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Published Sep. 30, 2021

If you’re one of 30 million Americans who starts their day with a cup of coffee, you probably have some specific personal preferences for your daily dose of caffeine. Luckily, iced coffee, cold brews, and pour-over coffees are no longer just a thing of fancy cafes: You can brew them on your own, from the comfort of your own kitchen, one cup at a time. Ever since Keurig released their single-serve coffee maker in the 90s, the industry has exploded and now single serve machines have options for all different kinds of brews. We researched the best single-serve coffee makers that’ll have you hopping out of bed in the morning to get your kick of caffeine. Here are our top picks.

How We Picked These Products

Methodology 

Each of these coffee makers serves a different purpose, but we looked at several common factors when choosing our picks for the best single-serve coffee makers. Here are the criteria we examined:

Ease of use: Those of us who can’t function before we’ve had our coffee do not want to deal with a complicated contraption to make our coffee. We liked coffee makers that were easy to use (nothing beats “just press a button” in the early mornings), as well as the ones that were simple to clean and maintain.

Taste: Some might think it’s hard to ruin coffee made from a pre-measured out k-cup, but things like temperature and brew strength levels can change the flavor profile. We looked for machines that kept consistent in temp and strength so users know they’re getting the same cup of coffee every time.

Tools: Many single-serve coffee makers are more than just single-serve coffee makers. If a machine is more expensive, we wanted it to justify that higher price point. Our top choices had tools to make the coffee experience more luxurious, like frothers and grinders, or tools that gave a further level of versatility, like the option to brew a full carafe. 

The Best Single-Serve Coffee Makers: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Keurig K-Select Coffee Maker

Easy to Use

A hot cup of coffee at the press of a button.

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Why It Made the Cut: The Keurig K-Select coffee maker reliably brews up the perfect cup of coffee every time, and does so in under a minute. 

Specs:

  • Brews 4 different sizes
  • Large water reservoir
  • Removal drip tray

Pros:

  • Brews several cups before needing to refill reservoir
  • Drip tray accommodates an entire cup’s worth of coffee
  • Available in an array of colors

Cons: 

  • Thin plastic frame

We had to go with Keurig, the old faithful of single-serve coffee makers, as our pick for overall best machine. Its simplicity is perfect for those bleary, early mornings when you won’t truly wake up until you’ve had your bean juice—just pop in a k-cup and hit the brew button, and your caffeine kick will be ready in under a minute flat.

Speaking of those zombie-mode mornings, we love the sizable drip tray that comes with this Keurig coffee maker. We’ve all done it: brewed a cup of coffee only to realize we forgot to put our mug under the dispenser. This drip tray is large enough to accommodate a full cup of coffee, so any incidents won’t be disastrous. Plus, the tray is removable for easy cleaning or to make space for a travel mug.

Consumers seem to have one common complaint: the plastic framing of the machine and the reservoir feel somewhat thin and flimsy. However, the plastic is not prone to breaking and the thin plastic makes it lightweight. Given its reliable performance, Keurig is still making the best overall single-serve coffee.

Best Large Capacity: Ninja DualBrew

All-in-One Brewing Machine

A single-serve coffee maker that comes with a carafe for larger brews.

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Why It Made the Cut: The Ninja DualBrew with 4 brew style choices works as a single serve maker and comes with a carafe for brewing full pots, making it an easy top choice for best large capacity single serve coffee maker.

Specs: 

  • Brews at 9 different sizes 
  • Built-in frother
  • Independent hot water system

Pros:

  • Adjustable water reservoir
  • Brews different strengths
  • Versatile

Cons:

  • Takes up a lot of counter space

Ninja is known for its powerful small appliances, and their DualBrew single-serve coffee maker is no exception. To call it a single-serve coffee maker is a little misleading, because it actually brews at nine different sizes, including four carafe sizes, making it perfect for individual use or for serving a group.

It also has four different options for brewing style: classic, rich, over ice, and a specialty option for ground coffee or pods—plus, there’s a separate clean hot water system you can use for other drinks and foods, like cocoa, oatmeal, and soup. 

Like many of Ninja’s heavy-duty small appliances, this coffee maker might take up extra counter space, but it’s made with convenience in mind. The water reservoir can swing from the side to the back, so you can place it wherever it’s most convenient for you. The frothing arm folds away to save space as well.

Best Single-Serve Coffee and Espresso Maker: Nespresso Vertuo Plus Espresso Machine

Perfectly Strong Espresso

Smart technology brews the perfect espresso every time

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Why It Made the Cut: This Nespresso coffee maker serves up coffee and single or double espressos, and with the help of the included Aeroccino milk frother you can make luxurious lattes and cappuccinos as delicious as ones from a high-end cafe. 

Specs: 

  • Brews coffee and espresso in a variety of sizes
  • Includes Aeroccino milk frother
  • Extra large water tank

Pros:

  • Heats up in only 15 seconds
  • Used capsule container holds 17 pods
  • Quiet machine
  • Best taste

Cons:

  • Expensive coffee capsules

The Nespresso Vertuo espresso maker blows the competition away when it comes to taste. It brews strong, rich coffee and espresso that are hard to find in American cafes. Fancy espresso drinks like lattes and cappuccinos are easy to whip up with the help of the Aeroccino milk frother.

This high-quality machine heats up in only 15 seconds so you can get that shot of espresso as soon as you need it. Despite its evident power, the machine is relatively quiet when it’s brewing, unlike other coffee makers that bang and rattle. This single-serve coffee and espresso maker feels like a luxurious addition to the kitchen.

Of course, with luxury comes high price, and although the machine itself isn’t unreasonable (you can get it without the milk frother), it only works with Nespresso coffee capsules, and those get pricey. Compared to the price of a cafe beverage, however, it’s a steal, and in our opinion the Vertuo brews a drink that’s just as good, if not better. Now you just have to get working on your latte art!

Best for Ground Coffee: Breville Grind Control Coffee Maker

Fresh Ground and Aromatic

Brew a cup or a carafe with this coffee maker that grinds your fresh coffee beans.

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Why It Made the Cut: Nothing beats the full-bodied taste of coffee brewed from freshly ground beans, and this coffee maker from Breville makes it easier than ever to grind your own beans, making it our choice for best single serve coffee maker for ground coffee. 

Specs:

  • Autostarts grinding and brewing
  • LCD display shows grind and brew options
  • Includes gold tone filter, carafe, and cleaning brush

Pros:

  • LCD panel is easy to use
  • Adjustable grind size and strength settings allow you to brew to preference
  • Grinder is quieter than previous models

Cons:

  • Burr grinders are difficult to clean

Given how closely our sense of smell is connected to our sense of taste, the aroma of coffee is every bit as important as its flavor. The best way to get strong, full-bodied flavors and aromas from your coffee is to grind it right before you brew. If that sounds like a hassle, check out Breville’s Grind Control coffee maker that comes equipped with its own grinder.

This single-serve coffee maker has an LCD panel that makes it easy to control the brew. It includes many options for grind size and coffee strength, so coffee can be tweaked to individual preferences, depending how weak or strong you like your java in the morning.

This coffee maker is easy to use, but cleaning out the burr grinders is an area of difficulty. While the other pieces are easily removed when they need a good cleaning, the grinders stay put so you need to just do your best to clean them out. Over time detritus builds up and could cause jams. 

Best Value: Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Coffee Maker

Brew on a Budget

A simple single serve coffee maker at a great value.

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Why It Made the Cut: Hamilton Beach is a trusted brand that comes up with great lower-cost options for expensive small appliances, and their easy-to-use FlexBrew is our pick for best budget single serve coffee maker.

Specs: 

  • Adjustable cup rest
  • Removable pod-piercing needle
  • Brews ground coffee and pods

Pros:

  • Small size is perfect for office or dorms
  • Takes k-cups or ground coffee
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Takes a couple to minutes to heat up
  • Needs frequent cleaning

If you want the ease of a single serve coffee maker but don’t need all the bells and whistles, the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew is a great option that comes in at an affordable price. It couldn’t be easier to use (shut the lid, press the button) and it comes with an interchangeable filter so you can choose to use ground coffee instead of k-cups. 

This compact coffee maker doesn’t take up a ton of space so it’s perfect for an office or dorm room. We love that its parts, particularly the pod-piercing needle, are easy to remove for cleaning. The area around the pods collect grinds quickly, so it’s important to clean often to prevent jams.

At the lower price point, this coffee maker isn’t quite as powerful as the more expensive versions and takes a few minutes longer to heat up. However, once it heats up, the coffee comes out at a respectable 185 to 195 ℉.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Single-Serve Coffee Maker

Making coffee can be as simple as flipping a switch or it can involve a series of steps for the perfect cup. Here’s what you should keep in mind when deciding upon the best single-serve coffee maker for you. 

Drip or Espresso

The basic single-serve coffee makers are wonderful and dispense perfect cups of coffee, but if you’re prone to going out and getting a complicated drink at Starbucks, you might find that a simple Keurig machine doesn’t live up to your expectations. If you like your coffee more on the fancier side, check out the single-serve espresso makers, like the Nespresso Vertuo we include in our list. 

Pods

Some coffee drinkers love coffee pods because they’re so convenient to use. However, single-serving pods are tougher on the environment, and some prefer more eco-friendly reusable filters. If you prefer to skip the k-cups, check the specs before you purchase a single-serve coffee maker to ensure that it comes with an insert for the reusable filter (or check out our pick for best single serve coffee maker for ground coffee, the Breville Grind Control coffee maker.

Quantity

We loved the Ninja DualBrew because it comes with so many options for brew sizes, including four different carafe sizes. A single-serve coffee maker that also comes with a carafe might be a great choice if you tend to have company and want to serve a pot of coffee to guests, or even if you like to enjoy a couple (or more cups) on your own throughout the morning, while still having that option to make a single cup or fill a travel mug. 

FAQs

Q: What is the hottest single serve coffee maker?

We found that most of the single-serve coffee makers have temperatures between 185-195 ℉, but the Touch Plus makes coffee up to 200 ℉. Coffee shouldn’t be brewed at higher than 205 ℉, as the high temperature could burn it and leave it tasting bitter.

Q: How do I choose a coffee maker?

It’s difficult to choose when there are so many different brands offering coffee makers, and then each brand offers so many different models with different functions. It’s a lot to think about! We tend to like brands that have proven themselves in their market, like the founding father of single-serve pods Keurig, or our favorite for powerful small appliances Ninja.

Q: What is the easiest coffee machine to use?

The easiest single serve coffee machines let you insert the pod and press start. Our pick for best overall single-serve coffee maker is a Keurig machine. Keurigs are simple to use, though some higher-end models have a lot of options to choose from. Our value pick from Hamilton Beach is also super convenient to use and easy to clean. 

Final Thoughts

A single-serve coffee maker is a great convenience that makes mornings easier and more efficient—no more pouring cold, wasted coffee down the drain. With so many options available, it’s the perfect small appliance for casual coffee drinkers and coffee connoisseurs alike. Whichever kind of java drinker you are, you can find the best coffee maker for you, whether it’s to brew up a cup of hot black coffee or to concoct a sweet, frothy espresso masterpiece.

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