Since there’s no end in sight for the pandemic and many of us are still working from home, we’re making and drinking our own coffee more than ever before.
If you don’t already own a coffee maker, but you love coffee, I definitely recommend investing in either a drip coffee maker, a french press, or a pour-over, depending on how much coffee you drink every day. Investing in a coffee maker and making your own coffee at home will save you a lot of time and money that you otherwise would have spent buying already-made coffee our. Plus, reusing your own cups is much better for the environment than using a disposable cup – or multiple – every day.
I personally own all three: a french press, a drip coffee maker, and two cheap pour-overs. However, my default go-to maker (especially during the work week) is definitely my drip coffee maker, for two main reasons: its 12-cup capacity, and the programmable feature it offers that allows me to prepare my machine the night before and set it so that my coffee auto-brews in the morning, letting me wake up to a fresh pot of hot coffee every morning.
I see a lot of half-pot or 5-cup coffee makers on the market, but I am not recommending any of them here today because I personally don’t understand the appeal these mini-machines have. They make smaller pots of coffee, but the machines are often just as expensive as (or barely cheaper than) 12-cup coffee pots. You also don’t need to make the full 12-cup pot on coffee makers with that capacity – any decent 12-cup drip coffee maker should have clear measurements that make it easy to make 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 cup pots. Even if I didn’t find it easy to get through a whole 12-cup pot myself, I’d always prefer having the option to make more coffee, especially for when/if I’m hosting guests.
Below, I will list, rate, and review my top drip coffee maker recommendations, starting with my most-highly recommended coffee maker. It’s from Black & Decker, and it’s the coffee maker I own and use regularly myself.
Affiliate Disclosure: I’ve attached links to the products I recommend here. It in no way affects your purchase price, but if you use the links I provide, you have a quick way to find the products I’m recommending, and I earn a small commission. As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Black & Decker
- Product: Black & Decker 12-cup Programmable Coffee Maker
- Price: ~$30 retail
- Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon ($20)
- Best Feature: Price/it’s programmable!
- My Rating: 9/10 stars
I mention this machine first because it’s the coffee maker that I currently own, and I can’t recommend it enough. At $20, it’s super affordable, it has the programmable feature, it makes up to twelve cups of coffee at a time, and it’s lasted me years. It also automatically shuts off the warming plate after two hours and contains a drip-stop feature that’s supposed to let you steal a cup of coffee while the pot is still brewing without making a mess.
I don’t clean my machine nearly as often as I should, but – even going through numerous moves between dorm rooms, apartments, and, eventually, my current house – I’ve only had to replace it once in the last 8 years, and was still not completely necessary. After about five years of constant daily use, my old one was dirty and stained, and didn’t fill the carafe all the way, so I opted to replace it with a new one I promised myself I’d take better care of, and I haven’t had any issues with it in the three years I’ve had it.
My only complaint and the only reason it doesn’t have all 10 stars is that the drip-stop feature (where it’s supposed to pause brewing when you grab the carafe (before it’s done) and fill a cup) doesn’t work perfectly. It still stops dispensing coffee when I remove the carafe, but there’s usually a delay, so a little coffee often spills and gets burned on the hot plate underneath. I remedy this by doing it anyway and cleaning the machine after, setting the machine to auto-brew so it’s done brewing when I want it, or by just waiting for the coffee to be done before grabbing a cup.
I rate this machine at 9/10 stars, because – while it’s nothing crazy fancy – it has and does everything I need. It’s simple, it’s affordable, and it works great. It also has 4.4/5 stars on Amazon our of 8,149 reviews, so clearly I am just one of many very satisfied customers.
Shardor Coffee Maker
- Product: Shardor 12-cup Coffee Maker 3.0
- Price: $42.99
- Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon
- Best Feature: Adjustable brew strength
- My Rating: 8/10 stars
This is another great, affordable, basic coffee maker. It’s a slight step up from the Black & Decker machine, but they also both have a lot in common with each other. The Shardor has all the features of the Black & Decker machine does: it has a drip-stop feature, it’s programmable, it has an easy-pour spout, its warming plate keeps the coffee hot for two hours after brewing before automatically shutting off, and it makes up to 12-cups of coffee.
What makes it a step up from the first machine, then, is that it also contains a feature where you can adjust the brew strength of the coffee you’re brewing, and that it always displays the strength/boldness of the coffee you’re brewing, the brew time, and the brew mode.
This machine has 4.4/5 stars on Amazon, our of 273 reviews. A common downside I found to this machine is that on some of them, condensation builds up inside the carafe when a fresh pot of coffee is brewed. The biggest issues people had with the machine sound like manufacture flaws that caused the coffee maker to either not work right away, or to break after a couple of months. Unhappy customers also complained that it is regular-sized (instead of brewing 12-15 cups, as the cheaper version of this machine is advertised to do), that they have had problems with the spout leaking, and that they are concerned that the handle feels too flimsy to support a full pot of coffee. I did find that Shardor products have a 2-year warranty and a 6-month “free replacement”, which should take care the vast majority of reported issues.
I give it 8/10 stars because people have reported these issues, but also because of the price. It’s still extremely affordable, and seems to be an excellent coffee maker for that low price. Like my first recommendation, it’s nothing exceptionally fancy, but does everything it needs to and has a few cool extra features.
Capresso Thermal Coffee Maker
- Product: Capresso TCM300 Programmable Thermal Coffee Maker
- Price: ~$100 retail
- Cheapest Place to Buy: 1st in Coffee ($89.99)
- Best Feature: Water filters, speed!
- My Rating: 9/10 stars
You can find much pricier drip coffee makers on the market, but in my opinion, this is the highest-priced regular drip coffee machine that would be worth paying extra for; I don’t personally believe that any coffee maker that only brews drip coffee and costs more than this is worth it. I’m not alone in thinking that – this machine is the #1 rated coffee maker according to Business Insider and Find the Best.
What makes this coffee maker so special are the features it comes with – the thermal carafe, of course, but also a drip stop so you can pour yourself a cup mid-brew, special settings to easily brew 3 or 5 cups instead of 10, and a cord-concealment feature. The biggest stand-our features in my opinion are that it brews 10 cups in under 9 minutes, that it has a gold-tone filter that makes paper filters unnecessary, and that the water goes through a water filter before making it into your coffee.
This coffee maker’s reviews are outstanding on 1st in Coffee, where it’s lowest two reviews rate the machine 3/5 stars, and 60/69 reviews give it 5 stars. It has a slightly lower rating on Amazon – 3.7/5 stars. The big complaints I’ve found in the low reviews are that it has a shorter-than-ideal cord, issues with the coffee filter tray getting jammed, coffee not staying hot longer than an hour inside the carafe, some issues with the machine not working shortly after buying, and – if you manage to break the stainless steel carafe – it’s very expensive to replace.
All that said, Capresso does have a 1-year warranty on their products that should take care of most of those issues. I still give this coffee maker 9/10 stars, because of the sheer volume of highly-satisfied customers, its extra features, and its #1 ratings with Business Insider and Find the Best. The only reasons I’m not giving it the full 10 stars are the issues that have come up with the unsatisfied customers I mentioned above, and the price – especially of a replacement carafe, should you need it.
Keurig Duo Coffee Maker
- Product: Keurig K-Duo Essentials Coffee Maker
- Price: ~$110 retail
- Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon ($92)
- Best Feature: It’s dual-functionality!
- My Rating: 8/10 stars
I was initially very anti-keurig, for a myriad of reasons, but mainly because the plastic pods are expensive and super wasteful, and because you can only make one cup at a time (which is never enough for me). However, as new machines and different solutions – like the reusable filter/pods have come out, I’ve come around a bit more.
This machine is more expensive than all but the last coffee maker I’ve recommended here today, and I include it in this list because of its dual-functionality. This isn’t just a drip coffee maker – it’s a keurig and a drip coffee maker in one super nifty machine. If you feel like making specialty coffee or a single cup, it’s easy. If your partner wants a full pot of coffee instead, you can make both.
This machine is rated 4.4/5 stars on Amazon, out of 733 reviews. Some reviewers have reported having difficulties pouring coffee our of the carafe without it spilling, which might mean that the spout is a little funky. Other reviewers have reported manufacture flaws including missing parts, water leakage, and the machine stopping working within a few weeks.
What I would personally consider to be this machine’s biggest downside is that there is no programmable feature, so you can’t program the coffee to set to brew automatically in the morning. I give this coffee maker 8/10 stars for it’s great reviews, it’s dual-functionality. It doesn’t get all 10 stars because of its lack of a programmable feature and the difficulty I had in finding any warranty info.
I also want to note that there is also an upgraded version available that comes with a brew strength selector.
I want to close with a quick reminder that regular, thorough cleaning does wonders for extending the life of your drip-coffee maker. I also recommend using a paper filter even with the machines that have reusable filter baskets that mean you don’t need them, because it makes the filters easier to clean and keeps them nice much longer as well.
Do you already own a drip coffee maker? Do you own one of the ones I recommended, or something else? Do you recommend your coffee maker?
Please, comment below – let me know if there’s anything I missed, and share your best coffee-making experiences or horror stories!