• Coffee Makers Review

    reviews & comparisons
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    The top performers in our review are the Cuisinart Extreme Brew, the Gold Award Winner; Mr. Coffee SJX, the Silver Award winner; and Melitta 10-Cup Coffee Maker, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing a product to meet your needs, along with details on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 products.

    Coffee makers serve as a major fixture in the kitchen. These devices automatically heat and brew so that you can enjoy a warm cup first thing in the morning. Our drip coffee maker reviews cover all the most important features, and we try to answer the most common questions from coffee drinkers. In this category we review the best all-around coffee makers. If you are looking for single cup coffee makers, espresso makers, French presses or other coffee-related products, take a look at our other guides and articles.

    Coffee Maker Basics

    Coffee Makers: How They Work

    Coffee makers use a simple process to prepare your morning cup of joe. These machines use stored water reserves to extract flavor from ground coffee beans. When the process completes, you're left with a delicious brew that's ready to serve. Most drip coffee makers use a similar method to create this infusion. We can break the process down into a few different steps.

    Starting With Water

    All of our coffee maker reviews focus on units that store water in a reservoir before you start brewing. You can use the carafe to measure out the amount of water you want to use and pour it into the tank on the top of the device. These tanks range in size. They store enough water to prepare a full pot of coffee, but you don't need to completely fill the reservoir for the process to work. These coffee makers store water in the reservoirs until you activate the machine and start brewing.

    How It Heats

    If you look inside the reservoir before you add water, you will notice a small hole in the base. Water drains through this hole and into a tube. From there, it enters the bottom of the coffee maker. The water stays inside its tube while it runs past a heating element. The water reaches a boiling temperature there, and air bubbles force it up the tube to the top of the device.

    The Drip

    Once the heated water reaches the top of the coffee maker, it drips out onto ground coffee beans. It drips constantly, soaking the beans and finally through the filter before entering the carafe below. During the drip process, the coffee maker uses the heated water to extract all the flavor the roasted beans have to offer.

    Maintaining Temperature

    Thermal carafes keep their heat more effectively than glass ones, which require heated plates.

    Brewed coffee already has all its flavor by the time it enters the carafe. At this point, the heated water has already soaked up the oils and extracts from the coffee beans. The resulting infusion is then poured into cups for immediate enjoyment, but there is no need to rush. You can leave coffee in most of these drip coffee makers without immediately losing heat, as many of these units come with heated plates. Coffee makers with glass carafes sit directly on these plates and keep your coffee warm even after the brewing process finishes. Some manufacturers note that the flavor of the coffee is most enjoyable within 30 minutes of brewing, but this rule of thumb applies primarily to coffee makers with glass carafes. Thermal carafes sustain their temperatures much more effectively, and they do not require heated plates to maintain high temperatures. Our coffee maker reviews discuss each machine in detail, so you will know what to expect long before you press the start button. These household staples do all the work for you, so you don't need to heat or filter the beans yourself, which saves time and, perhaps more importantly, creates a consistent blend every morning.

    Glass vs. Thermal Carafes

    Not all of the drip coffee makers we reviewed use the same style of carafe. Some units use glass to hold the heated brew. Others use thermal containers. Both of these styles come with their own benefits, and it's up to you to decide which you prefer.

    Thermal Carafes

    Coffee makers with thermal carafes use an insulated design to keep your beverage warm. The brewed coffee retains heat better in this style of carafe. It loses heat at a slower rate than a glass carafe, and it does not come with a heated base plate. Those who prefer thermal coffee carafes often want to enjoy coffee over the course of several hours. The finished brew can sit in the pot for longer periods without getting cold. Appliances with thermal coffee carafes do not need to run once the brewing process finishes. Instead, they rely on simple design elements to trap heat for as long as possible. These containers rely on insulation, usually with some sort of stainless steel body, to retain heat.

    Glass Carafes

    Coffee makers with glass carafes usually sit on heated plates to maintain warmth. This container style appears commonly in home appliances for a few different reasons. Glass coffee carafes visibly show you how much coffee has brewed. You can watch as the dark liquid fills the container. Coffee machines with these types of carafes also tend to benefit those who want to enjoy a cup of coffee before work. Especially when the brew does not need to sit around for long before the machine shuts off.

    Thermal coffee carafes sustain heat levels for longer, but glass coffee carafes can make for faster cleanup. In many cases, you can use the top rack of your dishwasher to clean glass. Thermal containers usually require more delicate hand washing. If you choose to use a glass coffee pot, check for automatic shut-down features that prevent the unit from overheating. Base plates that do not turn off automatically can burn the leftover coffee and make cleanup more difficult.

    Which Type of Coffee Filter Is Best?

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    Your coffee filter separates ground coffee beans from the included drip tray. These filters keep dregs out of your brew and simplify cleanup. If you want to know which type of coffee filter is best for your machine, consider the following options.

    Disposable Coffee Filters

    Disposable coffee filters are usually made from some sort of paper. They caught on for widespread commercial usage because they require practically no cleanup, and they remain a popular choice because they filter out some oils from ground coffee beans. There are a few things to consider before you buy a paper coffee filter. Let's break down both sides of the issue.

    Benefits of Paper Filters

    When you use disposable filters, you never need to clean the filter first. You can pour ground beans into your coffee maker as soon as you insert a new filter. This type of filter also speeds up the disposal of soaked grounds after brewing. Many coffee machines come with a removable drip tray. When you place a paper filter in this type of tray, you never need to touch the wet grounds. You can simply remove the tray and drop the wet filter into a waste bin.

    Disposable coffee filters remove some oils from ground coffee beans as the liquid passes through them. These oils may cause higher cholesterol levels, and paper coffee filters remove them from the infusion. Reusable coffee filters do not remove these oils, and some people notice a difference in taste when the oils make it into the brew. Some coffee drinkers prefer to filter out these oils because of the flavor they produce; longer-roasted beans sometimes produce a bitter flavor due to the increased level of oil released during the roasting process.

    Disadvantages of Paper Filters

    In most cases, paper filters end up costing more than reusable alternatives. You need a coffee filter every time you want to brew a pot. For those coffee drinkers who brew a pot every day, this adds up to more than 360 filters every year. Reusable filters cost a bit more than a single package of disposable filters, but they last significantly longer.

    Permanent Coffee Filters

    Many coffee aficionados turn to permanent coffee filters to reduce waste, and many appreciate the enhanced flavor that can come from alternate styles of filtration. Here are the different kinds of permanent coffee filters you can use in your coffee maker.

    Fabric Coffee Filters

    While fabric coffee filters last much longer than disposables, they wear out after a few months of use.

    Some permanent coffee filters rely on materials like cotton or hemp to function. They produce the same general result as a paper filter, but you do not need to throw them away every time you turn on your coffee maker. They capture coffee grounds during the drip phase of brewing so you don't wind up with any dregs in your cup. They also allow the passage of more oils than paper filters. These oils can enhance flavor for those with discerning palates.

    These reusable coffee filters do not work as permanent solutions. While they last much longer than disposable filters, cloth filters wear out after a few months. In addition to needing replacement, these reusable coffee filters require as much cleaning as metal filters. For this reason, they do not often make the most efficient option for regular coffee drinkers.

    Metal Coffee Filters

    Metal coffee filters serve as a simple replacement for disposable filters. These accessories do not need to be replaced often, and they do not filter out flavorful oils from ground coffee beans. If you want your metal filter to remain intact, it does require some moderate attention. It should be cleaned out after every use, and it will require a deep scrub from time to time to prevent the growth of bacteria.

    Those who prefer specific coffee blends will want to use a metal coffee filter to ensure as much as possible of the coffee bean's flavor gets infused into final beverage. Most of these items use stainless steel to accomplish this task. The fine steel grates prevent grounds from entering the carafe, but they let more oils pass through than paper filters.

    Gold Coffee Filters

    These filters turned some heads when they started appearing in some high-end coffee makers. The use of gold in any product automatically makes the item seem more valuable, but this has more to do with marketing than with the taste of your drink. Gold coffee filters use the same basic structure as other metal filters. They even use stainless steel as a primary component. It's the gold plating that makes these accessories different. Like other metal filters, gold filters allow oils from the beans drip into the pot.

    Coffee Filter Sizes

    When you buy a coffee maker you need to determine the size of the filter you need. Many of the units that we reviewed come with their own filters, but those that rely on disposable filters will need to be replaced. Reusable coffee filters eliminate the need to check for filter sizes, except for those that use fabric filters.

    You will need to check the product manual for an exact specification on filter size. In general, larger machines require bigger filters because they handle larger volumes of ground coffee beans.

    How Much Caffeine Is in Coffee?

    The Mayo Clinic says that a single cup of coffee contains anywhere from 95 to 200 mg of caffeine. Instant coffee usually has less caffeine than brews you create in a coffee maker, but they still usually contain more than 75 mg of caffeine.

    While many coffee drinkers understand the effects of caffeine, few consider the potential side effects. It makes sense to ask how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee, but it's also important to understand what that means. Too much caffeine can lead to anxiety. It can also limit the absorption of helpful nutrients during the day. Caffeine speed up metabolism, and too much coffee can expedite foods through the body too quickly for proper digestion.

    Different types of coffee roasts contain different levels of caffeine. When you want to know how much caffeine is in your coffee, you first need to determine which type of coffee you are drinking. When it comes to scoops of coffee, light roasts typically offer higher levels of caffeine than dark roasts. Dark roasts usually contain less. The coffee makers we reviewed can handle all of these different styles of coffee roasts, so it's up to you to decide which type you want to drink.

    Dark Roasts vs. Light Roasts

    Why does a pot of light-roasted coffee usually contain more caffeine than a dark roast? The beans used in light and dark roasts actually contain about the same caffeine levels when measured by weight. Coffee shops and other professional outlets use weighted measurements before putting grounds into their drip coffee makers, so you might not notice a difference in the caffeine levels of these blends.

    However, most coffee drinkers do not measure out their grounds by weight at home. They scoop out the amount they need and drop it into the coffee maker based on volume instead of weight. Light roasts tend to have smaller beans than darker roasts, so you can fit more beans in a single filter. At home, this means your drip coffee maker can produce higher caffeine levels from light roasts than from dark roasts.

    Brewing

    How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Coffee

    There are lots of ways to make a full-flavored cup of coffee. When you know how to make coffee with a coffee maker, you save time and speed up the traditional process. Check each of these aspects when you make your next pot to ensure that your brew is the best it can be.

    Clean Filter

    Coffee filters directly interact with your coffee grounds and with the water you drip through them. A clean filter can make a huge difference. Permanent coffee filters serve as an economical choice when you make coffee every day. They do not need to be thrown out after every use, and mesh-style models allow oils to reach the carafe without being filtered out. For this reason, permanent coffee filters can enhance the overall flavor of your brew. However, these filters must be clean to produce the best flavor.

    Purified Water

    In the same way that your filter needs to be clean if you want to make the best tasting coffee, your water plays an important role in the recipe. Pure water adds no flavor of its own. Clean, purified water ensures that you are tasting the flavor of the coffee beans. It allows the beans to make their own impact. The best coffee makers include purification systems for the water you pour in their reservoirs, but the majority of mid-range units do not have this as a standard feature. If your model does not have this feature, you can purify your own water with an attachment for your faucet, or you can purchase purified water specifically to use for brewing coffee.

    Scoops to Cups – the Perfect Ratio

    Ground coffee blends infuse with water at slightly different ratios. The best tasting coffee comes from the proper infusion of ground coffee beans and heated water, but your specific choice of beans will determine how many scoops to use. You should add 2 tablespoons of ground coffee beans to your preferred filter for every cup of water you plan to drink. If you use a lighter roast, you may want to use a slightly higher ratio of coffee beans to water. The best tasting coffee should never be too watery, but you do not want to waste good coffee either.

    Protected Coffee Beans

    The best results come from fresh beans. If you use stale coffee beans, it will ruin the flavor of the entire pot. Unused coffee beans should be kept in a cold, dry place. Any exposure to water could impact the flavor. If you want to store an opened bag of coffee for a little longer than usual, you can keep it in your freezer to add some longevity to the beans. This technique does not work as a permanent solution. There is no substitute for fresh coffee beans.

    Added Ingredients

    When you use a coffee maker to make a pot of coffee, you may drink it any way you like. Purists often argue that coffee should be enjoyed without any extra ingredients. These so-called experts note that sweeteners and creamers overpower the flavor of the coffee bean. In reality, people use coffee makers to make all sorts of coffee. Those who want to enjoy a sweetened drink should feel free to do so. Your choice of creamers or sweeteners will impact the flavor of your coffee. That's the whole point. If you choose to add extra flavors to your coffee, you can create a drink that suits your personal tastes. No matter which coffee maker you choose and no matter which ingredients you use, you should enjoy the coffee you make.

    What Kind of Coffee Is the Best Tasting?

    Most sellers separate their coffee based on its place of origin. Growers from all over the world produce these beans, and roasters complete the next step of the process. If you want to know what kind of coffee is the best tasting, you may first want to determine how you plan to drink it. Those who prefer black coffee without the aid of cream or sugar may want to consider beans with full flavor. Those who add additional ingredients to their cup may have a totally different definition of the best coffee beans.

    Fair Trade Coffee

    Instead of searching for beans based on the brand, consider choosing a bean based on the way it has been roasted.

    No matter what kind of beans you decide on, the best choices come from sellers who participate in Fair Trade practices. A Fair Trade certification ensures that the best tasting coffee beans do not come at an unsustainable price. Coffee drinkers from around the world use Fair Trade certifications to ensure that local farmers receive adequate pay for their labor so they can focus on growing and harvesting the highest quality beans year after year.

    Those who choose to sweeten their coffee may consider budget brands, as sweeteners and creams alter the flavor of the final product. In these cases, the flavor of the bean plays a less important role than the added ingredients. These extra ingredients can transform a simple cup of coffee into a highly customized drink.

    The best coffee brands for some drinkers do not appeal to others. Instead of searching for beans based on the brand, consider choosing a bean based on the way it has been roasted. Light coffee blends usually have a delicate blend of flavors, and they sometimes prove less bitter than darker roasts. Those who prefer a bold taste should consider dark roasts first. In either case, tastes change over time and those with sophisticated palates experiment with different roasting styles in order to decide which they prefer.

    Health Benefits of Coffee

    Is coffee good for you? The answer depends on who you are and how much you drink. Many health professionals advise against the over-consumption of caffeine, especially for children and young adults. Particularly for people in these age groups, moderate consumption remains important because even a single cup of coffee contains high levels of caffeine. Too much of this stimulant can cause anxiety, and many younger coffee drinkers find they have trouble concentrating after consuming more than a single cup. In addition, frequent coffee drinkers may start to expect caffeine on a daily basis. When your body gets used to a high dose of caffeine every day, you may develop headaches as your body reacts to the absence of this stimulant when you don't drink it.

    With this in mind, there are some health benefits to coffee as well. Moderate consumption can suppress hunger. A cup of this brew can also speed up your metabolism. Recent studies have shown that the consumption of caffeine may have some unique benefits for the brain. A few cups of coffee every week may even prevent the onset of dementia and Alzheimer's.

    Preparing and drinking coffee is also a soothing ritual that many people enjoy. Cultures all over the world use coffee beans to create hot drinks. While drip coffee makers are a modern invention, people have used a simple infusion process to bring out the flavor of ground beans for hundreds of years.

    Features

    In many houses, the coffee maker serves as an important part of the morning ritual. It needs to produce enough coffee for everyone who wants some, and it should match the kitchen where it will be used. In our coffee maker reviews, we considered each of the following aspects to ensure we found the best possible units. You can look for these specifications and features as you read about the machines that interest you most.

    Total Cup Capacity

    It takes time to brew a pot of coffee. That's why the best coffee makers give you enough room to make 8 to 12 cups of coffee at a time. We only reviewed one machine, the DeLonghi 14-Cup, that produces more than 12 cups per brewing session. Coffee makers with larger capacities do not need to be completely filled. You can usually brew a half or quarter pot if you want to prepare less coffee in the morning. For this reason, it usually makes sense to choose larger units than smaller ones.

    Smaller coffee makers may better suit those who want to prepare brews more quickly. The lower capacity often means the machine can heat up water faster than. Those with limited counter space may also want a coffee maker with a lower total cup capacity. Units with smaller carafes usually require less space than those with larger carafes.

    Single-Cup Capability

    Sometimes you may want to brew a single cup of coffee without waiting for the full pot. Some drip coffee makers accommodate this specific situation. A single-cup setting pauses the machine as you pour a cup and resumes as soon as you return the carafe into position. This reduces the amount of time you need to wait before enjoying your coffee in the morning, as you do not have to wait for the coffee maker to finish the whole brew before you start drinking.

    It should be noted that machines without single-serving functions need not necessarily inhibit your morning ritual. The coffee makers without this feature continue to brew while you pour from the carafe, and many momentarily clot the drip so it does not spill onto the heated surface below.

    Heated Plate

    Heated base plates keep your coffee warm after the coffee maker is finished brewing. This feature only appears on units that come with glass carafes. They can heat the coffee while it sits, so your next cup tastes just as warm as the first.

    Some of the best coffee makers come with adjustable heating plates. The Cuisinart Extreme Brew DCC-2650 includes this feature, which allows you to determine the level of heat you want to use to keep your coffee warm between pours. Some coffee makers include two different types of carafes. Those that have insulated carafes as optional accessories need adjustable heat plates in order to work effectively.

    Adjustable Settings

    Aside from the heating plate, the best coffee makers come with other adjustable settings. The Hamilton Beach Black Ice 12-Cup 43255R comes with a metal filter, but the machine does not necessarily require its use. Paper filters can replace the gold coffee filter for those who prefer disposable accessories.

    Standard Features vs. Advanced Options

    While some features exclusively appear in higher-end coffee makers, standard features come in almost every unit. For example, even the simplest coffee machines come with lighted power buttons. All of the units we evaluated include some of the same standard features. They all produce at least 8 cups of coffee. They all allow you to adjust the unit to brew fewer cups at a time.

    Alerts and Time Settings

    Mid-range coffee makers often include audible alarms that alert you when a brew cycle has finished. Because most people keep their coffee makers in their kitchens, these alerts provide an extra notification for those who step out of the room.

    Many coffee makers include clocks, but not all of them include scheduling functions. The Zojirushi Fresh Brew EC-BD15BA, like all the machines on our lineup, includes a programmable system that starts brewing coffee at a scheduled time. People who wake up at the same time every day can prepare the coffee maker the night before, and the system will automatically start brewing in the morning. This feature makes for a relaxing way to wake up, as the coffee is ready exactly when needed.

    Cleaning Cycles

    The best coffee makers come with water filters and cleaning cycles. These units clean the water that enters the reservoir before it gets heated and dripped over your coffee beans. People who do not already use purified water may prefer a machine that automates this process.

    Cleaning cycles keep the entire unit clean, including the water pipe between the reservoir and the drip tray. Only a few of the coffee makers we reviewed come with this feature. A self-cleaning cycle forces water or natural cleaning solutions through the entire machine before releasing fluid into the carafe. This clears bacteria out of the coffee maker so you can enjoy fresh-tasting coffee even after frequent usage.

    Test Results

    Coffee Makers: What We Tested, What We Found

    We ranked these appliances according to how well they perform everyday operations. To do this, we evaluated the coffee makers based on a few different criteria. The best models should give coffee drinkers high value for their cost, and that value comes from several different areas. To start, we checked for the physical specifications of each unit. We charted how many cups each coffee maker held in its reservoir, then we looked for the parts that would be used every day. Here is a short breakdown of the features we checked as we completed the reviews.

    Design Features

    Many of these units include removable, reusable filters. Of that selection, some come with metal coffee filters. A few machines allow you to choose between disposable and reusable filters. Those coffee makers that allow for multiple filtration options rank higher than those that did not come with extra filtration options.

    Water filtration also played a part in this process. Some coffee makers feature built-in water filters that strain out imperfections before the reservoir water reaches the coffee grounds. This design feature prevents water from negatively affecting the taste of the coffee.

    Functionality

    While many coffee makers automatically shut off if left running for several hours, some units come with other advanced functions that earned higher ratings. The top-ranked unit includes a feature that saves settings in case of a power outage. This unique function works in conjunction with other advanced features, including programmable brew settings.

    Coffee makers with power backup functions can operate more reliably than some alarm clocks. If you lose power temporarily, the machines that back up their settings can pick up right where they left off. They can even save a particular brew setting for up to 60 seconds at a time.

    Coffee Maker Reviews: Our Verdict and Recommendations

    While we reviewed many strong contenders, the top three earned special recognition. The Melitta 10-Cup Coffee Maker received our Bronze Award, number three in our overall list of drip coffee makers. The Silver Award went to Mr. Coffee SJX BVMC-SJX33GT, a 12-cup unit offering several advanced functions. The Gold Award, our highest ranking, went to the Cuisinart Extreme Brew.

    The Gold Award went to the Cuisinart Extreme Brew. The best coffee maker of its class, this machine includes a charcoal filter to keep water tasting fresh.

    All three of these units earned top rankings. They each stand out as superior choices among similar coffee makers. The Melitta 10-Cup earned its spot with extra customization options. This drip coffee maker comes with your choice of two carafes: glass or thermal. It features a built-in timer that also serves as a clock, and you can use it to program morning brew times. However, the machine does not come with any form of added water filtration.

    This area is where the Mr. Coffee SJX BVMC-SJX33GT stands out. The winner of our Silver Award, this coffee maker includes a water filtration system built into the unit. It comes with programmable settings for morning brews, and it also allows you to choose between glass and thermal carafes. The filtration system and price give this unit a slight edge over the Melitta drip coffee maker.

    The Gold Award went to the Cuisinart Extreme Brew. This machine includes a charcoal filter to keep water tasting fresh. The unit features a built-in pause function that allows you to pour a single cup while the machine is still brewing, and it comes with a permanent filter to allow you to experience the full flavor of your chosen roast. This drip coffee maker includes a power backup feature that remembers exactly where it left off in case of an accidental power loss.

    While three machines won our top awards, there are several others on the list that merit attention.

    Other Noteworthy Choices

    Some of the other units come with a water filtration system. This advanced feature provides a genuine benefit to every coffee drinker. No matter how you prepare your beverage, this option remains one of the most useful available in a home coffee machine. The Mr. Coffee FTX 41-NP ranks fourth on the list of coffee maker reviews, but it comes with this advanced feature. Even the KitchenAid 12-Cup KCM111OB includes a water filter, and this unit ranks as number 15. While these coffee makers did not reach the top three spots, their filtration systems purify the water before the brew reaches your cup. They also hold at least 10 cups of coffee in the carafes, so you can enjoy more before having to make another pot.

    Our Recommendations

    1. Cuisinart Extreme Brew

    The winner of our Gold Award, the Cuisinart Extreme Brew DCC-2650 Coffee Maker comes with many advanced features. It earned our top ranking because of a superior design with high-quality parts.

    This drip coffee maker comes with a glass carafe and a heated platter. It does not include an option for a thermal carafe. While the coffee maker lacks this choice, it provides several other ways to customize your daily coffee brewing routine. The system is compatible with both disposable and permanent coffee filters. You can swap out these filters anytime you like. The coffee maker works just as well with either option. The system also includes a temperature control setting. It heats the glass carafe to various temperatures, depending on your selection. This keeps your coffee piping hot when you want to take it with you on the road or cools it to a drinkable temperature if you want to drink it right away.

    This Cuisinart coffee maker also comes with a water filtration system and many other extras. This system uses charcoal to filter unnatural flavors out of the water in the reservoir so your brew tastes as clean as possible. After you drink your coffee, a self-cleaning system removes any calcified residue from inside the unit's reservoir. This top-rated coffee maker also includes a power protection setting, which remembers your chosen settings for up to 60 seconds after the unit loses power. You can program the machine to start brewing coffee at an arranged time. When your coffee finishes brewing, the coffee maker alerts you with an audible notification.

    The Cuisinart Extreme Brew DCC-2650 comes with many convenient features. The programmable start and temperature settings make it an optimal choice among drip coffee makers.

    PROS / You can brew as many as 12 cups of coffee at once, depending on your preference.

    CONS / You cannot substitute a thermal coffee carafe for the glass carafe that comes with this coffee maker.

    VERDICT / When it comes to features, the handy Cuisinart Extreme Brew DCC-2650 is the best drip coffee maker we found.

    2. Mr. Coffee SJX

    The Mr. Coffee SJX BVMC-SJX33GT earned our Silver Award for coffee makers. This unit is large enough to brew 12 cups of coffee, and it features several program settings to customize the way you use the device.

    This coffee maker uses a special heating plate that recognizes the difference between your carafes. When you want to brew coffee with a glass carafe, the machine turns on the heater to keep your coffee warm. The plate adjusts this setting automatically when you use the thermal heater. This function increases the versatility of the unit, so you can choose how you prepare your blends. This also applies to the filter. It comes with a metal coffee filter but works with paper as well.

    We gave this coffee maker a high ranking for several additional features, and it earned our Silver Award because of all the extras. This drip coffee maker comes with programmable start settings. If you want to prepare the machine the night before, it can begin brewing at a preset time. The brewing process pauses when you take the carafe away from the coffee maker. This means that you can pour a cup for yourself before the coffee finishes dripping. When you brew a pot of coffee, the machine keeps track of how long the brew has been sitting. A single glance at the front of the coffee machine tells you whether the coffee is fresh. It also features a filtration system for the water itself.

    The Mr. Coffee SJX BVMC-SJX33GT earned one of our highest rankings. The winner of the Silver Award, this coffee maker helps you create the brew that's right for you.

    PROS / You can substitute a thermal coffee carafe for the glass carafe that comes with this coffee maker.

    CONS / This coffee maker needs a fair amount of kitchen space and the water indicator is on the right side, limiting where you can place it.

    VERDICT / You get consistent flavor with this top-notch coffee maker, the opportunity to use either glass or thermal carafes, and enough features to handle most of your coffee-making needs.

    3. Melitta 10-Cup Coffee Maker

    The Melitta 10-Cup Coffee Maker 46894 earned our Bronze Award. It brews coffee with three different strength settings and comes with your choice of carafe.

    This Melitta coffee maker includes program functions to start and stop working anytime you want. Like a personal assistant who has coffee ready as soon as you need it, this unit starts brewing coffee on a set schedule. The unit works with both paper and metal filters. Depending on the style of coffee you like to drink, you can choose to use either one. The drip coffee maker also comes with another built-in feature for customizing the strength of your brew: it includes three different brew settings that you can select based on the type of roast you plan to drink.

    This model comes with a thermal coffee carafe, but you can opt for the model with a glass carafe as well. The only difference is the way the coffee stays heated. If you choose a glass coffee carafe, the unit also includes a heated plate to keep your coffee warm. The rest of the features remain the same. The different brewing options earned the Melitta 10-Cup Coffee Maker our Bronze Award. It gives you a choice of filters, and the drip coffee maker comes with three different settings to change the strength of the brew.

    PROS / You can choose between a glass carafe or a double-lined thermal carafe with this line of coffee makers.

    CONS / You do not get such extras as a water filter or indicator that tells you the coffee maker needs cleaning.

    VERDICT / The cone-shaped coffee grounds basket, the double-lined thermal carafe and the overall great appearance of this coffee machine make it a great choice.

    4. Mr. Coffee FTX

    The Mr. Coffee FTX 41-NP earned a high position in our list of coffee maker reviews. It's the second Mr. Coffee machine that we included on the list, and it earned high marks for its overall design. This drip coffee maker includes a water filter that cleans tap water before it reaches your ground beans. Those who do not already use a water purifier on their tap can rely on this internal mechanism to remove any imperfections. The Mr. Coffee FTX 41-NP also has a self-cleaning feature. It automates part of the cleaning process to prevent the buildup of calcium throughout the reservoir and water line. It helps keep the coffee maker running for extended periods without sullying the taste of the coffee.

    This machine shuts off automatically. After two hours, the coffee maker turns off its heating element to prevent your coffee from burning to the base of the carafe. It also includes a metal filter. This fine mesh filter prevents dregs from entering the carafe, and it allows the natural oils from your coffee beans to enrich the flavor of your blends. The machine does include other advanced features as well. It comes with programmable settings for delayed starts and a pause function for early pours.

    A robust filtration system including a metal filter and a separate water purifier earned the Mr. Coffee FTX 41-NP one of the top spots in our list. This coffee maker cleans itself to prevent calcification, but it does not provide the same array of options as the top three units.

    PROS / This coffee machine comes with a water filter that clears most of the chlorine from tap water.

    CONS / The mouth of this coffee decanter is a bit narrow, which could make it difficult for someone who has big hands to reach inside the pot if they want to do extra cleaning.

    VERDICT / This affordable automatic drip coffee maker offers a solid variety of features, including its own cleaning cycle, a two-hour automatic shut off period and it looks attractive with its overall black and stainless steel accents.

    5. Hamilton Beach Black Ice 12-Cup

    The Hamilton Beach Black Ice 12-Cup 43255R coffee maker earned high marks for its gold filter and programmable settings. It also includes a water filter. This drip coffee maker does not come with audible notifications.

    The machine does allow for customized start times. You can program the coffee maker to start brewing at any point. This feature automates the process so you do not need to wake up early to prepare your first pot of the day. This coffee maker comes with several other advanced features as well. The water filtration system works as a backup to ensure that the water you use to prepare your morning joe tastes just right. This system requires some attention, though. The water filter needs to be replaced every few months.

    This Hamilton Beach drip coffee maker does not require disposable filters. It comes with a reusable gold coffee filter that you can clean out between uses. This metal filter ensures that the brewed coffee retains its natural flavor. It does not filter out oils the same way that paper filters do. Coffee aficionados will appreciate this feature because it prevents over-filtration and preserves the character of the coffee beans.

    The Hamilton Beach Black Ice 12-Cup 43255R coffee maker may not include audible alerts, but the water filtration system makes it a fine choice for everyday coffee drinkers. This unit earned extra attention for its gold filter, which maintains the integrity of a roast's natural flavor. This drip coffee maker does not include a self-cleaning function, but the metal filter can be cleaned in a dishwasher.

    PROS / This coffee maker comes with a water filter.

    CONS / You do not get an audible alert when the coffee brewing is done.

    VERDICT / The Hamilton Beach Black Ice coffee maker line takes little work, looks appealing and produces tasty coffee.

    6. DeLonghi 14-Cup

    The DeLonghi 14-Cup Coffee Maker includes several useful features to help prepare a fresh cup of coffee. This machine includes a metal filter and notifies you when the unit requires cleaning. The coffee maker does not include a self-cleaning feature.

    The DeLonghi 14-Cup comes with a glass carafe and a plate that keeps your pot warm. It may not look fancy, but the coffee maker actually does include a few unique visual cues for your convenience. Small LED lights adorn the front of the machine, lighting up every 15 minutes after you finish brewing a pot of coffee. You can use these cues to determine whether to restart the coffee machine to make a fresh batch. The machine also features a special button for slow-drip brews.

    Other notification systems tell you when to clean out the reservoir. The coffee maker does not come with a self-cleaning function, but it does alert you when it needs attention. This updates you when mineral deposits build up in the machine so you can remove them before they affect the taste of your coffee. With these helpful notification systems, it surprises us that the coffee maker does not come with any audible notifications. It does not produce a sound when the coffee is ready to drink.

    The DeLonghi 14-Cup Coffee Maker comes with several systems to ensure you always know whether your coffee is fresh. It does not include a self-cleaning system, and it has no audible alerts. This drip coffee maker comes with a metal filter and a button that slows the drip to ensure flavorful brews.

    PROS / You can brew a plentiful 14 cups of hot coffee at once with this coffee maker.

    CONS / You cannot use paper filters with this device.

    VERDICT / This coffee maker lacks a few features that would be nice to have, but it produces lots of hot coffee and offers a unique brewing process.

    7. Cuisinart 12-Cup Programmable

    The Cuisinart 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker relies on an insulated design to maintain coffee temperatures without the use of a heated base. This machine includes several features for everyday brewing, but it does not come with a water filtration system.

    This drip coffee maker comes with an insulated carafe that does not sit on a heated plate. Instead, this dishwasher-safe carafe collects the brew and insulates against heat loss. The design of the thermal coffee carafe includes another advanced feature. Its lid screws into place and uses a ball bearing to keep the whole container sealed. It locks in the heat and still allows you to pour a cup when you're ready for more.

    Some coffee drinkers may not like the design of the thermal coffee carafe's lid. The lid keeps the heat inside, but it also slows down the speed with which you can pour. If you like to splash your coffee into a large mug quickly, the lid may hinder your process. The coffee maker does allow for programmable start times. You can set the unit up so it starts up to 24 hours later. It does not come with a water filter or self-cleaning system. The drip coffee maker works with both disposable and permanent filters.

    The Cuisinart 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker earned high marks for the insulated carafe, but it did not include many of the other features we expect from a high-end device. The unit lacks a water filter and may not pour quickly enough for some coffee drinkers.

    PROS / The Cuisinart has a three-year warranty.

    CONS / There is no water filter.

    VERDICT / The Cuisinart 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker is a versatile device that you can set the night before to make your morning brew, but it lacks some important standard features.

    8. Zojirushi Fresh Brew

    The Zojirushi Fresh Brew ranked low on our list of coffee maker reviews. This machine comes with a thermal carafe and a clock you can program to start anytime. It does not clean itself, and it does not include some of the advanced features we saw in higher-ranked units.

    This drip coffee maker lacks many of the advanced features of the higher-ranking units, but it still gives you lots of control over your everyday roasts. It uses disposable coffee filters to keep grounds out of the pot, and you can remove the carafe from the machine anytime. The thermal coffee carafe is made of stainless steel. It keeps coffee warm for longer periods of time than a glass carafe, and it does not require a heated plate on the machine itself.

    Zojirushi built this machine for everyday coffee drinkers. It does not include multiple brew options, nor does it come with a filtration system for the reservoir. For the best tasting coffee, you will need to filter or purify your water before you pour it into the tank. High-quality coffee requires pure water and a clean system, and this machine does not automatically maintain either. It does not clean itself, and it does not come with any alerts to remind you to scrub it down. It does come with a pause function. When you want a cup of coffee before the brewing process finishes, you can pull the carafe away from the coffee maker and the machine will pause right away.

    The quality of the thermal carafe and the programmable settings earned the Zojirushi Fresh Brew a top 10 slot among the coffee makers we reviewed. This mid-range unit can produce a fine pot of coffee, but it does not stack up against the highest-rated models we evaluated.

    PROS / The Zojirushi brews into a thermal pot.

    CONS / The warranty is limited to one year.

    VERDICT / This attractive coffee maker can't burn coffee because it has no hot plate, but it lacks several helpful features.

    9. KRUPS Breakfast Set

    The KRUPS Breakfast Set KM730D50 coffee maker looks good and offers useful features that will please discerning java-lovers. You can make as many as 12 cups of coffee with this machine.

    Equipped with a programmable clock, this device can be set to make coffee for any time you want. You also get the welcome pause capability that will stop the coffee brewing process long enough to let you quickly snag a cup before the brewing begins again. Occasionally, some people have found the lights on the coffee maker to be too bright, but for most consumers, that is not a consideration of any real importance.

    This stainless steel and brushed chrome black-and-silver coffee maker comes with a glass carafe and hot plate warmer to keep the coffee hot. You also get a handy coffee scoop so you can accurately put the appropriate amount of grounds into the machine. This is outfitted with a cone-shaped filter, which is a feature that die-hard coffee fans love. They contend coffee filters with this shape push the coffee grounds and water together just right so that the maximum flavor is extracted from the grounds and released into the brew itself.

    The KRUPS Breakfast Set also features what the manufacturer terms an "aroma function" that lets you choose the strength of the coffee you want to brew. Once you have made a pot, it will stay nicely warm on the heating plate for two hours until the device shuts itself off. This is a useful safety feature for the absent minded and is welcomed by coffee lovers who would not dream of drinking coffee that has been sitting around for more than two hours.

    Although this is not the most elaborate coffee maker on the market, the KRUPS Breakfast Set KM730D50 brews a good cup of coffee. This machine does lack a water filter and you do not get an adjustable heating plate. It is supported by a two-year warranty, and if you have problems with the product, you can contact the manufacturer by email or phone.

    PROS / You can program this coffee maker the night before and wake up to hearty, fresh coffee.

    CONS / Some consumers find the blue-illuminated clock and water indicator light annoyingly bright.

    VERDICT / The KRUPS KM730D50 is an attractive coffee maker from a long-standing manufacturer. While it does not include a plethora of extra features, it makes great coffee.

    10. Black & Decker DCM2160B

    The Black & Decker DCM2160B is one of those coffee makers that meets the needs of anyone who craves good and tasty coffee in the morning and who is simply not concerned with having a lot of gourmet trappings or added features to get the brew made.

    You can program this drip coffee maker the night before so fresh coffee will be ready to drink as you awake. Its durable glass carafe and its filter basket are dishwasher safe. You can brew a maximum of 12 cups of coffee with this device, but you also have the ability to make a smaller potful if you do not want that much.

    If you are in a rush, you do not need to wait for a full pot to finish brewing since this coffee maker features a pause feature that briefly stops everything so you can grab a fast cup without making a mess. After that, the machine finishes brewing the rest of the coffee.

    You also get peace of mind with this coffee maker since it includes an automated shut-off. If you leave the house in a hurry and forget to shut the machine off, you needn't fear a kitchen fire since it will stop working in two hours with no effort on your part.

    If you encounter problems, you can contact the manufacturer by phone or email, and the product comes with a two-year warranty.

    The Black & Decker DCM2160B is a straightforward and durable kitchen appliance that does not come with loads of extra features, but instead does exactly what is intended: make good coffee. This is a basic machine that does not come with such extras as adjustable heater plates, brew strength settings or audible beeps when the coffee brewing is done. You also do not get an alert that notifies you when it's time to clean the coffee maker of mineral deposits.

    PROS / You can program this coffee maker the night before and wake up to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. You can also choose how many cups to make.

    CONS / This coffee machine does not have an adjustable heater plate and doesn't alert you when the coffee brewing process is done.

    VERDICT / The Black & Decker DCM2160B model is a solid and basic coffee maker that does just what it promises: makes great coffee. For people who want that and not a plethora of extras, this is could be a good choice.