The Top 10 Best Coffee Makers Under 100/How To Know Which Is Best For You

cuisinart coffee machine

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Coffee for a lot of people is a daily reward, but it doesn’t come cheap. The countless instant coffees you order, or the numerous times you visit Starbucks to get that extra kick of energy, adds up more than you think. 

You don’t have to purchase expensive coffee machines to brew good coffee as a novice; an entry-level, budget-friendly coffee maker will do just fine to brew an intimate cup for you.

This list will introduce you to eight automatic drip coffee machines, an espresso machine, and a beautiful Moka pot. 

Before we commence our affordable journey to the top ten coffee makers under $100, an introduction to the different varieties of drip coffees, automatic coffee makers is needed. 

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Drip coffee makers

As the name suggests, auto-drip coffee makers automatically dribble boiled water in the freshly ground coffee to extract the best flavors in the carafe below.

Drip coffees are the most preferred and faster brews. Within a matter of minutes, you can brew 10-12 cups and serve the whole party!

Espresso Machine:

No matter how expensive, espresso machines will only brew 1-2 shots (excluding americano).

Unlike other brewing methods, Espresso requires pump pressure to extract the perfect blend of coffee beans. 

Moka Pot:

Moka Pots are traditional coffee makers that brew your cup of joe on a stove. Unlike percolators, Moka pots do not mix the freshwater with brewed coffee; chambers separate them. 

Once the water starts to boil, it seeps through the funnel and gets mixed with coffee.

Another hole at the top of the flute allows the coffee to brew out in the upper vessel. Moka pots can only prepare 1-2 cups of coffee, given their manual boundaries. 

(A more significant, stainless steel Moka pot will brew 10-12 cups)

The Best Coffee Maker Under 100

1. Cuisinart DCC

Cuisinart DCC offers advanced technology with many programmable options. It allows you to turn on-off the machine with an easy switch. The device also lets you set the water temperature with three max settings-low, medium, and high. 

Other advanced features include a 1-4 cups brewing option that allows you to brew only 4 cups with the same strength, coffee, temperature if you don’t want to brew the whole carafe of 12 cups. 

For its price, Cuisinart offers stainless steel housing and a golden filter for long-lasting European style coffee. The digital display is present at the top and screen the timer’s readings, etc. 

Cuisinart also grants self-cleaning and an illuminator that indicates the requirement for cleaning (Refer to the manual for the cleaning process).

Pros:

  • You can set the clock for 24 hours and brew at any given hour. 
  • The machine keeps your coffee warm for four hours. 
  • It has an automatic shut-off after four hours to conserve energy. 
  • This machine offers charcoal filter settings that control chlorine from your coffee. You can easily attach the charcoal filter to the stick that goes inside the water reservoir. 
  • The casing is brushed stainless steel with a glass carafe. 
  • It comes in many colors from red, chrome, brown, silver-white, dark-grey. 

Cons:

  • The water carafe has invisible readings. The measurement is written on it, but you can hardly see it.
  • Cuisinart doesn’t give away paper filters; you’d have to buy them separately. 
  • You cannot see the water level either. 

**Please note: The newer model of this machine has a better interface, a blue-backlight, brews 14 cups for the same price tag. 

2. Mr. Coffee 12 Cups.

The newer design of the Mr. Coffee 12 cup comes with programmable selections that allow you to set the timer, clock for scheduled brews, two buttons-min, and max to assess the strength, and an LCD digital display.

Mr. Coffee also has a side-exposure to reveal the water reservoir and its capacity. The display reads an increment of 2 (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12) and can hold up to 12 cups of water.

You can replenish the water tank and the coffee container together from the crown-head of the device. 

Mr. Coffee 12 cup is a beautiful, sleek black model, and it comes with a glass carafe. The glass carafe can also hold 12 cups that accounts for 340 grams of coffee.

The automatic spout stops dripping coffee when the carafe is not attached (You can still notice a couple of coffee drops, but it’s avoidable. 

Pros

  • It can keep your coffee hot for two hours max and then auto-shuts down to conserve power. 
  • You can set a clock for 24 hours and advance the brew for your future preference. 
  • The brew/pause feature allows you to pause between the brew, take a cup out of hot coffee and then go back to brewing.
  • It’s automatic, so you don’t need to invest time to brew, unlike manual machines. 
  • Dishwasher-safe carafe.
  • The drinking temperature this coffee offers is 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit, which is ideal. 

Cons:

  • The body is plastic and thus, making it a non-durable product. 
  • The filter basket is also plastic.
  • The display is dull, and it might be a little challenging to read the measurements. 
  • The brewing temperature is optimal. 

3. Hamilton Beach 2

Hamilton Beach two hits this list of entry-level coffee makers with features you can never imagine for the same price of $100.

Hamilton Beach 2 doesn’t have the average size like other coffee makers. It’s slightly bigger to accommodate a carafe serving and a single-cup serving. 

This machine offers two servings separately. The left section is solely devoted to single-serve coffee with a capacity of 400ml.

The carafe on the right has a total of 12 cups. Another feature that I find very helpful is its separate water reservoir with a glass window that shows you the water capacity. 

Hamilton offers many programmable features that allow you to set your morning coffee; it lets you set the timer with four easy-to-operate buttons, an instant brew click with a blue backlight contrasting with the digital LCD. 

There’s a switch that lets you choose between carafe brewing and single-travel bottle brewing. You cannot brew them together. 

Pros: 

  • Set your coffee within 24 hours, wake up to brewed coffee without the hassle. 
  • Hamilton Beach 2 keeps your coffee hot for two hours and then auto-shuts off. 
  • The single-serve comes with its separate water tank.
  • It’s decently looking compared to other full-plastic models
  • It comes in two colors (black and white)
  • It’s easy to clean.

Cons:

  • The machine is big and might clutter your kitchen counter. 
  • The water reservoir’s opening is small.
  • The device doesn’t come with a travel bottle; you will have to buy it for yourself individually. 
  • The coffee cup is usually smaller compared to other machines. (it’s 5 oz)

4.Krups KM55

Krups wins this game with an in-built coffee grinder at a cost that’s under $100. The grinder is present at the top with a separate opening and flat stainless steel conical burrs to grind two sizes (Coarse and medium)

Its carafe capacity is four cups, convenient for people who prefer less coffee and fewer group meetings. The inbuilt grinder allows you to brew fresh coffee every morning without investing in a grinder. 

Nobody can deny the importance of freshly brewed coffee with freshly grind beans; the taste is much richer. 

Krups has a simple yet extraordinary design with the grinder at the top, the coffee basket just beside it, and the programmable buttons below the grinder.

With these buttons, you can switch between whole bean coffee or pre-ground coffee. Other simple controls include a power switch for easy turn on/off and a brew option to select how robust your coffee.

Krups casing is stainless steel, and the carafe is made of glass material with visible markings to justify the coffee’s volume. The machine is also easy to clean in the dishwasher when appropriately disassembled. 

Pros:

  • Krups KM55 comes with a permanent filter, but you can use paper filters if you’d like. 
  • The cup warmer keeps the coffee hot for 30 minutes and then auto- switches off to conserve power. 
  • This machine also comes with a coffee scoop and cleaning brush to make your brewing session an easy chore. 
  • The grinder gives freshly ground coffee every morning.
  • Krups KM55’s compact size fits perfectly in the small kitchen counter, allowing extra space. 

Cons:

  • Only makes 4 cups at one time
  • The grinder is a bit loud, but then again all grinders are loud.

5. Keurig K-Class Pods Coffee Machine

If you are someone who’d prefer a faster coffee without investing a lot of effort, Keurig would be an ideal choice. 

Unlike other commercial coffee makers that brew 12-14 cups at a time, this machine comes without a carafe and only serves three cups. 

Despite the unavailability of a carafe, its water reservoir can accommodate 48oz of water. 

The machine is elegant, with a front view to insert the coffee pod. It also offers you a removable water tank that can be easily cleaned, refilled without taking the whole unit to the sink. 

Keurig also comes with a drip tray, which you can remove to fit a travel bottle.

The device has three buttons to select between the cup sizes, a power button, and an auto shut-off. 

Pros:

  • Keurig has many indicators that indicate when the machine is boiling the water and when it require descaling (refer to the manual)
  • It also tells you when the device is on auto shut-off or requiring water. 
  • Easy to use and doesn’t get dirty
  • It doesn’t require a grinder. 
  • The water boils in a different container.

Cons

  • You cannot use fresh coffee beans to brew your coffee. 
  • The machine doesn’t brew bigger batches and doesn’t come with a carafe. 
  • The body is plastic, and some people don’t prefer that! 

6. Black and Decker 12 cups

Another sleek design to compliment your kitchen counter is black and decker 12 cups. Its elegant build has programmable buttons at the lower part of the machine with a big carafe that can hold 12 cups of coffee. 

Similar to any typical coffee maker, the coffee holder and the water reservoir have the same opening.

The water reservoir comes with a window that shows the water capacity. The carafe has a beautiful structure, unlike other models. 

Black+Decker 12 cup has four easy-to-operate buttons with an LCD screen at the center to display time. These buttons allow you to program and auto-make the coffee for 24 hours.

The machine keeps the coffee maker hot for two hours and shuts off automatically after that. 

You can easily switch off the machine at any given time between the brewing process to drink a cup. This machine is very cheap compared to other products. Even if you buy this machine with filter paper, it will cost you under $50. 

Pros

  • The coffee basket is removable, allowing you easy cleaning. 
  • ‘Black and decker’ is easy to use without the additional technical confusion. 
  • The water reservoir can hold 12 cups of water. 
  • The machine offers a non-stick warming plate. 
  • It’s sturdy.
  • The digital readings are green in color and are visible even in the dark. 

Cons

  • The exterior is plastic.
  • Sometimes, the machine brews too fast, leaving the coffee tasteless without proper extraction. 
  • The burner can be too hot for the coffee. 
  • The cup volume they mention is 5oz.
  • The coffee basket is loose and doesn’t fit properly. 
  • The water tank’s head is smaller and might result in spills if you are not careful. 

7. Calphalon Special Brew.

A unique feature that Calphalon offers is premium temperature control; it stabilizes the temperature to extract tempting flavors, 20% more as they claim. 

The machine has a big water reservoir that can accommodate 10 cups of water and a 10-cup capacity carafe. The water reservoir is present at the back with a bigger opening for easy refill. It also has a glass window to show the amount of water left. 

Three easy-to-navigate buttons let you set the clock for advanced morning coffee( brew later), additional features to brew strong coffee in the middle, and the last button allows you to brew instantly. 

The digital display is beautifully visible on the machine’s left side with two buttons allowing you to set the future hours and minutes for the coffee.

Calphalon is an all-stainless steel body. The premium temperature controller is present where you refill the ground coffee. 

Pros:

  • For its price, Calphalon offers a sophisticated model. 
  • Although it’s minimal, the machine exceeds in quality. 
  • The device keeps your coffee hot for four hours. 
  • It auto-shuts off after four hours. 
  • Non-stick warming plate. 

Cons:

  • The entrance to the water-reservoir is small if you don’t have a steady hand it can cause spills
  • Carafe’s measurements are very light, and you might need to focus a lot to read the actual cups. 
  • The machine’s programmable button is on the left side, and you will have to rotate it to the right to function correctly. 

8. Black+Decker Thermal

The very first thermal coffee maker to hit this list is Black+Decker Thermal. A thermal carafe isn’t your average glass carafe that keeps the coffee warm for a given period. This will keep the coffee warm for hours!

It’s made of stainless steel and comes in two insulating layers to hold the heat inside, and is vacuum-sealed. The carafe is significant and can have 12 cups of 5 oz volume. Easily brew and drink the coffee for hours without the hassle of heating it again and again. 

Black+Decker thermal has a beautiful exterior with stainless steel casing. The coffee basket and the water reservoir have a typical opening; the water tank also comes with a window to see the volume left inside. 

Unlike other products, Black+Decker’s casing is entirely black, including the water tank, which satisfies a white-interior kitchen.

This thermal carafe coffee maker has many programmable options, including a clock to brew in advance.

It has seven easy buttons and a central digital display. Two controls let you set the timer with hours and minutes settings, one option to program in advance, one button to brew instantly. 

Two interesting features of this machine are strong coffee and a 1-4 cups of coffee limit.

The strong coffee button lets you brew a more robust black coffee.

The 1-4 cups option enables you to brew only 4 cups with the same strength and flavor as the entire carafe on days where you need minimum cups. 

Pros: 

  • The even stream shower pours boiling water throughout the coffee basket for even distribution of coffee, complete extraction of flavors, and less wastage of coffee grounds. 
  • The machine has a no-drip spout.
  • The carafe has a big mouth to clean comfortably. 
  • The power button has a blue light indicating that the device is on even without sunlight. 
  • You can easily pour a cup of coffee in between brewing. 

Cons:

  • Texts on the button wear off with time. 
  • The pot’s mouth is weird, and you might need to bend it entirely down to empty the carafe. 
  • The brewing is often faster, even in the robust mode.
  • Sneak-a-cup has to be done more quickly if you don’t want stirred grounds in your coffee.

9. Delonghi 15 Bar

An efficient espresso machine hitting this list with multiple functions is Delonghi 15 bar. It’s an entry-level espresso maker that applies 15Bars of pressure to extract flavorful shots.

Delonghi is a semi-automatic espresso machine that gives you automation along with programmable features.

Delonghi’s size is very compact and will fit on your kitchen counter. It has a stainless steel cup warmer along with a stainless steel drip tray. 

This machine also offers a stainless steel boiler for the price, although it’s small, it’s very efficient. The water tank is removable and can hold a lot of water. There’s a storage area beside the water tank that you can use to store the pressurized baskets. 

The mouthed portafilter is made of aluminum and doesn’t mind a bad tamp, grind. Its pressurized feature brews perfectly fine without barista skills. Delonghi offers two thermostats to control the brew temp. and the steaming temp separately. 

The single dial lets you choose between steam, hot water, brewing option; it also allows an easy switch on/off. The milk frother can brew two milk-based java-cappuccino and latte.

Pros

  • It comes with a tamper that’s attached to the machine itself.
  • Can brew freshly ground coffee and even pods. 
  • This machine maintains the temp separately throughout the brewing process to offer hot cappuccinos and latte. 
  • The manual frother froths excellent milk. 
  • The shots pulled have a rich, thick crema with the darkest chocolate-brown Espresso. 
  • The hot water function lets you brew americano as well.

Cons 

  • The space between the portafilter and drip tray is tiny; you can only accommodate a small cup. Even with the removed drip tray.
  • The tamper is plastic, and the body is also plastic along with the water tank; it’s alright for the given money.
  • The tamper is positioned weirdly, and you might need to invest in a new stainless steel tamper for an excellent barista-style brew. 
  • The machine is small, and its water tank is smaller (bigger for the machine’s size but smaller for an avid drinker)

10. Bialetti MokaPot

On the cheaper and more aesthetic side is Bialetti Moka pots. This pot is very traditional and makes excellent manual coffee.

What is the mechanism of Moka Pot?

It comprises two bigger chambers: a bottom chamber with water and the upper room that holds brewed coffee. 

These two chambers are separated by a coffee filter and a coffee container that screws into the water chamber. The box where you put coffee has holes below and above the area to build pressure. 

There are two funnels, one in the water chamber that connects to the coffee filter and the other present in the brewed coffee (upper chamber). Both ends of the funnel are open to pressure coffee out. 

When you place the Bialetti Moka pot on the stove, the water starts to boil, and the bubbles begin to escape from the funnel. These bubbles reach the coffee through the filter and create further pressure, creating the extraction process.

Once the coffee is prepared with enough pressure, it comes out from the top funnel and fills the upper chamber. Once it starts to throw bubbles out, turn off the stove, your brew is ready. 

Bialetti is an all-aluminum body and brews 1-2 cups at a time. It’s a manual coffee maker and brews perfect dark, pressurized coffee. 

Pros:

  • The device is tiny and personalized. You can carry it anywhere!
  • It’s easy to clean and easy to use. 
  • The product is very cheap and brews good flavor through medium pressurization.
  • The life expectancy is ten years. It’s an ever-green authentic brewer.
  • It comes with a patented safety valve as seen from the exterior
  • Extracts a robust coffee compared to other automatic coffee makers

Cons:

  • This is not suitable for induction. 
  • The body is aluminum, and that might turn off people.
  • Bialetti Moka pot brews 2 cups (which is actually half) takes 5 minutes to brew (It might take more than the time Bialetti claims because the process is manual.)
  • The upper chamber lets you pour, but it leaks while pouring coffee in the mug. 
A metal sign hanging off of a brick building with words ask written on it referring to the questions you should ask tofind the best coffee maker under 100

Questions To Ask Before Buying A Coffee Maker Under $100

Analyzing the machine gives us an idea of what we want in a coffee maker, an important aspect we are looking for when buying the coffee maker, and what we can avoid covering a healthy budget. 

An entry-level machine under $100 with so many exciting features is commendable, but that shouldn’t stop you from questioning certain aspects of the device. 

Ask questions like; 

  • Is it easy-to-operate?
  • Is it fast?
  • Can you brew more than single-type coffee?
  • Is it personal/commercial?
  • Life expectancy, etc., will let you decide the right coffee maker for yourself. 

Even if it’s just a starter coffee maker with minimal options, you shouldn’t waste money on products you don’t like. This Q&As section will lead you to many answers that will keep you from buying a sub-par product.

How many cups does it brew?

Any entry-level coffee maker with a carafe will brew a minimum of 10 cups. But at present, many companies offer and manufacture 12-14 cups with the same price tag.

That is, a coffee maker that brews 14 cups can also allow you to brew four cups with easily programmable buttons. 

Not only this, many twelve cup carafes come with an additional single-serve coffee brewer. If you prefer a larger volume of coffee and occasional single serves, there are machines for you in the affordable market. 

Not only this, but automatic coffee makers also brew single-personalized coffee cups without the carafe; there’s a specific limit of the coffee quantity that you can brew at a single time. 

Usually, these single-serving coffee makers can brew a big travel bottle. If you don’t prefer too much coffee, these will be the right choice for you at a much cheaper cost than the carafe coffee makers. 

Please note: Many companies advertise 10-12 cups as a specialty but often reduce the cup’s volume to prompt more numbers. It’s best to check the volume of the cup they offer before ordering if you are buying the coffee maker for a larger group of people. 

Most affordable coffee makers who claim 14 cups usually give 5oz volume per cup, which is considered significantly less! 

A picture of a glass coffee carafe sitting on its side with a pile of coffee beans spilling out of it.

Is the carafe glass or thermal?

Glass thermals will be more transparent; you can see the volume, the texture, color, and the draping process from the outside. 

On the other hand, thermal carafes are double-walled and vacuum-sealed. They are usually made of stainless steel to hold the heat inside for an extended period.  

If you like to see your coffee, you want a glass carafe with measurements for more accuracy. Thermal carafes are opaque and do not give away what’s brewing inside the cup.

On the other hand, if you prefer a sturdy, long-lasting model, thermal carafes are strong with a stainless-steel exterior. Unlike a glass version that can easily break with a single slip, thermal carafes have a longer life expectancy, 

What style is it?

As this list suggests, coffee makers have a great variety of different styles.

You will have big or smaller devices, with a carafe or without a carafe, single-serve/multiple serve, pre-ground pods/filter coffee, in-built grinder(unique)/no grinder. 

There are many types of coffee makers, and they do not limit to auto-drip machines. Two very popular choices are Espresso and Moka pots, both brew pressurized coffee cups. 

There are four types of pressurized coffees; Espresso (manual, semi-, fully-, super-automatic machines, Moka pot(stove and electric), and Aeropress. All three have different styles, designs, and flavors. 

Filter coffees include Auto-drip, cold drip, Chemex. With these manual and automatic coffee makers, you will need to use a filter to extract the flavor from the ground coffee. This list offers you eight unique auto-drip coffee makers that use electricity.

Three steeped coffees are french press, Chemex, coffee bags. To steep is to soak. These brewing apparatus require lengthy soaking periods (5-10 minutes)

There are many other coffee makers and brewing techniques. Every different brewing strategy requires a different style and design for the machine. 

Coffee machine making espresso shot in a cafe shop

Your choice of style can also depend:

  • The brewing method. 
  • Stainless steel casing can be more expensive than plastic models.
  • Compact size or a big machine

How big is it?

Would you prefer a compact size to fit in your kitchen? Or do you want an extravagant coffee maker with all the possible features, including two separate brewers and a grinder? 

If you’d want more features, you will be getting a bigger machine, but if you are OK with limited additions as long as the machine brews flavorful coffee then a compact size will be just fine. 

Usually, a coffee maker with 12-14 cups will have a bigger carafe and a bigger water tank, and a more significant exterior.

On the other hand, a coffee maker that brews single cups will have a smaller interior. This size can also depend if the coffee maker has an additional grinder or an additional single brewing connection apart from the carafe. 

If you want single-serve+carafe-serve coffee, be prepared for a bigger machine. Unless you choose espressos or Moka pot, concentrated espresso shots are tiny, and thus many manufacturers develop smaller devices. 

Bialetti’s Moka pot is even smaller than the espresso machine because it’s manual. Manual coffee makers will always be smaller (Except for manual espresso machines, those are giants!)

What type of filters does it use?

Auto-drip coffees use filters to brew and extract the best flavors. There are two types of filters: reusable/permanent filters and disposable filters. 

Permanent filters are made of metal and used for dense extraction. 

Semi-permanent fillers are made of fabric. Disposable filters are made of paper. 

The type of filter you’d like can depend on the brewing method and flavors you prefer. If you prefer a dense coffee like any of the pressurized brews, including espressos, Aeropress, or Moka pot, you might want a metal filter. 

A metal filter allows the bean’s oils to pass through for a richer, fuller body. Many fine particles can easily pass through this metal filter. The result would be a thick coffee, with a 1:1 water- coffee ratio.

On the other hand, a paper filter will soak all the essential oils, leaving you with watered coffee. It’s also hard for the fine particles to get through a thick paper filter.

Paper filters are usually used for v60, Aeropress, Chemex, auto-drip coffees. There are two types of paper filters: thick and thin filters. 

A thick paper filter will brew lighter coffee, and a thinner paper will brew a darker coffee. 

A cloth filter is rare in western parts, but it does accentuate many flavors. A meeting point of metal and paper filter would be a cloth filter; it will soak up many oils while brewing but will give you a richer flavor than a paper filter.

Unlike paper, cloth filters are reusable.

Toggle Switch set on white background referencing whether or not a coffee maker has an auto shut off

Does it have an auto-shutoff?

The auto shut off feature shuts off the machines after a given period.

Most of the auto-drip coffee makers we mentioned come with auto-shutoff with a time duration of either two hours, or four hours or as low as 30 minutes. 

The time after the coffee is brewed in the carafe and before the auto-shutoff is very important. This time of 2-4 hours before the auto-shut-down, keeps your coffee hot in the carafe and on the warming plate.

If you brew a lot and drink throughout the day, it’s best to choose a thermal carafe coffee maker because it will keep your coffee hot for a longer period without consuming any energy at all. 

Is there a timer?

A timer lets you brew coffee in advance. That is, you can set a timer for the morning, and your machine will brew at the exact time you pre-programmed.

Most of the devices come with a timer that allows you to pre-set a morning coffee. 

This programmable option comes with two buttons: hour and minute. You can select the hours from the current time and the minutes to brew in advance. 

These timers usually have a deadline of 24 hours, but that is perfect. You can pre-program at night and have coffee ready for you as soon as you wake up. 

Machines with an in-built grinder might not come with a timer because grinding requires manual refilling and attention. 

Easy to use

The more programs a coffee maker offers, the more complicated the machine would be. Fortunately, at this price, coffee makers can only offer a couple of functionality. So, most of the entry-level machines would be easy to use. 

Even though that’s the case, make sure the buttons are high and have a touch-feel. The digital should be clear and illuminated with a backlight. Also, make sure these programmable buttons are at your eye-level. 

Another thing to look for when finding an easy-to-use machine is the water tank’s location and mouth. A smaller mouth will result in spills. Also, look at the carafe’s mouth and if it pours easily. 

A barista cleaning the drip tray of an espresso machine.

Can you clean it quickly?

Cleaning can be very hectic, especially if your machine has an in-built grinder or a plastic outlet. Things tend to get stuck in the burr grinder or the filter.

For an an-built grinder, cleaning is more difficult because you cannot disassemble the whole unit, and oily beans usually get stuck. 

A cheaper product with an in-built grinder will create more static causing the grinds to stick to the inside of the hopper.

So, if you don’t have the time to clean, it’s best not to choose an in-built grinder. 

Similarly, plastic ware is more prone to scratches and breaking. Although it’s easy to clean plastic, it isn’t easy to keep the machine protected while cleaning it because the material is less durable.

If you want a sturdy machine, look for a stainless steel casing that will allow you not to be as gentle.

Can you pause the brew?

‘Sneak-a-cup’ is a common feature that you will witness in most entry-level coffee makers. This feature allows you to pause the brew to pour the cup and let it start brewing again. 

You should perform this quicker because the machine starts the water flow in a couple of seconds; if the water doesn’t find an outlet, it will mix with your coffee grounds and dispose of them in your coffee. 

So, sneak-a-cup should be faster. This feature is available in carafe-coffee makers; single serves are already serving you a cup. So, you won’t be able to pause it while brewing a travel bottle. 

picture of a white coffee mug on a white saucer with the words do you need coffee

How quickly does it brew? 

Depending on the cups being brewed, the time remains a variable. The whole carafe can take 10-12 minutes to brew. A smaller carafe with four cups’ capacity will brew quicker because of the less content, and single-serve will be the fastest. 

The time consumed while brewing can also highly depend on the filter, strong/standard brew settings, and the boiler. 

A typical coffee should brew neither too fast nor too slow. A fast brew will leave your coffee tasteless. 

An extra slow brew will over-concentrate your coffee. So, make sure you are using the right filter. 

A metal filter will brew your coffee faster compared to a paper filter. The water boiler also justifies the time to a certain extent. 

There’s an option in the machine that lets you brew stronger or regular coffee. If you choose the ‘strong/bold’ button to brew, the coffee will take a longer time. 

Espresso machines are comparatively faster because they use pump pressure to brew. It will only take 25-35 seconds to brew one/two shots. 

Moka pots are generally slow because they are brewed on a stove, and it can sum upto 5-10 or even more minutes to brew a single cup of Moka pot. But if authentic is your taste, Moka pot will glorify your kitchen beautifully.

Does it have a brew strength selector?

Yes, most coffee machines come with a brew strength selector to make your coffee more robust.

A bold button will brew slower, extracting more flavors than compared to the regular coffee. Although entry-level machines cannot provide much of the robust texture, there is still a negotiable difference. 

This button is present in the programmable section of the machine; a simple press will initiate brewing a more potent punch. You won’t get this function in espresso machines or Moka pots.

Espresso machines don’t NEED this; they use pumps and pre-infusion, which is more than enough.

Are the internal parts made of metal or plastic?

Unfortunately, most of the affordable entry-level products are made of plastic and not metal. Some of the rare machines do provide a stainless steel boiler and stainless steel exterior. 

Plastic wares can easily result in short-circuit, less durability, and system dysfunctionality, leaks, etc.

The internals can be metallic, but most of these products are not durable. The most you can expect from a machine of this cost is 2-3 years or less. 

Some machines tend to live longer, like the Moka pot is ageless; you can use it throughout your life. Auto-drip coffee machines will wear off. To increase their life expectancy, treat them well with extra care and maintenance. 

Does it have a warranty?

Yes, most of these products come with a warranty, and it is a lifesaver because unintended accidents are inevitable in electronics. A warranty replaces the malfunctioning machine or its parts.

The customer service is often responsive and deals with your problem personally, so you can get it changed under warranty. Beware it will take some time to return and renew the product. Most of the items enlisted have a warranty of two years. 

How durable is it

As discussed, since most machines are made of plastic, they will be less durable, but you can easily use them for 3-5 years or even more if you keep them in a mint condition. 

Many of these products do have specific finishes of stainless steel, increasing your product’s life. It’s best to choose a product that has stainless steel housing to protect the machine longer. 

How much does it cost?

$30-$100 has a lot of room to discuss. A simple machine with minimal programs or a Moka pot will be cheaper (under $30-40) than your average espresso machine. An entry-level espresso machine is usually higher in rates because there’s a lot of science that goes behind brewing a single shot. 

Additional features will cost you more, so if you already have an in-built grinder, don’t invest extra money for that. The same goes for single-carafe brews. If you usually require a lesser amount of cups, why invest in a big carafe?

How much is too cheap for a coffee maker?

I think anything under $20-$30 should be considered closely before buying because that would be offering a lot with less to no quality at all. A coffee maker still requires an efficient water boiler, and they don’t come cheap. 

It’d be disappointing if your brewer gave you stale, cold, tasteless, and just muddy water, that would be considered an actual waste of money. Instead, buy an affordable coffee maker that’s worth its cost. 

Please note: This applies to auto-drip coffee makers. Manual Moka pots do not require much of a mechanism, and thus they are usually affordable ($20-$30). This price for Moka pot is ample. A stainless steel Moka pot will be more expensive. It also depends on the number of cups the coffee maker brews. 

Difference between an expensive and affordable coffee maker

There’s approximately $100-$200 difference between an expensive and an affordable coffee maker.

A cheap coffee maker will have limited options and programmability.

The machine’s quality is incomparable when it comes to expensive coffee makers; they are more sturdy, more prominent with a removable tank, thermal carafe, limitless programmable options. 

An expensive coffee maker will let you choose between multiple drinks like fast, cold, my brew, pour-over, etc. You can change many of the machine’s settings like it’s temperature, flow rate, bloom time. 

Expensive machines also offer (Sage’s precision brew) a PID controller that stabilizes the temperature on your demand, three different flow sizes, and a thermo-coil heating system that cleans the water. 

Expensive models also automate the drip coffee mug for you with optimal temperature and brew time if you are in a hurry. These costly machines also detect when the carafe is not present and brew directly in the cup without any demanded actions. 

After reaching a pro-level with your coffee making skills, you can switch to a budget-free model that will offer you more programmability and advanced functions. 

Conclusion:

Is it worth buying a coffee maker under $100?

YES!

It’s always best to start your coffee journey with a cheap coffee machine before landing your hands on an expensive coffee maker. 

An affordable coffee maker will allow you to perfect your coffee game with easy programmable options. These entry-level coffee makers are also easy-to-use compared to high-end devices. A cheaper coffee maker will make you realize what you actually want in an expensive coffee maker. 

So, buy a decent machine with enough functionality, and you are good to go!