Small coffee makers are the ultimate in fresh convenience. Just pour in water, put your cup under the spout, place a pod or coffee grounds in the holder, and brew. Many people prefer these single cup models because they don't like the idea of water sitting in a reservoir. If you don't like filling your coffee maker with water each time you use it, see our discussion of large pod coffee makers. If you like something more versatile and customizable, take a look at our discussion of multi-use, single-serve coffee makers. Those who like highly customizable, hands on brews shouldn't miss the section of this report on pour over coffee drippers.
Experts and owners agree, the best small, single-serve coffee maker is the pod-style Keurig K10 MINI Plus Brewing System (Est. $95). Keurig is undergoing a bit of a shake-up in its product line (for a complete discussion of that, see the introduction to our report on large pod coffee makers), but the Keurig K1 Mini is still being manufactured and is one of the top-rated one-cup coffee makers on consumer reviews sites as well as by experts. Testers at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute give it an overall letter grade of A-, saying it brews a good cup of hot coffee. Owners agree, saying the coffee is delicious. It uses K-Cups and users love the hundreds of options in coffees, teas, and other flavored drinks. With the optional Keurig My K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filter (Est. $6) you can brew coffee from any brand of beans.
The best thing about the Keurig Mini is its size: small and compact, it doesn't' take up much counter space. Owners adore it, especially its color options -- 12 fun, bright colors -- so there's one to complement any décor. It also gets very good reviews for long-term durability. It's super simple to use, with an intuitive, one-button operation.
For those who prefer ground coffee over pods, the Hamilton Beach 49981A Single Serve Scoop Coffee Maker (Est. $50) is a drip-style single serve coffee maker that gets good reviews from experts and owners for convenience and ease of use. Reviews on its resultant brew are more mixed, some say it makes delicious coffee and is highly customizable since it brews from grounds, others say you can't put enough grounds in to get a good, strong cup of coffee even when you choose the "bold" setting. It also gets more complaints about messy coffee making than others in this category, but some say that's just part of the learning curve, which is worth contending with for the quality of the brew. It has auto-shutoff and a permanent filter, which is a plus for many.
There are plenty of folks who just like to grab a cup of coffee to take along with them in the morning and one-cup coffee makers with included thermal to-go cups are a great option to do just that. The drip-style Black & Decker DCM18S Brew 'n Go Personal Coffeemaker with Travel Mug (Est. $20) rises to the top of the pack in this category for its convenience and affordability. The price includes an insulated travel mug that owners say keeps coffee hot for a long time, and that is shaped to fit in most cup holders. It uses ground coffee instead of pods, which is great for people who don't like the idea of pods, or who want to pay less per cup for their coffee. However, that makes it less convenient to brew subsequent cups as you have to empty the grounds and rinse the filter after each use. It also dispenses a cup of hot water very quickly, so you can make tea, soups or hot cereals.
Users love this little single-serve coffee maker, saying it's simple to adjust the brew strength and that it makes an excellent cup of coffee every time. It small footprint is very popular with college students and those who don't have a lot of space. It gets excellent reviews for long-term durability. Quite a few reviewers own more than one; keeping them at multiple locations, such as home and office. We even read a couple of reviews from coffee lovers who keep one downstairs in the kitchen and one upstairs in the bedroom.
Elsewhere in this report:
Best Reviewed Single Cup Coffee Makers: The five best single cup coffee makers, as identified by expert reviews, user reviews, and our own analysis.
Best Large Pod Coffee Makers: Super convenient and wildly popular, this type of coffee maker can keep you in java all day or brew individual cups of Joe for a crowd, and there are hundreds of pod varieties available.
Best Multi-Use, Single-Serve Coffee Makers: Versatile, customizable and convenient, multi-use coffee makers allow you to use either pods or ground coffee. You can even make tea, soup and hot cereals.
Best Pour Over Coffee Drippers: For the ultimate cup of coffee, manual, pour over coffee makers allow you to control every step of the brewing process
Buying Guide: Want to avoid buyer's remorse tomorrow morning? Our Buying Guide explains what to look for in a single cup coffee maker.
Our Sources: Links to the expert and user reviews we used to select the top one-cup coffee makers, along with our assessment of each reviewer's expertise, credibility and helpfulness.