Some, in my opinion, do not need to be made at all. Allow me to take you on a journey to, what I consider, the necessary purchase.
First of all, take into consideration the frequency of use. If you are an avid, everyday-gotta-have-it-coffee-junkie, do NOT purchase the $9.00 sub brand from Cheap-O-Mart. It will only last about a month due to steam modification from overuse, and will not appear the same as it did when it was new in the box. This should be common sense, but even I have fallen prey to the necessity of the cheaper beverage maker.
Second, carefully decide whether your coffee pot “really” needs to know what time it is. This feature, on some makers, when exposed to water, can actually cause the maker to quit working all together. Also, take into consideration that the bells and whistles are not really necessary for a great cup of coffee. After all, it is the coffee that you need from this device and not necessarily the time of day.
Beware, the sneak-a-cup method, as the extended use can damage the device rendering it absolutely useless for it’s intended purpose. If you are in an office setting and this device fails, imagine the paperwork…YIKES! Sure, the first cup is ALWAYS the best cup, but is it worth $40 a month. NOPE! Is it worth rewriting a mountain of documents because of a failed rubber-washer(single serve makers) or sneak-a-cup device…again, NOPE!
Four cup machines irritate me. I am an avid coffee-junkie, in the time it takes to make four cups, I could have double that waiting. I really do not see the point.
Personal preference and usability play a huge roll in the expense of a coffee maker purchase. Do the benefits of an alarm clock, sneak-a-cup, low cost device that will literally burn-out in a few months out way the purchase of a quality maker at a slightly higher price?
High end coffee makers have their quirks as well. Some may include a long spring for cleaning the water delivery system. Personally, I do not want to have to perform surgery for a cup of Joe. Especially, at six in the morning, when I am not even sure that I like myself. Personal espresso makers included. My advice to the consumer, make a list of pro’s and con’s and treat the investment as you would buying a car. Pinto or Volvo? Air conditioning or not? You get the point. Have a great day, your coffee is done.