This story was updated to include a broader variety of coffee maker types, including cold brew makers, single-serve coffee makers and more. These picks reflect new testing conducted in August 2021 by contributor and product expert, Jamie Kim, overseen by Deputy Director of the Kitchen Appliances Lab, Nicole Papantoniou.
Whether coffee is your number one priority in the morning or you enjoy an afternoon pick me up, you already know that the coffee maker you buy is an important choice. And now, there are more options than ever thanks to the wider availability of specialty coffee drinks, like cold brew and lattes.
Here in the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances Lab, we take our coffee very seriously. Over the years, we’ve tested more than 100 coffee makers and have brewed over 1,000 cups of coffee in a number of different types of coffee makers, from drip coffee makers to French presses, espresso makers, Nespresso machines, cold brew makers, single-serve coffee makers, portable coffee makers, models with built-in coffee grinders and more to find the best brews.
To determine the best overall coffee makers, we brew at least two full pots of coffee in each drip machine and record the brew time, the brew temperature and how well the coffee keeps warm for over a two-hour time span. We also pay attention to consistency, as we do when we test espresso machines and single-serve coffee makers. As part of our brew tests, we also conduct a sensory test and get as many people as we can to taste and share their tasting notes. In addition to performance, we assess ease of use by scoring a number of factors including the usefulness of the user guide and how easy it is to use the controls, access the water tank, brew basket, read the markings on the tank and carafe and clean the carafe and more. Of the many models we've tested, here are the best coffee makers you can buy in 2021:
- Best Overall Coffee Maker: Breville Precision Brew Thermal Coffee Maker
- Best Value Coffee Maker: Black and Decker 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker
- Easiest-to-Use Coffee Maker: Bonavita Connoisseur 8-Cup One-Touch Coffee Maker
- Best Small Coffee Maker: Capresso 5-Cup Mini Drip Coffee Maker
- Best Coffee Maker on Amazon: Mr. Coffee Easy Measure 12-Cup Coffee Maker
- Best Iced Coffee Maker: Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker With Glass Carafe
- Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker: Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker
- Best Single-Serve Coffee Maker: Keurig K-Elite Coffee Maker
- Best Pod Coffee Maker: Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee Maker
- Best French Press Coffee Maker: Bodum Eileen French Press Coffee Maker
- Best Portable Coffee Maker: Aeropress Coffee and Espresso Maker
- Brews at varying temperature and time
- Includes both cone and flat bottom filter baskets
- Sleek design
- Small footprint
- Carafe requires hand washing
- Not a lot of features
The Breville Precision Brew lives up to its name brewing coffee at precisely the right temperature and brew time, perfect for the coffee enthusiast. What really stands out is not only the excellent performance but also all the options such as being able to make a single cup, brew over ice, cold brew and pour-over coffee.
This coffee maker can be adjusted for bloom time, brewing temperature and flow rate ensuring your perfect personalized cup of coffee. It also includes both cone and flat bottom filter baskets for those with a sensitive palette and want to bring out different notes in the coffee or have a preference towards one. Our tests proved that it has a fast brew time compared to others: It's able to brew 12 cups of coffee in about eight and a half minutes. It also produced a hotter and tastier cup of coffee with one of the higher taste scores in our tests.
Unlike some other thermal carafes that won’t keep your coffee hot for a long time, this one kept the coffee hot for the entire two-hour period. We also found that because of the water tank’s extra-large opening, it was easy to fill without spilling. Breville really did not skimp on the details either with a plug that has a loop making it easy to pull out of the wall and the sleek stainless steel design won’t be an eyesore on your counter.
- Great value
- Keeps coffee warm for two hours
Not only was this coffee maker a top performer because of its brew time and temperature but it’s also one of the lowest-priced coffee makers on this list. It's programmable, brews up to 12 cups of hot coffee and kept it warm for the entire two-hour period in our tests. It’s fairly simple compared to other coffee makers but it’s one of the most user-friendly. If counter space is a concern, it has a small footprint at a little over 6 inches wide and 13.5 inches long.
It has a digital display and a 24-hour auto brew feature to wake up to steaming hot coffee. You can also quickly snag a first cup with its sneak-a-cup feature that temporarily stops the flow of coffee to pour some coffee into a cup without making a mess.
- Easy to use
- Fast brew time
- Does not keep coffee hot for two hours
If you gravitate toward appliances with a bare-bones, fuss-free design, you'll appreciate the single switch of the Bonavita One-Touch. In our tests, it was one of the easiest coffee makers to use with a clear instruction manual and easy to access water tank and brew basket. Our Lab tests showed it brewed eight cups of coffee in under seven minutes, so you can grab some and go for mornings when you're in a rush. It has a stainless steel thermal carafe, but since it didn’t keep coffee warm for the full two hours, it’s best not to let it sit around for too long.
- Easy to use and clean
- Two hour keep warm and automatic shut-off
- Does not brew as hot as other coffee makers
If you find yourself only needing to brew a few cups of coffee at a time but want more than a single-serve, this Capresso 5-cup Mini is an excellent coffee maker for someone who’s looking for a small machine that can brew a few cups and also no fuss. It’s fairly simple compared to other coffee makers with tons of features making it easy to use. It does have key features such as being programmable, keeps coffee warm for two hours and has automatic shut-off so you never have to wonder if it’s turned off after you leave the house
It didn’t brew quite as hot as other coffee makers but most small coffee makers have a hard time reaching high temps. However, the trade-off is that this coffee maker is compact and does not take up a lot of counter space and if you’re in a rush, the entire pot of coffee is ready in under 10 minutes. The carafe is dishwasher safe and the flip-top lid is detachable for easy cleaning.
- Easy to use and fill
- Keep warm function with digital display
- Foolproof measurement system
- No automatic shut-off
For a simple and easy to use coffee maker, look no further than this Mr. Coffee model. In our tests, it was easy to prep, easy to use and made a good pot of coffee. The water tank has a large opening making it easy to fill and the color-coded measuring scoop ensured the right amount of coffee grounds were scooped into the filter based on the corresponding water level. The coffee came out hot and with a feature that tells you how long the coffee has been keeping warm, you’ll never have to wonder how long it’s been sitting there.
- Makes lattes, cappuccinos and macchiatos
- Comes with a milk frother that attaches to the machine
- Brews classic, rich and iced coffee
- Hand wash recommended
If you like espresso-based drinks, this Ninja gives you a ton of options. With the concentrated coffee feature and attachable milk frother, it can make lattes, cappuccinos and macchiatos. It can also brew classic, rich and iced coffee in multiple sizes including single-serve, XL cup, XL multi-serve, half carafe and full carafe. In our tests, the water heated up to the proper temperature for brewing and had a fast brew time compared to other coffee makers. There’s also no need to worry about your coffee getting cold since it was able to keep coffee warm for two hours.
While this machine uses images instead of traditional markings to mark different cup and carafe sizes, we found the control panel intuitive to use. We were also impressed with small details like a measuring spoon that attaches to the machine so you don’t lose it and a removable water tank with side grips to make it easier to hold. While overall this was easy to use, the one drawback is that the glass carafe is hand wash and even though we could get in the opening to wash it, someone with larger hands may have a difficult time cleaning it. It’s also available with a thermal carafe.
- Easy to use and clean
- Distributes water evenly over grounds
- Does not include lid for brewing reservoir
This best-selling cold brew coffee maker made excellent java with a smooth and balanced flavor. It’s easy to use, simply add coarsely ground coffee and pour water into the “rainmaker” lid which distributes water evenly over the grounds and let sit for 12 to 24 hours. When ready, dispense the coffee in the glass carafe by pushing the lever. Testers found this a breeze to clean and when you’re done using it, the parts nest together for more compact storage.
- Preheats quickly
- Easy to use
- Full-bodied, smooth coffee
This Keurig single-serve coffee maker was not only a top performer in our single-serve coffee maker test but it brewed the best tasting single-serve coffee that was full-bodied and smooth. It also doesn’t get much more convenient pre-heating in under one and half minutes or the auto-feature can be used to set a timer to turn it on exactly when you want.
Testers found the owner’s manual clear and the control panel easy to use. There are five drink sizes to choose, from four to 12 ounces and also pick from regular, strong or iced brews. Though the serving sizes aren’t numbered, we found the pictures of cups pretty intuitive. It also has a large water reservoir, holding 75 ounces so you won’t have to worry about refilling too often. For an even more customized experience, consider the K-Supreme Plus Smart Single Serve from Keurig that connects to WiFi and has BrewID technology.
- Produces silky smooth coffee
- Can also make espresso and lungo
- Easy to use
- Sleek design
- Only takes large Nespresso capsules
We found that this coffee and espresso machine makes a tasty and well-rounded brew. Our taste testers were impressed by the Nespresso coffee that had a foamy yet smooth crema making the coffee seem silky smooth, in fact, one tester didn’t even need to add milk even though that’s how they normally take their coffee.
It can brew double espresso, lungo and regular coffee that ranges up to 14 ounces. The coffee is ready with one push of the button without any adjustments since the machine reads the barcode on the coffee capsule and brews it specific to the coffee. Testers thought the design was sleek and modern and easy to use. It only takes large Nespresso capsules but there are nearly 30 flavor options so you’ll never tire of the same flavor.
- Brews a smooth, full bodied cup of coffee
- Metal casing is gorgeous and functional
- Coffee doesn’t stay as hot as it does in a drip coffee maker
If you’re looking for a French press to get a bolder cup of coffee, then look no further than the Bodum Eileen French press. Not only does it have the same make-up as the popular Bodum Chambord French press that we tested and recommend, but it also has a stylish modern design that will look great on any countertop.
Besides looking great, the metal frame protects the glass carafe from breaking which is a common complaint with glass French presses. It also consistently brewed a well-rounded cup of coffee and the stainless steel filter is easy to use and well-fitted so the coffee grounds stay at the bottom and do not get into your cup. The carafe and all of its parts are dishwasher safe, making cleaning up a breeze.
- Small and compact
- Makes a rich cup of coffee
- Multiple parts
- Requires hot water separately
This coffee maker is about the size of a travel mug, extremely lightweight and compact making it easy to take just about anywhere such as road trips or camping allowing you to brew your own coffee on-the-go. According to Aeropress, it makes a low acidity espresso-like coffee so you can even have barista-style drinks like lattes or americanos while you travel.
This unique coffee maker may look intimidating but according to our testers, it only took a few minutes to make a great tasting full-bodied cup of coffee. To use the Aeropress, simply put a filter in the cap, twist on the chamber, stand it on a sturdy cup and add coffee grounds. Then add hot water, stir for 10 seconds and press gently until all the water is extracted. It can make one to three cups of coffee in about a minute that tastes smooth and strong. Clean up is equally as fast since it only has three parts and they are top-rack dishwasher safe.