Top 6 Best Single Cup Coffee Makers On the Market of 2018

If you’re looking for a reliable cup of coffee fast, a single cup coffee maker could be the answer.

Pop in a capsule, push a button, and your morning beverage is ready. What could be simpler?

But choosing a machine in the first place can be much trickier. With the plethora of models now available, how do you know which best fits your needs?

Here are our best single cup coffee maker reviews to help pick the right one for you.

Top 6 Best Single Cup Coffee Makers Reviews of 2018

1. Aicok Single Serve Programmable Coffee Maker

Aicok Single Serve Programmable Coffee Maker, Five Brew Sizes for Most Single Cup Pods Including K-CUP pods, 45 OZ Large Removable Water Tank, Quick Brew Technology, 1420W, Black

Specs and Features

This single-serve coffee brewer from Aicok measure 7.48” x 13.78” x 11.42”, weighs 7.05lbs and is made of plastic.  It features a 45oz reservoir with a large mouth to make filling easier. The reservoir is removable for ease of filling and cleaning.

The drip tray is also removable for ease of cleaning. This also allows you to use the machine with taller cup or mug sizes.

This machine can make drinks of five different sizes, 4oz, 6oz, 8oz, 10oz and 12oz. There are three programmable cup size options, “small”, “medium” and “large” and you can attribute the cup size of your choice to each.

Aicok Single Serve Programmable Coffee Maker, Five Brew Sizes for Most Single Cup Pods Including K-CUP pods, 45 OZ Large Removable Water Tank, Quick Brew Technology, 1420W, Black

The Aicok is a pod-based coffee brewing system and can accept most types of pods, including Realcups, K-Cup and others.

It is also compatible with Keurig’s reusable K-Cup pods, giving you extra flexibility with the types of coffees you can make.

This coffee brewing system features an auto-shut-off which activates at the end of the cycle, meaning you don’t have to remember to switch off after use.

The unit completely shuts down after one hour of inactivity.

Aicok Single Serve Programmable Coffee Maker, Five Brew Sizes for Most Single Cup Pods Including K-CUP pods, 45 OZ Large Removable Water Tank, Quick Brew Technology, 1420W, Black

Review

There are several things about this machine that we particularly like. First of all, it has a very uncluttered design and is extremely simple to use once it is set up the way you like it.

Once you have programmed in your chosen cup sizes for “small”, “medium” and “large”, all you have to do is switch it on, pop in the pod of your choice and hit the corresponding button. There is nothing else you need to think about.

Another great feature is the speed at which this machine can prepare your coffee.

From being switched off, it is ready to brew in around 30 seconds or so and will produce your coffee in another 30 seconds after you hit the button.

This compares well with some other more expensive options which can take longer to warm up and brew.

Aicok Single Serve Programmable Coffee Maker, Five Brew Sizes for Most Single Cup Pods Including K-CUP pods, 45 OZ Large Removable Water Tank, Quick Brew Technology, 1420W, Black

We also enjoyed how quiet this machine is. If you are used to other brands’ single-serve coffee machines, the low noise level on this machine may surprise you.

Another big plus here is that it can take most types of pod, meaning you are not “locked in” as with Keurig 2.0 machines.

This is a small machine, so it’s suitable even if you don’t have lots of space and the price is extremely reasonable.

There are a couple of negative points. This machine is unable to make carafe-sized beverages and it also doesn’t alert you before you start brewing if the reservoir is empty.

Finally, some people might find it lacking in more advanced settings.

What I Like

  • Great value machine
  • Extremely simple to use
  • Can accept most kinds of pods, not locked into one brand
  • Produces coffee very quickly
  • Very quiet coffee maker

What I Didn't Like

  • No carafe-sized option
  • Does not alert you when reservoir needs filling
  • exclamation-triangle
    Some might find it a little basic

Good for

Overall, Aicok Single Serve Programmable Coffee Maker is a great choice for someone looking for a reliable no-frills single-serve coffee maker.


2. Hamilton Beach (49980A) Single Serve Coffee Maker (Our Top Recommended)

Hamilton Beach 49980A Coffee Maker, Single Serve, Black/Stainless Steel

Specs and Features

This versatile coffee maker measures 13.7” x 11.4” x 15.4”. It is pod-free coffee maker that can also make coffee using some types of pods (although not K-Cups).

Using this coffee maker, you can choose to brew either a single cup or a carafe. There are two separate reservoirs, one on the cup side and one on the carafe side.

Hamilton Beach 49980A Coffee Maker, Single Serve, Black/Stainless Steel

This machine can make a single cup of up to 14oz travel mug size – the travel mug itself is sold separately – and can also make a full 12-cup carafe of coffee using the carafe side.

The brew strength is adjustable, with two different settings, either “regular” or “bold”.

This coffee maker also features a programmable timer, allowing you to set the machine in advance to start brewing coffee at a predesignated time.

Hamilton Beach 49980A Coffee Maker, Single Serve, Black/Stainless Steel

Review

What we like most about this machine is its innovative design.

If you need to make coffee for a family, you can use the carafe side – but if you need coffee for just one, you can use the cup side.

This saves you wasting coffee grounds making a carafe just for one person.

Cleverly, it also accepts some types of pods (for example Senseo pods), giving you access to all the convenience of pod-based systems.

But leaving you the freedom to choose regular beans of ground coffee if you choose.

The option to brew either regular-strength coffee or stronger coffee is a great addition, as is the timer.

Hamilton Beach 49980A Coffee Maker, Single Serve, Black/Stainless Steel

Not all coffee machines can be pre-programmed to have coffee ready for you when the alarm sounds in the morning, and this is a feature we love.

This brewing system has an old-school, classic look. Perhaps it doesn’t look as modern and flashy as some of the newer looking models, but it still has a certain aesthetic appeal.

The stainless steel looks as though it is built to last, and you can expect to be using it for a good few years.

The main downside with this machine is the fact that it doesn’t accept K-Cup pods.

The fact that it accepts pods at all is a great idea, but it’s let down slightly by the fact that it doesn’t accept one of the most common and best-best known brands.

What I Like

  • Innovative design allows single-serve, carafe and pod use in one brewing system
  • Two brew strength options
  • Programmable to have coffee waiting for you when you alarm sounds
  • Attractive stainless-steel design
  • Excellent value for money

What I Didn't Like

  • Doesn’t accept K-Cup Pods
  • Old school look might not appeal to everyone

Good for

Hamilton Beach (49980A) Single Serve Coffee Maker is a budget choice, if you don't want buying expensive K-Cups, only brew with grounds coffee. This is right for you.


3. Keurig K-Elite K Single Serve K-Cup Pod Maker

Keurig K-Elite Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker, with Strong Temperature Control, Iced Coffee Capability, 12oz Brew Size, Programmable, Brushed Silver

Specs and Features

The K-Elite measures 13.1” x 9.9” x 12.7” and weighs 6.6lbs. It features a 75oz reservoir and a removable drip tray.

With the drip tray removed, it can accommodate a mug up to 7.2” in height.

This machine can make coffee in cup sizes of 4oz, 6oz, 8oz, 10oz and 12oz.

It has an “iced coffee” setting for preparing iced beverages and also features the “hot water on demand” function when you only need hot water without using a pod.

Keurig K-Elite Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker, with Strong Temperature Control, Iced Coffee Capability, 12oz Brew Size, Programmable, Brushed Silver

This is one of the newest Keurig models and is programmable to allow you to customize your drink; settings include drink strength and a range of temperatures from 187°F to 192°F.

The K-Elite comes complete with one water filter handle and one water filter. It also includes a K-Pod variety pack of K-Cup coffees and cocoas.

Keurig K-Elite Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker, with Strong Temperature Control, Iced Coffee Capability, 12oz Brew Size, Programmable, Brushed Silver

Review

If you are used to some of the older, larger Keurig models such as the K575, the first thing you’ll notice when you take it out of the box is the size and weight – it is considerably smaller and lighter.

The second thing you are going to realize is how attractive this machine looks.

This is definitely a unit that will take pride of place in your kitchen and will likely be the subject of some envious comments from your guests.

One of the best aspects of this machine is that Keurig has finally decided to do away with the ill-advised DRM device they placed in their 2.0 models.

This means the K-Elite is fully compatible with unapproved brands of pods, giving you access to a much wider range of beverage options.

Keurig K-Elite Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker, with Strong Temperature Control, Iced Coffee Capability, 12oz Brew Size, Programmable, Brushed Silver

In this machine, Keurig has done away with the touchscreen control, replacing it with buttons.

However, it is simple to use, and you should have no problem learning how to make coffees and other drinks just the way you want them.

Speaking of this, we also appreciate the amount of customization this machine allows.

Being able to choose the size, temperature and strength of your drink gives you much more control over what you put in your cup.

The biggest let-down with this brewing system is that it doesn’t accept K-Mug or K-Carafe pods, so you are limited to single cups only.

The price is also high – although it is a quality product – and those who want to spend less might prefer to look elsewhere.

What I Like

  • Highly programmable and customizable to make drinks the way you want
  • Very simple and intuitive to use
  • Large reservoir means you don’t need to keep refilling too often
  • Handy iced coffee and “hot water on demand” settings
  • Looks fantastic

What I Didn't Like

  • Does not accept K-Mugs or K-Carafes
  • More expensive than some other options

Good for

Keurig K-Elite K Single Serve K-Cup Pod Maker is great option for someone who wants an upgrade model that allows more control over the coffee you brew.


4. CHULUX Single Serve Coffee Maker for K cup

CHULUX Single Serve Coffee Maker Brewer for Single Cup Capsule with 12 Ounce Reservoir,Black

Specs and Features

The CHULUX pod-based single-serve coffee machine measures 7.1” x 9.1” x 5.1”, weighs 4.39lbs and is made of plastic and stainless steel.

It is capable of making coffee in 4oz, 6oz, 8oz and 10oz cup sizes.

The Quickbrew feature means you can brew a cup of coffee from the machine being switched off in under three minutes.

The on/off button is lit, and the machine has an auto-shutoff capability to save energy.

CHULUX Single Serve Coffee Maker Brewer for Single Cup Capsule with 12 Ounce Reservoir,Black

The drip tray is removable, and with the drip tray removed, the CHULUX can easily accommodate larger-sized mugs.

The machine is easy to clean, with a one-touch cleaning mechanism. There is a filter basket to prevent coffee grounds and dust from falling inside.

The reservoir is 10oz, meaning you need to refill the machine each time you want to brew coffee.

CHULUX Single Serve Coffee Maker Brewer for Single Cup Capsule with 12 Ounce Reservoir,Black

Review

There is a lot to like about this machine, and the most obvious attraction is its price. It is one of the most inexpensive pod-based brewing systems available, but it still performs well.

Another aspect we liked is the simplicity of this machine. All you do is pour in the water, pop in the pod, put your cup in place and press the “on” button.

There are no other options to confuse you, so this could be a great option for the particularly tech-averse.

This machine is designed to accept most pods, including all those from the Keurig K-Cup range, giving you an extremely wide range of coffee and other hot beverage choices.

It is also a particularly small and light coffee machine, meaning you could easily take this with you in the car when you go on camping trips – it won’t take up too much space in your RV or tent.

CHULUX Single Serve Coffee Maker Brewer for Single Cup Capsule with 12 Ounce Reservoir,Black

Finally, it’s very simple to clean. Essentially, to clean it, you do exactly as you would to make coffee but without using a pod. Pour in the water and hit the “on” switch and it will self-clean.

One thing we thought might put some people off is the fact that there is really no proper reservoir.

You need to fill your cup with water for the drink and pour it into the machine each time.

Single-serve pod machines are supposed to be convenient and this detracts from it a little.

Also, some people might hope for more control over their beverages – like strength and temperature.

If that’s you, you might wish to choose a more advanced coffee maker.

What I Like

  • Very low price for a pod system
  • The ultimate in simplicity
  • Very small and light – could also work on camping trips etc.
  • Simple one-touch cleaning mechanism
  • Compatible with most types of K-Cup-style pods

What I Didn't Like

  • No real reservoir – need to refill for every cup
  • Lack of control over temperature and strength of drink

Good for

CHULUX Single Serve Coffee Maker is great option for someone looking for an inexpensive and very basic single-serve pod-based brewing system.


5. Nespresso Inissia Original Espresso Machine by Breville

Breville BEC120RED1AUC1 Inissia Espresso Machine, 100, Red

Specs and Features

This is a pod-based espresso machine – as opposed to brew system for regular coffees. Its dimensions are 4.7” x 9” x 12.6”, it weighs 5.29lbs, has a 20oz reservoir and the exterior is mainly constructed of plastic.

It is sold as making “barista grade” espressos since water is passed through the coffee grounds at a pressure of 19 bar.

Breville BEC120RED1AUC1 Inissia Espresso Machine, 100, Red

It can produce a coffee from being switched off in only 25 seconds and has an energy-saving feature that switches it back to “off” after nine minutes.

It has a folding drip tray which allows you to use larger sized cups, and you can adjust the size of the shot, allowing you to “pull” an espresso or a lungo.

This machine is supplied with a 14-cup taster set of Nespresso pods.

Breville BEC120RED1AUC1 Inissia Espresso Machine, 100, Red

Review

First of all, does this Nespresso machine make great espresso?

The answer is yes, it does! This machine will serve you delicious espresso with real crema with a minimum of effort in the comfort of your kitchen or living room.

If you want great tasting espresso at home but you don’t have the skill or patience required to pull decent shots from a regular espresso machine, this could be a great choice.

Other than the fact that it makes great espresso, another outstanding feature is the speed at which it does so.

From being completely switched off, you can have your drink in your cup and ready to go in only 30 seconds, quite impressive.

Breville BEC120RED1AUC1 Inissia Espresso Machine, 100, Red

Another positive worth pointing out is that, unlike K-Cups, Nespresso pods are recyclable, making this a better choice for the more ecologically-minded coffee lover.

We also think the striking red design of this machine looks great. It might be made of plastic, but it’s still a sturdy machine.

It’s also smaller than many other brewers, making it a good option for smaller homes.

If there is a downside to this coffee maker, it’s the price.

While the machine itself is not overly expensive (it’s not cheap either), the Nespresso pods themselves will work out quite expensive in the long term. 

Also, it only makes espresso – no good if you want other options.

What I Like

  • Makes near-enough coffee shop quality espresso at the touch of a button
  • Super-fast speed – espresso ready in 25 seconds from switched off
  • Great energy saving feature switches off after only nine minutes
  • Can pour espressos or lungos
  • Looks very stylish

What I Didn't Like

  • Nespresso pods can be pricey
  • Only makes espresso

Good for

Overall, Nespresso Inissia Original Espresso Machine is a great option for espresso fans who want the convenience of a pod-based system.


6. Ninja Coffee Bar Single-Serve System with Built-In Frother

Ninja Single-Serve, Pod-Free Coffee Maker Bar with Hot and Iced Coffee, Auto-iQ, Built-In Milk Frother, 5 Brew Styles, and Water Reservoir (CF112)

Specs and Features

This is a pod-free coffee maker capable of making single servings as well as carafes of coffee. Its dimensions are 12.2” x 11 x 16.3” and it weighs 12lbs.

This coffee maker includes a whole range of great features that give you lots of freedom over the coffees you make.

It can make coffees in four sizes, “cup”, “XL cup”, “travel” and XL multi-serve”.

Ninja Single-Serve, Pod-Free Coffee Maker Bar with Hot and Iced Coffee, Auto-iQ, Built-In Milk Frother, 5 Brew Styles, and Water Reservoir (CF112)

It is also capable of brewing five different styles of coffee, “classic brew”, “rich”, “over ice”, “forte” and “specialty”, each giving you different nuances of flavor and mouthfeel.

Coffee is extracted using Ninja’s patent-pending thermal extraction technology and the machine also features a built-in frother for making espresso-based beverages such as lattes and cappuccinos (although this brewer can’t make true espressos).

The unit also includes a permanent water filter and is supplied with a set of five paper filters and a recipe book.

Ninja Single-Serve, Pod-Free Coffee Maker Bar with Hot and Iced Coffee, Auto-iQ, Built-In Milk Frother, 5 Brew Styles, and Water Reservoir (CF112)

Review

This brewer is completely different from machines that use pods.

It doesn’t have the simplicity and convenience of a pod-based system, but it does give you a whole lot more freedom and creativity to make the drinks you want.

We love the five different styles of coffee this brewer produces.

If you want a regular coffee, select the “classic brew” option, but to really appreciate the aromas and subtle flavors of a good coffee, go for the “forte” or “specialty” options.

The versatility of this machine carries over into the beverage size options you have, and you can make anything from a small cup for one person right up to a large carafe of coffee for a group.

Ninja Single-Serve, Pod-Free Coffee Maker Bar with Hot and Iced Coffee, Auto-iQ, Built-In Milk Frother, 5 Brew Styles, and Water Reservoir (CF112)

The frother is something you don’t find on many pod systems either.

You might be able to buy flavored pods like “caramel latte”, but with this machine, you can make real foam to make a much more authentic beverage.

The drawback with this machine is that it lacks all the convenience of a pod system.

For all the freedom it allows, you still have to learn how to use it, take the time to make coffee and clean it after. It is also bigger than many pod-based brewing systems.

What I Like

  • Many sizes of drink, from single cup to large carafe
  • Much more freedom to experiment than with a pod system
  • Five style settings let you make different types of coffee
  • Frother allows you to make more authentic lattes and cappuccinos
  • Permanent filter ensures you always have good quality water

What I Didn't Like

  • Lacks the convenience of a pod-based machine
  • Need to take time to brew the coffee and clean the machine after

Good for

Ninja Coffee Bar Single-Serve System is a great machine for someone who wants more freedom to create a range of coffee drinks just like in a real coffee shop.

Best single cup coffee maker
buying guide

1. What is one cup coffee maker ?

In the simplest terms, a 1 cup coffee maker could be any coffee making device you use to prepare a single serving of coffee.

There are many types of coffee maker that can be used for this, including a single-serve pour-over drip coffee maker, a one-person French press, the AeroPress or even an espresso machine (1).

However, in recent years, there has been a certain amount of innovation in the field of single-serve coffee machines, and this is the kind of device we are focusing on here.

The pioneer in the world of single-serve coffee makers was Keurig. In the early 2000s, the company developed a coffee maker that used single-serve pods to make a fresh cup of steaming coffee each time.

Originally, this was supposed to solve the problem of barely drinkable office coffee that had been sitting in the pot all morning, stewing and becoming bitter.

However, the Keurig machines proved to be so popular that a home version was soon created. Since then, Keurig brewers have gone on to dominate the home coffee machine market.

The patent for these machines and the pods they use ran out in the early 2010s, and now there is a whole range of machines made by Keurig’s competitors, making the choice much more complicated.

Single-serve coffee makers do just that – they make a single serving of coffee each time with the minimum of fuss. Since the original versions were released, some advances have been made, and many of these machines can now also brew mugs and carafes of coffee as well as single cups.

It is also now possible to find single-serve brewing systems that are pod-free.

2. Advantages of the single serve coffee maker

  • Pods offer the convenience of having great coffee any time at the touch of a button
  • Pods provide a wide variety of coffees and other drinks you might not otherwise make
  • Perfect coffee every time – impossible to make a bad brew with a pod
  • Pods keep coffee fresher for much longer
  • No clean up after, simply dispose of the empty pod

Of course, the most obvious advantage of having a single serve coffee maker is that you can make coffee for only one person. This means you can make a brew even if there is only one coffee drinker present – and you don’t waste coffee grounds making more than you need.

This is true of any kind of single serve brewer, from pour-over to espresso machine, but if we are talking about the kind of single serve machines that use pods, there are several other distinct advantages they have over other types of coffee maker.

At the top of this list is convenience – this is primarily what they are designed for, and this is why they have been so successful. All you need to do is pop in a pod and hit “go” and you will only have a few moments to wait before your hot, steaming brew is ready.

As well as this, there is no chance of serving bad coffee. When you brew yourself (2), you have to choose the right grind, you need to dose correctly, you have to judge the steeping time; in short, there is lots of room for error.

Not so with a pod-based machine. Every cup it makes will be perfect, just the way it’s supposed to be.

Another advantage is that coffee in pods keeps fresh for much longer than regular beans or ground coffee. Even six months or a year after buying a pod, you will find that it still hasn’t gone stale. This is because the pods are sealed to prevent oxidization from occurring.

With pods, you don’t only save time before you brew, you also save time after. With any other kind of coffee maker, you need to clean up when you’ve finished. With a pod machine, all you have to do is remove the pod and discard it. Much simpler than messing about with pots and filters.

Finally, pod systems also offer a great amount of variety. Sure, you can probably make a vanilla latte or a caramel macchiato at home – but how often do you actually do it? With a pod machine, you just need to buy the pods you want and pop it in the machine when you want it.

Most machines offer extremely wide ranges of coffee drinks as well as other beverages.

3. What's the disadvantages?

  • Price – machines are often not cheap and the pods themselves can be expensive
  • Environmental impact of single-use pods
  • Choice can be limited to what is available in pod form

There are a few negatives to consider too, the first one being price. Pod machines are generally more expensive to buy in the first place, and the pods themselves are more expensive than buying regular coffee, sometimes by two or three times.

Then there is the environmental impact. Keurig K-Cups are not recyclable and each year literally billions end up in landfill sites. Some other brands are more environmentally friendly but producing that much waste plastic is still not great for the planet.

Pod-free machines are more environmentally-friendly but can’t compete with pod-based machines in terms of simplicity and convenience.

4. Things to look for?

Here are a few pointers for things you should look for when selecting a single-use coffee machine:

  • Does it accept all kinds of pods?

Keurig 2.0 machines, for example, include a DRM device that prevents you from using unapproved pods. Other machines will accept pods made by any company.

  • Is the machine capable of making different sizes of drink?

The original single-serve machines could only make one cup at a time. Modern machines are capable or making mugs or carafes. If you think this is important, you should check this out.

  • Can the brewer make other drinks than coffee?

Most single-serve machines also make other beverages, worth noting if you hope to use it for more than just coffee.

  • How long does it take to heat and brew?

Some machines take longer to heat up when you switch them on. You should take this into consideration. The time it takes to brew a single cup or carafe can also be important.

5. How to choose

If you are considering buying a single-serve coffee maker, you should think about your priorities.

If you value speed and convenience, a machine that uses pods could be a good option. 

If, on the other hand, you prefer to save a few pennies, you might prefer a traditional machine.

If you are sure you want a single-serve brewer, important factors to consider include size (for example if you have a large family), brand (for reputation and product range), and extra features (for example programmable timer, nightlight, high altitude brewing capability, etc.).

Conclusion

We’ve enjoyed reviewing these single cup coffee machines for you and we think any one of these models would be an excellent choice.

However, with its combination of great value, ease of use and versatility, our top pick is the Hamilton Beach (49980A), and this is the coffee maker we recommend.

My name is Kathy Gallo, Editor of Daily Cupo, a Coffee buff. The guide you find here is designed exactly for you, and it is our hope that you find it not only interesting but also actionable.

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