Coffee lovers want their favorite beverage just right: not too hot, not too cold, not too bitter and not too sweet. And when they’re brewing for themselves, not too much.
That’s where single-serve coffee makers come in. They serve up a portion for one person, so you can have your coffee your way without wasting water and grounds on a full pot. But not all single-serve models are alike. These makers can set you back anywhere from $20 to $120 or more.
How do you decide? We’re sizing up two models with favorable customer reviews — the entry-level Hamilton Beach 49970 Personal Cup One Cup Pod Brewer and the more advanced Keurig K40 — to help you determine how much you need to spend to satisfy your cravings.
The coffee makers: At a glance
Although pricey, the Keurig K40 delivers a more convenient interface and a greater assortment of brewing options than the Hamilton Beach 49970 pod brewer. But for a compact maker that will get the job done with minimal user input, the more affordable Hamilton Beach machine may be all you need.
|Keurig K40||Hamilton Beach 49970 Personal Cup One Cup Pod Brewer|
|Price||Regularly $119.99||Regularly $24.99|
|Cup size||6, 8 or 10 ounces||Up to 12 ounces|
|Dimensions||14.2 inches x 14.9 inches x 12.2 inches||9.4 inches x 9 inches x 5.4 inches|
|Buy on Amazon|
Keurig calls the K40 a complete coffee brewing system. It features programmable controls, an auto shutoff mechanism and LED indicator lights so you know precisely when your cup of coffee is ready. It creates 6-, 8- or 10-ounce servings in less than one minute. The K40 includes a removable 48-ounce water reservoir and comes in a black or white casing. It’s compatible with Keurig’s broad line of K-Cup pods.
The simpler Hamilton Beach 49970 features a single “press to start” button. The black-and-silver machine has just three steps: Insert a coffee pod, pour in water and push start. Users can purchase compatible medium roast, dark roast or decaf pods, and the coffee maker will produce a cup of up to 12 ounces. The brew basket is dishwasher-safe, and the device also features an auto shutoff for safety.
» MORE: The best Keurig coffee makers
These makers differ in size. For starters, the Keurig K40 takes up more counter space. It measures 14.2 by 14.9 by 12.2 inches. Compare that with the Hamilton Beach 49970, which measures 9.4 by 9 by 5.4 inches. While the Keurig K40 is tall enough to fit mugs and glasses of all sizes — just remove the drip tray — the Hamilton Beach 49970 can’t accommodate a travel mug.
Single-serve coffee makers can be costly to use because they require pods, which tend to be more expensive than traditional grounds. For this reason, you’ll want to factor in how many pods you’ll need to buy and how much they’ll cost you. A 30-count K-Cup variety sampler pack for the Keurig K40 will run you $19.95 on Amazon. A pack of two 18-count (36 pods total) of Melitta Medium Roast Soft Coffee Pods compatible with the Hamilton Beach 49970 cost about $14 on Amazon.
Beyond the price of pods, you’ll also want to consider pod variety. The Hamilton Beach model is strictly a coffee maker, but the Keurig K40 takes it a step further. This maker can brew coffee, tea, hot cocoa and iced beverages. The Keurig K40 comes with a six-count K-Cup variety pack to get your brewing started.
The most apparent gap between these two is price. The Keurig K40 retails for $119.99, while the Hamilton Beach 49970 is nearly $100 less at $24.99.
The Keurig maker is an older model from the brand — it’s since been replaced by models like the K55 — so it’ll be a little more difficult to locate. It’s still sold on Amazon, and there are used machines for sale on eBay. The Hamilton Beach single-serve, however, is readily available at a variety of stores. We’ve spotted it on sale for less than its list price at online retailers such as Amazon and Wayfair.
Take a shot
You get what you pay for with single-serve coffee makers. The more features, the more it’ll cost you, and these two models are no exception.
The Keurig K40 is best for consumers who want coffee-shop-quality drinks at home. And considering the price of some of the more recent Keurig models, like the K475 Plus ($149.99) and K575 Plus ($179.99), it’s a relatively reasonable choice for its features.
But if you like your coffee fast and with little fuss, go for the Hamilton Beach 49970. It’s convenient, simple and, best of all, affordable. For its price and purpose, it’s tough to beat.
If you’re interested in additional coffee makers with impressive reviews and reliable features, check out NerdWallet’s ranking of the best coffee makers.