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Any coffee aficionado will tell you that coffee is more than just a beverage; it’s a lifestyle. In fact, the NPD Group reports that a whopping 82 percent of U.S. households own a coffee maker. And according to Nicole Papantoniou, the kitchen appliances and innovation lab director at the Good Housekeeping Institute, “it’s not uncommon that people currently have more than one coffee maker in their home.” She says most folks opt for at least one traditional drip coffee maker as well as a specialty machine that can create popular varieties like espresso, cold brew, French press, and pour-over.
Looking to invest but not sure exactly which type of machine is right for you? You’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ve created a comprehensive guide to the most popular types of coffee makers available—each of which not only differ by brew method, but also by ease of use and price. Keep scrolling to make an informed purchase, and for shopping made even simpler, discover picks in each category tested and approved by the Good Housekeeping Institute.
How We Picked These Products
Our friends at the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances Lab have tested hundreds of coffee makers to find the best models in different categories. Their team of on-staff experts—including professionally-trained chefs and kitchen tool product developers—rigorously put everyday products to the test in their New York City-based labs to determine which ones are actually worth your money.
Drip Coffee Maker
Drip coffee makers are the most popular and traditional coffee makers on the market. “They’re easy to use and generally easy to clean,” explains Papantoniou. “Additionally, their grounds are disposable and very accessible, as there’s a wide variety of coffee that works with these types of machines.” Depending on the model, drip coffee makers can also make anywhere from a single cup to 14 cups of coffee to suit your needs.
How it works: Drip coffee is made when cold water gradually heats up and passes through the coffee beans. Once the coffee is brewed, it’s typically placed in a glass carafe on a hot plate. Many drip coffee machines now also have the ability to brew drip coffee over ice.
Who it’s best for: Traditional coffee lovers.
Brew Now or Later Coffee Maker
Precision Brewer Thermal Coffee Maker
Pour-Over Coffee Maker
With the pour-over method, hot water is dispensed over grounds using a dripper and filter, which allows for deep flavor extraction.
According to the Good Housekeeping Institute team, pour-over coffee drippers come in a few different shapes. These include:
Flat-bottomed: These have a flat, even bottom that allows for optimal coffee ground coverage and flavor extraction.
Conical: With this style, water moves through a narrow opening to coat coffee grounds.
Wedge: This shape is a hybrid between flat-bottomed and cone-shaped drippers. Like conical drippers, these have a single hole at the bottom.
How it works: Cold water is added to the container and ground coffee to the filter. Once the water heats up, it passes through the beans. The brewed coffee is then put into a glass carafe on a hot plate to keep the coffee warm.
Who it’s best for: Traditional coffee lovers.
Porcelain #2 Cone Brewer
Single-Serve Capsule Coffee Maker
Perfect for anyone who’s always on the go, single-serve coffee makers will brew you a fresh cup with the touch of a button. These makers use coffee pods and typically have a water reservoir (which you don’t need to refill every cycle), plus various settings for brewing different-sized cups.
How it works: Water runs over pre-ground and measured coffee inside the pods. The drink is then poured right into your mug. Since the filter is located within the pod, the Good Housekeeping Institute team notes that you won’t have to worry about emptying the grinds. You can simply toss out the pod once you’re done.
Who it’s best for: People who like different types of coffee and don’t want a full pot.
The coffee it makes: Your favorite brewed coffee.
K-Cafe Single Serve Coffee, Latte, and Cappuccino Maker
French Press Coffee Maker
“French press is popular for people who really like coffee and want to experience all the flavors of a coffee bean,” says Papantoniou. It’s made by steeping coffee grounds in freshly boiled water. Although this method is quick (it takes just four minutes to brew!), it’s considered gentle since it helps prevents the beans from burning.
How it works: Add coarse to medium-ground coffee with just-boiled water and place the lid on the carafe so it will steep. After a few minutes, push down the plunger slowly (equipped with a fine-mesh filter) to move the grounds to the bottom of the carafe.
Who it’s best for: Coffee fans who enjoy rich brews.
Chambord French Press Coffee Maker
AeroPress Coffee Maker
AeroPress’ popular machine works similarly to any French press but is built to brew even quicker and be easier to clean. The proprietary design can make espresso, Americanos, and cold brew coffee, the latter which you can create by letting grounds steep for one minute instead of 10 seconds. What’s more, the AeroPress can make up to three cups of regular (or strong) coffee at a time.
How it works: “Add one rounded tablespoon of finely ground coffee to the base of your Aeropress for every espresso-sized shot you’d like to make,” suggests the Good Housekeeping Institute. Then, heat water to 170ºF and fill the base up to your desired cup marking. Place the filter in the cap, attach the cap onto the base, then add the base over a mug. Make sure to stir coffee grounds for ten seconds and use the plunger to push water through the grounds and into the mug.
Who it’s best for: People who enjoy strong coffee.
Original Coffee Press
Cold Brew Coffee Maker
While traditional iced coffee is made by pouring already brewed coffee over ice, the cold brew technique doesn’t use heat. Instead, it’s made by steeping grounds for 10 to 20 hours, allowing for a rich, full-bodied brew.
How it works: Steep coarsely-ground coffee beans in room temperature or cold water overnight. Serve it over ice or use it as a concentrate to make hot coffee. According to the Good Housekeeping Institute, you can store your cold brew in the fridge for up to 14 days.
Who it’s best for: People who like deep, flavorful coffee.
Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Espresso Coffee Maker
Papantoniou shares she regularly uses espresso machines to make “consistently quick and strong brew.” According to the Good Housekeeping Institute, espresso is a concentrated form of coffee that’s made with “dark roasted beans and a fine grind.” It can be brewed using a variety of machines, including manual, semi-automatic, automatic, super-automatic, and capsule. These all push pressurized hot water through finely-ground coffee.
Manual machines: These require you to customize all settings, like tamping and water pressure, in order to make espresso from scratch.
Semi-automatic machines: These control the water pressure, but you determine how much water you want to use. These tend to be easier to operate than manual machines but also far more affordable than automatic and super automatic machines (which can climb to over $7,o00 a piece).
Automatic machines: These control the machine’s pressure and water output.
Super-automatic machines: This maker does all the heavy lifting for you. After selecting the type of drink you want, it automatically grinds the beans and makes the drink based on pre-programmed settings.
Capsule machines: These use pre-measured espresso pods, so all you need to do is select the size of drink you want and the machine will brew accordingly.
How it works: Water is heated and run through pressed coffee grounds at a high pressure.
Who it’s best for: Those who like a rich, concentrated drink
La Specialista Prestigio Espresso Machine
Stovetop Coffee Maker
Stovetop coffee makers brew a dark cup of coffee that’s similar to espresso. However, they differ from espresso makers in that they don’t use nine bars of pressure. Still, they’re great for making cappuccinos and lattes.
How it works: Add water to the bottom of the maker and fine grounds to the filter at the top. Heat will generate steam within the container, which creates pressure. In turn, the water on the bottom will flow through the beans and brew into the top compartment.
Who it’s best for: Espresso lovers who like deep, dark cups of coffee.
Grind and Brew Coffee Maker
A drip coffee maker includes a grind feature that can grind coffee before brewing, helping to create the freshest-tasting blend.
How it works: Choose them amount of coffee you want to grind, then the machine will automatically grind it into the brew basket for you. Grind and brews come with either blade grinders, which chops the beans, or burr grinders, which grinds coffee between two pieces of hard material). The latter allow for enhanced precision.
Who it’s best for: People who like to easily grind their coffee at home.
Automatic Burr Grind & Brew
Turkish Coffee Maker (Ibrik)
Turkish/Greek coffee is brewed on the stove using a small pot. Like espresso, it’s “enjoyed from a small cup.” Unlike espresso, however, Turkish coffee is made by combining water and coffee grounds at the outset. Plus, sugar or other seasonings like cinnamon or cardamom are often added to the pot during the brewing process.
How it works: Water and finely ground coffee beans are combined until the mixture starts boiling. Coffee is then transferred to a cup, allowing the grounds settle to the bottom.
Who it’s best for: People who like strong, unfiltered coffee that’s quick and easy to make.
Turkish Warmer Coffee Pot
Similar to bagged tea, this type of coffee comes in small pouches that you can quickly steep in water and take with you on the go.
How it works: Place the coffee bag in a mug and add hot water. Steep for up to six minutes. Remove the bag and enjoy.
Who it’s best for: People who enjoy a full-bodied cup of coffee that’s quick to make and easy to transport.
Single Serve Coffee Packs
Vietnamese Coffee Maker (Phin)
Using finely-ground beans, this metal coffee maker is similar to a small pour-over. It fits directly over a mug or cup, so you can brew a single serving.
How it works: Hot water drips through small holes at the bottom of the maker once it’s passed through the grounds. The lid on top helps seal in heat as the coffee is made. Per the Good Housekeeping Institute team, this type of coffee is often brewed into a cup that’s filled with a bit of sweetened condensed milk.
Who it’s best for: Those who like strong, single-cup coffee.
Vietnamese Coffee Filter Set
Siphon Coffee Maker
A Siphon coffee maker is essentially a hybrid between a French press and pour-over. It creates a more delicate brew, as it involves pouring water at a lower temperature (near-boiling) over the grounds.
How it works: Water is heated until it turns into vapor. From there, it passes up through a round carafe filled with coffee grounds. Once the vapor turns back into water and mixes with the grounds, it releases in the carafe and creates a vacuum, which gives the coffee a bolder aroma and flavor profile.
Who it’s best for: Coffee fanatics who want to use an advanced, technical method to boost their coffee’s flavor.
4-Cup Vacuum Coffee Maker
Percolator Coffee Maker
Percolators have been around since even before drip coffee makers. Available in electric versions and those that work on the stovetop, they can make strong, flavorful cups of coffee.
How it works: Heated water moves through a tube and continuously saturates the coarse coffee grounds on the top of the machine.
Who it’s best for: People who like really hot coffee.
Automatic Coffee Maker
Papantoniou recommends automatic coffee makers because they can easily create different types of coffee with the touch of a button. She primarily uses them to create espresso, but they can also make standard coffee and other specialty beverages like lattes and Americanos.
How it works: Beans are added and stored in the hopper. Once a beverage type is selected via the touchscreen, the machine will make your preferred brew for you.
Who it’s best for: Coffee lovers who want to easily make traditional coffee and specialty drinks like espressos, cappuccinos, Americanos, and flat whites.
Automatic Coffee Maker & Espresso Machine
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