Few drip coffee makers have what it takes to brew coffee at its best. Drip coffee makers are supposed to be dead simple: fill with grounds, top with hot water, and then let time and gravity work its magic. Even though this sounds easy, it’s actually not. Most drip coffee makers don’t get the water hot enough, or brew too slowly — both of which make them fail miserably at their basic task. Others tend to overcompensate and end up scalding their coffee grounds completely.
Luckily, there are noteworthy exceptions. Here are three drip brewers that rise above the rest.
Best all-around coffee maker
BONAVITA CONNOISSEUR BV1900TS
CNET take: The Connoisseur, from Woodinville-based Bonavita, is the best coffee maker for automatic drip coffee you can buy for the least amount of cash. It reliably brews full pots of great coffee that rival what you would get from your favorite coffee shop or barista, and it’s a cinch to use, with easy one-touch operation. The Bonavita has a 1,500-watt heating element that maintains an optimal brewing temperature of 198–205 degrees Fahrenheit. The coffee maker also has a 1.3-liter water reservoir, works fast and has all the bells and whistles, including a stainless steel thermal carafe. It’s also a snap to keep clean, with a removable, dishwasher-safe filter basket and carafe lid. $160 at amazon.com
Best for speedy pots
BUNN VELOCITY BREW BT
CNET take: Those who seek lots of coffee in a hurry will love the quick-brew cycle of this drip machine. The coffee maker, with its stainless steel thermal carafe, whips up large pots of joe at astonishing speed. In as little as 3 minutes and 33 seconds, the coffee maker can deliver full batches of tasty drip to drink. $145 at amazon.com
Best for versatility
NINJA HOT AND COLD BREWED SYSTEM
CNET take: Think of this kitchen appliance as the Swiss Army knife of the drip coffee maker world. The Ninja programmable brewer (with frother, thermal carafe and reusable filter) offers a great degree of flexibility. It can create everything from a solid drip, to perfect cold brew, to iced coffee, to latte-style drinks with its milk frother, and it will adjust the water temperature according to your choice. Its thermal carafe will keep tea or coffee hot up to two hours. This programmable coffee maker even lets you brew iced coffee and hot coffee in different sizes, from small cups, mugs and travel mugs, all the way up to half and full carafes. $180 at target.com