An Exhaustive Guide to the Best Coffee Makers We’ve Ever Reviewed

First question: Are you team automatic or team manual?
Coffee and espresso cups of varying sizes on a marble countertop filled with coffee made by the best coffee makers.
Photo by Joseph De Leo

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Given all the bells and whistles that coffee machines come with these days—built-in milk frothers and grinders, to name two—you might think that the best coffee makers are synonymous with the newest. Not so! As part of the Epicurious team’s product review process, we aim to update our tests every year by pitting the newest models on the market against old favorites. And as we’ve seen from years of testing coffee makers, the winners are often the ones that have been around for a while. (Some new high-tech machines do impress, though, so if you are looking for a souped-up coffee maker, read on.)

Below we’ve consolidated all the top coffee makers we’ve recommended in all of our reviews into one easy-to-digest guide. No matter if you’re looking for a run-of-the-mill drip coffee machine, a fancy pour-over tool that aficionados swear by, or a pitcher to brew iced coffee, keep reading for the best coffee makers to buy for home use.

Table of contents

Drip coffee makers
Espresso machines
Pour-over coffee systems
French press pots
Iced coffee makers

Drip coffee makers

A drip coffee machine, or an automatic coffee maker, is one of the most common—and hands-off ways to brew coffee at home. Drip coffee makers run the gamut from the budget Hamilton Beach and Mr. Coffee models found in many a hotel room to more high-end ones like those from Technivorm, Oxo, and Ratio. While the number of added features may vary, a drip coffee maker will always be the most convenient system to brew more than one or two cups of coffee at once. (For more info, read our full review of the best drip coffee makers.)

The absolute best drip coffee maker: Technivorm Moccamaster

The Moccamaster was first designed in 1968 and has maintained star status in the coffee world ever since; our testers have deemed it the absolute best coffee maker many years in a row. Moccamaster was an early adopter of the showerhead design, in which hot water is sprayed over the coffee grounds. This method allows for even water saturation throughout the grounds and means that the water has time to cool from boiling before running through the coffee grounds, preventing bitterness. The Moccamaster’s industrial design includes a glass carafe and a detachable lid on the filter holder, allowing for more user control than the typical machine: You can open the lid and saturate the coffee to your liking while the machine is running. Though the Moccamaster is expensive, it’s known to last a lifetime (and comes with a five-year warranty should something happen early on in its tenure). The newest model achieved the Golden Cup Standard from the Specialty Coffee Association, not only for a full carafe, but for a half carafe brew. It’s the only drip coffee maker in the world to have that distinction.

Technivorm Moccamaster KBGV 10-Cup Coffee Maker

Our personal favorite drip coffee maker: Ratio Six

The Technivorm Moccamaster falls squarely in the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” best-version-of-a-classic-design camp. But Ratio, a company that has only been around since 2012, has created a line of machines that give the Technivorm a run for its money and, frankly, do it with more style. The Ratio Six won the same Golden Cup certification that the Technivorm has from the SCA shortly after we tested it—and it is a looker of a machine. But it’s also technically proficient. Like the Technivorm, it fully saturates the grounds with water at the right temperature and allows them to bloom at the beginning of the brewing process. It also comes with a thermal carafe that we found kept coffee warm for hours and didn’t spill a drop during a car ride to the park. 

Ratio Six Coffee Maker

The best drip coffee maker under $100: Ninja 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker

The Ninja isn’t exactly a budget pick (it’s still over $50), but it is cheaper than the above options and made the strongest tasting coffee in our test. It has a solid, utilitarian design; we particularly like the easy-to-handle detachable water reservoir that can be filled at the sink, a convenience commonly found in single-serve coffee makers like Keurig machines. The Ninja also lets you wake up to hot coffee thanks to a programmable 24-hour delayed brew. It comes with a glass carafe, which might not keep your coffee as hot as the Oxo’s stainless-steel carafe, but does include an adjustable warming plate that stays warm for four hours.

Ninja 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker

Espresso machines

Home espresso makers are quite a mixed bag. Almost everything that would be considered to have an "affordable" price tag (say, under $400) lacks temperature control, adequate pressure control, or both. But that magical cup of perfect espresso with beautiful crema or a café-quality cappuccino is achievable on several machines we tested (read our full espresso maker review here). 

The best espresso machine, full stop: Rancilio Silvia Pro

After testing well over a dozen a machines, nothing really came close to the quality of espresso and latte that Rancilio Silvia produced. That makes sense: The company makes commercial models prized in many coffee shops. And while it’s not what anyone would consider design-forward, it is intuitive, effective, and will actually help you learn how to make better espresso. It also comes with dual boilers so you don’t waste any time waiting for the steam wand to heat up if you’re making a latte.

The best espresso machine under $1,000: Breville Barista Express

As we said, it’s tricky to find an espresso machine that is appropriately pressurized—and one that heats water to the right temperature for making espresso. Breville’s machines do both. Temperature is controlled with a PID controller that keeps it consistent, and it has a pressure gauge so you can tell if you’re hitting the optimal zone for espresso (around nine bars). It also comes with a built-in grinder that lets you grind directly into the portafilter, which is certainly convenient.

Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine

The best espresso maker under $100: Wacaco Nanopresso

We’ll level with you: Almost every espresso maker in this price range will be pretty bad. But after testing the manual, hand-pumped Nanopresso we were pleasantly surprised with the quality of the shot it dispensed: flavorful and topped with smooth layer of crema.

Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker

Pour-over coffee systems

Making coffee doesn’t get more low-tech than pour-over. And that’s not a bad thing! Coffee lovers who prefer a manual brewer find that pour-over yields a smoother, brighter cup than French press. Plus, it’s a great option if you’re just looking to make a single cup of coffee for yourself every morning. The key attribute of pour-over brewing is the ability to achieve “blooming.” Blooming happens at the point when hot water initially saturates the grounds and the coffee starts to expand in its hydration process.

The best high-end pour-over coffee maker: Chemex

Chemex is a trademarked pour-over coffee carafe made from tempered glass and cuffed with a heatproof wooden collar. The main difference between a Chemex coffee maker and other pour-over gear is that Chemexes require the use of proprietary filters that are thicker than other filters. The bonded paper material removes oils and any other unnecessary sediment from the coffee grounds, and the final product has a distinct, smooth flavor that lacks bitterness. For the best results experts recommend setting a timer and weighing out your coffee beans on a digital kitchen scale.

Chemex 8-Cup Glass Pour-Over Coffee Maker

Chemex Classic Coffee Filters (100-count)

The best simple pour-over coffee maker: Bee House

Those who use a manual coffee maker instead of an automatic one are either passionate about coffee or need something that takes up the least amount of cabinet real estate. Enter the Bee House pour-over, an extremely forgiving apparatus. You don’t need to weigh your coffee or time your pour; simply saturate the grounds, wait 30 seconds, and fill to the top. To make things even easier, it takes Melitta #4 filters, which can be found at most grocery stores. 

Bee House Ceramic Coffee Dripper

French press coffee makers

For those who don’t have the counter space for a drip machine, a French press is a terrific manual coffee brewing option that can fit in your cabinet. French press loyalists like that this method doesn’t require the use of a paper filter; because water comes in direct contact with the coffee grounds, more of the oils make it into the final product, which yields a stronger taste. Another benefit of the French press is that it allows for great control, both of water temperature and brew time. Read our full review of the best French press coffee pots here.

The best classic French press: Bodum Chambord 

The Bodum Chambord, characterized by a chrome frame and glass carafe, is to French press coffee as the Moccamaster is to drip. When our tester set out to find the best French press, she questioned whether the Chambord was widely considered the best because it actually outperformed the competition or because it had been around so long (it was designed in the 1950s). But it held its own in the testing process. The combination of fine-mesh filter and perforated steel-plate lunge plunged smoothly into the carafe but remained secure enough to keep the coffee grit-free. And the carafe is comfortable to hold and pour from. 

Bodum Chambord French Press

The best stainless-steel French press: SterlingPro

The Bodum Chambord has a glass carafe, which could be a drawback for two reasons. One, there’s a risk of breaking the beaker. Two, single-walled glass isn’t known for its insulating powers, so the coffee doesn’t stay warm in the pot for very long. Enter a stainless-steel French press. We like the SterlingPro for its double-walled thermal carafe, which is comfortable to hold and easy to clean (by hand or in the dishwasher). It also has nice touches like clearly marked measurements inside the carafe. An extra double-screen filter prevents grit from getting into the coffee and avoids the potential bitterness that can happen in French press brewing when you let the coffee sit atop the grounds for an extended period.

SterlingPro French Press Coffee Maker

Cold-brew coffee makers

There are varying opinions about the best way to make iced coffee at home. Epi digital director (and unashamed coffee nerd) Maggie Hoffman, recommends forgoing cold-brew coffee and instead shaking espresso with ice in a cocktail shaker when you want your java cold. If you don’t already have an espresso machine, and aren’t looking to buy one, you can use an Aeropress or Mokapot and achieve similar results. But another low-maintenance option if you are truly committed to iced coffee is a cold-brew coffee pitcher. (Read our full review of the best iced coffee makers for more info.)

The best simple cold-brew coffee maker: Hario Mizudashi Pitcher

When testing the cold-brew coffee makers, our tester described the Hario Mizudashi as making “coffee you’ll want to drink straight.” The simply designed dishwasher-safe glass pot features two main parts: a handled one-liter pitcher and a tall filter basket insert. Simply fill the basket with coarsely ground coffee from a burr grinder (the manufacturer recommends a dark roast for best results), fill the pitcher with water, screw the top tightly, and let it sit in the fridge (the minimum recommended brewing time is eight hours, but we preferred a longer brew time of 12 hours).

Hario Mizudashi Cold-Brew Coffee Pot

The best coffee maker for cold-brew concentrate: Takeya Deluxe

In our product review the Takeya Deluxe took the prize as the best cold-brew maker for a stronger cup of coffee. The Hario isn’t ideal for making cold-brew concentrate, but the Takeya, which has a longer, more ample infusing basket to allow for more contact between the grounds and water, is. It has a similar low-key design but is made of plastic instead of glass.

Takeya Deluxe Cold-Brew Coffee Maker

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