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The Best 12-Cup Coffee Makers

March 29, 2016
Product Comparisons, Shopping
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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Based on 11,518 analyzed reviews

Table of contents

NerdWallet’s scoring of the best 12-cup coffee makers is based on our analysis of the opinions of experts and shoppers like you.

There are many things to consider when choosing a coffee maker. Do you need a single-serve brewer or one that makes 12 cups? Do you like your coffee strong, weak or in between?

Helping you make a decision is where we come in. We analyzed the most popular coffee makers on the market to help you purchase the right one for you.

To narrow the field, we looked at expert opinions from review sites such as The Sweethome, CNET and Good Housekeeping. We then analyzed user reviews to get opinions on each coffee maker’s high and low points.

We recognize that consumers look for different qualities in coffee makers, so we created scores based on user observations on a handful of different features, including ease of use, coffee quality and cleaning.

Our analysis

Our final coffee maker scores run from a low of 1 to a high of 10. Here’s how we came up with the numbers:

Overall score: This score shows reviewers’ overall satisfaction with the coffee maker as a whole across 11 criteria, including ease of use, coffee quality, coffee maker design, size and durability.

Coffee quality: This score, which factors into the overall score, reflects reviewers’ satisfaction with the quality of coffee the maker produces. This includes coffee taste, temperature and brewing.

Ease of use: This score, which also factors into the overall score, indicates reviewers’ satisfaction with how easy the maker is to use. This includes aspects such as cleaning, setup, design and features.

These coffee makers are our top picks, ranked in order of overall score.

The coffee makers


1. Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Digital Coffee Maker, Stainless Steel

Users loved the Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Digital Coffee Maker’s flavorful coffee and the ease of programming, brewing and cleaning. They were less excited by how long it took for their java to brew.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
8.47 8.2 8.9

Buyers Like

  • Simple to program, use and clean
  • Brews hot, delicious coffee
  • Wheeled base makes it convenient to use

Buyers Dislike

  • Durability issues
  • Brews slowly

2. Hamilton Beach BrewStation Summit Ultra (48465)

The 12-cup programmable Hamilton Beach BrewStation Summit Ultra doesn’t have a carafe; instead, it has a dispensing bar that serves up your choice of bold, regular or even iced coffee when you push a mug against it. Some users complained that the machine’s design made it difficult to refill or to fit under an upper cabinet.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
8.33 9.1 7.7

Buyers Like

  • Makes delicious coffee
  • Coffee stays hot and fresh-tasting for up to four hours
  • Easy to set up, use and program

Buyers Dislike

  • Spillage because of design flaws
  • Awkward to fill with water and to clean
  • Too tall for many countertops

3. Hamilton Beach 2-Way Brewer

As its name implies, the programmable Hamilton Beach 2-Way Brewer lets you use ground coffee or soft pods. It also gives you two quantity options: Use its single-serve side for a quick morning mugful or brew up to 12 cups in its well-designed glass carafe.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
8.17 7.5 8.7

Buyers Like

  • Makes delicious coffee
  • Coffee stays hot and fresh-tasting for up to four hours
  • Easy to set up, use and program

Buyers Dislike

  • Spillage because of design flaws
  • Awkward to fill with water and to clean
  • Too tall for many countertops

4. Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Coffee Maker With Digital Clock

The programmable Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Coffee Maker with Digital Clock can wake you with up to 12 cups of piping hot, delicious coffee that stays warm even if you hit the snooze bar a couple of times. Just make sure you’re fully awake before pouring; users complained that a design flaw on the carafe’s lid sometimes made for a messy morning.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
8.1 8.9 6.9

Buyers Like

  • Brews hot, delicious coffee
  • Coffee stays warm for up to two hours
  • Simple and fast to set up

Buyers Dislike

  • Hinged lid on carafe can cause pouring problems
  • Lack of automatic shut-off
  • Can leak

5. Cuisinart DCC-2650 Brew Central 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker

Cuisinart says the fully programmable, self-cleaning DCC-2650 Brew Central brews a full pot of coffee 25% faster than its predecessor, the DCC-2600, and users agree. Users also liked its easy setup and intuitive controls.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
8.02 8.3 7.7

Buyers Like

  • Simple, easy setup
  • Makes delicious coffee quickly
  • User-controlled heating element

Buyers Dislike

  • Carafe and its lid have design flaws
  • Settings and levels are hard to read
  • Too tall to fit under some upper cabinets

6. Cuisinart Coffee on Demand DCC-3000

The fully programmable, self-cleaning Cuisinart DCC-3000 Coffee on Demand dispenses up to 12 5-ounce cups of coffee, one at a time, with an easy-to-read gauge that lets you know how many cups you have left.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
7.94 8.6 8.4

Buyers Like

  • Brews hot, delicious coffee
  • Simple to program, easy to use
  • Multiple settings for shut-off, brew time and amount

Buyers Dislike

  • Power cord is very short
  • Doesn’t accommodate larger travel mugs
  • Relatively large

7. Cuisinart DCC-1200BCH Brew Central 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker

The Cuisinart DCC-1200BCH Brew Central 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker allows you to customize both the amount and the brew strength. It can also keep the pot hot and delicious for up to four hours.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
7.75 9.4 7.3

Buyers Like

  • Makes hot, delicious coffee
  • Brews quickly, can stay warm for hours
  • Drip-free carafe

Buyers Dislike

  • Height can make it awkward to fill
  • Clock and water levels difficult to read

8. Hamilton Beach BrewStation Summit 12-Cup Coffee Maker (48464)

With its one-hand dispensing, attractive stainless steel panel, adjustable custom shut-off and choice of brew options, the Hamilton Beach BrewStation Summit 12-Cup Coffee Maker makes a great cup of coffee and keeps it warm for hours.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
7.63 8.6 6.9

Buyers Like

  • Brews delicious, hot coffee
  • No carafe to clean or break
  • Can be programmed to keep coffee warm up to four hours

Buyers Dislike

  • Relatively bulky
  • Messy to use, messy to clean
  • Water tank can be awkward to fill

9. Cuisinart Grind & Brew DGB-700BC

The programmable Cuisinart DGB-700BC comes with a coffee grinder, charcoal water filter and permanent gold-tone coffee filter. It allows you to customize both your grind and the intensity of your brew.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
7.59 9.1 7.4

Buyers Like

  • Coffee is robust and delicious
  • Easy to set up, program and clean

Buyers Dislike

  • Bulky and too tall to sit under some upper cabinets
  • Design flaws mean grind basket falls off easily
  • Water tank is awkward to fill

10. Cuisinart DTC-975BKN 12-Cup Programmable Thermal Brewer

The Cuisinart DTC-917BKN 12-Cup Programmable Thermal Brewer’s thermal carafe keeps coffee warm for hours after you’re finished brewing, but some users complained about waking up to a counterful of their morning blend.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
7.22 8.9 5.7

Buyers Like

  • Brews hot, delicious coffee
  • Thermal carafe keeps coffee hot for hours
  • Easy to program

Buyers Dislike

  • Brews slowly
  • Tendency to overflow, difficult to clean
  • Large footprint, too tall to fit under some cabinets

For more tips on buying a coffee maker, check out:

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Top image via iStock.