Alex has never been professionally involved into the world of coffee, however he knows much more than any average barista. Being an avid coffee lover, Alex is constantly searching for new tips, tools, and techniques to make his morning cup of java even more perfect.
Mary has been dealing with coffee almost all her life long: in her teenage years, she worked as a barista in a number of well-known coffeehouses, later developing her knowledge and skills while studying at the university as well. Several years after graduation, she managed to open her own small coffee bar.
Last updated: September 14, 2021
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A 12-volt coffee maker is what you would want to take along when you go RVing, camping, commuting or trucking. These portable appliances offer a great alternative to stopping at pitstops frequently and allow you to brew a fresh cup of coffee while you are on the go. All you need is your vehicle’s cigarette light receptacle to power your appliance and you will have freshly brewed coffee in no time.
Despite being more compact versions of traditional coffee makers, 12V coffee makers come with a lot of features. Here we highlight four of the best 12-volt coffee makers that will deliver exceptional results, so you don’t miss your daily cup of joe. The Makita DCM501Z is our editor’s pick based on its construction, capacity and performance. Makita offers a smart, compact model that is easy to take on road trips, serving not only one but a group of coffee drinkers.
When you choose to travel with a quality 12V coffee maker, don’t forget to keep the bare essentials in mind. This includes the machine’s capacity, portability, ease of use, and brewing time. To make it easier for you to pinpoint exactly what you need, our experts tested and rounded up the best 12V coffee makers in the comparison table given below. We’ve also included product descriptions for each of our recommendations that will help you gauge your choice. And for any other queries, read through our detailed buying guide to see which coffee maker will give you the best results.
The new DCM501Z portable coffee maker from Makita is a big improvement from its previous model of the same name. After improving plenty of features to make a better coffee brewing experience, Makita has created one of the best overall 12V coffee makers you can find and earns a spot on our list as the Editor’s Pick.
Built like one of Makita’s portable power tools, this coffee maker is efficient, compact, and lightweight. It can brew a larger cup of coffee than most other portable coffee makers at 5 ounces, and in just 5 minutes. It can brew up to 3 cups of coffee this size in a single charge.
This machine does not come with a battery included, but is compatible with Makita’s own variety of batteries, including 12V and 18V. This does add up the price, but the coffee maker will do a better job the more powerful your battery.
At less than 5 lbs. and less than 9” high, you’ll have no problem taking this device wherever you go, from picnics to camping trips. You can also hold a decent 8 ounces in the water compartment at a time.
This coffee maker is compatible with both single serve packs and pre-ground coffee. No paper cups are needed as the permanent drip filter lets grounds be poured directly into the coffee maker. A standard size coffee mug comes included, though the machine can fit any cup 3 1/2” or less.
If you’re looking to take a fresh cup of coffee with you wherever you go on your own, a single serve portable coffee maker should come in handy for you. More specifically, the best single-serve coffee maker for you would be the CONQUECO portable coffee espresso maker.
One of the most notable things about this coffee maker is its stylish streamlined design that makes it so compact. It can easily fit into a cup holder in a car or a bottle holder of a backpack, making it perfect for travel.
Powered by a 12V lithium ion battery, this coffee maker can be recharged at home or even in your car with a charger for each function that comes included.
This coffee maker can warm up cold water in about 8 to 12 minutes and gets to brewing instantly if the water is already hot.
The controls on this automatic electric device are simple – everything is done for you with the push of a single button.
One feature that makes this a great portable coffee maker is the 15-bar high-pressure pump that allows for a near barista-style coffee serving, both rich and dense with flavor.
To top it all off, the device is low maintenance. The only part that needs cleaning is the cup, and everything else is rinsed by pushing the button for 5 seconds without a capsule in.
Some find that the CONQUECO makes small portion sizes than preferred and might take a couple of rounds to get an adequate volume if you like larger cups.
What stands out?
Very compact and lightweight design
Easy one-button controls
15 bar pressure pump makes dense and rich espresso
This is one of the best on-the-go coffee makers that offer a pretty pennyworth. It offers more than just mere portability.
The coffeemaker comes in a compact, lightweight and super-durable build that can hold up well to the riff raffs of life on the road. It can make a whopping 20ounces of coffee in just 20 minutes. Unlike most portable coffeemakers, you can make more than enough coffee in a single session.
If not in a single session, you wouldn’t need much patience because of its quick brew cycle.
With the stop-drip interrupt feature you can count on it to keep your car tidy. When you remove the carafe, it will automatically stop dripping coffee.
With the 7-inch power cord, you can position the coffee maker anywhere convenient in your car. It plugs into a 12-volt port and it is a universal fit, you don’t have to worry about compatibility.
Further, the coffeemaker features a reusable filter that only lets water through giving you the strongest coffee taste available.
Cleaning it is super-easy as you can easily throw it in the dishwasher.
Why did it make our list?
This is a fantastic choice for anyone looking for a large capacity portable coffee maker with a quick brewing time. It is easy and convenient to use thanks to its long power cord and dishwasher-friendly build. Plus, you can trust it to keep your car clean regardless of where you place it.
What is not ideal about it?
Some users complained that the coffeemaker takes longer than advertised to brew coffee.
Imagine being able to drink fragrant coffee any place anytime. This car coffee maker must be a dream come-true for most coffee lovers.
The coffee maker has a simple and convenient design. It is made to last with stainless steel and high-quality nylon for optimum durability and first-rate performance. It is powered by 12V cigarette lighter plug of the car. It is remarkably lightweight, coming in at a mere 1.8 pounds, you will always want to have it with you everywhere you go.
You must be worried about accidental spills in your car. Well, the coffee maker’s innovative design has got you covered. It has IP10 sealing protection that effectively prevents spills and keeps your car tidy.
What’s more, your safety came first when the coffee maker was made. It has an automatic temperature control system and boil-dry protection to prevent it from getting damage and also make it safe.
It also has an automatic fault detection and an alarm protection system that would let you know in case something is amiss with it. This increases its longevity and your safety.
What do we love it for?
This portable car coffee making machine is the best investment any coffee lover can make. You will be able to have your coffee just the way you like it any time. It is also economical because you get to ditch store-bought coffee. The coffee maker offers solid durability and unmatched convenience with its rugged stainless steel and nylon build. Most importantly, it is safe to use.
What were we disappointed with?
No complaints so far.
Things to Consider
12V coffee makers are ideal companions for coffee lovers on the road. This refers to truckers, frequent travelers, daily commuters and anyone else in between. In fact, anyone who spends a great deal of time in their vehicle and loves their coffee can do with taking a 12-volt coffee maker with them. So what should you look for when getting this on-the-go appliance? Here are some things to consider.
Why does voltage of a coffeemaker matter?
Using a coffee maker at home is distinctly different from using one in your vehicle. For instance, coffee machines used at home come with the standard 110/120-volt options, but when you want to use an appliance in your car, truck, RV or boat you need to plug your appliance into a different electrical source. For onboard appliances, you use an adapter that that fits into a 12V socket or a cigarette lighter onboard your vehicle. Instead of having a 110-V plug on the end of a power cable, you use the onboard generator that converts the 120 volts AC down to 12V DC to support power to all 12V appliances and accessories in the RV.
The best 12V coffee maker can be found by the following features
Getting a 12V coffee maker that you can plug into your vehicle’s power supply needs slightly more thought than mere portability to make a good purchase. Of course, you don’t want something that’s not easy to carry, but you also want to look at how much coffee it can brew, how much time it’ll take and the price factor. So with these things in mind, here’s what you need to look for when finding the best 12V coffee maker.
Are single cup coffee makers better?
Many of the models in the 12V coffee maker category will be single serve appliances. This means that the machine is capable of preparing one cup of coffee at a time.
These models come in several shapes, sizes and functionalities ranging from fully manual drip coffee makers to completely automatic versions. Single serve machines also offer the benefit of using pre-packaged coffee pods for added convenience.
In addition, single serve coffee makers are compact devices that don’t take up too much space, a factor that is important when traveling in a vehicle.
12V coffee makers feature different capacities with smaller models being capable of holding 1.5 oz to 2 oz. Larger models can hold up to 5 oz.
Portability is perhaps the key factor to look for when investing in a 12V coffee maker. The whole point of this appliance is the ability to travel easily with it. As such, look at the capacity, size and weight of the coffee maker. 12V models will typically range between 30 oz to a few lbs. with the largest not exceeding a weight of 5 lbs. The largest model we have today is the Makita DCM501Z weighing 4.6 lbs.
Convenient to use
Having a portable appliance onboard should be easy to use. In the case of a coffee maker, you should look at the possibility of spills and drips. In this regard, look for something that comes with a mounting rack. These racks help secure the coffee maker when the vehicle is in motion. Mounting racks come bundled with the coffee maker in some models and where there isn’t one included, consider getting one to keep your coffee maker secure and fixed. Another option to consider is getting a coffee maker with a magnetic base to keep it in place.
Some models feature a detachable drip tray to make performance more mess-free.
In terms of operation, fully automatic features is another consideration. These models will make the coffee for you with the press of a button.
Ease of use also involves easy cleanup, so look for models that come with stainless steel construction for quick cleaning. Also, coffee makers that use pods facilitate the cleanup process even further.
Safety features are always a plus with any appliance. In the case of coffee makers, some models come with an automatic shut feature while others utilize safety features such as food-grade silicone and plastic materials. Coffee makers that have a stainless-steel construction for anti-corrosion and high quality are among some of the most preferred models.
Since 12V coffee makers don’t run on a lot of power, their brewing time will naturally be slower than the kitchen counter versions. Many can take up to 20 minutes to prepare your coffee while others can hasten the task to 15 minutes. Some high-end 12V coffee makers are known to prepare coffee within 5-8 minutes but come with a heftier price tag.
12V coffee makers are pricier than traditional models as they cater to a specific audience. As such, you will want to have some kind of guarantee backing up your investment. High-end, quality brands will offer a 1 to 2-year warranty on their product for customer satisfaction. Even models that fall in the mid-price range should offer a warranty of some sort.
Despite their smaller sizes and lower power consumptions, 12V coffee makers can deliver good tasting coffee. The one downside that customers feel is the comparatively longer brewing time it takes to brew coffee as compared to traditional coffee makers.
That said, some machines offer a Brewstop feature which allows you to stop the brewing process midway and pour yourself a cup of coffee.
The filtration system is a very important aspect to your coffee machine, unless you want coffee grounds floating in your cup. Since these coffee makers are smaller, they will need more attention while you are inspecting them. Not all coffee makers are made with the perfect filtration system.
You want one that can have only water filter through the system, so you get the strongest available taste. You can test the filter beforehand a couple of times to see if only water gets through by placing sugar cubes inside and seeing if any cubes made it into the mix. Clean the filter often and if they are offered, try to get your hands on a spare filter for your model coffee maker.
When considering a 12V coffee maker, look carefully at how durable the appliance is. This is not something that will sit stationary on your kitchen counter but something that will feel the impact of road travel. Looking at the build quality of the coffee maker, consider if its made of plastic parts or has stainless steel components. If it’s plastic, is it high quality plastic and if there are any moving parts? Durability also refers to how consistently the machine performs. A durable machine should be able to deliver consistent results every time.
Having quality coffee on the road is not something everyone gets to enjoy. Most people depend on cafes to provide them with a daily dose of coffee. If you have a coffee maker, then you can take the café with you wherever you go. For this reason, you should be prepared for a price tag that is slightly more extravagant. 12-volt coffee makers can come in between $50 to $100, although it’s not hard to find a quality coffee maker anywhere within this price range.
It is not recommended to use a 12-volt coffee machine inside of a 110-volt system. The basic issue with this is that your coffee maker was constructed to withstand a certain amount of power at once, which is not a lot. There is a chance your coffee maker can overheat quickly when plugged into a 110-volt system if left unattended.
The answer here is a simple yes. It may seem intimidating to let your small machine handle so much each day, but this is exactly what it was constructed for. The best way to ensure your coffee maker is not overworked is to clean it each day and unplug it as soon as you are done using it. You don’t want it plugged in for longer than it needs to be.
The best choice out there for 12V coffee makers would have to be the Makita DCM501Z portable coffee maker. Other electric devices of its type hardly compare in terms of efficiency, capacity, and portion sizes. With the 18V compatibility, it further has the upper hand in coffee production size and performance.
Another great choice, more specifically for single-serve users, is the CONQUECO portable coffee espresso maker. Perfect for espresso for one, this compact and portable device not only looks great, but can fit anywhere practical and be taken around with ease. It provides a great tasting result in minutes, so you can enjoy quality espresso on the go.
For those on a budget and need one of these strictly for road travel, the best 12V coffee maker is the RoadPro RPSC785. It offers almost all the features the others do, but at a much friendlier price.