It can be hard to figure out the best coffee makers that will work for your home, your preferences, your lifestyle, and dare we say your counter space? With so many brands let alone types of coffee makers out there, shopping for the best coffee maker can be overwhelming. But hey, plenty of us moms can’t get through our days (and long nights!) without our daily cup of joe…or two or three.
The truth is, there are a lot of different ways to brew a great cup of coffee at home and what matters is what’s right for you, your budget, and your preferences. Everyone has a favorite! And guess what? No one is wrong!
Whichever coffee maker you choose, investing in the best coffee maker for your needs will save you plenty of money over the long run, let alone saving you the time of relying on local coffee shops when you just have to have a vanilla latte.
– This post has been updated for 2023 –
A guide to the best coffee makers by brewing method
The coffee addicts around here have done the research and pulled together this list of the best coffee makers for each brewing method, from fancy French Press and chemistry-lab looking Vacuum Pots, to the classic Automatic Coffee Makers that are now more impressive than ever.
Hope you find the one that’s very perfect for you.
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The Best French Press Coffee Maker
The Bodum Chambord French press is a best-seller for good reason; I love that you can pour your hot water straight into it without waiting for the water to cool first. Besides, there’s something so romantic about using a French press.
That said, school mornings aren’t exactly the most leisurely, romantic moments of my week. So if you can find 10 minutes where you won’t get distracted and forget your coffee, this is a method that will give you really great flavor. I also love the Bodum Chambord French press because the 3-part mesh filter keeps the coffee grinds out of my mug.
How it works: The most important thing about using a French press is that you can’t use coffee beans that have been ground too fine or they’ll slip through the press, leaving you with muddy coffee. Be sure to use a burr mill like this excellent one from Cuisinart to achieve a coarser, larger grind. Other than that, using a French press simple: Pour your coarsely ground coffee in the bottom of the press and add hot water on top at a ratio of 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water). Wait a minimum of 4 minutes to press down on the plunge and you’re done. However if you give it a full 6-8 minutes, you get a really bold, strong flavor that’s great for mornings.
The Best Espresso and Cappuccino Makers
A stovetop espresso machine is an affordable way to make a really strong cup of coffee at home, and the iconic design of the Bialetti Moka Express espresso maker is our favorite. Plus, we found this one for just around $30! The flavor and aroma from this Italian brew is amazing.
For the best cup, you should use Ily’s ground coffee made for Moka coffee makers. Try other brands if you choose, but we can all vouch for Ily.
For an authentic espresso or cappuccino, you’ll need to invest in a pump machine. These machines have much more pressure than a stovetop espresso maker, and they’re safer to use too. But, whew, they’re not cheap–unless you figure out the price you’re spending per cuppa at a local coffee shop that uses a machine just like this one.
The creme de la crema (ha, couldn’t resist!) of barista-style machines is easily the best-selling Breville Barista Express. Because of the built-in burr grinder, you can go from coffee beans to espresso in less than a minute. yielding coffee shop style espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, or Americanos depending how you like it. The built-in milk steamer makes it a snap.
You can even order a selection of Torani flavored syrups, should you want to make your own vanilla latte or salted caramel mocha at home.
It does take a little getting used to, but not much; even our teens have mastered it!
Note that it’s on sale frequently, so if you’ve been thinking about getting one, now’s the time. And if you really want the top-of-the-line version that will yield you better espresso drinks than anything you can buy at Starbucks (really!), be sure to check out the Breville Barista Touch Espresso Machine with an LCD screen menu to help you swipe your way to a perfect cup–and make it easy for visiting guests, sitters, and grandparents to use too.
How they work: Steam builds up when the water is heated, working through the packed coffee grinds to create a shot of highly caffeinated espresso. And that same heated water will emit a fine spray from the steam nozzle, when you place it into a small amount of milk (or creamer of choice) to steam up milk to the right temperature and froth level. This way you not just make a delicious latte or cappuccino, but the milk doesn’t cool down your coffee.
Be aware: You won’t be able to get a good foamy crema on top of your drink with a stovetop espresso maker since you can’t create enough steam pressure there. You’ll need a pump or barista-style machine for that.
Want the Breville but not the Breville price tag? The De’Longhi Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker gets rave reviews on Amazon comparable with makers that cost twice as much. Or check out their newer, middle-end model, the De’Longhi Magnifica Evo Fully Automatic Coffee Machine.
The Best Automatic Drip Coffee Makers
Clearly, there are a lot of popular methods for brewing coffee but realistically, most people looking for the best coffee maker for their own tastes and time constraints end up with an automatic drip coffee maker. There are hundreds available, from the $9 version on your grocery store shelf (not recommended!) to imported machines that cost hundreds of dollars.
At the top of the line, I suggest Technivorm’s Moccamaster 40 oz coffee brewer Each machine is handmade and individually tested at their factory in the Netherlands, winning multiple European awards for quality. Plus style! Find 25 colors ranging from neutrals to bright primary colors to pastels to lots of metallics. (Brushed Gold shown above)
It also makes 10 cups of coffee in 6 minutes, which means you don’t have to step away from the good conversation at the table for long at your next dinner party.Or you don’t have to wait long for your caffeine when the kids wake you up at the crack of dawn.
The Moccamaster is expensive, but comes with a 5-year-warranty and honestly, it should last a lifetime if you keep it clean and take good care of it.
Of course you can still get a good coffee maker without shelling out for a Breville and the Zojirushi Fresh Brew 10-Cup Drip Coffee Maker with Thermal Carafe is one that does a great job for under $200. Your coffee is brewed directly into a thermal pot that can keep it hot for hours, with no heating plate underneath that can give it that scorched taste if it sits too long. It takes just under 10 minutes to brew 10 cups, plus it has a timer, so you can wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee.
Were you thinking more like under $100 would be your speed? In that case, take a look at this Hamilton Beach 12-cup drip coffee maker, which is your basic drip maker with more 21st century bells and whistles than you might have grown up with. Just $69! And it gets outstanding marks from users and reviewers across the board.
If you like to grind your own beans at home, but don’t want to shell out for the high-end Breville barista machines, it doesn’t get easier than the Cuisinart Grind-and-Brew Thermal Automatic Coffeemaker. Under $100!
A steel burr grinder is built into the machine, and deposits the perfect amount of freshly ground coffee directly into the filter just before brewing so it’s super fresh without any work at all. Plus the programming on this one makes it kind of fun. You can set it to brew automatically any time in the next 24 hours, choosing between one and ten cups, so you get the strength and amount of coffee that’s exactly right for you, right when you want it. The double-wall thermal carafe keeps it hot and fresh when you’re ready for your second (or third).
How they work: Do we really need to know the mechanics? The beauty of automatic drip coffee makers is that coffee just happens. You know, water going through the grinds into the carafe. Alchemy!
The Best Drip Brew Coffee Maker, Non-Automatic
My countertops have a tendency to get messy, so I want a coffee maker that will look nice sitting out and won’t have a bunch of parts and cords to worry about. I went with the only coffee maker to be featured as a permanent installation at MOMA: the iconic, modern Chemex brewer, which not only looks great and is suuuuper affordable, but happens to make a great cup of coffee too. (Shown at very top.)
Because it’s made of glass, it won’t absorb any odors or residue over time. No moving parts means there’s nothing to break so, unless you drop it, you won’t ever have to replace this coffee maker. You cannot get a better value, or a better cup of coffee, in my opinion.
How it works: Just slide a Chemex filter (these are amazing!) into the cone and add your coffee grinds. Pour hot water over the top and it drips through, leaving you with a hot, fresh cup of coffee below. Keep in mind that unless you get the high-end Chemex Ottomatic model, you have to heat your own water, which might add a few minutes to your morning routine.
The Best Pour-Over Coffee Maker
Our editor Liz owns a fancy Breville, but also has great affection for the $39 Melitta ceramic pour-over coffee pot. It’s like a very chill ritual to start your day. The ceramic pot looks so pretty on the table, and is extremely durable–you’ll own it for years if not decades.
It’s also very convenient, say you want to brew a pot of coffee for company and one guest requests decaf. You can just make the single cup for them in the pour-over without much fuss.
And should you prefer a color other than white, check the Melitta online shop for cones and pots in pink, baby blue, red, black and silver.
How it works: Grind the beans fresh or Liz recommends trying medium roast Lavazza grounds, which are extremely affordable purchased in bulk and make wonderful morning coffee. Scoop about 1-2 coffee spoons per cup into cone filters (sized for your dripper of course) depending on how strong you like it (we go with two scoops). Then, just turn on the kettle, and when the water is hot, wet the top of the grounds until it bubbles up a bit. (This is also how you know the coffee is fresh.) Then slowly pour the water in a circular motion around the grounds until they’re thoroughly wet. Keep adding slowly while the coffee drips down until you’ve filled the pot. Very zen!
Note that if you’re just making a single cup at a time, you can skip the pot and buy the Melitta ceramic coffee pour-over dripper, add filters, and place it right over your mug. But honestly, you might as well get the whole set and use the pot as needed.
Note: If you want to skip the expense and waste of filters and be a bit more eco-friendly, you can get a simple reusable stainless steel reusable pour-over coffee filter, following the same instructions as below but scooping the grinds straight in Just be sure to use a medium-coarse grind so it doesn’t clog up the mesh, and clean it super well after using.
The Best Aeropress Coffee Maker
An The original Aeropress coffee press like this one above featured at The Kitchn–along with tons of tips for how to best use it– looks kind of weird, we get it. But it’s crazy fast, and it’s inexpensive. Once your water is hot, you can be drinking coffee in about a minute.
Although it works similarly to a French press, there are no grinds left at the bottom of your coffeemaker, which means there’s no messy cleanup — or grinds sneaking into your coffee — making this the best coffee maker for people who want a strong cup, and don’t mind putting in a little work to do it. It’s also a much more eco-friendly way to make a single cup of coffee than single-pod Keurig or Nespresso machines, for those of you who like convenience but are feeling the k-cup guilt..
How it works: Heat the water to a boil, then let it cool for 1 minute to avoid a bitter taste. Wet the paper filter and assemble the press (it’s easy) before setting it on top of your mug. Put your coffee and the water into the top of the press, give a quick stir, and press down on the plunger. Coffee will come through the filter at the bottom for an instant cup of goodness.
The Best Vacuum Pot Coffee Maker
The vacuum or siphon method of making coffee is not exactly practical, but it’s very exciting. Well, as far as coffee making goes for you java freaks.
This coffee maker looks like something you’d see in your kid’s chemistry lab at school, and it puts on quite a show. Plus, lots of coffee aficionados swear it is the best coffee maker for the best cup of coffee out there.
There are some very, uh, theatrical models, like the Nispira Royal Belgian Balancing Siphon coffee maker, but we like the Yama Glass Stovetop Siphon coffee maker (above, available in 20 or 32-oz sizes) because you can place it directly on your stovetop, eliminating the need for a butane burner. Which, yeah, is not exactly the safest method if you have young kids around.
Plus, who wants to invest in a butane burner?
How it works: Coffee grinds are placed in the top bowl while water is below it. The heat causes the water to move up into the grinds and then, when you remove the heat, the coffee filters through the top bowl into the bottom. Voila: coffee! The downside to this method? Brewing is a hands-on project, which means it probably doesn’t work well for most people on busy mornings. Unless you happen to wake up really early. In which case, more power to you.
Top image: Nathan Dumlao via Unsplash