A drip coffee maker is your best choice for a smooth cup of coffee that most people love. It’s also among the most popular and cheapest options on the market, especially when considering the multitude of options and features available with drip coffee makers.
Drip coffee makers use electricity to pull water from an integrated tank and heat it up, before slowly dispersing it evenly over the brewing basket containing your choice of ground coffee. As the water passes through the grounds, all the goodness is extracted and then filtered before making its way into the carafe, cup or mug. And there you have it – a pleasant, smooth, and rich cup of coffee that you can either drink as is, or add milk and sugar to your liking.
TL;DR: The best drip coffee maker for most people is the Ninja CE251 Drip Coffee Brewer. Most notably because it makes a great cup of coffee, but it’s also extremely easy to use and comes with a useful range of features allowing you to adjust the flavor and set a timer. For more options, see the list below:
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Best overall: Ninja CE251 Drip Coffee Brewer
- Best on a budget: Mr. Coffee SK13-RB Simple Brew
- Best splurge: Technivorm Moccamaster 59616 KBG
- Best for one person: BLACK+DECKER DCM18S
- Best space-saving: KRUPS Simply Brew 5-Cup Coffee Maker
- Best programmable: Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker
- Best with thermal carafe: Cuisinart DCC-3400P1
- Best with grinder: Capresso CoffeeTEAM GS Coffee Maker
- Most versatile: Ninja CP301 Hot & Cold Brewed System
- Identifying the best drip coffee maker
Best overall: Ninja CE251 Drip Coffee Brewer
Ninja CE251 Drip Coffee Brewer
The Ninja CE251 Drip Coffee Brewer makes great coffee, and you get numerous useful features at an affordable price.
Pros: Makes great coffee, adjustable brew strength for a reguler or rich cup of coffee, 1-4 cups setting, programmable timer feature, removable water tank that’s also transparent, keeps your coffee warm for up to 4 hours, carafe is well designed, reusable filter basket included.
Cons: If lid is opened too quickly after brewing, water from condensation drips onto the warming plate. Pouring a cup mid-brew can be somewhat messy despite the drip-stop feature, relatively slow.
If you like great coffee and appreciate the ability to customize the flavor profile, the Ninja CE251 Drip Coffee Brewer is the best choice. Coming in as our #1 pick it left us impressed by its numerous features, while at the same time delivering great coffee that everyone seem to like.
From small volumes over classic brew to a more bold flavor, the Ninja drip coffee maker is capable of making it happen with very little effort on your side. The control panel is properly laid out with buttons that are easy to understand and read, and we especially like that every button lights up if activated although we’d want the light to be a tad brighter than it is.
The brew basket comes with a reusable filter, but you can also use #4 paper filters if you like a more refined coffee flavor and easier cleanup after each brew.
Although we think this drip coffee maker gets as close to perfection as possible, it does of course have a few tiny flaws that we’d like to address.
We noticed that a few drops of water from condensation would make its way to the warming plate if the lid is lifted too soon after brewing, it really isn’t a big deal but you’ll have to wipe it off once in a while if it happens. Another thing, which seems to be a general issue with most coffee makers, is the drip-stop feature. You can’t pour a cup of coffee mid-brew without having at least a few drops of coffee dripping onto the warming plate and staining it. So it’s better to leave the carafe in place until it’s completely done, if you don’t want to wipe off the warming plate afterwards.
Best on a budget: Mr. Coffee SK13-RB Simple Brew
Mr. Coffee SK13-RB Simple Brew
If you want a cheap drip coffee maker that makes up to 12 cups of coffee at a time, Mr. Coffee SK13-RB Simple Brew is a solid choice.
Pros: Makes a proper cup of coffee, large capacity (makes 4-12 cups at a time), 2-hour keep warm feature, very simple and easy to use, lightweight, easy to clean, large water level window on the side.
Cons: Poorly designed mid-brew feature doesn’t stop coffee from dripping, a bit slow if you’re brewing an entire pot, difficult to pour the coffee from the carafe without spilling, cheap look and feel.
If you’re on a tight budget or you want a simple drip coffee maker without the bells and whistles, Mr. Coffee is a great choice. Thousands of reviews can’t go wrong, and we believe it’s definitely the best drip coffee maker in its price range.
With a simple yet functional design it’s literally as easily to flip a switch to get a nice, steaming hot cup of coffee. There are no additional features that you need to consider before turning it on, you simply add on your grounds, add water, press the button, and it’s doing its thing. What else could you wish for?
You do have to buy filters though, or you could get a reusable basket if you prefer. We like the paper filters because they make cleaning easier, and the coffee gets a smooth taste that we generally like.
Another clever detail that we appreciate, is the large water level indicator located on both sides of the drip coffee maker. This means that no matter how it’s placed at a countertop, you’re able to easily see the water level.
One thing we didn’t like, is the shape of the glass carafe. It’s clumsy when pouring, so regardless of whether you try to be careful or not, you might end up spilling some of the coffee. Because of the poorly designed drip-stop feature you can’t really pour a cup mid-brew without a few drops of coffee drip onto the warming plate and have to be wiped off.
The Mr. Coffee drip coffee maker is a solid choice despite its flaws, but it’s worth noting that at this price corners have been cut and materials do seem a bit cheap. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make great coffee because it does, but maybe the lifespan is shorter than other more expensive options.
Best splurge: Technivorm Moccamaster 59616 KBG
Technivorm Moccamaster 59616 KBG
The Moccamaster 59616 KBG is a handmade, sturdily built drip coffee maker. It makes fantastic coffee, fast and quietly.
Pros: Coffee tastes great every time, spare parts are widely available if necessary, fast brewing, relatively quiet, very easy to use, keeps coffee warm for 100 minutes, removable brew basket and parts allow for easy cleaning, handmade in the Netherlands.
Cons: Long and bulky power cord, expensive, brew basket is a bit clumsy, no adjustment options available.
There really isn’t much to put a finger on with this premium drip coffee maker. The Moccamaster truly is an allover great choice for many reasons, but perhaps mainly because it’s still made by hand at their own assembly plant till this day. Absolutely no corners seem to have been cut, and the design has already proven its worth for decades.
With the Technivorm Moccamaster 59616 KBG you’ll therefore get a true classic, and although it doesn’t have any modern features (or any features at all), it just keeps making great coffee for years on end.
In our family we’ve had multiple Moccamaster drip coffee makers, and they simply can’t break. If the carafe breaks you simply get a new one, which basically applied to any detachable part, which just goes to show that Moccamaster is an investment rather than a purchase.
The coffee yielded from this coffee maker has a great taste, it’s rich on taste with no bitterness, and we like that we can also make a small portion of proper tasting coffee by simply flipping a switch at the side of the filter basket. Everything is kept as simple as possible with this coffee maker, and that just means less things can break.
If you want one in a certain color, most Moccamasters are sold in almost any bright color you can imagine. Check them all out by clicking through to the online store above.
There are very little flaws worth talking about with the Moccamaster, but we’d like to discuss the power cord. As already mentioned, it’s quite bulky. The cord is thicker than other cords and quite long, more than 4 feet, so you’ll have to come up with a way of hiding it out of sight if you want to keep your countertop well organized and tidy.
It does require cone shaped paper filters to work properly, but you could probably get a reusable filter although Technivorm doesn’t recommend this. The filter basket can be a bit clumsy to get properly in place, because it needs to slide into a couple of tiny holes to sit in the designated slot. It isn’t a big deal, just a tiny inconvenience if you’re in a hurry.
Best for one person: BLACK+DECKER DCM18S
With the compact BLACK+DECKER DCM18S you’ll get coffee dripped directly into your cup of choice or the travel mug included.
Pros: Makes up to 15 ounces of coffee at a time, insulated travel mug included, very simple and easy to use, reusable filter basket makes it cost efficient, proper coffee flavor.
Cons: Power cord isn’t very long, cheap plastic design, water tank is difficult to refill because of a small opening.
If you’re the only one drinking coffee, you might want to opt for a single serve coffee maker without pods. The BLACK+DECKER DCM18S works great for this purpose, and even though it’s cheap you get an insulated travel mug included at no extra cost. It makes up to 15 ounces of proper coffee at a time, and it’s very easy to use.
There’s a reusable filter basket included so you don’t have to buy paper filters, and the coffee maker turns off automatically after the end of a brewing cycle.
Because it’s a single serve drip coffee maker, its footprint is smaller than other larger units. You can therefore fit it into a kitchen of almost any size, or even a boat or an RV.
We found the insulated travel mug useful for busy mornings where you’d want a quick cup of coffee for the drive, however it doesn’t seem to do well in a dishwasher because water can get into the hollow space between the interior and exterior wall. Most people would probably just rinse it off under running water anyway, which in our experience is more than enough to keep it clean. Unless you use milk, which might require a more thorough cleaning from time to time.
Another thing worth noting is the build quality. While one of its major advantages is definitely the price, it also means that overall build quality isn’t top notch. Some parts do seem a bit fragile, which is okay, but it might not last you a decade without some parts breaking.
Best space-saving: KRUPS Simply Brew 5-Cup Coffee Maker
KRUPS Simply Brew 5-Cup Coffee Maker
With the KRUPS Simply Brew 5-Cup Coffee Maker you get perfect drip coffee in a compact unit.
Pros: Compact unit takes up less counter space, coffee tastes great, it’s relatively quiet, nice and sleek design, very easy to use, reusable filter included.
Cons: No auto shut-off means it stays on until manually turned off, no adjustment options, brew basket and lid seem a bit fragile, power button is inconveniently located on the bottom side.
With the compact KRUPS Simply Brew drip coffee maker you’re able to make 5 cups of great coffee at a time. It’s a pleasure to use this little machine because of how simple it us, just add water and grounds before switching it on and let it do its job. A few minutes after you’ll have hot coffee ready to drink.
We enjoy the design of the KRUPS coffee maker because it’s minimalistic with a rectangular shape, so it easily fits in between other appliances or can even be hidden in a cabinet.
There’s a warming plate under the glass carafe to keep your coffee warm, and most surfaces are easy to wipe off after use.
One of our main concerns is that it doesn’t have an auto shut-off feature. For most people this isn’t a big issue because they’ll turn it off immediately after brewing, but if you have a habit of forgetting it the coffee maker stays on until you flip the switch.
It doesn’t allow for any adjustment of taste nor programming, and some parts seem a bit flimsy. A few buyers mentioned that the plastic lid came off when opened because the hinges are a bit weak, so you’ll have to handle this drip coffee maker with care.
Despite these flaws we still believe it’s a great drip coffee maker for those who want to save space yet still want proper coffee.
The KRUPS Simply Brew 5-Cup Coffee Maker was also praised by Bustle for being “A Fan-Favorite 5-Cup Coffee Maker“, and we do agree with their review claiming that it’s a sleek and modern machine that does indeed look great at a counter but at the same time it’s compact enough to stow away in a cabinet when needed.
Best programmable: Braun KF6050WH BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker
Braun KF6050WH BrewSense
If you like the idea of waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee every morning, the Braun BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker is a winner.
Pros: 1-4 cup setting allows for proper coffee taste when brewing small volumes, easy programming features, user friendly control panel, great reusable filter basket, up to 24 hours delayed start, makes up to 12 cups of coffee at a time.
Cons: Water tank is difficult to refill due to small opening, water level indicator is hardly visible from any angle, display isn’t illuminated, it’s a bit louder than other coffee makers when brewing.
The Braun KF6050WH BrewSense drip coffee maker is a great choice if you want a programmable coffee maker that doesn’t cost a fortune. Although it’s reasonably priced you get a few very useful features that enable you make great coffee that meet different requirements.
One feature that might come in handy is the ability to slow down the brewing process to fit a smaller volume (1-4 cups). If this wasn’t an option you’d end up with a weak cup of coffee unless you make a full carafe of coffee each time.
We like the option of setting a timer to make coffee at a designated time, which means you can wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee every day. For many people this is a true life saver, and you’ll save lots of precious time in the mornings while you still get to enjoy a cup of coffee.
Another thing we appreciate is the design, which is minimalistic and modern. It isn’t black like most drip coffee makers, but instead it’s a combination of white and stainless steel elements. This combination allows for easy cleaning of most parts with a damp cloth.
Despite its many advantages there are a few flaws worth noting. We found the design of the water tank a bit inconvenient because the opening makes it difficult to pour in water without spilling. You need to pour it carefully because the opening is quite small, and it gets even more difficult if it’s placed underneath a cabinet.
There’s also a water level indicator on the side which is somewhat useless, because it’s hardly visible. You’ll have to rely on the water level marker on the side of the carafe instead, but fortunately this is easily visible.
Best with thermal carafe: Cuisinart DCC-3400P1
Cuisinart DCC-3400P1 Stainless Steel
If you’d like to keep your coffee hot for hours on end, the Cuisinart DCC-3400P1 drip coffee maker is our top pick.
Pros: Custom flavor profiles (bold, regular, or 1-4 cups), large capacity, coffee tastes great, easy operation, sleek stainless steel design, illuminated display, programmable, reusable filter included.
Cons: Insulated carafe is a bit clumsy, water level indicator on the side isn’t easily visible, water tank can be difficult to fill up.
If you’re looking for a drip coffee maker with an insulated carafe, the Cuisinart DCC-3400P1 is worth a serious consideration. It’s extremely easy to operate, buttons and display are illuminated, and it has a sleek design overall.
Although it has a seemingly minimalistic layout, it does actually pack a great deal of useful features that you’ll find handy for everyday use. Most importantly the ability to set a timer for a designated time of the day, which gives you freshly brewed coffee at any time you want. You can also adjust the flavor to your liking, so if you want a stronger cup of coffee you simply press a button, or if you want to make a smaller portion you simply choose the “1-4 cups” option.
All in all we appreciate the features and details of this Cuisinart drip coffee maker, but it does come with a few flaws too.
First of all, this might be a matter of personal taste, but for some people the thermal carafe might seem a bit clumsy because of the bulky size. You’ll have to pour the coffee slowly to prevent it from spilling, and you’ll have to do the same when filling up the water tank.
This drip coffee maker does have a Brew Pause feature which means you can pour a cup of coffee during brewing, but a few drops might drip onto the platform anyway. However, because it’s an insulated carafe there’s no warming plate underneath and you can easily wipe off any spills without burning yourself. Just make sure you do so after the brew cycle is finished and no more water runs through, in order to prevent getting scolded by drops landing on your hand.
Best with grinder: Capresso CoffeeTEAM GS Coffee Maker
Capresso CoffeeTEAM GS Coffee Maker
With a built-in conical burr grinder, the Capresso CoffeeTEAM GS Coffee Maker is a best buy for those wanting to grind their own beans.
Pros: Efficient conical burr grinder with a bean compartment on top, makes coffee packed with flavors, reusable filter include, brew basket swings out for easy cleaning, adjustable brew strength, works with pre-ground coffee too, easy to use and maintain.
Cons: The control panel layout seems a bit cluttered, requires a lot of cleaning if oily beans are used, bean compartment only holds 6 ounces, illuminated display is quite bright.
There’s something special about coffee beans that are freshly ground seconds before use. The flavors are better preserved this way, and you can definitely taste the difference.
If you like the idea of grinding your own beans but don’t want an extra appliance sitting there on your countertop for that sole purpose, the Capresso CoffeeTEAM GS Coffee Maker comes in handy. With a conical burr grinder built in you’ll get beans that are uniformly ground to the exact portion size you’re making, and you don’t have to do anything except adding whole beans.
The Capresso CoffeeTEAM GS drip coffee maker makes great coffee, and you’ll get up to 10 cups at a time. It has a ton of options for adjustments of flavor and volume, so with this coffee maker there’s a better chance that you’ll find something that suits your taste.
Unfortunately the numerous features and different options result in more buttons and a somewhat confusing layout, that might scare off some people. It does require a manual to understand the sheer amount of adjustment options available, but it didn’t take us long to learn and understand how to properly use and maintain this drip coffee maker.
Be aware that oily beans might require frequent cleanup, as they tend to get stuck in the canal that leads the grounds to the filter basket. This isn’t a big issue, but it’s still worth noting. The bean compartment holds only 6 ounces of beans, which is approximately 50% of a regular bag of coffee beans.
Most versatile: Ninja CP301 Hot & Cold Brewed System
Ninja CP301 Hot & Cold Brewed System
With a vast range of exciting features and taste options to choose from, the Ninja CP301 Hot & Cold Brewed System is the most versatile drip coffee maker we’ve come across.
Pros: Makes hot or cold coffee, many different taste settings to choose from, makes a single cup or whole carafe at once, basket for tea included, built-in milk frother, removable water tank for easy filling and cleaning.
Cons: Filter baskets aren’t as efficient as others, slightly complicated to use due to the many options, bulky in size.
With the Ninja CP301 Hot & Cold Brewed System you’re able to make almost any type of drip coffee you can imagine. Hot or cold. Besides coffee it also makes tea, and there’s a separate filter basket included for that exact purpose. So whether you want a pot of freshly brewed tea or coffee, hot or cold, this drip coffee maker sorts it out for you.
Another great feature is its capability of adjusting the portion size to your exact need. Whether you want a cup, a large mug or a full pot, it’s easily selected by turning a knob. Once your coffee or tea is ready, you can make delicious milk foam by warming up a cup of milk and froth it using the fold-away milk frother on the side of the coffee maker.
Where most coffee makers have a built-in water tank, this one is removable. By allowing you to remove the water tank it’s not only easy to clean, but also easy to fill up. No more pouring and spilling all over the countertop, because with this coffee maker you can do so over the kitchen sink. OR you can leave the water tank in place and pour the water in like any other coffee maker.
The filter baskets included do not seem to be as efficient as others, judging by some user’s experiences. This isn’t necessarily a big deal because you can simply leave the coffee to settle for a minute before drinking it, or use a paper filter if you want a more refined taste.
Because of the many features the drip coffee maker is a bit complicated to use, but after reading through the manual and spending a few minutes adjusting everything, it’s quite easy to figure everything out.
It’s a bit bulky compared to other coffee makers, so make sure there’s plenty of vacant space on your countertop.
According to CNET where an extensive review of a similar model can be found, the Ninja Cold Brewed System is worth the price if you love lattes and a solid drip coffee. We do agree with them, and it seems like buyers generally agree as well.
Identifying the best drip coffee maker
In an effort to identify the best drip coffee makers on the market we conducted extensive research, reached out to numerous experts, and rounded up the best options based on reviews and user experience.
After the research, we identified the following factors as worth considering when shopping for a new drip coffee maker:
- Ease of use
- Build quality
- Noise level
The taste of the coffee yielded from each coffee maker is of utmost importance. You don’t want bad coffee regardless of how much the coffee maker costs, so finding one that makes great coffee is our biggest priority for this buying guide.
We want our drip coffee maker to perform well too, but what does that actually mean? First of all we want it to be somewhat fast, but not too fast. We want it to make great coffee as quickly as possible, while still preserving all the best flavors from your coffee grounds. Some drip coffee makers are slow at heating up the water because of a weak heat element, whereas others are more efficient at heating up water and get the extraction process started. Generally speaking, the cheapest coffee makers are usually the slowest at heating up the water.
Ease of use is important too. Coffee is usually made for a reason, and we wouldn’t want to waste time during a busy morning trying to figure out how to make et brew our much needed caffeinated drink. We appreciate our coffee makers for their user friendliness, and ideally we’d just press one single button to start the brewing process.
Coffee makers are meant to be used daily, and therefore have to hold up to a frequent usage pattern. Detachable parts, such as the filter basket and (in some cases) the water tank, have to be durable enough to withstand daily handling.
Last, but not least, we don’t appreciate it if a drip coffee maker is too noisy. The noise mainly originates from the water not being funneled properly through the heating system, just like when you’re trying to get the last drops of soda with a straw. A few drip coffee makers have loud alarm signals that you can’t deactivate, and these aren’t appreciated either and we’ve steered clear of those.