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Single Cup Coffee Maker Reviews

By: Kelly Burgess on November 22, 2016

Editor's note:
It was a tough update this year, as most expert reviewers no longer bother to test single-serve coffee makers, so we ended up relying almost entirely on owner reviews. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing. Experts tend to be coffee snobs and most people just want a machine that makes a quick cup of good coffee -- and we found plenty that do just that.

Keurig K55 Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Serving sizes - 6, 8, 10 oz. Water tank size - 48 Coffee type - K-Cup, grounds (with optional My K-Cup)

Best large pod coffee maker

There is no pod coffee maker more beloved than the Keurig line, and none that get better reviews from owners than the Keurig K55. Thousands of happy owners praise its ease of use, the wide variety of coffees, teas and other hot-water-based products that are available, and they adore that it comes in black and red. The K55 boasts a large, 48 ounce reservoir and offers the option of 6, 8 or 12 ounce cup size with the push of a button. See our full review »

Buy for $93.02
BUNN My Café MCU Review
Runners Up
Specs that Matter Serving sizes - 4 to 14 oz. Water tank size - N/A Coffee type - K-Cup, soft pods, grounds, tea bag

Multi-use single-serve coffee maker

The BUNN My Café MCU is a great choice if you don't want to be just tied to pods; yet still want that brewing option. It brews from K-cups, soft pods, tea bags and ground coffee. It also has a dedicated hot water setting. It's a top pick in one expert test and owners love its versatility, customizable brew strength, and the hot, delicious coffee it makes. While there's no delay timer to program it to start in the morning, it heats very quickly.

Buy for $129.88
Keurig K15 Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Serving sizes - 6, 8, 10 oz. Water tank size - N/A Coffee type - K-Cup, grounds (with optional My K-Cup)

Best small one-cup coffee maker

This little coffee maker gets a lot of love from reviewers who say it makes a good, consistent cup of coffee, as well as tea, cocoa and iced beverages. Virtually identical to the wildly popular but discontinued Keurig K10, the K15 shares that coffee maker's tiny footprint and simple operation. This small pod coffee maker is particularly popular with those who live alone, college students, and people who are the sole coffee drinkers in their family. To many owners' delight, it comes in a few different colors. See our full review »

Buy for Too low to display
Black & Decker DCM18S Review
Runners Up
Specs that Matter Serving sizes - up to 15 oz. Water tank size - N/A Coffee type - Grounds

Cheap one-cup coffee maker

The Black & Decker DCM18S Brew ‘N Go earns kudos from reviewers for its convenient operation. It's great for commuters, college students, or anyone who just needs the occasional cup to go because it brews directly into an included travel mug. Owners say the coffee stays hot in the insulated mug, and it fits in most cup holders. Best of all for some, it uses ground coffee.

Buy for $24.99

Types of Single Cup Coffee Makers

Pod-Style Coffee Makers

This type is the simplest to use: You just drop in "pods" that are pre-filled with coffee grounds. Keurig makes the most popular line of pod coffee makers and their K-Cups can be used in some other pod-style coffee makers as well (and there are a number of generic pods that will work in Keurig machines). The pods are inserted into a holder that, when closed, pierces the pod with needles. Hot water then flows through the pod, brewing the coffee into a cup placed under the spout. Some pod coffee makers have a reservoir so you can brew multiple cups before refilling; others need water added before each cup is brewed. Pods come in hundreds of varieties, including cocoas, teas and fruity drinks -- some are intended to be served iced. Pod coffee makers can also dispense plain hot water for making tea, instant soups or hot cereals.

Multi-use Single-Serve Coffee Makers

Some pod-style coffee makers are more versatile than pod-only machines and can both brew ground coffee and accept K-Cups. There are even a few drip-style, single-cup coffee makers around; the most popular of these are smaller machines that brew directly into a thermal travel mug for to-go convenience. These types of one-cup coffee makers are not as common as pod-style, single-serve coffee makers, but people who want the convenience of a one-cup coffee maker, yet don't want to be tied only to pods, like these machines. They tend to cost less, overall than pod-style coffee makers, but they don't get as good of reviews in general for performance, with more complaints of leakage and messes than with pod coffee makers.

There are a few downsides…

While one-cup coffee makers are a great fit for some people, there are some drawbacks to owning one, including:

  • You can't brew for a crowd. The nice thing about traditional coffee makers, which we cover in a separate report, is that you can brew an 8-, 10-, or 12-cup pot that can be enjoyed by a large group at the same time. With single cup coffee makers, you only make one cup at a time, so everyone has to get in line. The exception is Keurig's Plus Series line of coffee makers, which can brew up to a 30 ounce carafe, as well as a single cup.
  • Pod coffee makers have higher ongoing costs. On a per pound basis, it's estimated that, if you removed the coffee from the K-Cup pods to make a pound of coffee, it would cost $50 per pound. By contrast, a cup of even the highest-end coffee is rarely more than $15 per pound.
  • Pods are mostly not environmentally friendly. Most K-Cups and other coffee pods are not recyclable or biodegradable, although some are. Keurig has a few recyclable K-Cups available and has pledged to make all of its pods recyclable by 2020.

We present these negatives only in the interest of full disclosure -- it's important to be sure a single-cup coffee maker will work for you or you'll be an unhappy buyer. However, for many folks, a one-cupper is the perfect fit. Also, most of the above downsides can be addressed by using ground coffee in your pod coffee maker. Most of the coffee makers covered in this report will brew from grounds, although the Keurig's require an optional My K-Cup accessory, which one will depend upon which coffee maker you decide on (there are two).

If you do want to use ground coffee in your single-cup coffee makers, you might want to try grinding your own beans as well. In that case, you'll want to see our report on coffee grinders for some top choices.

Finding The Best Single Cup Coffee Makers
Our Sources
"Single Cup Coffee Makers"
"Single Serve Coffee Makers"

Single-cup coffee makers used to get a lot of coverage from expert reviewers, but that's no longer the case. While many of those professional roundups are still available, they are quite old and most of the products have been discontinued. ConsumerReports.org still tests single-cup coffee makers, but even though their tests have a 2016 date, quite a few of their tested coffee makers have been discontinued since that report was posted. However, there are thousands and thousands of owner reviews available and we evaluated all of those to help us narrow down our picks for the best single-cup coffee makers, so grab a cup of your favorite joe and enjoy.

Recently Updated
Single Cup Coffee Makers buying guide

What every best Single Cup Coffee Makers has:

  • Easy to use controls.
  • Customizable options.
  • Variable serving sizes.

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