Many people don't really know the difference between automatic and manual drip coffee makers. It's really very simple. An automatic drip coffee maker pours the hot water over the ground coffee for you while a manual drip coffee maker requires that you do it yourself.
Manual drip coffee makers typically come in single cup to twelve cup varieties and basically give you similar results as an automatic drip coffee maker. Many people feel they get a better tasting cup of coffee when they have the ability to pour the water themselves and choose from a variety of filters and filter holders. A good thing about manual drip coffee makers is that they don't use electricity and can be used wherever you happen to go. This makes them a great choice for camping. You can boil water over a fire or portable stove for your coffee.
The main components of manual drip coffee makers are the pot or cup, a filter, and a filter holder. There are more complicated varieties available but for most of them, this is all you will need. First you set your pot or cup on a counter, set the filter holder on top, add a filter and fill it with ground coffee. You boil water on a stove and pour it into the filter. It's pretty easy but if you don't know what you are doing or have the proper pot to boil water in, there is a potential to get scalded. Using a teapot or special pot that has a place for pouring is the best way to go as a saucepan isn't designed for pouring water out.
Every manual drip coffee maker has a special filter and filter holder. The filters can be permanent metal ones or your basic disposable paper ones. Many people like the metal filters because they can be used many times and provide the same water flow each time. Paper filters, though cheaper, can end up costing more in the long run and each brand might let water flow a little differently. The filter holders come in hundreds of varieties but you usually get one with your manual drip coffee maker. If you buy a different one, you run the risk of overflow. Filter holders can be porcelain, plastic, metal, or glass and come in many different sizes.
The manual drip coffee maker pot or cup is an important thing to consider. Do you want to make a single cup or ten cups? A single cup version will take up almost no counter space and is a great choice for people who live alone or in a very small place. The ten to twelve cup versions are great for homes that drink a lot of coffee or for big camping trips. They aren't as big as an electric coffee maker and can be taken apart for easy cleaning and carrying.
The most important part of any coffee maker is the type of coffee you use. Expensive coffee that is freshly ground will taste much better than coffee from a discount store. Try different types of coffee and decide what kind you like the best.