Before you buy, judge what sort of coffee you and your family actually enjoy drinking. That depends on a lot of factors.
The initial factor is probably the hardness of the water in your area. If you have hard water and don’t have a water softening system, then the tubes in your coffee maker will clog up much faster.
You can deal with this by descaling your coffee maker daily. But most of us don’t stick to a descaling schedule very well. And once the build-up is at a certain point, it’s hard to cure the problem.
The life prospect of a coffee maker will also depend on how well it was made in the first place. If you buy a cheap model, you can expect it to start having problems within a few months.
But if you pay more, and descale regularly, there is no reason why a coffee maker shouldn’t last for years and years. I have a drip brewer and a Keurig brewer, both of which are still working just fine after almost 5years.
If you have a brewer without a pump or tubing, like a French press or a percolator, you can expect them to last indefinitely. A French press will last until you break it.
A percolator will last pretty much forever, so long as you replace the rubber gaskets from time to time.
In other words, the simpler the brewer, the longer it will last. Once you get into drip brewers and single-serve brewers, which have pumps and tubing, their life expectancy will depend both on the quality of the machine, and the hardness of your water.
It Depends on how much you paid for it, and how often you use it.
I think a good one for which you paid around $100 should last you at least 5 years. I bought a Cuisinart coffee maker (grinder included in the machine) 6 years ago.
I use it once in a while. It still works well, and I think if I try to sell on Craigslist now, I will be able to recover $50. It is a pretty good machine.
I bought another coffee maker for my office Cuisinart 12 cup. I’ve had it for about 5 years and it’s still going strong.
My recommendation is to get the simplest with the fewest highlights. I found the models with the digital cold controls and other fancy features that you don’t need are just another point of failure and probably will shorten the life of the unit. Keep It Easy.
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How long should an inexpensive coffee maker last?
It depends mainly on two factors, the amount of use it gets and the water used in it.
I’ve seen off-the-shelf Keurig machines last as little as a month in high-use situations where on average 30–40 people made 1–3 cups of coffee per day.
Hard water will reduce the life of any machine considerably.
Then again, I happen to own an original Mr. Coffee drip brewer from the 1980s that is still going powerful that gets occasional use but was once my daily brewer as well as for my parents.
In the last few months, I’ve had a half dozen or so drip percolators blow out at a customer of mine.
These are fair-quality commercial-grade brewers that can make up to 100 cups per batch, but they do not hold up to the customer’s constant use. At $125 per machine, it’s an unwanted expense.
Better machines are in the works, but require installation of 240v outlets and a dedicated water line.
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