Lots of chefs will tell you that the most important tool in the kitchen is a good knife. While I do agree that's pretty key, the most important tool in my kitchen is my coffee maker. (Drink coffee, be alert enough to use a chef's knife successfully!) Whether you just need a machine to brew java for you and your SO or you're planning a dinner party and realizing there's no possible way you can make enough coffee for everyone, I've got you covered.
I've reviewed and tested all sorts of coffee makers and these are the best ones out there — based on how many people you're trying to caffeinate.
Why You Should Trust Our Gear Pro
For more than 30 years, I was in charge of testing and reporting on everything from wooden spoons to connected refrigerators at the Good Housekeeping Institute. I've walked the floors of every trade show and read every new product release for longer than most digital publications have existed!
My street cred? I also worked as a chef in New York City restaurants for seven years. And I drink a lot of coffee.
I've tested, used, and played with nearly every piece of kitchen gear (including coffee makers) to come on the market for years. When it comes to gear, it takes a lot to impress me, and I know what actually works.
Picked by a Pro. Tested by Real Home Cooks.
I've tested what feels like every coffee maker on the market (at all the price points, low to high!) and these are my all-time favorites. But you don't have to take my word and my word alone, either. Kitchn editors — a unique hybrid of professionals and home cooks, who develop and test great recipes in real home kitchens — and real Amazon shoppers weighed in on some of these picks too, testing my favorites in the context of their actual home cooking.
After all, when it comes to kitchen gear, what matters is that it works for a home cook — not just that a chef endorses it, or that it passed some high-flying bar in a sterile test kitchen. You want gear that is, above all, practical, long-lasting, and mindful of real cooks, real kitchens, and real budgets.
First, a Note About Coffee Machine Capacities
Consider the ounces — not the cup capacity. When it comes to any coffeemaker, a cup is considered five ounces, or the equivalent of an old-fashioned six-ounce tea cup that's not filled to the brim, so there's a little room for milk. (A true cup is eight ounces and many mugs are 10 to 12.) So a 10-cup coffee maker makes 50 ounces of coffee, which may only be about five servings.
The Best Single-Serve Coffee Maker
If you want to make a cup at a time, you certainly don't want a big piece of machinery hogging space on your countertop. This Keurig is slim and sleek, yet versatile. Yes, of course it can make just one cup, but it can also make a pot with special K-carafe pods, if a couple of friends drop by. There's a touch control pad to select your size and the strength of your coffee. The K250 comes in six pretty colors as well as black.
Second Opinion: "We have this in one of our photo studio kitchens and, while it's technically supposed to be used just for shoots, my crew and I love to brew our own special coffees before the day gets started," says Samantha Bolton, Art Director. "It's easy to use, easy to clean, helps everyone get just what they want, and, maybe less importantly, it looks good in photos, too."
The Best Drip Coffee Machine for Everyday Use
You'll either love or hate the unconventional design of this Moccamaster, but there's no arguing when it comes to its brewing performance. It's as close to perfect as any coffeemaker you can buy. In less than 10 minutes, it brews 10 cups of coffee at the scientifically proven right temperature for bringing out the best flavor in the grinds. And then after brewing it keeps your coffee hot for up to an hour. It doesn't come cheap, but if you want the very best cup of joe, it's worth the investment. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone asked me what coffeemaker I use ... because then I could buy a second one of these to give away as a gift!
Second opinion: "I have some incredibly strong (positive!) feelings about this coffee maker," says Lifestyle Director, Lisa Freedman. "After being disappointed by a few other machines, I landed on this one. Sure, it's a little pricey, but it brews a perfect pot of coffee, which stays hot for hours, is easy to clean, and looks pretty darn cool on my counter."
The Best Inexpensive Drip Coffee Machine
You'll never need to zap your mugful: Not only does java come out of this machine steaming, but it also stays that way for a full two hours. In addition, the coffee maker is super easy to use. The buttons are large and easy to press — none of those itty-bitty ones to depress with a fingernail — and the markings are actually readable (no squinting required!). And yes, the low price tag is for real!
Second opinions: "For the cost and its features, this coffee pot is a great option if you're looking for some mid-range options and simple design. I'd buy this again," says one Amazon reviewer. "This thing is still going strong! We set it EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, seven nights per week before we go to bed to brew 10 cups and it is ready at the time we program. The best part is I can smell the coffee brewing every morning all the way upstairs, which is the best alarm clock ever. Great value!" says another reviewer who gave an update nine months after buying the coffee maker.
The Best Drip Coffee Machine If You Throw a Lot of Dinner Parties
This is just about the largest drip coffeemaker on the market. If you're having a dinner party, it should make enough coffee for everyone around the table. For a larger crowd, it makes a nice companion to the coffeemaker you probably already own, more than doubling your brewing capacity. One of the great things about this brewer is that it makes a nice hot pot and keeps it that way, so you can start brewing while you're clearing the table and be sure the coffee will stay hot until you serve dessert — and even when you go back to refill cups.
Second opinion: "This drip coffee maker is awesome! I bought it to replace my 10-year-old DCC-1200," begins one reviewer. "Cuisinart seems to have made all the right improvements, but most of all, they perfected the brewing water temp and carafe heater temp. Additionally, they improved the hot water shower head, making it larger so that more of the grounds surface gets wet. Because of this, you get a great cup of coffee!"
The Best Coffee Urn to Serve a Party-Sized Crowd
When you have so many people that it's easier to let them serve themselves than it is to pour the coffee, you might want to consider an urn. This percolator is fairly utilitarian-looking but relatively inexpensive. It takes about a minute a cup to brew, so you'll want to set it up ahead of time and press start when you sit down to dinner. It keeps coffee hot for longer than four hours, so once it brews you're all set for the rest of the evening. I love the fact that the cord detaches and the urn fits in the sink so it's easy to clean.
Second opinion: "My aunt actually has this urn and I'm impressed with it every time I help her set it up, which is often (we're a family that loves to get together!)," adds Lisa. "It really does keep the coffee hot for a long time and the cleaning couldn't be easier, which is ideal when it's late and we're all scrambling to help her get the kitchen back in order."