Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: May 28, 2021
Wise Pick is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
There is nothing like a piping hot cup of fresh coffee to help you get your day started in the morning. The biggest issue with getting a quality cup is that buying one from a coffee shop is very expensive, and making your own at home from ground up coffee beans often means making more than you need. The solution to this problem, obviously, is getting the best single serve coffee maker to use at home.
Now, the market is flooded with this type of coffee makers, so it can be really hard to find the right one. When we were putting together this listing, we made sure to look at several key features to find the best rated single serve coffee makers possible. We first checked into the tank capacity of each model, so that we knew how often you’d need to refill it. Next, we checked out the types of coffee that each maker used. Finally, we looked at the overall dimensions of the coffee makers to determine how much space is needed to store them.
We spent tens of hours reading through hundreds of reader reviews to put together our comprehensive list and in-depth product reviews. We also took the time to put together a detailed buying guide and answer several frequently asked questions so that you can find the perfect coffee maker to create a delicious cup of coffee.
Keurig has long been one of the leaders in the world of single serve coffee makers, and for a good reason. Their K-Cup pods are extremely convenient. These pods help to cut out all of the time it takes to measure out your coffee, and instead simply allow you to pop a pod in and start brewing right away. The large capacity reservoir on this model also helps to make it even more convenient, since you won’t need to measure out any water each morning.
One of the biggest problems with most Keurig machines is that they can only be used to make regular coffee. That is, thankfully, not the case with this machine. Not only can you make a wonderful cup of coffee with this model, but you can also enjoy the mild taste of lattes and cappuccinos as well. What really helps to make these drinks something special is the easy-to-use milk frother.
The milk frother on this coffee maker is one of the easiest to setup and utilize on the market. All you need to do is pick the setting and get to work. This will allow you to make café style drinks in the comfort of your home in a very short amount of time.
As you would expect from such a powerful machine, this coffee maker takes a lot of power to run. If you have a smaller home, this could trip your circuit breaker. Although this won’t cause any permanent damage, it can be a bit of an inconvenience. Thankfully, all you have to do is adjust the Auto Off setting to get rid of this issue.
What makes it stand out?
High capacity removable reservoir
Easy-to-use milk frother
Can be set for four cup sizes
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Might trip circuit breaker; Auto Off needs to be disabled
This is a great coffee maker for those looking to become a barista in their own kitchen. It has a ton of options for making a large variety of different caffeinated beverages. In fact, this machine can be used to make up to eight different drinks. It also utilizes Nespresso capsules. These capsules are very similar to the K-Cups from Keurig, but with one large difference. Unlike K-Cups, these capsules can be recycled. Even if you cannot recycle them from your home, the company will send you a UPS envelope to send your used capsules so you can rest assured that they are disposed of properly.
As you would expect from a machine that can be used to make so many different drinks, there is a bit of a learning curve to using it properly. While making a regular cup of coffee is not very difficult, you should not expect to be able to create lattes and cappuccinos right away when you start using it.
Thankfully, this company stands behind their product. The instructions that come with this maker lay everything out in a pretty simple way so that you shouldn’t have any issue making the drinks you desire. It will just take a bit of practice to get them to taste exactly how you want them to taste.
With such a complex machine, it is another tribute to the quality of the company that they offer one of the most extended warranties on the market. Even if something goes wrong through the normal use of this coffee maker, you will still be covered for two years.
What are its best features?
High capacity reservoir
Can make eight different beverages
What could be improved?
Complex; takes some practice to use correctly
Ninja CF112 – Best Single Serve Coffee Maker without Pods
Capacity: 22 oz.
Cup sizes: 4
Dimensions: 12.2 x 11 x 16.3 inches
Warranty: 1-year limited
More features: built-in frother; classic and rich brew
If you are more of a coffee purist, then odds are that you don’t want to use capsules or pods to make your early morning brew. With this coffee maker, you can use your favorite ground beans from the store or make your own mix to create delicious drinks that will rival anything you’d get at a coffee shop. Using ground coffee also helps to make this a much more environmentally friendly option, since you can compost the leftover coffee grounds with ease.
Unlike other machines that can be used to make more complex drinks like cappuccinos and lattes, this model is relatively straightforward to use. There are several different settings to select from that will allow you to make different brews to your exact specifications. You can also make four different cup sizes, which means that you can make the right size cup for any occasion.
The milk frother also works very well. As with the other settings on this machine, it is very easy to use, making it a great option for anyone that is looking to make fancier caffeinated drinks.
Though this is not a very difficult-to-use coffee maker, you will need to make sure that you clean it often. Otherwise, you might notice a bit of different taste to your drinks, which is obviously less than ideal. It could also lead to the maker not working properly, or even breaking down on you.
Even though we would all like to have a nice restful time in the morning and enjoy a cup of coffee at home, that isn’t always an option. Lots of folks lead extremely busy lives and don’t have enough time to sit at home and drink their coffee. With this model from AdirChef, you can quickly and easily make a great cup of coffee and be on your way in no time at all.
To start off, this machine has a sleek design. This makes it a great addition to anyone’s kitchen counter, even if you already have another coffee maker or a smaller kitchen. Since it is so compact, it can also easily be stored in a cabinet when it is not in use, making it a perfect option if counter space is at a premium in your home.
This model comes with a travel mug, which is available in five different colors. This mug is perfectly designed to fit into the machine without any issue. The coffee maker’s reservoir is only large enough to fill this size cup, which helps to prevent overflows or spills.
There are two things, however, that you will need to keep in mind with this machine. First off, the supplied filter, while really easy to keep clean, allows the water to flow through too quickly. This speedy transfer makes it difficult to get the right boldness for your coffee, especially if you like yours to be on the stronger side.
The second issue that you need to consider with this machine is that the mug it comes with has a plastic interior. While this won’t be a big deal right away, it means that the cup won’t last as long as a stainless model, so you might have to replace the mug sooner rather than later.
What makes it stand out?
Uses coffee grounds
Comes with a travel mug
Sleek and compact design
Makes coffee quickly
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
The supplied filter allows water to flow through too quickly
This coffee maker is another great option if you are looking to save a bit of counter space. It is extremely compact, which helps to make it an excellent choice for anyone that has a smaller kitchen, or just doesn’t like a cluttered countertop. Even though it is quite small, it is still able to make a great cup of coffee.
This machine doesn’t have a whole lot of different brewing options, though it can be used for making regular coffee for a normal day or bold coffee when you need an extra energy boost. This coffee maker can only make two different cup sizes. While this might seem a bit limiting to some folks, the straightforward and uncomplicated design and operation of this model still make it a great choice for anyone that is in a hurry and wants a basic cup of coffee.
One of the bigger issues with a smaller coffee maker is that there is a tendency for them to be a bit messy during the brewing process. This messiness can be blamed on the fact that the cups are not usually close enough to the spout of the maker. This model, however, has an easily adjustable stand that makes getting your cup near to the spout much easier.
Something else that you will want to carefully consider before purchasing this machine is that the coffee you make will have a faint plastic taste after the first few times you use it. While this plastic aftertaste will not harm you, it could make the coffee taste somewhat bitter. Thankfully, this doesn’t last very long, so it shouldn’t be a deal breaker.
While single serve coffee makers are usually Keurig’s target market, this model is a bit different. Though it can be used to make a single serving of coffee, it can also be used to make much larger amounts. This machine can actually make a travel mug worth, or even a twelve-ounce carafe of coffee. These different sizes make this one of the most versatile single serve coffee makers on the market, which would be perfect for a whole household of coffee drinkers.
One of the reasons that this model can make so much coffee at once is because of the extra-large reservoir. Where other models can only hold enough for a few cups of coffee before needing to be refilled, this model has an eighty-ounce capacity. It is enough for over ten cups of coffee, which is perfect for a larger group. It is also very easy to set up and utilize, so no matter who wakes up in the morning, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting a delicious cup of coffee to help start your day on the right foot.
Something to keep in mind if you are going to be brewing larger amounts is that you will need to use different Keurig pods, including the K-Carafe that are not easy to find in stores so you will need to order them online, which might not be very convenient for everyone. The coffee also tends to be somewhat cooler when you make larger amounts with this machine, so be sure to keep that in mind before you make your final decision.
What do we love it for?
Large capacity reservoir
Can be used with a carafe for larger groups
Easy to adjust brew settings
Comes with a variety K-cup pods pack and water filter cartridges
In this section, we will go through everything that you need to know to find the best single serve coffee maker possible. We have also taken the time to answer several frequently asked questions, so be sure that you read through them carefully if you have any further questions so that you can make an informed purchase.
Features to consider while choosing a single serve coffee maker
As you can imagine, there are lots of different factors that you need to take into consideration before you make your final decision on your new coffee maker. In this section, we will go through every detail so that you can find the best model for your needs.
One of the first things that you will want to keep in mind when you are looking for a new coffee maker is the capacity that you need. The capacity of any coffee maker is how much water it can fit in its reservoir that can then be used to make your cup of coffee. Obviously, the larger the capacity, the more cups of coffee can be made before you need to refill the reservoir, which is a big help on a busy morning.
Of course, if you live by yourself, then you probably won’t need a model with a large capacity, since you will be the only one making coffee with the machine. In this instance, a model like the Hamilton Beach 49981A would work perfectly. On the other hand, if you live with a large group of coffee lovers, then a coffee maker with a larger capacity, such as the Keurig K575, might be your best bet.
Number of cup sizes
Something else that you will want to carefully consider before you make your final purchase is the number of cup sizes that you need your new coffee maker to be able to handle.
Some of the different models out there can only make one size, while others can make several, so be sure that you have a clear understanding of what you need before you buy.
K-Cup pods vs. Nespresso capsules vs. ground coffee
When it comes to the actual coffee that you are going to put into your new maker, there are several different options that you can choose from based on the type of coffee maker you settle on in the end. These choices include the following:
K-Cup pods – As the name suggests, these pods are meant to be used with Keurig machines. K-cups are incredibly convenient and come in a ton of different flavors. Their only major drawback is that they are not very good for the environment since they cannot be recycled at all.
Nespresso capsules – Nespresso capsules are used in Nespresso machines, like the Breville Nespresso Creatista Single Serve Espresso Machine. These capsules are very similar to K-cups in that they contain a single serving of coffee or expresso. They don’t come in as many flavors, unfortunately. These capsules are made out of aluminum, however, which means that they can be recycled.
Ground coffee – Ground coffee is perhaps the most environmentally friendly method of coffee brewing since the grounds and filters can usually be composted or recycled. You can also get reusable and washable pods that fit into Keurig or Nespresso machines so that you can choose your favorite coffee flavors, and help to keep the environment clean. On the other hand, ground coffee is not that convenient to use since you need to carefully measure the proper amount, put it into the brew basket, and clean it afterward. This means more mess and less of your precious time in the morning.
When it comes to getting a cup of coffee at your local coffee shop, there are no limits to the different options that you have when it comes to the varieties of different brews you can select from. This high number of choices is the biggest reason that so many people go to these shops since most coffee makers at home can only make a regular cup. Thankfully, if you get the best rated single serve coffee maker, you will be able to have the option to choose from various brew settings.
These brew settings will allow you to make a light, regular, or bold cup of coffee. That way, you will be able to get the taste you love from your local coffee shop right in your home. Obviously, these brew setting, like those on the Hamilton Beach 49981A and the Ninja CF112, might cost you a bit more, but the taste might be worth it.
Cappuccinos and lattes are another drink that you can usually only find at a coffee shop since they require a different mix of coffee, and a milk froth. Milk frothers are necessary for these drinks since they create the top layer by heating and mixing the milk so quickly that it becomes frothy.
While this feature is certainly not necessary for anyone that is looking for a normal cup of coffee, it is absolutely essential if you want to use your single serve coffee maker to make lattes and cappuccinos in your own home. While other models do come with a milk frother, the Keurig K-Cafe Single-Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker’s is probably the easiest to use and works the best. Check out our round-up of the best latte machines if this feature is of particular importance
When it comes to the size of your new coffee maker, you will need to make sure that you have a spot big enough for the model that you have in mind on your counter. If you have a smaller kitchen, then you will want to make sure you get a smaller model. Otherwise, it might clutter up your space too much. Obviously, if you have a larger kitchen, then the dimensions of your new coffee maker shouldn’t be too much of a concern.
Whenever you are thinking about making any type of large purpose, it is always best to look for a model with a good warranty. You will want to make sure that whichever coffee maker you decide to purchase comes with a good warranty. That way, you will be covered if anything stops working or your machine gets damaged in any way through normal use. You just need to be careful, as lots of companies claim to offer a long and comprehensive warranty, but will actually only cover you for a short amount of time.
One of the best features to look for with this type of coffee maker is a removable water reservoir. While this might not sound like all that big of a deal, it is a huge timesaver, since it will allow you to fill the water container right in your sink. That way, you won’t need to deal with any accidental spills when you are filling your machine.
Also, it’s always good to get a bunch of accessories together with your purchase. For example, the Keurig K575 comes with a six-count K-Cup Pod Variety Pack so that you can try different varieties of coffee before you decide which you like best.
How to maintain your single serve coffee maker
While you might not think that a machine that uses hot water can get all that dirty, germs can actually accumulate pretty quickly. Luckily, a quick cleaning process will restore your coffee maker to its out-of-the-box glory.
Unplug your machine and take out any removable pieces and rinse them in warm soapy water.
Wipe out the interior of the machine with a damp microfiber cloth.
Dry and replace all of the pieces that you washed.
Fill the water reservoir with one half white vinegar and one half cold water. Run the machine without any capsules or coffee until all of the solution has been used.
Fill the water reservoir with cold water and run through the cycle with no capsules or coffee.
Whether or not K-cup coffee tastes better to you than regular ground coffee is going to depend on your personal tastes and the quality of ground coffee you purchase. If you are buying cheaper coffee, then K-cups are going to taste much better. Plus, with a K-cup, you’re always sure that every time you get exactly the same perfectly tasting cup of coffee. If, however, you spend a lot of money on high-quality coffee and grind it right before the brewing process, then, obviously, it will taste better than a K-cup.
The Keurig K475 can also be used with a carafe, though you will need to make sure that you get the correct pods and the carafe itself as it’s not included in the purchase.
Keurig has long been one of the top brands in the world of single serve coffee makers, so it is not a big surprise that the Keurig K-Cafe Single-Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker is perhaps the best on the market. It can be used to make lots of different caffeinated favorites, from regular cups of coffee to lattes and cappuccinos. This maker is also very easy to use, and we highly recommend you give it a try.
If you are in the mood to try your hand at a more complex coffee maker to create café quality beverages right at home, then the Breville Nespresso Creatista Single Serve Espresso Machine might draw your attention. Though it has a bit of a learning curve, this machine can make drinks to rival any coffee shop, making it an excellent choice for anyone with very particular tastes.
One of the most significant issues with single serve coffee makers is that they use pods, which are difficult or impossible to recycle. The Ninja CF112 is perhaps the best single serve coffee maker to solve this problem by using coffee grounds instead. This model gives you the ability to create delicious drinks without having to worry about harming the environment with unnecessary trash.