The 5 Best Budget Coffee Makers, Tested and Reviewed
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A good cup of coffee doesn’t have to be from a $500 machine, smothered in frothy milk, and served with tasting notes. Sometimes all you need to start your day is a warm mug of whatever comes out of the pot. The best budget coffee makers are reliable and simple, with a manageable price tag.
To help you find the best budget coffee maker for your needs and kitchen space, we tested 12 coffee makers at a range of price points. Our top pick is the Braun BrewSense 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker because it simply made the best cup of coffee and is near silent while brewing bold or standard pots. For maximum capacity and lowest price, check out the Beautiful by Drew Barrymore 14-Cup Coffee Maker. It has sleek digital controls and brews 14 cups in the same time it takes other coffee makers to brew 12.
Top picks for the best budget coffee makers
Best overall: Braun BrewSense 12 Cup Programmable Coffee Maker – See at Amazon
Best under $60: Beautiful by Drew Barrymore 14-Cup Programmable Drip Coffee Maker – See at Walmart
Best under $100: KitchenAid 12-Cup Drip Showerhead Coffee Maker– See at Amazon
Best programmable: Ninja 12 Cup Programmable Coffee Maker – See at Amazon
The Braun BrewSense Coffee Maker brews consistently good coffee at a great price point, making it the best budget coffee maker we tested. The 12-cup coffee maker runs quietly on both the standard and bold settings, producing a full pot in 14 minutes. The coffee brewed on the standard setting has a well-rounded flavor without being too light, and the bold brew will satisfy those who love a more robust cup.
The carafe is glass with a flip-top lid and rests on a heat plate to effectively keep brewed coffee warm for your preferred amount of time. While the default setting automatically shuts off the coffee maker after two hours, you can set it to stay on and keep the pot warm for up to five hours. You can even adjust the keep warm temperature to ensure it doesn’t effect the flavor of the coffee left in the pot.
The coffee maker is relatively compact and was easy to set up. It offers the option to brew a full pot, along with a one to four cup setting for a smaller batch. While brewing, you can snag a cup of coffee before the cycle is completely finished, or you can set the 24-hour programming option ahead of time to wake up to a full fresh pot.
The coffee maker comes with a reusable cone filter, along with a charcoal water filter insert and a cleaning cycle function to keep your coffee maker in tip-top shape. You can use the machine without the charcoal filter, or you can purchase replacements online. There are multiple colors to choose from, including stainless steel models at a slightly higher price point.
Best under $60
Drew Barrymore launched a collection of home and kitchen appliances, and this 14-cup coffee maker stands out in the lineup. (We also rank the Beautiful Air Fryer as the best air fryer for tight budgets.) The Beautiful coffee maker has a water-resistant digital touch screen instead of buttons. The touch screen was very responsive, but I missed the security of physical buttons. The coffee maker comes in six different colors so you can match your kitchen, and the digital touch screen contributes to its aesthetic-forward design.
The Beautiful has a larger capacity than many of the other best budget coffee makers we tested, holding up to 14 cups. The standard brew cycle takes less than 12 minutes to complete, and it also has a one to four cup small batch setting. The programmable coffee maker can be set 24 hours ahead of time, I found the standard setting brewed a delicious pot of coffee without it being too light. A special feature of this coffee maker is the gourmet brew setting, which makes a pot of coffee with great flavor balanced between its standard and bold settings.
Once coffee has been brewed, it is effectively kept warm on a heating plate for up to four hours with an auto shut-off. I found no change in flavor after keeping a standard brewed pot of coffee hot for two hours.
The coffee maker comes with a reusable cone filter along with a charcoal water filter, which helps remove chlorine residue in water to extend the lifespan of a coffee maker. The water filter lasts for two months before needing to be replaced, and the coffee maker will still run without it. The coffee maker has a clean function, as well as a glass carafe that is dishwasher safe.
With a spiral showerhead design, two brew settings, and a removable water reservoir with a handle, the KitchenAid 12 cup coffee maker utilizes a clever design to produce a well-rounded cup of coffee on a budget.
KitchenAid has a reputation for making the best stand mixers, but it also makes a quality coffee maker at a reasonable price. The KitchenAid 12-Cup Drip Showerhead Coffee Maker has the option to brew a full pot of 12 cups at regular or bold strength, each in less than 12 minutes. Once brewed, coffee is kept warm on the heat plate for two hours before automatically shutting off.
The coffee maker is designed with the function buttons on the side, along with an additional brew button on the front. I found it convenient to have both options because no matter where I placed it on my counter, I could access the controls. The KitchenAid has a removable water reservoir with a handle in the back and uses a gold tone, reusable filter.
The removable water reservoir is incredibly convenient, but it’s crucial to ensure it is firmly set in place on this coffee maker to avoid any leakage of water while brewing. The water comes out through a spiral showerhead with 29 holes, covering a large surface area of the grounds. Many budget coffee makers don’t have this design, but many of the best drip coffee makers do to ensure proper extraction of the grounds. I found the coffee brewed on the standard setting to be light, yet flavorful, with a significant increase on the strong brew setting in how robust and strong it was.
The Ninja 12 cup coffee maker is a user-friendly machine with simple-to-operate programming buttons, two brew settings, and even a small batch function.
Most coffee makers are programmable with options to set the brewing time up to 24 hours ahead. While testing, I found the Ninja 12 Cup coffee maker to be the most user-friendly when it comes to programming.
The coffee maker has a removable water reservoir that is simple to remove, fill, and put back in place. The Ninja has a classic or rich brewing option to brew a full pot of coffee in under 15 minutes, or you can choose the small batch setting for one to four cups. When you can’t wait for the entire cycle to run, the pause function allows you to grab a cup in the middle of brewing. On the classic setting, I found that the flavor of the coffee was well balanced, with a significant difference noticed in how robust it was using the rich setting.
Programming the Ninja to start brewing at a specific time is simple with large, easy-to-read hour and minute buttons. Once the time is set, all you have to do is press the delay brew button. Compared to other coffee makers I tested, I found programming the Ninja coffee maker to be simple and quick. In addition to basic programming settings, the warming plate can also be programmed to keep coffee warm for up to four hours and I did not find this affected the flavor of the brew. The coffee maker’s removable pieces are dishwasher-safe, and it has a function for easy cleaning.
The Hamilton Beach Flex Brew Trio is the ultimate machine for the household that needs options: It can brew a full 12-cup pot of coffee, or you can brew a single cup with either grounds or a pod.
The Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Trio is the ultimate coffee maker for those who want a variety of options on a budget. Not only can you brew a full 12-cup pot of coffee, but you can simultaneously use the single serve or pod setting.
The coffee maker is flat-bottomed and requires a paper filter. It takes about 20 minutes to brew a full pot, which is longer than our other top picks. The standard brew setting produces a fairly light coffee, while the bold setting produces an incredibly strong and almost acidic pot of coffee. Once a pot is brewed, the heating plate keeps it warm for two hours before automatically shutting off.
The single-serve side has its own small water reservoir along with a mini filter for grounds and a pod holder. You can use the single-serve function to choose from five different cup sizes (six to 14 ounces), or use the best K-cup style pods to brew a single cup. The single-serve side brews in under two minutes.
While flexibility may be a helpful option for some households, it’s important to note that this coffee maker takes up a large amount of counter space. It does not have a clean function, and while removable parts are dishwasher safe, cleaning any section that wasn’t removable was tricky.
What to look for in a budget coffee maker
Purchasing the best budget coffee maker doesn’t have to mean buying a product that’s cheap and won’t last. It’s important to think about how and where you want to use your coffee maker in order to find the best option.
Features: Many of the best budget coffee makers have features in addition to a standard brew setting. Consider if you want your coffee maker to have a bold or strong setting for a more robust brew, whether you can program it at night to wake up to a fresh pot, and how long it will keep coffee hot after it has brewed. Some coffee makers have the option to brew either a full pot or a smaller portion, along with an automatic pause feature to steal a cup before the full brewing process is complete.
Size: If you’re looking for a budget option to supplement your primary coffee maker or outfit a dorm, RV, or smaller kitchen, space is probably a concern. Consider if you plan to make standard pots of coffee of 10 or 12 cups, or if you’d prefer to have a larger capacity of 14 cups. Since you’re likely to keep a coffee maker permanently on the counter, consider how much space it takes up. Even budget coffee makers can be bulky.
Material: Most budget coffee makers are constructed from thick plastic, but some may have stainless steel pieces. The carafe is likely glass or thermal. Most thermal carafes come designed for use without a heat plate, meaning the thermal design is responsible for keeping coffee warm after it’s brewed. Thermal carafes are generally more durable than glass carafes, but tend to be more expensive.
How we test coffee makers
Setup and ease of use: I unboxed and set up each coffee maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. I noted how many parts were necessary to assemble, or whether the coffee maker was a plug-and-play machine. I considered the type of filter, whether it was a flat base that required a paper coffee filter or a reusable cone filter. I also assessed each coffee maker based on how intuitive it was to use the setting buttons.
Brewing: I timed each coffee maker to see how long it took to brew a full pot on the standard brew setting. I took note of the amount of evaporation during the brewing process, and if there were any issues with grounds getting into the brewed coffee. After that, I used the programming functions for a second test and then the bold or strong setting on each coffee maker that had one.
Temperature retention: I checked the temperature of each full brewed pot of coffee on the standard setting with a meat thermometer. I then checked the temperature two hours later to see if there was a drop in temperature to assess how well the warming plate or thermal carafe kept the coffee hot once brewed.
Cleaning: Each coffee maker was evaluated on how simple it is to clean before brewing a new batch. I also tested any coffee makers that claimed to have dishwasher-safe parts, along with noting if there was a separate cleaning function.
Budget coffee maker FAQs
Is it better to use a coffee filter?
Depending on its design, a coffee maker may come with a reusable cone filter, or require a paper coffee filter if it has a flat bottom basket. A cone filter allows microscopic granules of coffee to get through the holes, ultimately making the coffee a bit cloudier and introducing more oil. Using a paper coffee filter comes down to the design of your coffee maker, whether it’s necessary or not, along with your personal taste preferences. Coffee makers that have reusable filters can still be used with a paper filter.
How much should you spend on a coffee maker?
The amount that you’re willing to spend on a coffee maker is entirely up to you. It depends on how particular you are about the flavor of your coffee, how often you drink coffee, and if you want any specific functions, like delayed brewing or small batch options. A good rule of thumb is the cheaper the coffee maker, the more simple it will be. Check out our guide to the best coffee makers for a wider range of style and price points.
How much coffee should I use to brew a pot of coffee?
Each cup increment on a coffee maker is actually six ounces. If you want to make coffee according to the manufacturer’s instructions, most coffee makers suggest about one tablespoon per six ounces of water. If you prefer a stronger cup, increase the amount of grounds you put in per cups of water.