Finding the best coffee makers with thermal carafes can be a challenge if you’re looking for something for a product that’s so, well, specifically spec’d.
Not to worry, though, for we have some excellent suggestions for you!
In this roundup, we bring together the best combination multi-serve and single-serve coffee makers, along with a handful of “multi-serve only” models. With plenty of choices in the “budget” and “premium” price ranges.
We’re safe to say that you’re lucky to have found this guide, for one of these coffee makers is sure to be the right one for you.
Where to Start? Our Top Picks for…
Best Single Coffee Makers with Thermal Carafes
Budget Coffee Maker
Let’s dig right into it. The Hamilton Beach 49980Z is our top pick for single coffee makers in the budget category. For about the same price as a good quality single-serve model, it lets you make only a single petite cup if you prefer, but thanks to is multi-serve option you’ll be prepared to make a full pot for the entire household.
The 49980Z thermal carafe keeps your coffee hot for up to two hours after brewing. An auto-shutoff control is conveniently provided, so you don’t have to worry about turning it off manually. If you want to keep the coffee hot for another two hours, you could simply hit the heat switch again.
Premium Coffee Maker
The Hamilton Beach (49966) FlexBrew is our top pick in the premium category, but it really is priced very reasonably. You could easily spend a lot more on a model that offers similar capabilities, and still not get the performance and quality that you could get with the FlexBrew.
Unlike most two-way coffee makers, the FlexBrew has two water reservoirs for each section. Each side also has its own dedicated window which lets you quickly check water levels without having to lift the lids. And like most Hamilton Beach two-way coffee makers, the FlexBrew makes consistently excellent coffee from grounds and coffee pods.
Best Multi-Serve Coffee Makers with Thermal Carafes
Budget Coffee Maker
The HAMSWAN AD-103 gives you the richness and flavor of your favorite specialty coffee shop brews in a convenient and budget-friendly package. Built for durability and reliability, it has a compact form factor that won’t take up too much counter space.
The HAMSWAN AD-103 gives you perfectly brewed coffee in as little as six minutes. The generously-sized carafe holds up to ten cups of coffee, which is more than enough for most households. The unique drip design and the five vent holes ensure full-bodied with every cup you brew.
Premium Coffee Maker
Our premium pick for top multi-serve coffee maker is the BUNN BT Velocity Brew. It has an enhanced sprayhead that extracts the flavors from your grounds effectively, giving you rich and remarkably robust coffee. Amazingly, the Velocity Brew does this in pretty much the same amount of time it takes for the water to course through the filter.
The Velocity Brew’s thermal carafe has a ten-cup capacity, and it does a great job of keeping the contents hot and drinkable up to two hours after brewing. This is especially impressive considering that it doesn’t have a hot plate. For a premium quality coffee maker that doesn’t have the premium price tag, the Velocity Brew is the one to beat.
Top 10 Best Coffee Makers with Thermal Carafe and Single Serve
Single/Multi-Serve Coffee Makers With Thermal Carafes
Hamilton Beach (49966) FlexBrew Coffee Maker
The Hamilton Beach FlexBrew is a versatile and flexible coffee maker that could be used to make anything from a single cup of coffee to a full pot. It consists of a carafe section with which you can use coffee grounds, and a single-serve section with which you can use coffee grounds and pre-packaged coffee pods. The carafe side also has a timer and an auto-shutoff control.
The FlexBrew has water reservoirs for each side, and windows through which you can see the water level. With a standard K-Cup pod, you can brew a 10-ounce cup of coffee; you can increase this to 14 ounces by using coffee grounds.
Features and Specs
The FlexBrew is essentially a two-in-one coffee maker that gives you the convenience of single-serve brewing and the capability to brew a full pot when you need it. The stainless steel thermal carafe can make up to ten cups of coffee from grounds. You can also use grounds in the single-serve side, or a coffee pod such as Keurig K-Cups.
The carafe side has a stainless steel plate that keeps coffee hot for a reasonable amount of time. This side also has a programmable timer, and auto pause and auto shutoff features.
The single serve section has a cup rest that can accommodate even tall mugs. This also serves as a storage receptacle if you prefer to drink your coffee later.
- Brews single servings and full pots
- Can be used with K-Cups and coffee grounds
- Thermal plate keeps coffee hot
- Coffee can be too hot for some
Convenience and ease of use are among the most appealing aspects of the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew for many users. Able to brew a single cup in minutes–and a full pot almost as quickly–it has earned a fair bit of praise for its versatility and convenience.
Some users opt to program the carafe side at night before going to bed. They could then have a full pot of coffee waiting for them when they wake up in the morning.
The single serve is just as easy to use. Coffee pods will have to be positioned so that the bottom is pierced by the bottom needle. The foil top is then punctured simply by closing the lid.
The FlexBrew is a convenient solution for quick single cup brewing, but it could just as easily brew a pot of coffee for the entire household. Some users did complain that the coffee produced is too hot, but some might see that as a good thing. In any case, the FlexBrew is an excellent all-around solution for making rich and tasty coffeehouse-style coffee at home.
Cuisinart SS-20 Coffee Center
The Cuisinart SS-20 is perfectly suited for households that have varying needs for coffee. You know the scenario: on most days, you might have just enough time to grab a cup of coffee before rushing off to work. On other days, you might want to brew a full pot for the entire household to enjoy leisurely. The SS-20 performs equally well in either situation, making it a versatile way to get your caffeine fix however you want it.
Like the best dual-function coffee makers, the SS-20 pairs a single-brew section with an automatic thermal section that brews multiple cups. A convenient and flexible coffee maker, it even comes with Coffee Bar capsules so you could get started brewing single cups immediately.
Features and Specs
The SS-20’s single-serve brewer is more than a quick-fix solution to getting your caffeine fix in the morning. It is actually pretty versatile unit, enabling you to brew 6, 8, or 10-ounce cups. You could use K-Cups for quick and easy brewing when you are in a hurry or grounds for full flavor when you have a little bit more time to spare. Features such as the HomeBarista Reusable Filter Cup and the removable 40-ounce reservoir further add to the unit’s single-serve functionality.
The Carafe Brewer section enables you to brew 10 cups of coffee up to 24 hours in advance. This section even has a self-cleaning mechanism, and a brew strength control for those time when only an industrial-strength cuppa joe will do.
- Consistently high-quality results
- Option to set carafe temperature
- Needs to be cleaned frequently
- A bit pricey
Users of the SS-20 found that it works equally well with grounds and pods. However, frequent cleaning is necessary to prevent clogging if it is used mostly with grounds. Even when pods are used, the manufacturer recommends cleaning the piercer periodically with a paper clip.
A bit of splashing is inevitable given the SS-20’s design. Using a tall mug will reduce this somewhat, but users still get tiny drops of coffee on the interior walls. In all other aspects though, the SS-20 is an excellent unit, and most users seem pretty satisfied with its performance.
The Cuisinart SS-20 is a well-made and attractive unit that produces consistently high-quality results. It is admittedly a little bit pricey, but that is to be expected from a premium unit. If not for the need for frequent cleaning, this could have easily been our top pick in the premium single-serve coffee maker category.
Ninja Coffee Bar Brewer
The Ninja Coffee Bar Brewer lets you enjoy high-quality, fresh-brewed coffee right in your own home. A well-designed and professional-looking machine, it would look right at home in your favorite boutique coffeehouse. In fact, the quality of coffee you can produce with the Ninja might even surpass that of your favorite cafe.
Furthermore, getting the kind of coffee you are accustomed to is just as easy as walking up to your friendly neighborhood barista. The Ninja has an automated brewing system that lets you brew precisely type of coffee you like–and in the size you want–with little more than a press of a button.
Features and Specs
The Ninja has a removable water reservoir that has a helpful auto-metering feature. This saves you the trouble of having to constantly measure water levels and refill the reservoir.
The Auto-iQ feature is probably the biggest selling point of the Ninja. Offering one-touch intelligent operation, this allows you choose from a variety of different brews at the size you want without having to measure out any water or coffee grounds.
The Thermal Flavor Extraction Technology is an equally important feature. This lets you choose from four different types of brews–Classic, Rich, Over Ice, and Specialty–and adjusts the concentration of the coffee accordingly.
- One-touch operation
- Four different brewing styles
- No need to measure water
- Can’t be used with K-Cups
- Cleaning process can be very tedious
Fans of coffeehouse style drinks are absolutely taken with the Ninja Coffee Bar Brewer. A convenient way to get a similar quality of coffee as that which you could get from a specialty coffee shop, the Ninja has proven to be a more cost-effective alternative.
The Ninja does not have the capability to use K-Cup coffee pods. Nevertheless, users have gotten excellent results by using the grounds from pods that they had available. Results are even better with fresh ground coffee, and the resulting brew equaled that of the best coffee shop concoctions in terms of richness and flavor.
Users did find the Ninja is a bit challenging to clean. After running a cleaning solution, many users found that they had to quickly flush it with clean water. Otherwise, the system will detect the machine as being in need of cleaning, and the entire process will have to be started all over again.
The Ninja Coffee Bar Brewer is an excellent coffee machine that is letdown by the tedious cleaning process required. Even with this issue, the Ninja is still one of the best coffee makers in this roundup.
Hamilton Beach 49980Z 2-Way Brewer
Those looking for a quick, convenient, and budget-priced solution to their coffee brewing needs should look no further than the Hamilton Beach 49980Z. A two-way brewer that can brew as many as 12 cups at a time, it is also perfect for brewing up a single grab ’n’ go serving of exquisitely-flavored brew.
Brewing coffee with the 49980Z is about as easy as it could get. The single-serve side lets you brew from petite cups to travel-sized mugs of coffee within minutes. Brewing a full pot doesn’t take much more time and effort, and you could easily have it ready for the entire household by the time everybody wakes up.
Features and Specs
The 49980Z allows you to brew as many as 12 cups at once via the carafe side. The generously-sized reservoir holds more than enough water for a full pot, and measurement markings are conveniently provided for consistent results.
In the single-serve side, you can brew as much as 14 ounces of coffee, which should give you enough fuel to get a good start to the most challenging work days. If you don’t need quite as much coffee, you can simply dial the 49980Z down for a smaller serving.
The 49980Z is designed specifically for ground coffee, although you can use soft pods with the include pod holder that snaps onto the brew basket. You can even choose from two brew strengths: regular and bold.
- Can use grounds as well as soft pods
- Large 12-cup capacity
- Brewing can be pre-programmed up to 24 hours in advance
- Coffee is extremely hot, so be careful
For many users, the Hamilton Beach 49980Z is a huge money saver. The ability to brew single cups is especially useful for households in which everyone has a different schedule. This does away with the need to brew too much coffee, and then have to throw out the remains.
Users have gotten great results with grounds as well as pods. Some have even found the 49980Z to handle pod kits really well, with fine grinds resulting in rich and strong flavors.
The heating mechanism shuts off automatically after two hours, which most users find to be a convenient feature. For keeping coffee hot for longer periods, users simply turn it on again right after it shuts off.
The Hamilton Beach 49980Z is an affordably-priced unit that delivers exceptional value. It definitely looks more expensive than it is, and its superb performance easily makes it out top budget pick in the single/multi-serve category.
Bonavita BV1900TS 8-Cup One-Touch Coffee Maker
The Bonavita BV1900TS is a coffee brewer that does one thing and one thing only: brew a great pot of coffee. It might seem to be a fairly simple task, but it is something that this particular coffee maker especially excels at. In fact, the quality of coffee produced is so good that the Bonavita is recommended by the Specialty Coffee Association.
The BV1900TS has a simple, elegant, and almost minimalistic design. This isn’t a coincidence; the unit is actually designed for operational simplicity, and its physical form reflects that. The Bonavita is certainly easy to use, and producing up to eight cups of richly-brewed coffee requires little more than a press of a button.
Features and Specs
The BV1900TS has a powerful 1500-watt heater that keeps the brewing temperature in the 195° F to 205° F range. This is ensures optimum flavor without a hint of bitterness.
Other features include a flat-bottomed filter basket and a large showerhead that saturates coffee grounds more evenly, resulting in full flavor extraction.
You could even get remarkably close to the richness and complexity of your favorite specialty coffee house brews by switching to pre-infusion mode. This essentially replicates the pour-over brewing method employed in artisanal coffee houses. By pausing the water flow at timed intervals, the flavors in the grounds are allowed to develop fully.
- Maintains optimal brewing temperature
- Optional pre-infusion mode for full, rich flavor
- Even saturation results in full flavor extraction
- Thermal carafe takes a long time to pour
With few exceptions, users of the Bonavita are unanimous in their praise of the quality of the resulting brew. The features that allow for even saturation and full flavor extraction definitely result in great-tasting coffee. This alone is enough to make many users rely on the Bonavita exclusively for all brewing needs.
The simple and functional design of the unit also scores points with many users. In particular, users love the way that the filter unit attaches to the carafe, making it possible to scoop in coffee grounds away from the machine.
Some users did complain about the thermal carafe, which pours out coffee at a very slow rate. The good news is that Bonavita offers replacement glass carafes as well, which many have found to be a better alternative.
As it is, the Bonavita BV1900TS is a pretty impressive coffee maker that comes with an attractive price tag. Nevertheless, getting the replacement glass carafe will definitely improve performance, and make an already-excellent coffee machine even better.
Multi-Serve Coffee Makers With Thermal Carafes
Cuisinart DCC-2750 Extreme Brew
If you loathe having to sit around for your first cup of coffee in the morning, the Cuisinart DCC-2750 Extreme Brew is perfect for you. Combining a slick and modern design with state-of-the-art features, the Extreme Brew produces a fresh, steaming cup 25% quicker than other coffee makers.
Many of the features of the Extreme Brew are probably familiar to those that have used Cuisinart products in the past. The auto shutoff and brew strength controls have been employed to great effect in other Cuisinart coffee makers. This goes for the Brew Pause feature as well, which gives you a nice hot cup of coffee while the rest of the pot is being brewed.
Features and Specs
The Extreme Brew boasts of a simple yet elegant design that will complement your kitchen décor perfectly. Around the small LCD display is an array of buttons that lets you control most of the functions. The rest of the front panel is sparely populated by two dials and two buttons, which control the program, clock, brew, and clean functions. This modest set of controls is pretty much all you need to unleash the impressive power of the Extreme Brew.
You can make up to ten cups of regular or bold coffee in the thermal carafe, and even choose between two filter types.
- “Brew Pause” feature lets you enjoy a cup while the pot brews
- Gives you the choice of two filter systems
- Recalls previous settings in case of power loss
- Coffee cools pretty quickly
- Carafe dribbles coffee when pouring
Users of the Extreme Brew are not only impressed with its speed and efficiency, but also the quality of the brew. There are other coffee makers on the market that can brew a cup almost as quickly, but few are able to do so while the rest of the pot is brewing. Furthermore, the quality of the coffee produced is outstanding, encouraging many to give up their previous coffee makers in favor of this one.
Users also find the unit easy to use and very low maintenance. One drawback though is that coffee left in the carafe cools very quickly. Many have found that coffee cools down to room temperature in as little as an hour.
The Extreme Brew would be as perfect as a coffee maker could be with a better carafe that didn’t dribble. Even with its present design however, it is still a pretty impressive unit that delivers excellent performance and quality results.
BUNN BT Velocity Brew 10-Cup Thermal Carafe Home Coffee Brewer
The Velocity Brew is Bunn’s take on the classic coffee maker design. At first glance, it may seem pretty much like any quality coffee maker. But a closer look reveals that it has more than a few tricks under its slick brushed-steel exterior.
The Velocity Brew brews from four to ten cups of coffee in just a little over three minutes. The unique sprayhead ensures that flavors are extracted evenly, resulting in a remarkably rich and flavorful brew.
The stainless steel thermal carafe keeps the water at the optimal brewing temperature for up to two hours. In fact, the water produced by the Velocity Brew is so hot that you can even use it to steep tea.
Features and Specs
The Velocity Brew has a powerful 800-watt heater controlled by an internal thermostat. This keeps the water at 200° F, which is the ideal temperature for rich and full-bodied brews without any bitterness. The double-walled thermal carafe is vacuum insulated, and keeps the coffee hot for up to two hours even without a warming plate.
The specially-designed sprayhead ensures even and total extraction, which lets you get the maximum flavor from your grounds. This results in a consistently rich and full-flavored coffee.
Right out of the box, the Velocity Brew is designed for use with coarse-grind coffee. BUNN also offers an aftermarket sprayhead which restricts flow for better performance with finer grinds.
- Sprayhead design results in noticeably rich and flavorful brews
- Makes up to ten cups of coffee within minutes
- Durable build and elegant design
- Does not have warmer plate
- Needs a restricted sprayhead for finer grinds
Users of the BUNN BT seem especially impressed at how quickly the machine can process grounds into a steaming pot of coffee. Some users report being able to enjoy a full pot in the time it takes for the water to course through the filter.
Many users also found the sprayhead design to be very effective at extracting the full flavors from coffee grounds. Saturation was nice and even, and all the grounds were fully utilized without wastage.
Some users did note having trouble with the sprayhead, which seems better suited for coarse grinds. BUNN does offer a restricted flow sprayhead, which many users find to be more effective for finer grinds.
There really is very little that we would want to change about the BUNN BT. It does a good job of keeping coffee hot even without a warming plate. The included sprayhead might give you a bit of trouble with finer grinds, but the availability of a more suitable replacement head does away with this minor issue.
HAMSWAN AD-103 Coffee Maker Coffee Pot
When it comes to coffee makers, convenience and flavor are often the primary considerations. Buyers not only want rich and flavorful coffee–they also want to get it quickly with as little effort as possible.
The HAMSWAN AD-103 ticks all these boxes, and more. Its superb performance and consistently excellent brews make it a shoe-in for the top budget option in our multi-serve category.
With the AD-103, you get ten cups of coffee in as little as six minutes. The drip design and vent holes ensures full-bodied and exquisitely-balanced flavor with every brew.
The AD-103 also has an elegant look that combines traditional features and modern Italian design. The result is a stylish and attractive coffeemaker that looks good and works great.
Features and Specs
Going by looks alone, the HAMSWAN AD-103 already has what it takes to measure up to the best coffee makers on the market. Blending traditional form and modern Italian design, it is a stunning piece of equipment that you will be proud to display on your countertop.
But the AD-103 is more than a nice-looking gadget. It also boasts of state-of-the-art features that enhance the brewing process, ensuring great coffee every time. Foremost of these are the five vents that extract the flavors of coffee grounds efficiently, resulting in exceptionally rich and smooth brews.
- Compact and stylish design
- Five-vent design ensures perfect flavor extraction
- Anti-drip system
- Centering the funnel can be difficult
- Some pod brands may burst when used with this unit
The simplicity and ease of use of the HAMSWAN AD-103 scored major points with users. Users found that the amount of coffee produced can be specified simply by pouring in the appropriate amount of water. The water is heated before brewing actually begins, which users find results in stronger and more flavorful coffee.
The small footprint and easy cleaning also appealed to many users. One drawback though is that some pods tend to burst when used with its unit. A number of users also experienced overflowing when using coffee grounds, but they seem to be in the minority. Most users generally find the AD-103 to be a consistently reliable unit that produces great coffee with little effort.
The HAMSWAN AD-103 is an affordably-priced coffee maker that should satisfy even the most discriminating users. In terms of performance and the quality of coffee produced, this is one machine that could easily compare to the highest-priced units.
Breville BDC450 Precision Brewer Coffee Maker with Thermal Carafe
The Breville BDC450 is a precision coffee maker equipped with a handy thermal carafe. Designed for precise control over temperature and brewing time, it produces coffee of superb richness and quality. It can process most any type of grounds, with the resulting brew rivaling the best that your favorite boutique coffee shop have to offer.
The BDC450 is billed as the first 60-ounce drip coffee maker, which should give you a hint as to its abilities. Six brewing modes give you the perfect cup of coffee regardless of your preferences, and you have total control over every aspect of the brewing process.
Features and Specs
There are a number of features that place the Breville BDC450 a few notches up from your typical coffee maker. One of these is the “Steep & Release” valve, which is intended specifically for brewing single servings. A patent-pending feature, this keeps the coffee in contact with the water, even with without the carafe in place.
The Breville BDC450 is powered by a 1650-watt heater that works in conjunction with the digital temperature control. This system ensures optimal temperature, flow rate, and water contact, resulting in perfect brews every time.
The BDC450 also has a thermocoil heating system that gives you purer water than that which you could get with other brewing systems. You could even choose from six brewing modes that give you precisely the strength and flavor of coffee that you like.
- Offers a good degree of control over the quality and flavor of coffee
- Produces noticeably rich and flavorful coffee
- Wide range of preset modes plus a “My Brew” mode for flavor and temperature customization
Brewing takes a bit longer as compared to other coffee makers
A bit pricey
For many users, the Breville’s most appealing feature is the option to choose from several preset modes. With Gold, Fast, Strong, Iced, and Cold Brew modes available, users find that they are able to come close to most any coffeehouse brew. In some cases, the results are even better in terms of richness, flavor, and quality.
The Gold Cup preset mode is especially favored for quick and easy control over brew time and water temperature. With this setting, users are able to achieve a brew that conforms to Specialty Coffee Association standards, simply by pressing a button.
The Breville BDC450 is one of the most capable and versatile coffee makers around. With the ability to make most any type of brew–and to come up with your own custom concoction–this is so much better than your average coffee maker.
Admittedly, the cost of the BDC450 is fairly steep. But if the quality of your coffee is of utmost importance, it might just be worth the high price tag.
Zojirushi EC-YTC100XB Coffee Maker
The Zojirushi EC-YTC100XB is a quick and easy solution to getting a steaming pot of delectable coffee. It makes up to ten cups of regular brew or enough concentrate for five servings of iced coffee.
The Zojirushi preps the grounds prior to the brewing process. It also gets the water to the proper temperature and keeps it there for the duration. This results in remarkably rich and full-flavored coffee.
What happens afterward is equally important. The Zojirushi keeps coffee hot enough to drink for hours without adversely affecting the flavor. Even if you come back to a pot after a couple of hours, it will still taste as fresh and delectable as when it first came out.
Features and Specs
With the Zojirushi, creating great-tasting coffee begins with the pre-infusion cycle. During this stage, the coffee grounds are wet evenly, allowing the flavors to ‘bloom’. All the rich and complex flavors are extracted efficiently, resulting in a brew that is remarkable in its taste and aroma.
The water itself is subjected to temperatures of as high as 200° F. The perfect temperature for brewing coffee, this further enhances the flavor and minimizes the bitterness you sometimes get with brewed coffee.
Unlike coffee makers with heating plates, the Zojirushi keeps coffee hot in a vacuum-insulated carafe. You could therefore enjoy a steaming hot cup even hours afterward, without the burnt flavor that results from leaving a pot on a hot plate.
- Pre-preps coffee grounds for optimal flavor extraction
- Brews coffee at 200° F for full and rich flavor
- Keeps coffee hot for hours without the burnt flavor
- Coffee isn’t as hot as with other coffee makers
Many users of the Zojirushi were surprised to find that coffee remained hot for up to four hours after brewing. Furthermore, the coffee was just as fresh and drinkable as when it first came out.
The large showerhead also made quite an impression, particularly with the way it wet the grounds evenly and thoroughly before brewing. For many users, this feature resulted in a noticeable improvement in the flavor and aroma of the coffee.
Some did find the Zojirushi to be less effective at keeping small amounts of coffee hot. Three to four cups cooled pretty quickly in the carafe, although there was noticeably better heat retention with seven to eight cups.
The Zojirushi makes a good pot of coffee that should impress even the most discriminating connoisseurs. It also keeps the coffee hot and delectable for hours after brewing, provided you have a good amount of coffee in the carafe.
Buying Guide – How to Select a Coffee Maker
That’s our rundown of some of the best coffee makers available on the market today. It might seem a bit overwhelming to pick one from so many great choices, so here are some factors to consider when buying a coffee maker.
Number of servings
As you may be aware, since the dawn of man’s discovery of the perking-up effect a cup of coffee can have on his day, mankind has been pretty creative at coming up with many different types of coffeemakers to suite his or her purposes, style, and tastes.
Now, most coffee makers are designed for brewing full pots of coffee, which makes them good choices for households with several coffee drinkers. There are also single-serve models that are suitable for use by one or two people.
But coffee makers that have both single- and multi-serve sections are a lot more versatile, giving you the opportunity to brew only a single cup–or a full pot–as needed. With both options available, you could make enough coffee for everyone if necessary, and not have to make too much if you are the only one who needs coffee.
Thermal carafe vs glass carafe
Carafes typically come in two types: glass and stainless-steel thermal.
The question that most users ask is “does a thermal carafe keep coffee hot?” In most cases, the answer is “yes”.
Thermal carafes generally do a better job of keeping coffee hot even without a heating plate underneath. However, some allow air to come in, which causes coffee to cool down more quickly. The best thermal carafes are vacuum-insulated, which improves heat retention.
You will probably want to set your coffee maker on your kitchen counter, so it is important to choose a model that doesn’t take up too much space. Bigger models generally offer better build quality and more efficient performance, but you do have to deal with a considerably larger footprint. If you have limited counter space, there are some compact models that offer performance equal to their bigger counterparts.
A brew-strength control gives you the ability to specify the strength or concentration of your coffee. This typically increases or decreases the amount of coffee grounds that comes into contact with water. The process is entirely automatic in most cases, and you wouldn’t even need to measure out water or coffee grounds.
“Pause-and-serve” is a feature that stops the brewing process temporarily when the carafe is removed. This allows you to get a cup without having coffee drip onto the receptacle. When you put the carafe, the brewing process will continue as normal.
A built-in grinder lets you use your coffee maker with whole coffee beans. Few built-in grinders are as effective and as efficient as a dedicated grinder. Nevertheless, they can be a convenient add-on that you will occasionally find use for.
A water filter improves the quality of the water used in the brewing process. This lets you extract the full flavor of the coffee grounds without adding any off-flavors. This is an especially useful feature if you don’t have access to distilled or purified water.
A self-cleaning feature will help keep your coffee maker clean and usable for longer periods. Although it won’t take the place of regular cleaning, it does enable you to get more use out of your coffee maker before you have to clean it.
An automatic power shut-off feature is essential for keeping leftover coffee from burning. It also saves you a bit on power costs, and saves you the trouble of making sure your coffee maker is turned off when you leave the house.
Price is always an important consideration when buying a piece of equipment that you will use regularly. Some of the best coffee makers cost a lot of money, but you generally get better build, more efficient performance, and noticeably higher quality coffee in return. In any case, most of the coffee makers reviewed here offer excellent value for the money, and you should be able to find a one that fits your budget.