2021 Best Cheap Coffee Maker: A Detailed Review

cup of coffee

For caffeine fanatics, there’s truly nothing more satisfying than a steaming hot cup of coffee.

Whether it’s grabbing a mug of joe at the diner after an evening out with friends or stopping by your local cafe for a pour-over.

Even a quick drip coffee scratches the caffeine itch; there’s something so satisfying about brewing a cup of coffee with the hotel percolator while on vacation.

Without a doubt, brewing your morning coffee is often the best motivator to start your day off right. Most people don’t want to break the bank just to get a quality brew in the morning, though.

Unfortunately, not all cheap coffee makers are good coffee makers. While some may seem like a bargain, they end up costing you more in the long run.

Here’s the good news: although budget coffee makers have fewer features than high-end options, there are still some really great candidates to consider.

To that end, we’ve listed the best affordable non-electric and electric drip coffee makers. We also included the pros and cons of each to help you find the most reliable way to brew your daily cup of java.

What Are the Different Types of Coffee Makers?

There are lots of different coffee makers out there, but some of the most popular include:

  • Pour-over coffee maker
  • Drip brew coffee maker
  • French press
  • AeroPress

Let’s explore these in greater detail.

Pour-Over Coffee Maker

To use a pour-over coffee maker, simply pour boiling water over freshly ground coffee beans. This option has risen in popularity recently because of the higher water temperature it enables — making a better cup of coffee.

Boiling a kettle of water on a stovetop makes it simple to get the temperature right. Combining the optimal brew temperature of 203 degrees (F) with your favorite coffee beans creates the perfect flavor profile for your coffee.

Pour-over coffee makers also allow you to distribute the water evenly over the grounds to ensure a perfectly balanced taste experience.

Drip Brew Coffee Maker

A drip brew coffee maker trickles hot water over the coffee grounds through a paper filter fitted into the basket. The coffee drips into a glass carafe, heated on a warming plate.

Unfortunately, unless you invest in a $200 (or higher) machine, you can’t control the temperature or head placement.

What’s more, although drip brewers are convenient, they yield a less robust flavor than their pour-over counterparts.

French Press Coffee Maker

The classic French press provides a manual counterpart to the automated drip coffee maker. It uses coarse grounds to get the most out of the steeping process — in contrast to drip coffee makers, which employ fine grounds so the water can easily pass through.

The steeping makes for a slower process, allowing the grounds to saturate for a balanced flavor profile.

To use a French press, first place the coffee grounds in the bottom of the carafe. Then add hot water to the grounds, leaving at least a few inches of room at the top. You can put the lid on the carafe at this point, but don’t depress the plunger until after steeping.

Once the coffee has brewed for the desired steeping time, you’re ready to take the plunge. Push the plunger steadily until it reaches the bottom of the carafe. Do this slowly so you don’t disburse the coffee grounds. 

AeroPress

AeroPress coffee makers are very similar to French press makers; however, they use fine instead of coarse grounds and employ pressure to eliminate the need for steeping.

See our full review and read about the difference between fine and coarse grounds in French Press vs. AeroPress.

Now that you have an idea of the various options out there, let’s look at which reasonably-priced coffee maker is right for you.

What Is the Best Coffee Maker Under $100?

Non-Electric Options Under $50

Coffee Gator Pour Over Coffee Maker

Pour Over Coffee Brewer

For the value, this is the best pour-over option available through Amazon.

It utilizes a stainless steel mesh filter to hold the grounds and a glass carafe to catch and serve the brew.

With a large pouring spout and handle, you won’t make a mess when pouring.

Tip: The glass carafe can also double as a serving pitcher for iced tea or water.

Secura Stainless Steel French Press Coffee Maker

Stainless Steel French Press Coffee Maker

This incredibly durable gem is also available on Amazon. Without a doubt, it’s the best French press option under $50.

An extra stainless steel filter allows you to stack the filters for a finer filtering process. It holds 34 ounces and the handle and knob stay cool, even when the coffee is hot.

Since it’s dishwasher safe, it also makes cleaning up a breeze.

AeroPress Coffee Maker

AeroPress coffee maker

If you’re looking for an AeroPress, there’s only one patented maker on the market. It’s a hand-pressed brewer capable of making both coffee and espresso.

It brews in less than two minutes and provides an extremely portable option. Finely ground coffee is used to produce a more vibrant flavor than the coarse grounds inherent in a French press.

The AeroPress uses a very fine paper filter, with 350 replacement filters included in the package.

Additional filters are affordable and can be purchased through Amazon, where you can also buy your AeroPress. It has a 1-3 cup capacity and cleaning is a breeze, as you can simply press out the spent grounds in one smooth motion. 

Electric Drip Options Under $50

Mr. Coffee 12 Cup Manual Coffee Maker

Mr. Coffee Programmable Coffeemaker

This tried and true unit can be found on Amazon. It’s our pick of the best drip option for its solid performance and compact design.

It has a pause and serve feature, which allows you to pour a cup in the middle of a brew cycle rather than waiting until a full pot is brewed. You can also use regular basket filters with this machine.

Although it’s not a programmable coffee maker, it’s reliable and durable. The clean up is easy, and the carafe and lid are dishwasher safe.

Plus, it’s backed by consistently positive reviews:

“Five stars! We are very happy (so far) with this coffee maker - it is pretty basic, which is exactly what we needed. Our last coffee maker gave out, and like several before it did not last long, we had paid a lot for them and never needed or used half the extras. This coffee maker makes good coffee and stays hot till we are done with the pot. It serves our needs and is not wasted money for extras we won't use." - Review Sense

Hamilton Beach 12 Cup Coffee Maker

Programmable Coffee Maker

Available through Amazon, you’ll find this machine provides great value for money. It gets our vote for the best programmable coffee maker and boasts a 2-hour shut off feature.

It also allows you to pause and serve while brewing. The swing-out brew basket makes it easy to fill and clean. Our favorite feature is the pop-up light that displays after 30 cycles, reminding you to clean the machine.

Chulux Single Cup Drip Coffee Maker

CHULUX Upgrade Single Serve Coffee Maker

This is the clear winner in the single-serve coffee maker category. You can find yours on Amazon.

Our favorite feature is that it allows you to use both K-cups and grounds, providing limitless brewing options. It’s simple to use; just insert the K-cup, add water, and press the start button.

Clean up is made easy by the removable drip tray. It comes in a variety of colors, too, so it adds a vibrant charm to your kitchen.

Coffee Maker Comparisons at a Glance

Non-Electric Options Pros Cons
Coffee Gator Pour Over
  • Portable & compact
  • Strong brew strength
  • Carafe has a large spout & pour handle
  • Small cup capacity
  • Time-consuming
  • Carafe is breakable glass
Secura Stainless Steel French Press
  • Durable
  • 1-hour heat retention
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Can’t see the coffee level
  • Plunger makes a scratching sound
AeroPress
  • Brews in 2 minutes
  • Portable
  • Brews coffee & espresso
  • Small capacity
  • Requires more effort to plunge
  • Hand wash only
Electric Drip Options Pros Cons
Mr. Coffee 12 Cup
  • Pause & serve feature
  • 12-cup capacity
  • Easy to use
  • No auto-shutoff
  • Not programmable
Hamilton Beach 12 Cup
  • Programmable
  • 1-4 cup setting
  • Easy-to-fill water reservoir
  • Too tall for some cabinets
  • No permanent filter
  • Some say brew temperature is low
Chulux Single Cup
  • Easy to use
  • Space saver
  • Brews quickly
  • Weak brew strength
  • Lacks durability

Join Our Club Today 

Subscribe to our coffee club and enjoy a truly unique java experience. We offer subscriptions for every budget and every palate. You can enjoy a different coffee every single month, shipped directly to your door.

Did we mention we offer free shipping for all orders in the U.S.?

As coffee lovers, we enjoy coffee on a daily basis. Why not buy ethically sourced coffee from growers with the largest selections of whole beans to relish the freshness from around the world?

You can feel good every time you drink a cup of coffee purchased from Nomad Coffee Club. For every bag of coffee we ship, we donate a portion to building the Nomad school in Kenya.

A simple daily routine like drinking coffee can change the lives of people in Africa by providing clean drinking water and helping to provide education. Together, we can help those less fortunate by simply drinking quality coffee.

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