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The Best Cheap Coffee Makers of 2016

March 30, 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 inexpensive 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 at a time? 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 figure out which one is right for you. The coffee makers on this list can all be found for less than $100.

To narrow down 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 of 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 how the brewing process affects these aspects.

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 Personal Cup One-Cup Pod Brewer (49970)

Users loved the way the Hamilton Beach Personal Cup One-Cup Pod Brewer made coffee so simple: Just pop in a pod, pour in some water, push a button and out comes a fresh, hot cup of coffee.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
8.79 7.5 7.8

Buyers Like

  • Brews delicious coffee
  • Easy and intuitive to use
  • Convenient, compact size

Buyers Dislike

  • Can’t use taller mugs
  • Sometimes leaks water

2. Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Coffee Maker (46201)

The downside is that the Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Coffee Maker takes its sweet time making your coffee, but the upside is that the machine is easy to program, use and clean — and it makes delicious coffee.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
8.47 8.2 8.9

Buyers Like

  • Easy to program, use and clean
  • Coffee comes out hot and delicious
  • Base has wheels for convenience

Buyers Dislike

  • Not very durable
  • Slow to brew

3. Hamilton Beach BrewStation Summit Ultra (48465)

With just a push of the dispensing bar, the programmable Hamilton Beach BrewStation Summit Ultra serves up your choice of bold, regular or even iced coffee. But the machine’s design made it difficult to refill or to squeeze under an upper cabinet.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
8.33 9.1 7.7

Buyers Like

  • Regardless of brew choice, coffee is delicious
  • Coffee stays hot and tastes fresh for up to four hours
  • Simple to set up, program and use

Buyers Dislike

  • Awkward to fill with water or clean
  • Some spillage was reported
  • Too tall to fit under some upper cabinets

4. Bunn BXB Velocity Brew

Because the Bunn BXB Velocity Brew’s stainless steel internal tank keeps water hot, it’s able to dispense four to 10 hot cups of rich, flavorful coffee in just three minutes. However, some users complained that the poorly designed glass carafe made for a messy pour.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
8.32 9.1 5.8

Buyers Like

  • Coffee is hot, fast and delicious
  • Easy to set up and maintain

Buyers Dislike

  • Can be messy
  • Carafe tends to spill when you pour
  • Coffee keeps dripping when you pull out the carafe

5. Hamilton Beach The Scoop Single-Serve Coffee Maker (49981)

The easy-to-use Scoop Single-Serve by Hamilton Beach uses a just a scoop of ground coffee to quickly brew one steaming hot cup of joe. Not all users were thrilled with the taste of the coffee, though.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
8.25 7.2 8.1

Buyers Like

  • Simple and easy to use
  • Brews piping-hot coffee quickly

Buyers Dislike

  • Coffee tasted weak
  • Some users warned of a “plastic” flavor
  • Sometimes messy to use

6. Hamilton Beach 2-Way Brewer (49980Z)

The Hamilton Beach 2-Way Brewer gives you the option of brewing a travel-mug-size single serving or employing the carafe for up to 12 cups. You can also choose between using convenient pods or ground coffee.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
8.17 7.5 8.7

Buyers Like

  • Coffee is hot and delicious
  • Easy to program, use and clean
  • Carafe is well-designed

Buyers Dislike

  • Large footprint if you’re mostly using it for single cups
  • Brews slowly

7. Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Coffee Maker With Digital Clock (49467)

The programmable Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Coffee Maker with Digital Clock makes up to 12 cups of piping-hot, delicious coffee, but be careful when pouring — users complained that the lid on the carafe sometimes caused spills.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
8.1 8.9 6.9

Buyers Like

  • Brews hot, delicious coffee
  • Simple, fast and easy setup
  • Coffee can stay warm for up to two hours

Buyers Dislike

  • Carafe can cause pouring problems
  • No automatic shut-off
  • Sometimes leaked

8. Cuisinart DCC-2650 Extreme Brew 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker

Besides the fact that it brews a hot, delicious cup of coffee quickly, users loved the programmable, self-cleaning Cuisinart DCC-2650 Extreme Brew’s easy setup and intuitive controls.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
8.02 8.3 7.7

Buyers Like

  • Easy setup and operation
  • Brews rich, delicious coffee quickly
  • Easy to refill water

Buyers Dislike

  • Carafe and lid can cause overflow
  • Settings and levels are hard to read
  • Too tall for some countertops

9. Black & Decker Brew ’n Go Personal Coffee Maker

Whether you use pods or ground coffee, the compact Black & Decker Brew ’n Go Personal Coffee Maker brews a hot, delicious single serving of joe directly into the included stainless steel travel mug.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
8.01 8.2 7.1

Buyers Like

  • Coffee is hot, delicious and brews quickly
  • Quick and easy cleanup
  • Simple setup

Buyers Dislike

  • Mug is badly designed
  • Durability issues

10. Cuisinart DCC-3000 Coffee on Demand

Using mugs instead of a carafe, the fully programmable, self-cleaning Cuisinart DCC-3000 Coffee on Demand dispenses up to 12 5-ounce cups of coffee, one cup at a time. But many users complained that the machine couldn’t accommodate larger mugs.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
7.94 8.6 8.4

Buyers Like

  • Coffee is hot and delicious
  • Simple and easy to program and use
  • Easy to customize shut-off, brew time and volume

Buyers Dislike

  • Power cord too short
  • Only accommodates smaller mugs
  • Relatively large footprint

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

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Top image via iStock.