Quick Home Coffee Roaster Comparison Chart

Coffee roasters and air poppers compared side by side!

(Note: this is a vintage page, and some of these machines are not the current models. But we do have most of the latest models of these home coffee roasters in stock at Sweet Maria’s! Note too that our chart didn’t transfer over so well to this new format, so the images dropped out)

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  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, and our Green Coffee FAQ; 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 achieve 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). So here is our Home Coffee Roaster Comparison Chart – Tom

NameHotTop KN8828-ProgrammableHotTop KN8828-BasicGene Cafe Drum RoasterBehmor 1600
Price$1,000$820$515$299
Batch Size9 oz/255 grams
(=7.65 oz/217 grams roasted)
9 oz/255 grams
(=7.65oz/217 grams roasted)
8 oz/ 230 grams (=6.8 oz./190 grams roasted)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)
Roast Time15 to 17 min.15 to 17 min.15-20 minutesvaries by weight
ControlsRoast time, temperature, fan speed and heater power can be changed during the roast – profiles can be saved and replayedRoast time, temperature, fan speed and heater power can be changed during the roastanalog; two control knobs for temperature and time4 pre-programmed roast times, 5 power level profiles
Roast Type: Heating SourceElectric heating element in drum area. Perforated metal drum with vanes to move coffee. 110v/750 wattsElectric heating element in drum area. Perforated metal drum with vanes to move coffee. 110v/750 wattsConvection, off-axis mechanical drum agitation. Roast combines better body of drum roasting with brightness of air roasting 110v, 1300 wattsmesh drum in chamber with quart halogen heating element 120v, 60 hrz, 1630 watts
Major Positive FeaturesControl 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.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.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.Only home machine that actually does roast a full pound, affordable price, some smoke reduction, self-cleaning cycle
Major Negative FeaturesExpensive/More difficult to clean than other roasters.Expensive/More difficult to clean than other roastersCooling 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 2006Limited use for dark roasts beyond 20 seconds into second crack, not for use with small beans and heavily chaffed coffees, limited visibility
NameFreshRoast SR500Nesco Home Coffee RoasterStovetop Popcorn Popper (Whirley Pop)West Bend Air Crazy
Price$169$150$26.50$30
Batch Size4 oz/ 90 grams (=3.5 oz/78 grams roasted)5 oz/140 grams
4 oz/ 90 grams dark roast (=3.4 oz/95 grams roasted)
8 oz+, 225+ grams (= 6.8 oz/190 grams roasted)3 oz/ 85 grams
Roast Time4-8 minutes18-30 minutes10+ minutes6-11 minutes
Controlsdial to adjust fan adjust fan speed. switch to set heat at high/,medium/low, digital timerdigital: roast setting numbersNo timer, can control heatNo control over heat
Roast Type: Heating SourceFluid Bed Air Roaster: Electric Element, some control over heat and air flow, manual, not programmable
110v
Screw-drive agitator in glass chamber -convective/conductive roast, no roast profile 110v100% Conduction roasting with manual agitationFluid bed, very fluid…110v, wattage varies from model to model
Major Positive FeaturesQuietest air roaster, Roast easily visible,
Fast, Very simple and fairly reliable
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 roastsInexpensive way to roast 1/2 lb of coffee.Inexpensive! Great roast results. Can pick up any popper at thrift store see details here
Major Negative FeaturesRoast 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 voltageIt 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 roasterFully 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.Fully manual, no cooling, just a tad dangerous Be sure you use the right type of popper! . Like other air roasters, roast can be much effected by ambient air temp. and voltage

*Note on life expectancy – 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.

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