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.
Top 4 12-Volt Coffee Makers Review 2020
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.
Makita DCM501Z – Editor’s Choice
- Dimensions: 9.5’’ x 7.1’’ x 8.5’’
- Guarantee: 3-year limited
- Weight: 4.8 lb
- Capacity: 5 oz
More features: 18V compatible, individual packs and ground coffee compatible
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.
- Efficient: brews plenty of coffee in one charge
- Lightweight and compact
- 18V compatible
- Full sized coffee mug included
- No paper cups required
- Battery not included; price adds up
CONQUECO Portable Coffee Espresso Maker – Best Single Serve
- Dimensions: 3.2’’ x 3’’ x 9.9’’
- Guarantee: 1-year limited
- Weight: 31 oz
- Capacity: 1.7 oz
More features: 194°F heating temperature, wall adaptor, capsule coffee compatible, 15 bar pressure pump, 2.5 h charging time
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 device 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.
- Very compact and lightweight design
- Easy one-button controls
- 15 bar pressure pump makes dense and rich espresso
- Includes car and wall chargers
- Auto wash feature
- Water takes a while to warm up if cold
- Portion sizes are smaller, even for espresso
AICOK Travel Coffee Maker – Best for Camping
- Dimensions: 9.7’’ x 2.5’’
- Guarantee: 2-year limited
- Weight: 30.4 oz
- Capacity: 1.6 oz
More features: 15 bar pressure pump, nespresso capsules, 194°F heating temperature, cold water 10-minute heating
For those looking to bring an electric espresso maker on a camping trip, we recommend the AICOK travel coffee maker as the best 12V coffee maker for camping. This very portable device will provide you with a great espresso cup on the go and is lightweight enough to take with you on long walks and hikes.
The AICOK travel coffee maker fits in anywhere, at only 9.8” in height and 3” in diameter. You can put it anywhere a regular cup or bottle can fit, and it won’t be a burden at all to carry with an impressively light weight of only 1.3 pounds.
The functionality of this coffee maker is very straightforward and simple. You don’t need to pump anything manually, just press the button and the coffee will be made for you in a manner of minutes. The cleaning is even done by the fully automatic device, you only need to worry about the cup.
The AICOK uses only genuine Nespresso capsules, or capsules of the same size. It also includes a pump capable of 15 bars of pressure, giving you a premium quality brew you’d find from regular coffee makers.
The materials used are all food safe and non-toxic, from durable ABS plastic to stainless steel.
One problem customers complain about has less to do with the performance of the coffee maker, but with the instruction manual that comes included. Some find the instructions are inadequate and do not make the commands as clear as they are.
- Very lightweight and space efficient
- 15 bar pressure pump offers premium quality coffee brew
- Includes both wall and car chargers for travel
- Safe, high-quality materials
- Some complaints about instruction manual
Revelux Electric Portable Espresso Coffee Maker – Budget Pick
- Dimensions: 9.37’’ x 2.95’’
- Guarantee: 2-year limited
- Weight: 1.3 lb
- Capacity: 2 oz
More features: 196°F heating temperature, 15 bar pressure pump, 80 W power, nespresso capsules
The Revelux electric portable espresso coffee maker is the perfect coffee maker of its type for those who want coffee on the go, but don’t want to invest too much for whatever reason. This budget pick has what other portable 12V coffee makers offer, but at a more affordable yet decent price.
The Revelux is great for road trips and such, as it includes a DC car power supply cord, and tightly sealing components like the water compartment and built in coffee cup. The size and weight are also convenient for travelling in the car, being able to fit in a cupholder easily. The only downside is that it’s made specifically for travel in a car, as there is no battery within and can only be used when plugged in.
Like the rest, this coffee maker is fully automatic with easy usage and single button controls. It includes a 15-bar pressure pump for an authentic Italian espresso brew. It works with both hot and cold water, capable of producing some fairly warm results. The portion sizes are also good, with a water reservoir capacity of 2 ounces that yields about 1.86 ounces of espresso at a time.
Overall, if you’re looking for a way to have fresh and rich tasting coffee made on the go, either for a road trip or a shortcut on the way to work all for a budget-friendly price, the Revelux portable espresso coffee maker is the best choice for you.
- Easy to use, fully automatic functionality
- Small volume, very portable design
- Great for car travel and road trips
- DC car power supply cord included
- No battery, can only be used when connected to car charger
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.
The Makita DCM501Z has the largest capacity of 5 oz. with the AICOK Travel Coffee Maker, the CONQUECO Portable Coffee Espresso Maker, and the Revelux Electric Portable Espresso Coffee Maker featuring a capacity of 1.6oz, 1.7 oz., and 2 oz. respectively.
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 Revelux electric portable coffee espresso maker. It offers almost all the features the others do, but at a much friendlier price.