It's tough to recommend a coffee maker that will meet everyone's needs. For some, a cheap maker that doesn't have any bells or whistles, but makes a great cup of coffee, will be the ultimate buy. For others, they might want a coffee maker that can be programmed, timed, turn on and off by itself, and make sure you're ready with your cup of coffee right in the morning. But when it comes to most users, people will be willing to drop a bit more cash in exchange for an all-around great pot of coffee, and that's what we have with our top pick in this list. With a great balance between price, performance, features, function, and taste, you can't beat Cuisinart's PerfecTemp brand DCC-3200.
The DCC-3200 is one of the newer models in Cuisinart's most popular lineup of consumer coffee pots, and it's loved by users around the country. In terms of appearance, the coffee pot is nothing special: it's stainless steel exterior will look good in most apartments and dorm rooms, but nothing too extravagant. The pot is made of glass, and can fit up to 14 cups while still allowing for the single-person 1-4 standard cup size. We're big fans of the flexibility found in this maker, since it can create both big and small cup sizes for sharing with your roommate or dorm-mates.
Let's talk about features and function, both of which are what make this coffee maker such a great choice for anyone looking for a long-lasting maker. The DCC-3200 doesn't come with anything out of the ordinary, but for under $100, it has a great featureset—not to mention one of the most important features for any college student looking to live on-campus in a dorm. First, the 3200 has a great set of easy-to-use controls on the front of the panel, complete with an LCD display. The maker comes with a fully-automatic mode, making it easy to hit the on-switch in the morning and begin creating some great-tasting coffee for consumption. There are hour and minute buttons that allow you to set an automatic-on mode, which will brew the coffee for you right as you wake up. If you're often running late to class, this is a must-have feature for any student, making it easy to jump out of bed and go right away in the morning. The 3200 can even beep to alert your when your coffee is finished, in case you have a habit of brewing and forgetting about a cup.
Like plenty of brewers on the market these days, the 3200 doesn't require paper filters, instead coming with an on-board, washable filter that makes it easy to throw in your coffee grounds at night for brewing in the morning. Similar to some popular Cuisinart models, the 3200's glass carafe can be taken out during brewing to sneak-fill a cup, without having to worry about the maker beginning to drip. The machine has an a self-cleaning feature, and will inform you when it needs to be cleaned. And like we mentioned up top, the most important feature a coffee maker can have for students is the ability to auto-turn off—some dorms even require this to use your coffee pot inside the hall. Luckily for us, the DCC-3200 includes that feature, too.
In terms of taste, this maker is designed to please—a huge part of why it's earned this coveted top spot is the taste from the brew the 3200 can create. It's temperature is one of the higher temps we've seen on any machine, and it even has a "Bold" option that helps make your coffee feel a little more flavorful if you're the type of person who loves a strong cup in the morning. Of course, a general taste of coffee will depend on what flavor and brand of coffee you choose to pick up at your local market, but trust us when we say the DCC-3200 will deliver with any brand or variety you choose.
We love the DCC-3200 from Cuisinart, but it's also the most expensive model on our list. While we understand that not every reader will want to drop close to $100 on a fully-featured coffee maker—especially if you have no use for a 14-cup machine—the DCC-3200 offers a full package. It's built to last, not just through college but through your early-to-late 20s after you graduate school. For the auto-shutoff function, easy-to-use programmable features, and the taste and range of flavor offered by the 3200, we think it's the best coffee maker you can buy for school.
- Auto-shutoff is a must
- Can fit 14 cups
- Plenty of programmable features
- Design is a bit uninspired
- Expensive in comparison
- Most won't use 14 full cups