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Best coffee maker 2022: for beginners to coffee connoisseurs

Our best coffee maker, the Breville Bambino Plus, on an orange background reading TechRadar
(Image credit: TechRadar)
Editor's Note: August 2022

As it stands, the Nespresso Vertuo Next continues to be the #1 coffee maker which we can recommend. It's suitable for all coffee making abilities and it's so quick and easier to use with some delicious results. We can't speak highly enough about it, and it's also a popular choice for our readers.

This month, the Cuisinart DGB-650BC Grind & Brew Auto has joined our list. It's a combined effort of a filter and bean-to-cup coffee machine which made a decent cup of coffee with minimal effort during testing. It'll also keep your coffee hot for some hours if you're not able to drink it straight away, so it's a good choice for busy households.

Jennifer Oksien, Editor - Homes

Make your favorite coffee at home with the best coffee maker you can find. It's save you time in the morning to simply flick a switch to make a coffee, rather than going to a coffee house. It'll also save you money because you're not getting take-outs all the time for a caffeine-fix.

Yet choosing a coffee machine can be a a bewildering task. There's a lot of choice, from the best bean-to-cup coffee machines (opens in new tab) to pod coffee machines and the best espresso coffee machines (opens in new tab) to filter coffee machines. They are all very different, with different capabilities. This is why we have taken it upon ourselves to drink coffee (for you and I) from each of the machines you see featured in this guide, so we really know whether or not it is worth a punt - that's all 11 coffee makers, from Nespresso (our #1) to Wacaco which is a good one if you're on the go.

No matter what you are looking for, we're confident that there is a coffee maker out there to suit you, and the process can be as automated or manual as you like. So if you're keen to find out how to make your favorite coffee at home (opens in new tab) and enjoy it in your own space, keep scrolling to see which coffee machines we have been most impressed by.

Whether you're new to making coffee at home or you're looking to replace a machine, we're confident that we can help you to find the best coffee maker.

The best coffee maker: tried and tested by us

The Nespresso Vertuo Next single-serve coffee maker in black on a white background, surrounded by Vertuo capsules

(Image credit: Nespresso)
The best coffee maker: barista-style coffee at home

Specifications

Best for: Most people
Skill level: Beginners
Type: Single-serve pod machine
Milk frother: No
Number of drink sizes: 5

Reasons to buy

+
Mess-free
+
Easy to use 
+
Can create five different sized drinks 

Reasons to avoid

-
Pods are expensive 
-
You can’t froth milk with it

If you need an effortless way to make your morning brew, then the Nespresso Vertuo Next is the coffee maker for you. The best single-serve pod coffee maker we've tested, it couldn’t be any easier to use - you simply place a capsule inside and press a button while the Nespresso takes care of the rest.

On test, the Nespresso Vertuo Next created smooth coffee with a thick crema on top that reformed even after we stirred in some sugar. It can create five different-sized drinks, and because this machine uses pods, cleaning up takes seconds too.

However, the pods can work out more expensive than buying ground coffee, and if you’re a fan of lattes and cappuccinos, the Nespresso Vertuo Next won’t be able to froth milk but you can purchase a separate milk frother from the brand if you’re sold on the rest of the Vertuo Next’s features.

Read our full Nespresso Vertuo Next review (opens in new tab)

The De’Longhi Dinamica Plus coffee maker on a white background

(Image credit: De’Longhi)
If you're looking for the best bean-to-cup coffee maker then this is it

Specifications

Best for: Creating an automated coffee
Skill level: Expert
Type: Bean to cup machine
Milk fother: Yes
Number of drink sizes: 5

Reasons to buy

+
All drink recipes can be personalized
+
Automatic milk frothing
+
Simple interface with an app for additional control

Reasons to avoid

-
Takes up lots of space
-
Requires experimentation to create your perfect coffee recipe

From grinding beans to frothing milk, the De’Longhi Dinamica Plus our top choice of coffee maker for creating a completely automated cup of coffee. 

Simple to use, the color touch display walks you through every step of choosing and customizing your coffee - from the grind level, strength, and quantity to the froth level of milk, and temperature. Although this does mean, it will take some experimentation to achieve the perfect drink for you. 

On test, the coffee maker produced an intense, smooth coffee with a thick crema every time, while the automatic milk frother ensured the bubbles were thick, velvety, and remained stable. However, it's a bulky appliance, which takes up plenty of room on a kitchen countertop, and compared to espresso and single-serve coffee makers, it's expensive, too. 

Read our full De’Longhi Dinamica Plus review (opens in new tab)

The Breville The Oracle Touch coffee maker in stainless steel on a white background

(Image credit: Breville)
A premium option for serious wanna-be baristas

Specifications

Best for: Coffee connoisseurs
Skill level: Expert
Type: Bean to cup machine
Milk frother: Built-in
Number of drink sizes: 4

Reasons to buy

+
Smooth intense coffee every time
+
Stylish design
+
Offers plenty of customization

Reasons to avoid

-
Takes up a lot of space
-
Expensive compared to the rest of the market

Serious coffee lovers can look no further than Breville The Oracle Touch - a bean to cup coffee maker that takes on the grinding and tamping of the coffee, leaving no room for error. But we enjoyed using all the custom settings to control the strength and milk texture. It's got plenty of personalization options, but it doesn't allow you to go too far wrong. 

Known as Sage The Oracle Touch in the UK, this model produced smooth, intense coffee every time during testing. Using separate boilers for milk and coffee, the Oracle Touch produces enough steam pressure to create that ever-elusive microfoam, too. While digital thermometers cut off the steam to stop the milk from scalding, so all you have to do is pour it.

The Breville Oracle Touch is a bulky coffee maker and it comes with an eye-watering price tag, making it the most expensive coffee maker we've tested, but if you’ve always fancied yourself as a would-be barista, it's worth the investment.

Read our full Breville: The Oracle Touch review (opens in new tab) 

The Smeg Drip Filter Coffee machine in grey on a white background

(Image credit: Smeg)
Prefer filter coffee? No problem. This is a fab option.

Specifications

Best for: Catering for more than one
Skill level: Beginners
Type: Drip filter coffee machine
Milk frother: No
Number of drink sizes: n/a

Reasons to buy

+
Makes large quantities of coffee
+
Keeps coffee hot for 40 minutes
+
Timer can delay brewing process

Reasons to avoid

-
Takes up a lot of counter space
-
Interface steams up

If you’re a fan of drip coffee then the Smeg Drip Filter Coffee Machine is one of the best we've tested. It can make several cups of coffee in one go and it’ll keep coffee warm for 40 minutes too, so on those extra sleepy mornings, you can keep coming back for more. 

For the ultimate convenience, you can set the timer on this machine and it’ll start brewing your coffee before you even get out of bed, and we think waking up to the smell of fresh coffee is perfection. It's finished in Smeg’s signature retro style and available in a wide range of colors, too. 

On test, it made a smooth cup of coffee and was easy to use, plus with a two and four cup option, you don't always have to make a full carafe. However, we found the Smeg Drip Filter Coffee Machine's interface steamed up quite a bit, and the coffee maker takes up a lot of space on the countertop too. Our Homes Editor, Jennifer Oksien, has (also) reviewed it: "I'm a big fan of this Smeg coffee machine and have found it hard to beat. It looks fab, makes a lovely coffee and is easy to use - what more can you expect from an Italian home appliance brand?"

Read our full Smeg Drip Filter Coffee Machine review (opens in new tab) 

Cuisinart coffee maker on white background

(Image credit: Amazon)
A mid-range coffee maker which will grind whole beans or use pre-ground coffee

Specifications

Best for: Freshly ground coffee
Skill level: Beginners
Type: Bean to cup machine
Milk frother: No
Number of drink sizes: 10

Reasons to buy

+
Coffee stays hot for hours
+
Simple to operate
+
Can take ground coffee or whole beans

Reasons to avoid

-
10 cup capacity is equivalent to five mugs
-
No bean hopper
-
Coffee doesn’t stay at a constant temperature

Can't decide whether to grind your own beans or load up with your favorite pre-ground coffee? The Cuisinart Grind & Brew Auto will do either for you, which is one of the many reasons why we like it.

It has a thermal carafe with an ample 10 cup capacity which promises more than your average model. The coffee maker is also fully programmable meaning that you can set it up at bedtime to deliver a fresh cup of coffee for when you wake up.

During testing we found it simple to use and set up. The thermal carafe kept coffee hot, but the 10 cup capacity was only enough to fill five decent-sized mugs. We also had to play around with the quantity of coffee to get the flavor we were looking for, but overall the Cuisinart Grind & Brew Auto made a decent cup of coffee for minimal effort. 

Read our full Cuisinart Grind & Brew Auto Coffee Maker review (opens in new tab)

The Breville Bambino Plus in stainless steel on a white background

(Image credit: Breville)
This Breville coffee maker allows for customization

Specifications

Best for: Making a coffee exactly how you like it
Skill level: Advanced
Type: Espresso machine
Milk frother: Built-in
Number of drink sizes: 2

Reasons to buy

+
Produces a smooth, intense espresso
+
Allows for lots of customization 
+
Quick heat-up time

Reasons to avoid

-
Can only brew one shot at a time
-
Needs a good clean after each use

This espresso machine, which is known as Sage rather than Breville in the UK, produced a smooth, intense espresso, and was quick to heat up in our tests. It can also froth milk, and offers three different milk temperature settings along with three texture settings so you can have your drink just how you like it. 

It's is small enough to not take over your countertop but it has almost everything to give you barista-style coffee. Although it's worth noting, that, unlike some espresso machines, it can only brew one shot at a time and it needs a good clean after every use. 

This Breville coffee maker isn’t the cheapest in the market, but it performed exceptionally well in our tests and we think it’s well worth its price tag. 

Read our full Breville Bambino Plus review (opens in new tab) 

The KitchenAid 5KCM1208 drip coffee maker on a white background

(Image credit: KitchenAid)
If you're on a budget then we can highly recommend this coffee maker from KitchenAid

Specifications

Best for: Making a brew for later (within 30 minutes)
Skill level: Beginner
Type: Drip coffee maker
Milk frother: No
Number of drink sizes: n/a

Reasons to buy

+
Keeps coffee piping hot
+
Retro design
+
Quiet in use

Reasons to avoid

-
Takes a long time to brew
-
Suggested cup size smaller than expected

If you're on a budget, the KitchenAid Classic 5KCM1208 Drip Coffee Maker is one of the best affordable designs on the market. 

This coffee maker, which has the brand’s signature vintage style but with some more modern features, can brew 10 cups of coffee. However, we found the cups to be much smaller than a standard-sized cup, so if you like a huge mug of coffee, don't expect to be able to top it up 10 times. What is good about the KitchenAid Drip Filter coffee maker is how it can keep coffee warm for over 30 minutes. And when we say warm, we mean piping hot - so you’ll need to give it a while to cool down. 

The KitchenAid Drip Coffee Maker also works very quietly so it won’t be a nuisance when it’s brewing. Just be prepared to wait for it to brew - it took 12 minutes to fill the carafe in our tests. 

Read our full KitchenAid Classic 5KCM1208 Drip Coffee Maker review (opens in new tab)

The De'Longhi Dedica Style EC685 in black on a white background

(Image credit: De'Longhi)
Perfect for those that want a compact espresso machine

Specifications

Best for: Small kitchens
Skill level: Advanced
Type: Espresso machine
Milk fother: Yes
Number of drink sizes: 2

Reasons to buy

+
Compact
+
Simple to use
+
Takes Easy Serving Espresso (ESE) pods and ground coffee

Reasons to avoid

-
Can’t make espresso straight after steaming milk
-
Some dripping after espresso is poured

The De'Longhi Dedica Style EC685 is the best coffee maker if you want a small espresso machine for a kitchen with limited space.

Compact and simple to use, on test this coffee maker produced rich, intense coffee with a thick crema that reformed after we added sugar to the drink. We were impressed it can be used with ground coffee or Easy Serve Espresso (ESE) pods too. However, we were disappointed that the model can’t make espresso straight after steaming milk. If you're planning on making several coffees with milk, then you'll need to brew all of the espressos before starting on the milk. We also experienced some dripping after espresso was poured. That said, this is a good value espresso machine for the price. 

Read our full De'Longhi Dedica Style EC685 review (opens in new tab)

The Nespresso VertuoPlus single-serve coffee maker on a white background surrounded by Vertuo capsules

(Image credit: Nespresso)
Particularly good at brewing large quantities of espresso-based coffee

Specifications

Best for: Making a quick coffee
Skill level: Beginners
Type: Single-serve pod machine
Milk frother: No
Number of drink sizes: 5

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use
+
Large water tank
+
Can create five different sized drinks 

Reasons to avoid

-
Pods are expensive 
-
You can’t froth milk with it

With a larger 1.9-quart / 1.8-liter water tank compared to the Nespresso Vertuo Next, this is the best single-serve pod coffee maker for those that want to enjoy a lot of coffee, without having to top up the water regularly. 

We found the Nespresso Vertuo Plus just as easy to use as its sibling, as it takes the same capsules. All you need to do is insert the capsule into the coffee maker, select one of five different-sized drinks and the Nespresso does the rest. However, this means you have the same issue regarding cost, as the pods can work out more expensive than buying ground coffee, and once again this coffee machine doesn't provide a way to froth milk. 

That said, during our review, the Nespresso Vertuo Plus produced smooth coffee with a thick crema on top every time, making it an ideal choice for those looking for simple mess-free coffee. 

Read our full Nespresso Vertuo Plus review (opens in new tab)

The Smeg ECF01espresso maker in green on a white background

(Image credit: Amazon)
Another option from Smeg, and this one will create the perfect shot

Specifications

Best for: Giving you a flexible option (pods or ground coffee)
Skill level: Expert
Type: Espresso machine
Milk frother: Built-in
Number of drink sizes: 1

Reasons to buy

+
Stylish design 
+
 Smooth coffee with an impressive crema
+
Takes Easy Serving Espresso (ESE) pods and ground coffee

Reasons to avoid

-
Not suitable for beginners 
-
Expensive compared to the rest of the market

The Smeg ECF01 Espresso Maker is just what you need if you want great coffee but also a stylish addition to your countertop. During testing, it created smooth coffee with an impressive crema every time and can be used with ground coffee or Easy Serve Espresso (ESE) pods, giving you flexibility. 

It's not a machine suitable for beginners, as it takes patience to perfect the brew that's right for you, but once you've mastered it, you'll never be without excellent coffee again.  It's also expensive compared to the rest of the market but is a worthy investment if you want to level up when it comes to barista skills.

We were also impressed at its ability to froth milk until it’s just the right level of silkiness. And if patience isn't your virtue, you'll be pleased to know you only need to wait 40 seconds for the machine to heat up. 

Read our full Smeg ECF01 Espresso Maker review (opens in new tab)  

The Wacaco Nanopresso hand pump coffee maker being used to brew coffee

(Image credit: Wacaco Nanopresso)
Particularly good at brewing coffee on-the-go

Specifications

Best for: Travelling
Skill level: Beginner
Type: Hand-held espresso machine
Milk frother: No
Number of drink sizes: 1

Reasons to buy

+
Great tasting coffee
+
Comes with a built-in espresso cup and  case
+
Compact

Reasons to avoid

-
Time-consuming
-
Require boiling water

The Wacaco Nanopresso is a pocket-sized coffee maker with the ability to brew hand-pumped espresso. There’s no battery or charging: it’s all done by creating up to 18 bars of pressure through hand-pumping, and the end result is comparable to what you’d be served in a coffee shop.

Compact and lightweight, the Nanopresso comes with a built-in espresso cup and lightweight case that’s molded perfectly to house the device. On test, it produced smooth, intense coffee - as long as you've got a supply of boiling water.

If you’ve never used an outdoor espresso maker before, it takes a bit of time to work out what’s going on, especially when slotting it all back in together, but it gets much easier after the first few uses. This is definitely not a machine to try for the first time at 7 am on a weekday morning, but it’s great for taking high-quality espresso with you no matter where you go.

Read our full Wacaco Nanopresso review (opens in new tab)

What is the best coffee maker?

Now you've read through out top 10, you may be wanting to know what our number one is so to recap, we an totally recommend the Nespresso Vertuo Next. Not only is it a firm favorite amongst our US readers, it's ours too. On test we found it mega easy to use, producing smooth coffee with a thick crema every time. It has five different cup sizes and because it uses pods, it's mess and fuss-free as well. Our only wish was that it had a build in milk frother so if lattes are the only coffee you'll sip, it may not be the one for you.

How we test coffee makers

The Grind One Pod machine being used to brew an espresso

(Image credit: TechRadar)

We take testing coffee makers seriously and put machines through their paces to see if they really can do everything they promise to. Each machine is slightly different, however, we test each coffee maker for the crema it produces on an espresso, how easy it is to use and set up, and also for consistency from one cup to another. 

When we’re testing, we take into account the overall design of each coffee maker - how it looks, how much space it’ll take up on your kitchen counter, whether the water tank is removable for easy refills, and how the machine looks as a whole.

For coffee makers with milk frothers, we test the milk texture to see if it’s silky and smooth and of course, we wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t drink plenty of coffee along the way to see how each cup measures up for the overall taste.

We test models to see how much control you have over each cup of coffee, and whether it’s a case of simply pressing a button or whether more of a hands-on approach is needed. All coffee makers will require regular cleaning so we’re always sure to note what maintenance is involved and how easy these machines are to keep in top condition. 

Which type of coffee maker should I choose? 

For those that want to perfect their coffee-making skills, consider an espresso machine. This style of coffee maker lets you handle every part of the brewing process, from compacting the coffee grounds into a puck or small disc (a process known as tamping) to the brew volume and duration to create the perfect cup of coffee to suit you. If you’re new to this type of coffee maker, discover how to use an espresso machine in-depth in our article. 

Alternatively, for the same coffee-shop standard hot drinks but with a hands-off approach, opt for a bean-to-cup coffee machines, which automate the processes described above to rustle up a cup of joe at the touch of a button.  

If you’re looking to make a cup of coffee with as minimal amount of fuss as possible, a single-serve coffee maker is the best fit. Also known as pod coffee machines, they use capsules filled with ground coffee to create a hot drink with far less mess than espresso machines. 

Nespresso and Keurig are the biggest brands when it comes to single-serve coffee machines and offer a range of machines each. However, pod coffee machines have a poor reputation when it comes to sustainability as many of the capsules end up in landfill. Follow our guide on how to recycle Nespresso pods to help ensure this doesn’t happen. 

Finally,  the drip coffee maker is one of the most familiar styles of coffee machine and is best suited to those that want to brew large quantities of Java at any one time. Discover in-depth how coffee makers work in our article.

Best coffee maker FAQs

What to consider when buying a coffee maker

There are so many different coffee makers on the market that it can be hard to know which is the best option for you. 

If you enjoy a simple americano and don’t like milk-based drinks, then a drip filter coffee maker will be a great option. Plus, these machines can make as many as 12 cups of coffee in one go. If you just want small quantities of coffee, we’d recommend a single-serve coffee maker from Keurig or Nespresso. 

If you do like milk-based coffee, then there are quite a few options available. Some models are fully automated and have a built-in frother that will be able to create a variety of milk textures, while others have steam arms which you place into a jug of milk and froth the milk yourself. There’s a third option too - and this includes buying a separate milk frother which is a stand-alone machine. You’ll be able to use these to make everything from lattes to hot chocolates, and they make a great accompaniment to a pod coffee maker. 

Coffee drinkers that like plenty of customization options will be best suited to a coffee maker that lets you adjust the strength of your brew and create different sizes of hot drinks. Many premium coffee makers will let you do both of these things, but you can also adjust the strength and the aroma of your coffee with a good drip filter model. 

The final thing to consider is how involved you’d like to be in the coffee-making process. Some designs are smart-enabled so you can simply switch them on from your phone, however, others will require you to compact ground coffee and pull your own shot of espresso before frothing the milk yourself. Some even have self-cleaning systems which purge the steam wand to prevent milk residue drying in the pipes, while others have systems to flush out any build-up in the machine. 

If you’re still not sure, you can find a more detailed breakdown in our article covering which type of coffee maker to buy.

  • If you're in the market for a bargain, check out our best coffee maker deals (opens in new tab) article, to view the latest discounts on some of the best coffee machines on the market. 

Can Espresso machines make regular coffee?

Espresso machines can be used to make an americano if they have the functionality to add hot water to a shot of espresso (which many machines do). If you want to make milk-based drinks, you’ll need to ensure that there’s a steam arm on the machine, or alternatively, you can purchase a separate milk frother.  

How do coffee makers work?

With so many different types of coffee makers on offer, it’s no surprise that each type of machine works slightly differently. Here we focus on espresso machines and pod coffee makers but for a more detailed explanation, head to our feature on how coffee makers work

Espresso machines work by using a pump to push pressurized water through coffee grounds so that it infuses with the water to make a smooth shot of espresso. If an espresso machine has a milk frother, it will use a boiler to push steam out of the machine which is then used to give the milk a velvety texture. Pod coffee makers work by using a compacted capsule of coffee and piercing a hole in the capsule. Hot water is then powered up through the machine and pushed through the capsule to create a coffee. Some more advanced pod machines, such as the Nespresso Vertuo Next, spin the coffee pod around at high speeds so that the contents evenly infuse with water for an even smoother cup of coffee.  

How to clean a coffee maker

Keeping your coffee maker clean will not only ensure it looks great, but it’s crucial for maintaining working order and keeping it hygienic. We’ve written a full feature on how to clean a coffee maker and all its parts but the good news is that you’ll be able to clean thoroughly using products you’ve most likely got at home already. To clean your machine’s water tank, you can make a solution with one part water and one part white vinegar and simply leave it to soak inside your water reservoir for a couple of hours. To give the pipes a good flush through, let the vinegar solution run through the machine by switching it on as you would do normally for water. 

We're also got a dedicated article on how to clean a Nespresso machine and how to clean a Keurig, for those that have single-serve coffee makers at home. 

For more on coffee makers, don’t miss our other features: 

What is the best coffee maker for home use

If you're looking for a coffee maker to use at home, either because you're spending more time working remotely and want a cup of Joe that's the same quality as you'd get in the office, or you just want to cut down on your expenses by reducing your coffee shop visits, then you're probably wondering which is the best one to buy. 

For true coffee-shop-worthy espresso, then it's worth investing in one of the best espresso machines on the market right now. These ensure you can tweak the strength of the coffee by changing aspects such as the volume of water used to brew the espresso, the length of time the brewing process takes, and how tightly or loosely compacted the puck (the disc of ground coffee) is. 

All of these affect how strong, and how bitter the coffee tastes. But espresso machines require plenty of experimentation, which takes time and using ground coffee can be messy. 

If you're tight on space consider the Breville Bambino or Breville Bambino Plus (which are sold under the Sage brand in the UK), while for those with larger kitchens and a bigger budget, consider the De’Longhi La Specialista Arte EC9155MB or the Breville Oracle Touch - again known as the Sage Oracle Touch in the UK. 

If you don't want to spend all your time learning how to brew the perfect coffee, or cleaning up after it, then one of the best single-serve coffee makers, also known as pod coffee machines, will produce good quality espresso with minimal mess. We rate the Nespresso Vertuo Next, but our article which Nespresso machine is best? offers plenty of further information to help you decide.

If you're in the US there's also an array of Keurig single-serve coffee makers to choose from. Check out  Nespresso vs Keurig: which should you buy?  if you're unsure which manufacturer you should plump for. 

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Carrie-Ann Skinner
Carrie-Ann Skinner

Carrie-Ann Skinner was formerly Homes Editor at TechRadar, and has more than two decades of experience in both online and print journalism, with 13 years of that spent covering all-things tech. Carrie specializes in smart home devices such as smart plugs and smart lights, as well as large and small appliances including vacuum cleaners, air fryers, stand mixers, and coffee machines. Carrie is now a copy editor at PWC.

With contributions from