Alex has never been professionally involved into the world of coffee, however he knows much more than any average barista. Being an avid coffee lover, Alex is constantly searching for new tips, tools, and techniques to make his morning cup of java even more perfect.
Mary has been dealing with coffee almost all her life long: in her teenage years, she worked as a barista in a number of well-known coffeehouses, later developing her knowledge and skills while studying at the university as well. Several years after graduation, she managed to open her own small coffee bar.
Last updated: December 16, 2021
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We all love a nicely brewed coffee in the comfort of our own home. In the last decade, brewed filter coffee has become increasingly popular as households prefer the taste and cup capacity that a coffee machine has to offer compared to instant coffee. Coffee machines come at all shapes, sizes and prices. The growth in demand has created a vast market place where there has been a development in the production of low-priced coffee makers. Coffee machines are great for serving individuals and small households. It is no wonder they have grown in popularity.
But what is the best coffee maker under $50? This article attempts to answer this question by giving you a helpful guide into existing products and factors you should consider when purchasing. Factors we consider important in the purchasing process include cups capacity, water tank capacity, power consumption, design and accessories. When looking for a budget coffee maker you must consider these factors to ensure you purchase the best value product.
Content for this article has been put together from manufacturer websites as well as online customer reviews. The article begins with a comparison table of the reviewed products followed by 5 in-depth product reviews. The reviews feature a product description, pros/cons and key features. Then comes the buying guide which outlines all the relevant factors to consider before purchasing a coffee machine under $50. In the conclusion, we rank our top-three best coffee machines under $50.
The Hamilton Beach 46381 is known for being one of the best value coffee machines for under $50. Built with an easily accessible brew basket and water reservoir, the coffee machine contains many classic coffee machine features while also being very user-friendly.
One of the best features of the Hamilton Beach 46381 is the filter basket that is designed with a handle. This enables you to remove the used coffee cleanly and efficiently – leaving no mess behind. The use of a cone filter ensures the coffee processing is operating at maximum extraction. When purchased, Hamilton Beach provides a trial pack of 4 cone filters for you to try out.
Another great product feature is the addition of a “Time since brew” freshness indicator, allowing you to serve the coffee to friends and family at the optimum time. A common issue with cheaper coffee machines is the cup capacity. The Hamilton Beach 46381 can serve 12 cups which compares favorably to rival products. This means you can serve lots of people at a time – perfect for family gatherings.
In addition to large cup capacity, there are also three brewing settings including a regular, bold and 1-4 cups option. This gives extra opportunity to customize your perfect brew to suit your taste buds. The Hamilton Beach 46381 contains an automatic optional cleaning reminder giving you the best chance of maintaining the machine to a high operating standard. The Hamilton Beach 46381 is a very reasonable price coffee machine that will please the vast majority of coffee lovers.
What stands out?
Cup capacity of 12
Automatic shut-off to save energy
What cons did we manage to find?
Reusable feature, not high quality
Oval shape filter not compatible with cone-shaped reusable filters
The Chemex Classic Series Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker is a non-porous coffee machine containing a unique timer-glass shape. The use of Borosilicate glass is crucial in the product design as it does not absorb smelly odors or chemical residues that can radically impact the taste of the coffee.
The pour-over design is very practical for those who do not want to waste any coffee. A common issue with some for coffee machines is the inability for users to store the coffee to drink later in the day. The Chemex Classic Series Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker overcomes this by completely covering the coffee which can then be refrigerated and heated later without ruining the flavor.
The Chemex Classic Series Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker is remarkably easy to use. Simply put the coffee in the coffee filter and then pour the heated water into the elegant glass for the coffee to brew. This product may be particularly appealing for those who can get lost in technology and prefer a manual coffee maker. The machine can host a variety of bonded filters including FP-1, FC-100 and FSU-100.
The Chemex Classic Series Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker can make up to 10 cups per use which allows it to be a suitable device to use for a large group. Also, there is a 30-day return policy when purchasing in case you did not like the product design. It is a fantastic purchasing option for those wanting a coffee maker below $50.
The Shanik Cold Brew Coffee Maker brings the iced coffee home. If you have ever tried to replicate the taste of an iced coffee from your favorite coffee shop from your home, you’ll likely have failed without using a machine that can cold brew coffee. Constructed from high-quality materials, this machine offers fantastic value for iced coffee lovers.
The advantage of cold brewing is that you can taste the delicious coffee flavors without any of the bitterness that sometimes occurs when brewing with hot water. If you have never tried cold brew before you will be surprised by what the Shanik Cold Brew Coffee Maker can offer. Featuring a silicone non-slip base and a lid that is designed to prevent dropping, the cold brew coffee maker is made from high-quality spec components. The base of the Shanik Cold Brew Coffee Maker is also very narrow to ensure it can easily slot into your fridge.
One of the best advantages of purchasing the Shanik Cold Brew Coffee Maker is that you can also make iced tea. As the long thin stainless-steel filter is not designed only coffee, you can place all types of ingredients to flavor your tea, coffee or plain water. This gives the product fantastic versatility, enabling you to make a large variety of cold drinks.
Another advantage of purchasing the Shanik Cold Brew Coffee Maker is how easy it is to clean. Unlike electronic filters that can have small segments of filter coffee misplaced in all parts of the machine, the simple design of the filter allows the Shanik Cold Brew Coffee Maker to be easily rinsed out. This is very appealing to those who want a convenient coffee maker that is easy to maintain.
The CHULUX Single Cup Coffee Maker is known for being one of the best single-cup coffee makers under $50. Featuring a capsule filter design, this machine can quickly make individual superb-tasting coffees. The compact design allows for the machine to easily slot into your kitchen space without taking up too much room.
One of the best advantages of using the CHULUX Single Cup Coffee Maker the easy-to-use operation. The One-Touch Operation system is ideal for those who can get confused with other coffee machines that feature a vast array of operating buttons. To be environmentally conscious, the designers of the machine ensured that there is an automatic shut-off feature which turns the machine after 3 minutes of no use.
The CHULUX Single Cup Coffee Maker is also very easy to maintain. The removable 120z water tank and drip tray are very easy to clean. To ensure long-lasting performance, you must take steps to maintain the machine in any which way you can. The drip tray is strong enough to hold both smaller and larger sized cups, which gives you options to have a stronger coffee or a coffee where you can add milk.
The material used in the product design is Food Grade Material approved which ensures a strong degree of quality and safety. Also, the one-year warranty gives good consumer protection against any product malfunction.
The Mr. Coffee Manual Coffee Maker is one of the best cheap coffee machines currently available to purchase. With a cup capacity of 12, the Mr. Coffee Manual Coffee Maker is perfectly suited to making large quantities of coffee for your friends and family. The machine contains the classic functionality and a slim modest design that blends in well to your existing kitchen setup.
The auto-pause function allows you to grab a quick coffee during the cycle without affecting the overall process. This ensures the Mr. Coffee Manual Coffee Maker is very user-friendly as well as speeding up the coffee-making process. The dual water winder located on the side of the unit provides an easy visual indication of the water level, and if you need to refill. At 60oz, the machine far exceeds rival coffee makers for water capacity.
The indicator lights also shine brightly to remind you to turn the machine off when not in use. Although it does not have an automatic shut-off system, these visual indicators are a good reminder to limit energy wastage. What is environmentally-friendly about the Mr. Coffee Manual Coffee Maker is the addition of a reusable filter, which prevents the use of paper filters.
The product comes with a one-year limited warranty agreement which gives more than sufficient consumer protection for such an affordable product. Do read the terms and conditions so that you know what aspects are covered.
What makes it stand out?
Large water capacity
Removable basket filter
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Some cases of machine smoke when brewing
Plastic taste to the coffee
Things to Consider
The buying guide below outlines various factors you should consider before purchasing the best coffee maker below $50. Take your time to absorb all the important information.
Budget coffee maker – what to expect?
Budget coffee makers will seem very inadequate compared to some of the more advanced premium coffee makers. It would be wrong to compare them like-for-like.
For a price below $50, a budget coffee maker will be limited in the variety of coffee they can produce. Expect a budget coffee maker to perform its single function of blending coffee to a reasonable standard. Don’t expect a budget coffee maker to produce complex frothy coffees that are more commonly found at well-known coffee shops. No mocha frappuccinos!
Investing in a budget coffee maker is not going to be a lifelong investment. Compared to premium machines, the cheaper construction and material costs of budget machines are more likely to breakdown sooner. That is not to say that budget coffee machines can’t serve households for many years, but just be aware that long-term durability is not an expected feature.
Cheaper costs of manufacture mean that there are some very good quality budget coffee machines currently on the market. Expect them to perform well in the core function, but be limited in terms of added value and accessories.
Coffee maker types to consider
There are several coffee makers in the market to choose from. You can choose your coffee maker based on your habits. The following are the most common types of coffee makers:
Drip Coffee Makers
This is the most commonly used coffee maker with an automatic drip machine. A drip coffee maker brews coffee within 5 to 6 minutes. You add water to the chamber, add coffee to the filter, switch on the machine to heat the water and run it through the coffee into the pot.
Single-Serve Pod Coffee Makers
These coffee makers use pods, capsules or tea bag-like packets to brew coffee. They are more expensive compared to other coffee makers as they use special coffee refills and the plastic pods lead to waste that cannot be recycled.
Cold-Brew Coffee Makers
These coffee machines use room-temperature or cold water to brew concentrated coffee that you can dilute with hot or cold water depending on your preferences. Manual cold-brew coffee makers brew the coffee on the kitchen counter or in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours while the automatic models can brew the coffee for a shorter period of between 4 to 45 minutes when plugged in.
1-to 2- Mug Drip Coffee Makers
These coffee makers make small amounts of coffee and come as either pod or drip models. The pod models use adapters to hold the coffee grounds. They brew directly to an insulated mug or your favorite coffee mug.
You can find the best coffee maker under $50 by the following features
To help you keep to your budget but still invest in a quality coffee maker, make sure you check off the boxes of these features:
Since these coffee machines are cheaper, most of them will have a limited number of settings because of their cheap design. Some coffee makers have settings numbers such as Hamilton Beach 46381 which has a regular, bold and 1-4 cups options.
The coffee maker’s size is an important feature to consider because this will affect where you will put your machine. Some coffee makers are slim and compact while others are oversized and chunky.
The number of cups will depend on the number of people using the coffee machine. If you are using the coffee machine at home a single-size machine such as the CHULUX Single Cup Coffee Maker may be suitable as it can only brew one cup of coffee. If you will be using the coffee maker at the restaurant or for more people, then a larger machine that can take up to 12 cups is ideal.
Most hoppers in coffee machines carry between 1.5kg to 2.2kg of coffee beans. It is unlikely that you will find a coffee machine that is below $50 and has a hopper as these are more bespoke. So it is better to look through small-capacity or single-serve coffee makers to save more money.
Cheap coffee makers have a large variety of designs to choose from. Some look like conventional filter coffee machines such as the Hamilton Beach 46381 while others look more like expensive serving glasses, filter bottles and Nespresso machines.
The environmental friendliness of a coffee maker is important. You should check whether the machine has an automatic shut-off which turns off the machine after three minutes of no use, for example, the Hamilton Beach 46381. Other coffee makers such as Mr. Coffee Manual Coffee Maker do not.
There is likelihood that cheaper coffee makers will make coffee with less refined taste. The filter coffee machines will brew rich blended coffee. Pod machines will produce more frothy style coffees.
Some coffee machines come with accessories when you purchase them such as different filters either paper or plastic and reusable. But don’t haste to purchase the machine only because it has several brushes, filters and cups coming with it, chances are – they are of bad quality as would be the device itself. It is better to find the accessories needed on a familiar bargain.
How to brew coffee with a budget coffee maker?
The following steps will enable you to brew coffee using a budget coffee maker:
Add a coffee filter to the filter basket. Most coffee makers will come with their mesh. Always use a filter specialized for coffee makers rather than the paper filter.
Measure the coffee grounds depending on how much coffee you need. The ratio of your coffee may vary but the standard one is 2 tablespoons of coffee to 6 ounces of water. Some coffee makers will come with the measurements in the manual.
Measure enough water that you need to make your coffee using the measuring lines on the coffee maker side or coffee pot.
Plugin the coffee maker and turn it on to brew the coffee. Some machines have a ‘pause’ setting that allows you to fill a cup before you finish.
If you are using a paper filter throw it away after use. But if you are using a mesh filter you can recycle the grounds or throw them away and clean the filter.
The following video will show you how to make the best coffee using a cheaper coffee maker:
The following questions are frequently asked by coffee makers’ customers.
This will depend on the materials used to make the coffee machines. To ensure that your coffee is safe, ensure that your coffee maker does not have plastic parts especially the parts that come in contact with the coffee.
The most convenient coffee machines are made of plastic but other models have parts made of stainless steel and glass that offer a safer choice so that you will have a ‘plastic-like’ taste in your coffee.
Coffee makers create an environment that is suitable for mold and bacteria development, therefore, cleaning your coffee maker after use is necessary to prevent this build-up. Running hot water is not enough, you can use vinegar which removes the build-up of minerals and sanitizes your coffee machine. A clean coffee machine ensures that your coffee is tasty and fresh always.
Hopefully, this article has given you all the information you need to know about the best coffee makers under $50 and you now feel well-placed to start your purchasing journey.
Our verdict on the top-three best coffee makers under $50 is:
The Hamilton Beach 46381 comes first in our rankings due to large cup capacity and the environmentally-friendly product design.