Best Single Serve Coffee Makers – Reviews & Buying Guide

Sometimes it’s pleasant to have a lazy morning and enjoy a slow coffee ritual with the most sophisticated manual pour-overs. However, how many times can you tell your boss ‘I was late because I had to weigh my coffee grounds and keep pulse pouring on my Chemex… again’?

Quick and practical single cup coffee makers are a true blessing, especially on weekdays!

To help you find the best brewer to suit your needs, we’ve compiled a handy buying guide and selected the best single serve coffee makers currently on the market. Since speed is clearly one of your main concerns, let’s waste no time!

How to Choose the Best Single Cup Coffee Maker: The Complete Buying Guide

Want to find the perfect machine for you? Then don’t rush into this purchase without first considering these important points.

Electric or manual and portable?

When we think of single cup coffee makers, we usually picture Keurig-style brewers. They’re probably the most common ones and certainly incredibly practical to use at home, but don’t forget that there are lots of other types of single-serve coffee makers out there!

If you enjoy drinking coffee on your commute, on holiday, or even in the middle of a hike, portable coffee makers that don’t require electricity would probably be a better match to your dynamic personality. 

Capsules or grounds?

We get it: capsules are quick and practical. But did you know that they have a terrible environmental footprint? Since they’re not recyclable, they end up in nature, oceans or landfills, where they take hundreds of years to decompose. (1)

In a single year, we bought enough K-cups to wrap the Earth 10.5 times.- JavaPresse

K-Cups and coffee capsules in general are also quite expensive in the long run, and, relying on stale coffee, they can’t offer you fresh flavors. For these reasons, we’ll always recommend coffee makers that rely on fresh grounds.

However, if you love the speed and practicality of capsules and K-Cups, we have great news for you: most Keurig models as well as other brewers can now rely on reusable capsules that you can fill with your own grounds. Cheaper, fresher, and better for the environment! 

Features

Automatic single serve coffee makers in particular can come with a very different range of extra features.

Be realistic with what you expect from your ideal brewer and what you’re happy to pay for: do you just want to press a button and get the exact same cup of coffee within a minute or do you need more perks? Some models offer different cup sizes and stronger brew options, whereas others can even be programmed to switch on before you wake up.

The Best Single Serve Coffee Makers Reviews

Since, as you know by now, there are lots of different types of single cup coffee makers, we’ve included the best model from each category, type, or price range.

Already seen something you like the look of? Find out more about it!

1. Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker – Best Overall Value

You can’t go wrong with a classic, especially when it comes to Keurig!

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 13.3 x 9.8 x 13 inches
  • Item Weight: 10 pounds
  • Fits travel mug
  • Material type: Plastic

Named Brand of the Year by the Harris Poll EquiTrend Study five times in a row (3), Keurig has been a household staple since 1998 (4), and the K-Classic is still one of their best-selling products. 

Serving a piping-hot cup of coffee in under a minute, it lets you choose between 6, 8 and 10 oz. Enjoy drinking your coffee on the go? Just slide your travel mug in by moving the drip tray!

You definitely won’t run out of new flavors to try given the wide range of compatible K-Cups, but we recommend purchasing their separate reusable filter for a fresher, cheaper, and environmentally-friendlier brew.

Its 48 oz reservoir means that you can go a whole week without worrying about filling it up, and, being removable, it facilitates the cleaning process, just like the automatic descaling feature.

THE GOOD

  • Intuitive and fast
  • Affordable
  • 3 different drink sizes
  • Includes a filter to purify water

THE BAD

  • If used with K-Cups, it has a bad environmental footprint
  • Not programmable

Bottom Line

Practical, fast, user-friendly, and affordable, the K-Classic ticks all the boxes that a good value for money coffee maker should tick.

2. Keurig K-Elite Coffee Maker – Upgrade Pick

As the name suggests, the K-Elite is a sophisticated premium choice.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 13.1” H x 9.9” W x 12.7” D
  • Item Weight: 12.05 pounds
  • Removable drip tray

This model has the same features as the K-Classic and is still compatible with Keurig’s reusable coffee filter, but includes a few extra perks. It offers 5 brew sizes, ranging from 4 to 12 oz, an iced option, and a strong brew feature… because we all need a harder caffeine kick, sometimes!

The main reason why we love this stylish model, though, is the practicality that it can bring to your morning routine: it’s programmable and it includes a water button, perfect for tea or oatmeal. Its large 75 oz reservoir also comes with a water filter to ensure a purer brew.

Available in different elegant brushed colors, this premium model will stand out on your countertop and give you everything you could possibly need from a single-serve coffee maker.

THE GOOD

  • 5 brew sizes, iced and strong brew options
  • Smart features such as programmability and high-altitude setting
  • Hot water dispenser

THE BAD

  • If used with K-Cups, it has a bad environmental footprint
  • Not programmable

Bottom Line

If you’re after a programmable and highly customizable Keurig model, look no further. 

3. Cuisinart SS-10P1 Premium Pod Coffee Machine – Best Keurig Alternative

This versatile Cuisinart model offers an impressive range of features for such an affordable coffee maker.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 11.03 x 9.33 x 12.13 in
  • Material: Plastic
  • BPA-free

Brewing in 5 different cup sizes and in a hot or extra-hot mode, this coffee machine is particularly practical and versatile because it works with any type of coffee capsules, including K-Cups. Even better: it comes with a reusable filter to let you use fresh grounds!

Including a practical hot water dispenser, it also has a removable drip tray to brew directly into a travel mug. Do other members of your household prefer flavored types of K-Cups? You’ll be glad to know that the rinse feature will get rid of any taste residue!

This Cuisinart’s interface consists of an intuitive LCD screen, which you can also use to select its handy auto-on and off features. Finally, the large 72 oz water reservoir includes an effective charcoal filter.

THE GOOD

  • Compatible with any coffee capsule and includes a reusable coffee filter
  • Very customizable and programmable
  • Large reservoir with charcoal filter

THE BAD

  • If used with K-Cups, it has a bad environmental footprint

Bottom Line

Packed full of features and compatible with any type of coffee capsule or ground coffee, this single-serve coffee maker is the best alternative to Keurig models.

4. Nespresso VertuoPlus De’Longhi ENV150GY – Best for Espresso

Let’s be honest: some working days would be impossible to face, without a strong shot of espresso first thing in the morning! 

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 5.6 x 16.2 x 12.8 inches
  • Item Weight: 9.72 pounds
  • Simple, one-touch brewing

If you’re torn between a traditional single-serve coffee maker and a Nespresso machine, this fancy model will bring you the best of both worlds. You can choose among espresso, double espresso, gran lungo, coffee, and alto, ranging from 1.35 to 14 oz.

This company’s Vertuo line relies on smart centrifugation technology and bar code reading to ensure the best results through automatic blend recognition, and the aesthetically-pleasing layer of crema on the smallest drinks will give you an Italian coffee-bar feel.

Easy to operate with its one-button design, you won’t struggle to find a place on your countertop for the VertuoPlus thanks to its movable reservoir. 

Pro tip: For a greener (not literally) cup, don’t forget to recycle your coffee capsules by bringing them to one of Nespresso’s drop-off points or arranging a practical free collection. (5)

THE GOOD

  • Brews both espresso and regular coffee
  • Smart patented centrifugation technology
  • Movable reservoir

THE BAD

  • Only compatible with Nespresso capsules
  • Not programmable

Bottom Line

Nespresso is always the best choice for creamy capsule-based espresso, but this model also brews perfect regular coffees. What’s not to love about it?

5. Hamilton Beach Scoop 49981A – Best budget-friendly

Small but mighty, this affordable brewer focuses on practicality and sustainability.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 8.35 x 6.7 x 8.67 in
  • Item Weight: 5.25 pounds
  • Fast brewing

If you like the sound of automatic one cup coffee makers but aren’t too keen on relying on expensive plastic capsules, we’re sending you a virtual high five… and a fantastic solution. This compact stainless steel machine relies on fresh grounds only. Simply scoop them up with its unique scoop filter, insert it into the machine, and press a button!

Choosing between automatic or bold flavor, you’ll be able to get an 8 oz cup of joe in less than 90 seconds or fill a travel mug in less than 2 and a half minutes.

THE GOOD

  • Eco-friendly and sustainable, without plastic capsules
  • Handy scoop that works as a filter
  • Affordable

THE BAD

  • Not very customizable nor programmable

Bottom Line

Fast, practical, and capsule-free, this budget-friendly machine is ideal for eco-conscious coffee lovers.

6. Mr. Coffee BVMC SC100 – Smallest on the countertop

Not every single-serve coffee maker requires you to revolutionize your kitchen counter!

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 7.4 x 11.8 x 14.5 inches
  • Item Weight: 4.85 pounds
  • Adjustable cup tray

Less than 8 inches wide, this Mr. Coffee brewer will fit pretty much anywhere, unlike machines with larger reservoirs. 

You can use it with K-Cups or, thanks to the included reusable filter, with fresh grounds: just fill your cup with up to 10 oz of water, pour it into the small reservoir, add coffee, and brew it. Thanks to the removable cup tray, you can fit different sizes of mugs or even a travel mug.

THE GOOD

  • Thin and compact
  • Works with both K-Cups and fresh grounds
  • Brews into a mug or a travel mug

THE BAD

  • If used with K-Cups, it has a bad environmental footprint
  • Not programmable
  • Must fill up the reservoir every time

Bottom Line

This model will fit and complement any kitchen thanks to its minimal width and sleek black and stainless steel design

7. Coffee Gator Paperless Pour Over – Best single-serve to pour over

Combine the superior extraction of manual pour overs and the practicality of single-serve coffee makers.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 5.5 x 6.8 inches
  • Item Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Dual mesh stainless steel filter

Thanks to its laser-cut stainless steel mesh filter, you won’t have to worry about disposable paper filters or single-use K-Cups anymore! You just need to add some medium-fine grounds, pour some hot water, and enjoy your fresh cup of joe. 

This practical 6-inch-high dripper is made of elegant glass and brews up to 14 oz of coffee, but it’s also available in a 10.5 or 27 oz size.

THE GOOD

  • No paper filters
  • Quick alternative to traditional manual pour-over methods
  • Up to 14 oz of coffee

THE BAD

  • The glass is quite fragile

Bottom Line

This quirky single-serve dripper is the answer to the prayers of those who love the quality (but not the required meticulousness and dedication) of manual pour-overs.

8. Aeropress Coffee Brewer – Most portable

This light and portable coffee maker will allow you to brew a fresh cup in the middle of a hike. 

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 4.8 x 4.5 x 11.8 inches
  • Item Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Made in the U.S.A

The AeroPress has been revolutionizing the coffee world since its invention in 2005 (6), to the point that there is now a World AeroPress Championship (7). Small and made of light and durable plastic, this cult coffee maker has taken portability to a whole new level. 

The AeroPress is the undisputed champion of travel coffee brewers. – Sprudge

Relying on paper microfilters, it allows you to brew 1-3 cups at a time (1-2 mugs) and can even be used for espresso-style coffee. As long as you have access to hot water (which you can easily carry with you in a good thermos) and your favorite mug, you’re good to go. Or you can pick the new AeroPress Go, which, when disassembled, turns into a little cup!

Learn how to brew with the AeroPress or, if we’ve awoken your nomad spirit, check out more travel-friendly coffee makers.

THE GOOD

  • Incredibly light, durable and travel-friendly
  • Very affordable
  • Effortless cleaning

THE BAD

  • Relies on disposable paper filters
  • Limited capacity

Bottom Line

An iconic modern classic, the AeroPress lets you carry the taste of your favorite coffee with you, no matter where your wanderlust takes you.

9. Coffee Gator Thermal Pour-Over Coffee Brewer Travel Mug – Best all-in-one brewer

What if you could combine the pleasure of freshly-brewed coffee and the practicality of travel mugs? Great news: you can, thanks to Coffee Gator.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 8.1 x 4.9 x 4.2 inches
  • Item Weight: 10.2 ounces
  • 100 percent BPA-free

Shaped just like a travel mug that will fit most car cup holders, this model has an ace up its sleeve: a stainless steel mesh filter that allows you to brew up to 12 oz of coffee directly into it.

But will it keep it hot? Heck yeah, it will! This Coffee Gator model is vacuum-layered and made of military-grade stainless steel and copper: your brew will be piping hot for 6 hours, or ice-cold for 20! However, we’re pretty sure your fresh coffee will smell so good that you’ll want to drink it much sooner than that.

THE GOOD

  • No paper filters
  • Very affordable
  • Hot coffee for 6 hours

THE BAD

  • You can’t store the filter inside the travel mug, after brewing

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a travel-friendly single-serve coffee maker that includes a drinking vessel, you’ve just found your portable coffee shop.

Some additional features to consider before you buy

Make sure you consider the following features before you get one.

Timer

If you want to have a fresh cup of coffee waiting for you when you wake up each day, a timer is precisely what you need to make that happen.

Reservoir

Many machines have detachable reservoirs that facilitate maximum convenience. This makes the cleaning process much simpler.

Brew strength

Depending on the model of your machine, you can customize the brew strength of your drink, enabling you to prepare light or dark cups of coffee. As for basic models, the brew strength can be adjusted by just changing the size of the cup.

Water Filtration system

This is a rare feature. Nonetheless, the water you use has a considerable impact on the flavor of your daily beverage. On that note, using filtered water is recommended whether the machine comes equipped with a filtration system or not.

Temperature

Apart from the quality of the water, its temperature is just as important for preparing the perfect brew. Although the average coffee drinker won’t spot the differences, addicts such as you and I will, especially if you prefer drinking your coffee black.

So, if this feature matters to you, get a machine that allows you to customize the water temp.

Size

Similar to any other appliance in your kitchen, single-serve coffee makers come in different sizes and shapes. If your counter space is minimal, there are space-effective machines designated just for you.

FAQs about Single Cup Pod Brewers

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve pretty much become an expert on single-serve coffee makers, but here are a couple more things you might want to know. 

What is the difference between coffee pods and capsules?

The difference between coffee pods and capsules is that pods are usually made of paper and disk-shaped, whereas capsules are made of plastic or aluminum. K-Cups are often used as a synonym for coffee capsules, but it’s important to note that they’re specific to Keurig models: unless specified by the manufacturer, they’re not compatible with other coffee makers (e.g. Nespresso) and vice versa. 

What is the smallest K-Cup coffee maker?

The smallest K-Cup coffee maker in the current Keurig range is the K-Mini, less than 5 inches wide.

What is the best Keurig for one person?

The best Keurig for one person is the K-Classic, because it’s affordable, quick and, while offering fewer settings than other brewers that are more suitable for larger households, it includes three different cup sizes. A similar brewer with extra cup size and a strong brew option is the K-Select.

Is Nespresso better than Keurig?

Nespresso and Keurig are very different brands and, therefore, not directly comparable. Even though some of its models offer regular coffee, Nespresso (which is more popular in Europe) concentrates on capsule-based espresso shots. Keurig, an American staple for regular black coffee, cannot brew espresso and relies on K-Cups only. While, unlike K-Cups, Nespresso capsules are recyclable, we appreciate the fact that Keurig offers a sustainable reusable filter option. 

How often should you descale your coffee maker?

You should descale your coffee maker every one or two months to ensure that it lasts longer and guarantees consistent flavors. Some coffee machines include an automatic descaling function that lets you know when it’s time to perform a deeper clean.

Can I prepare different drinks with a single cup pod brewer?

Yes; however, this will depend entirely on the capsule variety available for the machine you get. If this feature matters to you, make sure you consider the diversity of capsules compatible with the coffee maker.

How much does a single cup machine cost?

The price for a single-serve coffee maker varies from $75 to $500. Typically, it depends on the features of the machine. As a general rule, K-Cups are the most affordable disposable coffee pods. Also, expensive doesn’t necessarily equal high-quality.

How much do capsules cost?

The cost of the capsules is one of the primary expenses of owning a single-serve coffee machine. In other words, you might be paying more per cup than you would if you had a traditional drip coffee maker.

Make sure you shop around to get a hint of what you’ll pay per drink. Remember that buying in bulk could save you money.

How fast does it brew a cup?

If you’re not the patient kind of coffee drinker who is, really? you might have this question. This also depends on the machine. However, a proper brew could take up to 45 seconds. It’s worth the wait if the result is as expected.

A Few Final Words

We hope that this detailed guide has been helpful. Without a doubt, nothing is better than starting your day off with a quick and aromatic brew.

If you have other questions on this topic, you can address them, as usual, in the comment section below. Until next time!

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