Let me give you a scenario and see if you’ve been in a similar situation. A new year is approaching and everyone is talking about resolutions, many of which deal with getting into better physical shape. To help get in that better shape, you hear people talk about purchasing a new gym membership and how that alone is going to do the trick.
If your house is anything like mine, not a whole lot gets done until coffee is consumed in the morning. Lots and lots of coffee. You can imagine our consternation when our latest coffee maker went down in (non-literal) flames.
I was not a coffee drinker before I got married, and my wife, only brewing for one, had the same coffee maker for somewhere around a decade. Now that there are two guzzlers though, we have gone through several coffee makers over our 10 years of marriage.
Rather than just running up to the store and buying whatever they had on their shelves, my wife and I sat down and tried to find something with more of a shelf life. If you’re in the market for a new coffee maker, here are some tips to help you find the right one for you!
Choose Your Must-Have Features
The first thing you need to do is figure out what kind of machine you like. Overstock.com has a great guide that can give you more information on some of the different types of coffee makers. We always prefer a drip coffee maker, but you may be more of an espresso fan, or prefer the extra richness of a percolator. And because we drink a lot of coffee each morning, options like a French press, a pressure brew machine or pod-based makers wouldn’t work for us – but they might work better for you.
Then you need to think about what type of features are must-haves for your machine. Consumer Reports thinks you should start with these four questions:
- How many cups do you drink?
- How long do you go between cups?
- Can you see straight in the morning?
- How convenient is the machine?
For some, an auto-shut off is a must-have safety feature. For others, the ability to program their coffee makers to start brewing before they get up in the morning is what’s important. Maybe you want your machine to have a grinder where you can store your beans, or perhaps you desire the option to make iced coffee drinks. Some machines have built-in filters, pause-and-serve functions, thermal carafes or cups, or temperature adjustments. There are plenty of machines, so you can choose the one that’s right for you.
Decide on Your Price Range
There is a wide range of prices for machines. You can pick one up for as little as $20, or go all out and buy one for $200 or more; there is a machine for you whatever your budget. Whether you can afford your desired features is another question. Typically, the more features, the more digitalization, and the more options there are, the more you will be paying for a machine. Also, adding features can make the machine more complex. And the more complex it is, the more that can go wrong, meaning you may need to factor some sort of warranty or purchase protection into your budget.
I’m not trying to worry you by making this sound complicated. There are plenty of resources out there to help you figure out the right coffee maker for you. My wife swears by the reviews in Consumer Reports, and her research usually begins and ends right there. But there are plenty of options out there. Consumer Research, Amazon and even Cooking.com all have reviews and buying guides available for coffee makers. There are also plenty of crowd-sourced reviews sites, such as Wired.com and Epinions.com, that are handy if you’re looking to hear from actual consumers and learn how well a particular coffee maker stacks up to the demands of actual use. Or you can look up the models you’re interested in and see if either the retailer or the manufacturer shows any reviews on their website. There is plenty of info, opinions and research already out there that can help guide your coffee maker purchase.
If you’re looking for some recommendations to get you started, here are three that look appealing based on different budgets:
High-end: Bunn 10-Cup Coffeemaker
This model has good reviews, a front-side water reservoir and a 3-minute brew time. At around $100, this seems to be a good-quality machine without going all the way to the top of the price range for coffee makers.
Mid-range: Hamilton Beach Summit Brewstation
This 12-cup programmable coffee maker isn’t as well-liked as the Bunn, but the main complaint seems to be the cord length. And it has good options for those who like different types of coffee, or need smaller batches. This Hamilton machine fits right in the middle of the pack price-wise, coming in around $50.
If you’re looking for something that can get the coffee brewed without all the bells and whistles, you won’t get much better than this model. This Mr. Coffee machine still offers pause-and-pour and automatic shut off, and gets that coffee in your belly where it can do the most good. And, being available for $30 or less, leaves you enough money to buy some coffee to put in it.
What did we end up buying? Since our first choice was not in stock, we bought an even less expensive Mr. Coffee model to get us through until our Cuisinart DCC-1200 was shipped to us online. As soon as we have it up and running, look for my review.
Any favorite coffee maker models, methods or features you can’t live without? Want to share your favorite blend? Let us know in the comments!