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The best coffee makers for college.

Best Coffee Makers to Take to College

Drip and single-serve machines that will get you on your way

Paying three bucks for a cup of coffee several times a day can blow a college student’s budget pretty quickly. Over two semesters, your java habit will run you about $1,260—and that's without any espresso drinks, which cost even more. You don't need to be an econ major to see that it’s smarter to invest in a coffee maker (assuming your dorm allows them).

At Consumer Reports, we test both full-sized and single-serve coffee makers. Each size has its advantages.

"Full-sized coffee makers brew a stronger cup and offer more features," says CR test engineer Ginny Lui, who oversees our coffee maker tests. "Single-serve machines are a great option if you want to brew a quick cup before you run out the door."

In our tests, full-sized coffee makers typically take about 10 minutes to brew a full pot. But if you need your cup of joe to go even faster than that, try a self-serve drip coffee maker or a single-serve model that uses disposable pods.

Below are six models, grouped by type (and not ranked in performance order), that stood out in our tests with their consistent brewing and simple operation.

Full-Sized Drip Coffee Makers
Hamilton Beach 12-cup Programmable 49465R

Hamilton Beach 12-cup Programmable...

It takes 10 minutes to brew a pot of coffee in the Hamilton Beach 12-cup Programmable 49465. And at $25, it costs the same or less than one week of takeout coffee from your favorite barista. The Hamilton Beach has automatic shut-off, a smart safety feature that many dorms require anyway. Brewing performance is top-notch, and our testers found it convenient to use and clean.

    Cuisinart PerfecTemp 14 Cup Programmable DCC-3200

    Cuisinart PerfecTemp 14 Cup...

    At $100, you'll pay more for the Cuisinart 14 Cup Programmable DCC-3200, but you'll get more features, including a permanent filter and a light that indicates when the machine needs cleaning. It also takes 10 minutes to brew a full pot but makes two more cups than the Hamilton Beach. It's a cinch to operate and clean. In our tests, we also fill the filter almost to the top with grounds, which can happen when you skip measuring and just dump the coffee in. Some models overflowed in that test, making a mess of the counter. This Cuisinart didn't.

      Self-Serve Drip Coffee Makers
      Cuisinart Coffee on Demand DCC-3000

      Cuisinart Coffee on Demand DCC-3000

      The Cuisinart Coffee on Demand DCC-3000, $99, dispenses coffee one cup at a time. Once the coffee is brewed, just place your travel mug under the reservoir, push the lever, and you're good to go. The self-serve machine filled the entire 12-cup reservoir with freshly brewed coffee in 9 minutes, and it was a strong performer for brew performance. The reservoir is easy to remove and clean. It's also programmable, so you can set it and your coffee will be ready the minute you wake up.

        Black+Decker Single Serve CM620B

        Black+Decker Single Serve CM620B

        In 5 minutes you can fill a large travel mug from this Black+Decker Single Serve CM620B, $35. The trade-off is that the brew performance isn't quite as good as with many full-sized drip machines. But it's convenient, and you can use either grounds or a soft pod in the basket filter. And at just over a foot tall and 7 inches wide, it's a real space saver.

          Single-Serve Coffee Makers
          Starbucks Verismo 580

          Starbucks Verismo 580

          Miss your Starbucks fix? For $100 you can snag the single-serve Starbucks Verismo 580 and have your choice of a dozen flavors of Starbucks coffee. You can make single cups one after another and still get top brewing performance. It's super-simple to operate and clean, and looks good on the counter.

            DeLonghi Nescafé Dolce Gusto Genio EDG455T

            DeLonghi Nescafé Dolce Gusto Genio...

            At $130, the DeLonghi Nescafé Dolce Gusto Genio EDG455T is the most expensive coffee maker on this list, but it's a favorite single-serve machine. Cup speed and size consistency were top-notch, and the unit is fairly easy to use. Some of our readers have complained that it can be difficult to find the Nescafé-brand pods, so you may want to plan on ordering them online from Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, or Target.

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