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You can’t beat the convenience of a single-serve coffee maker. Pop in a pod, push a button, and a minute or two later, you’ve got a fresh cup of coffee, brewed right into your mug of choice. The coffee practically brews itself, so it’s easy to see why single-serve coffee makers are one of America’s most popular brewing methods.
But with hundreds of single-cup coffee makers on the market, how do you find your perfect machine? We’ve done the hard work for you. Below, you’ll find our in-depth reviews of this year’s 10 best single-serve coffee makers, plus a few tips to help you shop. Our reviews compare price, warranty, durability, ease of use, appearance, and performance. We’re here to show you the good and the bad in each product so you can make the best choice, no matter what you’re looking for.
|Keurig K55 Single-Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker|
|Mueller Ultima Single Cup Coffee Maker|
|Cuisinart SS-10 Single-Serve Pod Coffee Brewer||3 years||4.40/5|
|Nespresso Vertuo Single-Serve Brewer||1 year||4.30/5|
|Hamilton Beach (49981A) One-Cup Coffee Maker||1 year||4.25/5|
Out of all the machines we reviewed, the Keurig K55 is our top pick. It comes from the company that invented single-serve coffee machines, so it’s no surprise that it’s the best K-Cup coffee maker on the market. It’s reasonably priced, with a large 48-ounce water reservoir and a convenient auto-off feature. This machine also has one of the fastest brewing times available, at under a minute per cup.
The K55 is designed to work with official K-Cup coffee pods, but has the added flexibility of working with pods from other brands. It brews in three cup sizes, six, eight and 10 ounces, accessible via intuitive buttons. The simple interface also has indicators for water level, descaling, and heating.
The K55 is on the larger side, weighing 10.6 pounds and standing 13.3” high. While not ideal for a small kitchen, the added size gives the machine a solid, durable feel, and makes it easier to access the water tank and clean the machine. As long as you have room on your counter, this coffee maker could be a great choice.
Though we didn’t experience any in testing, we have found reports of pump failures, so you’ll want to register your machine to take advantage of the one-year warranty.
The Mueller Ultima is one of the best budget single-cup coffee brewers available, offering excellent value for money. If you want a good, streamlined coffee maker on a tight budget, look no further. Just don’t expect all the features available on more expensive models.
At only 2.2 pounds and 11” tall, the Ultima is a lightweight, compact coffee brewer. For such a small machine, the 48-ounce water reservoir is impressive and easy to access. It’s conveniently designed to brew using both K-Cups and other coffee pod brands, and brews in about a minute.
While the Ultima doesn’t have a lot of indicators or customization options, it does have a water gauge so you can keep the water reservoir full. You can also program its three simple buttons to brew your choice of four different cup sizes (six, eight, 10 and 12 ounces). And if something goes wrong, the machine is covered by an extendable two-year warranty, backed up by responsive customer service.
Looking for more features? Check out the Cuisinart SS-10, a highly customizable single-serve brewer compatible with K-Cups and other coffee pods. It also comes with a reusable filter cup, so you can use any coffee you like. It brews five different cup sizes (four, six, eight, 10, and 12 ounces) out of a huge 72-ounce water tank with a charcoal filter.
The SS-10 has the most customization options and the most complicated interface of all the brewers we tested. It has a digital screen complete with a clock, so you can program it to start brewing at a specific time. It also has a self-cleaning feature and a dedicated hot water button, so you can easily make tea or other beverages. You can even adjust the water temperature.
The downside? You’ll have to put in more time to master this machine. With all these features, it comes as no surprise that the SS-10 weighs a hefty 9.5 pounds. Though the blue-ringed buttons have a cheaper feel, the all-silver body has a sleek, attractive look, and you’ll get the peace of mind of a three-year warranty.
If you’re a fan of the rich Nespresso crema, the Vertuo might be your pick. This brewer is both high-tech and simple to use, with an elegant, expensive feel in line with its higher price.
The Vertuo uses “centrifusion extraction” technology, spinning water through the coffee pods 7,000 times a minute. This unique technology creates a distinctive texture and flavor, but means that it only works with more costly Nespresso-brand pods. The Vertuo does come with a sample set of 12 Nespresso pods, and you can subscribe to have pods delivered to you regularly. You can find our guide to the best Vertuo-compatible pods here.
The 10.85-pound machine, which brews five cup sizes ranging from 1.35 to 14 ounces, detects the best settings for each pod and automatically adjusts them, so you won’t have to fiddle with settings. We did find the Vertuo to produce cooler coffee than other brewers.
As a higher-end company, Nespresso is known for its customer service, so you’ll be in good hands should anything go wrong during the two-year warranty. As a bonus, Nespresso offers a recycling program for its pods.
Need something simpler? The Hamilton Beach 49981A could be a good choice if you’re looking for a single-serve coffee maker that operates more like a classic drip machine. It uses a mesh scoop filter that you can fill with your own ground coffee. It’s a straightforward, compact machine, with only two buttons (Regular and Bold) and virtually no learning curve.
At this price point, there are some drawbacks. This machine brews more slowly: a 14-ounce cup takes 2.5 minutes. The reusable mesh filter, though eco-friendly, lets fine grounds through, so you may have to supplement it with paper filters. If you grind your own coffee, you’ll have to be careful to get the texture right, or you could run into overflow and clogging issues. It also has a very small water reservoir, so you’ll have to refill for every cup.
With just a one-year warranty, you’ll be glad for the simple and durable design. The stainless steel construction makes it feel more expensive than its low price point.
The Mr. Coffee BVMC-SC100-2 is a streamlined brewer that works with all standard-sized pods and includes a reusable filter pod. However, with no customization options or added features, the higher price point is hard to understand.
The BVMC-SC100-2 has a narrow profile, perfect for limited counter space, and a reasonably stylish black and silver body. At five pounds, it’s heavier than many other simple brewers, and has a tiny 10-ounce water reservoir. In testing, we found brewing to be slow, averaging around three minutes, and the 24” electric cord to be too short for some kitchen setups. It’s covered by a basic one-year warranty.
Tired of silver and black appliances? The CHULUX is a simple pod brewer that comes in five vibrant colors. At 9.4” tall and under three pounds, it’s an attractive option for a small kitchen.
The CHULUX has a power button and a locking lid. If your head is fuzzy before that first cup of coffee, you’ll love the directions printed on the side. With a maximum cup height of 5.3”, it won’t fit travel mugs, and the small 12-ounce water reservoir means you’ll have to measure carefully and refill for every cup. It also has a slower brewing time, at around three minutes per cup.
If you have limited space and are looking for a fun appliance, give the CHULUX a look. However, the cheaper plastic construction, limited one-year warranty and slow brewing time may give you pause.
At only 1.3 pounds, the AdirChef Grab N’ Go was the tiniest machine we tested, with a tiny price tag to match. This highly portable coffee maker, which comes in seven bright colors and includes a 15-ounce stainless steel travel mug, is small enough to be packed into a suitcase. Instead of using pods, it comes with an eco-friendly permanent mesh filter so you can brew the ground coffee of your choice.
Unfortunately, our testing found that grounds got through the mesh filter, producing a silty cup of coffee. The plastic-lined travel mug has a cheap feel, so you may want to use your own cup.
Despite its stainless steel elements, the Grab N’ Go does not feel very durable, so you’ll want to keep an eye on the one-year warranty. If you don’t travel often, you may want to consider a more durable machine.
The BLACK+DECKER CM618 has a permanent mesh filter, compatible with loose ground coffee or soft, teabag-style coffee pods. It’s barely larger than the included 16-ounce travel mug, lightweight, and simple to operate.
However, it’s light on features and durability. There are reports of overflow and leaking when using loose grounds, so this coffee maker may work better with soft pods. The machine is very compact, making the small 16-ounce water reservoir difficult to fill. When we tested it, we found that the CM618 can’t be turned off or paused once it’s started brewing, and the mesh filter lets grounds through. BLACK+DECKER does offer a generous two-year warranty.
The Chefman InstaBrew was our least favorite coffee maker, for its flimsy construction, higher price, and lack of features. It’s more expensive than other machines with comparable features. Without an auto-off feature, it has to be unplugged between uses, which is inconvenient for an on-the-go coffee drinker.
The InstaBrew does offer you the choice of brewing with K-Cups, other pods, or your favorite ground coffee, via an included K-Cup holder and reusable mesh filter. As a narrow coffee maker, it won’t take up much counter space, but we did find it more difficult to clean. It’s covered by a basic one-year warranty.
You already know you want a one-cup coffee maker. You’ve taken a look at our in-depth reviews of the 10 best machines on the market. But do you know what your perfect machine looks like? Here are a few quick tips to help you choose.
One of the first decisions to make is what kind of coffee to use. Are you looking for the convenience of pre-packaged pods, or do you prefer to buy your own coffee beans?
K-Cups, Nespresso pods, and other coffee pods can be expensive compared to buying coffee beans in bulk. You don’t have to grind or measure your own beans, but that convenience may cost you a bit more.
If you’re the only coffee drinker in your family, or your family members all prefer different kinds of coffee, single-serve brewers can be more efficient. People in the coffee industry joke that before single-serve machines, the sink was their best customer. Your coffee pods can save you money by helping you avoid using more coffee beans than you need or brewing more coffee than you can drink.
If you’re not sure, or you’re sharing your machine with someone with different priorities, you may want to look for flexibility. Many single-serve machines have the option of using pre-packaged pods or reusable pods that you fill yourself. Have a tea or hot chocolate drinker in the house? Look for machines with dedicated hot water buttons, or pick up hot chocolate pods for your K-Cup compatible brewer.
If you worry about the plastic from all those pods, choose a coffee maker that’s compatible with reusable mesh filters, or look into Nespresso’s pod recycling program.
What makes a high-quality single-serve coffee maker? Convenience is the name of the game here, so you want to avoid impediments to a smooth brewing experience. Before you shop, take a moment to think about what you’re looking for from a coffee maker.
Once you’ve decided what you want, it should be simpler to find your perfect single-serve coffee maker. If you’re pressed for time, look for a streamlined machine with a fast brewing time. Short on space? Keep a close eye on the coffee makers’ dimensions. Travel a lot or shopping for an RV? Choose a brewer that weighs five pounds or less.
Coffee machines with more complicated features may be more likely to malfunction, so keep an eye on the product warranties. All the products reviewed here have at least a one-year warranty, but some go up to three. Keep in mind that any machine you buy from Amazon is covered by its tech support for 90 days.
The bottom line? The Keurig K55, with its impressive and intuitive range of features, competitive pricing, and broad coffee pod compatibility, is our all-around favorite single-serve coffee brewer. If your budget’s a little tighter, we recommend the Mueller Ultima as the absolute best value for money. And if you want the most customization, take a look at the feature-packed Cuisinart SS-10.
With so many single-serve coffee makers on the market, it can be difficult and time-consuming to find your ideal machine. We hope that our list of the 10 best machines, plus our guide to picking out your perfect brewer, helps you narrow the field.
Table of Contents
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