Best Drip Coffee Makers 2023
There's no shortage of coffee implements out there (nor opinions on which ones produce the tastiest cup): espresso machines, Keurigs, pour-over brewers and French presses, to name just a few. But drip coffee makers are perhaps the most ubiquitous, and indeed are the favored coffee-brewing method by most Americans, per a 2021 poll. Still, because they vary in features, design, price and the quality they deliver, how does one choose the right one for their needs and budget? After extensive testing, I named the OXO Brew 9-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Maker my top overall pick. I’d confidently recommend it to most buyers for its great-tasting coffee, thoughtful features and general reliability. For those on a budget, I’d suggest the Ninja 12-Cup Programmable Brewer, my "Best Value" pick, which offers superior performance for less.
Investing in one of the best drip coffee makers on the market will ensure you brew a consistent and ... [+] convenient cup for years to come.
The following is a list of all of the winners from my testing process:
For the better part of a month, my living room décor included ten drip coffee machines and ten pounds of medium-roast beans. (Yes, I said "living room"—we won't talk about why I chose to embark on this project with a kitchen approximately six by eight feet in size.) Ahead, learn more about the results of my caffeinated experiments—and why I’d recommend certain machines over others.
Capacity: Nine cups | Filter type: Cone | Water dispensation style: Shower head | Carafe style: Thermal with brew-through lid | Small-batch feature: Yes | Brew delay/timer: Yes | Warranty: | Two years | Other features: Digital clock, brew pause feature, SCA certification
OXO's Brew 9-Cup Coffee Maker is a super-functional machine with premium features at a moderate price, and I drank a smooth and pleasant cup every time I used it. It's demure in a good way, with a no-frills black-and stainless-steel exterior, a simple digital display and exactly one dial on the front with which to adjust the machine. Setup was straightforward: I inserted the plastic conical brew bed into the machine, attached the silicone mixing tube to the brew-through carafe lid and ran a water-only cycle. After that, I brewed a full carafe with coffee grounds, which took exactly eight minutes while maintaining a consistent water temperature of 190 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit during the cycle. The stainless steel thermal-insulated carafe kept the coffee at 166 degrees Fahrenheit for four hours after brewing, and the brew timer worked well, too; I prepped the machine the night before so I could wake up to a brewed pot, and the difference in taste between freshly ground beans and those that had sat in a filter overnight was minimal to my palate.
Some other thoughtful features to note were the OXO 9-Cup's brew pause feature (present in a number of the machines I tried), as well as its freshness timer on the digital display, which runs for up to 60 minutes post-brew to tell you how long the coffee's been sitting in the carafe. Clean-up was also simple; the paper filter dislodged quickly and easily into my compost bin after use, and the carafe plus the detachable brew bed took just a couple minutes to hand-wash with dish soap and hot water, then air-dry. (The machine will also tell you when it needs to be descaled to remove mineral build-up after a few months of use, which was a feature unique to this machine that I think is pretty neat.)
As for the cons: There are a few, but they’re not insurmountable. First, the machine is a whopping 15 inches tall and 17 inches wide, which might be problematic for people who are short on counter space. Additionally, the brew timer won't work as planned if the carafe is even slightly out of place (to be fair, the machine warns users when this is the case). Nothing on this coffee machine is dishwasher-safe, either, so keep that in mind. Last, the price is definitely on the higher end of the models I tested. Still, with a two-year warranty, this reliable machine is an investment that's likely to yield hundreds, if not thousands, of great-tasting cups over the years.
Capacity: 12 cups | Filter type: Cone (reusable) | Water dispensation style: Shower head | Carafe style: Glass with bottom heating element | Small-batch feature: Yes | Brew delay/programmable timer: Yes | Warranty: One year | Other features: Digital clock, removable water reservoir, brew strength customization, clean function, "keep warm" setting, measuring spoon attached to machine
I wasn't expecting to love the Ninja CE251 as much as I did, but such are the mysteries of product testing. It offers numerous handy features and delicious-tasting coffee for a very reasonable price, making it the best budget option I tested. Setup was simple, requiring a quick wash of the included parts and accessories, then a water-only flush cycle. The shower head-style brewer dispenses water in the same fashion as and at similar temperatures to a much more-expensive machine, and results in a smooth-tasting final product—for reference, I clocked the water temperature at about 195 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the brewing process. It's also got a conical brew bed that can accommodate a reusable gold-tone filter or a #4 paper filter, and the glass carafe comes with a "Flavor Straw" that protrudes from the lid and ensures that the coffee circulates nicely in the carafe. This means that each mug poured has a similar flavor and extraction level, whether it's the first or the last in the pot. Note that the total brew time for a full carafe is a fairly lengthy 15 minutes; according to the manufacturer, this is due to a pre-infusion cycle that takes place before the coffee actually brews.
The front of the machine also comes with a number of functions to customize your experience: You can brew the coffee with a "classic" or "rich" strength, or make a small batch of just two to four cups. I found that the flavor didn't vary too hugely between the "rich" and "classic" modes; they were near the same between the full carafe and smaller-size batch. The brew delay button allows users to program the coffee up to 24 hours in advance (again, I found that the flavor of the beans didn't suffer significantly from being ground a few hours ahead of brewing). Last, the machine's "keep-warm" feature can be programmed to work between one and four hours, but brought the coffee's temperature down to about 159 degrees Fahrenheit even when deployed, lower than other brewers I used. As for some other convenient features: The machine comes with a measuring scoop that handily attaches to a hook on the coffee maker's body, and it offers a "brew pause" feature that worked moderately well in my tests (it still allowed a few drips to escape from the brew bed and singe on the bottom heating plate). When it's time to clean the machine, its parts are all safe to place in the top rack of your dishwasher; for heavier-duty jobs, the coffee maker has a "clean" function for descaling.
As with all appliances, the CE251 is not without its limitations. The glass carafe and heating element setup that only works moderately well is, of course, one of them, and the slowness of the machine is another. The removable water reservoir in particular is something I’m going to keep a special eye on during longer-term testing, as reviewers of the product have suggested that it loses its seal over time and causes water to leak everywhere during the brew cycle.
Capacity: Eight cups | Filter type: Basket | Water dispensation style: Shower head | Carafe style: Thermal with separate (not brew-through) lid | Small-batch feature: No | Brew delay/timer?: No | Warranty: Five years | Other features: Bloom-before-brew stage, three colorways (matte white, stainless steel, matte black), SCA certification
Slick and streamlined is the name of the game here: The Ratio Six is a gorgeous, well-designed machine that simply produces excellent coffee. Setup is as simple as it gets (and Ratio gets bonus points for packing the stainless-steel machine and its mostly metal parts in completely recyclable, plastic-free materials). The machine comes pre-rinsed and flushed, so it's ready to roll—a thoughtful touch that only applied to this machine and the Technivorm Moccamaster. Just place a flat-bottom filter with your weighed coffee grounds in the filter holder and screw on an optional heat shield, stack that on top of the insulated thermal carafe, fill the water reservoir and press the coffee maker's single button. That's it.
The machine then goes through a short blooming cycle to hydrate the grounds before brewing with a shower head-style water dispenser. You get a full pot in about eight minutes, with water temperature just shy of 200 degrees Fahrenheit—right on the money from the SCA's point of view. What results is a really great-tasting cup with a lot of the nuances that come from pour-over brewing methods. It's also a cup that stays conveniently warm in its thermal carafe for several hours with the insulated lid (even four hours after brewing, I found that it measured a solid 168 degrees Fahrenheit).
Despite its clearly considered design, the Ratio Six coffee maker has a few quirks. First off, the machine does one thing well, but one thing only. If you want a brew timer, different configurations for brew strengths or even a half-brew setting (like many of the other machines I tested), the Ratio Six is not going to give that to you. Next, the water reservoir has a very tiny opening with a small, stainless steel twist-off lid, which makes fill-up slightly slower and messier than it could be. And last, there are a couple detachable parts that don't neatly fit into the otherwise streamlined setup, namely the plastic drip catcher and thermal carafe lid. And none of the machine's parts are dishwasher-safe, so you’ll spend some time hand-washing after each use. But these are just small quibbles—the Ratio Six is really an excellent coffee maker, through and through.
Capacity: 14 cups | Filter type: Basket (for larger yields); cone (for up to 8 cups); both reusable | Water dispensation style: Shower head pour-over | Carafe style: Thermal with brew-through lid | Small-brew feature: Yes | Brew delay/timer: No | Warranty: One year | Other features: Brew temperature, time and strength controls; cold brew and iced coffee settings
The Breville Precision Brewer is a force. With its 14-cup yield, this machine is among the biggest of the coffee makers I tested, so it's not necessarily the best choice for small households (or kitchens). But that large size comes with a large number of useful features, with precise customization offered just about every step of the way when brewing. Not only can you adjust brew volume, temperature and time from the digital menu on the front of the machine, as well as the strength of the coffee that brews, but the Precision Brewer also comes with two interchangeable brew baskets based on how much coffee you’re making (conical for eight cups or fewer, and a basket-style bed for up to 14 cups). The machine also has a setting for cold brew and iced coffee, making it the only one I tested that had these extra functions.
The setup here was a bit more complex: The Precision Brewer comes with a pH testing stick, which you’re instructed to use to test your tap water before it brews (the pH of the water affects the acidity of the final cup of coffee). You’re also asked to soak and then insert a disposable water filter in a designated slot in the reservoir tank, but it needs to be replaced roughly every two months. And then you’ll run a water-only flush cycle. All this said, the brewing process itself was very straightforward. While it brews—totaling a time of 11 minutes, including a blooming cycle, and at a preset temperature of 195 degrees Fahrenheit—the coffee flows into a thermal carafe via a brew-through lid that's tricky to screw on. The taste of the coffee was good, clear and unmuddied; it also stayed nice and toasty in the carafe, at a temperature of 165 Fahrenheit, for at least four hours post-brew with the lid in a locked position.
Of course, this machine's hefty size isn't for everyone; as mentioned, it's also rather finicky to set up and get going. I also found that the water reservoir didn't fully empty during the machine's brew cycle. What's more, for such a premium product with so many detachable bits and bobs, a one-year warranty seems a bit limited; I’d expect more robust coverage for a coffee maker as high-end (and costly) as this one.
One of the many cups of coffee I made during my testing process. According to the experts I ... [+] interviewed, the surest way to a better cup of coffee at home is to use the freshest beans possible.
There's a lot to consider when looking for the best drip coffee maker for you—just see the thousands of words above as evidence. But with some handy help from the experts I interviewed for this story, here's a breakdown of the most important things you’ll want to pay attention to.
This one is fairly self-explanatory, but worth mentioning. How much coffee do you drink, and how soon do you plan to drink it? As Sahra Nguyen puts it, "If it's just for you and another person, then perhaps you don't need a 14-cup coffee machine." If you are a small household, but one that consumes a lot of coffee throughout the day, your carafe style will then matter even more in delivering a fresh and hot cup for hours on end.
Pat Cotter of Seattle Coffee Gear said it best: "The number one thing I look for in a drip brewer is temperature stability. Many cheap brewers just boil the water and then dump it on the grounds, letting it cool as it runs through the coffee. This scorches the grounds and leads to a burnt, bitter taste. Unfortunately a lot of people think this is just how coffee tastes. A brewer with a good, consistent heating element will properly heat the water throughout the brewing process to around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, then hold it there throughout the brew."
Nguyen concurs, adding: "I've seen some machines have an "extra hot coffee" option for folks who like to add milk to their coffee so the machine uses a higher temperature to brew the coffee. Technically speaking, using a higher temperature in the coffee extraction process isn't always a good thing. However, if possible, I'd look to see if the company clarifies what the Fahrenheit definitions of ‘higher temperature’ and regular temperature mean. Keeping it between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal."
Experts agree that a shower head-style water dispenser, which mimics the pour-over brewing method, by far produces the best coffee possible through a drip maker. This is because, according to Bell, the water can "cover all the grounds for an even extraction."
While most premium (and certainly SCA-certified) machines will offer outstanding brew temperature and time configurations as their default, not all coffee beans are built the same. For that reason, per Bell, the capability to adjust brew times and temperatures matters. Lengthening the brew times, for example, will help draw out more flavor from a milder bean; lowering the brewing temperature when you’re working with a more robust or darker-roast bean could help balance and soften the brew there.
Nguyen also suggests considering the tones and sounds that come out of the machine, if any: "Does the coffee beep or make a noise when it's ready? And if yes, is there an option to turn the tone off so that it doesn't disturb house pets?" Lastly—and this is based on personal choice more than anything else—Cotter adds that "programmability can be a nice added feature as well, but less important than consistent brew temps and even water application."
Finding a coffee machine that's easy to clean—whether that's during daily maintenance like removing coffee grounds from the brew bed, or for longer-term cleaning like the once-a-month descaling that's recommended by many manufacturers (be sure to follow the instructions for this in your machine's user manual). The cleanliness of the machine, including mineral deposits built up over time from tap water, will affect the quality and taste of your final brew in a much shorter time than you might expect.
I’ve been an editor for about a decade, and have worked in the food and drink editorial space for half of that time, covering the best recipes and kitchen equipment on the market. I oversaw the launch of the drinks vertical at Food52 during my time as Content Director there, and hand-selected contributors to cover beverages of all types, including coffee and tea. For this story, I added to my personal knowledge and experience by speaking to several leading figures in the coffee industry: Sahra Nguyen, founder of Nguyen Coffee Supply in Brooklyn, New York; Travis Bell, founder of Black Acres Roastery in Baltimore, Maryland; and Patrick Cotter of Seattle Coffee Gear, a premier specialty coffee equipment retailer. I consulted the three of them to learn about what factors lead to the best drip coffee brewing possible, which features consumers should prioritize (or skip) in purchasing a drip coffee maker and how to optimize one's home coffee setup for a better daily cup.
The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), the world's foremost coffee trade organization, has very detailed guidelines on what makes for a stellar cup brewed at home. They also perform extensive testing on the coffee machines submitted for consideration, and have rigorous, scientifically based criteria that they expect the drip coffee makers they certify to meet. I consulted a number of their standards as the basis for my testing, particularly in the areas I could objectively evaluate, as follows:
Per the SCA, optimal coffee extraction occurs when the temperature of the water is between 185 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Cotter agreed: "A brewer with a good, consistent heating element will properly heat the water throughout the brewing process to around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, then hold it there throughout the brew." He adds that "many cheap brewers just boil the water and then dump it on the grounds," which "scorches the grounds and leads to a burnt, bitter taste." Using a simple ThermaPen probe thermometer, I measured the center of the filter bed while the coffee was brewing, as well as the temperature of the coffee when the liquid reached the carafe.
The SCA also recommends that drip brewers saturate coffee grounds with water for at least four minutes and up to eight—anything shorter or longer than that, and the coffee is in danger of under- or over-extraction. I took that into account when using each machine, timing the brew from when the first drop of coffee hit the pot to when the water reservoir was empty.
I tested an assortment of machine models, some of which had glass carafes and a heating element at the base of the brewer, and others of which had an insulated stainless-steel thermal carafe and no heating element. The SCA suggests that certified brewers should maintain a coffee's temperature between 176 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit during the first 30 minutes of the holding time post-brew. For brewers with a heating element, the guidelines state that "at no point should the temperature of the coffee increase above 185 degrees Fahrenheit" because of that heating element. To assess this factor, I measured the temperature of the coffee in the thermal carafe (or in the glass carafe and aided by the machine's heating element) 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 120 minutes and 240 minutes after brewing.
For the better part of a month, my living room décor included ten drip coffee machines and ten ... [+] pounds of medium-roast beans.
I also judged the following criteria:
I used Stumptown Coffee Roaster's Holler Mountain whole beans for all my tests—a medium-roast blend ... [+] that's robust enough to come through in many brewing methods (including drip).
To determine all of the above factors, I brewed four batches of coffee in each machine, with an eye towards different criteria in each round of testing. In my first round, I tried to determine ease of machine use and brew time; in the second, I gauged brew temperature and extraction level during brewing (color and flavor); third, I tested whether I could make a half batch and record consistency with the full carafe; fourth, I tested any additional features on the machine, like brew delay/scheduling and any special attachments.
According to the experts I interviewed, the surest way to a better cup of coffee at home is to use the freshest beans possible, which means they’re roasted and ground close to brewing time. As Nguyen told me, "Freshly ground coffee over pre-ground coffee makes a huge difference in the flavor and aroma of a brewed cup of coffee." Grind size matters, too, and as Nguyen notes, is "really important for bringing out the best flavors for your cup." Accordingly, I used Stumptown Coffee Roaster's Holler Mountain whole beans for all my tests. It's a medium-roast blend with notes of caramel, chocolate and some citrus that are robust enough to come through in many brewing methods (including drip).
To ensure a consistent grind across the board, I employed the help of the Baratza Encore burr grinder, set at a level of 18, to produce the medium texture recommended for a drip machine; I also used a simple digital kitchen scale to measure the correct amount of coffee to brew a full carafe, per the SCA's recommended "Golden Cup Ratio" of 16 parts water to one part medium-grind coffee.
Last, I used a simple Brita filter to treat the water I used, as well as paper filters (Melitta #4 cone filters or standard-size basket filters, depending on what the machine called for), regardless of whether the machine came with a reusable gold tone one.
While the best drip coffee machine is the right one for you and your preferences, the list above can help you find what might match up the best. The OXO Brew 9-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Maker passed my tests with flying colors because of its high-quality yet no-frills construction, easy setup and very flavorful, tasty coffee that resulted.
Again, see above for some very reputable brands whose models I tested—ranging from tried-and-true stalwarts like Cuisinart, Breville and OXO to newcomers like Ratio and even SharkNinja.
Premium drip coffee makers are an investment and built to last. Depending on the brand's warranty, these machines are covered against all manufacturing defects for between one and five years. Of course, the better you care for the machine with routine maintenance and descaling (per the manufacturer's instructions in the product's user manual), the longer your machine is likely to hold up.
In short, yes. A good drip coffee maker, as described by Cotter, yields "that rich sweetness with even a hint of smoke (depending on the bean)" produced by the labor-intensive pour-over method, "without losing the complexity that you can achieve with a pour over." Investing in a high-quality machine will ensure you brew a consistent and convenient cup for years to come.Best Drip Coffee Maker Overall Best Value Drip Coffee Maker Best Splurge Drip Coffee Maker Most Versatile Drip Coffee Maker Capacity Filter type Water dispensation style: Carafe style Small-batch feature Brew delay/timer Warranty Other features: Best for: Skip if: Capacity Filter type Water dispensation style Carafe style Small-batch feature Brew delay/programmable timer Warranty Other features Best for: Skip if: Capacity Filter type Water dispensation style Carafe style Small-batch feature Brew delay/timer? Warranty Other features Best for: Skip if: Capacity Filter type Water dispensation style Carafe style Small-brew feature Brew delay/timer Warranty Other features Best for: Skip if: Other Coffee Makers I Tested Or Considered Bona Vita Connoisseur 8-Cup Coffee Maker Technivorm Moccamaster KBGV Select Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker Cuisinart PurePrecision 8-Cup Pour-Over Brewer BLACK+DECKER Black 12 Cup Drip Coffee Maker Cuisinart Perfectemp 14-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker With Glass Carafe : Black+Decker DLX1050B 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker How To Pick A Drip Coffee Maker My Expertise How I Tested The Best Drip Coffee Makers Temperature Consistency Brew Time Heating Construction, Size And Appearance: Water Dispensation Style: Machine Capacity, Versatility And Convenience Features: Ease Of Setup And Cleaning: Extraction Level (And Taste Of Brew): What Is The Best Drip Coffee Maker For Home? What Is The Best Drip Coffee Machine Brand? How Long Do The Best Drip Coffee Makers Last? Are The Best Drip Coffee Makers Really Worth It?