When shopping for the best coffee maker under $100, there are a lot of choices available these days. While we firmly believe in the longevity and quality of a machine, there are a few good options in this price class.
If you want to dive right in and buy a budget machine, this OXO Brew Coffee Maker is a great option. It is gold standard certified by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) and is packed with premium features and precision control. Alternatively, read on and see what we’ve got for you on our list of best budget coffee makers.
Our Top Picks
1. Best All Round: OXO Brew Coffee Maker
2. Cheapest Thermal Carafe: Mueller Austria Coffee Maker
3. Most Programmable: Braun MultiServe Coffee Machine
4. Cheapest Coffee Maker… Ever?: IMUSA USA 12 Cup Coffee Maker
5. Good Value For Small Budget: Mr. Coffee 12 Cup Coffee Maker
7. Bonus Option: Chemex 8 Cup Glass Pour-Over Coffee Maker
The prices of these machines may vary and, at times, some will be over $100. You can check the latest prices using the links below. A couple of the more premium machines featured here are available from the Amazon Warehouse with some minor cosmetic damage within, or very close to, this price range.
A Closer Look At the Best Coffee Maker Under $100
$100 can buy you quite a lot of coffee machine if you’re selective about spending your money. With a little knowledge about what you’re looking for, you could be brewing delightful batches of coffee for your friends and family in no time.
Without further ado, let’s dive in…
OXO Brew 8 Cup Coffee Maker – Best All Round
This is the sort of coffee maker you only need to buy once. It gives good control over the brewing process and has a sturdy build quality. While not the best coffee maker, if money is no object, it should do a good job for several years.
In fact, this coffee maker can produce just as good a cup of coffee as the undisputed champions of domestic batch brew; the Technivorm Moccamaster or the Breville Precision Brewer — which come with a significantly different price tag.
The difference between the OXO and more expensive brewers is mostly build quality. While the OXO is solidly manufactured, the Technivorm, in particular, is built like a tank, with every part available online and replaceable.
This is a great quality and easy-to-use machine. It isn’t overloaded with features and just makes you a really good cup of coffee. It features a Rainmaker™ shower head for excellent water dispersal and an integrated bloom cycle. The boiler is sufficient to hold the brewing temperature at a consistent 200ºF (93°C) for optimal extractions every time.
It comes with a built-in flat bottomed basket for brewing larger batches of up to 4 decent-sized mugs or an insert that takes Kalita Wave filters for the smaller quantities of up to 2 mugs. The thermal carafe will keep your coffee at peak quality for at least one hour — being away from a direct heat hot plate is a big advantage here.
SCA Gold Standard coffee at a budget price
Very stable brewing temperature
Great quality extractions
Smaller capacity – If you have a big family this may be a problem
Mueller Austria Coffee Maker – Cheapest Thermal Carafe
The Austria coffee maker from Mueller is one of the cheapest thermal carafe machines available. If this is a feature you want and you are on a tight budget, this may be the one for you. It is also fully programmable, so if you’re not worried about your grinds going stale, you can set it all up before you go to bed and wake up to a fresh(ish) brew.
One thing to keep in mind is that the water heater in this model is not one of its best features. Brewing temperatures struggle to get much higher than 175ºF (80°C). This will result in an under-extracted cup of coffee, so it’s important to give it a helping hand.
Rather than the recommended cold, starting with hot water will essentially fix that issue and give you a reasonably high-quality cup for the money.
Another improvement we found to cup clarity was to use a #4 paper filter inside the basket to take out some of the oils. Too many undissolved solids can lead to excessively full-bodied coffees when you stick with the permanent filter supplied. If you’re ok with this, however, the environmental footprint of a reusable filter is obviously better.
Cheap thermal carafe
24 hour programmable for convenience
Poor brewing temperature
No control over brewing temperature
Braun MultiServe Coffee Machine – Most Programmable
The Braun Multiserve is another example of an SCA Gold Standard certified coffee brewer at a mid-range price. These machines are often available from the Amazon warehouse with superficial cosmetic damage for barely half of their recommended retail price (RRP).
The three temperature sensors deployed throughout the machine contribute to a very stable water temperature. The water dispersal is also good, although not the best for this price point. This machine also does not feature a pre-infusion or bloom option, which can lead to channeling and uneven extractions.
Although the extractions are not the best, this unit shines in its user-friendly programmability. If you’re not meticulous about quality but want to be able to get up and go with a pot of serviceable quality coffee in the morning, this could be a good bet.
One further point to note here is that this version of the Braun coffee maker comes with a glass carafe. Although thermal carafes are available for a surplus, it would be nice if they came as standard at this price point.
While glass carafes are fine if you are going to drink everything you brew straight away, coffee in a glass carafe sitting on a hot plate will scorch and deteriorate. Coffee in direct contact with a heat source starts to decline in quality after just a few minutes.
SCA Gold Standard
Very convenient and feature-heavy
Glass carafe and hot plate
Not the easiest to operate
IMUSA USA 12 Cup Coffee Maker – Cheapest Coffee Maker… Ever?
For a fair review of this coffee maker, it is important to point out at the start that it comes in at less than 10% of the budget. It’s the cheapest coffee maker we could find. To put it into context, you could buy 44 of these for the full RRP of a Technivorm.
Actually, it’s not that bad of a machine for the money. Indeed, it has only limited features and control. The water temperature isn’t hot enough for a great extraction, the water distribution (or lack thereof) causes uneven extractions, and there’s no option to bloom your brews.
But it costs less than a decent bag of coffee.
With a few hacks, this machine can produce a drinkable cup. As we discussed before, you can get over a poor water heater by starting with hot water. You can also use the drip release function to trick the machine into a steeped bloom by leaving the jug out for the first 30 seconds of the brew. You could even fix the poor water distribution by attaching a steel salt shaker lid to the water outlet if you wanted to!
It is important to consider that when buying such cheaply manufactured items, the true cost is often absorbed by unfairly remunerated workers. If you can afford to spend more on something more ethically produced, you should.
Poor water temperature and distribution
Mr. Coffee 12 Cup Coffee Maker – Good Value For Small Budget
This Mr. Coffee machine is another relatively cheap option. What it will do is brew you a large carafe of coffee. It won’t be the best cup you’ve ever had, but it won’t cost the earth either.
It’s a bit pricier than the IMUSA, which is reflected in a slightly more solid build quality and a faster brew time. However, it still falls down in the same areas with a very weak shower arm for water dispersal and a brewing temperature of around 175ºF (80°C). This leads to under-extracted and unevenly extracted coffee.
You can achieve a good cup with the same get-arounds discussed above. But they feel a bit more begrudged considering the Mr. Coffee costs over three times the ticket price of the IMUSA.
Although it is basic, it does feel like a “less cheap” option. Mr. Coffee is a well-established and reliable brand, so customer service is reportedly good when issues arise. If you want something very affordable but don’t want to gamble on an unknown manufacturer, this machine is a solid choice.
Poor brewing temperature
Poor water dispersal
The Bonavita machine produces a fine cup of coffee. It has a good showerhead, decent brewing temperature and will hold at a good temperature in its thermal carafe. The main drawback is its size. If this isn’t a problem for you this unit is a real bargain.
Although it isn’t SCA Gold Standard rated, its larger cousins are. They are produced to the same specifications and produce very similar cups. The SCA doesn’t give their gold standard to brewers with a capacity below 32oz, but this coffee maker is an absolute equal in quality terms.
The only thing it can’t do that some more premium brewers are capable of is adjust the brewing temperature for different coffees. Another slight quibble is that the carafe itself is not designed particularly well, and it can be hard to pour the coffee without putting the thermal lid on.
Also, the carafe only really holds to temperature for about an hour, but considering the volume, this is unlikely to be a problem for most people.
Great extraction for the price
Good quality retention for hot-holding
No water temperature control
Chemex Classic Series 8 Cup Glass Pour-Over – Bonus Option
If you are prepared to think a little further outside the coffee maker box, you may not need something quite so automatic. Arguably, the best carafe of coffee in this price range would come not from an automatic drip machine but from a manual pour-over.
In fact, for $100, you could more than likely pick up a pretty decent manual grinder and have enough change for an 8 cup Chemex. With a little bit of time invested in upping your brewing skills, you can achieve excellent quality coffee with very little financial investment.
The minutes between no coffee and a jug of coffee are considerably more hands-on than with an automatic brewer. However, the actual time from start to finish — until you’re drinking your coffee — is a fairly close run.
Of course, style is a very personal thing. But there is something timeless and beautiful about having a Chemex on your counter that none of the automatic machines can hope to match.
As just seen, there is a lot to consider in the quest for the best coffee maker under $100. Below, we’ll look at some of the specifics of what makes one machine better or more convenient than another.
Ease of Use
It’s essential to weigh up whether you would rather have a machine that you can just fill up, switch on, and wait for, or if you need something with a few more bells and whistles. And even then, you probably want to find something you don’t need a postgraduate degree in robotics to operate.
Number of Cups
This will be a very personal decision for you. Think about how many coffee drinkers you have in your household. How often do you have guests? One of the beauties of the automatic drip machine is that it can easily cater to large groups. You just need to decide how large a group you want to share your coffee with!
For some people, a reusable filter will be an important selling point. Consider if there is one included or if you can find one that will fit elsewhere if this is the case for you. Equally, many coffee drinkers prefer the clarity of coffee filtered through paper. If you’re into specialty coffee, you will need to know what type of filter you can fit in here.
Also, it’s worth considering the design of the filter basket here too. Most larger machines come with big flat bottomed baskets, which is fine if they are equipped well for good water distribution. Some brewers, however, prefer the more semi-conical designs à la V60 for sharper fruit notes in bright light roasts.
On the other hand, flat bottomed brewers perform better with darker roasts as they allow for a shorter extraction time, with all other factors being equal.
Generally, throughout this post, we have used “programming” to refer to the ability to set up a brew in advance — say the night before. It’s sensible to consider if this is something you need or will use. Arguably, you’re better off without it as it necessitates grinding your coffee hours before and sacrificing a bit on quality.
If you’ve spent extra money on features, do you really want them to worsen your coffee? For the sake of convenience, it may be that this is a price you are willing to pay.
Another way you can “program” some machines is by altering the water temperature. This is a very useful feature if you are into specialty coffee and experimenting with different coffee origins and roast profiles.
Ease of Cleaning
A critical factor. Some machines are more prone to internal mold build-up or coffee oils of brews past to creep into your fresh morning coffee. Whichever machine you go for, it is vital that you spend some time at least once a week, giving it a decent clean and using filtered soft water to prevent scale deposits.
Generally speaking, if well enough maintained, most modern machines should brew your carafe in under ten minutes. If speed is of the essence to you, it is probably advisable to steer clear of the cheapest brewers. The IMUSA featured here, for example, tends to lag behind this brew time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should You Go for the Cheapest Option?
As with most things in our commercial lives, it holds broadly true that you get what you pay for. If you want to plumb for the cheapest option, you will have to employ a few workarounds to get a decent cup of coffee out of them.
It’s also worth bearing in mind the ethical implications of purchasing cheaply manufactured products. Something has to give somewhere, and usually, this is the workers’ wages.
How Long Will It Last?
You should expect a coffee maker to last for at least 5 years. With regular maintenance and care, using only filtered water, you could add another 5 years on top of this. If you’ve bought a decent model and looked after it well, there’s no reason why you couldn’t keep it even longer, though.
Should You Spend More Than $100?
If you really want the Rolls Royce of coffee makers, you will need to spend a bit more. Consider something like a Technivorm. You will get a slightly better cup than with our best coffee maker under $100, the OXO Brew Coffee Maker.
The Technivorm sets itself apart with regards to the previous point about longevity. You will be able to repair anything that goes wrong with a more expensive model and will find online communities prepared to support you with this.
So what is the best coffee maker under $100? For us, if you’re shopping for an automatic drip brewer with $100 in your pocket, you would struggle to do better than the OXO Brew Coffee Maker. It will produce coffee rivaling that of a machine worth more than three times its cost and comes with the SCA Gold Standard seal of approval.
It is a lot of machine for the money.
If you really want to splash out on the best of the best, you will need to stretch your budget further. Equally, if you want to save yourself a few dollars, there is definitely an argument for getting a large batch pour-over device.
We hope you feel better equipped to make an informed choice having read this article, whatever you end up with.