10 Best Single-Serve Coffee Makers, According to Enthusiastic Reviews
It's 2021, and modern technology has afforded us all the conveniences we could ever dream of, the single-serve coffee maker being one its greatest gifts. OK, maybe it's not up there with modern medicine and, like, the internet, but coffee lovers won't hesitate to tell you how much their single-serve coffee maker has improved their lives.
Forget setting your standard coffee maker ahead of time, just to be left with a large pot of coffee you probably won't use up. Single-serve coffee makers allow you to instantly brew just the right amount of coffee straight into your mug.
But today's single-serve coffee makers can do a lot more than that. Want a latte, a cappuccino, an espresso shot, or how about an iced coffee? There's a coffee maker for all of those.
With so many options, it can be a little overwhelming. That's why I whittled down the best one-cup coffee makers, according to the most trusted resource of all: hyper-enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon. Keep reading to see our picks for the best single-serve coffee makers on the market, and find one that's a fit for all your java needs.
Best Single-Serve Coffee Makers at a Glance
- Best Overall: Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker With Glass Carafe
- Best Budget Buy: Black+Decker Personal Coffee Maker With Travel Mug
- Best for Coffee Pods: Keurig K-Classic
- Best for Ground Coffee: Hamilton Beach Scoop Coffeemaker
- Best for Cold Brew: Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker
- Best for Iced Coffee: Keurig K-Elite
- Best for Espresso: Breville Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine
- Best for Travel: Coffee Gator Pour Over Travel Mug
- Best for a College Dorm: Keurig K-Mini
- Best for the Office: Keurig K155 Office Pro
What to Consider When Buying a Single-Serve Coffee Maker
I'm of the thinking that pretty much everyone could benefit from a single-serve coffee maker — whether you live alone, you're the only coffee drinker in your household, you only drink coffee occasionally, or you're always in a hurry. So, that covers pretty much all of us, right?
But what you want to get from your coffee maker is going to vary greatly from person to person. Looking for the simplest coffee maker possible? Or for one that can do it all? There are so many different coffee makers on the market claiming to turn your kitchen into your own personal Starbucks; we'll clear up the confusion a little bit. Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a single-serve coffee maker, so you can find one that actually fits your needs.
1. Pods vs. Ground Coffee
The first question to ask yourself is: what type of coffee do you normally buy? You're going to find that most single-serve coffee makers are compatible with store-bought, single-use coffee pods, and reusable coffee pods (which are much kinder to the environment). Reusable coffee pods can be filled with ground coffee an endless amount of times.
Other coffee makers will provide a reusable filter to fill with ground coffee, so if you don't want to fool with pods, whether single-use or reusable, these might be a better option for you.
2. Brewing Options
The options for one-cup coffee makers are truly endless. Some coffee makers will brew just one size cup, while others can brew anything from single espresso shots to 50-ounce carafes. There are also many choices when it comes to the type of coffee drink as well, including standard hot coffee, iced coffee, cold brew, cappuccinos, lattes, and more.
You'll typically find that the more options your coffee maker has, the larger its size and price tag. But for the coffee aficionado, this could be well worth the investment. If you don't plan to use those extra features, a deluxe espresso machine will be a waste of money and counter space.
For a casual, once-a-day coffee drinker, there's no need to commit to a coffee maker with a large water reservoir. But if you're a several-cups-a-day drinker, or if more than one person is going to be using this machine (like in the case of a large family or office), having a larger water reservoir will save yourself from having to constantly refill.
Some travel and compact coffee makers don't even have a water reservoir, and instead require you to measure and add the amount of water you want each time. Large water reservoirs can be clunky and difficult to clean, so if you don't need one, save yourself the time and money.
4. Brew Speed
As I previously mentioned, single-serve coffee makers are ideal for folks in a hurry, as they can heat water and brew coffee in a fraction of the time it takes a traditional coffee maker. However, not all single-serve coffee makers are created equal. Total brew time (including the water heating process) can range anywhere from under a minute to up to four minutes total. If speed is a priority, keep this in mind when choosing your coffee maker.
Best Overall: Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker With Glass Carafe
If you're looking for a single-serve coffee maker that can do it all, this model from Ninja performs well at a great price when compared to the competition. With six brew sizes in total, you can brew anything from a single cup to a full carafe (a 50-ounce glass carafe is included).
It also boasts an iced-coffee function and a specialty-brew function, which gives you a rich coffee concentrate that can be used to create lattes, macchiatos, cappuccinos, and more. The fold-away frother allows you to top it all off with that coffeehouse style foam.
The pod-free design includes a "integrated smart scoop," which is designed to tell you how many scoops you need for whatever you're brewing. That, paired with the permanent filter, makes this a great option for anyone looking to reduce their environmental footprint by making the switch to ground coffee.
And finally, cleanup is a breeze thanks to the removable, dishwasher-safe, 50-ounce water reservoir. This 5-star reviewer says it best: "For [its] functionality, [its] diversity, ability to brew a single cup, to adjust the brew strength and time the brew begins, to interrupt a carafe for an impatient cup, as well as ease of cleaning and aesthetic look, Ninja created a highly desirable machine well worth your consideration."
Best Budget Buy: Black+Decker Personal Coffee Maker With Travel Mug
Not everyone wants or needs a coffee maker with all the bells and whistles. If your goal is to start the day with a warm cup of joe, brewed instantly into a cup of your choice, you don't need to spend more than $30 to get this top-rated coffee maker from Black+Decker.
The single-serve design allows you to brew one serving of fresh coffee right into the included 15-ounce stainless steel travel mug. This coffee maker is pod free, with a permanent grounds filter, ending the need for paper filters (and the excessive waste they create). Its sleek, compact design is perfect for a small apartment or dorm.
One happy customer says, "I was getting ready to buy a much more expensive, one cup coffee maker. But my hang up with K-cup coffee makers is that is very difficult to make strong coffee due to the size available for grounds. Also it is of course very expensive. Anyway, I've had this coffee maker for a couple of months now and it is spectacular and a complete no brainer for the price."
The only downside to this coffee maker? It won't fit all travel mugs, so if you have a favorite that's too tall for the coffee maker, you may have to adapt.
Best for Coffee Pods: Keurig K-Classic
All K-Cup brewers are familiar with the Keurig K-Classic. I got mine back in college, and although I have since switched to using reusable K-cups with ground coffee, it's still one of my most used appliances.
This coffee maker is somewhat simplistic in terms of design — it features simple button controls. All you need to do is add your pod, select your cup size (choose between six ounces, eight ounces, and 10 ounces), and your coffee will brew straight into your mug.
The 48-ounce reservoir keeps you from constantly having to refill; you can easily get five to six cups out of one fill. The removable reservoir and drip tray make for easy cleaning, but you may also use the descaling function for occasional deep cleans.
One reviewer says, "This is what made me a fan of coffee. Perfect one-cup for when you need it instead of a pot you'll end up wasting. In the long run, you'll save money, so this is an investment."
Best for Ground Coffee: Hamilton Beach Scoop Coffeemaker
Don't want to deal with pods? The filter on this coffee maker from Hamilton Beach doubles as a single-serve scoop — simply scoop your ground coffee out of the bag, place the scoop directly where the filter goes, and brew.
You have two size options for fast brewing with this model: brew a standard eight-ounce cup in less than 90 seconds, or a 14-ounce travel mug in under 2 ½ minutes.
This coffee maker proves that sometimes simple is best, as this five-star reviewer put it: "I like that it's a simple machine with basic parts so there's not a lot to go bad. The stainless is easy to wipe clean and it looks much nicer than most coffee makers. I like the quality of the stainless filter with a good sturdy metal handle so there's no chance of dropping it and making a mess with the grounds.It takes up very little space on the counter…"
Best for Cold Brew: Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Cold brew coffee is its own beast. While iced coffee simply refers to hot coffee that has been poured over ice, cold brew is made by soaking coffee beans or grounds in cold water — it's never heated. Cold brew is twice as caffeinated as regular coffee, and it tends to have a smoother, less bitter taste than traditional coffee. So you can see why it has more than a few fans.
Every cold brew enthusiast should invest in this coffee maker. The BPA-Free, Tritan pitcher has a nonstick handle for easy pouring. Inside, the fine-mesh filter will hold up to 16 tablespoons of your favorite ground coffee.
To brew, simply fill the filter with grounds, add 32 ounces of cold, filtered water to the pitcher, and lower the filter into the water. Seal the lid airtight and store in the fridge overnight or up to 36 hours. When you're ready to enjoy, simply remove the filter and store in the fridge for up to two weeks. It's a whole lot more economical than buying the expensive, pre-made cold brew from the grocery store.
Not feeling like cold brew? The Tritan plastic can withstand hot temperatures so you can also use it to brew hot coffee. With over 30,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, it's safe to say people are pleased with the result, like this reviewer who says: "Easy to clean and use, coffee tastes great, not going back to buying pre-made!"
Best for Iced Coffee: Keurig K-Elite
Iced coffee drinkers (and I know there are a lot of you out there), look no further for a solution to your single-serve coffee-maker woes. It can be hard to find a single-serve coffee maker that's suited for iced coffee, without spending a fortune on a fancy espresso machine.
While you can technically use a standard single-serve coffee maker to brew hot coffee over ice, you then run into the problem of the scorching hot coffee melting all the ice, unless you have the patience to wait for it to cool. The K-Elite has a separate setting for hot coffee and iced coffee that have different brewing temperatures. Watered down iced coffee is now a thing of the past.
In addition to the iced-coffee feature, you also get five different brewing sizes, a strong brew function, a hot water on demand button, and a 75-ounce water reservoir. "I can taste the difference in the iced coffee taste compared to when I made one with my other Keurig," says a satisfied customer.
Best for Espresso: Breville Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine
Hardcore coffee addicts, this is the best coffee maker-plus-espresso machine duo money can buy, at least according to thousands of Amazon shoppers. The patented extraction technology known as "Centrifusion" works by inserting a capsule (AKA a super fancy coffee pod) that, when activated, will spin up to 7,000 rotations per minute. The capsule automatically ejects once it's done. No need to change the setting, the Vertuo uses automatic blend recognition to brew based on the selected capsule. The result? Beautifully blended coffee or espresso just like from your favorite coffee shop.
While we've already established that coffee pods aren't the most sustainable option, these aluminum capsules are recyclable, unlike many other coffee pods. One reviewer says, "The machine alone is beautiful for the countertop. I would strongly recommend this product if you are someone who buys coffee at a shop everyday. Although the pods range from .85-1.20 each, in the long run you'll save money. The quality is superior to other machines and pod systems that I have used."
This coffee maker has every feature you could need and more: a one-touch brewing system, a removable water reservoir, hot and cold coffee preparation, a milk frother, and five different brew sizes.
Best for Travel: Coffee Gator Pour Over Travel Mug
If you've ever been stuck at a hotel room with nothing but a questionable-looking coffee maker and a packet of coffee that's been there for who knows how long, you've probably wished there was a way you could take your own coffee maker with you. Coffee Gator has a solution for that.
This two-in-one pour over and travel mug won't take up much space in a carry-on suitcase. To brew, simply pop on the stainless-steel mesh filter, add ground coffee, and pour hot water over top. You'll have hand-dripped coffee for on-the-go sipping that will stay warm for hours.
One five-star reviewer says, "When I'm traveling, this combination performs perfectly. I'm very pleased with the thermos mug keeping my beverage hot (I usually drink coffee or hot tea) or cold for a long time."
Buy It: Coffee Gator Pour Over Travel Mug, $20; Amazon
Best for a College Dorm: Keurig K-Mini
Possibly the most useful gift you can give a soon-to-be college student is a single-serve coffeemaker. The more compact the better — trust me, they'll want to save as much room as possible in that shoebox of a dorm room.
The K-Mini is the slimmest model from Keurig, at just five inches wide. The reservoir holds just enough water for one cup, and brews in just minutes, so no one will be late to class. The removable drip tray allows enough room for brewing into a travel mug up to seven inches tall.
Still on the fence? This reviewer sums it up pretty well: "If you love the convenience of K-cups, like to make a quick cup of coffee, tea, cocoa or soup with zero prep time and zero cleanup, don't have a lot of counter space or need a personal brewer for a dorm room or office cubicle, or are looking for the perfect single cup hot water maker, this is what you're looking for."
Best for the Office: Keurig K155 Office Pro
Keurig's large scale success has made office coffee pots (which, let's face it, were cleaned way less often than they should be) a thing of the past. The K155 Office Pro from Keurig is designed to withstand frequent use.
This is the only coffee maker out of all the ones featured that has a touchscreen interface. From here you can adjust the brew temperature and program automatic on/off setting. The 90-ounce water reservoir is the largest of all mentioned, so constant refilling is no issue.
Choose from four different brew sizes ranging from four ounces to 10 ounces, because sometimes you just need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, while other days call for the big cups. It gets bonus points for this cool feature described by one reviewer: "This model can be installed onto your water line, which will auto-fill the machine with filtered water throughout its use. You must, however, purchase the optional $180 plumb kit for this convenience."