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Best filter coffee machines 2024: Our favourite tried and tested drip-brew, pour-over and manual coffee makers

We’ve tested the best filter coffee machines to help you find the perfect manual and automatic options for your morning brew

Long before we were all drinking espresso and Americanos, one type of coffee maker ruled the kitchen and that was the filter coffee machine. It’s easy to see why it’s endured to the present – while pod machines can churn out caffeine-packed shots, a filter coffee machine is a must for those long, milder brews you can drink all day. Equipped with ground coffee, filter papers and one of the latest makers, creating a classic cup of Joe is surprisingly easy and incredibly satisfying.

It’s best to leave your filter coffee machine preconceptions at the door as modern makers have improved drastically since the relics of the 1970s. While the principle of adding hot water to ground coffee remains the same, the technology has moved on. For example, from 2015, filter coffee machines have been required to have an auto shut-off after five or 40 minutes (for insulated and non-insulated jugs respectively), so they won’t stew your brew for hours on a hot plate.

Here we’ve selected the best filter coffee machines you can buy – and provided some pointers to help you in your search for great filter coffee. Prices start at around £20 for a brilliant manual dripper and work their way up to and over the £100 mark for the most luxurious automatic machines. We’ve selected the best filter coffee machines from extensive testing below, but if you’ve got any questions, you can skip to our buying guide at the end of the article.

Best filter coffee machines: At a glance

Best mid-range automatic machineMelitta Look V Timer (~£69)Check price at Amazon
Best manual filter coffee makerClever Dripper (~£33)Check price at Amazon
Best pour-over filter coffee machineDeLonghi Clessidra (~£140)Check price at Lakeland

How we test filter coffee machines

We test filter coffee machines for a week on average, serving up several jugs and cups of coffee during that time to ensure each one goes through real-world testing. Where possible, the strength of coffee and amount of water is altered and different amounts are brewed to see how it might affect the flavour. Any additional features, such as keep warm capabilities are also tested for useability. The same ground coffee is used for all the testing, except for when whole beans are required and we also test each machine with ground decaffeinated. The coffee brewed is sampled with and without milk and different tasting notes are compared.

Each machine is also assessed for its size, ease of brewing, ease of maintenance and cleaning, as well as overall value for money. Ongoing costs, such as filter papers, are also considered when assessing value.

READ NEXT: Best cafetières

The best filter coffee machines you can buy in 2024

1. Melitta Look V Timer: Best filter coffee machine

Price when reviewed: £69 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… consistent results
  • Not so great for… those who want a premium-looking machine

If you’re looking for the best of both worlds – convenience coupled with a good-quality cup of coffee – the Melitta Look V Timer should be at the top of your list. While it’s by no means perfect, it makes brewing filter coffee straightforward with a range of features, including a 24-hour clock/timer so you can set it the day before.

We thought the removable 1.25-litre water tank was a nice addition, meaning you don’t have to fill the carafe from the tap then decant into the machine, and the descaling light reminds you to banish limescale buildup on a regular basis. There’s also AromaSelector, a strength adjuster on the top of the machine, but we found it to be more effective when brewing smaller amounts of coffee – at its full capacity of ten large cups (125ml) or 15 small cups (85ml) it made little difference to the flavour.

A final reason to buy is that it’s easy to keep clean – its filter holder and jug can be rinsed under the tap and are dishwasher-safe, and a drip-stop feature means no splashes on the hotplate.

Read our full Melitta Look V Timer review

Key specs – Size: 24 x 21 x 33.5cm (WDH); Type: standard filter; Features: 15-minute auto-off, 20, 40 and 60-minute keep warm programmes

2. Clever Dripper: Best manual filter coffee maker

Price when reviewed: £33 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… simplicity and price
  • Not so great for… cleaning, it’s not dishwasher-safe

Mention pour-over coffee and it’s likely that Hario’s V60 will be mentioned as the plastic gadget go-to for single cup and jug brewing. However, the Clever Dripper may come up too, which combines the refreshing simplicity of the V60 with an ingenious design twist: it has a lid on the top and a valve at the bottom.

Using it couldn’t be easier. Simply pop a paper filter inside, add some coffee grounds, then pour in the hot water and wait. After a couple of minutes you can release the valve and allow the coffee to pour into your cup below. As the coffee grounds are immersed in water for a period of time, we found the Clever Dripper to be nowhere near as finicky about grind size and dosage as pour-over filters such as the Hario V60 – and you can maximise flavour by changing the brewing time.

The downside is that while it’s made from durable BPA plastic, you’ll have to clean it by hand and not in the dishwasher. However, as a portable and uncomplicated route to great filter coffee it definitely deserves its name.

Key specs – Size: 12.7 x 15.2 x 15.2cm (WDH); Type: manual dripper; Features: None

3. Melitta AromaElegance Deluxe Filter Coffee Machine: Best luxury filter coffee machine

Price when reviewed: £100 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… perfect, consistent coffee
  • Not so great for… those on a tight budget

The AromaElegance Deluxe has been in Melitta’s range for years (it’s also available with an insulated jug as the AromaElegance Therm Deluxe) and it’s easy to see why – the simple, stylish design and refined function appeals to the filter devotee.

It’s larger than most machines but it isn’t particularly bulky. Instead, its design allows you to remove the water tank for easy filling. The filter holder also swings out from the main unit, so adding grounds and discarding them afterwards is straightforward. It also has a larger capacity than most – up to 15 cups – and the ability to set the water hardness. The parts are dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.

However, it’s the technology that goes into making coffee that really sets it apart, including extra power for better extraction of flavours, and the AromaControl feature that, when activated, ensures a consistent taste for up to six cups without bitterness. If you have space for it on your worktop and are an all-day coffee drinker, this is a fine choice.

Read our full Melitta AromaElegance Deluxe review

Key specs – Size: 29.6 x 27.7 x 33.4cm (WDH); Type: standard filter; Features: Anti-drip, descale alert, LED display, 20, 40 and 60-minute keep warm programmes

4. Russell Hobbs Chester Grind & Brew Filter Coffee Machine: Best grind and brew filter coffee machine

Price when reviewed: £70 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… noise and features
  • Not so great for… consistency

Considering that you can pay upwards of £100 for a grind and brew filter coffee machine, the Chester is an appealingly affordable upgrade from a standard drip-brew coffee maker.
It’s purportedly 60% quieter than one of Russell Hobbs’s previous grind and brew machines, but it still made a whiny sound as it worked. However, it’s quiet enough that you can set it for the morning using the timer and be roused by the smell of fresh coffee rather than the racket of grinding beans. Another handy feature is ‘pause and pour’, if you’re brewing a large batch of coffee for the day but want a single cup before it’s finished decanting the lot. And if you’re thrifty, there’s no need to use disposable papers with this one as it has a permanent removable filter.

Where you might come a little unstuck is getting the strength of your coffee right. We found it was prone to grinding too quickly and too coarsely – a workaround is to set it for the maximum number of cups – 12 – so that it grinds more coffee for every brew. The estimated cup size is also quite small so if you’re a mug drinker, double up on the settings for water and coffee. After a few attempts, though, you should be able to get black coffee that’s just right for you.

Key specs – Size: 31.6 x 22 x 36.6cm (WDH); Type: grind and brew; Features: Programmable 24-hour timer, 40-minute keep warm

5. DeLonghi Clessidra filter coffee machine: Best pour-over filter coffee machine

Price when reviewed: £140 | Check price at Lakeland

  • Great for… large capacity and a 40 minute keep warm function
  • Not so great for… price and cleaning

The Clessidra doesn’t just look a little different to most other filter coffee machines – an hourglass design coupled with the filter coffee cone within the carafe makes it instantly eye-catching – it works differently, too.

That’s because it uses the pour-over method of brewing, heating water to 92–96˚ C in its tank at the top – which takes about a minute – before cascading it over ground coffee and leaving it to saturate for 4–6 minutes. There are actually two settings for the brewing process, a high-quality one and a pour-over, which produce different results. During testing, we found that the high-quality setting produced a more complex flavour, but you may find that the pour-over works better with different grinds and varieties.

Either way, the Clessidra scores highly for convenience – it will make up to ten cups of coffee, let you know when it needs descaling and has a separate holder for the filter section when it’s not required in the carafe, and all the parts need is a quick rinse under the tap after each brew.

Read our full DeLonghi Clessidra review

Key specs – Size: 18.8 x 28 x 33cm (WDH); Type: pour-over; Features: Anti-drip, 40-minute keep warm

Check price at Lakeland

6. Moccamaster KBG Select: Best high-end filter coffee machine

Price when reviewed: £255 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… ease of use and stylish design
  • Not so great for… those on a budget, this one’s very expensive

The KBG is a stylish yet simple filter coffee machine that is quick and easy to use. This is epitomised by the stripped-back controls, with one button to turn it on and another to switch between a full or half-jug option, the latter of which slows the brewing process to maintain flavour when you don’t need a full pot. The KBG Select brews at a temperature of between 92°C and 96°C, ideal for extracting the best flavour from your coffee grounds.

It’s a speedy brewer, too, with the KBG taking a mere six minutes for a full, ten-cup jug of coffee. The hot water element turns off automatically once the 1.25-litre water tank is empty, while the hot plate remains on to keep coffee hot for 40 minutes. This maintains the temperature at around 80°C to 85°C and doesn’t impact the coffee as markedly as the hot plates on other filter coffee machines. The Moccamaster stands out as a sleek and sensible choice for consistently great coffee without the hassle.

Read our full Moccamaster KBG Select review

Key specsDimensions (HWD): 170 x 320 x 360mm ; Water capacity: 1.25l; Machine type: Filter; Stay warm: Yes (hot plate); Warranty: 5yr RTB

How to choose the best filter coffee maker for you

What types of filter coffee makers are there?

These are the main types of filter coffee maker on the market. If you just want a classic automatic machine, then scroll down the page, but if you want the best filter coffee possible, you may want to consider something a little different.

1. Filter or drip-brew machines

This is the filter coffee machine you’re probably most familiar with. Fill the tank with water, pop a paper filter and ground coffee in and turn it on. More affordable machines use glass jugs and keep them warm with a hot plate underneath, while pricier models swap the glass pot and hotplate for an insulated jug. These tend to be the cheapest automatic machine, but the quality of coffee produced is variable.

2. Pour-over machines

While they look like drip-brew machines, these work by automating the more involved coffee-making process of the manual pour-over drippers. Rather than constantly dripping hot water over the coffee like cheaper machines, pour-over models dispense water more gradually over the coffee grounds. Some deliver water initially to allow the coffee to ‘bloom’ before dispensing the rest. The process takes longer but results in a more flavourful cup.

3. Grind and brew machine

For those who want the freshest cup of filter coffee with the least effort, a grind and brew machine may be the answer. These come equipped with an integrated bean hopper and grinder that will produce ground coffee on demand, depositing it directly into the filter basket. Most allow you to adjust the grind from fine to coarse so you can vary the strength and flavour, or you can still use pre-ground coffee. These machines tend to be a little pricier, though.

5. Manual drip coffee maker

Technically the simplest method of brewing filter coffee, a manual dripper sits on top of a cup or carafe while you slowly pour hot water over the filter paper and coffee grounds. The water then drains through, dripping coffee into the receptacle below – and the results can be as good as filter coffee gets. The downside is that it can be tricky to achieve consistent results as you need to carefully monitor the grind size, dosage, amount of water used and even the speed with which you pour.

6. Manual immersion brewer

This is a foolproof alternative to the manual dripper. Cafetieres and the like are technically immersion brewers, but if it’s top quality coffee you’re after then something like the Clever Dripper included in our line-up is a much better bet. This looks very similar to a manual dripper, but a valve underneath allows the coffee to steep thoroughly before you release it into the cup below. This makes it possible to consistently extract all the good flavours from the coffee, while leaving behind the bitter flavours which indicate the coffee has been immersed for too long.

What features do I need on a filter coffee machine?

For those who like to wake up to fresh coffee or have it ready for a mid-morning break, a programmable timer is essential. Some machines have variable strength settings too – great if you prefer stronger or milder drinks. You will also find machines with keep warm options. Removable water tanks and dishwasher-safe parts will help to reduce time spent cleaning while descaling programmes to keep them in tip-top condition.

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