Today I’m testing and comparing the top 4 selling automatic drip coffee makers on Amazon.
Where to Purchase
The following coffee makers were the top 4 drip machines when I ordered them in August 2022. Keep in mind that Amazon’s best-selling charts change frequently, so this will vary on any given day. Here are the Top 4 at the time I ordered, along with links to the Amazon listings where I purchased them.
- Mr. Coffee 5 Cup Mini Brew. I paid $19.99.
- Black & Decker DLX1050B. I paid $34.99.
- Mr. Coffee 12-cup. I paid $30.31.
- Cuisinart DCC-1200. I paid $99.95.
My September 2022 giveaway is the same model Cuisinart that I reviewed. You can enter the giveaway here. The last day to enter this giveaway is September 30, 2022.
Claims & Features
Here’s a quick overview of features of each machine.
In addition to the chart above, the Cuisinart has several features the others do not, such as a charcoal filter for taste, self-cleaning mode, adjustable heating plate from low to high, and 1-4 cup mode.
Drip Coffee Maker Comparison
Going into this review, I tried to consider the coffee enthusiasts who have strong opinions about how coffee should be made, and how coffee makers should be tested. I also realize that no review and comparison will be sufficient or complete enough for coffee aficionados, but my hope is that these tests will at least provide some useful information for those in search of a new drip coffee maker.
After ordering and unboxing the top 4 drip coffee makers on Amazon, I planned out three tests I thought would provide consumers with some useful information. For my first test, I filled each coffee maker to capacity and brewed a full pot. I hoped to glean three pieces of information in this first test: A temperature reading from the shower head to get an approximation of how hot the water is as it meets the coffee grounds. This, however, proved difficult because the water does not come out consistently among all of the machines, so I ended up measuring the temperature of the watery mixture in the filter in order to get an approximate reading. The second bit of data I wanted was the time it took to brew a full pot. This allowed me to calculate a “seconds per cup” brew rate among all the machines. Finally, I measured the temperature of the full pot upon completion of the brew cycle. For the Cuisinart, I took additional readings of its adjustable heating plate on low and high.
Below you can see the results of the first test. The temperatures shown below were the highest readings I measured for each.
The Cuisinart was the fastest and the hottest of the bunch, while the 12-Cup Mr. Coffee was the coldest. The smaller Mr. Coffee was the slowest, but that is due to the fact that all of these coffee makers have a warm-up time, so the more cups that are made, the smaller of an impact this warmup time will have. The Black+Decker was the slowest of the three full-size machines.
After 30 minutes on low, a full pot on the Cuisinart read around 173.4, while after 30 minutes on high it read 181.2.
For my second test, I tried out each coffee maker’s “pause” feature, which allows the user to remove the carafe during brewing, pour a cup, and then replace it to continue brewing. Each brand has its own name for this feature: Grab-A-Cup or Pause-N-Serve for Mr. Coffee (this varied between the Amazon listing and the instructions), Sneak-A-Cup for Black+Decker, and Brew Pause for Cuisinart. I brewed 5 cups per maker because that equates to about two 12-oz mugs of coffee, allowing me to split the test into two parts. Upon removing the carafe halfway through the brewing cycle, I observed how many drips came out of the machine, poured a cup of coffee, then took a temperature reading of that first cup. I then returned the carafe to finish brewing and took a temperature of the second cup. Below are the results of that test.
In this test, the Black+Decker had the highest temperatures for both cups, and only one small drop came out while removing the carafe. The Cuisinart also performed well with its second cup. It also had the fastest time, and only had one drop upon removing the carafe. The 12-cup Mr. Coffee was far behind the pack with an unimpressive temperature reading for the second cup.
My third and final test was meant to see how well the heating plates work for each of these machines. I brewed 5 cups per coffee maker and let all of them sit for 30 minutes. I then took a temperature reading from each carafe. The Cuisinart was set to high for this test.
As you can see in the graphic above, the Cuisinart was far ahead of the pack, with a temperature of 193.4 F after 30 minutes. The heating plate not only kept the coffee warm, but actually increased the temperature from what I measured in the first round by about 20 degrees. (Keeping in mind that the first round was a full pot, while this round was only 5 cups). Once again, the 12-cup Mr. Coffee performed at the back of the pack regarding temperature.
Pros and Cons
Here are my pros and cons of each unit.
Mr. Coffee 5-Cup
The pros here are that it’s compact – ideal for RVs, dorms, or limited space. It’s extremely simple to use with only a single button. It was the cheapest of the bunch, yet it had temperature readings comparable to its full-size counterparts. For the cons, I would say its small size may not work for those who prefer to brew large batches of coffee. It uses standard basket filters, but they seem a bit cramped for the space provided. It was the slowest of all the units, and it doesn’t have any programming features.
For the pros, it did perform quite well in the “Sneak-A-Cup” test, both in temperature and minimal drippage. I like the bright LED clock, and the fact that it is programmable. The only real con is that it was 1 to 2 minutes slower than the other full-size models when brewing a full pot.
Mr. Coffee 12-Cup
The pros for this unit include the dual water level indicators, which none of the other models have. As with its smaller sibling, I quite like the one-button simplicity. This was the least expensive of all the full-size models I tested, and it was one of the faster units. The biggest con is that its temperature was often far below the others. And, despite its simplicity, the lack of a programmable function is certainly a con to some people.
The Cuisinart’s higher price tag fortunately comes with a list of features that fall in the “pros” column. The reusable mesh filter is nice, and it can be swapped out with a #4 paper filter if you prefer. This unit was generally the hottest and the fastest. The adjustable heating plate is a great feature, and I like the overall appearance of the unit in general. This machine has far more bells and whistles than the others in this comparison. There are, however, a few cons worth considering. The water reservoir’s opening is small and sometimes awkward to fill. The lack of an external water level indicator almost feels like an oversight (but it clearly wasn’t, as there is an internal indicator which can be viewed from above). The clock is small and hard to read due to the lack of a back light. The $100 price tag may be a dealbreaker for some people.
All of the units tested here produced coffee that was pleasant tasting, and almost indistinguishable from one another. If I had to give the nod to one unit simply based on taste, I would go with the Cuisinart by a narrow margin. This is perhaps due to its hotter temperature and charcoal filter.
In the end, I decided to keep the Cuisinart on my counter for daily use and I will probably donate or give away the rest. If anything changes, I will update this space!
Have you used any of these coffee makers? Tell me what you think in the comments below.