Single serve coffee makers are at the top for convenience. Not all of us need to keep a pot of coffee brewed. Besides, freshly-brewed coffee always tastes better. So, if you don’t really have a need for a large coffee maker, single-serves are a natural choice.
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Keurig has long dominated the single-serve space, but their offerings aren’t essentially the best single serve coffee makers. There is vibrant competition in the market and single-serve Keurig alternatives make a grand appearance.
Keurig and K cups hold the lion’s share of the single serve market. But there are several exciting alternatives available as well. Let’s take a look at the best offerings for single-serve goodness.
Best Single Cup Coffee Maker To Consider For Your Home
Best K Cup Coffee Makers
- Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker
- Cuisinart SS-10 Premium Single-Serve Coffeemaker
- Sboly Single Serve Coffee Maker Brewer
- Chefman InstaCoffee Single Serve Coffee Maker
- Mr. Coffee BVMC SC100 Single Serve Coffee Maker
- Keurig K-Elite Coffee Maker
- Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Single Serve Coffee Maker (49974)
Single Serve No-Pod Coffee Makers
- Wirsh Single Serve Coffee Maker
- AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
- Casara Single Serve Coffee Maker
- Hamilton Beach Scoop Single Serve Coffee Maker (49981A)
- BLACK+DECKER Coffeemaker
- Star Wars 1-Cup Coffee Maker with Mug (And Other Popular Culture Characters)
- Mr. Coffee Single Cup Coffee Maker with Travel Mug and Built-In Grinder
No K-Cup Pod Options
Editor’s Pick: Keurig K-Elite Coffee Maker
One of the most successful offerings from Keurig, the K-Elite is a pro at delivering great coffee. The feature-rich coffee maker has a large reservoir, so it doesn’t need refilling often. The choice of beverage sizes goes from 4 to 12 oz in 2 oz steps, allowing you to get the preferred size with ease. The coffee maker has excellent temperature control and brews a remarkable cup of coffee.
Editor’s Choice (No Pod): AeroPress
AeroPress is in a class of its own. For a while, I debated if this manual coffee maker should find a place on this list. But hey, we’re here for single-serve coffee makers, not electric or automatic coffee makers. The simplicity to brew and its remarkable flexibility make AeroPress an excellent choice. It’s also very reasonably priced and makes an amazing cup of coffee.
K Cup Coffee Maker Reviews – Picking The One For You
1. Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker
Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker has a slightly unique place amongst Keurig coffee makers. That’s because of the presence of an automatic milk frother on this machine. The setup is capable of perfectly frothed milk for cappuccinos, lattes, and cold froth. That gives you more options for beverages you can get out of your Keurig single serve.
Lattes and cappuccinos need a shot of espresso, but this machine can’t exactly brew a true espresso. There is no pump to deliver the (minimum) 9 bars of pressure required for a quality espresso.
Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker gets around that problem by making a very strong, concentrated shot of 2 oz. Though not a true espresso, this shot can reasonably pass off as a strong espresso base for your cappuccino or latte. It gets better if you use strong espresso K cups for a more authentic feel and flavor.
You can use reusable K cups with this machine. Just remember to use conventional medium grind for your Keurig, rather than the fine grind used for espresso. A fine grind is very likely to clog the filter in the reusable K cups.
While espresso-style drinks are the big news here, Keurig K-Cafe also brews regular coffee like any other Keurig. Available brew sizes are 6, 8, 10, and 12 oz.
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Convenience is still king for this coffee maker. It comes with a convenient 60 oz water reservoir and brewer maintenance reminders.
Other notable features include auto shut off after 2 hours of inactivity, high altitude setting, and smart start so that the coffee maker delivers your cup quickly after being switched on. Thanks to a removable drip tray, the machine can accommodate travel mugs up to 7.2-inch in height.
- Includes automatic milk frother (dishwasher safe for easier cleaning)
- Large, removable water reservoir at 60 oz
- Simple controls
- Brews a 2 oz shot of coffee for a very strong brew
- Normal brew size options have strength control
- High-altitude setting
- Doesn’t brew true espresso so the cappuccino and latte may not taste authentic
- Auto-off feature may trip some GFCI circuit breakers
- Large footprint due to the presence of the milk frother
2. Cuisinart SS-10 Premium Single-Serve Coffeemaker
Cuisinart SS-10 Premium Single-Serve Coffeemaker is one of the most remarkable single-serve coffee makers available. It comes at a great price and includes enough features that make it a desirable pick.
A large, backlit display shows off the active functions of the machine. Conveniently placed buttons make it possible to quickly choose the brew you want. Cuisinart SS-10 offers several brew-size options, going from 4 to 12 oz in 2 oz steps. The coffee maker also includes a hot water dispenser and auto-clean/rinse function for easier maintenance.
Cuisinart SS-10 has a removable 72 oz water reservoir and a removable drip tray. The machine is compatible with K cups and also includes a reusable coffee filter for when you want to brew your own coffee. It’s a great machine, but we can’t help but lament that it doesn’t measure up to the build quality of its predecessor, the Cuisinart SS700.
- Good value for money
- Works with K cups and has filter for regular ground coffee
- Large, 72 oz water reservoir
- Adjustable temperature control
- Large, clear backlit LCD
- The machine feels large and bulky
- Though easy to operate, it is more complex than its competitors
3. Sboly Single Serve Coffee Maker Brewer
This compact, single-serve coffee maker is a good choice for a quick fix. It works with K cups and ground coffee, giving you ample choices of brew. The operation is simple enough, there are just two buttons. One for when you brew a K cup and the other kicks in when using ground coffee.
Pressing both buttons together sets off a rinse cycle that cleans the pipes of the machine. It’s a good option for regular maintenance as well as when you want to brew different flavors one after the other. For example, it surely helps when you’re done brewing a hot chocolate K cup and want to brew regular coffee next.
Sboly Single Serve Coffee Maker Brewer doesn’t offer electronic/automatic brew-size adjustment. This coffee maker will brew the entire water reservoir, which has a maximum limit of 14 oz and requires a minimum of 6 oz to brew. Pour in your desired water volume and press the button to get it rolling.
Compact as it is, this isn’t a fast coffee maker. You’ll have to wait about three minutes for the brew to fill your cup. It is slow, but it is somewhat common for compact coffee makers like this Sboly.
It works easily with regular K cups, but when you choose coffee grounds, the machine pretty much demands its own reusable filters. It’s pretty tough to get conventional reusable K cups to work with this coffee maker, if they work at all.
- Well-priced coffee maker
- Good temperature control for brewing
- Auto shut-off after brewing
- Auto rinse/clean function
- Doesn’t work with regular reusable K cups (needs its own filter)
- Takes about three minutes to brew a single cup
4. Chefman InstaCoffee Single Serve Coffee Maker
Chefman InstaCoffee Single Serve Coffee Maker lives up to its name. It is pretty fast to brew, delivering a cup of coffee in just 30 seconds. That’s fast for any coffee maker, but is particularly impressive for compact coffee makers like this one.
The coffee maker works with K cups and also includes a reusable filter of its own. Chefman InstaCoffee comes with its own mug, which adds more value to this coffee maker. Good value and decent coffee make this one of the best cheap K cup coffee makers available.
Quite like similar coffee makers, there is no brew-size selection. It will drain its water reservoir and use whatever volume is available to brew coffee for you.
Chefman InstaCoffee Single Serve Coffee Maker has a 14 oz water reservoir and thus will brew (maximum) one large cup at a time. While the machine is fast, its heater is slow to catch up. It is possible for the brew to be weaker than its competition, though that’s not always the case.
- Good value for money
- Delivers coffee very fast – 30 second brew time
- Can fit travel mugs with ease
- Coffee temperature may be lower due to fast brewing
5. Mr. Coffee BVMC SC100 Single Serve Coffee Maker
Dependability and value are the core appeals of Mr. Coffee BVMC SC100 Single Serve Coffee Maker. It whips up decent coffee at the touch of a button and delivers it straight to your cup. The remarkably compact design barely takes any space and fits in nicely with any counter space.
The water reservoir here is just 10 oz. It’s smaller than similar one cup coffee makers, but is a good way to ensure a decently strong brew. Mr. Coffee BVMC SC100 includes a reusable filter, so you can use regular coffee grounds with this machine.
- Very easy to use
- Compact design
- Auto shut-off after brewing
- Could use a better build quality
6. Keurig K-Elite Coffee Maker
Keurig K-Elite Coffee Maker is a feature-rich coffee maker and our top choice for this category. The remarkable brewing system has easy brew size selection for 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 oz. An “iced coffee” button is available, for a stronger brew suitable for cooling over ice.
A small screen allows easy maneuvering of the programmable settings. You can select a temperature from 187-192 degrees Fahrenheit to suit your preferences. The temperature is slightly lower than recommended (195-205°F) for coffee extraction but still manages good extraction and flavor.
While the machine works with practically any K cup, convenient manipulation of brew size and temperature makes it great for brewing the strongest K cups. Apart from easy maneuvering of temperature, the display also enables the display of high-altitude mode. Of course, you can always set it up to display the time.
Other notable features include a brew strength selector (regular and bold), a 75 oz removable water reservoir, and hot water on demand.
- Feature-rich coffee maker
- High-altitude temperature setting
- Customizable temperature settings
- Very easy to use
- Fast brewing in under a minute
- Consumer reports suggest many machines develop problems with short pours (not dispensing full cup size)
7. Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Single Serve Coffee Maker (49974)
Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Single Serve Coffee Maker (49974) has been consistent as one of the best value machines in our K cup coffee maker reviews. For a budget machine, it is remarkably feature-rich and performs pretty well.
As a compact single-serve brewer, the machine doesn’t offer any brew-size options. Instead, it will brew the full 14 oz reservoir. But there is a small exception here. Where K cups are involved, the machine will only brew a maximum of 10 oz. When using coffee grounds, you can get the full 14 oz brew to fill a travel mug.
This strategy is likely intended to ensure that the brew from the K cup remains strong, rather than feel watered down. The adjustable cup rest enables convenient use of different sizes of travel mugs and cups. It also provides storage for the reusable filter when it’s not in use.
Apart from K cups and ground coffee, Hamilton Beach FlexBrew 49974 can also work with Melitta soft pods. So there’s a fairly good range of options available to use at your pleasure.
- Excellent value for money
- Works with K cups, ground coffee, soft pods
- Offers brew strength adjustment (regular and bold)
- Can fit an 8-inch travel mug
- Needs more than three minutes to brew a cup
- Questionable longevity
Best No Pod Single-Serve Coffee Makers
1. Wirsh Single Serve Coffee Maker
Sleek, modern design, and interesting features make this coffee maker quick to catch eyeballs. Wirsh Single Serve Coffee Maker is quite shiny and silver. It looks like they got some matte looks in to tone it down a bit, though it doesn’t seem to have helped much. True, it looks a bit odd, but the coffee maker also manages a sleek and interesting appearance.
This single cup drip coffee maker includes a compact machine and a travel mug. At its base, you’ll find a backlit display and buttons for control.
One very interesting aspect is that Wirsh Single Serve Coffee Maker is programmable and can be set to brew coffee at your preferred time. The programmable 24-hour timer is pretty much a regular feature for conventional drip coffee makers, but is rare in single-serve machines.
Wirsh Single Serve Coffee Maker (Casara Coffee Maker TO GO) has a 14 oz reservoir, and the included travel mug is 14 oz too. This is a double-walled, insulated travel mug made from food-grade stainless steel. There are coffee mugs that size that cost more than this entire machine and mug combined.
I see the combination as incredible value, but I’m also suspicious. It seems too good to be true. The coffee maker also includes a permanent filter that works well with medium-coarse grinds.
- Excellent value for money
- Programmable coffee maker with 24 hour timer
- Includes double-walled insulated stainless steel tumbler
- Easy to use control panel
- Questionable durability
2. AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
The versatile yet simple AeroPress deserves all the praise that comes its way. This easy to use coffee press uses a “rapid, total immersion” process to quickly extract coffee. It can make a strong cup of American coffee and even gets pretty close to brewing espresso.
AeroPress claims that it has less acidity than French press because of the lower contact time. Additionally, its microfilter catches most of the grit and you get a clear, smooth cup of coffee. The brew is indeed pretty strong and enjoyable. Its small size and ease of use make the AeroPress extremely portable.
You can carry it along wherever you like and get the brew of your choice. I’d say it’s as portable as the French press travel mugs, but makes better coffee because it’s not sized down like the mugs. Though it requires manual effort to brew, it isn’t too complicated and can be handled fairly easily.
- Attractive pricing
- Easy to use and maintain
- Tritan construction is shatterproof and free from BPA, BPS, and other analogs
- It can be difficult to keep consistent pressure when brewing
- The coffee maker has a learning curve
3. Casara Single Serve Coffee Maker
At first look, Casara Single Serve Coffee Maker can look pretty much the same as the Wirsh Single Serve we see above. The comparison is pretty much on point; these coffee makers are practically twins. The larger difference here is the packaging and the slight difference in the travel mugs.
Casara has a sleeve on its travel mug to make it easier and more convenient to carry. The features include programmable automatic brewing, 14 oz water reservoir, backlit LCD, and easy to use controls. A permanent filter is included with this coffee maker.
- Good value
- Programmable coffee maker with 24 hour timer
- Easy to use
- Loud and noisy
4. Hamilton Beach Scoop Single Serve Coffee Maker (49981A)
Going the way of no pods becomes very easy with the Hamilton Beach Scoop Single Serve Coffee Maker (49981A). It claims to be a “fast” brewing machine taking 2.5 minutes to fill up a 14 oz mug. That is nowhere near fast, however, it fills up an 8 oz cup in under 90 seconds, so there’s some good to the claim.
Hamilton Beach Scoop Single Serve Coffee Maker has its highest brew size at 14 oz, which is also the size of its water reservoir. As with similar machines, the brew size can be controlled by adding the amount of water per your choice.
The coffee maker has two brewing options: regular and bold. The brew-strength adjustment is simple and can be handled by the touch of a button. A height-adjustable drip tray makes it easy to fill tall travel mugs and regular cups.
- Attractive pricing
- Auto shut-off after brewing
- Brew strength adjustment (regular and bold)
- Easy to use
- Low durability
5. BLACK+DECKER Coffeemaker
The biggest asset of the BLACK+DECKER Brew&Go Coffeemaker is the brand’s trusted name. We expect the coffee maker to be resilient and robust due to the name it carries. Of course, most of Black+Decker’s recent products haven’t lived up to expectations, but hope survives.
This coffee maker was not a disappointment. It brews good coffee and has a sturdy build. The coffee maker comes with a 15 oz travel mug and that also represents its reservoir capacity. It’s a far cry from being the best single serve coffee maker, given the more capable (and expensive) competition. However, it doesn’t fail to impress.
Much like the coffee maker, the included permanent filter is sturdy as well and looks like it’s built to last. BLACK+DECKER Brew&Go Coffeemaker takes minimal space. The coffee maker also quick on energy saving and shuts off automatically after brewing is complete.
There is another story here as well. The well-built, remarkably cheap coffee maker often doesn’t last very long. I guess you have to settle the cost somewhere.
- Low priced coffee maker
- Brews good coffee
- Fairly well-built
- Auto shut-off after brewing
- Doesn’t last long
6. Star Wars 1-Cup Coffee Maker with Mug (And Other Popular Culture Characters)
Okay… who added this coffee maker to this list? It’s an interesting coffee maker, but it certainly doesn’t fit in the line of the “best” coffee makers. I’ll confess, I made room for this coffee maker due to the lovely popular culture references. It shows popular characters and inspirations quite well and creatively.
This particular coffee maker is Star Wars themed and includes a ceramic mug. The Rebel Alliance logo makes its presence felt at the front of the coffee maker. Although the bigger draw here is Chewbacca’s face on the coffee mug.
The single serve coffee maker has a maximum capacity of 12 oz, the same as the mug. You can brew 8-12 oz coffee with this machine. There isn’t enough space for a travel mug, so you’ll have to make do with the one provided. And let’s be honest, that mug is awesome.
It’s a well-priced machine and brews a fairly decent cup. Just don’t expect it to do wonders if you don’t want to be disappointed! The operation is fairly simple – once you’re ready, just press the button and it will spurt into action.
- Simple and straightforward coffee maker
- Interesting, attractive design
- Build quality leaves much to be desired
7. Mr. Coffee Single Cup Coffee Maker with Travel Mug and Built-In Grinder
The best way to enjoy coffee is using fresh-ground beans to brew. It’s recommended that you use a quality burr grinder to get coffee to the preferred grind size. However, when convenience is at the top of our concerns, a coffee maker with a built-in grinder comes into play.
Mr. Coffee Single Cup Coffee Maker with Travel Mug and Built-In Grinder is an excellent specimen of single cup grind and brew coffee makers. At the touch of a button, the built-in grinder comes to life, grinds beans, and transfers them to the filter basket.
Here, they meet water from the reservoir and the coffee is brewed. Apart from the presence of a grinder, this coffee maker is pretty much the same as other budget single-serve machines. The reservoir on this machine is 16 oz, and you can adjust coffee volume depending on how much water you add to the reservoir.
It is possible to bypass the grinder and use this coffee maker with regular coffee grinds. Two buttons are available for operation – one starts brewing with the grinder, while the other takes the regular route to brew coffee.
Like other single cup machines with grinders, this machine too uses a blade grinder. This kind of grinder is not the best choice for grinding coffee – ideally, it’s best to avoid it. But if you really need a single-serve coffee maker with grinder, Mr. Coffee Single Cup Coffee Maker with Travel Mug and Built-In Grinder will do just fine.
- Easy to use and operate
- Includes a large travel mug
- Reliable built-in grinder
- Blade grinders aren’t the best picks for grinding coffee
- Difficult to clean
No K-Cup Pod Options For Your Coffee Maker
In our search for the best single-serve coffee maker, it makes good sense to consider machines that use pods other than K cups. The biggest competition for Keurig here is Nespresso, though its market share is tiny in comparison to that of Keurig.
Machines and pods are also available from several other companies, including illy and Lavazza, but Nespresso remains the most relevant option. So my picks here belong to Nespresso.
1. Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine
A delightful coffee maker, Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine doesn’t fail to impress. An interesting aspect is that this coffee maker is that it doesn’t use a pump to generate pressure for espresso. Instead, it relies on Nespresso’s Centrifusion technology. In this system, the inserted pods rotate fast and the forces create pressure large enough to brew espresso.
The espresso is enjoyable and as good as with conventional methods, though it does lack somewhat in crema. But espresso isn’t the only beverage available.
Nespresso Vertuo can also brew coffee. There are no specific settings for users to engage when switching from espresso to coffee or to other beverages. Each pod has barcodes that the machine reads and follows the appropriate recipe.
This coffee machine has a 54 ounce removable water reservoir, so it doesn’t need refills often. There are five brew sizes available, Espresso (1.35 ounce), Double Espresso (2.7 ounce), Gran Lungo (5 ounce), Coffee (7.7 ounce) and Alto (14 ounce). It’s rather easy to customize the brew sizes to your preferences as required.
Nespresso machines aren’t always produced by Nespresso. Other coffee makers are often involved, the common ones being De’Longhi and Breville. Some specifics can vary between manufacturers, but the overall operation of the machine remains constant. The machine featured here is the Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine by De’Longhi.
- Brews espresso and coffee in a single machine
- Simple to use – the coffee maker automatically picks recipe to suit the pod
- Large water reservoir
- Good quality construction
- The Vertuo is pretty much locked to using Nespresso pods
2. Nespresso Pixie Espresso Machine
If you want a more conventional espresso, Nespresso Pixie Espresso Machine is a great pick. The espresso maker comes with a 19 bar pressure pump that brews espresso at its best pressure. It does have trouble holding pressure but manages to keep it good enough to brew an impressive cup of espresso.
The brew quality and crema are both excellent and attest to the capabilities of this machine. It brews two customizable sizes, with the defaults at Espresso (2.7 oz) or Lungo (5 oz). Pixie is quick with delivering the brew, taking just 25 seconds to start pouring. An auto-off function kicks in after 9 minutes to conserve energy.
Nespresso Pixie uses conventional Nespresso capsules, rather than pods used by Vertuo. There are more options available with capsules, though the variety is nowhere near that offered by K cups.
- Brews excellent espresso
- Easily customizable brew sizes
- Folding drip tray to accommodate various cup sizes
- Quick to deliver – starts pouring in 25 seconds
- Limited selection of espresso capsules
Things You Should Know – A Buying Guide To The Best Single Cup Coffee Maker
To Pod Or Not To Pod
When picking single-serve coffee makers, an important aspect to consider is whether you want a machine that uses pods or one that uses regular ground coffee. Pods are the epitome of convenience. Just shove one into the coffee maker, hit a button, and you get your choice of coffee.
This simple convenience is what propelled Keurig to the top of the niche and made it the biggest players. The downside, of course, is that used K cups create a lot of waste. There are tens of billions of K cups in landfills – and no, I’m not exaggerating. Even the so-called recyclable K cups rarely see recycling.
Other pods have more or less similar stories, though Nespresso seems to have a better recycling program for its pods and capsules.
In any case, if environmental concerns weigh on your purchase decisions, skip any pod-based coffee machine. Using ground coffee is way better for the environment, and arguably, for taste as well.
Another advantage of using ground coffee is that it is remarkably cheaper than using any form of pods. Regular coffee drinkers will save a lot of money over the year by choosing ground coffee over pods.
The Machine Quality And Warranty
When we buy an appliance, we expect it to last several years. However, not all machines are created equal and some will barely last months. Some of the cheaper machines, especially, are unlikely to last a long time.
I’d like to say paying for a more expensive machine will solve the problem, but that’s not true. In our world of cost-cutting maneuvers, even pricier machines have a high risk of failure. Admittedly, they do tend to fare better than cheap machines.
So it becomes important to look at the warranty. Not just the warranty being offered, but how far the company goes in honoring their warranty and standing beside their product. A comprehensive warranty and a good company will save you from a lot of worries.
Buying the best pod coffee maker isn’t just about features, but also how much you can expect from the coffee maker. A reliable, long-lasting machine is the way to go.
Space, Budget, And Feature Requirements
Single-serve machines are available in a variety of options. And obviously, they fit different requirements. You can get the best K cup coffee maker for less than 50 bucks or you could spend more than $200. At the end of the day, how the machine responds to your needs is the best bet.
Our list here includes several compact coffee makers that have a tiny footprint. Small water reservoirs and limited features allow these machines to settle in with tiny counter space. Larger, more feature-rich machines may need more space.
These larger machines, like the Keurig K-Cafe, need more space and are more expensive. But, the machine also has a lot of interesting features that coffee lovers enjoy.
Single Serve Coffee Maker FAQs
Are Single Serve Coffee Makers worth it?
Totally! The convenience of getting a quick cup of coffee is not to be taken lightly. Many of us simply need a quick cup and don’t have the requirement (or patience) for the drip coffee maker to fill a carafe.
Besides, single-serve machines make it easy for everyone to pick the coffee flavor and brew of their choice. For pod-based machines (like K cups), the available range of flavors, coffees, and beverages is just plain impressive.
But yeah, there’s a preference angle too. If you’re happy with your carafe coffee system, no need to switch now!
How often do you need to clean a coffee maker?
Pretty regularly! Daily maintenance can involve cleaning out any coffee grounds or pods from your machine, wiping off its surface, and using a rinse cycle (or hot water cycle) to clean the pipes. Depending on your use, a deep clean and descaling are required every 1-2 months.
Can I use coffee pods in a regular coffee maker?
It’s complicated. Pods work only with compatible coffee makers. However, the coffee inside them doesn’t discriminate! You can use K cups in a regular coffee maker, or other pods with coffee makers. However, you might have to get creative. The pour over method is most likely to work, though other methods like dipping coffee in hot water might work too.
The Bottom Line — What Do You Want From Your Single-Serve Coffee Maker?
The variety of choices and available features can be overwhelming when you decide to buy a single-serve coffee maker. In some ways, it is a customer’s paradise, enabling them to buy the best single serve coffee maker that answers to their needs. You can conveniently choose a coffee maker that fits your budget, the counter space, and comes true to your expectations!
Our selection here presents the best coffee makers that are commercial successes and have received love from customers and reviewers. We hope that these reviews and selections are informative, and can help you zero-in on the device you want.