Best Coffee Makers of 2021

Consumer Reports’ experts round up the top drip and pod brewers from Cuisinart, Nespresso, Technivorm, and more

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overhead shot of coffee being poured into white mug Photo: iStock

For many people, there’s no better way to start the day than with a great cup of coffee. But today’s coffee makers do far more than brew a pot of joe. Some grind beans, others froth milk for lattes and macchiatos, and a few even brew iced coffee.

We tested nearly 150 coffee makers to see which are worthy of space on your kitchen counter.

We take java seriously in our coffee maker lab, where our test team conducts a brew-performance test and measures contact time (how long water stays within the sweet spot of 195° F to 205° F for brewing) for each drip coffee maker. For single-serve (pod) machines, our engineers evaluate temperature and size consistency of individual cups of coffee. And for cold-brew coffee makers, engineers assess ease of cleaning and taste testers judge each brew.

Below are reviews of 12 of the best coffee makers we’ve evaluated that are currently on the market, listed in alphabetical order. The list has a number of configurations: drip, pod, grind-and-brew, self-serve, one-mug, dual coffee/espresso, and cold-brew. CR members can click on each model name for more detailed ratings and specs.

Learn more in our coffee maker buying guide and explore dozens of options in our complete coffee maker ratings.

CR’s take: The Bunn HB Heat N Brew Programmable does very well across the board in our tests, but its feature set is a bit bare-bones—auto-shutoff, a cleaning indicator, and programming—despite its relatively high price. Still, you’re likely to love this appliance, which receives a Very Good score for brew performance in our testing. Another selling point: Bunn drip machines earn an Excellent rating for owner satisfaction, according to data from our latest member survey.

CR’s take: The Chefman InstaCoffee earns a CR Best Buy designation thanks to its impressive performance and $50 price. This little K-Cup brewer outperforms $200 machines, with stellar ratings in all our tests, including an Excellent rating for first-cup speed. You won’t get many bells and whistles at this price, though. This Chefman model’s only features are an auto-shutoff and the ability to brew from K-Cups or loose grounds.

CR’s take: The Cuisinart Coffee on Demand DCC-3000 is a self-serve coffee maker, meaning it forgoes a carafe and allows you to fill a mug straight from its heated reservoir. This model does well in our tests, earning an Excellent brew-performance rating. Cuisinart self-serve machines receive Very Good predicted reliability and Excellent owner satisfaction scores in our member surveys. This machine comes with a removable reservoir, permanent filter, water filter, cleaning indicator, auto-shutoff, programming, and a small-batch setting.

CR’s take: A traditional drip coffee maker with a modern twist, the Cuisinart DCC-T20 Touchscreen 14-Cup Programmable offers slick touch-screen controls and makes plenty of coffee for a full house, thanks to its 14-cup glass carafe. This model receives an Excellent rating for brew performance and does well in our other tests, too. It features programming, auto-shutoff, a cleaning indicator, permanent filter, water filter, brew-strength control, and a small-batch setting. It’s a bit pricey, but for the investment you can count on an all-around great machine.

CR’s take: If you want a coffee maker that grinds beans right before brewing, check out the Cuisinart Next-Generation Burr Grind & Brew 12-cup DGB-800. In addition to its built-in grinder, you’ll get a permanent filter, water filter, auto-shutoff, programming, and brew-strength control. This model earns Very Good scores for brew performance and carafe handling in our lab tests, and as a group, Cuisinart machines receive an Excellent rating for owner satisfaction in CR’s latest member survey.

CR’s take: One of the best Keurig K-Cup brewers isn’t made by Keurig at all. The Cuisinart Premium Single-Serve Brewer SS-10 receives a convenience rating of Excellent and offers great cup-size and temperature consistency. This machine is also loaded with features, including an auto-shutoff function, a removable water reservoir, a height-adjustable drip tray, a built-in water filter, and programming.

CR’s take: The unassuming, inexpensive Hamilton Beach 12-cup Programmable 49465R might be easy to miss, but it can brew a mean cup of joe at a fantastic price. It has all the essentials in a basic black plastic finish. It’s programmable, as its name says, and has auto-shutoff. And it delivers Excellent brew performance and can make a fresh pot in just 10 minutes. This model also earns Very Good ratings for convenience and carafe handling.

CR’s take: The Keurig K-Café Special Edition Coffee, Latte & Cappuccino Maker K84 uses K-Cup pods to brew coffee, lattes, and cappuccinos. It can even brew iced lattes and iced cappuccinos, but it lacks a mode for making traditional iced coffee. It’s admirably consistent in terms of brew size and temperature. It takes longer than the fastest models to heat up for the first cup, earning only a Good rating in that test, but does better with subsequent cups. In addition to its built-in milk frother, this model comes with a strong-brew setting, an auto-shutoff feature, a height-adjustable drip tray, and removable water reservoir. But owners surveyed by CR gave Keurig coffee makers below-average marks for reliability.

CR’s take: For those who prefer Nespresso capsules over Keurig K-Cups, the Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker in Aluminum EN125S is worth a close look. It comes in a sleek metallic finish and can make both espresso and coffee. Our testers give it solid performance scores across the board, including a Very Good rating for temperature consistency and an Excellent rating for first-cup speed. It features a removable reservoir, a height-adjustable drip tray, auto-shutoff, and adjustable brew temperatures.

CR’s take: A more affordable take on Ninja’s Coffee Bar brewers, the Ninja Specialty CM401 is a terrific all-in-one machine capable of brewing hot and iced coffee, lattes, macchiatos, and other specialty brews. In our tests it receives an Excellent rating for brew performance, and its glass carafe handles with ease. This model is packed with features, including an over-ice brew mode for iced coffee, a built-in milk frother, brew-strength control, and brew-size adjustment for travel mugs to full carafes. It’s also one of the most versatile coffee makers we’ve tested.

CR’s take: The Primula Burke Cold Brew Coffee Maker PBPBK-5101 is the most inexpensive cold-brew coffee maker in our ratings—and one of the best, receiving an Excellent rating for convenience. It comes with a glass carafe, and most of its parts are dishwasher-safe. It’s the only model we’ve tested that calls for a full 24-hour brew time, but you might find the results worth the wait.

CR’s take: The Technivorm Moccamaster brand is usually associated with high-end carafe machines, but the Cup-One Brewer is a basic one-mug drip machine that has its pluses and minuses. Technivorm one-mug appliances do well in our surveys for reliability and satisfaction, but this model underperforms in our convenience tests, receiving only a Fair rating. It’s one of the most expensive models on this list, yet it offers only one feature (auto-shutoff), so what you’re really paying for is the brand, its looks, and its performance. Still, if you like simple coffee makers or you’re a Technivorm fan, this may be the machine for you.

Home Content Creator Daniel Wroclawski

Daniel Wroclawski

I'm obsessed with smart home tech and channel my obsession into new stories for Consumer Reports. When I'm not writing about products, I spend time either outside hiking and skiing or up in the air in small airplanes. For my latest obsessions, follow me on Facebook and Twitter (@danwroc).