10 Types of Coffee Makers Every Home Brewer Should Know
From pods to pour-overs to french presses, your ideal coffee maker is on this list.
The type of coffee maker you use each morning can affect the taste, convenience, and cost of each cup you brew, but there’s no “best” method out there. There are different types of coffee makers for every preference, each with its own pros and cons. Here are 10 types of coffee makers to help coffee lovers find the just-right method for their daily brew.
1. Drip Coffee Maker
Found in kitchens and break rooms nationwide, the classic drip coffee maker has a water reservoir on top that heats water and runs it through coffee grounds in the filter below. Fresh coffee then collects in a glass coffee pot, which sits on a hot plate to keep the coffee warm. (Sometimes, though, this hot plate can burn coffee if it sits a while.)
Drip coffee makers are inexpensive, easy to find, easy to use, and easy to clean. They can make anywhere from one to 14 cups of coffee at once, and some models can control coffee strength, temperature, and brewing schedule.
Best For: Coffee drinkers who go through several cups a day and large groups
Our Recommendation: Cuisinart PerfecTemp 14 Cup Programmable Coffeemaker at Amazon for $99.95.
This no-frills coffee maker can brew up to 14 cups of coffee at a time, and it offers strength control, pausable brewing, and a stainless steel finish.
2. Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker
Thermal carafe coffee makers are another popular at-home coffee maker, and they work the same as traditional drip coffee makers. However, instead of a glass coffee pot and hot plate, the coffee collects in an insulated thermal carafe. The thermal carafe keeps the coffee warm and eliminates the possibility of coffee burning on a hot plate. Some thermal carafe coffee makers can also brew large amounts of coffee and keep it warm, but such machines tend to cost a bit more than traditional drip coffee makers.
Best For: The ease of drip coffee without any burnt coffee
Our Recommendation: OXO Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker at Amazon for $199.95.
Brew one or eight cups with this OXO model, which holds coffee in a vacuum-insulated thermal carafe to keep it warm for hours.
3. Grind and Brew Coffee Maker
Grind and brew coffee makers have built-in coffee grinders for milling coffee beans right before brewing, yielding the freshest flavor. The best grind and brew options use burrs instead of blades to grind coffee for a finer, more consistent grind. Fresh coffee grounds then go through the coffee brewer, which is usually designed to make drip coffee or espresso.
These two-in-one machines eliminate the need for a separate coffee grinder, but one downside is that built-in grinders need frequent cleaning and can be prone to jamming.
Best For: Grinding and brewing fresh coffee with a single appliance
Our Recommendation: Black+Decker 12-Cup Mill & Brew Coffeemaker at Amazon for $72.36.
This no-frills programmable coffee maker grinds and brews up to 12 cups of coffee.
4. Pod Coffee Maker
Popularized by Keurig, these single-serve coffee makers brew one cup of coffee at a time. Convenience is a major draw of this type of coffee maker, but coffee purists may find the flavor to be lacking. These appliances use single-serve plastic “pods” full of coffee grounds, such as K-Cups, Nespresso pods, and third-party pods made to fit name-brand machines.
With some water poured in and a pod inserted, a pod coffee maker will churn out a cup of coffee within a couple of minutes—no measuring or filters required. Pods come in various types and flavors, but many are single-use and create a significant amount of waste. However, many pods are now recyclable, and reusable K-cups and refillable Nespresso capsules generate far less plastic waste than either alternative.
Best For: Conveniently brewing one cup of coffee at a time
Our Recommendation: Keurig K-Supreme Plus Single Serve Coffee Maker at Amazon for $199.99.
Compact and packed with several brewing options, this Keurig is perfect for making the just-right cup of coffee fast.
5. Pour-Over Coffee Maker
The pour-over coffee maker is a favorite among diehard coffee lovers. These home coffee makers look like a funnel, and the coffee grounds are placed inside. Using a disposable or reusable filter, hot water is poured over the grounds (usually in two batches) and the coffee drips into a cup or carafe below.
This completely manual method provides complete user control over water temperature, pour speed, texture, taste, and strength of the brew. Keeping things cheap and streamlined, just the pour-over cone, filter, coffee grounds, and vessel are required. However, it’s a hands-on process best for brewing a cup or two, not larger batches.
Best For: Coffee lovers who want full control over the brewing process
Our Recommendation: Bodum Pour Over Coffee Maker With Permanent Filter at Amazon for $19.99.
This simple glass pour-over coffee maker comes with a reusable filter and an attractive cork grip.
One of the older types of coffee makers still used today, percolators predate drip coffee. These simple coffee machines resemble pitchers and can be stove-top or electric. They work by heating water in a reservoir, passing the hot water through a tube, and saturating coffee grounds held in a basket above the water surface. The brewed coffee drips back into the reservoir and the process repeats.
Percolators produce strong, flavorful coffee, which is piping hot since it uses boiling water. Depending on the size of the percolator, it can be used to brew anywhere from a couple to 10 or more cups of coffee at a time. Some may find percolator coffee too strong or over-extracted due to the brewing process, however.
Best For: A very strong cup of coffee
Our Recommendation: Presto 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Maker at Amazon for $67.99.
This electric coffee percolator automatically switches off when it’s done brewing to prevent bitter coffee, and it has a warming feature.
7. French Press
Another cool coffee maker that’s easy to use, the French press is even older than the percolator. This manual coffee maker uses a carafe to hold coffee grounds and hot water, and the lid has a plunger with a fine filter. After a few minutes of steeping, slowly pressing on the plunger will capture any grounds at the bottom of the jug. Then, pour and enjoy the full-bodied, rich coffee.
Since French presses don’t use paper filters, more fragrant oils make their way from the grounds into the coffee. Users can control the water temperature and steep time, but it requires less babysitting than other manual methods, like pour-over coffee makers. That said, French presses still demand more work than drip or single-use coffee.
Best For: Full-bodied and customizable coffee
Our Recommendation: Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker at Amazon for $29.99.
This classic French press design is made with durable materials to brew each cup of coffee safely and reliably.
8. Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Cold brew coffee makers use an entirely different method to make coffee. As the name suggests, there’s no hot water involved. Instead, cold brew coffee is made with cold or room-temperature water slowly dripped over (or soaking) coarse coffee grounds for up to 24 hours. This process creates a full-bodied coffee with a smooth and less acidic taste compared to coffee brewed with hot water.
Cold brew coffee is often served cold, but it can be served hot, as well. The downside is that it’s not a quick process; at minimum, cold brew coffee makers will need a few hours to make coffee.
Best For: Full-bodied, smooth, and less acidic-tasting coffee served cold
Our Recommendation: Primula Burke Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker at Amazon for $23.99.
This cold brew coffee maker is easy to use. Put coffee grounds into the built-in filter, add cold water, let it brew overnight, and serve directly from the coffee maker.
9. Espresso Maker
Thicker and more concentrated than drip coffee, espresso is a specific type of coffee made with a unique brewing method. Espresso comes from the same coffee beans as other types of coffee, but only espresso machines make espresso—which you can drink on its own or use to make espresso-based drinks like cappuccinos and lattes.
There are a wide range of espresso makers with manual and automatic features. Prices can range from under $100 for basic espresso makers and into the thousands for high-end options with programmable and automatic features. Since espresso is the base for a range of other drinks, some espresso makers also have built-in grinders and milk frothers to make cafe-quality espresso drinks at home.
Best For: Anyone who wants to make espressos.
Our Recommendation: Philips 2200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine at Amazon for $549.99.
Grind coffee beans, make espresso, brew coffee, and froth milk using the built-in frother, all with one convenient machine.
10. Dual Coffee Maker
Dual coffee makers can simultaneously make a pot of coffee and a single-serve cup of coffee, combining the benefits of drip coffee makers and single-use coffee pods. Some particularly fancy coffee makers can also brew espresso and may even feature accessories like coffee grinders, milk frothers, and built-in hot water dispensers for making tea.
These convenient machines are great for households with differing needs and preferences, making it possible to brew individual cups one day and a pot for a large group the next. Designed for versatility, they often have coffee size, strength, and temperature settings, as well.
Best For: Versatility and meeting a household’s varying preferences with one machine
Our Recommendation: Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System with Thermal Carafe at Amazon for $199.99.
This multipurpose coffee maker brews a range of coffee sizes and concentrations and features a built-in milk frother.
The prices listed here are accurate as of publication on March 30, 2021.