Written By
Published Jul 10, 2022 8:09 AM

Pod coffee makers have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. They make brewing a cup of coffee a breeze and are perfect for households with only one coffee drinker. Shopping for a pod coffee maker online, however, can become overwhelming since there are so many options available, all of which have different features to offer. 

We’ll break down what to look for when shopping for the best pod coffee maker for your kitchen or office, and discuss the key considerations to keep in mind as you shop. Keep reading for tips on choosing the best option, and explore our curated picks for the best pod coffee makers on the market.

How We Picked the Best Pod Coffee Makers

While it’s easy to assume that all pod coffee makers offer similar performance, a number of factors affect their functionality. Several years of experience covering home goods and kitchen appliances as well as extensive product research went into choosing our final curated selection. We reviewed over 25 pod coffee maker options and weighed a number of practical considerations before making our recommendations. 

Ease of Use: One of the reasons shoppers opt for a pod coffee maker over a drip machine or a more complex espresso machine is the increased ease of use. Because of that, we aimed to include models with simple user interfaces that allow users to brew a mug of coffee with the push of a button.

Versatility: While some pod coffee makers simply make single servings of coffee, others are capable of making espressos and even more complex beverages like lattes and cappuccinos. We included both simple and more versatile machines in our recommendations. 

Water Reservoir: We only included machines with water reservoirs that have capacities of at least 5 cups so that users don’t need to refill the water on a daily basis. 

Best Pod Coffee Makers: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Keurig K-Elite K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer

The Keurig K-Elite K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer brews coffee in 5 cup sizes and is capable of producing hot water on demand. Keurig

Why It Made The Cut: This machine from Keurig has a compact design and a simple user interface, making it perfect for anyone looking for a classic pod coffee maker. 

Specs:

  • Pod Compatibility: K-Cup pods
  • Cup Sizes: 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 ounces
  • Reservoir Capacity: 8 cups

Pros:

  • Brews 5 cup sizes
  • Compatible with the Universal My K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filter
  • Makes both hot and iced coffee
  • Provides hot water on demand

Cons:

  • Only compatible with Keurig K-Cups

Keurig is one of the top brands on the market when it comes to pod coffee makers, and their popularity is certainly justified. It brews coffee in five cup sizes — 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 ounces — and allows users to opt for a stronger brew with the push of a button. Along with standard coffee, this model also brews iced coffee. The large, 75-ounce water reservoir is removable, making it easy to fill. Due to its sizable capacity, it doesn’t need to be refilled frequently. As a unique extra feature, this model provides hot water on demand, allowing users to make a cup of tea or an instant soup in seconds. 

This machine is compatible with Keurig K-Cups as well as the Universal My K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filter, which allows users to refill a reusable filter with their own coffee rather than using pods. Measuring 13.1 by 9.9 by 12.7 inches, this machine is quite compact, making it suitable for kitchens with limited counter space.

Best Value: Hamilton Beach 49976 FlexBrew Trio

The Hamilton Beach 49976 FlexBrew Trio is capable of brewing a full pot of coffee or using a single-serving pod. Hamilton Beach

Why It Made The Cut: This comprehensive coffee maker gives users maximum flexibility, making it stand out from standard pod coffee makers. 

Specs:

  • Pod Compatibility: K-Cup pods
  • Cup Sizes: 14 ounces or full pot
  • Reservoir Capacity: 12 cups (for full pot)

Pros:

  • Affordable design
  • Multifunctional design
  • Customizable brew strength

Cons:

  • Large size

For households that want the ability to brew both a single serving of coffee and an entire carafe, this model from Hamilton Beach is the perfect fit. It features a 12-cup glass pot, allowing users to make coffee for the whole family, as well as a single-serve feature that’s compatible with Keurig K-Cups. When brewing a full pot, the machine is programmable so it can be set the night before, and coffee stays warm for two hours after it has finished brewing. The single-serve brewer can also be used with ground coffee rather than a pod. Each side has its own water reservoir, both of which feature fill line measurements. It’s important to note that there’s only one size available when brewing a single-serve cup: 14 ounces. Users can, however, customize their brew strength. 

The downside of this model is that it has a large footprint, measuring 11.4 by 12.2 by 13.7 inches, so it may not be ideal for those with small kitchens. 

Premium Pick: Nespresso Lattissima Pro Original

Premium Pick

The Nespresso Lattissima Pro Original is capable of making ristrettos, espressos, luongos, cappuccinos, and lattes at the push of a button. Nestle Nespresso

Why It Made The Cut: This coffee maker fully automates the milk steaming and frothing process, making for top-notch ease of use. 

Specs:

  • Pod Compatibility: Nespresso capsules
  • Cup Sizes: Varies based on chosen beverage
  • Reservoir Capacity: 5.5 cups

Pros:

  • Large water capacity
  • Fully automated milk steaming and frothing
  • High level of versatility

Cons:

  • High price
  • Low water capacity

Typically, when using an espresso machine, users have to steam and froth milk manually, but this machine from De’Longhi fully automates the process, making it easy to produce perfect lattes and cappuccinos. It uses Nespresso pods and features a digital touchscreen that allows users to choose the type of drink they’d like to make. This model can make ristrettos, espressos, luongos, cappuccinos, and lattes.

The steamer/frother offers further customization, letting you choose the level of foam you want for each beverage. The milk regulator knob can also be switched to “clean” to use hot water to rinse out the reservoir. The milk reservoir can be easily removed so that it can be stored in the fridge when it’s not being used. 

That said, the machine features a small water reservoir with a capacity of 5.5 cups, so it may need to be refilled frequently. 

Best Compatibility: Mueller Pod-Compatible Coffee Maker

Best Compatibility

The Mueller Pod Compatible Coffee Maker works with pods from different brands and produces coffee in three cup sizes. Mueller Austria

Why It Made The Cut: This pod coffee made by Mueller works with all 1.0 and 2.0-style pods, making it a versatile choice.

Specs:

  • Pod Compatibility: All 1.0 and 2.0 pods
  • Cup Sizes: 6, 8, and 12 ounces
  • Reservoir Capacity: 5.6 cups

Pros:

  • 3 beverage sizes available
  • Simple user interface
  • Compatible with various coffee pods

Cons:

  • Small water reservoir

The major downside of many pod coffee makers is that users are forced to buy pods from a single brand. This model from Mueller, however, is designed to be compatible with pods from different brands, allowing you to choose your favorites regardless of who makes them. It’s capable of producing beverages in three sizes: 6, 8, and 12 ounces. The machine uses a rapid brew system, ensuring your cup of coffee is ready in a minute flat. 

It features a simple user interface and is easy to use, with just a few buttons to contend with. This is a mid-sized machine, with dimensions of 13.78 by 7.48 by 11.42 inches. One potential downside is that the water reservoir is on the smaller side at just 5.6 cups, meaning it may need to be refilled often if there are multiple coffee drinkers in your household.

Best for Espresso: Breville Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine

Best for Espresso

The Breville Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine makes four sizes of coffee and comes with an automatic milk frother. Breville

Why It Made The Cut: This espresso maker includes a separate automatic milk frother and brews both espresso and standard-sized coffee. 

Specs:

  • Pod Compatibility: Nespresso Vertuo capsules
  • Cup Sizes: 1.35, 2.7, 5, and 7.7 ounces
  • Reservoir Capacity: 5 cups

Pros:

  • Ready to brew in 15 seconds
  • Comes with milk frother
  • Each purchase comes with complimentary pods

Cons:

  • Small water reservoir

The Breville Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine is capable of making beverages in four sizes: espresso (1.35 ounces), double espresso (2.7 ounces), grand lungo (5 ounces), and regular coffee (7.7 ounces). It comes with the Nespresso Aeroccino3 milk frother, which provides steamed and frothed milk at the push of a button. 

Since the water reservoir is small, however, the water heats up quickly and the machine is ready to brew in just 15 seconds. The water tank is removable, making it easier to fill. It’s important to note that this model is only compatible with​​ Nespresso Vertuo capsules. As an added bonus, however, the machine comes with a set of pods so it can be used right out of the box. This machine is quite compact, measuring 5.5 by 16.9 by 12.4 inches.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Pod Coffee Maker

With so many types of pod coffee makers on the market, choosing the right one for your kitchen requires careful consideration. Keep the following factors in mind while making your purchase.

Pod Compatibility

When choosing a pod coffee maker, one of the top considerations is what type of pods you’d like to use. Pods vary in taste, quality, type, and price depending on the brand and style. It’s important to choose a machine that’s compatible with the type of pods you plan to use. 

Many machines — like those made by Keurig and Nespresso — are only designed to work with the brand’s own pods. There are, however, third-party companies that produce pods that are designed to be compatible with certain brands’ machines. Additionally, some machines are universally compatible and are made to work with pods of varying types and sizes. 

Additionally, some machines are capable of brewing loose coffee grounds as a more environmentally friendly option. 

Versatility

All pod coffee makers serve the same basic purpose, but some offer increased versatility, allowing users to make a wide variety of beverages. While the most basic models simply produce single servings of coffee or espresso, others are capable of frothing milk to produce lattes and cappuccinos or even brewing an entire pot of filter coffee for a crowd. Consider what types of beverages you want to produce before choosing a model. 

Size and Capacity

One of the advantages of pod coffee makers is that they can take up much less space than standard drip coffee makers. Some pod coffee makers are slim and compact, making them ideal for those with limited counter space. Those with advanced versatility, however, tend to be larger. Be sure to check the measurements of the specific model before making a purchase. 

Pod coffee makers also vary in terms of their water capacity. Those with larger water reservoirs provide added convenience since they don’t need to be refilled frequently. 

FAQs

Q: Are coffee pods recyclable?

Coffee pods and pod brewers have a reputation for having a negative environmental impact. While using pods is certainly less environmentally friendly than making filter coffee or espresso, today most major brands ensure that their pods are recyclable, reducing their ecological footprint.

Q: Are there standard coffee pod sizes?

Coffee pods typically come in one of three sizes: 6 ounces, 8 ounces, and 10 ounces.

Q: Do coffee pods work in any machine? 

No, coffee pods do not work in any machine. It’s important to verify the model’s pod compatibility before making a purchase. 

Final Thoughts

Our recommendations cover a variety of types and styles of pod coffee makers to best suit different needs. The Keurig K-Elite K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer is our top pick because of its simple design and top-notch performance. Our recommended choice for those on a budget is the Hamilton Beach 49976 FlexBrew Trio, which can brew both single cups and a full pot of coffee.

MORE TO READ