The coffee machine you choose is going to be your companion every morning, so make sure that it consistently puts out delicious, flavorful coffee every time. Ninja coffee makers are some of the most versatile coffee makers out there, but how do they stand up next to Cuisinart, another well-known and trusted brand?
With its quality construction and variety across all of its appliances, Ninja has quickly become a leading name in the kitchen industry. But its Coffee Bar system is one of the bestselling coffee machines out there and for good reason.
It’s one of the most versatile machines you’ll find on the market, with the ability to brew standard cups and cafe-style drinks all from the same machine.
Cuisinart has been a leading brand in the kitchen space for generations, since its founding in 1973. There’s no denying that it’s a trusted brand with a long track record of quality and innovation.
Part of their success is their focus on simplicity and an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude that helps their products stand out from the rest.
Keep it Simple… Or Don’t
One big question: do you want versatility or features?
A big difference between the two brands is their approach to versatility. Ninja’s has a few different models in their Coffee Bar lineup, but they all take a Jack-of-All-Trades approach, with lots of brew settings and sizes, with a milk frother and the ability to brew espresso-like coffee.
Their goal is to make it so you only need one machine for any kind of coffee you want.
Cuisinart has a much larger lineup of machines with a variety of purposes; from small machines made for single-cup brews to large high-capacity drip makers and specialized espresso machines.
But many of these machines are more limited in what they can do than the Ninja, and therefore more specialized, so if you go with the Cuisinart you’ll have to take that into consideration.
Cuisinart vs. Ninja Coffee Maker: A Side-By-Side Comparison
Ninja Coffee Bar
One of the bestselling coffee machines on the market today, this machine can just about do it all. From a variety of brew settings (including specialty brew) and an enormous selection of accessories and attachments, you won’t find another drip machine on the market that can do so much.
Things We Like
- There’s a huge variety of brew settings and other features, like a drip-stop and frother, that make this machine stand out from the competition.
- This coffee maker is designed well with an overall streamlined feel, with pieces that fit together well and sleek yet functional attachments.
- The permanent filter works well and is easy to install/remove and clean.
- The integrated milk frother works great and is easy to detach for cleaning.
- For all the features, brew methods, and functions, this machine is relatively compact compared to, say, an espresso machine.
- For the versatility of the machine and included accessories, this machine is a great value at a reasonable price.
Things We Don’t
- The Ninja Coffee Bar, while versatile, has a complicated interface and a steep learning curve for new users.
- It’s somewhat pricey given its plastic construction which makes it feel of lower quality.
- The machine is tall and heavy (5″ tall, 10″ wide, 11″ deep), and might not sit well on some kitchen countertops.
- The specialty brew does not produce an espresso, more like an espresso-lite. It’s just fine for a latte or cappuccino drink, but buyers should be aware they’re not getting espresso with this machine.
- Some may feel that the brew time is too slow compared to some drip or espresso machines (or even manual methods like pour-over or french press devices).
- It needs frequent cleaning and descaling to keep it working and to keep your coffee tasting good.
Thow looking for an affordable coffee maker with all-in-one functionality will love the Ninja coffee bar, as long as they’re willing to keep up with regular maintenance and cleaning.
But others may prefer a machine that feels easier to use and more accessible. If you want a machine that functions more like a traditional coffee maker with less of a learning curve, you may want to go with the Cuisinart machine instead.
Cuisinart Coffee Maker
Cuisinart offers a huge range of coffee makers for every kind of home brewer, whether they’re looking for a simple and quick cup of coffee in the morning or an affordable espresso machine for their daily latte.
By far Cuisinart’s most prominent machine and the flagship in its coffee maker line, the Cuisinart DCC-3200 is an excellent alternative to the Ninja Coffee bar, for the right home.
Things We Like
- It makes an impressive 14-cup pot of coffee, with a capacity that beats out many coffee makers on the market, there’s also the option to brew 1-4 cups of coffee instead if you only need a small amount of coffee- it’s great for large groups or single coffee enthusiasts!
- The customization options are intuitive and easy to learn, and they give you control over brew size, temperature, regular or bold coffee flavor, and more.
- Cleaning and maintenance are easy with Cuisinart’s self-cleaning function.
- This coffee maker can be programmed to run up to 24 hours ahead of time, saving you time and effort in the morning. You’ll also like the “Brew Pause” function that tells the machine to stop mid-brew.
- Its quality construction gives the impression that it’s a durable and long-lasting machine. It also comes with a 3-year warranty, which is a great sign that it will last you for the long haul.
Things We Don’t
- The carafe is slightly awkward to hold and prone to spills, which can be dangerous with hot coffee.
- The integrated hot plate keeps your coffee warm but is prone to rusting and flaking if not cleaned and dried properly after every use.
- The filter should be changed monthly, but the machine doesn’t provide any warning with the filter requires changing.
- The machine doesn’t support the use of a thermal metal carafe, so you will have to use the provided glass one, so you will have to keep it over the hot plate if you want to keep your coffee warm.
- This machine is not Energy Star rated, meaning it may have a higher-than-ideal energy usage rate.
The Cuisinart DCC-3200 has a lot to recommend, and as the most popular model that the brand produces, it’s an excellent example of why Cuisinart is such a trusted name in the coffee machine industry.
The programmable brewing functions add variety and customization options to the brewing experience, but this machine is nowhere near as versatile as the Ninja.
That being said, it knows how to do one thing and do it very well, and it will be a long-lasting workhorse for your home or office over the coming years.
Some users may be surprised to realize that they can create barista-style drinks with their drip machines. With features like the specialty brew on the Ninja coffee bar, that’s a possibility.
Do keep in mind that the specialty brew function does not produce espresso per se since there is no pressure applied to extract the coffee.
For true espresso, at least 9 bars of pressure should be applied to the beans. The brew that you get from a ninja is “espresso-adjacent”, like what you’d get from a Moka pot; it’s strong and should serve you just as well in your lattes and cappuccinos, but it’s not the “real” thing.
Cuisinart’s drip machines don’t have this functionality, but the company does produce espresso machines that, while pricier than the Ninja, can produce “proper” espresso if that’s important to you.
The brewing capacity is a major consideration if you’re searching for an excellent coffee maker for a large household or office environment. Think about how many people will use this machine on a day-to-day basis.
Are a large carafe and heavy capacity important to you? Or is it important to have a variety of brew settings available for different people who may want to brew throughout the day?
The Ninja Coffee Bar is relatively versatile, with brew sizes available for large groups as well as single cups of coffee.
Many Cuisinart machines have this feature as well and can accommodate a variety of brew sizes, but the Cuisinart DCC-3200 features an impressive 14-cup capacity carafe, which can handle larger groups better than the Ninja.
Whichever coffee maker you choose, you want to be sure that it meets your preference and fits just as nicely into your lifestyle as it does into your budget. Figure out what features you’re willing to compromise on, but always have a list of the “must-haves”.
If you’re looking for versatility and the ability to create a plethora of different coffee drinks, you may want to go with the Ninja, since its list of brew settings and attached milk frother mean you can enjoy several kinds of drinks, all from one machine.
Finally, make sure you take the time to properly learn every inch of your machine so that you can make the most of your brew every day!