Best Pod Coffee Makers

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

42 Models Considered
9 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
763 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best pod coffee makers

Last Updated October 2019

Pod coffee makers are simple to use and can produce a hot cup of your favorite coffee in under a minute.

Unlike traditional drip coffee makers, there’s no need to worry about freshness with a pod coffee maker, since you can produce a hot cup of coffee with the press of a button. The primary difference between pod coffee makers is the reservoir size, which determines how many cups you can brew before refilling the machine. Some models have different brewing options as well, such as one for extra strong coffee or one for small cups. The interface of pod coffee makers can vary from large touchscreens to a few buttons.

Pod coffee makers can be an investment, so it is important to find a model that meets the needs of you and your household. To learn more about pod coffee makers and their key differences, continue reading. If you’re ready to buy, consider one of our top picks.

One of the main advantages of pod coffee makers is their ability to produce fresh coffee on demand — rather than serving coffee from a pot you brewed hours ago.

Key considerations

When hunting for the perfect single-serve coffee maker, you should seek out a machine that can brew enough coffee for everyone in your household — one cup at a time, of course. Pod coffee makers vary in their reservoir size and in what types of pods they accept. When it comes to flavor and quality, the water filter can play a major role.

Reservoir size

The reservoir is the part of the coffee maker that holds water so you can brew your next cup with the push of a button. In general, a bigger reservoir is better because it means you will need to refill it less frequently.

Some machines may have no reservoir at all, requiring you to add water before each cup. Others may have massive reservoirs of 80 ounces or more, which is convenient but slightly cumbersome.

Simple yet versatile

This is a popular choice for its three different brew sizes and hot-water function. Using this machine is simple and little maintenance is required.

 

Compatibility

There are two main types of pods used in single-serve coffee machines:

  • K-cups were developed by Keurig and are cylindrical in shape. They are easy to use and dispose of, but some find that they do not produce a flavor as strong as pods do.
  • Pods have been around for a bit longer and have a curved underside lined with a filter. These produce a fresher and more flavorful coffee but may be harder to find.
     

Pod coffee makers vary in their compatibility. Some may only be able to use certified K-cups, while others can use K-cups or pods. Other machines may take reusable pods, which can save you money while reducing waste. Check the compatibility of a pod coffee maker carefully before you buy.

Water filter

Some pod coffee makers include a water filter that helps to purify your water before brewing your coffee. If you are a coffee connoisseur, you know how important water quality is to coffee flavor and texture. An additional water filter may be included.

EXPERT TIP

Pod coffee makers may brew a cup using a K-cup, pod, or coffee grounds, depending on the model.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Once you know the reservoir size you need and the type of pod you will use, there are a handful of other features to consider:

Brewing options

There is more than one way to make a cup of coffee with a pod coffee maker.

Cup size: While eight ounces is the norm, some models allow you to brew four-, six-, 10-, or 12-ounce cups, typically with the same strength as a regular cup.

Brew strength: The ability to adjust the strength of your coffee can be a welcome feature if you enjoy your coffee strong. There may be a single button for a stronger cup, or there may be a dial that can be adjusted for a range of strengths.

Automatic features

Pod coffee makers often include automatic features so you can have your coffee ready as soon as you get up.

Automatic brewing: This allows you to instruct your coffee maker to brew a cup at a specific time. It’s a great way to make waking up easier — after all, you wouldn’t want to let your coffee get cold.

Auto on-off: This is a way to save energy by setting your coffee maker to turn on and off at specific times. If your coffee maker isn’t on in the morning, it can take several minutes to preheat the water.

Though pod coffee makers require less maintenance (and less cleanup) than traditional drip coffee makers, they still need regular cleaning.

Interface

The interface of pod coffee makers may come in the form of a few buttons or a touchscreen that presents multiple options and settings. In general, touchscreen models are easier to program and may have more brewing options, but they are also more expensive. A touchscreen can also be difficult to use when you aren’t fully awake.

Built-in filters

Some pod coffee makers may have built-in filters that allow you to put grounds directly into the machine rather than only using pods. In most cases, the filters are easy to remove and clean, and they may be made of metal mesh or paper.

Size

Though we said that a bigger reservoir is better, it’s also important to find a coffee maker that fits comfortably in your kitchen. This means considering the footprint as well as the height of the machine, especially if you plan to tuck it underneath cabinets.

DID YOU KNOW?

Just like a drip coffee maker, many pod coffee makers are programmable so you can expect a cup of coffee daily at a specific time.

Pod coffee maker prices

Inexpensive: Pod coffee makers for $25 to $50 are usually compact machines designed to make a quick cup now and then. Their price and size make them ideal for those who live alone or have limited space.

Mid-range: For $50 to $100 are pod coffee makers that range in their size and brewing modes. Most models in this range have a water reservoir and may have touchscreen interfaces.

Expensive: Pod coffee makers for $100 to $300 are usually deluxe models with additional features like milk frothers or stainless steel parts. While the extra money can be difficult to justify, these are sleek coffee machines that are likely to last for years and boast a variety of features.

How to maintain your pod coffee maker

Despite their simple design, some maintenance is required of pod coffee makers:

  • Mineral debris can build up inside your coffee maker over time. To fix this, many models have a descaling mode designed to remove this buildup. In most cases, you will need to purchase a descaling solution from the manufacturer and follow their instructions carefully.
  • Clean the reservoir regularly with soap and water once every few months. Even though it’s only designed to hold water, it can still become dirty.
  • The pod or K-cup holder should also be cleaned every few months with soap and water.
  • Don’t forget to wipe down the outside of your coffee maker from time to time.

 

Compact size

The low price and small design of this machine make it a good option for dorm rooms or people who live alone. Though the reservoir is small, this is a great basic machine.

Other products we considered

For a top-of-the-line model that doesn’t hold back on features, consider the Breville Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Machine. Though this model is limited to exclusively Nespresso capsules, it includes a dozen capsules and a variety of brewing options. Customers love the layer of froth this machine produces. If you are on a limited budget or just have limited space, the Chefman Instabrew Single-Serve Coffee Maker is a budget option we love. Its small footprint and short stature make it ideal for dorm rooms or small kitchens, and it is compatible with both K-cups and pods. It also includes an option for brewing with fresh-ground coffee.

A pod coffee maker isn’t just for coffee — if it includes a hot-water function, it can also be used to make tea or ramen.

FAQ

Q. Can you brew a pot of coffee with a pod coffee maker?
A.
You can, but it would take you multiple pods or K-cups to do so. You are better off making cups one at a time to take advantage of the freshness of pod coffee makers.

Q. Are there environmentally friendly alternatives to disposable coffee pods?
A.
Yes, reusable cups can be filled with grounds if your pod coffee maker doesn’t have a built-in filter.

Q. Can you leave a pod coffee maker on all the time?
A.
You can, though it may use a sizeable amount of power while in standby mode.

The team that worked on this review
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Writer
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