High quality and barista-style artistic coffee does not have to come at a high price and a local coffee house. It can happen for as low as $.3 cents per cup on your sofa in the comfort of your home.
At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Single Serve Coffee Makers
We tested and reviewed 36 single serve coffee makers in order to determine the best 10 single serve coffee makers on the planet. In order to make things even easier, we broke that list down into three categories. Below you can see the winners in each category and save yourself hours of research.
The problem with testing coffee related products is that you do not get much sleep while doing it. A lot of good men and women lost their beauty sleep because they were too high on caffeine. But, it was all worth it so we can give you this buyer’s guide.
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The 10 Best Single Serve Coffee Makers
1. Best K Cup Coffee Maker – Keurig K55
Keurig have long been regarded as one of the best single serve coffee brewer manufacturers when it comes to K-Cup and pod brewers. They are also quite popular among coffee drinkers, especially in office settings. The K55 brewer is one such machine. It’s compact, simplified and effective; you can brew a great tasting cup of coffee using K-Cups from Keurig.
It brews 3 different K-Cup sizes; 6oz, 8oz, and 10oz. Furthermore, you can also use non-Keurig pods that are the same shape so you can opt for cheaper coffee to reduce running costs. If you want a single serve K-Cup coffee maker, this is easily the best one.
That being said, the K55 brewer is not a versatile single cup coffee maker. It can’t make coffee from ground beans, unlike some of the dual makers in this list, and you’re also missing some other key features that coffee connoisseurs take seriously: temperature control and brew strength.
If you’re a fan of Keurig and need a simple, compact pod coffee maker that doesn’t have excessive features, this is ideal for you. Also, if speed is a factor when you brew coffee – this pod machine will not disappoint.
- Best K-Cup – of course, it went to a Keurig machine! Works best with Keurig K-Cups but you can easily fit in other brands with careful selection.
- Brew 6 cups before needing to refill the 48oz reservoir.
- Descaling and auto shut off functions are very convenient and not what you expect from a small, simple machine.
- Despite the descaling programming, you may need to find extra ways to descale this machine such as vinegar. The build-up is quite bad.
- It doesn’t have all the great features that the more expensive Keurig models have.
2. People’s Choice – BUNN MCU Single Cup Coffee Brewer
At first glance, this appears to be a very cheaply made, plastic single serve coffee brewer… with a ridiculous price tag. But once you get used to the stripped-back design and exposed stainless steel, the BUNN MCU makes a great addition to your kitchen countertop. Also, this appears to be a customer favorite on Amazon.
This machine has removable draws (we found them very easy to exchange and wash) so you can brew K-Cups, ground coffee, loose tea, tea bags… the list goes on. We even tried making a hot chocolate using loose powder and was pleasantly surprised. In terms of versatility, this machine is at the top of the list.
The reservoir of this pod coffee maker isn’t large, so you will need to refill it regularly however you can choose the volume of coffee brewed – from 4oz to 14oz, which is ideal if you’re filling different mug sizes, from small coffee mugs to large travel flasks.
The stainless steel was easy to scratch, but besides that we found the coffee maker to be very durable and well-made.
- 4 interchangeable drawers for K-Cups, ground coffee, coffee pods, tea pods, tea bags, loose tea leaves etc.
- Very fast brewing speed of just 1 minute. Removable bottom tray.
- 2 years warranty, unlike Keurig’s standard 1-year warranty.
- While it’s great for making coffee, many high-quality teas require a longer brew at a lower temperature to reduce bitterness. The 1 minute brewing time speed can be extended but the temperature isn’t reduced. So, if you’re partial to a Darjeeling or sencha as well as coffee, you won’t like this machine.
- No auto switch off or on.
3. Best Budget Buy – Hamilton Beach 49981A
The Hamilton Beach 49981A single serve coffee maker offers an incredibly good value for money. From the sturdy, stainless steel design to the large space for any size coffee mug and the easy to use features. Simply scoop in your ground coffee press into place and then hit brew.
You can only use ground coffee with this brewer, rather than K-Cups which might be a deal breaker for some people, but using a high-quality ground coffee will always provide a better taste.
This isn’t a new coffee maker, it’s been around for over 5 years. But, people are still coming back to it as their choice of a budget coffee maker.
It can clearly cope with heavy long-term use without much maintenance (cleaning is very simple too).
While you can fit most mugs into this brewer, including travel mugs, you only have 2 options when it comes to brewing size – 8oz and 10oz. Regardless of this, we truly enjoyed testing this machine and would highly recommend it to anyone on a budget who doesn’t want to compromise on quality and taste.
- Best Budget Buy – for the price you can brew a very good cup of coffee from a durable single serve coffee maker.
- Brew an 8oz mug of coffee in under a minute and a half.
- Incredibly simple to use yet versatile in brew strength and a wide range of coffee grounds can be used.
- The metal filters aren’t overly effective as we found some sediment made it through to the coffee – add a paper filter or replace with a better quality filter to avoid.
- The machine is quite a bit taller than other compact sizes at 13.5 inches.
4. Up & Coming – Ninja Coffee Bar Single Serve System (CF112)
The Ninja Coffee Bar Single-Serve System is a very modern, refreshing machine. Unlike Keurig and other traditional coffee makers, the Ninja brewer offers you a wide range of tasty beverages in Starbucks style. The stand-out feature is the frothing arm that adds frothy milk to your coffee.
You can make iced coffee/tea as well, plus hot chocolate and a range of different brews in different sizes. There’s a permanent micro-filter basket that you can replace with paper filters. Of course, we could not resist and quickly swapped the filters for some testing. But, the paper filter did not yield any noticeable difference in the quality of the brew when compared to the permanent filter.
You will need to use ground coffee rather than K-Cups, but with handy scoops provided by Ninja and a guidebook to let you know how much coffee is needed, this is easy even for a coffee-beginner.
If you love the American style coffee brewers with a modern taste, this is perfect for you! If you’re looking for a traditional, Italian coffee taste you need to look elsewhere, however.
- Up and Coming – Ninja is a fairly new brand but this model is already a bestseller!
- The built-in frother is effective and can be used in any mug or cup.
- Great range of functionalities for various different beverages, including iced tea and hot chocolate besides coffee. Recipes included in a handy booklet.
- Although you can brew many different beverages, you have very little choice when it comes to coffee beside “classic” or “rich” brew strengths.
- No K-Cup for convenience, you will need to grind beans or use freshly ground coffee.
5. CuisinArt SS-10 Premium Single-Serve Coffee Maker
The SS-10 brewer is good, but it’s not as premium as the name would suggest. It offers a wide range of features that can rival Keurig and it also has a great filtering system to make a good cup of coffee. But we still felt that it was missing something. Truth be told, this Cuisinart unit just doesn’t have anything special about it.
It lacks that defining feature and has little personality; it feels awkward on the kitchen countertop.
The features it does have include auto-shut off, fast brewing speed times (less than 1 minute) and 3 different brew sizes for different sized cups – 6oz, 8oz and 10oz. All are functions that you can find on other coffee makers in this list.
The self-cleaning rinse feature is certainly convenient and something you usually only find in large carafe coffee makers. However, it’s not a replacement for cleaning the machine yourself.
This is a sturdy, bland coffee machine. It will make a good cup of coffee day after day but it’s not something you’ll brag to your friends about. For the price, you can find better.
- Self-cleaning, rinse feature is convenient.
- Great range of features including temperature control, beverage size, hot water rather than coffee etc.
- Charcoal filter feature makes for a great-tasting cup of coffee – with any kind of K-Cup.
- Decent size water tank
- The many different features take a while to understand and get used to. Especially, when using via the LCD control panel (not ideal for large, clumsy fingers).
- Looks quite sleek, but is in fact made of plastic which is not of great quality.
- Reusable filter cup for using ground coffee isn’t very sturdy.
6. Nespresso Vertuo Evoluo
This luxury single cup coffee maker is as amazing as it looks. It has dual functionality, providing both coffee and espresso. You can only use the VertuoLine capsules in this machine, which are very high-quality and will produce an excellent cup of coffee.
It’s not cheap to buy or to run on a daily basis, so this is not for anyone on a budget. This has been designed for the coffee-lover who’s willing to pay a bit more to find perfection.
That being said, the De’Longhi models don’t have nearly as many functions as the Keurig models, despite being in a similar price range.
De’Longhi have decided that the perfect cup of coffee is 7.7oz, so you’d better have a mug that holds that much as you’ve got no option to change the volume.
Some good features that aren’t immediately clear include the auto ejection of the capsule once it’s been used and the auto shut off feature.
- Beautiful aesthetics make this ideal for small but stylish kitchens. Dimensions are 9 x 12 inches.
- Centrifusion extraction technology, water dispensing and quality filters make for a very good cup of coffee.
- Brews a fantastic espresso too.
- No hot water only option and the Nespresso VertuoLine capsules for coffee that fit this machine are not cheap. Buy them from De’Longhi boutiques or order especially from their website.
- No adjustable cup size, only espresso (1.35oz) or coffee (7.7oz).
7. Keurig K15
This is Keurig’s attempt at making a budget coffee maker, and despite so many people staying loyal to Keurig and using it day after day, we couldn’t really see what all the hype was about.
Sure, it’s very small and comes in beautiful colors (the chili red model is particularly vibrant) but it doesn’t give you a great choice when it comes to adjusting the coffee flavor or brew size. You have a choice between 6oz, 8oz, and 10oz for mug size and you are required to refill the machine for each cup with a 3-4 minute brew speed time.
You can only use Keurig K-Cups to make coffee – an expense that makes this budget coffee maker, not budget at all.
Despite what this brewer lacks, we must be honest and tell you that it does indeed produce a good tasting coffee. So, if you’re a lover of traditional Keurig coffee and looking for a compact single serving coffee system that’s worth a bit more than others, this is ideal.
- Removable drip tray is easy to clean.
- Perfect for the busy and forgetful – drip tray will hold a full brew in case you brew by mistake and auto-shut off kicks in after 90 minutes.
- At only 7.5inches wide, this is one of the most compact coffee makers from Keurig, who usually provide monstrously large coffee makers with an intimidating number of features.
- You will need to add fresh water for each and every cup you brew as the reservoir is non-existent.
- Even with the drip tray removed you can’t fit a normal, kitchen mug into the machine, let alone a travel mug.
- Priced quite high compared to similar brewers.
8. Mr. Coffee Single Serve K-Cup BVMC-KG6-001
Mr. Coffee is often regarded as a cheap alternative to Keurig. Just looking at online forum reviews you will find hundreds of coffee-lovers who have moved from Keurig to Mr. Coffee in the hope that they can have the same great quality coffee at a reduced price.
The BVMC-KG6-001 single serve coffee maker can use the Keurig K-Cups but worked just as well for us with cheap, mock K-Cups too. Of course, this means that you can make all kinds of beverages from this machine from hot chocolate to tea using the hot water and flavored K-Cup – and not break the bank doing so.
Aesthetically, the single serve coffee maker is quite bulky, being shorter and wider than most at 13inches wide and weighing 8.3 pounds (before water is added). This isn’t great for small worktop areas.
We eventually concluded that this is a good option if you’re on a budget or looking for a sturdy machine for the workplace. If you are looking for Keurig quality and a luxury item, you will need to pay the price for a better model.
- This coffee maker is very fast – a few minutes at most. It’s simple to pick the cup size and start the machine, quick to brew and very easy to clean. This is easily one of the most convenient single serving coffee makers.
- Allows for 3 different cup sizes, adjustable brew strength and hot water for other beverages – all the features of a luxury coffee maker.
- Very cheap considering the functionalities and quality!
- The design isn’t as well made as the Keurig models, although it’s not cheap plastic either.
- The 40oz water tank is removable and we could foresee it leaking with heavy use.
9. Keurig K575 Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker
The Keurig K575 single serve coffee maker has an incredible number of features which makes it one of the most versatile single-serve coffee systems on this list. We particularly liked the water-on-demand feature and great flexibility when it came to temperature control and brew strength. They make a great tasting cup of coffee.
You can remove the super-sized water reservoir which does make filling it up easier, however for a single serve K-Cup coffee maker, we felt that it was unnecessary. For those that want to brew large amounts of coffee, why not buy a coffee maker designed for that rather than a single cup machine?
Other features that were great but not shout-worthy include the auto-shut off programming and complimentary K-Cups and filters that were included in the box.
- Temperature control (5 settings), adjustable brew strength and K-Cup size settings and you can also make different volumes of coffee: up to 30oz which is enough for a carafe.
- The big range of features are all easy to manage via the large digital screen – perfect for the heavy-handed.
- Attractive design will hold a carafe (only Keurig carafes) without being overly bulky.
- The reservoir holds 80oz before you need to refill it, which is way more than most single serve coffee users need. Dull water left in the reservoir for ages will affect the taste of the coffee.
- Only works with Keurig pods, which are a little over-priced for the taste.
- Not great in the long run with many die-hard coffee drinkers complaining of chemical tasting coffee after heavy use.
10. Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Single-Serve Coffee Maker
The 49974 model is the cheapest of the FlexBrew brewer range by Hamilton Beach. As such, this unit has no adjustable strength feature. Despite being the cheapest and simplest model, we still found it to be a robust single cup gourmet brewing system worth considering.
The main feature of the “FlexBrew” is the removable single-serve pack holder which allows you to choose between pre-packaged coffee pods or freshly ground coffee. While it does make a decent coffee on both settings, if you know you’re only making freshly ground coffee you’ll be happier with a single cup coffee maker that’s designed solely for that, and vice versa.
As for the technical features, the reservoir holds up to 14oz which is just right for a travel mug. The built-in filter is mediocre. Strangely, Hamilton Beach suggests you can use paper filters at the same speed time, which had us questioning the effectiveness of the built-in one.
This Hamilton does not qualify as an all time customer favorite product, because it lacks some accessories. But it is not a bad coffee maker for its current price tag.
- Makes coffee from loose ground coffee or K-cups – it’s very easy to change between each, just take out the pack holder.
- A window into the water reservoir makes it easy to see if there’s enough in there to fill your mug.
- Adjustable drip tray makes it great for using your own travel mugs and home mugs – nearly all sizes will fit. It also acts as a storage space for the pack holder.
- The pump is quite weak – mineral deposits build up quickly.
- To fix mineral build up and general cleaning, Hamilton Beach recommend running the coffee maker through with a vinegar/water solution once a month or more often. I found this to be arduous.
Facts About The Single Serve Coffee Industry
Some 10 years ago, single serve coffee makers were barely beginning to make their way into the American market. Today, 29 percent of American coffee lovers prefer their brew to come out of single-cup machines in a variety of drink sizes.
In 2016, single cup coffee brewers took 36 percent of the total coffee machines market, reaching $3.88 billion in sales. Not only did the Keurig-style single serve machines register the highest growth amongst the coffee category, they nearly double the number of sales that espresso makers had in that year.
Recent research shows that 72 percent of U.S. based consumers are familiar with single serve brewing systems. In 2017, 34 percent of these consumers already owned such a machine, even though it was not their preferred method for preparing caffeine drinks.
These statistics easily place single cup coffee systems among the fastest-growing private label food and beverage categories.
But what does that mean for the consumer? The short answer is, more to choose from!
Types Of Single Cup Coffee Makers
Before selecting a brand, you should establish how you would like to brew your single cup. Generally speaking, there are three types of single-serve systems:
Ground coffee percolators are a single scoop, regular ground coffee only type of machine. Meaning, you cannot use these percolators with capsules or K-cups.
Pod brewing systems can be used with capsules, K-cups and sometimes ground coffee. These are the systems that we cover in this article.
Super-automatic coffee machines are mostly espresso makers and they are a bit outside the scope of our reviews here. However, you can check out the top espresso brewing systems here.
This post is mostly concerned with pod (capsule and K cup) brewing systems. Our reviews and recommendations do include some more versatile machines that allow you to enjoy a full carafe brew. However, the bottom line for this post is to determine the best k cup, coffee maker.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.
Are Single Serve Coffee Makers safe?
Single-serve coffee makers may look a bit clunky and made primarily of plastic (at least on the outside), but they are generally quite safe. Just opt-in for a unit that has more stainless steel in it!
How do you use a single serve coffee maker?
1. Make sure the machine is plugged in and the power is on.
2. Fill the water reservoir (with water, yes, you guessed that right!).
3. Choose your favorite coffee.
4. Insert the K-cup (or whatever cup you have) into the appropriate place in the machine.
5. Place your coffee mug/cup on the tray where indicated.
6. Choose the size of coffee you'd like the machine to produce.
7. Hit the brew button.
This is based on most Keurig machines.