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Kickstarting your day with finely brewed coffee is essential, but hard on the budget if you’re always doing it at the coffee shop. That’s why my favorite coffees are the ones I make at home with my coffee machine.
Choosing a coffee maker for your kitchen can make your head spin, because there is such a wide variety of brewers available. But if you’re looking for the best coffee maker under $100, I’m going to round up the best ones right here and pick a winner.
Please note that the prices for these machines do rise and fall. Some of them may be slightly over $100 at the time you read this, but they are all in the ballpark.
Let’s pick the winner right now. If it were me, I’d go with the Cuisinart DCC-3200P1 Perfectemp.
Having said that, I recognize that people have different tastes. To choose wisely, even from a short list like this, you need to know your own preferences and then gain some knowledge about the specifications for each machine. I can’t help with the first part, but I sure can help with the second part.
Our top three coffee makers under $100 at a glance
Every coffee maker has its pros and cons. Let’s find one that works for you, within your budget. Here’s our top three:
Now let’s go over them in a little more detail.
Best coffee makers under $100 in detail
Your coffee experience in your workplace or home couldn’t get much better than with this Cuisinart DCC-3200P1 Perfectemp coffee brewing machine. This machine makes high-quality coffee with a rich flavor.
You can brew at any hour of the day, without being present. The programming feature sets you free from having to operate the appliance in person. You can also control the temperature of your coffee and get it just the temperature you like.
This is one of the best budget coffee makers I’ve used. It’s worth the price, and I would recommend it to anyone in need of a programmable coffee machine. It comes in various colors, including sky blue, copper and stainless steel.
- Easy to use
- Excellent performance resulting in delicious coffee
- Huge reservoir
- Hot water for other drinks
- Requires water filter change monthly
- Brews more slowly than some others
The Braun BrewSense has a sleek and modern design that should enhance the look of your kitchen decor. The presence of stainless steel materials on the body of this machine gives it a higher-end look than you would expect at this price point. The rest of the machine is mostly plastic and glass.
You can program the BrewSense to produce coffee at set times. If you fill the water reservoir right to capacity, the machine can make 12 cups. A built-in charcoal water filter removes impurities from your water before it brews.
There’s also an automatic shut-off function in case you head out to work without remembering to power down the machine.
This BrewSense heats water up to 200 F, which is plenty hot for ideal coffee extraction. The brew time is less than five minutes, and you don’t have to think about much when you brew—the BrewSense’s technology gets you a pretty consistent cup every time.
- Can make 12 cups at a time
- Programmable feature
- Elegant design
- Glass carafe breaks easily
- Not plastic-free
The Ninja CE251 has some attributes you’ve come to expect from higher-end machines, but it’s much more affordable. The removable water reservoir can hold as much as 60 ounces of water, which is enough to brew 12 servings.
However, if you need only a few servings you can go with the small-batch brewing option, which produces 1-4 cups of enriched coffee. Ninja also features a 24-hour delay timer, which in theory could allow you to sleep for 24 hours straight and then wake up to freshly brewed coffee!
You can always adjust the brew strength of your coffee by choosing between rich or classic brew. You don’t need to purchase paper filters for this one, as coffee grounds go directly into the permanent mesh filter.
- 24-hour brew-pause timer
- Classic and rich strength options
- Permanent filter
- beep alerts become annoying
The Hamilton Beach FlexBrew makes our list for its versatile features. The unit is capable of delivering personalized coffee for every individual, so it should come up with a taste that impresses you.
We all have different flavors we want to get out of our coffee brewing process. This machine allows you to customize your coffee using different brewing techniques.
It’s a two-way coffee maker, meaning it allows you to brew for yourself on the single-serve side, or for a group on the carafe side. And on the single-serve side, you can brew with a coffee pod or by pouring grounds into a single-serve filter basket.
- Easy to disassemble and clean
- Auto-pause option
- Makes bold and regular brew
- Doesn’t have a built-in water filter
- Compatible with pods but not K-Cups or Nespresso
The Calphalon 14-Cup is another great no-hassle coffee maker with a programmable delayed start option that can have your coffee ready for you when you wake up every morning. It saves time, effort and energy that you can expend on other important tasks like work or family matters.
The Calphalon allows you to customize the strength of your brew along with the desired volume. It is equipped with a brew-pause feature, so if you can’t wait for the brew cycle to finish, you can pull the carafe out and pour yourself a cup without worrying about any spillage.
The carafe of this machine is made from stainless steel, which you don’t always find in such a cheap coffee maker. It makes it durable and easy to clean. And yes, it has automatic shut-off that will ensure safety if you leave the machine on accidentally.
- Plastic and glass-free
- Auto-pause feature
- High-quality, corrosion-resistant warming plate
- Carafe has no markings
- Quite heavy
If you like coffee every day and a Keurig K-Classic is not your countertop, you are not using one of the simplest and most budget-friendly coffee makers on the market today.
Keurig is a favorite brand for those people who take a single cup of coffee once in a while and don’t want to deal with coffee grounds or filters.
Keurig uses the K-Cup system, so you just pop a capsule into the machine every time you want a single cup to perk you up. Remember to choose the correct size cup. The K-Classic has a large reservoir so you won’t have to refill often, and it’s easy to clean.
The K-Cup universe also gives you a range of options for flavored coffee. These coffee brewers have an automatic shut-off feature that powers down the machine after two hours to save energy.
- 48-ounce reservoir
- Easy to use
- The cost of K-Cups adds up
The Airmsen coffee maker is one of the more affordable coffee makers on the market, but it’s well made and easy to use.
An LCD timer lets you program your brew time, meaning you can have your fresh cup of coffee exactly when you want it. It also has automatic shut-off, adjustable temperature control, and dual water windows for accurate filling. The brew-pause function allows you to grab a cup even when the machine is still brewing.
This 12-cup carafe makes it great for a big coffee-drinking household, or one that entertains a lot. The classic stainless steel color and elegant design will look nice in any modern kitchen. The machine also has a self-cleaning feature, which is a great plus.
If you can’t finish your brewed coffee in one sitting, don’t worry—the machine keeps your coffee hot for four hours.
This cheap coffee machine is a good choice for office use, due to its compact design, low price, and ability to brew delicious coffee.
- LCD timer for programming your brew time
- Adjustable temperature control
- Cleans itself
- Easy to use
- Glass carafe makes it easy to break
Serious value pick here. The Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Coffee Maker could be your morning partner. With just a single switch it delivers coffee that’s very drinkable. This machine is ideal if you’re just looking for the essentials needed to make a good cup that gets you going in the morning, and aren’t fussy about the details.
Its features are limited, but it does have a drip-stop, which allows you to sneak a cup before the machine is finished pouring without spilling any on the hot plate.
The absence of other fancy features makes this machine affordable. Despite the simple design, it gets showered with five-star reviews on Amazon, meaning most coffee enthusiasts are impressed with its capabilities and aren’t seeing it break down prematurely.
- Easy-care filter basket
- Super affordable
- Can brew 12 cups of coffee in one session
- Does not provide cleaning alerts
- May not satisfy those who like really hot coffee
If you thought Black & Decker are power tools experts, then you need to know more about the company. Their CM2035B coffee maker is one of the best budget-friendly coffee-making machines on the market.
One thing I loved about this brewer is the no-drip carafe, which actually works like it’s supposed to! Not a spill in sight. The carafe also has a wide mouth that makes it really easy to clean.
The unit dispenses water evenly on the coffee to create uniform flavor. Another feature is the LCD display, which shows the amount of time that has passed since you brewed your coffee. If you happen across a pot on the kitchen counter, you’ll know whether it’s fresh or best discarded for a new batch.
The coffee brewer also comes with a two-year warranty.
- Great no-drip carafe
- LCD display
- Easy to clean
- Doesn’t brew all that hot
- Build quality seems lightweight
The double-walled exterior provides really good insulation and will keep your coffee hot for four hours.
Its plunger and filter fit snugly in the cylindrical pot and it has a very fine mesh, so it really cuts down on sediment in your coffee. It’s also really easy to disassemble for cleaning. If you want, you can put the whole thing in the dishwasher without any worries. This is a much sketchier proposition with a thin glass French press.
But the greatest part of the Frieling might be the handle. It feels so comfortable and solid in your hand, well-balanced, and makes pouring very easy even when you’re using the big 44-ounce version. (Other sizes are 8, 17, 23 and 36-ounce.)
The Frieling comes with an exterior of either brushed or mirrored steel, and moves easily between casual everyday use and more formal occasions.
It’s a unique unit that takes coffee flavor to the next level. I’ve tasted many a coffee made by this machine, and the quality is consistent in the hands of a competent brewer.
- Modern design
- Delivers great flavor
- Nothing automatic about it
What users have said about our top pick
I like the Cuisinart, and apparently I’m not the only one! I had a good look through Amazon reviews of the machine to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. Below is a sample of what people had to say, which I think is fairly representative of the overall tone.
They improved the hot water shower head, making it larger so that more of the grounds surface gets wet. Because of this, you get a great cup of coffee!— TheWindyCity
It took a few pots to get the grind, water, filter, brewing time vectors all sorted out but I think I’m there now. Yep, makes great coffee.— Amazon Customer
I wasn’t sure about all of the bells and whistles that come with this pot. I didn’t think I would need them, but now that I have them I love them!— artyone
Filling the brewer is a pain, partly because there’s not much area to pour into and you have to aim well, and partly because of the carafe design.— The Dabbler
What to look for in a budget coffee brewer
Here are some of the most important things to note when choosing a budget coffee maker:
Ease of use
Most manufacturers of sub-$100 coffee machines try to keep it simple, but you’ll still find some that are more complicated than others. If you want some programmability you’ll be able to find it, but make sure the controls are intuitive. If you don’t need more than a button that you push to brew, you can make things easier on yourself by choosing something simple and likely less expensive.
If you’re thinking about a machine with a few more controls, make sure they are reliable. You can check online reviews to ensure there are no issues with buttons falling off or dials cracking.
Number of cups
How many cups of coffee will you need at once? If you’re buying a brewer to make coffee for big family occasions or a small office, you’ll need an eight- or 12-cup brewer.
Does it come with a grinder?
Some machines grind the beans themselves before brewing. Freshly prepared coffee beans deliver better taste. Buying a coffee grinder separately can add to your expense, so you may want to consider a model that has it built in.
Machines with grinders do cost a little more, so that might take you over your $100 budget, but it’s still cheaper than adding a standalone grinder and it will save space on your counter.
Carafes generally come in glass or stainless steel. Glass carafes need a hot plate to keep them warm, so the machine will have this built in. A steel carafe is thermally insulated so it doesn’t need a hot plate. This one comes down to your preference. Coffee sitting on a hot plate for a long time can acquire a burnt taste, so a steel carafe might be best if you don’t drink it quickly.
The time it takes to brew a cup of coffee is always going to depend on how many cups you’re brewing, so if you’re comparing the speed of two machines, make sure you compare apples to apples. Ask how quickly each model brews six cups, for example.
This is an important consideration for those of us who have hurried mornings, but keep in mind that a machine you can program the night before may eliminate the need for speed.
We all forget things, and sometimes this leads to accidents. An automatic shut-off option, which powers your machine off at a certain time after brewing, can help prevent such events. It can also save power.
Ease of cleaning
Most of these machines need nothing more than a daily rinse, a soapy wash of removable parts at least once a week, and descaling of the interior every few months or so.
The easier it is to take apart, the easier it will be to clean. Anything with glass is going to require a little more care when cleaning.
Permanent metal mesh filters present more cleaning challenges than disposable paper filters. They might be less wasteful—although that’s debatable if you use compostable paper filters.
Permanent vs. paper filter
As I mentioned above, this is a key consideration. I won’t tell you which is best—just what you need to think about.
A permanent filter is usually made of fine metal mesh and can be used over and over again. You don’t need separate filters with one of these. Obviously, that saves you the hassle of having to check your supply and restock filters when necessary.
With paper filters, you churn through them if you’re a big coffee drinker. They’re a bit wasteful (if not compostable). And yes, you can run out. That can create a coffee emergency in the morning.
Cleanup is easier with a paper filter. You just toss it and rinse your brew basket. A metal filter needs to be rinsed a little more carefully and it can be tricky to get all the coffee grounds out. If you forget to clean your permanent filter and come back to it a few days later, you might be faced with a moldy mess that you then have to clean up. If it happens with a paper filter, again cleanup is much simpler.
Cheap coffee makers vs. expensive ones
People often ask me whether it’s worth spending extra money on an expensive coffee maker when so many are available at very low prices. Like, what are you getting when you spend more?
The big difference between affordable coffee makers and expensive ones is that the cheap coffee maker isn’t built to last. It’s built to be replaced. Because its materials and parts are so cheap, nobody keeps replacements on hand or parts to fix it. They expect you to just go buy another one.
An expensive coffee maker, with its higher quality materials and parts, is more likely to be supported by service people and to have parts that can be replaced without replacing the whole machine.
Another big difference is the plastic. Cheap coffee makers will have a lot of it. The jury is still out on the long-term health effects of plastic—particularly when it comes into prolonged contact with hot water and chemicals have the chance to leach out.
While cheap machines don’t necessarily brew worse-tasting coffee than expensive ones (the quality of your beans is a much bigger factor), the plastic can leave some of its taste in the coffee, particularly when the machine is new. Usually this fades away as the machine gets more brews under its belt.
Coffee brewer FAQ
How much coffee should I use in a drip coffee machine?
Generally, it should be between 1-2 tablespoons per cup. Many coffee appliance manuals state the amount of coffee you need. It will depend on the unit and the type of coffee you are brewing, including its natural strength and how strong you want it.
Are drip coffee brewing machines preferable to K-Cups?
I’d say so. Buying whole beans and then grinding them yourself is certainly more economical than buying K-Cups. There are also real questions about the sustainability of K-Cups. The top and coffee grounds have to be completely removed before they can be recycled. I’m not sure everyone does that.
Should I buy the cheapest coffee machine on the market?
I made that mistake, and I don’t want you to do the same. Look for a quality brewer that has all the features you need, and buy it. Otherwise, you might find yourself buying another brewer in less than a year.