The smell of freshly brewed coffee has been a morning tradition for centuries.
But if you want the convenience, savings, or homey aroma of fresh coffee in your own kitchen…then it might be time to invest in a home coffee maker.
There are many different types and brands on the market today that offer something unique and special for everyone’s needs. In this guide we will go over some of the most common questions about choosing a home coffee maker so you can make an informed decision—and most of all, enjoy delicious brews for years!
Are coffee makers worth it?
Coffee makers are not just cost-effective, they are very convenient. You can have the luxury of brewing your own cup of coffee whenever you want with ease and convenience.
There is no “best” type of home coffee maker because every one serves a different purpose at varying price points—so we’ll go over all the options in detail to help you decide which suits your needs best!
How much should you plan to spend?
Generally speaking home coffee makers are priced between $20 to $150.
You can spend much more than that, but most reviewers note diminishing returns. Just avoid the very cheapest end of the spectrum, since they tend to be flimsy and full of frustrating design flaws.
What’s the difference between a coffee maker & an espresso machine?
Let’s clarify one critical thing: an espresso machine is NOT the same thing as a coffee maker.
An espresso machine runs water through the coffee grounds at extremely high pressure (usually 9 bar or 130 psi), which yields a tiny but extremely intense shot.
Coffee makers percolate, meaning they rely on gravity—not steam pressure—to help water slowly drip through the grounds. The result is a smoother, mellow brew that doesn’t pack the same punch…but does highlight the more delicate flavor of (good) coffee.
What do people look for in a coffee maker?
When you’re looking to invest in a new coffee maker, you’ll want to consider the following:
- Price: you’ll probably get more enjoyment out of a pricier machine (within reason), since they tend to produce better brews and last longer.
- Appearance: you might want to consider how it will look on your counter and if you like the design—smaller brewers or single-cup machines tend to be a bit more stylish…but will they make enough for everyone?
- Material: plastic is the norm, but metal finishes are available on higher-end model and can add a stylish touch to your kitchen.
- Water and basket capacity: if you have a large family, or drink several cups of coffee per day…then you’ll want to find upwards of a 6-cup capacity. But don’t go overboard, since large-volume brewers don’t make single servings very well.
- Coffee type (pod versus filter): some people love the convenience of using pre-packed pods, while others prefer the freshness or reduced waste of grinding their own beans.
You’ll also want to consider how easy it is to use and clean when making your decision.
If you have children in the house then perhaps an automatic shut-off function after being idle would be useful too!
How long should a coffee maker last?
Typically a coffee maker should last about three to five years. You can maximize its lifespan by taking care of it properly.
First, be sure to clean the machine every few weeks or so—especially if you use flavored coffee beans, which can leave an extra-pungent residue. And make sure to descale regularly if you live in an area with hard water, or the machine will constantly build up plaque-like deposits.
Keurig versus coffee machine: which should you buy?
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use machine that can produce a single serving of coffee quickly, then the Keurig might be the right choice for you. They’re easy to use, easy to clean, and come in a variety of styles and price points.
However, the K-Cups do create more waste than traditional coffee makers…and don’t offer as much control over the coffee-brewing process.
If you want a more customizable experience, or need to brew large quantities, then perhaps an automatic drip machine would be a better choice for you.
Is it cheaper to have a Keurig or a coffee maker?
It all depends on how you look at it.
If you like the convenience of a nearly instant, single-serve machine, then Keurig turns out far cheaper than any coffee shop. But the pods mean extra packaging, which raises the price and is less environmentally friendly.
Conversely, a regular coffee maker (of similar quality) will be cheaper on a per-cup basis. But if you don’t have time or patience to actually brew, so you wind up buying take-out coffee elsewhere, there go the cost savings!
What types of coffee makers are available?
Drip coffee makers are available with a thermal carafe or glass pot.
The one you choose will depend on your preference for convenience (thermal will is great for serving guests over a long period) versus ease of cleaning (glass is much quicker).
You can also look for a built-in grinder, which saves you time and effort but does increase the price significantly. (And you can’t easily use that grinder with any other brewing methods, so I generally recommend against it.)
Tips & tricks to help you choose the best one
It’s important to do your research and see what kind of reviews each model gets. Even experts with years of experience as baristas still disagree about which is best, so it’s worth taking the time to read different opinions. Video reviews are invaluable, not just because you know the reviewer actually used it, but because they highlight any subtle issues or nuisances that are hard to convey in writing.
And if you’re looking for an upgrade, remember the saying: “buy once, cry once.” If you have the means to buy the coffee maker of your dreams today, then you might as well start enjoying it now, rather than holding off with a cheaper substitute until you make that inevitable upgrade later!