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Before You Buy a Coffee Maker - How to Buy a Coffee Maker


Coffee makers come in such a wide range of prices, finding the right one for your home and budget can be a little daunting. There are styles to consider, features to select and since these usually influence price, you'll want to choose one with features that really matter to you. Even if you are not a coffee drinker, you should still consider having a coffee maker on hand to serve your guests.

Types of Coffee Makers

Type of coffee maker is your first consideration. There are standard drip models, single pod, specialty machines such as espresso and cappuccino units - some also brew regular coffee, retro-style percolators and small coffee makers that drip the coffee into companion thermal travel mugs. Each has its benefits and constraints, but the most common coffee machine is a standard drip coffee maker. When deciding on type, consider counterspace as some types, such as espresso machines take a lot of prime workspace.

Coffee Maker Capacity

Are you looking for a pod coffee maker to brew single cups only or a family-sized model? Standard coffee makers come is various brewing capacities including 8, 10 or 12 cup models with 10 or 12 cup being the most popular. It depends on how much coffee you like to drink and whether you're brewing for one or more persons. That being said, you'll want to have enough capacity for guest serving, without having to resort to a stored second machine. Other sizes include 4-cup coffeemakers which are ideal for travel or for a single person and larger 28-40 cup coffee carafes which are designed for buffets or socials.

Coffee Maker Style Preferences

The most popular style of coffee maker is the countertop model, but some prefer a space-saving undercabinet unit. For very small kitchens, a coffee maker and microwave (or other) combination unit may be worth considering. Though pricey, a built-in coffee machine may be a good choice for new home development or renovation. You should also consider whether the coffee maker finish will blend with your kitchen appliances and decor, and how easy it will be to maintain. Do you prefer a colored unit, white, or black and stainless?

Coffee Maker Features That Matter

Worth considering are thermal coffee carafes which can keep the coffee fresh-tasting longer or a unit that is designed for brewing right into a travel mug. Other good coffee maker features include:
  • Auto-off - which is a must-have safety feature
  • Brew interrupt - allows you to pause the drip and pour before the cycle is finished
  • Programmable settings - coffee can be ready for you in the morning
  • Brew selector

Convenience Features

Convenience features include:
  • Water filter
  • Permanent filter basket
  • Hands-free serving
  • A wide or well-defined pouring spout for dripless pouring
  • A comfortable handle design
  • Exterior water level indicator
  • Audible signal that the brewing or warming cycle is finished
  • Height of the unit may be a consideration if your upper cabinets are lower than average.

Other Considerations When Buying a Coffeemaker

Since features will influence the cost of a coffee maker, you should consider what features you really want, it can save you a few dollars. Considering an extended warranty? You may want to read the pro's and con's of these sometimes costly contracts.

More About Coffeemakers

Reading coffee maker reviews can give you an idea of how certain models have performed and whether they are the best choice for you. You'll also often find helpful tips from reviewers. Why not take a minute and review your former or current coffee maker? It may help other consumers decide on which coffee maker to buy.

Related Coffeemaker Resources

Though they usually cost slightly more, a coffee maker with a durable thermal carafe is very convenient. When a glass carafe breaks, you can often find a replacement at a reasonable price.

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