Manual presses and full-size automatic drip coffee makers require measuring ground coffee into a reusable or disposable filter and then pouring water into the top. They also need boiled water and -- in one case -- some muscle to press the plunger down. Full-size automatic drip coffee makers generally take longer than one-cup or manual coffee makers, and cleaning messy grounds can be inconvenient, especially for a single cup. Manual presses range in price from about $25 to $150 or more, while standard one-cup drip coffee makers average between $30 and $90.
Pod coffee makers, on the other hand, brew a single serving of coffee from premeasured ground coffee that is sealed in a pod made of paper, plastic or aluminum. Pod coffee makers are generally more expensive than standard one-cup drip models, ranging in price from about $50 to $200 or more. Most can brew a beverage in under a minute. Some pod coffee machines such as Nespresso and Tassimo require users to buy proprietary discs or capsules that are only available in a few flavors, while other pod machines are compatible with dozens of brands and varieties. If you prefer using your own coffee, a few machines offer the ability to do so with a reusable filter shaped like one of the disposable pods.
We selected the best one-cup models through a careful analysis of professional reviews, which test for ease of use, convenience and flavor. We also consult owner reviews, which provide valuable insight into durability and day-to-day performance. Both professional reviewers and owners highlight important buying considerations, such as flavor variety, serving sizes, water tank capacity, user-friendly design and the ability to produce a consistent, rich-flavored coffee with each cup.
Recalls have also been an issue with one-cup coffee makers and are important to be mindful of when making purchasing decisions. In February 2012, BSH Home Appliances Corp. voluntarily recalled nearly 2 million Tassimo Single-Cup Brewers in the U.S. and Canada due to a potential burn hazard. Consumers with an affected unit can contact the company for a free replacement T Disc holder by visiting Tassimo's website.