The price of your average household coffee maker can range from $50 all the way to $8,000 depending on a wide range of factors. But are the expensive ones worth the money? Is there a price range where buying a more expensive coffee maker doesn’t make sense?
To answer these questions we have to really dig into what you value in a coffee maker and the quality you expect from it.
Obviously, the price is the biggest difference between a cheap and expensive coffee maker. Depending on the type of coffee maker you want (drip, auto-drip, siphon, single-serve, espresso) the price can range drastically.
|Coffee Maker Type||Average Price Range|
|Drip||$40 – $220|
|French Press||$20 – $150|
|Siphon||$65 – $200|
|Single-Serve||$65 – $200|
|Espresso||$250 – $4,000|
|Super Automatic Epresso||$900 – $2,200|
You would expect a sturdier build quality from more expensive machines, but more premium coffee maker parts go further than that.
The main material you’ll find in a typical cheap coffee maker is mainly plastic. The more plastic materials you have, the more ways something can go wrong. The more premium quality parts used in your coffee maker the more reliable it is, especially over time with wear and tear.
One part in particular of your average bean-fed machine, the grinder, the quality of material matters a lot. Cheap bean-fed machines use blades to grind the coffee beans. More premium machines often are found using burrs. With burrs, the grind provides a much finer grind than the blades would.
Plastic is also said to have some negative long term effects in coffee makers, which make the material even less desirable. Some products even advertise that they are BPA-Free (plastic-free) because of the proposed health risks. When your machine is built with better materials it just lasts longer and less goes wrong.
When the materials used in a quality coffee maker arent plastic one-offs, this opens opportunities for serviceability. With your average cheap coffee maker, you use it until it stops working. And with the parts being so low quality and machine-specific, it’s not worth going through the trouble of fixing it up or restoring it. This is why you’ll see so many used coffee makers get thrown out or donated.
However with a more premium coffee maker, the parts make more logistical sense for machine service providers to become familiar with and have in stock which gives them a level of serviceability you cant get with the cheaper machines.
Some coffee machine brands like Delonghi are built with serviceability in mind. So if the time comes where you need it serviced, it’s likely your local coffee machine repair can handle it with ease.
As mentioned before, the grind quality you get from a burr grinder is much better than a blade grinder. But with a finer grain, the quality of the coffee can have a notable difference in taste. The taste with a finer coffee grain can have a richer taste and bring out more of the coffee beans’ taste profile.
However, you can’t make cheap coffee taste good with a good machine. A machine is only as good as you quality of beans you put through it.
This depends on how passionate you are about your coffee. Most coffee-drinkers drink it every day, so having the more expensive quality machine does make sense and has a difference. The quality of your machine becomes even more important when it’s used by more people like in an office or co-op workspace.
Coming from a technician’s point of view, I look for machines that are fixable and supported. The cheaper ones aren’t built to last, rather built to be replaced. If you do go in the direction of a more premium coffee maker, make sure it’s a very serviceable brand like Delonghi so you don’t have to get an entirely new one when a problem arises.
On the more expensive side, I would say over $1500 the quality of a coffee machine isn’t going to change much.
Around the more, affordable $300-$400 range is where coffee machines begin to designed to last and repaired instead of replaced. Be sure to find one that’s a bit beyond the price point if you want it to last.
I’m the Coffee Grump. I’m a tech guy, not a sales guy. I love coffee, and I service the equipment that grinds and brews it for you. I have more than 25 years of experience in technical and customer service in coffee machinery, and I hope to share some of that experience with you with this website!