The best coffee makers help take the mystery out of making the perfect brew without taking over your worktop.
At the top of the pile are the latest app-controlled smart bean-to-cup machines that do everything from grind, brew, froth and clean at a touch of a button, pod designs continue to be popular, offering a quick, convenient route to a quality cuppa, while manual models give you a chance to practice your Barista skills at home.
But no matter if you're looking for litres of filter coffee to kick start your day, an elegant Italian Espresso to finish a meal, or an indulgent flat white, we've chosen the finest home coffee machines whatever your budget.
Prefer a blitzed drink which is perhaps cold and fruity instead? No worries: head to our best blender guide for crushing ice and making smoothies and soups.
What coffee maker is best for me?
Before you buy, consider what sort of coffee you and your family actually enjoy drinking. An all-singing bean-to-cup model will grind fresh beans from scratch for example, and we promise you’ll notice the difference in the flavour.
Machines that only use ground coffee are generally less expensive and can produce delicious results, although manual espresso makers take practice compared to the more expensive automatic designs.
If however you prefer classic filter coffee rather than espresso or lattes, an affordable jog carafe design will make fresh coffee, and keep it warm with the minimum of fuss.
Capsule, or pod machines promise mess free real coffee, and while they generally produce a quality espresso, they generate quite a lot of waste compared to buying a simple bag of coffee.
The best coffee maker buys
While The Oracle Touch looks like the sort of machine you need a qualification to use, it is in fact the exact opposite, offering advanced automation and professional results at home.
It features dual stainless-steel boilers, meaning you can grind and brew a coffee while also steaming milk, a feature usually only available on commercial machines. The boiler is also extremely hi-tech and can control the espresso water temperature to within +/- 1°C.
To make a coffee you do need to be involved however as it’s not a vending machine. Once you’ve chosen your drink from the touchscreen you place the portafilter under the grinder and it grinds, measures the perfect dose and tamps for you. Transfer the portafilter to the middle and the boiler extracts the best possible espresso.
And there’s no skill needed to create the ideal micro-foam and milk, just fill the jug, place under the wand and it selects the perfect temperature and consistency for the drink you want.
Be warned though, it’s a large and heavy (16.9kg) machine and may struggle to fit under standard wall units on a countertop.
Taking as little as 25 seconds to prepare a restaurant quality coffee the Jura A1 is a stylish bean-to-cup machine that does just three things brilliantly; it brews an exceptionally good espresso, ristretto and lungo.
It doesn’t come with a steam wand, so you’ll need to invest in a separate frother for flat whites, but it is a hugely impressive design if you prefer your drinks black.
Each drink comes served at the perfect temperature, as intelligent pre-heating retains the ideal heat level for extracting maximum flavour from the beans.
You can adjust the volume of longer coffees to fill your favourite mug, the grinder can be manually adjusted to finer or coarser, to suit the degree of roast of your coffee, and it has both an energy saving and automatic cleaning mode for ease of use.
It is expensive for a model with a limited repertoire, but what it does produce is better than the competition.
We love this coffee machine from Krups but it is now out of stock. We're not sure when or if it will be back in stock but our handy widget (above) with update when it's available again.
The Krups EA907D40 is an investment, but if you want to make the widest variety of hot and cold beverages with the least amount of effort it’s difficult to beat, especially when it comes to milky drinks.
It’s the first bean-to-cup machine with a self-cleaning steam wand, which will be a relief to anyone who has forgotten to wipe their steam wand down only for the milk residue to weld itself on!
You also don’t need to worry about handling a steam jug as a motorised arm gently lowers itself into the cup and froths the milk perfectly before adding coffee on top. Coffee purists might hate the idea of coffee being added to milk, but if you hate having to clean a machine after every cup, we imagine you’ll compromise, especially when the results are so tasty.
There are 17 automated programmes, all of them displayed on the colour touch screen, and you can adjust the volume and strength for each and save the results- there are eight user profiles available - in the machine’s memory.
Dualit was one of the first brands to develop NX their own great value Nespresso compatible coffee pods including a new compostable design.
They’ve also launched their own range of fine tea pods, and this solid manual espresso machine is compatible with both, plus it can also work with standard coffee grounds and ESE coffee bags.
It’s a hugely versatile design that will suit everyone’s breakfast routine, and cleverly, when you switch from coffee to tea, the temperature of the water increases to get the best from the tea leaves.
But don’t worry, this is a great quality, high pressure coffee machine that has the ability to extract a delicious crema on your espresso, and steam and texture milk with ease.
With only one boiler you can’t brew coffee while steaming milk, but that’s typical of a machine at this price.
What you do get is a stylish, functional, well-made machine with traditional cup warming rack on the top, and just enough automated control to make brewing your chosen drink a pleasure in the morning.
Designed and made in Italy – where they know a thing or two about good espresso – The Gaggia Classic has something of a cult following from coffee afficionados who love its ability to make the finest espresso with the minimum of fuss, and almost no frills.
The Gaggia Classic New is the absolute opposite to an app connected smart coffee machine, and if you take your coffee seriously, and importantly, love the manual approach to making it, you’ll be in heaven.
Compact, heavy and clad in brushed stainless steel with high quality chromed copper components, this is a coffee machine that will serve you loyally for years.
The boiler takes just 45 seconds to heat and makes great espresso – assuming you’ve ground the perfect beans that is. Creating steam is also super quick, with the boiler producing a powerful jet of steam.
With just three buttons – one is the power switch, one is for coffee, and one is for steam – and a dial on the right-hand side for steam delivery – it’s the simplest of designs, but one that, with practice, will produce the finest results.
If you’re the type of person who loves a cappuccino over breakfast, filter coffee during the day and an espresso mid-afternoon to keep you awake, the Breville All-in-One Coffee House is your perfect machine.
It comes with attachments that allow you to brew up to 10 cups of filter coffee, as well as a portafilter for single and double shots of espresso, and even an attachment to use Dolce Gusto pods.
Although the attachments take up space in the kitchen cupboards, we think it’s a better option than having two machines on display at, and the tall but narrow design doesn’t dominate the worktop.
As a manual espresso machine, you’ll need to use the portafilter and tamper just like a Barista, and while it takes practice to steam milk like a pro, the results are impressive.
Switching over to filter coffee takes a matter of seconds, and if anything, we prefer the look of it with the carafe mounted in the front.
Results are also great here, and not an afterthought, thanks to the auto blooming feature that pre-soaks coffee grounds to get the most flavour from them before brewing.
And finally, while the machine is tall, it does mean there’s space to fit a travel mug underneath, something we rarely ever see.
With 16 standard coffee blends and dozens of speciality recipes available, plus the countless third-party pods now available, Nespresso remains the best pod coffee brand, and this new slimline machine helps make even more drinks without any fuss or mess.
Unlike most Nespresso machines it has the coffee dispenser and milk frother in the same space, which helps make the machine significantly slimmer than most older models.
It has nine pre-programmed drinks including the standard Nespresso Lungo, Espresso, and smaller Ristretto, but also has Cappuccino, Latte Macchiato, Mocha, Iced Frappe and both hot and cold milk foam.
The steam wand is completely automatic, and features both a steam nozzle and whisk in one. As a result, it does a great job making iced drinks and milk shakes when the heat is turned off.
To make a milky coffee however, you simply fill your cup with milk, choose the drink – you can also adjust volume to suit – press the button and the steam want will heat and froth milk while the coffee is dispensed.
And cleaning couldn’t be easier, just pull out the milk wand and rinse under the tap.
How to buy the right coffee maker for you
How much should I spend on a coffee maker?
We’ve found excellent coffee machines costing anywhere from £99 and £2000, but as a general rule, the more you spend the better the machine will be, especially in terms of longevity, quality of parts – especially if it has a built-in grinder – and ease of cleaning.
Pod coffee machines are generally quite affordable, but this price is often subsidised in order to get you buying specific branded pods, such as Nespresso. In fact, some brands offer free coffee machines if you buy a certain number of pods or subscribe to their coffee clubs.
If you want to make quality coffee at home, we think you should aim to spend at least £200, but given how much a flat white in a café costs, your machine could easily pay for itself in just a few months.
If you love real coffee and want to dink it at home, you’re going to need a quality coffee machine. If you love instant coffee or tea all you need is a spoon and a kettle, but for speciality coffees with Barista style, a model that has a high-pressure boiler that can extract an espresso with a lovely crema layer on top is a must.
Bean-to-cup designs offer the freshest brews. By grinding exactly the right amount of beans for your chosen drink you’ll extract more flavour from your favourite roasts.
How easy is a coffee maker to clean?
Cleaning a coffee machine that uses ground coffee is a messy, unavoidable chore. As well as regularly emptying of the grounds and drip-tray, you’ll need to clean the milk wand and jug, plus it’s advised to have regular deep cleans using specific coffee machine cleansing products and de-scale to avoid any problems from hardwater.
The more advanced the machine – especially the latest ‘smart’ models – the easier it will be to clean, as it will tell you when it needs descaling, emptying etc. It can even recommend the right cleaning products to buy from the smartphone app.