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9 Best Single-Serve Coffee Makers (Manually Tested)

Single serve coffee maker photos

I love single-serve coffee makers because they brew coffee fast and you enjoy fresh coffee every time. I also like the flexibility they offer a household too. I may want regular while my wife prefers decaf. With a large coffee maker such as a drip brewer, you don’t get that flexibility.

I’m not the only one who loves single-cup coffee machines. They are very popular and there are a lot of models available for you to choose from.

In fact, when we decided to switch to a single-cup coffee brewer, we had no clue which one to get. As publisher of this site, I thought it would help us as well as readers if I invested in several machines, try them all out and then choose one or two for our home.

That’s what I did. I bought 12 single-cup brewers and tested them all. This article sets out the best for a variety of different types of single-serve coffee makers.

Below are my picks for the best single-cup coffee machines by category.

Testing Methods

To date, I have purchased 12 single-serve coffee makers. I did not receive the machines for free, nor was I paid to include any brand in this list. However, I do have an affiliate relationship with Amazon, so if you click a link in this article and buy something, I may receive a commission.

I tested all 12 machines extensively over a several week period and then tested more again 2.5 years later (2019).

This page sets out my conclusion, but please keep in mind I have not tested every model available.

IMPORTANT: My picks are my opinion and while based on actually using many of the leading models, it’s important you do your own due diligence before buying one.

Experts weigh in: I also reached out to “coffee experts” and asked them their opinions as to the best single-serve coffee makers. Their responses are included below.

Here’s our list of the best single-serve coffee makers.

1. Best OVERALL: Keurig K-Elite

Keurig K-elite coffee maker

We have three of these. It’s our coffee maker. Having tried many single-serve coffee makers over the years, my favorite is the Keurig K-Elite. We use it as our main coffee maker at home, have one in the basement and one in my office.

  • Super compact – 5″ wide.
  • Very reasonably priced.
  • Dead simple to use. Pour water, put in pod, push button. Duh!!!
  • Looks cool (it really does).
  • Travel-mug friendly.
  • Takes “minutes” to brew.
  • Small reservoir (enough water for one cup). But what do you expect for “compact”?
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2. Best COMPACT: Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker

Keurig K-Mini Plus

The first generation Keurig Mini Plus

Here’s the first-generation Keurig K-Mini Plus. I think Keurig’s new model is way, way better. It’s truly compact plus looks much better. I owned the first generation and it worked just fine. I used it in my office.

Older keurig K mini plus

Yeah, Keurig claims another category in our list of best single-serve coffee makers just because in my experience having used many coffee makers, it performs the best, lasts the longest, makes good coffee and are super simple to use. I’m biased AGAINST complicated, almost-computer-like coffee makers.

Basit Ali from The says:

The Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker is perfect! It’s small, easy to use, and makes a great cup of coffee.

I’ve tried a few different coffee makers and this one is my favorite. It’s smaller and compact size makes it portable and easy to carry for vacation trips. It doesn’t take up a lot of counter space. You just pop in a K-Cup pod, press the button, and in few minutes you have a fresh cup of coffee. Its brewing capacity is between 6 – 12 oz that works fine
for me.

There are a few things you can do to improve the coffee taste from your Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker. First, make sure to use fresh, cold water and discard the first batch of water that comes out after you’ve brewed your coffee. Also, try using bottled or filtered water instead of tap water – this often results in better tasting coffee. Finally, if you’re using a pre-ground coffee pod, make sure to stir it around in the brewer before brewing for even distribution.

It also has an automatic shutoff feature so if you forget to turn it off after you finish brewing, it will automatically turn off after 90 seconds from your last brew, helping to save energy. And since it’s made by Keurig, you know the coffee is going to be good.

Ashley Harris from also loves and chooses this maker as her favorite (and best) saying: 

Size and Simplicity: The Keurig K-Mini plus is one of the smallest single serve coffee makers on the market, which is perfect for me because I don’t have a lot of counter space in my kitchen. And, even though it’s small, it doesn’t sacrifice simplicity. The K-Mini plus has a one-touch button operation – just add water to the reservoir, pop in a pod, and press the button. In less than 2 minutes, you have a fresh cup of coffee. It doesn’t get any easier than that!

Cost: Another reason I chose the Keurig K-Mini plus is because it’s very affordable. Cheaper single serve coffee makers usually mean sacrificing quality, but that’s not the case with the K-Mini plus. You can find this coffee maker for around $100 – that’s a great price for all the features it offers!

Taste: Of course, taste is important too. And I have to say, I was impressed with the Keurig K-Mini plus. It brews a rich and flavorful cup of coffee – exactly what I need to jump start my day!

All things considered, the Keurig K-Mini plus is my favorite single serve coffee maker on the market. It’s affordable, easy to use, and most importantly – it makes a great cup of coffee!

  • Super compact – 5″ wide.
  • Very reasonably priced.
  • Dead simple to use. Pour water, put in pod, push button. Duh!!!
  • Looks cool (it really does).
  • Travel-mug friendly.
  • Takes “minutes” to brew.
  • Small reservoir (enough water for one cup). But what do you expect for “compact”?
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3. Best BUDGET-Friendly: Hamilton Beach Flexbrew

Hamilton Beach Single Serve Coffee maker

For the money, this is a good pick. When every buck counts but you like single-serve and especially if you want to use grounds or pods, this Hamilton Beach single serve is pretty sweet.

  • Super compact – 5″ wide.
  • Very reasonably priced.
  • Dead simple to use. Pour water, put in pod, push button. Duh!!!
  • Looks cool (it really does).
  • Travel-mug friendly.
  • Takes “minutes” to brew.
  • Small reservoir (enough water for one cup). But what do you expect for “compact”?
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4. Best MULTI-DRINK: Cuisinart Single-Serve Premium Coffeemaker

Cuisinart Premium Coffee Maker

I did own this coffee maker (gave it away) and it’s good (hence it made our list). This is the deluxe single-serve coffee maker. I have a penchant for simple so I kept the Keurig Elite (and rated it best overall) but for a multi-drink machine, this is the winner.

Kathryn Henris from states the Cuisinart is the best for the same reasons I like it. Specifically, she said:

My favorite single serve coffee maker is the Cuisinart Premium Single-Serve Coffee Maker. I like it because it’s affordable, easy to use, and makes a great cup of coffee. It’s also very versatile, so you can use it with ground coffee with reusable pod or any Keurig K-Cups pods. Plus, the large water reservoir means you can make several cups of coffee without having to refill it.
In terms of taste, the coffee from the Cuisinart Premium Single-Serve Coffee Maker is very good. The coffee is rich and flavorful, and the machine does a good job of evenly extracting the coffee from the grounds.

Not only is this machine faster than Keurig machines, but it also doesn’t have a warm-up time when you first turn it on. Since it’s 100% programmable, you can set it to brew coffee with just the push of a button. And the removable drip tray makes it easy to clean.

You can make a small cup or a large one depending on your needs: 6, 8, and 10 ounces. So if you want a quick cup of coffee in the morning, this machine is perfect.

  • Choose from small or large water reservoir. I personally prefer large but it takes up more space.
  • Use K-cup pods or grounds. This machine is all about versatility.
  • Fancy multi-option screen to create pretty much any hot beverage.
  • Need just hot water? Hit the hot water button for soup, tea, hot chocolate or hot lemon water.
  • Not terribly fast for brewing. I distinctly remember this and it was a disappointment for such an advanced “premium” machine.
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5. Fastest Brew: Nespresso Machines

Nespresso single serve coffee maker

The latest model: Vertuo Plus

Nespresso now sells several single-serve models. The overall design elements haven’t changed a great deal over the years. They were beautiful when they first hit the scene and still are.

Nespresso Vertuo plus

I also owned this machine. Loved it. Didn’t want to get rid of it but it was a hassle getting Nespresso pods back then. We tended to buy K-cups instead.

This is a wicked awesome machine that makes the best-tasting pod coffee. More importantly for me in the morning, it’s wicked fast. Press button, it starts brewing. I love this feature. Tassimo machines are equally fast but they’re hard to find (I’m in Canada).

I’m not the only one who really likes this maker.  Kelly from had this to say about it when asked for her favorite single-serve coffee maker:

The best single serve is hands down the Nespresso VertuoPlus machine. When you are busy the best thing you can do for your self is to be able to make coffee at home that tastes just like your favorite coffee shop. This machine makes the creamiest espresso and you choose the roast and type of coffee you would like with the pods. The machine is ready to brew in just 20 seconds, and Nespresso has recipes for lattes and other drinks on the website that turn out every-time! The VuertuoPlus comes with a one year warranty and if you buy it through nespesso you get a pretty great welcome kit with a bunch of different coffees to try so you can find your favorite!

Alex Mastin, CEO and Founder of also favors the Nespresso Vertuo Plus saying:

As a coffee connoisseur, I’ve found that the Nespresso VertuoPlus deserves all of the praise it receives. When I don’t have the time to make my brew by hand, this machine is my go-to. With this machine, you can make single servings of coffee and espresso with the same machine. It’s both convenient and time-saving.

The brewing system is composed of a 40-ounce removable water tank, a 29-inch cable for extended access, and a precision brewing system. The automatic machine makes inserting and removing the capsules simple. This machine also brews a wide range of coffees, either 5 oz or 8 oz, and espressos/double espressos.

The heating time is a quick 20 seconds, and the brew time varies depending on the type of coffee or espresso being brewed. The machine self-adapts to brewing parameters such as temperature, pressure, and brewing time, which
makes a consistent quality cup of coffee time and time again.

The only downside, in my opinion, is this machine only brews with Nespresso brand pods. A generic pod that can be used in Keurigs cannot be used in this machine. However, I believe the quality of the coffee is worth the
extra money you will spend.

If you want a FAST brewing single-serve coffee maker that tasted great, get a Nespresso.

  • Wicked fast brew.
  • Amazingly good pod coffee. The best.
  • Looks super cool. It’s a prestigious brand (even though it’s not really that expensive).
  • Get a nice foam topping with the coffee (I love this).
  • Nespresso pods aren’t all that widely available. Not all grocery stores carry them (especially my grocery store).
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6. Best HYBRID (Drip Pot & K-Cups): CUISINART

Cuisinart Hybrid Coffee Maker

I gotta say Cuisinart makes killer appliances and their coffee makers are no exception. My first hybrid drip / pod coffee maker was Hamilton & Beach. That thing was cool but didn’t last terribly long. I love Cuisinart because it works, produces quality coffee and is durable. It’s a killer brand.

The hybrid drip / pod maker is a great option. I found it super useful because making single-serve coffee for 4 or more people is a real drag.

  • Hybrid maker – brew a pot and/or brew a pod. Great for a home coffee maker. Use singles when on your own. Brew a pot when company is over.
  • Durable, sturdy machine that makes good coffee regardless whether drip or pod.
  • Pod single serve accomodates pods or grounds.
  • Good-sized 40oz water reservoir. Not the biggest you can get but it’s passable.
  • Not the simplest machine. Lots od dials and buttons. While some people might like bells and whistles, I don’t. My favorite appliances have one button.
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7. Best TASTING: Nespresso

Nespresso Single Serve Coffee Maker

Nespresso wins another category just because it’s such a great single-serve machine. It arguably wins two of the most important categories – best tasting and fastest brew. Sadly, buying Nespresso pods is not as convenient as buying K-cups. That’s the downfall IMO.

Anyway, if it’s taste you want, get a Nespresso. It’s strong, rich and frothy. Both my wife and I were blown away the first time we had Nespresso.

Chad Wyatt from weighed in saying the Nespresso Vertuo Plus is his top pick for best single-serve coffee maker. Specifically he said:

I run a coffee blog and have traveled the world trying different coffees for over a decade.

The best single-serve machine IMO is anything from Nespresso but in particular the Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee and Espresso Machine by Breville. The design is exactly what you would expect from a single-serve, slim, but it’s also unique in its shape.

The color is sleek and it fits into the kitchen well, or a coffee bar if you have one. It uses the larger Vertuo coffee pods so you can get a larger cup of coffee, which I prefer. The water carafe is not hidden behind the machine as some do, so you can easily see when to fill up – it’s also operated by a single button. There’s really no messing around – just fill up, press the button, and enjoy the coffee. It keeps making coffee simple and great tasting, without the hassle of learning functions and buttons.

Jennifer Pailian from claims Nespresso, specifically the Nespresso Vertuo Black Round Head as her favorite based on flavor saying:

By way of quick introduction, I am a food scientist, registered dietitian and published food writer. As a former barista and previous brand ambassador for both Keurig and Breville, I have tried dozens of coffee machines and feel very well-positioned to answer your questions with authority (and without conflict of interest – my favorite was purchased myself and is neither of those brands).

It would be a pleasure to amplify your article to my 86K Instagram followers as well. Now, diving right into your question, in 200 words:

Having tried dozens of coffee machines, including the entire range of Keurig, the Nespresso Vertuo is hands-down my favorite for great-tasting coffee that rivals my espresso machine.

Nespresso machines all produce really good-tasting coffee with a beautiful, buttery crema.

We own a Vertuo Black Round Head.

I like this model specifically because of the versatility in output – you can make an 8-oz cup of coffee as easily as an espresso shot with a couple of options in between.

I’m a big fan of the range of coffee varieties (I am personally partial to the light and fruity flavors of the Ethiopian capsule, but my husband prefers the darker, more chocolatey South American options). Either way, the coffee is smooth and delicious.

The Nespresso Vertuo yields a great coffee in seconds with the simple touch of a button. Happy to enjoy espresso without the mess of actually grinding espresso. This machine conveniently disposes of the used pod into the enclosed bin automatically when you lift the lid.

The environment has always been a concern for me with single-serve coffee machines, so I appreciate that I can take the capsules back to the espresso store for recycling.

Lastly, Mike Murphy, founder and editor-in-chief of as well as a barista said the following

Mike has always had Nespresso machines in his home, but the Vertuo Next machine is definitely his favorite. Firstly, the Vertuo Nespresso pods have a much better taste than the original ones as the pods are being rotated.

At the same time, hot water passes through them, providing a much better flow rate because of their wider surface. Therefore, the coffee has a much richer taste. Secondly, there are numerous coffee flavors to choose from, so coffee lovers can experiment with creating their unique taste. Thirdly, the Vertuo Next is very simple to use with 6 different coffee sizes to choose from, which helps diversify your coffee-drinking habits. Finally, its dimensions are average: 14.2 x 42.9 x 31.4cm, so it fits most kitchens perfectly. In conclusion, the Vertuo Next is perfect for coffee lovers that like to drink different coffee sizes and not just espressos, while also being simple to use and clean when needed.

  • Best tasting single serve coffee.
  • Reasonably priced for the quality.
  • Fastest brew (that I know of).
  • If you like froth, this is the single serve maker to buy.
  • Looks super cool on the counter – prestigious brand.
  • Not easy to buy Nespresso pods (i.e. not widely available in grocery stores).
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8. Best Single Serve Coffee Maker for College Students: Hamilton Beach FlexBrew 2-Way

Hamilton Beach 2-Way FlexBrew

I know college students make up a small percentage of the coffee maker buying market but I’ve owned this exact machine and I was a college student… a broke college student. Coffee helped get me through.

The Flexbrew machine is ideal because it brews grounds (cheaper coffee) and makes a pot or single-serve. Often college students live in groups so the pot is handy but I know from personal experience sometimes all you need is a single. FYI, I had the first-generation 2-way Flexbrew.

  • Inexpensive (for what you get). Machine itself is budget-friendly but so too is the coffee since you can use grounds for both brewing options.
  • Flexible – brew a pot or single pod.
  • Fairly simple to operate. One thing I like about Hamilton Beach appliances is they are simple which is a big plus in my books.
  • Not the most durable machine. Mine lasted about two years.
  • Single-serve isn’t the fastest brew. That annoys me.
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Single Serve Coffee Maker Brand Favorites by Readers - Poll Results

Most popular single-serve coffee maker brands (monthly search volume chart)

Here’s a chart showing popularity by approximate monthly Google search volume:

Most popular single serve coffee makers (chart)

As you can see, Keurig is by far the most popular brand. 

Single-Serve Coffee Maker Buying Guide

Every cup fast and fresh!

Couple drinking coffee in the kitchen.

I’ve been a big pot drip coffee drinker for years. I’m nuts about drinking coffee more than I should be … but I simply enjoy it too much. I’ll drink it late into the evening after dinners (not always, but definitely when offered at a dinner party).

I guess I’m fortunate that coffee doesn’t affect my sleep (I just knocked on wood).

While the good ole pot-style drip coffee maker has served me well for years, it was time I researched and gave single-serve coffee makers a shot. When starting my research, I knew little about my options. For instance, I figured single-serve meant the same as K-cup makers… but that’s the not case.

Since I love coffee and publish this site (Home Stratosphere), I set out to buy several of the most popular single-serve coffee makers to test them. Not only do I want to get the best (for the money), but I also want to share my experience using several models and types of single-serve coffee makers. I published our very popular list of my favorite single serve coffee makers here.

Because it’s costly and time-consuming to test each machine, I’ll be slowly, but surely buying and testing several models. Therefore, do check back as we add more single-serve coffee maker reviews.

FYI – I use the terms “single-serve” and “single-cup” interchangeably.

Why on earth would anyone buy a single-serve coffee maker?

This is the question that’s been on my mind for a few years because I drink a lot of coffee. However, once I decided to look into getting one, it dawned on me (I can be obtuse sometimes). FRESHNESS.

Most of the coffee I drink throughout the day is old coffee sitting in the pot for 90 to 120 minutes. A single-serve ensures fresh coffee all day long. Once I realized this, I couldn’t get my hands on a single-cup coffee maker fast enough (duh!).

This article sets out your single-serve coffee maker options. It’s in-depth, based on my buying and using several makers. Not all single serve makers are the same.

Benefits of single-cup coffee makers

When listing benefits of single-cup coffee makers, it’s important to keep the differences of pod vs. traditional grind vs. k-cup coffee makers in mind. Each has their benefits. This list of benefits addresses the benefits of a single-serve coffee makers generally.

1. Fast: You don’t have to wait for a full pot. Moreover, in the case of pods and k-cups, you don’t need to scoop anything. Just grab it and pop it into the coffee maker.

2. Quality: Arguably, k-cup coffee is better (I personally don’t think so, but many people prefer the taste).

3. Customize: Single-serve makes it easy for everyone in the home to drink their preferred brand and strength.

4. Convenient: If you need a single cup brewed for the road, it’s easily done.

5. Drink less coffee: I drink a lot of coffee when there’s a full pot available. If I have to brew each individually, I drink less. While I’m not too concerned drinking too much coffee, it may be a concern for some people.

6. Freshness: We’ve all drank coffee out of a pot that’s been sitting around for 90 minutes or longer. There’s no question that the best cup is the first cup immediately after it’s brewed. This means one of the BIGGEST advantages of single-cup coffee makers is the fact every cup of coffee you drink is fresh.

7. Perfect work-place coffee maker: If you’re a teacher, work at home or work in an office without coffee (or you’re sick and tired of the company coffee), a single-serve coffee maker is ideal at work. I specifically bought a separate unit for my home office.

Types of single-serve coffee makers include:

  1. K-Cup/Disc/Capsule coffee makers
  2. Pod coffee makers
  3. Single Brew: Traditional ground coffee beans and filter single-serve coffee makers
  4. Hybrid coffee makers

1. K-Cup/T-Disc/Capsule Coffee Makers

K-Cup coffee makers uses a patented coffee system that’s a coffee grounds and filter in disposable small yogurt-style cups. K-Cups are the most popular, but there are other types that’s the same concept such as Tassimo’s T-Discs and Nespresso Capsules.

For convenience, I’ll simply refer to all 3 types as K-Cup coffee makers in this section because the benefits set out below are the same for all 3 types.

It’s about as low-hassle coffee making option available. The coffee quality is pretty good too.

The issue with K-cup coffee is you are restricted with which coffee makers you can use. Only select coffee makers are able to accommodate K-cups.

is the best-known and most popular K-Cup coffee maker. is another brand that accommodates K-cups. Generally, a coffee maker brands needs to be granted a license to use the K-cup technology.

K-cup technology was created by Green Mountain. It’s an undeniably brilliant business because people who buy a K-cup coffee maker are stuck buying K-cup refills over and over and over. That’s a lot of repeat customers.

T-Discs are exclusively used with Tassimo coffee makers. Nespresso capsules are for Nespresso machines exclusively. K-Cups are used by a variety of coffee maker brands.

=> Check out our K-Cup vs. T-Disc comparison Table

Specific Benefits of K-Cup Style Coffee Makers

a. Fast and convenient: It doesn’t get any easier to make a decent cup of coffee. Just grab a K-cup, put it into the coffee maker and press the “brew” button.

b. Taste: K-cup coffee definitely has a unique taste. You may be one of many people who prefer the coffee it brews.

c. Variety:  At this point, there’s a great deal of coffee brands available as K-cups. That said, you definitely have more choice using traditional coffee beans/ground coffee.

d. Reusable Option:  Fortunately, now you can buy a reusable K-cup filter that accommodates coffee grinds of your choice opening up coffee options.

e. No more guessing:  Have you ever made coffee too strong or too weak? I have. K-cups take the guess-work out of the coffee-making equation.

f. No mess:  Tired of wiping grinds off the counter? Ever accidentally dump the used coffee filter on the floor? K-cups eliminate dealing with used coffee grinds.

2. Pod Coffee Makers

Pod coffee is a convenient coffee product as well. The coffee bean grinds are placed in a tea-bag like encasement. You place the pod in the designated area and click the “brew” button.

Most of the pod coffee I’ve had is in hotels. While it’s decent, it’s not as good as a traditional loose grinds brew.

3. Single Brew: Traditional Brew Single-Serve Coffee Makers

Because one-cup offers quite a few benefits, there are traditional brew single-cup coffee makers that don’t use K-cups or pods. Instead, the coffee grinds and filter area is smaller designed to brew a single cup.

Frankly, I don’t really understand this type of coffee maker because you can simply brew less coffee with a multi-cup coffee maker. But then I drink a lot of coffee… always more than one cup.

The one big advantage is each person in the household can brew their preferred cup such as caffeinated followed by decaff.

4. Hybrid Single and Multi-Cup Coffee Makers

I like options; hence I like the hybrid style coffee makers that offer both single-serve and multi-cup brewing options. If you like flexibility, a hybrid may be the model for you.

Espresso vs. K-Cup Coffee

The reason traditional drip coffee makers remain popular is you can make multiple cups of coffee within minutes. So, if you’re going to get a single cup coffee maker, why not go for an espresso maker? After all, espresso is a richer coffee, offers more variety and easily makes one cup.

Actually, this is pretty easy to answer because while I love espresso, I generally prefer traditional drip coffee that k-cup coffee generates.

Espresso is strong which is nice once in a while, but not all the time
Espresso is not a full cup of coffee

Generally, for me because I enjoy drinking coffee throughout the day, more is more. In other words, I like having more coffee than a few sips. If I drank as much espresso as I drink coffee I’d be wired for days, plus I’d be spending more of my day brewing than working.

Buying Guide – Single Serve Coffee Makers Features to Consider

When buying a coffee maker, whether a traditional multi-cup brew or a single cup K-cup maker, there are a myriad of coffee maker features available, depending on the model you buy. The following is a huge list of features and capabilities you can find. The best approach is to find the best value coffee maker that includes as many of the features you want for your budget.

Price: There are 2 aspects to consider when pricing single-serve coffee makers. There’s the price of the machine and then the price of refills. K-Cups are the cheapest disposable coffee “pods” (compared to Tassimo T-Discs and Nespresso Capsules). With respect to the cost of the machine, expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $350.

Brew Speed: How fast does it brew a cup (I’m not very patient). Of course, the fastest doesn’t necessarily mean the best coffee… after all, it needs to brew properly. I prefer waiting an extra 45 seconds for better coffee.

Timer Feature: This is a must-have feature if you wake up more or less at the same time every day. It’s so nice to have the coffee ready to go as soon as you stumble out of bed.

Water temperature: Some makers offer variable water temperature for brewing while others don’t. This isn’t all that big of a deal unless you have a very specific temperature at which you like your coffee brewed. A good temperature range for brewing coffee is 195 to 202 degrees Fahrenheit.[1]

Hot Water:  It’s nice to be able to simply run hot water through the machine for tea, hot water and lemon, hot chocolate, etc.

Brew strength Options: This is a nice feature if you enjoy different strengths. It’s also handy if you love a particular type of coffee, but prefer to adjust its strength. In order for any particular model to adjust brew strength, it requires a larger water storage area from which the maker can adjust how much water is used for the cup of coffee.

Reusable K-cup filter option: Most offer this now, so it’s more or less a non-issue. For me it’s critical because I don’t always like using K-Cups.

Machine Size: If you place your coffee maker on the counter under an upper-level cupboard, you want to ensure it fits (including being able to lift any lid that’s required). Measure carefully and look at product dimensions.

Iced coffee/tea capability: This is a fairly rare feature, but a nice feature if you like iced beverages.

Water filtration system included: This too is rare. If you’re concerned about the flavor of the coffee you brew with unfiltered water, this feature helps ensure the water making your coffee is pristine.

Appearance: I’d consider this last, but if it comes down to 2 makers, you might as well go with the model that looks the best in your kitchen.

Water Storage/Reservoir: This is a convenience issue. While you brew one cup at a time, it’s nice to have a larger water tank so you don’t have to add water over and over for each cup.

Removable/Detachable Water Reservoir: I much prefer the makers with a water reservoir that detaches from the coffee maker so you can take it to the sink to refill. Models that don’t detach require a jug to fill and then pour into the coffee maker. Remember, single-serve coffee makers aren’t like traditional drip brewers in that they don’t have a large pot.

Transparent Water Reservoir: For any machine that offers a multi-cup water reservoir, I much prefer being able to see how much water is left. Yes, machines that aren’t designed with this feature tell you when you need water, but it’s more convenient to be able to see the water level before brewing.

Cord Length: Some machines may have a longer cord. If you have a longer cord requirement, be sure to inquire about the length of the cord.

Cup Size: If you like using large mugs, be sure the machine you buy can accommodate the height and width of your larger mugs.

Noise Level: While every single-serve coffee maker I’ve used make noise, some makes more noise than others. Generally, this isn’t a problem, but if you’re in tight quarters, you don’t want to run the risk of waking other people.

Coffee availability and selection: The big players are K-cups and Tassimo discs. Both are widely available at most grocery stores and online in a huge variety of flavors and brands. However, Nespresso capsules are not widely available. Select stores sell them and you can buy them online… but they aren’t in our local grocery stores, which makes it inconvenient for buying Nespresso pods.

Cost of the coffee: Price of K-Cups and Tassimo T-discs vary by brand. However, generally, K-Cups cost less than Tassimo T-discs and Nespresso capsules. If you’re looking the lowest priced coffee, a K-cup compatible machine is probably best. You can further lower your ongoing coffee cost if you use a machine with a reusable K-cup filter.

What Type of Single-Cup Coffee Maker Should You Buy?

A different approach, especially when choosing between a K-Cup vs. Tassimo T-Disc coffee maker is to go to wherever you buy groceries and see whether your preferred coffee brand is sold and if so, in which format (K-Cup or T-Disc). For example, if you like Starbucks coffee, I know you can buy them as K-Cups… but I haven’t seen them in Tassimo T-Disc format.

Word of Caution:

I recommend reading other customer reviews before buying any appliance. You’ll learn a lot of good and bad points about pretty much any appliance. However, I caution you to look at the overall picture instead of focusing on a few bad reviews.

The fact is when it comes to making appliances, lemons will be sold. It happens. This means, there will be some low ratings. The key is looking at the ratio of positive vs. negative reviews. If the overall consensus is highly positive, that’s a very good sign about the appliance.

Final Note:

Unless you buy a single cup coffee maker that makes both K-cup and non-K-cup coffee, I recommend you try K-cup coffee. Not everyone likes it… or I should say some people prefer traditionally brewed coffee over K-cups. Try it before you buy it.

Wrapping It Up

That wraps up our extensive write-up on what we consider the top single-serve coffee makers across key categories.

I hope our investing thousands of dollars into buying the machines and many hours testing them (I’m not complaining… I sure enjoyed all the coffee), that this helps you buy the right machine for your home.

Thanks for stopping by.


[1] How to Brew Coffee. National Coffee Association USA (NCA).