The 8 Best Single-Serve Coffee Makers for the Perfect Cup of Joe

Start your morning off on the right note with the Cuisinart Single Serve Coffee Maker.

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best single serve coffee makers
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

For coffee drinkers, there's nothing like that first cup of your favorite brew in the morning. While you can always just grab a cup from a local coffee shop, single-serve coffee makers let you make your favorite coffee at home—and save you money in the long run if you're a frequent coffee drinker.

Single-serve coffee makers are small appliances that make one at a time, rather than a whole pot. Since there are so many styles out there, we researched the best single-serve coffee makers, keeping in mind each machine's size, whether the machine has a water reservoir, and if it takes pods or reusable filters. We also consulted Jon Clark, founder of Nomad Coffee Club.

"There is absolutely a hidden cost in K-Cup [and] Nespresso brewers in the long run that should be considered, even for one cup a day drinkers," says Clark, who recommends taking the cost of coffee pods into account before deciding on your favorite option.

Overall, the best single-serve coffee maker is the Cuisinart Single Serve Coffee Maker. The unit has a large water reservoir and accepts both coffee pods and ground coffee.

Here are the best single-serve coffee makers.

What We Recommend

Best Overall: Cuisinart Single Serve Coffee Maker

Best Single Serve Coffee Makers
Courtesy of Kohl's

Also available at Kohl's

Why You Should Get It: It contains a large water reservoir and can brew from both coffee grounds and coffee pods.

Keep in Mind: Brew speed could vary with the multiple brewing options available.

Overall, the best single-serve coffee maker is the Cuisinart Single Serve Coffee Maker. The coffee maker has a 72-ounce water reservoir that's ideal for people who drink several cups of coffee per day or for households with more than one coffee drinker.

The coffee maker is compatible with a variety of pods; however, it also comes with a reusable filter cup if you prefer to use your own grounds. Plus, the machine also dispenses hot water, so you'll be able to use it for tea and hot chocolate as well.

The machine can brew servings that are 4 to 12 ounces, so you'll be able to use a variety of mug sizes. The model also allows you to choose what brewing temperature you prefer. Plus, the machine is programmable, so you can adjust settings to brew your perfect cup of coffee. A charcoal filter also removes impurities for a better tasting coffee.

For easier cleaning, the water reservoir is removable, and the unit itself comes with a rinse feature to clean inside of the brewing chamber. You can also pop out the drip tray for cleaning and to more readily brew coffee right into a travel mug.

Product Details:

  • Pods or Reusable Filter: Both
  • Beverage Size: 4 to 12 ounces
  • Water Reservoir: 72 ounces
  • Brewing Options: Standard coffee and hot water
  • Brew Speed: Not listed

Best Budget: Black + Decker Single Serve Coffee Maker

Best Single Serve Coffee Makers
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Walmart

Why You Should Get It: It comes with a travel mug and can brew both coffee pods and coffee grounds.

Keep in Mind: There's no reservoir to hold extra water, so you'll need to fill it each time you brew coffee.

If you're in the market for a less-expensive option, the best single-serve coffee maker to consider is the Black+Decker Single Serve Coffee Maker. The small appliance brews single servings of coffee using a permanent filter that's compatible with both ground coffee and coffee pods. It also comes with a 16-ounce travel mug in case you need your caffeine on-the-go.

The filter can be cleaned by simply rinsing it out, so it's a lower-maintenance option for daily cleaning. Because it doesn't require paper filters, this coffee maker creates less waste and doesn't require the added expense of buying filters than other options on the market. The filter basket is also dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.

The machine shuts itself off automatically after the cup of coffee is finished brewing, a great detail especially if you're rushing in the morning. It's also a smaller option—just 7.4 inches wide and 12.1 inches tall—if you're trying to conserve valuable counter space.

Keep in mind that this machine doesn't have a water reservoir tank to hold extra water beyond 16 ounces. You will need to add water each time you want to brew a cup of coffee, which could be inconvenient for frequent coffee drinkers or a household of coffee lovers.

Product Details:

  • Pods or Reusable Filter: Both
  • Beverage Size: 5 to 16 ounces
  • Water Reservoir: 16 ounces
  • Brewing Options: Standard coffee
  • Brew Speed: Not listed

Best Splurge: Jura D6 Automatic Coffee Machine

Best Single Serve Coffee Makers
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Crate & Barrel

Why You Should Get It: It can brew a simple cup of coffee as well as a cappuccino.

Keep in Mind: You can't use coffee pods with it.

If you don't mind investing in a single-serve coffee maker, the Jura D6 is an excellent choice. The style is recommended by Clark, who uses a Jura D6 when brewing his own coffee. Overall, he appreciates the D6 for its "large water reservoir and simple and intuitive controls." Plus, he says it "makes a great cup of coffee as well as espresso from freshly ground beans."

The machine offers automatic grinding of whole beans at the touch of a button. The brewing process is complete in under one minute, making this a fast option. It also allows users to program their preferred brewing options like coffee strength and cup volume.

For people who love foam, this model creates a milk foam that makes it easy to whip up a cappuccino from the convenience of home. Plus, there's unlimited steam output so you can create multiple cappuccinos without having to wait.

The coffee maker features a pulse extraction process, a system that will help improve the flavor of the coffee. Whether you want to brew espresso, coffee, cappuccino or even just hot water, the machine holds up to 7 ounces of beans and has a sizable 63.6-ounce reservoir. It's worth noting, however, that this machine is not compatible with coffee pods.

Product Details:

  • Pods or Reusable Filter: Filter
  • Beverage Size: Not listed
  • Water Reservoir: 63.6 ounces
  • Brewing Options: Standard coffee, cappuccino, espresso, and hot water
  • Brew Speed: Under 60 seconds

Best for Ground Coffee: Hamilton Beach The Scoop Single-Serve Coffee Maker

Best Single Serve Coffee Makers
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Home Depot

Why You Should Get It: This single-serve option has a reusable filter that can also serve as a coffee scoop.

Keep in Mind: The water tank does not hold extra water, requiring you to refill it between brew cycles.

This Hamilton Beach machine is the best single-serve coffee maker for those who don't want to use coffee pods. The mesh scoop filter can be used as a measuring device, so all you have to do is choose your favorite coffee grounds. Once you've made your coffee, the scoop can be run through the dishwasher for quick cleaning.

You can choose to brew either an 8-ounce or a 14-ounce cup of coffee, though the 14-ounce will take about a minute longer to brew. You'll also be able to choose between the automatic drip brewing option or a bolder brew if you prefer stronger coffee. Once the machine is done brewing, it shuts itself off automatically so you won't have to worry about it once you head out for the day.

With this model, keep in mind that the reservoir won't hold more than 14 ounces of water so you will need to refill it after every cup. This isn't an inconvenience for those who only want to savor one cup of coffee, but it may matter if you want multiple, quick cups of coffee at home.

Product Details:

  • Pods or Reusable Filter: Filter
  • Beverage Size: 8 to 14 ounces
  • Water Reservoir: 14 ounces
  • Brewing Options: Standard coffee
  • Brew Speed: 1.5 to 2.5 minutes

Related: The 14 Best Coffee Subscription Services to Try Right Now

Best for Espresso: Nespresso Vertuo Coffee Maker & Espresso Machine

Best Single Serve Coffee Makers
Courtesy of Bed Bath And Beyond

Also available at Williams Sonoma

Why You Should Get It: This machine can make up to two cups of quality espresso or classic coffee.

Keep in Mind: You can only use Nespresso pods, and the machine does not offer a reusable filter option.

For espresso aficionados, the Nespresso machine is the best single-serve coffee machine. The machine, which is offered in either chrome or matte black finishes, can brew both standard coffee and espresso, making it a more versatile option compared to other similar styles.

Although it is a single-serve machine, you'll have the option to brew up to two servings of coffee or espresso at one time for mornings when you need an extra caffeine boost.

Though the machine only brews coffee from Nespresso's own coffee pods, it creates barista-quality espresso at home. It's made with a specific technology that leads to quiet brewing, a key detail especially if you live with others. Brewing speed depends on how much coffee and what type, but the machine heats up to ideal brewing temperature in 20 seconds or less.

The machine even has a built-in feature to let you know when it needs to be descaled, so you won't have to remember to clean it regularly. Just keep in mind you'll want to hand wash the water reservoir, capsule holder, and drip tray rather than running them through the dishwasher. Plus, Nespresso recommends their descaling cleanser instead of vinegar or other traditional cleaning methods.

Product Details:

  • Pods or Reusable Filter: Pods
  • Brew Size: 1.35 to 7.77 ounces
  • Water Reservoir: 40 ounces
  • Brewing Options: Standard coffee and espresso
  • Brew Speed: Not listed

Related: These Coffee Makers and Espresso Machines Are So Good, You'll Actually Want to Brew a Cup at Home

Best for Iced Coffee: Mr. Coffee Iced Coffee Maker

Best Single Serve Coffee Makers
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Walmart

Why You Should Get It: It's less expensive than other options, available in multiple colors, and is easy to use.

Keep in Mind: It does not offer brewing options, so you won't be able to customize the strength or size of your coffee.

The Mr. Coffee Iced Coffee Maker is the best single-serve coffee maker for those who prefer an iced beverage. The small appliance is offered in three colors and is less expensive than most other coffee makers, so you won't have to worry if you only want to use it seasonally.

The machine brews a cup of iced coffee in less than four minutes using its RapidChill process, a brewing method that ensures the coffee won't be watered down. The coffee brews hot but quickly cools down over a tumbler filled with ice cubes. Just keep in mind that with this coffee maker you can only use ground coffee in the machine's reusable filter.

The coffee machine comes with a double-wall insulated, 22-ounce tumbler that's BPA-free and is made to keep the iced coffee cold for a longer period of time without sweating. It's also hand-washable and comes with a lid and straw. Plus, it has indicator markings that show how much ice you'll need.

Product Details:

  • Pods or Reusable Filter: Filter
  • Brew Size: 22 ounces
  • Water Reservoir: 22 ounces
  • Brewing Options: Iced coffee
  • Brew Speed: Four minutes

Best Small: Keurig K-Mini Plus Coffee Maker

Best Single Serve Coffee Makers
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond

Why You Should Get It: When you're short on space but want the convenience of a single-serve coffee maker, this model is a compact choice with brewing options.

Keep in Mind: The reservoir doesn't hold extra water.

If you're short on counter space but don't want to sacrifice your morning cup of coffee, the K-Mini Plus from Keurig is the best single-serve coffee machine.The unit is small and slim but still provides the option to choose a cup size ranging from 6 to 12 ounces.

This small machine has a storage container that can hold up to nine K-Cup coffee pods for convenient storage, eliminating the need to hunt around in the back of the cupboard for a pod to use. It also works with Keurig's My K-Cup Universal Reusable Coffee Filter if you want to skip single-use pods.

The K-Mini Plus comes in seven colors and even has cord storage that'll help keep your countertop tidy. Like larger brewers, the drip tray is removable to accommodate both coffee mugs and larger travel mugs. Due to its smaller size, it doesn't have a reservoir that holds extra water, which helps save on space. However, if you use a cup that's too small, the drip tray can hold up to a full cup in case of accidental overbrewing.

Product Details:

  • Pods or Reusable Filter: Pods and filter
  • Brew Size: 6 to 12 ounces
  • Water Reservoir: 12 ounces
  • Brewing Options: Standard coffee
  • Brew Speed: Not listed

Most Versatile: Keurig K-Supreme Coffee Maker

Best Single Serve Coffee Makers
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Home Depot

Why You Should Get It: For people who love hot and iced coffee equally and want multiple brewing options, this model is the right choice.

Keep in Mind: You can only use this model with Keurig-branded coffee pods.

Finding a versatile brewer, like this one from Keurig, is the key to making multiple kinds of coffee with one multitasking machine. With this model, you can brew 6, 8, 10, and 12 ounces of coffee and choose whether you'd like a strong brew or regular strength. The machine can make both hot and iced coffee.

Keep in mind that this machine can only use Keurig-brand K-Cups, which limits your coffee options. The coffee maker has a 66-ounce water reservoir, so there's plenty of water for a multi-person household to have a cup or two of coffee.

This latest model even allows you to choose which side of the brewer the reservoir should be on, so it's easier to fit into tight spaces. The 34-inch cord length also allows you to position it wherever it fits best. The brewer will even remind you when it's time to descale with its automatic alert that occurs every 250 brews.

Product Details:

  • Pods or Reusable Filter: Keurig-brand pods
  • Brew size: 6 to 12 ounces
  • Water Reservoir: 66 ounces
  • Brewing Options: Standard coffee and iced coffee
  • Brew Speed: Not listed

Related: The 8 Best Blenders for Making Smoothies, Soups, and Purées

The Bottom Line

Overall, the Cuisinart Single Serve Coffee Maker is our pick for best single-serve coffee maker. Its large reservoir means less refilling. Plus, it accepts both pods and coffee grounds, allowing flexibility for users in choosing their coffee flavor. For a less-expensive option, we recommend the Black+Decker Single Serve Coffee Maker because it comes with a travel mug and is easy to clean.

What to Know About Single-Serve Coffee Makers Before Shopping

Pods vs. Reusable Filters

Pod-based brewers are the clear winner when it comes to quicker brew times. "You don't need to measure out coffee grounds, and they are ideal for those who consume a single cup of coffee per day," Clark says. "For high-volume coffee drinkers, cost will become a consideration for individual pods over time."

Reusable filters are best for people "concerned with flavor quality, the environment" and those who "enjoy the coffee brewing process," Clark says. Single-serve coffee makers that work with reusable filters allow you to use your own coffee grounds, whether they're available in pod form or not.

Brewing Options

With single-serve coffee makers, you may be limited on brewing options in regards to brew size, strength, and temperature. Clark notes this is a main reason that coffee connoisseurs may not enjoy all single-serve machines. He says they're usually "quite limited" in terms of brew options, though there are a few exceptions from brands like Keurig and Cuisinart. But if it's standard coffee or coffee pods you're after, single-serve coffee makers are a great option for fast coffee.

Water Reservoir Size

Coffee makers have a water reservoir you'll have to fill each time you want to brew coffee. How much water you can add, however, depends on the size of the reservoir as well as how much you need.

"When choosing a coffee maker, the most important thing to consider is the number of cups of coffee you will make in one go," Clark says.

For instance, if you're the only person drinking coffee at home or you're concerned about counter space, you can get away with a smaller reservoir. Clark suggests looking for a water reservoir that holds 24 to 36 ounces, which will provide water for multiple cups of coffee, if you like more than one serving of coffee in the morning or if there are multiple coffee drinkers in your household.

Brew Speed

In general, single-serve coffee makers brew much faster than drip coffee makers—often in a couple of minutes or less. The speed is an advantage, but be aware that it can also have an impact on flavor.

"Coffee that takes longer to brew tends to have a more developed flavor profile than coffee that is brewed quickly," Clark says. "This is because the longer the coffee sits in contact with hot water, the more caffeine and oils will be extracted from the grounds."

However, he points out that the temperature of the water and the size of the coffee grounds also impact the flavor, not just the speed of brewing.

Your Questions, Answered

How do you clean a single-serve coffee maker?

Cleaning a single-serve coffee maker is a must. Clark says if not properly cleaned, "it can become moldy and smelly." He recommends pouring a half cup of white vinegar into the brewer's reservoir. From there, run a normal brew cycle, then rinse the coffee maker with water. Clark also suggests using baking soda to get rid of any lingering odors.

"Sprinkle baking soda on a damp cloth, and wipe down any surfaces or parts in your brewer that touch water or coffee grounds," he says. "This includes the top lid, sides, and bottom base." For hard water or mineral buildup in single-serve machines that take pods, you may want to reach for a descaling solution.

Do coffee pods fit in all single-serve coffee makers?

Unfortunately, not all coffee pods fit all single-serve coffee makers. Be sure to check your machine so you know if it can use pods from other brands. Overall, most machines are compatible with pods, either reusable or pre-filled. However, Nespresso machines exclusively use the brand's pods, which can be limiting.

Are coffee pods reusable?

Clark points out that, traditionally, coffee pods have been made out of plastic and foil, which can be hard to recycle and aren't reusable.

"That said, there are reusable options available on the market, primarily for Keurig and Nespresso," Clark says. "These are fantastic options for those who prefer to grind their beans fresh prior to brewing [versus] the pre-ground coffee trapped in pre-packaged pods."

These pods are typically made of silicone or plastic, so they don't contain any metal like the original K-cups or Nespresso pods do. You'll want to read up on the model you're considering to check whether its pods are reusable.

Who We Are

This article was written by Brittany VanDerBill, a freelance lifestyle and travel writer whose work has been published with several Dotdash Meredith brands. To find the best single-serve coffee makers, she researched a variety of options, keeping in mind size, brewing options, and water reservoir size, amongst other details. She also consulted Jon Clark, founder of Nomad Coffee Club.

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