Coffee Maker

For many of us, the daily grind can’t begin until we’ve had that first cup of piping hot coffee—so the right brewer is at the top of the list.

You can spend $200 or more for a coffee maker with interactive displays and the kind of stainless steel detailing you’d find on pro-style ranges. But our most recent tests show that a consistently good cup can be had for half that.

Still, you might want more features than a simple on/off switch. A little more money buys convenience such as programmability, a thermal carafe to keep coffee hot longer, settings that let you adjust brew strength, and more.

Coffee makers come in a variety of configurations, from non-electric pour-over models to electric drip coffee makers, to cup or capsule machines that make one cup at a time, to espresso machines. Cold brew coffee makers are a unique category since they use cold water to make either a coffee concentrate or they can produce a less concentrated version that’s ready to drink as-is. Prices can range from under $20 for the simplest units to several thousand dollars for high-end espresso machines.

Simple and Convenient: Single-Serve Coffee Makers

If you want to rely on your coffee maker to provide you with a quick caffeine fix on your way out the door, consider an automatic single-serving coffee maker. Quick and convenient, these machines use pre-prepared coffee pods—no measuring, grinding, pouring over or plunging required. Simply add fresh water and the pod to the machine, place your mug beneath the spout and press a button. If you prefer traditional drip coffee flavor, look for a device that uses K-cups. If you crave the taste of espresso with the simplicity of pods, consider an automated espresso machine for a quick espresso shot you can enjoy on-the-go or at home. Most have the capability to make lattes or cappuccinos as well, satisfying that specialty coffee shop craving.

Does It Have Brew-Strength Control Features?

There are many ways to brew coffee with a coffee maker. And based on what you buy can you opt for something more or less complex in terms of preference. If you think about how you like your coffee and how you want it to brew, you will understand your coffee drinking habits.

Some people drink over 2-3 cups of coffee every day. But you already know that anything in excess is never good. So, taking control over your caffeine intake with a standard brew-strength feature is necessary.

Modern coffee maker versions come with such multi-function settings to create either a stronger or subtler coffee taste. So, knowing which coffee maker does this the best can help you choose the right machine at the best price.