You don't have to spend a fortune for a good brew
By Anna Kocharian
Your daily caffeine fix shouldn’t have to cost a small fortune, whether it’s from your neighborhood coffee shop or a personal countertop brewer. And when it comes to the latter, splurging on an expensive machine with all the bells and whistles isn’t the only way to get a delicious cup of joe.
Below, you’ll find a number of coffee makers under $50 that stood out in Consumer Reports’ tests, including two cold-brew models. They’re listed alphabetically (not ranked in performance order).
Bella 14755 with Brew Strength Selector
The Bella 14755 With Brew Strength Selector is a CR Best Buy thanks to its winning combination of performance and value. This machine performs better than models more than three times its price. It offers superb performance in each lab test, and Bella drip machines receive a Good score for predicted reliability in our latest member survey. Its features include auto-shutoff, a permanent filter, brew-strength control, and programming.
Betty Crocker 12-cup Stainless Steel BC-2809CB
One of the highest-rated models in this price range, the Betty Crocker 12-cup drip coffee maker gets Very Good scores in CR tests for both convenience and brew performance. It’s also programmable, so it can have a fresh pot waiting for you when you first wake up. The 60-ounce carafe can serve a busy office or a large household, and cleaning the machine is relatively easy.
When it comes to convenience, this Black+Decker coffee maker is hard to beat. Easy to operate and clean, it earns an Excellent in our tests for convenience. While it doesn’t feature brew-strength control or a small-batch setting, the 12-cup drip coffee maker comes with a 67-ounce carafe, which makes it ideal for serving a crowd.
Black+Decker Honeycomb Collection CM1251W
The 12-cup Black+Decker Honeycomb Collection coffee maker is fairly convenient to use—based on our assessment of setup, operation, and cleanup—and snags a Very Good score in overall performance. This model comes with a 62-ounce carafe and features an indicator that lets you know when it’s time for a cleaning.
Black+Decker Programmable CM1331BS (Walmart Exclusive)
A Walmart exclusive, the Black+Decker programmable CM1331BS coffee maker is especially convenient to use based on our testers’ assessment of setup, operation, and cleanup. The 12-cup drip model comes with auto-shutoff and a measured capacity of 61 ounces. It also earns an Excellent rating for carafe handling because of how easy it is to use, hold, pour from, and empty. Although we haven’t tested this model’s sibling, the similarly priced Black+Decker CM1331S, we expect it to perform comparably.
Capresso SG220 12-Cup
The 12-cup Capresso SG220 is a great choice, especially for those seeking a coffee maker that’s very easy to operate and clean. It’s a simple machine with a large capacity, and CR’s testers rate it Excellent for convenience. It also does well in terms of brew performance, so you won’t be disappointed with its java. Though it lacks small-batch settings, it includes brew-strength controls and basic features such as a drip stop.
Hamilton Beach 12-cup Programmable 49465R
The unassuming, inexpensive Hamilton Beach 12-cup Programmable 49465R might be easy to miss, but it can brew a mean cup of joe at a fantastic price. It has the essentials in a basic black plastic finish. It’s programmable, as its name says, and has auto-shutoff. And it offers solid brew performance and can make a fresh pot in just 10 minutes. This model even earns a Very Good rating for convenience.
Hamilton Beach 12-cup Programmable 49618
This Hamilton Beach programmable coffee maker is fairly easy to use, whether it’s during setup, cleanup, or pouring a cup of java from the carafe. It has the capacity to brew up to 12 cups of coffee and earns a Very Good rating in overall performance in our tests. But coffee aficionados may be disappointed by its brew quality; CR testers gave its brew performance a middling rating.
Hamilton Beach Universal Design 46300
For a relatively low price, the Hamilton Beach Universal Design coffee maker comes with an impressive array of features, including brew-strength control, programmability, and a small-batch setting. This 12-cup drip machine has a 62-ounce carafe and earns a Very Good rating in our tests on convenience, which measures how easy a model is to use and operate.
Primula Burke Cold Brew Coffee Maker PBPBK-5101
The Primula Burke Cold Brew Coffee Maker PBPBK-5101 is the least expensive cold-brew coffee maker in our ratings—and one of the best. It receives an Excellent rating for convenience. This Primula comes with a glass carafe, and most of its parts are dishwasher-safe. It’s the only model we tested that calls for a full 24-hour brew time, but you might find the results worth the wait.
Salton Jumbo Java FC1667
The 14-cup drip Salton Jumbo Java Coffee Maker earns an Excellent rating when it comes to convenience, based on how easy it is to understand the controls, fill the reservoir, insert the filter, gauge the amount of remaining coffee, and clean the machine. With auto-shutoff, a permanent filter, and a measured capacity of 70 ounces, this model is great for serving crowds.
Toddy Cold Brew System
With a large claimed capacity of 56 ounces, the Toddy Cold Brew System is a low-priced manual cold-brew coffee maker that’s a decent performer all-around. Where it shines is in its ease of cleaning, and the whole device is dishwasher-safe. That said, the product’s convenience and taste scores are only Good, and, unlike many other models, its filter needs to be replaced.
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