Buying cheap electric coffee maker is just that, you will get what you paid for: inefficient cheap parts. However, with a little know how on basic coffee brewing principles in relation to a brewer; we will try to help you get the best out of your money.
Your electric coffee maker has few parts. The switch (for on/off); water reservoir (with water level measurements, or “number of cups”); carafe (brewed coffee container, usually made of glass); hot plate (hot surface, heats carafe); and heating element (where water passes through, gets heated, and pushes hot water to the dispensing head). These parts you can not do anything about them. So focus your attention to the water dispensing head (where hot water comes out); and filter basket (where your filter sits). A screen type filter (which will contain ground coffee beans) is usually included with the brewer, but you can also buy paper filters.
Water Dispensing Head
CHOOSE THE BREWER WITH THE WIDEST DISTRIBUTION OF HOLES IN RELATION TO THE BASKET
Since your electric coffee maker is same with a manual dripper (like the cone). According to coffee professionals; it is best to pour water covering all the areas of the coffee bed (ground coffee beans in the filter-basket). This will promote “even extraction” of coffee for a better cup. Which means you should try to choose a cheap electric coffee maker; that has (water dispensing head) holes distributed wider (than just concentrated in one spot). It should look like it is covering more areas of the coffee bed, not just the center.
Choose the ones that has round with flat bottom, or cone shaped with flat bottom (truncated cone) basket. These kinds have readily available paper filters, and are designed better (might help with “even extraction”). Those weird shaped filter basket looks cute; but they are not going to help you brew a better cup of coffee.
Hot plate is unnecessary, because it cooks your coffee. It is best to turn off the brewer after the brewing process. You can either transfer your coffee to a thermal carafe to keep it hot; or just brew enough coffee that you plan to consume within the hour. The heating element can not heat the water to reach an ideal temperature for brewing coffee; basically the heat is not extracting enough from your coffee beans. You can compensate by using a (little) less coffee than recommended. This will allow more water to extract more solubles from your coffee beans.
Lastly, always keep your brewer clean. Wash the filter basket and filter screen after every use. Wipe the water dispensing head with clean towel to remove coffee residue. Cheers to better coffee!