Though making drip coffee should be as easy as filling a drip coffee maker with hot water and coffee grounds, not all drip coffee makers are created equal; as french press and ground coffee enthusiasts will tell you, there's much more to the art of the perfect home brew. You need to find a drip coffee maker that doesn't brew too slowly and that can bring water to the correct temperature — all common obstacles that can doom your drip — and that's not always easy to do.
Luckily, we have found some noteworthy exceptions on the market, and whether you prefer to brew perfect lattes, iced coffee or turn fresh coffee beans into the perfect cup of joe, you don't need to spend a mint to get the best coffee maker. You can drop over $600 on a tricked-out Ratio Eight that's as beautiful as it is capable or on a programmable commercial coffee maker. But all it takes is $15 to get Oxo's superb Single Serve Pour Over funnel.
And there are plenty of compelling choices in-between for a coffee lover's brew. One is our Editors' Choice winner, the Bonavita Connoisseur, our pick for best all-around automatic brewer. Another is the KitchenAid Siphon Brewer, which uses an ancient technique to achieve outstanding and dramatic results. No matter your budget, there's something on this list that'll fit your drip needs perfectly and be the best coffee maker for you — and we'll periodically update it with new products as we test them. We promise, you'll never have to drink coffee from pods or an ancient coffee pot again.
Chris Monroe/CNET <a href="https://www.cnet.com/awards/" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank"> ED I T O R S ’ C H O I C E Oct 2014 </a> Despite its snobby name, the Connoisseur from Bonavita is the best coffee maker for automatic drip coffee you can buy for the least amount of cash. It reliably brews full pots of great coffee that rival what you would get from your favorite coffee shop or barista, and it's a coffee maker that's a cinch to use. With easy, one-touch operation, the Bonavita has a 1,500-watt heating element that maintains optimal brewing temperature of 198-205 degrees fahrenheit.
This perfect coffee maker also has a 1.3-liter water reservoir, works fast, and has all the bells and whistles including a stainless steel-lined thermal carafe. It's also a snap to keep clean, with a removable, dishwasher-safe filter basket and carafe lid.
<a href="https://www.cnet.com/reviews/bonavita-bv-1900ts-review/" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">Read our Bonavita BV 1900TS review</a>. Tyler Lizenby/CNET If you find that brewing an entire pot of coffee each morning is overkill, then consider the Bonavita Immersion Dripper, the best coffee maker for strong single cups. This small gadget is the best coffee maker to brew perfect single cups of strong, flavorful Joe that can be enjoyed hot or cooled for iced coffee. You just have to supply the hot water and coffee filters. <a href="https://www.cnet.com/reviews/bonavita-immersion-dripper-review/" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">Read our Bonavita Immersion Dripper review</a>. Those who seek lots of coffee in a hurry will love the quick brew cycle of this coffee maker. The Bunn Velocity Brew BT drip coffee maker with its stainless steel-lined thermal carafe whips up large pots of joe at astonishing speed. In as little as 3 minutes, 33 seconds, the coffee maker can deliver full batches of tasty drip to drink. <a href="https://www.cnet.com/reviews/bunn-velocity-brew-bt-review/" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">Read our Bunn Velocity Brew BT review</a>. Tyler Lizenby/CNET It's hard to find a coffee maker that beats the KitchenAid Siphon Brewer's unique combination of spectacle and quality. The coffee it makes is distinctly rich, deep and seductively flavorful. Its vintage brewing method, based on vapor pressure and vacuum suction, is also mesmerizing to watch. No paper filters needed as the Siphon Brewer comes with a reusable stainless steel filter. <a href="https://www.cnet.com/reviews/kitchenaid-siphon-coffee-brewer-review/" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">Read our Kitchenaid Siphon Coffee Brewer review</a>. Chris Monroe/CNET Think of this kitchen appliance as the Swiss army knife of the drip coffee maker world. The Ninja programmable brewer (with frother, thermal carafe and reusable filter) offers an uncanny degree of flexibility, making it the best coffee maker for those who don't always want the same cup. It can create everything from solid drip, to perfect cold brew, to iced coffee, to latte-style drinks with its milk frother, and it will adjust the temperature according to your choice. Its thermal carafe will keep tea or coffee hot up to two hours. This programmable coffee maker even lets you brew iced coffee and hot coffee in multiple sizes, from small cups, mugs, travel mugs, all the way up to half and full carafes. <a href="https://www.cnet.com/reviews/ninja-hot-and-cold-brewed-system-review/" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">Read our Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System review</a>. Chris Monroe/CNET Cold brew coffee is delicious, but it can be a pain to make. Oxo's cold brew coffee maker takes much of the headache out of the process. It saturates coffee grounds evenly, and lets you drain cold brewed coffee from them with relative ease. <a href="https://www.cnet.com/reviews/oxo-cold-brew-coffee-maker-review/" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">Read our Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker review</a>. Tyler Lizenby/CNET <a href="https://www.cnet.com/awards/" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank"> ED I T O R S ’ C H O I C E </a> Great tasting drip from a product that costs just $15? It sounds unlikely but that's just what the affordable Oxo Good Grips Pour-Over offers. It only makes coffee one drink at a time, and requires you to provide the hot water. That said, the simple brewer transforms the otherwise complex task of pour-over into one that's easy, clean and almost foolproof. <a href="https://www.cnet.com/reviews/oxo-good-grips-pour-over-coffee-maker-review/" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">Read our Oxo Good Grips Pour-Over Coffee Maker review</a>. Tyler Lizenby/CNET Judging by the Ratio Eight appliance, the people at Ratio believe that a coffee maker should be beautiful as well as functional. Starting at $495, each brewer is crafted from a selection of premium materials like walnut, mahogany and glass. (Both the water reservoir and carafe are made from hand-blown glass.) Their sturdy aluminum bases are available in numerous finishes as well. And yes, the Ratio Eight also makes excellent drip. <a href="https://www.cnet.com/reviews/ratio-eight-review/" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">Read our Ratio Eight review</a>. Megan Wollerton/CNET Dutch company Technivorm has sold exceptionally good drip coffee makers for decades. Its Moccamaster KBT 741 sports a design with clean lines and sharp angles that harkens back to 1968, the year the first Moccamaster hit stores. Retro design aside, the Moccamaster KBT 741 consistently puts out perfect freshly brewed coffee that will satisfy coffee connoisseurs. It's stainless steel thermal carafe also keeps its contents hot a full six hours. <a href="https://www.cnet.com/reviews/technivorm-moccamaster-kbt-741-review/" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">Read our Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741 review</a>.
A note on testing coffee makers
Evaluating the performance of a coffee maker is trickier than it might sound. The first step is to know what good drip coffee actually is. According to the Specialty Coffee Association, there are criteria critical to brewing quality java. Mainly these are brewing time and water temperature. Hot water should come into contact with grounds for no less than four minutes and no longer than eight. Additionally, the ideal water temperature range is between 197 degrees Fahrenheit (92C) and 205 degrees Fahrenheit (96C).
To confirm how each coffee maker meets that challenge, we log the length of their brew cycles. We also employ thermocouple heat sensors connected to industrial-grade data loggers. That enables us to record the temperature within the coffee grounds while brewing is underway.
After brewing coffee, we take sample readings of the produced coffee liquid with an optical refractometer. Given we factor in the amount of water and freshly ground coffee used, that data lets us calculate the Total Dissolved Solids percentage of each brew. From there we arrive at the extraction percentage. The ideal range is commonly thought to be between 18 and 20%.
We also back up measured data with a good, old fashioned taste test. If the taste of a cup of coffee is bitter, there's a good chance it was over extracted during the drip. On the opposite end, an under extracted cup of coffee will typically taste weak — it can even taste sour or have the flavor of soggy peanuts. And to be certain, we brew identical test runs a minimum of three times to achieve average results.
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