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The Best Single-Serve Coffee Makers

March 24, 2016
Product Comparisons, Shopping
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Based on 11,518 analyzed reviews

Table of contents

NerdWallet’s scoring of the best single-serve coffee makers is based on our analysis of the opinions of experts and shoppers like you.

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a coffee maker. Do you need a single-serve brewer or one that makes 12 cups at a time? Do you like your coffee strong, weak or in between?

Helping you make a decision is where we come in. We analyzed the most popular coffee makers on the market to help you find the right one for you.
To narrow the field, we looked at expert opinions from review sites such as The Sweethome, CNET and Good Housekeeping. We then factored in user reviews to get opinions on each coffee maker’s high and low points.

We recognize that consumers look for different qualities in coffee makers, so we created scores based on user observations of a handful of different features, including ease of use, coffee quality and cleaning.

Our analysis

Our final coffee maker scores run from a low of 1 to a high of 10. Here’s how we came up with the numbers:

Overall score: This score shows reviewers’ overall satisfaction level with the coffee maker as a whole across 11 criteria, including ease of use, coffee quality, coffee maker design, size and durability.

Coffee quality: This score reflects reviewers’ satisfaction with the quality of coffee the maker produces. This includes coffee taste, temperature and brewing.

Ease of use: This score indicates reviewers’ satisfaction with how easy the coffee maker is to use. This includes aspects such as cleaning, setup, design and features.

These coffee makers are our top picks, ranked in order of overall score.

The coffee makers

1. Hamilton Beach Personal Cup One Cup Pod Brewer (49970)

The ease of inserting a pod, pouring in water and then just pushing a button to get a fast, fresh, hot cup of coffee made the Hamilton Beach Personal Cup One Cup Pod Brewer (49970) popular with users, who praised its durability and ease of use.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
8.79 7.5 7.8

Buyers Like

  • Brews great-tasting cup of coffee
  • Operation and cleanup are easy
  • Compact size.

Buyers Dislike

  • Too small for many mugs
  • Sometimes leaks water and makes a mess.

2. DeLonghi Dolce Gusto Genio

Whether you want a cappuccino, an espresso or just a plain cup of joe, the DeLonghi Dolce Gusto Genio brews your cup quickly and efficiently. Some users complained that the lack of auto shut-off means you can’t walk away while it’s working because it will overflow.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
8.46 9.1 7.7

Buyers Like

  • Good coffee-shop-style coffees
  • Brews quickly and cleans easily
  • Attractive, compact design.

Buyers Dislike

  • Lack of automatic shut-off.
  • Coffee not hot enough for some.

3. Keurig K40 Elite Brewing System

Users loved that by just inserting a pod and pushing a button, the Keurig K40 Elite Brewing System dispensed coffee, tea, hot cocoa or iced beverages in less than a minute. There are three cup sizes to choose from.

Overall score coffee quality Ease of use
8.34 8.7 8.8

Buyers Like

  • Makes a perfect cup every time
  • Easy to set up, use and clean
  • Easily adapts to fill a larger travel mug

Buyers Dislike

  • Not durable enough
  • Large footprint for a single-serving machine

4. Hamilton Beach The Scoop Single-Serve Coffee Maker (49981A)

Instead of using a pod, The Scoop Single-Serve by Hamilton Beach uses a scoop of your choice of ground coffee to brew a hot cup of joe. However, some users complained that the coffee was too weak.

Overall score coffee quality Ease of use
8.25 7.2 8.1

Buyers Like

  • Easy to use and clean
  • Brews hot coffee quickly
  • Using ground coffee is more economical

Buyers Dislike

  • Brews weak coffee
  • Some users complained of a “plastic” taste
  • Tends to spatter.

5. Keurig K45 Elite Brewing System

Along with making your choice of coffee, tea, hot cocoa, gourmet coffee drinks or iced beverages in less than a minute, the Keurig K45 Elite also lets you choose the size of your drink. (Note that this machine, although still widely available for purchase, has been discontinued and replaced by the Keurig K55 Elite Brewing System.)

Overall score coffee quality Ease of use
8.21 8.3 8.1

Buyers Like

  • Makes perfect, cafe-quality beverages every time
  • Works quickly
  • Easy to set up, simple to operate

Buyers Dislike

  • Inconsistent amounts of coffee dispensed
  • Bulky and a bit noisy
  • Not durable enough

6. Hamilton Beach 2-Way Brewer

The Hamilton Beach 2-Way Brewer lets you make a single cup or a full pot by using a pod or scooping your own coffee. You can even use the timer to program it a day ahead.

Overall score coffee quality Ease of use
8.17 7.5 8.7

Buyers Like

  • Brews a hot and tasty cup of joe
  • Easy to use and clean
  • Well-designed carafe

Buyers Dislike

  • Large for single-cup usage
  • A little slow

7. Black & Decker Brew ’n Go Personal Coffee Maker (DCM18S)

The compact Black & Decker Brew ’n Go Personal Coffee Maker (DCM18S) is equipped with a permanent filter and automatic shut-off and lets you brew pods or your own ground coffee. It brews directly into a dishwasher-safe, stainless steel 15-ounce travel mug that’s included.

Overall score coffee quality Ease of use
8.01 8.2 7.1

Buyers Like

  • Makes hot, delicious coffee quickly
  • Cleanup is quick and easy
  • Easy to set up and start using

Buyers Dislike

  • Badly designed mug
  • Not durable enough

8. Cuisinart SS-700 Single Serve Brewing System

The sleek Cuisinart SS-700 Single Serve’s 80-ounce removable water reservoir eliminates the need for frequent refills. The maker offers a choice of five cup sizes; has a fully programmable backlit digital clock, auto on/off and adjustable temperatures; and comes with a K-Cup reusable filter, charcoal water filter and 12-pack of K-Cups.

Overall score coffee quality Ease of use
7.78 9.3 8.4

Buyers Like

  • Coffee tastes great
  • Customizable temperatures and coffee blend possibilities
  • Simple to use

Buyers Dislike

  • Tendency to clog
  • Can be difficult to clean

9. DeLonghi Dolce Gusto Circolo

Whether you’re craving a cappuccino or a plain old Americano, the sleek, futuristic-looking DeLonghi Dolce Gusto Circolo brews a quick, delicious, cafe-quality cup every time.

Overall score coffee quality Ease of use
7.74 8.0 5.9

Buyers Like

  • Brews a delicious variety of cafe-style coffees
  • Doesn’t make a mess, easy to clean
  • Great design

Buyers Dislike

  • Some said coffee didn’t get hot enough
  • Uses only Nescafe capsules
  • No automatic shut-off

10. Keurig K10 Mini Plus

The cheerful-looking Keurig K10 Mini Plus comes in a variety of colors and brews a perfect 6-, 8- or 10-ounce beverage in less than two minutes.

Overall score coffee quality Ease of use
7.72 8.0 7.0

Buyers Like

  • Compact and easy to use
  • Brews rich, hot, smooth beverages

Buyers Dislike

  • Design doesn’t work with larger cups
  • Difficult to clean.
  • Tends to break easily.

Check out our coffee maker buying guide:

For more coffee maker roundups, check out:

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Top image via iStock.