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Best Single-Cup Coffee Makers

Updated December 2018
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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.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
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.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 35 Models Considered
  • 10 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 128 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

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

    Why trust BestReviews?
    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.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    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.

    Shopping guide for best single-cup coffee makers

    Last Updated December 2018

    It’s a problem every solitary coffee drinker knows: You want to brew a cup for yourself, but what are you going to do with the 11 cups that are left over? Fortunately, there’s now an easy solution: a single-cup coffee maker.

    While these coffee makers have only gained popularity in recent years, there are already dozens of models on the market, all doing more or less the same job. This can make it hard to determine which one is right for you. There are many factors to consider, including your budget, the kind of coffee you like to drink, the features of each machine, and the impact on the environment.

    We at BestReviews have outlined all the most important considerations in this shopping guide to help you choose the single-cup coffee maker that will deliver your perfect cup of joe every time.

    If you’re buying a single-cup coffee maker for the office, it’s worth investing a little more. You want to make sure it can stand up to a lot of use.

    Benefits of single-cup coffee makers

    Versatile: Single-cup coffee makers offer the ultimate in flexibility. You can quickly brew a fresh cup of coffee whenever you want one without having to worry about what you’re going to do with all the leftover coffee. It’s great for households whose members prefer different types of coffee. Each person can prepare one serving of exactly the right brew.

    Quick: Single-cup coffee makers often take less time to brew coffee than regular coffee makers, so they’re a great choice when you need to get out the door quickly. Plus, if the coffee maker uses pods, there’s a lot less prep time because you don’t have to measure out the grounds.

    Versatile machine that wows every time

    With a built-in frother, advanced thermal flavor extraction technology, and custom brew settings, it’s easy to make the perfect cup every time no matter what you crave. The Ninja’s small footprint is still large enough to accommodate cups of all sizes, including large travel mugs. Comes with a tumbler that’s perfect for keeping your hot coffee warm and your iced coffee cool.

    Types of single-cup coffee makers

    Pods: Most single-cup coffee makers use some type of plastic pod, which contains the coffee grounds and sometimes other flavors as well. The major appeal of these pods is that they’re easy to use. Just pop one in the machine and press the button. When the coffee’s ready, take out the pod and throw it away. The downside of the pods is that they’re not very environmentally friendly.

    Filter: If throwing away pods is an issue for you, you might want a more traditional single-cup coffee maker. These machines work just like regular coffee makers. You measure and add the grounds and water yourself before brewing. These are designed to accommodate just enough grounds for a single mug instead of a whole pot Some use paper filters and some have permanent metal filters. You can also find some traditional coffee pots with a single-cup setting.

    CAUTION

    It’s important to clean your single-cup coffee maker at least once per month to avoid bacteria growth. If you notice that your coffee tastes strange, you might want to clean it more frequently.

    Single-cup coffee maker features to consider

    Here are some of the key features you should pay attention to when comparing single-cup coffee makers:

    Brewing speed

    Brewing speed is especially important if you need to make coffee quickly before you leave for work in the morning. Most single-cup coffee makers can brew a cup of coffee in a couple of minutes, and some of the fastest models can brew a cup in less than one minute. Check the user manual or read customer reviews online to find out exact times.

    Brewing strength

    Not everyone enjoys their coffee the same way, and the best single-cup coffee makers have controls that enable you to adjust the brew strength from weaker to stronger. If you aren’t that particular, you might be fine without this option.

    Water reservoir

    Many single-cup coffee makers have a large water reservoir, so you don’t have to refill it every time you want to make a cup of coffee. Some of these water reservoirs are detachable, so you can remove it from the coffee maker and easily fill it up in the sink. Others don’t come off. You can only refill these by pouring cups of water into the reservoir.

    Timer

    If you like to wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee every morning, look for a machine with a built-in timer that you can program to start at a set time, so your coffee will be ready and waiting for you when you want it. You just have to remember to put the pod or coffee grounds and water in the machine beforehand!

    Machine size

    If you plan on leaving your coffee maker on the countertop when it isn’t in use, pay attention to its size. Most single-cup coffee makers are fairly compact, so they shouldn’t take up a lot of room, but some models are larger than others. If you don’t have a lot of counter space to begin with, it’s especially important to choose one with a small footprint.

    Type of coffee

    With a traditional coffee maker, you have a lot of freedom when it comes to what type of coffee you use. This isn’t always the case if you have a coffee maker that uses pods. Make sure that the pods you choose are compatible with the machine you’re interested in. If there’s one particular brand of coffee you really like, it’s a good idea to see what kind of pods it uses and choose a machine that can accommodate those.

    EXPERT TIP

    Some single-cup coffee makers have a reusable pod option, so you can add your own coffee grounds to the pod for a custom cup of coffee.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Coffee pods tend to cost more than beans or grounds, so you might want to go with a single-cup coffee maker that uses a filter if your budget is tight.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Single-cup coffee maker prices

    You can expect to pay from $15 to $200 and more for a single-cup coffee maker.

    Inexpensive: If you’re just interested in a basic model without any bells and whistles, you should be able to find something you like for $15 to $50.

    Mid-range: If you’re interested in advanced features like a timer and multiple brew strength settings, you can expect to pay at least $50 to $75.

    Expensive: Unless you’re purchasing a machine for an office where it will get a lot of use, you probably don’t need to spend more than $75 to $130, but some machines can cost over $200.

    Coffee and filters: When choosing a single-cup coffee maker, you also have to pay attention to the cost of the coffee itself, particularly if you’re using pods. Try to estimate how much coffee you’ll go through in a month and then figure out how much that will cost. Some pods are more expensive than others. If you use a single-cup coffee maker that uses paper filters, you’ll have to buy replacements, which can run from about a penny to several cents apiece.

    High quality, low price

    The Vremi coffee maker is the perfect choice for those who want a simple model that brews excellent coffee and won’t put a strain on the budget. Make coffee to go in the included stainless-steel travel mug. And the automatic shutoff means you don’t have to worry if you left the machine on.

    Tips

    • The recommended temperature for brewing coffee is between 195°F and 205°F, but many single-cup coffee makers don’t reach this temperature. This is something to be mindful of if you’re picky about how you take your coffee, but it won’t bother everyone.

    • Make sure that the model you choose can accommodate the size of your coffee mug.

    • Some coffee makers come with an option to dispense hot water only, so you can use it to make tea, hot chocolate, and other warm beverages.

    • Though rare, some single-cup coffee makers come with a built-in water filtration system, which is nice to have if you’re worried impurities in your tap water.

    Every coffee maker makes some noise. If you’re concerned about waking up your household in the morning, look for a relatively quiet model.

    FAQ

    Q. How do I clean my single-cup coffee maker?

    A. You clean a single-cup coffee maker in the same way that you would clean a traditional coffee maker, by periodically running a brew cycle with vinegar and water to clear out anything that might be building up in the machine. You can learn more about how and how often to clean your coffee maker by consulting your owner’s manual.

    Q. Does coffee from a pod taste the same as coffee from grounds?

    A. That all depends on how picky you are about your coffee. Some people don’t enjoy the taste of coffee from pods as much, while others seem to prefer pods. If you’re unsure about pod coffee, you might want to look for a more traditional coffee maker that enables you to brew a single cup at a time.

    Q. Can I choose the size of my cup of coffee?

    A. Yes, most single-cup coffee makers enable you to adjust the serving size to suit your coffee mug.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Kailey
      Kailey
      Writer
    • Lauren
      Lauren
      Writer
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor

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