What the best single cup coffee makers have
- Easy to use
controls. If your top priority in a one-cup coffee maker is convenience and
speed, look for intuitive controls that require little more than loading a pod
and pushing a button.
options. If you like to be able to customize each cup, you'll want either a
multi-use coffee maker that allows you to use K-Cups and coffee grounds, or a
manual, pour-over model that enables you to control every step of the brewing
- Variable serving sizes. It's very
handy to have a coffee maker that gives you a choice of serving sizes. Most
have three sizes; some smaller coffee makers have only one -- although you can
usually adjust that by adding more or less water.
options. Because some coffee makers stay powered on to maintain water
temperature, they can consume a lot of electricity. Programmable models,
however, can be set to turn on, heat up and brew at a certain time.
- A water reservoir. One-cup
coffee makers with a larger water tank are capable of brewing several cups before
needing a tank refill. Not everyone likes this feature, but if you do, be sure
you look for a coffee maker with a sensor that's located fairly low on the tank,
so it doesn't start alerting you to refills before it actually needs water.
- Pod compatibility. One of the
biggest downsides to pod-style coffee machines is that many of them require proprietary
pods or discs. Some are compatible with a variety of pods, though, making them
- Flavor flexibility. Some brewers use pods only, others have filers for brewing a single cup
of coffee from grounds. Others can accept both pods and ground coffee. Many one-cup
coffee makers also dispense a -cup of hot water quickly, so they can make tea,
cocoa, soups and hot cereals. Pod-style coffee makers have hundreds of choices
in flavors that include teas and other hot and cold drinks.
Know before you go
Do you want manual control over brew strength? Although the strength of a brewed cup largely depends on the available
settings as well as the coffee itself (especially with pods), some models do
allow users to manually adjust the strength of each cup. Total manual
operation, however, means you'll want to consider a pour-over coffee makers.
Is temperature control important? Not everyone has the same opinion about how hot coffee should be, so
having the ability to adjust temperature is an important feature for some people.
Manual models offer more precise control over variables such as temperature,
since users preheat the water.
Will your machine live on the counter? For most
coffee drinkers, their brewer is an appliance that sees daily use, so it
usually sits on the counter. Some pod coffee makers are big -- especially those
with large reservoirs -- and take up a lot of real estate. Others are tall,
even taller when the top is opened to add water or coffee. You may want to
measure counter space and cabinet height before you shop to make sure your
coffee maker will fit.
What are the
necessary accessories? Both manual and automatic drip
one-cup coffee makers need coffee grounds and a filter. Manual coffee makers
also require preheated water, so you'll need access to a pan and a stove or an
electric kettle or microwave.
How much will it really cost you? If you choose
a pod coffee maker, the ongoing cost of pods will contribute to the overall
cost of ownership. Check to see what other items will need to be purchased on a
regular basis, such as proprietary filters. Also, consider how much each pod
will cost on average.
Do you want to
go eco-friendly? Pod coffee containers packaged in biodegradable
paper filters are more environmentally friendly than plastic or aluminum
packets, especially if you brew multiple cups a day. However, regardless of
what type of pod you use, pod coffee makers generate more waste than
in this report:
Best Single-cup Coffee Makers | Best Pod Coffee Makers | Best Small One-Cup Coffee Makers | Best French Press | Our Sources