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In your search for the best coffee maker, don’t neglect dual models. A dual coffee maker simplifies the morning routine by allowing you to make a variety of different coffee beverages, often at the same time. These two-in-one solutions offer two ways to make coffee, including brewing a full carafe, brewing individual cups, making shots of espresso, and producing hot water for tea or cocoa. The best dual coffee maker will have a self-cleaning function, brew pause, programmable features, brew strength control, and permanent filters.
While a dual coffee maker is convenient and saves counter space by reducing the number of coffee makers you need, they can be pricey and may not perform as well as machines that specialize in the type of coffee you prefer. We also recommend ensuring that any plastic parts on the model you choose are BPA-free for the health and safety of every coffee lover in your family.
Read on to learn more about dual coffee makers and how they work.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: Two large carafes with individually controlled boiling systems allow users to prepare two batches of coffee simultaneously or independently. It has permanent spring-out filter baskets and comes with two scoops for easy operation.
Equipped with two coffee pots, the CucinaPro 9910 coffee maker helps make large quantities of coffee for entertaining. Each pot on this machine accommodates 12 cups and features an excellent spout to simplify pouring out. The coffee maker comes with two permanent filters to trap cafestol, decreasing health risks. Each coffee filter basket has a spring-out design to facilitate cleaning. Two included coffee scoops assist in measuring out the coffee. However, this model doesn’t have an automatic switch-off function.
With individually controlled heating elements, this coffee maker allows users to use the different systems simultaneously or independently. It is ideal for preparing beverages for large families, gatherings, and commercial establishments. The coffee maker features premium materials to withstand heavy use and has a sleek black finish that will add charm to any kitchen counter. This coffee machine is versatile and it easily prepares decaf and regular coffee in one go.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This machine has a 12-cup carafe for ground coffee and features a multifunction single-serving system that accommodates capsules, K-bags, and mugs. It is programmable and supports customizing the brewing strength.
The Hamilton Beach 49976 FlexBrew coffee maker has a three-way brewing system, enabling simultaneously preparing various types of beverages. It has a 12-cup carafe for ground coffee and a single-serve system that supports both ground coffee and pod brewing. The coffee maker comes with a pod holder and single-serve basket for wide-ranging use. Featuring a programmable design, this system enables delaying brewing. However, this device is a bit too big for some kitchen counters.
This coffee maker has a cup rest, allowing users to brew into a mug for convenience. It has a touch control panel with intuitive buttons for hassle-free operation. A stay-warm function keeps beverages at serving temperature for 2 hours. The coffee maker has an auto-pause & pour function, letting users pour out a cup of coffee without terminating the brewing process. It has a cup rest base that comfortably holds a standard cup, and is removable, allowing the machine to accommodate taller travel mugs.
Award: BEST FROTHING SYSTEM
WHY WE LIKE IT: This coffee system supports brewing ground coffee and bags, providing versatility. It has a removable frothing system and an independent reservoir for dispensing boiling liquids.
Equipped with a double brewing system, the Ninja DualBrew Pro CFP301 coffee maker is ideal for families that brew with pods and grounds. This device brews pods fast, enabling preparing beverages during rush hour. It features four traditional pod brew sizes, allowing customization, and supports nine different ground coffee sizes. This model features Classic, Rich, Over Ice, and Speciality brew styles for both grounds and pods, and it boasts touch controls with a delay start function. However, making a K-cup requires installing an adapter.
The coffee machine has an independent hot water system with a hot water dispenser that allows making instant soups, cocoa, or oatmeal. This water dispenser has two temperature settings for convenience. A built-in frother converts hot or cold milk into a smooth froth, and the frother has a fold-away removable design for hassle-free cleaning. This coffee maker has a dynamic design that allows positioning the removable 60-oz reservoir on the side or the rear as needed.
Award: BEST FOR CAPSULES
WHY WE LIKE IT: A large 60-oz water reservoir shared between the capsule and pot brewing systems allows hassle-free preparation and monitoring. This programmable system supports four different coffee grounds sizes and four K-bag sizes.
This Keurig K-Duo coffee maker comes with a gigantic 12-cup glass carafe for making family-sized beverages. It has a heating plate to keep beverages warm. A K-cup attachment allows brewing single-serve coffee fast and conveniently. The carafe on this machine supports 12 different sizes, while the single-serve option supports four cup sizes. This system is compatible with the reusable Keurig gold tone filter accessory (sold separately). However, this model lacks one-touch presets.
A large 60-oz water reservoir is shared between the single-serve system and carafe for simple preparation and monitoring and it’s removable for hassle-free cleaning. Featuring a programmable delay start function, the coffee maker supports automatically preparing to brew coffee up to 24 hours in advance. This model has a premium black finish with stainless steel spots for aesthetic appeal. It has intuitive buttons with a time and pause & pour function for simple operation.
Award: BEST COMPACT
WHY WE LIKE IT: This coffee machine has a compact design, which saves space on the kitchen counter. It has a graduated water reservoir that allows making various K-cup and grounds sizes. It’s programmable and has an auto-clean cycle.
Consumers with limited kitchen counter space will appreciate the compact design of the Dnsly DY-1177B coffee maker. It has a two-in-one brewing system that supports both K-cups and ground coffee. With a simplistic two-button control panel, this coffee machine supports the simple operation. It has a removable tray, so users can install a taller travel cup. This coffee brewing system has BPA-free materials for safety. However, filling the tank on this system is complicated.
An auto-off function allows programming brewing, saving energy, while a self-cleaning cycle helps to remove brewing debris The coffee machine has a graduated reservoir that allows precisely making single-serve cups ranging in size from 6 oz to 14 oz. It functions very fast, brewing a K-cup in as little as 3 minutes. This coffee system has a black and stainless steel finish, offering visual appeal and it comes with a K-cup holder and filter basket for convenience.
Award: BEST FOR DORM ROOMS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This coffee maker has a sleek design and compact construction that fits easily in dorm rooms and small apartment kitchens. It brews both pods and grounds for versatile use.
The Star Wars LSW-1177B coffee maker supports brewing single-serve portions of coffee either using a capsule or ground coffee. It comes with a permanent filter that helps remove potentially unhealthy residues. With a graduated water tank with markings for 6 oz, 8 oz, 10 oz, and 14 oz, this device simplifies customizing the size of the servings. It features a powerful 1000W element that generates hot coffee at speed. However, this model is too small for families.
This coffee system features a drip tray for accommodating mugs and other standard-sized cups. The tray is removable to enable brewing directly into tall travel mugs of up to 7.25 inches high. An included 15-oz stainless steel Darth Vader travel mug with a lid stores beverages for taking to the office or trips. This coffee machine has a sleep black appearance with red accents that will make a new focal point in the kitchen. A simplistic two-button control panel supports the intuitive operation.
A dual coffee maker is sometimes called a two-way coffee maker or a two-in-one. It can brew full pots of coffee as well as single servings, instant coffee, tea, or hot cocoa. You can also get dual coffee makers with espresso machines on one side as well as dual coffee makers that feature a carafe on both sides. Many also feature a hot water dispenser. They’re versatile solutions for households that prefer several different types of coffee.
Dual Coffee Makers vs Standard Coffee Makers
A dual coffee maker differs from a standard coffee maker in that it can make two different types of coffee or two different sizes at once. Some dual coffee makers will brew a carafe of coffee alongside a single cup of coffee. Others will brew coffee alongside espresso, or another type of coffee.
A standard coffee maker can only perform a single function, whether it’s brewing a pot of coffee or creating single servings from pods. These machines aren’t great for homes where everyone prefers to customize their beverages, whereas a dual coffee maker allows users more control over their brew.
Dual coffee makers work differently based on the features they include. Most dual coffee makers have separate water reservoirs for each function. The feature to brew a full carafe is generally standard, and the brewing process is easy. Place your ground coffee in the filter basket, pour water into the reservoir, and turn it on. It will draw water from the reservoir and brew the coffee you want.
The other side of the dual coffee maker works differently from the first, depending on its intended purpose. If it has a single-serve side, then it simply receives K-cup pods and pulls enough water from the reservoir to brew a single cup of coffee. It can also dispense hot water for hot cocoa or tea.
If the alternate side is an espresso maker, then it’s a bit more complicated. It takes water from the reservoir, heats it to about 200 degrees, and then uses pressure to push the water through the compacted grounds in the puck. After that, it dispenses a shot of espresso from the group head. It may even have a frothing wand for steaming milk.
For even more espresso versatility, you may want to look into the best espresso machine with a grinder.
If your family can’t seem to agree on a single coffee maker or the best type of coffee, you should probably invest in a dual coffee maker so everyone can have what they like. It’s the best way to offer options without much extra work.
Dual coffee makers will last 2-5 years. Much like a traditional coffee pot, they need to be cleaned and maintained with care, which can be a bit harder with a two-in-one, because each side will require its own type of maintenance. Most high quality brands specialize in a single function, so they work better and last longer. A high-quality machine is typically made of stainless steel rather than plastic. However, the middle and low-tier brands that manufacture dual coffee makers simply don’t put the same effort into building high quality machines, meaning they won’t last as long.
When considering a dual coffee maker, you should keep several factors in mind. The most important thing is to choose the functions that will work best for you, followed by size, quality, and ease of cleaning.
There are three main options from which you can choose. You can choose two carafes, a carafe and a single-serve brewer, or a carafe and an espresso maker. If you go through a lot of delicious coffee every morning or you entertain frequently, the carafe is an important part of the machine. However, the secondary function is up to you.
If you have someone at home who prefers a cappuccino or a latte every morning, you may want to invest in an espresso component with a frothing arm that allows them to curate their favorite beverages.
On the other hand, you may want to invest in a single cup brewer function if everyone prefers their own flavor of coffee or tea while reserving the carafe for times when you have guests over for dinner.
You may also want to read more about the best dual boiler espresso machine for the espresso snobs in your household who have to have their favorite beverages just right.
There are a wide range of sizes when it comes to dual coffee makers. Side-by-side designs allow you the flexibility to make more than one thing at a time, but they tend to be wide and take up more counter space. There are slim dual coffee makers that only have one group that can perform several functions. This gives you the option to make different beverages, but only one at a time.
The size you get will depend on the size of your kitchen, how much coffee you drink, and whether or not you have the time to brew every drink separately.
3. Should I be concerned about quality?
The quality of your dual coffee brewer and the coffee it makes will differ greatly from one model to the next. Dual coffee makers have some complexities associated with their advanced functions, so buying a cheap model may mean you’re sacrificing some quality.
Not every manufacturer is treated equally, either. Some specialize in espresso machines while others make a better single cup brew, so pay attention to the brands that are known for making the types of drinks you want. Unless you pay quite a bit of money, you may not find a machine that does both of its functions well. But if your budget is unlimited, there are some high quality dual coffee makers on the market.
More expensive machines will offer thermal carafes, which keeps your coffee hot. Glass carafes are sleek and stylish, and may not cost as much. However, price isn’t the only determining factor in quality. It’s important to remember that purchasing an expensive dual coffee machine may leave you with the programmability you’re never going to use. Therefore, be sure first to consider what kind of coffee you want.
4. Are dual coffee makers hard to clean?
While standard coffee makers have removable parts like the filter basket and carafe that make them easy to clean, dual coffee makers have more complex designs, which can make them harder to clean. If you want to simplify cleaning and maintenance, look for a model that doesn’t have very many parts and that is easy to take apart. You may also find dual coffee makers that come with dishwasher-safe parts, which makes it even easier.
There are dual coffee makers that have built-in grinders, but they’re hard to find. There aren’t very many of them, and models like the Ninja don’t look much like dual coffee makers. Breville also offers a dual brewer with an integrated grinder that may work for some. However, it’s expensive and user reviews are mixed. This technology definitely still needs some development.
Up to a certain point, the more expensive a dual coffee maker is, the better it will perform. It will be more durable and last longer. While cheap coffee makers are made with plastic and they don’t come with very many features, more expensive models will include higher quality parts and more versatility. You’ll be able to choose from a variety of brew sizes and strengths as well as automated functions like cleaning.
Cleaning a dual coffee maker is much the same as cleaning any other coffee pot. The main difference is that you have to clean both sides of it, whereas with a traditional machine, you only have to clean it once. Most dual coffee makers allow you to run a cycle on both sides simultaneously, so it doesn't take that much longer. Simply use vinegar, lemon juice, or a cleaning solution to descale both sides of your coffee maker. You can wipe the outside of your machine with warm water and a mild soap. You can do it about once a month if you use your coffee maker every day. You can decide if it needs to be done more or less frequently based on usage and build up.
It’s common for a dual coffee maker to take up a bit more space than a single coffee maker because it has two water reservoirs. Some also come with additional features that require more space or a bigger footprint. They also tend to be heavier because they have more components and require a solid base to support increased functionality. It’s a lot like putting two different coffee makers together.