Find the best coffee makers with our in-depth reviews

Are you on the market for a new coffee maker? When it comes to buying the best coffee maker, it’s worth taking the time to learn about the different styles to help you understand which coffee maker will best suit your needs.

Our go-to coffee maker guide will talk you through the different types of coffee makers on the market, to help you find something that will suit both your budget and preferences. For more in-depth information on individual machines, simply take a look through our coffee maker reviews.

Types of coffee makers

There are various types of coffee makers available both in store and online today. There’s something to suit every budget, coffee preference and brewer types.

We take a look at the different types of coffee makers out there, so you get a better idea of how they work and what kind of person or household they are best suited for.

Automatic drip coffee makers

When you think of your typical coffee maker, it’s usually the drip coffee maker that comes to mind. These are the standard models found in most homes and cater to a wide range of people.

These coffee makers tend to brew more than one cup of coffee at a time, however single serve options are also available. Typically, they brew anything from 4 to 20 cups of coffee, so you can really find something for every need. This makes them ideal for households with more than one coffee drinker, or in an office environment.

How does it work?

Coffee Maker in ActionYou can determine the amount of coffee you make by the amount of water you add to the reservoir. This water is then heated and forced through a filter, which has been filled with ground coffee.

The final product is dispensed into a carafe, which rests on a heating plate in order to keep your coffee warm. However, some more modern machines have replaced your standard glass coffee pot with an insulated, thermal variety. These keep your coffee warm without the need for a hot plate. The added benefit here is that you don’t have sacrifice on taste, or worry about burning the coffee.

The great thing about these types of coffee makers is that they tend to come with a timer for automatic brewing. That means you can set the coffee to brew first thing in the morning, letting you wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee.

Added functions to look for:

  • Strength adjuster: Some of the more modern varieties include a strength adjuster, which makes it a lot easier to adjust the strength of your coffee for your own personal tastes and preferences.
  • Permanent coffee filter: Rather than having to use disposable paper filters, you can now get machines that come with a reusable plastic filter. Not only does this come out cheaper, but also it is better for the environment.
  • Filtration system: As some of you may know, coffee made using filtered water tasted better as you really get to experience the full taste from the coffee beans. Some of the more expensive models come with a built-in filtration system, so you don’t have to worry about using bottled water or filtering the water yourself.
Brew tip: To get the right coffee strength, make sure you use the right coffee-to-water ratio. Don’t be afraid to play around with different ratios to suit your tastes, but as a general guideline use 1 to 2 tbsp. ground coffee for every 6 oz. of water.


Coffee pots in kitchenThis type of coffee maker is best for making a dark, strong cup of coffee. It brews multiple cups at a time and you can purchase larger models, which ideally cater to get-togethers. In fact, sizes typically vary from 6 cups, to as many as 50 cups, so you can make a little or as much as you like.

The key to getting the most out of your percolator is to know how to make a good, strong cup of coffee, without letting it get too bitter. With a little practice, you can get the coffee to the right strength for your taste.

How does it work?

These come in a wide range of sizes and can be purchased as stovetop or electric models. You place ground coffee in a metal basket, which has a perforated bottom as its filter.

This basket is then placed above the water line in the percolator. As the water is heated, it is forced up a tube, over the coffee grinds and then returned back to the bottom of the container.

With these types of pots, the boiling brew is constantly cycled through the coffee grounds. This allows you to control the strength of your coffee, by how many cycles it goes through. You should take care not to let it brew for too long if you don’t want to end up with very strong coffee.

Single serve/Pod coffee makers

These coffee makers brew one cup at a time and are great for making you freshly brewed coffee in a matter of seconds. If you plan on only making coffee for one person with each use, then it makes sense to purchase a coffee maker that won’t end up wasting coffee by making multiple cups.

The size of the cup of coffee will vary from as little as 3 ounce cups, to large travel mugs. These are great for beginner coffee drinkers looking to make a quick cup of coffee, without having to worry about coffee beans or grounds.

You can buy pods in a wide range of flavours, which is perfect if you like having a large choice of hot drinks. Also known as k-cups, these are available in over 200 varieties. You can buy pods for coffee, tea and even hot chocolate and they can be purchased from different brands to suit your taste.

If you are not too picky about the coffee you drink and don’t want to be messing around with coffee beans in the morning, then this is the perfect machine for you.

How does it work?

These types of coffee makers are the simplest to use, simply requiring a pre-measured pod, a bit of water and the press of a button to get the coffee brewing process started.

The water is then simply pushed through the pod, directly into your cup, so it’s an incredibly simple process. You don’t need to know anything about coffee in order to master this type of coffee maker.

Added functions to look for:

  • Programmable clock: Some single cup coffee makers come with a programmable clock so you can select when you want your coffee to be brewed. Ideal if you want a fresh cup of coffee first thing.
  • Temperature control: Choose exactly which temperature you want your coffee to be brewed at with this handy setting.
  • Strength adjuster: Control how much water is used for each brew to easily adjust the strength of your cup of coffee.
  • Reusable pods: Some pod coffee makers are sold with reusable pods, which allow you to choose your own ground coffee. This added function means you have greater variety available to you and means you can enjoy fresher tasting coffee if you use freshly ground beans.
Brew tip: When filling the coffee maker with water, make sure you always use cold water. To get better quality coffee, try using bottled or filtered water.

French coffee press

The French press can brew multiple cups at a time and produces a full-bodied coffee ideal for the coffee aficionado. The carafe can easily be brought to the table, allowing for easy pouring.

This type of coffee maker suits someone who enjoys brewing coffee with their own hands, without the need for plugs, outlets or electricity – the whole process is manual!

They are available in one to 10 cup sizes, so you can readily buy one to suit your needs. Whether it’s intended for individual use or for a group of people, there is a French press out there to suit every requirement.

How does it work?

With a French press, you pour hot water directly into a carafe which contains freshly ground, course coffee. You should leave this for about 4 minutes, before slowly pushing down on the plunger inside the carafe. This plunger filters the coffee grounds while forcing them to the bottom.

The plunger holds the ground coffee beans at the bottom, while the freshly brewed coffee rises to the top. When you pour out your coffee, it is poured through a mesh filter. This allows more of the flavours to pass through, including the essential oils. Due to the direct contact between the coffee and the water, the resulting coffee is very full-bodied.

Brew tip: For the best result, ensure your beans are very coarsely ground. If you use a fine grind, then you can end up with a muddy brew.

Moka pot

Depending on the model, the moka pot will produce either a single cup, or multiple cups of coffee at a time. These are perfect for the traditional coffee drinker who prefers a strong cup of coffee made on the stove.

How does it work?

These coffee makers work on a stovetop and are quick and easy to use. They are the traditional way to brew a strong cup of coffee, similar to an espresso. You fill the pot with water in the lower chamber, and as this is heated, powerful steam pressure forces the water through the filter and into the pot.

While these coffee makers suit fans of traditional brewing methods, they don’t tend to be the most popular choice amongst modern consumers. That is because they do not offer much versatility or added functions to make the brewing process mess-free.

Brew tip: To avoid boiling your coffee, use a low or medium flame and keep a watchful eye on it.

Espresso and specialty coffee machines

Espresso machines tend to brew one shot at a time, although some have the option of brewing two shots at once if they have a dual spout. These types of machines are ideal for espresso fans that like to have a greater amount of control over the final outcome of their coffee.

How does it work?

There are different types of espresso machines out there, from the manual variety, to the semi-automatic machines, automatic machines and super automatic machines. Each of these machines requires varying degrees of manual involvement, so it really depends on what you are looking for.

For espresso lovers looking for a more hands on approach, we would recommend a manual espresso machine. These would not be ideal for beginners, as they require a great deal of practice and patience to get the hang of.

You really need to be an espresso fan to buy this type of machine, as they tend to be a little pricier. Of course, many people are happy to pay extra for a model that can deliver the perfect shot of espresso. For a more in-depth look at these machines, be sure to read our espresso machine buyer’s guide and reviews.

A few things to consider

With so many different types of coffee makers on the market, it may seem a little overwhelming. Trying to make a choice when there is so much on offer can be difficult, but it helps if you break down the different factors.

Size capacity: You can get coffee makers that deliver various different coffee measurements, from single cup servings to up to 50 cups.

This feature might not be important for some households, but if you are only planning on making one cup at a time, or need to cater to a large group of people, then this is something you might want to take into account.

Versatility: When it comes to making hot drinks, some people have a firm favorite type of coffee, while others like to have a variety of hot drinks depending on their mood.

If you are the type of person who prefers a cup of coffee in the morning, a tea at lunchtime and a hot chocolate in the evening, then you might want to consider a pod coffee maker that offers you a lot of versatility.

If, on the other hand, you are very particular about the quality of coffee you drink, then you might want to go for a specialty coffee maker.

In the end, you need to think about which factors matter the most to you and place these on the top of your requirements list. You can then look at added extras and find something within your budget.