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The Best Simple Drip Coffee Makers For Your Money

Updated on August 5, 2013

When All You Want Is Good Coffee

A lot of people look for fancy coffee machines that grind beans, make espresso, tea or even chilled coffee drinks. Others want heavy programming capabilitires or a crazy cool design. I personally like good coffee but in most cases I just like falling out of bed and making coffee as quickly and efficiently as possible... without spending a fortune on pods or high end machines.

The page is all about simple coffee machines. Sure you could hit up your local Walmart and buy there cheapest simple machine but is it really going to give you good coffee? Probably not.

I think it's worth sticking to coffee pots that will actually make you good coffee so expect the coffee makers on this page to be slightly more expensive that the throwaway machines you'll find elsewhere. Having said that though they are going to be far cheaper than the fancy units that sell for three digits.

First I'll outline my top picks for cheap and simple coffee machines and then lower on this page I'll explain why I chose them. Spoiler alert. They all make good coffee without adding bloated features that only add to the price tag.

These Basic Coffee Makers Are Simple To Use - And They Make Great Coffee Too

As noted above this section is merely outlining simple coffee makers that make good coffee. I'm not trying to identify the cheapest coffee machines for sale - in my opinion these are two completely different things. A good coffee pot should make water hot enough to brew good coffee and it shouldn't leave a plastic taste in your mouth either. Any extra features in many cases are just bloat as they can easily be replicated with external equipment (i.e. coffee grinders, thermal carafes, espresso machines, etc).

Bunn 44900 BUNN BX Velocity Brew 10-Cup Coffee Brewer
Bunn 44900 BUNN BX Velocity Brew 10-Cup Coffee Brewer

This is one of the highest rated basic coffee pots of it's kind. It makes good coffee quickly and that's it. No timer, no programming, no bells or whistles. The water is heated up to an optimal temp for brewing and your coffee is ready in 3 minutes flat. Super!

Zojirushi EC-DAC50 Zutto 5-Cup Drip Coffeemaker
Zojirushi EC-DAC50 Zutto 5-Cup Drip Coffeemaker

This is a very cool coffee maker that is a bit smaller but makes very good coffee. The coolest feature is that the water resevoir detaches so you can fill it at the sink rather than pouring water into the machine. Also, the innovative filter cone in the coffee pot makes the unit even simpler to use and keep clean.

Proctor-Silex 12 Cup Coffeemaker, Red (43603)
Proctor-Silex 12 Cup Coffeemaker, Red (43603)

Want a "fancy" coffee maker? This ~$20 pot actually has a programmable clock display and a 2-hour auto shutoff - and it comes in RED! Seriously though. For the cheaper drip coffee makers this pot is one of the highest rated from past customers. For your money this is a great choice.


What Makes These Top Picks?

Other Than Simplicity Of Features & Use Of Course

Generally speaking a coffee pot should just make coffee. It should heat water up to an ideal temperature for flavor extraction (as close to 200 degrees as possible) and then it should pour that hot water over the grind into a vessel. Simple really.

What makes these pots special is that they are well made, they actually heat water up hot enough for good coffee brewing, and the more expensive models actually flow the heated water over the coffee grind in a rainfall pattern. This ensures that all of the grind you put into the filter basket is evenly used in the coffee making process.

Cheaper models (like the red one featured above) simply drop the water in the middle of the basket. This is acceptable to most people but doesn't give you the best flavor possible.

Lastly I tend to think that basic coffee pots should be well reviewed by past customers before you call them best or put them in a best list. Of all the basic model drip coffee pots on Amazon the machines featured above are top rated machines in their category.

Sure your local big-box store *may* carry something cheaper then these but the machine is probably not going to be as good.

Is Simple The Same As Inexpensive?

In my own world I think simple means something entirely different than cheap. I typically like to own things that are extremely well made but simple in design. If something has few moving parts and only a few key features or benefits then it can really perform well.

Others however really are just looking for the lowest prices they can come across and simpler machines tend to be less costly. If you're looking for a coffee maker that just doesn't cost much then the following machines fit the bill.

Mr. Coffee CG13-RB 12-Cup Switch Coffeemaker, Black
Mr. Coffee CG13-RB 12-Cup Switch Coffeemaker, Black

The Mr. Coffee design looks a little fancier as you can see the button front and center. :)

BLACK+DECKER Brew 'n Go Personal Coffeemaker with Travel Mug, Black/Stainless Steel, DCM18S
BLACK+DECKER Brew 'n Go Personal Coffeemaker with Travel Mug, Black/Stainless Steel, DCM18S

For inexpensive coffee makers I like this one best as it brews it straight into your travel mug. Nothings simpler than that.


More Easy Ways To Enjoy Better Coffee

Other Than Using Better Equipment Of Course

The coffee maker is only half the battle. You need to use good grind in a drip machine and it needs to be fresh. You also shouldn't keep it on a hot plate for very long either. Two of the three machines featured above don't have an automatic shut-off function. If you can pick up a really good thermal carafe I suggest pouring your coffee directly into it after brewing and then simply turn the hot plate off.

See the following page(s) for more if you are interested.

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The Best Drip Coffee Maker With Thermal Carafe
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