guy needs to be cleaned a bit more often than that if you want to enjoy great coffee hassle-free.
- Tiny footprint – Small kitchen? Cramped counters? No problem.
- Great steam nozzle – As good as the one you’d find on commercial-grade machines.
- 3 in 1 portafilter – Two different size filters take the “il Mano” from the equation for the beginners. And the E.S.E pods are great if you are completely useless before your first-morning coffee.
The position of the water reservoir – It’s a pretty standard thing for coffee makers to have a reservoir in the back, but for one that is supposed to be able to squeeze in between other things… No.
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine
I remember when Breville first started to dish out their espresso machines, Especially I remember Heston Blumenghtal speaking about this one and singing its praises. I mean, this is the guy that thought us to flip our burgers and steaks every 15 seconds, to add the stalks to the tomato sauce and how to make one-ingredient chocolate mousse. He would not mislead us, right?
Of course not.
Let’s tackle the built-in grinder first. If you’ve ever had a chance to play with the Breville’s grinder, it’s the same thing – same burrs, same precision. There are not as many settings and options as with the separate machine, but you can still use it to grind coffee for different brewing methods and vessels.
There are not too many controls for it, but the awesome one that is there is the “filter size” button. When you press it, the machine dispenses the perfect amount for coffee for either a single or a double shot of espresso. From this point, it’s just tamp, insert and lock the portafilter and press another button.
But another great feature that’s standing proudly in the center of the control panel is the pressure gauge. I love it. Not only does it look absolutely gorgeous, but it’s very useful. It’s a health checker for your machine – if the red arrow doesn’t quite stay in the “espresso range”, it’s time to see the doctor.
- All in one hot drinks station – Only add a decorative teapot, and you’re all set up.
- Grounds dispersed directly into the portafilter – Less mess, no scales, more happy.
- The water filter system – Of course, just another great addition. Also, the filters in question are the same ones that are in machines made by other manufacturers, so it’s not like you’ll have to go on a quest to find a replacement.
The price – It’s a Breville. Of course, you will have to sell one of your kidneys.
Calphalon BVCLECMP1 Temp iQ Espresso Machine
Sometimes, keeping it simple is the best course of action. Calphalon has a well-earned reputation for making straightforward and heavy-duty kitchenware and appliances. The Temp iQ is very simple, yet fully capable of fulfilling anyone’s expectations.
Let’s start with the reason I want to do a little happy dance whenever we talk about this machine. The tamper. With its dedicated parking spot. Okay, it’s still not the commercial-grade one, but it shows attention to detail that should always be appreciated.
The next on the menu is the control system. There are only one switch and one dial. Each stop of the dial is clearly stated what it does. The last stop, hot water, can be used both for making a lungo or an americano, or for cleaning.
When you want to make your coffee, press the on/off switch and wait for the indicator light above “ready” marking to light up. The machine will heat up quickly – just in time for you to prep the portafilter. After that, just turn the dial towards either “one shot” or “two shots” setting. Simple, right?
When the “ready” indicator light is on, your machine is also automatically ready to froth the milk. Just switch over to “steam” and you’re good to go.
But if you like this machine yet you wish it came with a grinder like the Breville, no worries – this guy has a big brother with a few extra letters in its name.
- Single dial operation – Easy to use and clumsiness-proof.
- Pre-infusion – There’s still no clear winner in the argument, but I think it makes some beans go from decent to mana from Heaven.
- Nozzle angle – Such a small detail, but it produces a fluffier foam.
Ah, plastic – That stainless front panel looks quite nice, but that’s it.
The Best Bean-To-Cup Coffee Makers
Because some of us have very high standards, but absolutely no interest in doing anything on our own to meet them.
And because kidnapping and imprisoning baristas is a little bit illegal.
Do you know that moment when you learn that the old surly lady from the neighborhood is called Felicity? Then you sit and wonder if it’s the case of false advertising or Viking naming customs.
Luckily for us, Magnifica is a rather brilliant coffee maker. Getting a great cup of coffee out of her is as easy as getting one from a shop that is so good it has a people lining up for miles. Well, minus the queue and the $20 per serving price tag.
On the top left side, you’ll find the opening for the bean storage – it can easily fit one to three days worth of coffee. On the other side of the machine are the 60-ounce water reservoir and the warming tray.
All of the controls are on the front of the machine. Each indicator, button, and the dial is clearly marked and easy to recognize.
You’ll notice the lack of the portafilter if this is your first fully automatic espresso maker, but you’ll notice that the steam nozzle is still very much present. Use the old fashioned way just like a peasant, or you could connect it directly to a carton of milk for instant lattes.
To brew, set the grind size for your bean firsts. Because this is still an espresso machine, you will have to go for a fine grind. However, different brands behave differently or taste better at different grinds, so you will have to experiment at first.
To make your coffee, use the buttons and dials in front to choose the number of shots, the length of the drink (shot to Americana), and the number of beans. If you want to steam or froth some milk for a latte or a cappuccino, press the steam button and use the largest dial to operate the nozzle.
When you’re ready to clean up after yourself, you can either use an automatic rinse or descaling function, as well as open the machine for full access.
- Very attractive – The design has both contemporary and vintage feel to it. It should fit with almost any decor.
- Longevity and durability – Tough enough to handle a demanding crowd. Lasts for years with a little bit of TLC.
- Intuitive controls – It will take only one or two runs for you two to become best friends.
Price tag – Still, bit better than paying $25k for a human to live in your kitchen and make your coffee.
There is something very ’90s yuppy about this coffee maker that made me shudder the first time I saw it. But that turned out to be a “shudder before the beautiful” since this is the ultimate setup for terminally clumsy and chronically lazy.
It’s easy to salivate over bean-to-cup models that cost as much as a new car and will teach your kids Latin and how to play the violin. However, for a regular coffee drinker, this is it – this is the machine that will Chuck Norris roundhouse kick them out of the competition for the money in your wallet.
Starting from the top, you have the bean container and grinder. There is also a small opening for pre-ground coffee when you’re in the mood to switch things up without switching everything up.
All of the controls are on the top front, and beside the power button, they are all that flat easy-touch stuff – like the McDonald’s register.
The bottom right is where the 67-ounce water tank lives and it’s completely removable from the front (five stars! happy dance). On the left side is the party central. The regular steam nozzle is replaced with a hot water spout and a milk frothing system. Just attach whichever one you want to use to the machine and let it do all the heavy lifting.
To brew, just like with the Magnifica, set the grind, shot size, and strength to your liking. If you’re making a cafe Americana, install the hot water spout and use it to top up your espresso.
But, you see that cappuccino button? If you’re in the mood for one, connect the milk system to the machine, place your cup on the milk tray and press it. You’ll have to customize it a bit to your liking, but then watch the magic happen. The coffee and the milk will fill the cup at the same time so you’ll end up with layers of clear milk on top and bottom, with a coffee belt in the middle. You might want to spring up for one of those double-walled glasses for this.
- Completely hands-free – The only way to ruin your brew is to put stale beans and toilet water.
- Ground coffee bypass – Your guests can’t handle the Sumatran goodness? Give them the pre-ground supermarket stuff instead.
- Disability-friendly – The only dial is quite large and easy to grip.
The price tag – Same as above, but with an extra FEW bucks on the receipt.
Finding the best coffee maker can be a challenge. The best way to really find the right one for your needs is to do your research. Think about which type of product you need, and read up on reviews to discover any major problems for the model. Try to find a coffee maker that is the right size for your kitchen and matches the design;
We’ve listed what we consider to be some of the best coffee makers on the market today. They represent a good compromise between price and performance, and I’m pretty confident that in this list you should be able to find one that works for you.
Hope you enjoy our list and will be able to find something for your own taste!
Thanks for taking the time to go through this and if you want to read a few individual coffee maker reviews on our blog, please check the categories below!
Disclaimer: As an Amazon affiliate, we may earn a small commission on the models we’ve listed here. However, we don’t let these potential earnings influence our decision on what we say regarding the best possible coffee maker brands. These are products we believe in, and that may earn us enough money to keep the site running.