This page contains affiliate links. We may get paid if you make a purchase or take an action through the links. Rest assured, all recommendations are not biased in any way, and this helps us earn an income while providing value for free.
Coffee is an essential part of the day of any coffee lover. For me personally, weak, bitter coffee instantly puts me off. There is nothing worse than wanting to recharge in the middle of the day, just to find sad, tasteless coffee waiting for you.
This is why BUNN has been massively popular. While expensive, they make good coffee – and they do it fast.
In this article, we discuss all about BUNN’s coffee makers: why they’re so expensive, how to shop for one, and our picks for the best coffee makers by BUNN.
If you’re looking for the best home-use BUNN coffee maker, the CSB3T Speed Brew is our top pick. It offers a thermal carafe with no heating plate – not that you need one anyway.
For a model with a glass carafe and a heating plate, the BUNN CSB2G is a good pick.
Our favorite commercial option for office use is the BUNN VPR-2GD.
Table of Contents
Why Are BUNN Coffee Makers So Expensive
A note of warning, we’re going into quite a lot of detail into the origin and workings of BUNN’s coffee makers to explain why they’re the leading brand in this field. If you’re easily bored by this kind of stuff, feel free to skip to our buyer’s guide.
Firstly, the easiest reason to notice is the use of component materials. The manufacturer’s coffee machines have always been really well-built. A typical model has stainless steel, both on the outside as well as the inner components. This avoids plastic from coming into contact with hot water.
Not only is its materials high quality, the unit is constructed to be robust and solid. Is this because BUNN’s coffee makers are largely commercial, and are aimed at common spaces, or people who just really love coffee. This easily drives up the price as well.
Other than the obvious, there are also many small details that Bunn-O-Matic has put into designing and constructing these coffee makers. From the reservoir, all the way to the sprayhead and heating plate construction, everything was made to complement the coffee-making process.
The fact that most BUNN models are designed and made in the USA also contributes to the higher price tag.
In short, they’re not just marking up the price to squeeze more profits out of buyers like you. Their products are actually really high quality, and are in our opinion, worth every penny.
How Are BUNN’s Coffee Makers Better?
Well, we could spend a long time listing out all the ways BUNN designs and constructs their coffee makers, but without a solid reason for how they’re better, it’s hard to see why it’s worth the money.
Before going into how they’re better (for specific groups of people), let’s first look at how a typical BUNN coffee maker works.
Process of BUNN coffee makers
It’s important to understand that Bunn-O-Matic’s philosophy about making coffee is that you can’t use boiled water at 212°F to make them. This is actually true, as boiling water is too hot for coffee and actually makes it bitter.
Apart from that, Bunn-O-Matic also believes that you should not be waiting around for water to boil, in order to make coffee. This is the reason why you always see them advertising how fast their coffee makers are.
So how do they satisfy these two points? Using physics – displacement, in particular.
It always has exactly 10 cups of hot water inside of it (but not at boiling temperature). To make coffee, simply pour the amount you want into the reservoir, and the exact amount of hot water will be displaced and poured out at a steady flow. And it is for this reason that BUNN coffee makers have to be kept on – all the time – to keep the water inside of it hot.
Because of this, BUNN coffee makers aren’t for everyone.
Is a BUNN coffee maker for you?
Coming from most other coffee makers, you might not be used to how BUNN does things.
First, you have to be fine with keeping it on most of the time. You can turn it off when you’re out for long, or if you’re going on a vacation. But generally, it’s never turned off when you’re at home, which might raise some energy consumption concerns.
Another thing is also because they actively avoid using boiling water to make coffee, what you get might be coffee that is cooler than you might be used to – closer to 180°F. For me personally, it tastes amazing, not even a slight hint of bitter or burnt taste. But if boiling hot coffee is your thing, BUNN probably isn’t for you.
If you’re able to accept though, BUNN coffee makers provide a really good experience. Smooth, delicious coffee, made in just under 4 minutes. It’s a coffee lover’s heaven.
Buyer’s Guide: What to Look For in BUNN Coffee Makers
Shopping for a BUNN coffee maker might just be like shopping for any other brand, but there are a few things specific to this manufacturer. Here are a few things to take note of when shopping for a new one:
Carafe material/inclusion of heating plate
Most of Bunn-O-Matic’s coffee makers use a glass carafe. In these models, a heating plate (or multiple) is often integrated into the unit, as it is required to keep the carafe and the coffee inside of it warm.
Our favorite though, is when a thermal carafe is included with the coffee maker. This however, takes the heating plate out as there is no need for it. But it’s not a bad thing. Trust us – you don’t need a heating plate when you have a thermal carafe.
Extended brew/contact time
Some models incorporate an extended contact time between the water and ground coffee when brewing. This produces coffee that is richer than normal, and is definitely the way to go if you like it strong.
Generally, in BUNN’s models of home-use coffee makers, the Speed Brew line-up is what carries this extended brew time. This makes their brewing time go up to 4 minutes compared to the 3 minutes that the Velocity Brew line-up is able to achieve. One minute for better coffee – not a bad trade-off at all.
For common spaces or office-use, having the ability to brew and keep multiple pots of coffee warm at any given time is important. This not only saves waiting time, you’re also able to brew different kinds of coffee at different strengths, and have them all be ready.
Something to note though – most of the commercial models that come with multi-pot functionalities do not include the carafes with the purchase!
Stainless steel internal components
If you’re big about not having your hot water touch any plastic in the brewing process, BUNN’s higher-end models might be able to satisfy your needs.
In particular, most, if not all of BUNN’s commercial units seem to have this construction choice.
Our Picks of The Best Bunn Coffee Makers
We understand, given BUNN’s extensive list of coffee makers, it can be difficult to pick the right one for yourself. We’ve done the work, so you don’t have to. Here are our favorites:
If you’re after a mid-range 12-cup coffee maker that offers a ton of value, yet isn’t priced like some of BUNN’s more expensive ones, this Speed Brew model is the one to go for. It is very worth the money and is most probably the best for home use.
This model – as the name implies – offers BUNN’s speed brew technology. With this coffee maker, you’re able to brew a full 10-cup carafe of coffee in as little as 4 minutes. Apart from brewing a full carafe at once, you’re also able to make smaller brew sizes, ranging from the 20oz of a typical travel mug to 50oz.
Construction-wise, the BUNN Platinum Coffee Maker is fully stainless steel and is pleasant to look at. The design is clean and aesthetic, and would blend nicely on your countertop. The water reservoir is commercial-grade stainless steel, so it’s durable and long-lasting. There is a complaint though, in that the measurement markings are located on the inside, making it hard to read at certain angles.
The purchase includes a thermal carafe, double-wall and vacuum insulated – our favorite kinds of carafe. Coffee stays hot for up to 2 hours in it. Because of the inclusion of a thermal carafe, the model does not come with a heating plate integrated.
The most important thing about a coffee maker, at the end of the day, is still the quality of coffee it makes. And with this? It’s extremely high quality. Coffee comes out smooth and rich, and we have no complaints whatsoever. The spray head made specifically for enhanced coffee extraction definitely does its job.
- Brew a full pot of coffee in 4 minutes
- Commercial-grade stainless steel hot water reservoir
- Multi-size brewing, from travel mug (20oz) to full carafe (50oz)
- Includes a double-wall thermal carafe
- Spray head designed for optimal coffee extraction
- Dishwasher-safe parts
- No heating plate due to thermal carafe being included
- Reservoir measurement markings difficult to read
Coming from the same Speed Brew line-up of BUNN’s, this CSB2G model – albeit a cheaper-priced model – is still a great pick for most households. In fact, unless you’re looking for very specific features, they’re almost identical.
Let’s start with what’s similar. You get the same quick brew time with this model, which is what the Bunn-O-Matic Corporation prides on. The water tank is also built with commercial-grade stainless steel, and brew sizes range from the same 20oz to 50oz.
In terms of coffee quality, it is also indistinguishable from the more expensive CSB3T. This unit is equipped with the same spray head that was designed specifically for optimal flavor extraction from your ground coffee. Smooth, rich, and flavorful – these are the right phrases to describe the coffee that comes out of this. No exaggeration.
That’s a whole lot of similarities. So what’s different?
The most obvious change from the more expensive sibling is the swapping out of its thermal carafe, for the glass one that this offers. Because of the lack of heat retention, this model also includes a heating plate. Using the heating plate extensively (and by that we mean over an hour) also results in a burnt taste, as with most other commercial coffee makers.
The carafe has a genius drip-free design that wicks coffee right back into the container when you’ve done pouring. If there’s anything better in this model than the previous one, it’s this feature!
- Brew in less than 4 minutes
- Commercial-grade stainless steel water tank
- Brew sizes ranging from travel mug (20oz) to full carafe (50oz)
- Spray head designed for optimal coffee extraction
- Drip-free carafe
- Has a heating plate
- Includes 25 filters
- No auto-off timer for heating plate
- Water reservoir measurement markings hard to read
At this price range, you can never find another coffee maker that makes coffee as fast as this, or even close.
Here’s the headlining feature: it brews a full carafe in 3 minutes! Why, you ask, is a lower-priced product able to make coffee faster than the previous two? While this has a similar multi-stream spray head design as the more expensive models, it does not have the extended coffee-water contact they have. This results in faster brewing, yet weaker taste. If you ask me, spending a minute more for better coffee is a no-brainer, so the speed definitely isn’t without compromise.
Other than that, it retains most of the basic features from the previous two models. It has a glass carafe with the same incredible drip-free design, and is able to brew from 20oz to 50oz of coffee at a time. It also has a heating plate – with the same caveat that it doesn’t turn off automatically.
What’s missing here is the high-grade stainless steel water reservoir, or the inclusion of filters or dishwasher-safe parts. However if you’re only looking for a basic coffee machine that does the job quickly, this is worth considering.
Another thing – we noticed the coffee filter gets overflowed sometimes, even at times when we didn’t expect it to. It doesn’t happen too often, but when it does it’s certainly annoying, so it’s worth mentioning!
- Brews a carafe in 3 minutes!
- Drip-free carafe
- Multi-stream spray head
- Capable of brewing 20oz to 50oz of coffee
- Has a heating plate
- Shorter contact time of water with coffee results in lesser-tasting coffee
- No auto-off for heating plate
- Coffee filter gets overflowed easier than it should
There aren’t a ton of automatic pour-over options on the market, and this one by BUNN is simply one of the best.
First, the manufacturer stresses that this has a full stainless steel construction. This means that not only the exterior is stainless steel, the internal components are as well. This makes it one of the models with the least contact with plastic components throughout the brewing process. That’s a good thing, if things like this concern you
However if you want to go full plastic-free, you’ll have to purchase a steel funnel separately. BUNN sells one made just for this model, and while you’re at it, get the tip kit as well to maintain the proper flow of coffee. Without it, coffee just flows too fast through the steel funnel!
This model, like all others with glass carafes, has a warming plate installed. The funnel it includes also has a SplashGard design, where it’s shaped to block hot liquid from splashing onto you. For us personally, it wasn’t a particularly groundbreaking feature, and we probably wouldn’t have noticed it if BUNN hadn’t smacked a capitalized, proprietary name for this feature to advertise.
With all that said, this unit is big! It takes up a ton of countertop space. For a normal home kitchen or pantry, this might be bigger than you would like, where in some cases it might not even fit. It should easily fit into an office pantry or shared space though, if you’re purchasing for that purpose.
- Full stainless steel construction
- SplashGard funnel avoids hot liquid from splashing onto hands
- No plastic components in direct contact with coffee
- Has a warming plate with an on/off switch
- Takes up a lot of countertop space
- Carafe does not come with purchase!
We’re crossing into the commercial realm here, so if you’re only looking for a robust coffee maker for home use, this probably isn’t for you!
If you’re buying for an office, or simply a shared space that people come & go all the time (grabbing the occasional coffee), this is a great choice. It is full stainless steel and very sturdy, so there are no problems putting it in a common space. Capable of brewing 3.8 gallons of coffee every hour, there is bound to be no shortage of coffee wherever this machine is.
The true headlining feature of this coffee maker, apart from its sheer speed, is the inclusion of 3 warming plates integrated into the unit. This way, there can always be hot coffee brewed and ready to be consumed. Never wait around for coffee again.
Other than offering just more coffee ready to be had, the warming plates also serve another function that you might not have thought of. Since you now have three different spots to place carafes while keeping them warm, there’s the possibility of brewing coffee of different strengths and having them ready at all times. That way you don’t have to fight for your preference of coffee strengths/brew!
The only caveat with this model seems to be the exclusion of carafes with the purchase. This is in-line with most of BUNN’s commercial models, including the previous one on the list, the VP17-1SS.
Bottom line, if you’re shopping for a coffee maker to be placed in a busy office space, with lots of people around to consume large amounts of coffee (as office workers do), this is a great, reliable machine to be had. Otherwise if you’re buying for home-use, this is simply overkill!
- Includes 3 warming plates
- Fully stainless steel construction
- SplashGard design deflects hot liquid away
- Carafe does not come with purchase!
Okay but, what if you want a commercial coffee maker, but the fact that the two previous models do not come with carafes included turns you off? Well, this is where this model comes in.
While it doesn’t come with the 3 warming plates that the previous model has, 2 is still plenty for most settings. What it loses, it makes up for in other areas though, as it comes with two glass carafes that fit perfectly on the warming plates!
Other than that important difference, there is not much distinction between this and the previous two models. This also has full stainless steel internal components as well as the SplashGard funnel as protection from hot splashes, just like the other two.
Exterior-wise though, instead of being fully stainless steel, this has a black finish. In my case, I like the looks of this model better, as it is more minimalist as compared to a stainless steel exterior. But yes, appearance is subjective, and it’s not like it’ll make you a better coffee anyways.
With all the good things being said, do note that reviewers online have complained about the quality more often than we’ve seen in BUNN’s other models. This most likely indicates a quality control issue in maybe one of their batches of the model. However, most mentioned that their issues were resolved promptly through customer support, so there’s your safety net there.
Also, if it’s not already evident through the product image, it requires significantly more vertical space to fit! This is especially when compared to the previous models of VP17-1SS and VP17-3SS3L, where both were designed specifically to be shorter.
- Full stainless steel internal components
- Black exterior finish is minimalist
- SplashGard funnel protects hand from hot liquid splashes
- Includes two glass carafes!
- Has 2 warming plates
- Quality control seems to be a little lacking compared to BUNN’s other models – but sort of made up by good customer service and returns policy
- Requires taller space to fit
How to Pick for Your Use Case?
It can be daunting to have to pick a model from the large catalog that BUNN offers. This is the very problem this article aims to solve. But if you’re still confused with just these 6 choices? Let’s break it down even more.
For most home-use owners, the BUNN CSB3T Speed Brew coffee maker is your best pick. It’s priced at just the right level of affordability (in BUNN’s sense), while offering a good level of premium features. Our favorite? It offers a thermal carafe, which not many models from this manufacturer do.
If you instead would like a glass carafe and a heating plate that comes with the unit, the BUNN CSB2G Speed Brew is your next best bet. It has pretty much identical features as our top pick, only with the carafe switched out for a different material.
If those are over your budget, don’t worry, there’s a cheaper option – the BUNN GRB Velocity Brew. This has a little more difference than the previous two models.
While it brews a little faster, the shorter coffee-water contact time also makes the coffee less rich, and somewhat weaker. If you’re not a strong coffee drinker, great. But if you are, this might not be for you!
If you’re instead purchasing for an office, a greater investment might be worth it. The last three models on our list fit this purpose very well, and were designed exactly for common spaces.
To choose between the three, decide whether you have enough vertical space to place the BUNN VPR-2GD. If so, it’s our favorite among them, as it includes two glass carafes, unlike the other two models which don’t include any at all.
Do BUNN Coffee Makers Need Special Filters?
You might have seen advice online to use special filters, such as unbleached paper filters, for BUNN coffee makers. If you’re worrying about being able to only use special filters, fret not. Most of the advice is geared towards coffee shops, as BUNN coffee makers are designed to be commercial in the first place anyway.
In the case where you’re purchasing for home-use, would you need special filters then? While they might help in the same way they help coffee shops, it’s not entirely necessary.
BUNN makes their own filters, and while you’re not required to use them, it’s a good idea if you can get them. This is because not only are they preferred professionally in the barista world, many coffee lovers with other brands of coffee machines also prefer these filters.
So while you’re not tied to using them, it’s definitely good to give them a try and see if they’re the right ones for yourself.
A good coffee maker is worth the investment. Just imagine, rich coffee whenever you want it. Sipping a good cup of coffee anytime of the day is just an enjoyment every coffee lover should have.
If you’re sick of your current coffee maker, or if you’re simply looking to upgrade or replace your broken coffee machine, BUNN might be worth considering for your next model.
No need to go through the hassle of researching your options. We’ve done the work for you, so just go through our short summary, and follow through the links to pick the right one for yourself!
Kitchen Conduct is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. However, we are not sponsored by Amazon in any way, and all recommendations are our own honest opinions.