Many of the best coffee makers will involve grinding your own beans, tamping into a portafilter, and extracting fresh espresso. If you enjoy a latte or cappuccino, you will also have to steam your own milk. Some of the best single-serve coffee makers come with in-built milk dispensers that will not only brew your coffee straight from the pod, but top your drink up with hot frothy milk in minutes.  Another major perk of the best single-serve coffee makers is how compact they can be. A lot of the best espresso machines will look beautiful, but take up a lot of space on your kitchen counters. Many of the 10 single-serve pod machines in our guide will also slot right into your kitchen designs, but will also have a Nespresso or K-Cup-compatible system that cuts back on space and reduces the mess that can come from coffee grounds and steaming your own milk. 

Best single-serve coffee makers 2023

The Nespresso Vertuo line is built for coffee drinkers who also enjoy espresso drinks. The Vertuo Next is Nespresso’s most compact and sustainable design (made of over 50 percent recycled materials) but also offers the most versatility when it comes to drinking sizes.   Key Features Unlike other Nespresso models, the Next can also brew an 18oz. carafe for when one cup isn’t enough, as well as the standard 5oz., 8oz., and 14oz. options and single and double espresso shots.  Vertuo uses a barcode recognition system and knows exactly which coffee pod you’ve placed in the machine. The machine then adjusts the extraction process, including flow, volume, and temperature of water to get the best results. It also uses ‘Centrifusion’ technology, where the pods are spun at 700prm to extract every drop of flavor and also create a larger than average crema head. Why you’ll love it Nespresso remains one of the highest regarded capsule-style makers with its wide availability of over 30 coffee blends, plus a rotating schedule of limited-edition releases available will keep you from getting bored with offerings.  The machine takes just 40 seconds to heat up and we also love the fact the machine is made using 48 percent recycled plastic, although please remember to recycle your pods! The only thing this machine lacks is the ability to steam milk, but we would recommend investing in the Nespresso Aeroccino to complete the coffee experience. Sometimes, you can even find bundles where the best milk frother is sold together.  Homes & Gardens rated 5 out of 5 stars Keurig’s proprietary K-cups provide some of the most versatility in its pod machines with partnerships with top coffee brands, so you’ll rarely have to compromise giving up your favorite blend.  Key Features The K-Supreme Plus, the latest Keurig edition can make up to five 12 ounce coffees in one fill. For such a large water reservoir, you’d imagine the Supreme to be quite bulky, rather, we think it looks pretty sleek on your countertop.  However, the core design update on the K-Supreme is the incorporation of its new MultiStream technology that extracts more flavor and aroma in every brew. Rather than the singular puncture in the center of the k-cup, the MultiStream uses 5 entrance needles instead of one to saturate the grounds more evenly throughout with water. It also has features settings to customize your beverage according to the desired size, temperature and brew strength, as well as the ability to store user settings for up to three people, for even more convenience. And if the mood for iced coffee strikes, it also features a pour-over coffee maker ice function.   Why you’ll love it In less than a minute, you can have a delicious cup of coffee, in one of five cup sizes. Unlike other Keurig machines where the amount of water you fill, is the amount of your beverage, the K-Supreme automatically measures out how much water you selected, taking out much guesswork.  Homes & Gardens rated 5 out of 5 stars With an in-built milk frother and dispenser, the Nespresso Lattissima One is a truly smart coffee maker that has an elevated, neutral color palette. Choose black, white, or cream to fit it seamlessly into your kitchen.  Key Features It runs on Nespresso original pods. The newer Nespresso Vertuo line has a smarter design, with barcodes that can be scanned by your machine to automatically customize your brew for the perfect length and strength for your chosen coffee blend. The Nespresso Lattissima One lacks this, but it does have a mode for espresso, lungo, and milky coffees.  The Nespresso Lattissima One has 19 bars of pressure, which is as powerful as any single-serve coffee maker on the market. It was ready to brew in just 25 seconds, and ready to make milky drinks in 40 seconds.  Why you’ll love it We are big fans of the look. It’s really beautiful, very sleek, and with a range of removable parts, it’s easy to clean.  There is in-built storage for used capsules which will be useful for those who drink a lot of coffee.  Homes & Gardens rated 5 out of 5 stars There’s no shortage of coffee combinations that you can make with the Ninja DualBrew Pro: Classic, Rich, Over Ice, Specialty (sort of like super concentrated espresso), various cup sizes ranging, built-in milk frother, and even a hot water dispenser. But the real selling point, the opportunity to alternate between a k-cup compatible machine to a 12-cup coffee maker.  Key features: The Ninja DualBrew Pro is one of the most feature-laden coffee makers we’ve seen in some time with numerous brewing options and cup customizations. The removable Ninja Adapter Pod works with K-cups and is removed to make single-cups up to carafe sizes. It arrives inserted into the filter-basket, and though it took some time to figure out, once you know how to use the DualBrew Pro and its many features, switching between grounds, k-cups or the hot water dispenser becomes muscle memory.  Why you’ll love it There are really many reasons to love the Ninja DualBrew Pro, with the ability to choose to use K-cups or coffee grounds. The fold-away milk frother means lattes have never been easier, and the built-in coffee scoop takes out any measuring guesswork.  The latest update feels high-tech with a digital touch screen that automatically knows which setting to use, and we’re very into the boxy retro design. It doesn’t take up much space on your countertop either, which is nice, though you’ll want to find a space to store the K-cup adapter when brewing with grounds… but a small price to pay for having two coffee units out.  In all the DualBrew Pro Specialty Coffee Maker is like having your own coffeehouse on your kitchen counter. Homes & Gardens rated 4.5 out of 5 stars Espresso purists will want to revert back to Nespresso’s Original Line of machines, with more than 29 varietals sourced from all over the world to choose from.   The Nespresso CitiZ Original Espresso Machine by De’Longhi will look impeccable on your countertop with its retro design while delivering a powerful and smooth espresso experience.  Key features To get the perfect cup, Nespresso utilizes a 19 bar high-pressure extraction that releases the fresh aromas and rich coffee blends flavors, from each capsule, resulting in an alluring layer of thick crema on top. It offers two cup sizes with espresso (1. 35 oz. ) and Lungo (5 oz. ) buttons.  The fast heat-up system reaches the ideal temperature in just 25 seconds, while the automatic energy-saving function switches the machine off after 9 minutes of inactivity, so you can walk away after your espresso is dispensed. The used capsules automatically drop into a container (with space up to 9) so the next user can brew a cup without interruption.  Why you’ll love it Quick and easy, authentic espresso at the touch of a button? Yes please!  The sweet, retro design will also look good on whichever counter it lays, but won’t take up much space at all.  Homes & Gardens rated 4 out of 5 stars The Coffee Center 12 Cup and Single-Serve Coffee Maker combines two coffee makers into one unit with the ability to brew a full 12-cup cup of coffee, or a single cup with a K-Cup.  Key Features The 12-cup side offers common drip-coffee features like 24-hour programmability, self-clean, Bold coffee option, temperature control, and auto off (0-4 hours). The single-serving side lets you brew in 6, 8 or 10 oz. sizings with a separate  40 oz. removable water reservoir for easy filling and a removable drip tray fit to accommodate travel mugs. Why You’ll love it If you’re a person of practicality or want to keep less out on your countertop, the ease of this dual machine means you’ll never have to comprise between a full-size and a single-serve coffee machine. Some reviewers even say that the Cuisinart can brew a better single-cup than a standard Keurig machine.  So you want to get fancy with your Nespresso? The Nespresso Creatista Plus is a wonderfully premium design for Nespresso fans that can dispense nine different coffee styles and milk froth textures at the touch of its handy LCD interface. Made by Breville, it is high quality, clad in stainless steel, and screams quality. Key Features Like the most expensive standard coffee makers, it has the ability to make coffee and steam milk simultaneously. Oh, and it heats up in just three seconds and can make latte art.  There’s a small color touch screen that gives you a choice of nine black coffee drinks, just pop in an original Nespresso pod and press go. If you’re selecting a milk-based coffee, you fill the aluminum jug, place it under the steam wand choose from cappuccino, flat white, latte or latte macchiato, and the machine will do the rest. When finished, simply pour over your coffee. Why you’ll love it? You can easily adjust the coffee volume and tweak the frothiness of the milk to suit your tastes and save in the machine’s memory. If you have a big budget and love Nespresso you won’t be disappointed. Overall, it’s a stunning countertop appliance and one that takes all the hassle out of making coffee…which is quite a feat, given how simple it already is to use Nespresso machines.  If you consider yourself an illy coffee devotee, you’ll want the best machine to get your fix of this fine Italian espresso.  The illy Y3.3 Espresso/Coffee Machine works exclusively with Iperespresso capsules and uses a proprietary brewing technology that never allows the coffee to come in contact with the machine. Each capsule contains approximately seven grams of expertly roasted and ground illy coffee for rich, smooth espresso and coffee. Key Features Whether you’re in the mood for coffee or espresso, the Y3.3 is compatible with both types of illy pods. It also features a removable water reservoir, a brew-temperature adjustment, a height-adjustable drip tray. The newest differentiation from the now discontinued Y3.2 model is that the new Y3.3 removes the switch at the back of the machine in favor of an easy auto-on and off operation by simply pressing the illuminated soft buttons for a couple of seconds.  Why you’ll love it Espresso purists seeking convenience will delight at the smooth tastes and excellent crema this illy espresso maker creates.  Homes & Gardens rated 4 out of 5 stars Consider Hamilton Beach’s Scoop Single Serve Coffee Maker if you’re looking for a coffee maker that doesn’t require you to keep pods on hand.  Key features Made with durable stainless steel construction, the Hamilton Beach’s Scoop Single Serve Coffee Maker features fast-brewing technology to make an eight-ounce cup in 90 seconds and a 12-ounce travel mug in under three minutes.  It uses a mesh scoop filter to brew your favorite coffee, without pods. You can even select the machine’s “Bold” setting for extra flavor. Once you’re done using the machine, it will automatically shut off to help preserve energy. Why you’ll love it Its compact footprint will barely take up any space on your counter, or when stored in a cabinet when not in use, and it’s even designed to fit travel mugs. The Hamilton Beach Scoop is a great pick for anyone who is looking to avoid using pods and wants an affordable, yet sustainable option. The Technivorm Moccamaster is one of the best when it comes to traditional drip coffee makers. Here, in the Moccamaster Cup-One  they’ve scaled down the design for when a single cup is all you need and you aren’t the type to reach for coffee pods.  It’s also one of a handful of brewers to have been certified with the Golden Cup Standard Brewing from the Specialty Coffee Association.   Key Features The 10 oz. water tank is just the right size for enjoying a single cup of coffee. Operation is simple, with minimal buttons to fuss with, and you can brew straight into your favorite mug, with a removable cup holder to get the right fit.  The brew cycle is also a little slower, at about 4 minutes, compared to the 1-2 minutes of some other models on this list, but patience, please.  After all, Moccamaster has designed the Cup-One brewing process to maintain its rigorous quality standards for the perfect coffee extraction.  Why You’ll Love it The Moccamaster Cup-One is the closest you can find to automated drip coffee in a single-serving. It’s a sleek design that’ll suit coffee connoisseurs who seek the best out there, even when it’s for a single 10 oz. cup of coffee.  Basicially, the Cup-One lets you brew your favorite single cup of coffee using unparalleled Moccamaster technology.

How to choose a single-serve coffee maker

When it comes to single-serve coffee machines the most important factor isn’t actually the machine, it’s the type of coffee you enjoy drinking. However, depending on the machine you use, you will need to buy the pods that work with the machine.  If you love a deep and complex shot of espresso, Nespresso’s excellent selection of capsules – both traditional and Vertuo - will keep you caffeinated.  Nespresso is the most established pod brand and has the largest choice of machines, from the very cheap, to the eye-wateringly expensive. Most only produce black coffee in various volumes, so you may need a separate milk heater/frother for cappuccino and lattes. Meanwhile, if you prefer a wide arrange of coffee options, Keurig has partnerships with tons of coffee brands from Starbucks to Green Mountain that are readily available online and in stores. In addition to standard coffee, you’ll also find k-cups for milkier lattes, teas, and other specialty beverages.   The k-cups also tend to be more affordable than Nespresso pods.  Many other brands have adapted their own machines to work with Keurig’s k-cup technology or have created their own single-serve options that work with your favorite ground coffee. 

How much should I spend?

Single-serve coffee machines are generally quite affordable – from $50 upwards to $300 - but this price is often kept low in order to get you to buy specific branded pods, such as Nespresso. In fact, some brands offer discounted coffee machines if you buy a certain number of pods or subscribe to their coffee clubs. Don’t forget to also buy a coffee canister, to store your pods on your countertop — and in style.

Is a single-serve coffee maker better than drip coffee makers?

Single-serve, or pod machines, promise mess-free coffee with minimal fuss, you just pop in a pre-measured coffee pod, press the button, and wait. There’s no measuring, tamping, grinding, temperature adjusting…just quick, delicious coffee and minimal clean-up. It’s convenient and requires very little expertise. You also don’t have to brew an entire carafe of coffee, and only have what you need.  But remember, the convenience comes at a price, and a single-serve capsule ends up costing more per serving as opposed to buying beans or bags of ground coffee. However, cost aside, the biggest argument against single-serve pod machines is the waste that it creates. Most brands have been working to combat those issues. For instance, all Keurig K-cups are recyclable (you just have to clean out the grounds) and they’ve also started including a re-usable K-Cup with its machines. Nespresso will recycle its pods if you send them back.  Some brands have compostable designs in the works as well.  Now, if you are adamant about a single-serve coffee option without the pods, look for makers that let you brew small portions by measuring out your single-servings. Some bean-to-cup coffee makers will also automatically grind the right ratio of coffee to water for your selected beverage as well. Our guide to the best drip coffee makers could have another option for you. 

How easy is a single-serve coffee maker to clean?

Single-serve coffee machines are among the easiest of all models to maintain, as the coffee grounds are trapped in their pods. Look for models that offer descaling and cleaning cycles, especially if you live in hard water areas, but on the whole, they take care of themselves.

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