There are tons of 12-cup coffee makers out there. Just Cuisinart alone probably has around 7 or 8 on the market. To make things even harder, none of them provide consistently good design, reliability or user feedback. You can drive yourself crazy trying to make a decision.
So, how do you choose from all these decent, but flawed 12-cup brewers?
I went for the models that offer the best combination of track record, user satisfaction and non-critical flaws. This will not be a perfect little roundup because there are so many options out there, but these are the 4 models that have come to be trusted by the majority of consumers.
Best 12-Cup Coffee Maker Roundup
Waring Pro CMS120 Programmable Coffee Maker
Quietly slipping in among the more well-known brands, the Waring Pro CMS120 is a great programmable 12-cup coffee maker.
– Brushed stainless steel housing
– 24-Hour advanced brew
– Brew pause
– Auto shut-off
– Swing out filter basket
– Easy view water level window
– Blue back-lit LCD
– 1-4 cup switch
This machine has all the functions you require from a coffee maker. The 1-4 cup switch ensures good results when you brew less than a full carafe, and the coffee is hot and consistently in the 185 – 195 degree range.
The control panel is easy to use. The swing-out filter basket is convenient. You can easily view the level of the water reservoir as the indicator is facing you when you’re in front of the machine.
Plastic hinges connecting the lid to the pot are a bit flimsy. The loud beeps when brewing is done can be annoying. A few consumers report the unit leaking after several months of use.
Overall though Waring Pro has created a really good coffee maker that brews hot, is brimming with features and satisfy the vast majority of buyers. Good buy for the price.
Consumer satisfaction ratio: 81%
Average User Rating: 4.2 out of 5
Mr. Coffee BVMC-SJX33GT 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker
This model from Mr. Coffee has the distinction of being the #1 best-selling drip coffee maker on Amazon.com, as well as having a “Best Buy” recommendation on ConsumerReports.org. It is another fully featured budget machine with a good reputation.
– Removable filter basket
– Brewing pause ‘n serve
– Special cleaning cycle
– 2-Hour auto shut-off
– 2 Brew strength settings
– Supports thermal carafe (purchased separately)
It is simple to operate and the small control panel is sensibly laid out. It has two brew strength settings that make a small difference to the boldness of the coffee.
A nice touch is that you can purchase a thermal carafe for this model. It ships with a glass one. Some people complain that the coffee is not hot enough, but under typical conditions it maintains around 185 degrees.
As with many plastic coffee makers, the initial plastic smell can take a while to get rid of even after a few vinegar or baking soda cleaning cycles. It uses a flat filter instead of a cone filter, and I generally find that cone filters produce better results. The LCD clock could also have done with some illumination or back-lighting.
This is just a good, simple budget programmable 12-cup coffee machine with plenty of features. You know it’s not going to last forever, but it does a good job while it does.
Consumer satisfaction ratio: 75%
Average User Rating: 3.9 out of 5
Cuisinart DCC-1200 Brew Central 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker
Cuisinart’s trusty old workhorse has been around the block a few times now, but remains the brand’s best-selling drip coffee machine. It offers a full set of features for a very competitive price.
– Brew pause feature
– 24-hour advance programming
– Programmable auto shut-off from 0-4 hours
– 1-4 Cup feature
– Charcoal filter
– Heat adjustable warming plate
– Permanent gold tone filter
First things first: this machine makes a good cup of coffee. Great little features like the adjustable warming plate temperature, adjustable auto-off and a handy cleaning indicator just add subtle value to a well-thought out machine.
The programmable features are easy to set, and this coffee maker can do pretty much anything you’d realistically expect from it with plenty of customization options.
On the negative side, it can be difficult to pour water into the reservoir, especially for left-handers. The water level marks are also hard to see.
The Cuisinart DCC-1200 has withstood more than a decade of various incarnations and updates with its reputation intact enough to remain one of the best selling coffee makers around. Long-term durability remains a concern, especially with a product that costs twice what other competent competitors cost.
Also consider the DCC-2650 model, which is a slightly overpriced updated version of the DCC-1200, with brew strength settings added.
Consumer satisfaction ratio: 70%
Average User Rating: 3.8 out of 5
Melitta 46893 Programmable 12-Cup Coffee Maker
Shooting up to #12 in the best-selling drip coffee maker rankings on Amazon.com is this affordable, full featured model from Melitta (sold and supported by Hamilton Beach).
– Three strength settings
– 2-Hour shut-off
– Automatic pause and serve
– Durable stainless steel
– Cone filter design
Despite having “durable stainless steel” as a feature, this is only the front. The rest of the body and water reservoir is BPA-free plastic.
It produces a good hot cup of coffee between 180 and 185 degrees. The three strength settings (regular, bold, robust) do make a difference to the taste, but the higher settings slow down the brewing process as you’d expect.
The plate also has an adjustable heat setting, allowing you to keep the coffee in the carafe as hot as you please. The 2-hour auto shut-off is handy as a safety feature, and of course you can program the machine to auto-start at a set time.
The carafe is made of a very thin glass and there are reports of it breaking without too much encouragement. Just be cautious with it. The filter basket is also shallower than standard, so you may need to fold the filter edges over a little.
A 10-cup model with a thermal carafe is also available. This is a good 12-cup coffee maker well worth considering.
Consumer satisfaction ratio: 78%
Average User Rating: 4.1 out of 5
Best 12-Cup Coffee Maker: Final Words
The Cuisinart DCC-1200 makes great coffee, but is much more expensive than the other models without offering too much extra in terms of lifespan or features, making it hard to recommend as a first choice.