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A Quick Guide to Buying a Coffee Maker

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Kara
08.20.13

Photo: mylittlepixels | Etsy

If you love coffee as much as we do, the machine that produces your fresh cup of joe every morning is probably pretty important to you. If you don’t own a coffee maker, get this: home brewing can save you as much as $1,000 a year! (Those caramel macchiatos from Starbucks add up after a while.)

Bottom line, if you’re a coffee drinker, owning your own machine is a great investment. Here’s a guide to buying a coffee maker that’s right for you, your home and your wallet:

A general note on prices. Unless you go on coffee-tasting expeditions to Costa Rica for fun, you shouldn’t pay more than $100 for a coffee maker (models with built-in grinders will be a bit more). Some options will inevitably be pricier – single-cup brewing machines can cost upwards of $200 – but the higher price doesn’t produce better coffee.

If you don’t need a venti-size serving of fancy features, you should expect to pay $25-$50 for your coffee machine. If you go cheaper than $25, quality and durability usually take a pretty serious nose-dive.

Before you shop. Take a minute to think about your daily routine. This will help you decide what features you need, and which ones you can do without. Ask yourself:

  • How much coffee do you make? If you have a large household, or drink more than one cup per brew, you’ll likely want to buy a 10- or 12-cup coffee maker as opposed to a single-serve machine.
  • How much time do you have in the morning? If you’re eternally behind schedule, a coffee pot with a programmable timer might be worthwhile to simplify your morning routine. If you’re an early rise, this may not be necessary.
  • How much counter space do you have? An espresso machine may seem like a great idea, but they will take up more room than most regular coffee pots. Don’t buy a machine that’s going to eat up your precious kitchen real estate.  

While you’re browsing. These days, coffee makers come with a wide range of features. Some could make your life easier, others may not. Each extra feature can add $20-50 to a machine’s price tag, so it’s best to be informed.  Here are a few features to consider:

  • Auto-shut off. Are you forgetful? An auto shut-off feature for your power button might be just what you need to avoid the risk of an appliance fire.  
  • Self-cleaners. Some coffee machines come with self-cleaning cycles that automatically clean your coffee pot while you’re away. This one seems handy, but cleaning your coffee maker only takes a few minutes so we recommend skipping this feature.
  • Timers. If you’re usually in a rush in the morning, purchasing a coffee machine with a timer might ease your sunrise stress. You can program when you’d like your coffee to brew so it’s ready as you’re heading out the door.
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