Quick Home Coffee Roaster Comparison Chart

There are many ways to roast coffee, from home appliances made specifically for this purpose, to simple pan roasting. Before you get started, we highly recommend checking out our General Roasting Instructions and Visual Guide to the Roast Process.

There are small, dedicated home roasting appliances, and we carry a number of these machines. This page, Home Roasting FAQ is a good introduction to the various models; this Roaster Comparison Chart compares the all the roasters we carry.

If you don't want to invest in a dedicated coffee roaster, there are some low cost options. While stovetop or oven roasting can turn green coffee brown, air popcorn poppers can actually acheive good results. Of the three, we recommend that route.

Our hope is to inspire you to roast your own coffee, not to sell you the fanciest roaster ...in fact, the priciest model (the HotTop) is not good as a first-time roaster. The FreshRoast SR500 is a fair price for a dedicated roasting appliance, but you can't beat the price of a hot air popcorn popper! (Especially if you already have one in the cupboard someplace). Tom

Name
Price
Batch Size (by weight of green coffee)
Roast Time
Size LxWxH Waranty/Life Expectancy
Controls
Roast Type: Heating Source
Major Positive Features
Major Negative Features
Name
HotTop KN8828-Programmable $1000

9 oz/255 grams
(=7.65 oz/217 grams roasted)

15 to 17 min. 20" x 10" x 15" 1 year manufacturer's warranty/parts availability from Hottopusa.com Roast time, temperature, fan speed and heater power can be changed during the roast - profiles can be saved and replayed Electric heating element in drum area. Perforated metal drum with vanes to move coffee. 110v/750 watts Control features are very advanced, built in line voltage control, color LCD display, beans cool outside the drum for quick cooling, upgradable to Programmable model, very solid supportand out of warranty parts availability to keep the machine working for years. Expensive/More difficult to clean than other roasters. HotTop KN8828-Programmable
HotTop KN8828-Basic $820

9 oz/255 grams
(=7.65oz/217 grams roasted)

 

15 to 17 min. 20" x 10" x 15" 1 year manufacturer's warranty/parts availability from Hottopusa.com Roast time, temperature, fan speed and heater power can be changed during the roast Electric heating element in drum area. Perforated metal drum with vanes to move coffee. 110v/750 watts Control features are very advanced, built in line voltage control, color LCD display, beans cool outside the drum for quick cooling, upgradable to Programmable model, very solid supportand out of warranty parts availability to keep the machine working for years. Expensive/More difficult to clean than other roasters HotTop KN8828-Basic

Gene Cafe Drum Roaster

$515 8 oz/ 230 grams (=6.8 oz./190 grams roasted) 15-20 minutes 19 x 10 x 9 1 year manufacturer's warranty/the machine came out in May 2006 - so still too soon to really judge analog; two control knobs for temperature and time Convection, off-axis mechanical drum agitation. Roast combines better body of drum roasting with brightness of air roasting 110v, 1300 watts The roast is easy to observe, and the controls make it easy to modify; change the roast time or roast temperature any time you like, and as much as you like. It features an oversized chaff collector that can deal with the most chaff-laden coffees. Cooling is not as rapid or as effective as in HotTop. You need to stop roasts a tad short of where you want it to end up. Fairly new machine, introduced to US market April 2006 Gene Cafe Drum Roaster
Behmor 1600

$299

4 oz, 8 oz, or 16 oz/113, 230,or 460 grams(=3.4, 6.8, or 13.60/96, 190, or 390 grams roasted) varies by weight 17.5 x 12.5 x 10.5 1 year manufacturer's warranty 4 pre-programmed roast times, 5 power level profiles mesh drum in chamber with quart halogen heating element 120v, 60 hrz, 1630 watts Only home machine that actually does roast a full pound, affordable price, some smoke reduction, self-cleaning cycle Limited use for dark roasts beyond 20 seconds into second crack, not for use with small beans and heavily chaffed coffees, limited visibility Behmor 1600

FreshRoast SR500

$169 4 oz/ 90 grams (=3.5 oz/78 grams roasted) 4-8 minutes 11.5" x 7" dia 1 year manufacturer's warranty/ about 2 years* dial to adjust fan adjust fan speed. switch to set heat at high/,medium/low, digital timer

Fluid Bed Air Roaster: Electric Element, some control over heat and air flow, manual, not programmable
110v

Quietest air roaster, Roast easily visible,
Fast, Very simple and fairly reliable

Roast not terribly even in first stages, best results obtained by manual stirring. Controls on heat and air flow are basic but serviceable. Some coasting as beans cool in the roast chamber. Like other air roasters, roast can be much effected by ambient air temp. and voltage

FreshRoast SR500

Nesco Home Coffee Roaster

$150

5 oz/140 grams
4 oz/ 90 grams dark roast (=3.4 oz/95 grams roasted)

18-30 minutes 12" x 7" x 12" 1 year manufacturer's warranty/ about 2 years* digital: roast setting numbers Screw-drive agitator in glass chamber -convective/conductive roast, no roast profile 110v

Smoke-neutralizing catalytic converter is very effective, agitator very effective, innovative design, quiet. It produces a full bodied roast. It is very good for targeting lighter City roasts

It produces a full bodied roast, but there is a middle range of the cup profile that is missing in the darker roasts, Full City+ and darker. The extreme delay between 1st and second crack and the ineffective cooling cycle might be the problem. This machine was formerly known as the Zach and Dany's roaster

Nesco Home Coffee Roaster

Stovetop Popcorn Popper (Whirley Pop)

$26.50 8 oz+, 225+ grams (= 6.8 oz/190 grams roasted) 10+ minutes 17.5" x 9" dia x 8"

1 year warranty/many years

No timer, can control heat 100% Conduction roasting with manual agitation Inexpensive way to roast 1/2 lb of coffee. Fully manual, standing at the stove and cranking for 10+ minutes: no cooling, just a tad dangerous. More uneven roast results and more difficult (i.e. easier to have bad results) than other methods. Cranks can wear out over time, especially if you roast over a flame that is too hot. Keep roast temperature moderate and shoot for a 7-9 minute City roast.

Stovetop Popcorn Popper (Whirley Pop)

West Bend Air Crazy

$30 3 oz/ 85 grams 6-11 minutes   No warranty/few years depending on use motor could burn out No control over heat Fluid bed, very fluid...110v, wattage varies from model to model Inexpensive! Great roast results. Can pick up any popper at thrift store see details here Fully manual, no cooling, just a tad dangerous Be sure you use the right type of popper! (see our Coffee Library Page) Like other air roasters, roast can be much effected by ambient air temp. and voltage

West Bend Air Crazy

Your Own Home-Built Roaster


Drum Roaster by Ed Needham

? 1/2 to 5 Lbs! 7-20 minutes   No warranty/
depends on how well you make it
It's Up To You Build a homemade drum for your Barbecue or buy a drum from RK Drums

Roast a LOT of coffee! Depending on your skills, you could get near professional results either roasting by experience and intuition, or by getting high-tech

We have a page with photos and links for Home Made Home Roasters!

The downsides are also up to you and your design ... but there's quite a few people on our HomeRoast List doing this, and the best web sites of our home-roasting customers are Ed Needham's Homeroaster.com and Jim Gundlach's. Charlie Herlihy has a brick oven design.

Your Own Home-Built BBQ Roaster


Drum Roaster by Ed Needham

*Note on life expentancy - The small machines come with a one year warranty and generally can be expected to last about 2 years - depending on a number of factors: how often you roast, how dark you roast (darker, oilier roasts lead to more build up that can clog parts and shorten machine life), and how clean you keep the top screens and clean the air vents.