If you think you need to shell out hundreds of dollars to get a great coffee machine, think again. There are a lot of great coffee makers out there; you just have to know where to look.
We don’t like to brag, but we know where to look. We’ve done the searching for you and have compiled a list of the best budget coffee makers of 2020. Even better, we’ve reviewed each model so you can get a feel for it before you buy. That way, you can get one you love without too much effort.
We’ve also included a buyer’s guide to help you think through the process, so you get great value for your purchase, even if you’ve never shopped for budget coffee makers before.
A Quick Glance at the Winners of 2021:
|Best Overall||Hamilton Beach||
|Best Value||Mr Coffee 12-Cup||
|CHULUX Single Serve||
The 8 Best Budget Coffee Makers:
1. Hamilton Beach 49980A Coffee Maker – Best Overall
If you’re looking for a versatile coffee maker on a budget, you’ll love the Hamilton Beach 49980A Coffee Maker. This machine has two sides. On one side, you can brew a single cup at a time using coffee grounds or soft pods, and on the other, you can brew an entire carafe of coffee with coffee grounds. The carafe side has brew-pause technology, which automatically stops the brewing process if you remove the carafe to pour yourself a cup. That lets you get hot coffee faster, even if you’re making a lot of cups at once. The single-serve side comes with an adjustable cup rest, so you have room for a thermos or a mug and can minimize the chance of splattering during the brew.
This model is also programmable, which is impressive for a machine at this price point. If you want to wake up to coffee, this machine is one you’re likely to love. The single-serve side doesn’t get as hot, so the flavor isn’t as rich. However, if you’re looking for a machine that can do it all on a budget, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better machine.
All in all, we think this is the best budget coffee maker of 2021.
2. Kenmore 40706 12-Cup Coffee Maker
The Kenmore 40706 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker is the choice for budget coffee aficionados. It includes a reusable filter, which will save you a lot of money on paper filters, but it also has a carbon filter in the waterline, which helps eliminate impurities and leads to some of the best-tasting coffee available. It also soaks the grounds before brewing, which leads to an even more intense flavor. Plus, this model comes with brew pause technology. If you need that first cup before the other 12 are done brewing, you can get it with this machine without making a big mess.
There’s a water window on the side. This feature allows you to add water for the precise number of cups you want, without having to measure it out beforehand. Ultimately, this will save you a lot of time, and you’ll never have to worry about overfilling. What keeps this model out of first place is its carafe, which tends to dribble coffee when you pour. If that were to be ironed out, this one could take first place.
3. Mr Coffee 12-Cup Coffee Maker – Best Value
Sometimes simplicity is the height of beauty, and the Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Coffee Maker (SK13-RB) is a simple machine that most people will love. It has brew pause, so you can pour a cup of coffee before the entire pot finishes brewing without making a mess. It also comes with a water window, so you can fill it and keep track of exactly how much water is inside. This greatly reduces the chances of leakage or other water-related issues. This model is extremely simple to operate. Just flip a single switch, and the machine brews coffee. The hot plate will stay on until you flip the switchback, letting you keep coffee warm all day.
Something else nearly everyone appreciates about this coffee maker is the fantastic price. If you’re looking for a high-performance coffee maker at a low price, this is the one for you. Our one qualm with this model is that it doesn’t have any programming options, which keeps it out of the top two. Even given the absence of those features, this is still one of the best budget coffee makers on the market in 2020.
4. AmazonBasics 5-Cup Budget Coffee Maker
While Amazon has been taking the retail world over by storm, some of its great first-party products have flown under the radar. The AmazonBasics 5-Cup Coffeemaker (MA-D03A) is one of those products. It comes with brew pause, so you can pour yourself a cup before the entire pot is brewed. This machine also comes with a reusable filter, which makes cleanup fast, and will save you money on paper filters. Plus, it’s extremely compact, even relative to other 5-cup coffeemakers. If you have a kitchen with limited space or are looking for a coffeemaker for a camper or RV, you’ll be pleased with how small this model is.
There’s an automatic shutoff for the hot plate. While it will stay on for a few hours, it will eventually shut off, which keeps your coffee from burning and also reduces the chance of electrical issues. If this model brewed faster, it would be able to crack the top three, but since it’s on the slow side, it has to settle for fourth.
5. CHULUX Single Serve Coffee Maker
The CHULUX Single Serve Coffee Maker (QF-CM801) is a model that people looking for compactness will get a lot of value from. It’s a single-serve coffee maker, so you only need to put in enough water for one brew at a time. That allows the company to dramatically shrink the size of the water tank, making this one of the smallest coffee makers on the market. It accepts both Keurig 1.0 and 2.0 pods, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility if your favorite coffee brand is behind the times. It’s simple to operate, only requiring a single press of a button to activate.
However, keep in mind that this is a pretty loud coffee maker. That makes it a poor choice for office spaces or other areas where you need to keep noise to a minimum. Worse, a significant number of units give out in less than a year, which means the line doesn’t have a great reputation when it comes to durability. Overall, it’s not a terrible deal for the price. If you need something very compact, this coffee maker is worth a try. Otherwise, you’ll probably like something else better.
6. BLACK+DECKER 5-Cup Budget Coffeemaker
The best thing we can say about the BLACK+DECKER 5-Cup Coffeemaker (CM0700BZ) is that it makes good coffee, which is saying something given that the brand is better known for its power tools. This model comes with brew pause, so you won’t experience as many spills when using it. It also has an ergonomic carafe. That’s not something everyone needs, but if you have hands that sometimes hurt, you can get a lot of value out of such a feature. It includes a reusable filter, so you won’t have to constantly use paper filters, making this machine a green choice.
Unfortunately, it lacks an automatic shutoff. In the short term, it’ll burn your coffee, especially if you leave it on all day. In the long term, it presents a potential safety hazard, as it will be on and hot for a long time. It’s also quite bulky compared to other five-cup coffee makers, so if you need something for a smaller kitchen, this model is likely to disappoint you. There are good things about this machine, but most people can get better value for the price with a different one.
7. Holstein 5-Cup Coffee Maker
The Holstein Housewares 5-Cup Coffee Maker may not be from a brand you’ve heard of, but its price is so low that we’d be remiss to leave it off our list. Like some other models here, it’s extremely easy to operate. Just flip the switch, and it starts brewing. Unlike the others, the switch lights up when activated, so you can tell if your coffee maker is on with just a glance. It has a water window, so brewing the right number of cups is fast and easy. The filter basket is also removable.
Unfortunately, this is another very loud machine. It’s not one most people will like having in an office, and it would be a poor choice for a coffee maker that needs to be used in a house with sleeping people. The carafe also drips for the first cup or two. This slows you down because you’ll have to clean the carafe or the counter, or both, which is a pain. There are some things to like about this model, including its very low price, but most people will want to spend more and get a better experience.
8. Nostalgia 12-Cup Coffeemaker
The Nostalgia Retro 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker has a great retro look that many people will love. If you have a themed kitchen, or just want to add a splash of flair, this one fits the look. It also has an advantage over many budget coffee makers in that it’s programmable. If you want to wake up to a steaming hot cup of coffee, you’ll love what this model can do for you. It also has brew pause, so you can make a lot of coffee, but pour yourself a cup when you’re ready to have one without worrying about spilling coffee.
However, this coffee maker has several serious problems hiding beneath its colorful exterior. The carafe drips, which isn’t enough on its own to sink this model. But this machine doesn’t have great durability, and the programmability and the brew-pause features both tend to give out over time. The company’s customer service is very hard to reach, so it’s difficult to get your issues resolved. Most people won’t get good use out of this one, and the price isn’t very low, so it has very poor overall value.
All in all, this is definitely not the best cheap coffee maker out there. But it still deserves a spot on this top 8 list.
Factors To Consider When Choosing
Single-serve versus bulk
The most important decision to make when shopping for a budget coffee maker is whether you need a single-serve or a bulk coffee machine. Single-serve machines make just one cup of coffee at a time, so if you mostly need a single cup at a time, they’re the way to go.
If you’re planning to make multiple cups to drink throughout the day or need to prepare coffee for many people at once, you’ll need a bulk coffee machine that makes and stores coffee in a carafe. If you can’t decide which type is better for you, we have good news. There are combination models that do both kinds of brewing, and we’ve found one that can be had at budget prices.
If you’re used to more expensive coffee makers, you may be used to being able to program them to brew coffee at a later time. You can prepare the machine the night before and wake up to a hot cup of coffee. Unfortunately, not all budget models come with programming controls, so if this is a feature that you value, make sure you’re getting one that has it.
Lower-priced coffee makers tend to be made with less expensive circuit boards, which are sometimes insufficiently sealed from steam. That can lead to them giving out prematurely, so the machine is only programmable for a couple of months. If you value this feature, invest in a coffee maker with a good reputation for durability.
To put it short: the best cheap coffee makers are programmable.
Ease of use
There are a few small features that improve ease of use, which can add a lot of value without increasing the price. A water window allows you to pour the exact amount of water you want to brew directly into the machine without measuring it out beforehand. It’s harder to overfill models with this feature, and it lets you easily brew less than the full amount of coffee if you want.
Another valuable feature is automatic shutoff. This helps keep your coffee from burning, even if you forget to turn the machine off yourself, and it can help extend the life of your machine by putting less stress on it.
The best carafes don’t drip, aren’t fragile, and are machine-washable. The worst carafes are drippy, fragile, and can only be cleaned by hand.
Unfortunately, at this price point, the best carafes aren’t often found. Most of the time you can only find carafes that excel in two of the three areas. However, if it’s something you value, you may be able to upgrade on the aftermarket, or you may need to spend a bit more to get a machine with a great carafe included.
The Hamilton Beach 49980A Coffee Maker is the best overall budget coffee maker due to its dual single- and bulk-brewing modes, its easy programmability, and its adjustable cup rest. In second is the Kenmore 40706 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker. It has a water gauge and brew-pause and presoaks the grounds for great-tasting coffee, but its drippy carafe keeps it out of the top spot. The Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Coffee Maker (SK13-RB) is simple to operate and has a water window and brew pause. Its great price is enough to make it the best value budget model on our list.
While not every budget coffee maker will be a slam dunk, we hope our reviews and buyer’s guide have helped you find the one that makes you the coffee you need, while keeping your wallet happy. Enjoy your new coffee maker!
Table of Contents
- A Quick Glance at the Winners of 2021:
- The 8 Best Budget Coffee Makers:
- 1. Hamilton Beach 49980A Coffee Maker – Best Overall
- 2. Kenmore 40706 12-Cup Coffee Maker
- 3. Mr Coffee 12-Cup Coffee Maker – Best Value
- 4. AmazonBasics 5-Cup Budget Coffee Maker
- 5. CHULUX Single Serve Coffee Maker
- 6. BLACK+DECKER 5-Cup Budget Coffeemaker
- 7. Holstein 5-Cup Coffee Maker
- 8. Nostalgia 12-Cup Coffeemaker
- Factors To Consider When Choosing