The 7 Best Single-Serve Coffee Makers for a Fresh Cup Every Time

The Nespresso VertuoPlus is our top pick because it brews high-quality coffee and espresso from recyclable capsules.

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Best Single Serve Coffee Makers

Amazon

Single-serve coffee makers are extremely convenient and easy to use, especially if you typically brew just one cup at a time. Plus, you'll never need to drink coffee that's been sitting in the pot for hours.

According to Colby Cox, coffee roaster at Atlas Coffee Club, single-serve coffee makers are great for "people with limited kitchen space, those who are looking to try coffee but don't want to be overwhelmed with brewing theory and gadgets, or even people that just don't want to spend a bunch of time and energy setting up a brewer and waiting on a whole pot."

To find the best single-serve coffee makers, we spent hours researching the market and considering factors such as type, features, and brew size. In addition to Cox, we also consulted two other coffee experts—Kyle Glanville, the CEO and co-founder of Go Get Em Tiger, and Ally Walsh, co-founder of Canyon Coffee, to get their insights about the benefits of single-serve coffee makers and what qualities make a great one.

One of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a single-serve coffee maker is the technology, says Cox: "Can you use reusable pods and/or other companies' single-serve coffee pods in your brewer?"

Our top pick, the Nespresso VertuoPlus, is so quick and easy to use that it can truly enhance your morning coffee routine. With the touch of a button, this machine crafts barista-quality coffee and espresso using recyclable, single-serve capsules.

Here are the best single-serve coffee makers.

Our Top Picks
Best Overall Single-Serve Coffee Maker:
Nespresso VertuoPlus at Amazon
Best Large Capacity Single-Serve Coffee Maker:
Cuisinart Premium Single-Serve Coffeemaker at Amazon
Best Portable Single-Serve Coffee Maker:
AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker at Amazon
Best Single-Serve Pod Coffee Maker:
Keurig Coffee Maker at Amazon
Best Single-Serve Pour Over Coffee Maker:
Chemex Classic Series Coffeemaker at Amazon

Best Overall Single-Serve Coffee Maker: Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee and Espresso Machine by Breville

nespresso

Who it's for: People who want to make single servings of coffee and espresso with the same machine.

Who it isn't for: People who aren't willing to purchase the brand's proprietary capsules.

Based on our extensive research, the Nespresso VertuoPlus is the best single-serve coffee maker for most people. It's incredibly easy to use because the machine automatically adapts the brewing parameters (think: temperature, pressure, and brewing time) to each capsule and recognizes them from the barcodes around the edges. All you need to do is fill the adjustable water tank, insert the capsule of your choice, and press a single button. The machine ejects used capsules into a storage compartment automatically, too, which is surprisingly time-saving on busy mornings.

Most importantly, though, the Nespresso VertuoPlus brews a great cup of coffee. People who want to be able to use their favorite coffee grounds should choose another option on this list, but those who like a European-style caffeine jolt will be pleased to know that this machine does an excellent job. It can make barista-quality single and double espresso shots, as well as 5- and 8-ounce coffees—and there are dozens of capsules to choose from, including various roast types as well limited-edition flavors that change each season.

This machine is also quite quick, as it heats up in just 20 seconds. Plus, it shuts off after nine minutes of inactivity to save energy. The used capsule compartment can store up to 17 espresso capsules (or 10 coffee capsules) before you need to empty it—and all the capsules are recyclable through Nespresso's free recycling program.

Product Details:

  • Water Tank Capacity: 40 ounces
  • Cup Sizes: 1.35–8 ounces
  • Coffee Type: Nespresso Vertuo capsules

Best Budget Single-Serve Coffee Maker: Hamilton Beach The Scoop Single-Serve Coffee Maker

Hamilton Beach 49981 The Scoop Single-Serve Coffee Maker

Amazon

Who it's for: People who need an affordable way to make individual cups of coffee.

Who it isn't for: People who want the convenience of a pod-style machine.

If you prefer drip coffee but want to make single cups at a time, check out Hamilton Beach's The Scoop. With this budget-friendly machine, you can use a scoop of your favorite ground coffee to brew an 8-ounce cup of coffee in less than a minute and a half. It can also brew a 14-ounce travel mug, which takes about a minute longer.

The best part about this affordable single-serve machine is its dishwasher-safe scooper, which doubles as a brew basket because it's equipped with a mesh filter. This handy, dual-purpose tool eliminates the need to use unnecessary measuring spoons, messy paper filters, or waste-producing pods—which saves you time and money.

The Hamilton Beach machine also allows you to customize your coffee, with regular and bold brew strength options as well as an adjustable stand that accommodates different size cups and travel mugs. Its durable stainless steel construction will last for years to come, but it won't waste any energy because it automatically turns off immediately after brewing. At just a fraction of the price of our top pick, this single-serve coffee maker is great for drip lovers on a budget.

Product Details:

  • Water Tank Capacity: 14 ounces
  • Cup Sizes: 8 ounces and 14 ounces
  • Coffee Type: Ground coffee

Best Large Capacity Single-Serve Coffee Maker: Cuisinart SS-10 Premium Single-Serve Coffeemaker in Matte Black

Cuisinart SS-10 Premium Single-Serve Coffeemaker in Matte Black

Amazon

Who it's for: People who don't want to fill the water tank before each use.

Who it isn't for: People with limited counter space who need something super compact.

The Cuisinart Premium Single-Serve Brewer is another standout coffee maker. This versatile appliance comes with the brand's HomeBarista reusable filter cup, so you can brew single servings of your favorite ground coffees and loose leaf teas. It's also compatible with most brands of single-serve capsules, like Keurig's K-Cup pods.

But our favorite element is the massive 72-ounce water tank, which means you don't need to refill it as often as any of the other picks on our list. The removable reservoir even includes a built-in charcoal filter for the water so that your coffee tastes exactly how the growers and roasters intended. The drip tray can also be conveniently removed in order to easily fit most travel mugs.

We also like that the backlit LCD display screen allows you to control the water temperature, choose from one of five drink sizes, and select automatic settings like power and rinse to clean your brew chamber instantly. Plus, a hot water button allows you to make instant oatmeal, tea, hot cocoa, soup, and more. If you have the counter space to accommodate this Cuisinart coffee maker, we highly recommend it.

Product Details:

  • Water Tank Capacity: 72 ounces
  • Cup Sizes: 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 ounces
  • Coffee Type: Ground coffee with reusable pod and Keurig K-Cup pods

Best Portable Single-Serve Coffee Maker: AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker

4.8
AeroPress-Coffee-and-Espresso-Maker

Amazon

Who it's for: People who want to be able to brew coffee on the go.

Who it isn't for: People who don't want to use paper filters.

A favorite among coffee aficionados, the AeroPress Original Coffee Maker can brew single-serve coffee, cold brew, and espresso drinks—without any electricity. This compact device is super portable, so you can make a delicious cup of coffee directly into your favorite mug wherever you go. And it's unbelievably quick since all you need to do is add ground coffee and water, stir, and press the plunger.

This rapid brewing method helps eliminate bitterness and acidity, while the compostable paper micro-filters (it comes with 350!) remove the grittiness that's often associated with other presses. This is exactly why many coffee specialists love the AeroPress. Experts are also partial to the portable coffee maker's impressive versatility.

"The AeroPress enables so many ways to experiment and still make a great-tasting cup of coffee," Walsh says. "You can brew in the regular or 'inverted' position, you can try using much cooler water, or test a range of grind settings. Not everyone wants to nerd out—you can also find a recipe that works for you and stick with it."

Product Details:

  • Water Tank Capacity: N/A
  • Cup Sizes: Up to 10 ounces
  • Coffee Type: Ground coffee

Best Single-Serve Pod Coffee Maker: Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker K-Cup Pod

4.2
Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker K-Cup Pod, Single Serve, Programmable, 6 to 10 oz. Brew Sizes, Black

Amazon

Who it's for: People who want an easy-to-use coffee maker with plenty of pod options.

Who it isn't for: People seeking high-quality or specialty coffee drinks.

Even though the coffee experts we spoke to aren't the biggest fans of Keurigs, we also recognize that a lot of people love their Keurig machines—and for good reason. These popular single-service machines are nothing if not fast and easy. So if you prioritize convenience over barista-quality coffee, then you should definitely consider the Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker.

This pod-style coffee machine can brew all types of K-Cup pods, from Green Mountain Coffee to Starbucks to Lipton, in three different sizes. If you choose the smallest 6-ounce size, the coffee will be stronger, while the 10-ounce size will make the coffee a bit milder, so just make sure to engineer it to your preferences. And if you want to be a bit less wasteful by avoiding single-use pods, then you can purchase the brand's My K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filters to use your own coffee grounds.

The machine has a removable drip tray that allows you to brew coffee directly into tall cups and travel mugs. Plus, there are indicators that light up when it's time to add water to the 48-ounce removable reservoir or descale the machine.

Product Details:

  • Water Tank Capacity: 48 ounces
  • Cup Sizes: 6 ounces, 8 ounces, and 10 ounces
  • Coffee Type: Ground coffee with reusable pod (not included) and Keurig K-Cup pods

Best Dual Coffee Maker: Ninja DualBrew Pro System 12-Cup Coffee Maker CFP301

Ninja CFP301 DualBrew Pro System 12-Cup Coffee Maker

Ninja

Who it's for: People who want to be able to brew single servings as well as full carafes of coffee with the same machine.

Who it isn't for: People who will probably never need to make a full pot of coffee.

If you live with multiple coffee drinkers or tend to entertain caffeine-hungry guests, then you might want to brew an entire pot of coffee from time to time. The Ninja DualBrew Pro Specialty Coffee System allows you to make any quantity of coffee you may need, from a 6-ounce cup just for you to a full 12-cup carafe for a crowd. Altogether, you can choose from 13 different brew sizes.

This multifunctional machine transforms your favorite ground coffee and most brands of single-serve capsules into classic, rich, iced, and specialty drinks. It can even produce coffee concentrate to create lattes, macchiatos, cappuccinos, and other espresso-style beverages, which you can finish off expertly with the built-in, foldaway frother that turns hot or cold milk into a silky froth.

The Ninja coffee maker also has a removable, multi-position reservoir that includes a separate hot water dispenser, which eliminates flavor contamination and offers hot and boil temperature settings so you can make things like instant oatmeal or hot cocoa in addition to barista-level coffee. This machine can make almost any type of coffee, but there are so many options that it may be a bit overwhelming for people who typically go for simple, no-frills options.

Product Details:

  • Water Tank Capacity: 60 ounces
  • Cup Sizes: 7–55 ounces (grounds) or 6–12 ounces (pods)
  • Coffee Type: Ground coffee or single-serve K-Cup pods

Best Single-Serve Pour Over Coffee Maker: Chemex Classic Series Coffeemaker

4.8
Chemex 8-Cup Classic Series Glass Coffeemaker
Courtesy of Amazon.com.

Who it's for: People who are willing to master the art of pour-over coffee.

Who it isn't for: People who would rather just push a button to make coffee.

The pour-over method is a favorite of coffee aficionados, and many use a Three-Cup Classic Chemex to do it. Even though "three cup" is in the name, the non-porous borosilicate glass maker is often used to craft single servings of coffee because it's designed for customization. You can determine your desired ratio of ground coffee to water and brew your cup exactly how you like to drink it—whether that's a small 5-ounce cup or a generous 14-ounce pour.

The Chemex is intended for coffee drinkers who aren't in a rush. With this manual maker, you must be willing to carve out time in your morning routine for the unhurried brewing process. Fans of Chemex consider this to be an advantage. "The pour-over has been my brewing method of choice for years," says Walsh. "The technique of slowly pouring in concentric circles lends itself to a kind of mindful, meditative moment."

On top of the calming brewing experience, Chemex simply makes fantastic coffee. Its patented filters (which are sold separately) ensure your finished cup is free of any sediments or bitter elements—even if you're brewing with extra grounds for a strong cup. Plus, the coffee can be covered and refrigerated for reheating without losing flavor and the dishwasher-safe glass vessel is beautiful enough to display on the counter.

Product Details:

  • Water Tank Capacity: 16 ounces
  • Cup Sizes: Up to 16 ounces
  • Coffee Type: Coffee grounds

Final Verdict

The Nespresso VertuoPlus is our top pick because it's the best single-serve coffee maker for most people. It's quick, easy, and turns out high-quality espresso and coffee from capsules with the push of a button. If you need something more affordable, opt for Hamilton Beach's The Scoop Single-Serve Coffee Maker, which uses coffee grounds and doesn't require any paper filters or pods.

How to Shop for a Single-Serve Coffee Maker

Type

The first factor to consider when buying a single-serve coffee maker is the type. Do you want a convenient machine that works with the push of a button, or would you rather have a manual coffee maker that gives you control over everything? And if you prefer making coffee from single-serve pods over coffee grounds, then you'll need to choose a compatible machine.

Cox says single-serve makers (like those that use pods) are great because they don't require you to remember recipes or ratios to make a good cup of coffee. They are also easy to use because they involve much less equipment, as opposed to other coffee machines that require a grinder, kettle, and scale, notes Cox.

Once you've figured out what kind of machine you prefer, it'll be easy to find the best single-serve coffee maker that suits your needs.

Features

Manual coffee makers are pretty simple, so they typically come without any fancy features. Automatic machines, however, often have way more bells and whistles, like the ability to make hot water or froth milk. Decide whether these extra features are important to you, and choose a coffee maker based on that.

Size

When you're shopping for a single-serve coffee maker, think about the available space in your kitchen. If surfaces and storage spaces are limited, choose a coffee maker with a smaller footprint. Some are compact enough to be tucked into a drawer, while others have slim profiles so they can sit flush against walls and appliances. There are even some single-serve machines that can also make a full pot of coffee, which is perfect for those days when you have guests over.

Questions You Might Ask

Can you use a single-serve coffee maker to make hot water?

Some coffee makers have a dedicated hot water function, but not all of them do. From this list, the Cuisinart Premium Single-Serve Coffee Maker and the Ninja DualBrew Pro Specialty Coffee System are two machines that can dispense hot water. Other pod-style machines might be able to make hot water without a capsule inserted, but you might notice a coffee-like aftertaste.

How often should you clean a single-serve coffee maker?

For most single-serve coffee makers, deep cleaning about every three months should do the trick to remove coffee residue and mineral buildup that would affect the performance of the machine. Manual coffee makers often require more frequent, yet less intense, cleaning.

How do you clean a single-serve coffee maker?

Specific cleaning instructions vary from brand to brand, but most machines must be descaled with cleaning solution or vinegar. Vinegar also works to remove buildup on the AeroPress and Chemex, both of which can be put in the dishwasher on the top shelf. You can also check out our guide on how to clean a Keurig for tips.

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Morgan Goldberg, a contributing writer for Real Simple with seven years of editorial experience in the interior design, food, and travel spaces. To come up with this list, she spent hours researching the best single-serve coffee makers and narrowed down the options based on type, brew size, features, and more. For expert insight, she spoke to Kyle Glanville, the CEO and co-founder of Go Get Em Tiger; Ally Walsh, co-founder of Canyon Coffee; and Colby Cox, coffee roaster at Atlas Coffee Club.

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