The 5 Best Coffee Makers For Hard Water
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Due to high levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium, hard water can be especially damaging to your stuff. No coffee maker is immune to the effects of hard water, which is why brands often recommend that you use filtered water instead. That said, the best coffee makers for hard water make minimizing the effects easier thanks to built-in filters and easy-to-clean designs, including some with self-cleaning modes for descaling.
First, let’s talk about filters. While they likely aren’t as effective as filtering your water beforehand, most of the coffee makers below feature some kind of filter (permanent or replaceable) that removes a portion of the minerals your water a little bit. This not only helps your coffee to taste better but may also keep your machine running more efficiently longer.
Second, your machine should be easy to clean, which will prevent clogs, mineral buildup, and scaling over time. At the very least, your coffee machine should offer a removable water reservoir that you can rinse regularly, though some machines come apart entirely for a thorough cleaning in the dishwasher. Note that single-serve coffee makers, while convenient, often have tiny, permanent parts that are hard to reach and therefore clean. When it comes to making cleaning easy, some machines have a deep-clean mode that help you remove hard water build-up, especially in the nooks and crannies that you can’t wash by hand.
To mitigate the effects of hard water, these easy-to-clean coffee makers are effective and convenient. I’ve also included a best-selling descaling solution at the end which can be used in any coffee maker.
1. The Overall Best Coffee Maker For Hard Water
Ninja is widely considered one of the best brands for delicious coffee. In fact, this Ninja programmable brewer has garnered more than 18,000 reviews and an overall rating of 4.7 stars. Features like hotter brewing technology, an adjustable warming plate, a self-circulating flavor straw, delayed settings, and mid-brew pause all help to improve your coffee’s taste and boost convenience. And when it comes to hard water specifically, this machine features a removable, easy-to-clean water reservoir, a permanent filter, dishwasher-safe components, and — most importantly — a cleaning setting that’s great for descaling. Choose between four and 12 cups per brew.
- Capacity: 12 cups
One reviewer wrote: “I've been using this coffee maker every day for two months now and am very pleased with my purchase. It brews much hotter than my previous coffee maker. I actually have to let my mug sit a minute to cool down before I can drink it! [...] We have hard water so I descale the machine once a month with the clean cycle. The reservoir, basket, and carafe are all easy to keep clean.”
2. The Best Option With A Thermal Carafe
The Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew coffee maker is a great option in general because, according to reviewers, it produces “fast delicious coffee every morning” and the “thermal carafe keeps the coffee hot enough to drink [for] hours.” It can also brew up to 10 cups at once and has programmable presets as well as a grab-a-cup pause function. All of that said, it has three features that make it a great choice for hard water: Its reservoir is fully removable and easy to clean, it has built-in water filtration, and it has a special cleaning cycle that helps to keep your coffee tasting great and your machine working as intended. The stainless steel construction is both durable and sleek-looking.
- Capacity: 10 cups
One reviewer wrote: “This guy is a piece of cake to use [...] The grounds basket slides into the side of the coffee maker, and when it is removed it's easy to clean the inside to remove coffee residue and hard water scale that had already built up this morning.”
3. The Best Budget Option
Even though it costs less than $60, this Mr. Coffee coffee maker is a great budget option for this category. For one, it includes a permanent filter and a water filtration system with replacements you can purchase separately, both of which help to remove minerals and improve the taste of your coffee. For another, all of its parts (besides the electrical base and power cord) come apart and can be put into the dishwasher. Its other fan-favorite features include an automatic clean cycle, a four-hour shut-off, and the ability to brew now or brew later.
- Capacity: 12 cups
One reviewer wrote: “I moved to an area with really hard water. It’s killed two other coffeepots in 7 months even with bimonthly descaling with barkeepers friend. This coffeepot is magical. I’ve had it a month and no trace of scale anywhere. I am changing out the filters every two weeks instead of monthly since my water is so hard. Very very happy with this!”
4. The Best Cheap Single-Serve Coffee Maker
Single-serve coffee makers are notoriously hard to clean due to their compact reservoirs and hard-to-reach pumps. The CHULUX single-serve coffee maker is less than $50, so it’s a low-risk purchase for households with hard water — but it also holds just enough for a single cup, so you don’t have to worry about stagnant water creating build-up. You can use both pods and loose grounds in it, and it works with a range of mug sizes. Last but not least, it’s compact, portable, and can be descaled using vinegar (though it doesn’t have a special cleaning mode).
- Capacity: 12 ounces (approximately 2 cups)
One reviewer wrote: “This little coffee maker is great. I have had it several months and it works great. Simple, and easy to travel with as well. [...] I did follow the instructions to run vinegar and water through it. I think lots of people don’t do that, but we have hard water.”
5. A Splurge-Worthy Filtering Single-Serve Coffee Maker
This commercial Keurig coffee maker does it all. Its touch-screen interface allows you to choose between five cup sizes and different strength options. Plus, it adapts to fit most mugs. The best part, though? You’ll never need to refill it because it comes with a direct water line plumb — complete with a built-in scale-inhibiting filter that also improves taste and reduces chlorine. It’s definitely an investment and connecting it to your home’s or workplace’s water source is a bit of a project, but since it protects the machine from hard water and never requires manual refilling, one reviewer called it the “best present [they] ever bought for [themselves].”
- Capacity: N/A (automatically refills)
One reviewer wrote: “We choose this machine for the option to direct plumb the water supply. The price was a bit of a barrier but overall I am very pleased with the machine. Seems more sturdy/substantial than the standard home-use machine (was a model from Costco that we had 4-5 years). It was not difficult to retrofit the direct plumb kit, but customers should be aware that some assembly is required.”
Also Great: This Universal Descaling Solution For Coffee Makers
No matter what kind of coffee machine you have, this best-selling Impresa’s descaler can help keep it working efficiently despite hard water. It’s compatible with all types of machines (including commercial espresso machines), and it’s specifically designed to achieve a deep clean without harming your coffee maker. Each order includes two 8-ounce bottles, and it’s designed to be used once every two or three months.
One reviewer wrote: “We have very hard water and our Nespresso complains that it wants to be descaled every two months... so we run this fluid through it as directed by the Breville Nespresso machine. And the machine thanks us with good tasting coffee and works like the day it was purchased, so I have to assume, whatever this liquid is doing to the inside of the machine is working fantastically.”