5 Best Automatic Drip Coffeemakers of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

We tried top-rated coffee machines to see which ones are worth buying.

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February 12, 2024

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Photo by: Photo by Theresa Holland

Photo by Theresa Holland

Our Top Coffee Machine Picks

Tested by Theresa Holland

If you drink coffee every day, having a method to brew it at home can save you time and money. For lots of folks, an automatic drip coffeemaker is the way to go, as it’s easy and efficient.

But not all automatic coffee machines are created equal. There are large-capacity options that make enough java in a single batch to fill several mugs and compact designs suitable for small kitchens. Some have standout functions, like cold brewing, milk frothing and self-cleaning.

We tested 10 best-selling models firsthand in a real-life kitchen setting, carefully evaluating each based on brewing capacity, unit size, ease of use, special features, maintenance requirements and coffee taste.

Photo by: Photo by Theresa Holland

Photo by Theresa Holland

How We Tested

We selected 10 top-rated automatic drip coffeemakers of various sizes, capacities and price points. After assessing the countertop footprint, settings and cleaning requirements before the first use, we brewed a full pot of coffee based on the manufacturer’s instructions, recording how long it took and how the fresh coffee tasted. We used a thermocouple to check the initial temperature, then rechecked it every 30 minutes to see how well the carafe retained heat.

Additionally, we tested the single-serve options for each coffeemaker and explored the other settings and special features. Finally, we washed the parts according to the directions, either in a dishwasher or by hand. Taking into account user experience, efficiency, capacity, design, care requirements and overall value, we narrowed it down to the best automatic drip coffeemakers.

$169.99 $149.99
Amazon
What We Like
  1. Thoughtful design and on-unit features
  2. Remarkably fast brewing
  3. Four brew styles
  4. All parts are dishwasher safe
What We Don't Like
  1. Frother doesn't heat milk

Right away, the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker stood out for its thoughtful design. Unlike many others we tested, it fits easily under upper cabinets, even with the water reservoir lid open. You can remove the entire reservoir to fill it in the sink or clean it and access the brew basket by swiveling it out rather than lifting a lid. There’s also a fold-down platform to place a mug when brewing a single cup, plus a milk frother attachment. The included scoop even has its own storage hook on the side of the unit.

This coffeemaker is notably fast. It brewed a full pot in about eight minutes, whereas most others took roughly 15 minutes. To make a single cup, just add one scoop of ground coffee and fill the tank to the minimum water line, then place a mug on the fold-down tray. The freshly brewed coffee tasted good, with a smooth, medium flavor. You can select the “rich” setting for a bolder flavor or “over ice” for a chilled coffee drink.

There’s a “specialty brew” option to make espresso-like concentrate for cafe-style drinks. Then you can use the milk wand to froth milk for lattes and cappuccinos. The frother is a handy feature, but it doesn’t heat the milk. Ninja recommends microwaving it first to create hot foam.

This automatic coffeemaker is a breeze to clean, as all removable parts are dishwasher-safe. All things considered, we think the price is very reasonable — in fact, we were surprised it wasn’t more expensive.

  1. Capacity 10 cups
  2. Dimensions 15" x 12" x 8.75"
  3. Carafe Material Glass
  4. Special Features 4 brew styles, 6 cup sizes, single-serve platform, programable timer, on-unit scoop storage, milk frother
$24.99
Amazon
What We Like
  1. Small countertop footprint
  2. Simple, user-friendly design
  3. Automatic pause and shutoff
  4. Budget-friendly
What We Don't Like
  1. Parts aren’t dishwasher-safe
  2. Not ideal for multiple coffee drinkers

We also liked this mini coffee maker from Mr. Coffee. Just over 6 inches wide, the compact design will fit almost anywhere with a nearby plug. It’s perfect for small kitchens, studio apartments, offices, dorms and other spaces with limited square footage.

While it’s called the “5-Cup Coffee Maker,” this actually means five measuring cups, not five mugfuls. The carafe has a 25-ounce capacity, which comes out to about two medium-size (12-ounce) cups of coffee. It takes six minutes to brew a full pot, and you can make a half-batch if you only want one cup.

We appreciate the simple, user-friendly design — all it takes is filling the filter basket and reservoir and switching it on. If you pull out the carafe mid-brew, it’ll pause while you pour yourself a cup and resume when the carafe is back in place. The machine also turns off automatically after two hours. And although the parts aren’t dishwasher-safe, they’re really easy to wash by hand.

This coffee machine isn’t ideal for households with multiple coffee drinkers. But if you’re looking for an affordable option with a small countertop footprint, you can’t go wrong.

  1. Capacity 5 cups
  2. Dimensions 10" x 8.8" x 6.4"
  3. Carafe Material Glass
  4. Special Features Pause and pour
$189.99
Amazon
What We Like
  1. Makes drip coffee and single K-Cups
  2. Adjustable strength and batch size
  3. Removable water tank
  4. Low-profile design fits under cabinets
What We Don't Like
  1. Carafe isn't dishwasher safe
  2. Reusable filters sold separately

If you’re a fan of Keurig but want something that brews more than one cup at a time, the brand’s K-Duo Coffee Maker might be your best bet. The left side has a traditional brew basket for ground coffee and fills a 96-ounce carafe. The right side uses pre-portioned K-Cup pods to make single mugfuls. Toggling between the two is straightforward, and you can adjust the strength and batch size as needed.

You can use paper filters for the carafe side. It’s also compatible with a reusable filter, which you’ll have to buy separately. To cut down on waste, consider getting the mesh K-Duo filter and refillable pods.

Both sides draw from the same water reservoir, and the tank is removable, making it easy to fill and clean. It takes roughly 15 minutes to brew a full pot and about two minutes to make one cup with a pod.

We also appreciate that the low-profile design fits underneath upper cabinets, even with the lid open. You’ll have to wash the carafe by hand after each use, but other than that, this coffeemaker is pretty low-maintenance.

  1. Capacity 12 cups
  2. Dimensions 13" x 11" x 12.75"
  3. Carafe Material Glass
  4. Special Features Programmable settings, adjustable strength, pause and pour, single-serve K-Cups
$99.95
Williams Sonoma
What We Like
  1. Nine mugfuls per batch
  2. Programmable start and auto-shutoff
  3. Easy to clean
  4. Three-year warranty
What We Don't Like
  1. Carafe lid doesn't flip up
  2. Machine lid doesn't clear upper cabinets

The Cuisinart PerfecTemp Coffee Maker is an excellent choice for households with multiple coffee drinkers and people who like to refill their mugs throughout the day. It has a 112-ounce carafe, allowing you to brew about nine mugfuls at once. A full pot takes around 15 minutes to brew. You can also add one or two scoops to make yourself a single cup, which takes about three minutes.

This coffeemaker can be programmed to start brewing up to 24 hours in advance. The warming plate will keep your coffee hot for up to four hours, and the carafe itself will stay warm for about an hour after it’s turned off. There are three brew strengths to choose from. We tested the medium level and thought it had a nice, smooth flavor.

One minor drawback is that the carafe lid doesn’t flip up with a lever on the handle like many others we tested — you have to pull it up with your other hand, which seems counterintuitive. Also, while the PerfecTemp has a relatively small countertop footprint, you may have to pull it out from under your upper cabinets when opening the lid to fill the water and brew basket.

This automatic coffeemaker is easy to clean, thanks to the dishwasher-safe carafe and filter basket. It also has a self-cleaning function. In the end, we think it’s a great value, especially considering the three-year warranty.

  1. Capacity 14 cups
  2. Dimensions 14" x 9" x 7.75"
  3. Carafe Material Glass
  4. Special Features 3 brew strengths, recall settings, programmable timer, ready alert tone, self-clean function
$299 $225.93
Amazon
What We Like
  1. SCA-certified to brew better-tasting coffee
  2. Precise temperature selection
  3. Smartphone, tablet or voice controls
  4. Visually pleasing design
What We Don't Like
  1. All parts must be hand-washed
  2. May not fit under floating cabinets

If you’re open to spending a bit more on a higher-end machine, we recommend the Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker. It has a third-party certification from the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), which has strict criteria for things like brewing time, temperature and water-to-coffee ratio. Meeting these standards is supposed to result in superior-tasting coffee. Sure enough, we thought the flavor was better than the other models we tried — and we used the same ground coffee for each test.

This coffeemaker has an 80-ounce carafe, so you’ll get six or seven servings per full pot. You can also add one or two scoops and a mugful of water to the reservoir to make a single cup. All parts must be hand-washed, but most days, you’ll only have to clean the carafe and filter basket.

This tech-forward machine boasts precise temperature controls, allowing you to choose the exact degree between 185 and 205 Fahrenheit. What’s more, the WiFi-enabled system can be controlled with a mobile device or voice commands.

Although it fits underneath floating cabinets, the lid doesn’t open all the way when positioned with the clock and controls facing outward. Depending on the height of your cabinets, you may have to face it to the side. In any case, the visually pleasing design will look nice sitting on your counter.

  1. Capacity 10 cups
  2. Dimensions 14" x 12.5" x 7.3"
  3. Carafe Material Stainless steel
  4. Special Features Precise temperature controls, mobile and voice controls, SCA-certified design

What to Consider Before Buying a Coffeemaker

  • Size: The first thing to consider when buying a coffeemaker is the size — including the dimensions of the unit and its brewing capacity. If you’re short on countertop space or are the only person in your household who drinks coffee, a smaller machine may suffice. But if you live with other coffee drinkers and like to refill your mug, a larger option with a 12- or 14-cup carafe might be the way to go. Also, think about where you’ll place it, as not all machines fit underneath floating kitchen cabinets.
  • Design: There are super simple, user-friendly machines that don’t do much more than brew drip coffee and keep it warm for a few hours. You’ll also find more sophisticated units with adjustable brew strengths and temperature settings, along with special features like mobile controls, programmable timers, self-clean functions and pause-and-pour abilities (allowing you to pour yourself a cup mid-brew). Ask yourself what features you think you’ll use when deciding whether to get a basic coffeemaker or a more robust system.
  • Convenience: An automatic drip coffeemaker is nothing if not convenient. Ideally, you shouldn’t have to do much more than fill the brew basket with ground coffee, add water to the reservoir, and turn it on. You might even be able to program it to start brewing coffee at a specific time each morning. Beyond making it easy to make coffee at home, the best models are low-maintenance. Not all machines have dishwasher-safe parts, so check the product description if this factor is important to you.
  • Price: Drip coffeemakers range drastically in price. You can get one for as little as $25 or spend upwards of $300. The most affordable options typically have minimal settings and may have smaller capacities. Though the most expensive model isn’t necessarily the best, it might be worth investing in a machine with useful or appealing features.

FAQs

Does coffee really taste different in different machines?

Coffee can taste different in different machines. We used the same ground coffee to test each automatic coffeemaker and found that most tasted about the same. However, one unit we tested meets the Specialty Coffee Association’s criteria for better-tasting coffee, and we did find the flavor superior.

How often do I need to clean a drip coffeemaker? And how to do it?

You’ll need to wash (or at least rinse) out the carafe after each use, along with the reusable brew basket if you’re not using paper filters. Beyond that, you should thoroughly clean the inside of the machine every month or two. This may involve using the coffeemaker’s self-cleaning function or running a brew cycle with a mixture of distilled white vinegar and water or a descaling solution. The proper way to clean a drip coffeemaker depends on the model, so always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Is it safe to leave my coffeemaker plugged in when not in use?

Generally speaking, yes. It’s usually safe to leave your coffeemaker plugged in when it’s not in use. Most machines automatically shut off after a few hours, so you won’t have to remember to turn it off. Those with built-in clocks are meant to stay plugged in. If you’re concerned about an electrical hazard, you can absolutely unplug your unit after each use or get a surge protector.

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