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: February 11, 2021
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Do you feel the need to have at least one cup of coffee in the morning before starting the day? Coffee can be made in many different ways, but as we’ll show you in this guide, the fastest and the most convenient way may be through using a pod coffee machine.
The rise of the pod coffee makers dates back a decade, and since then, many models have exploded onto the scene. In this review of the best pod coffee machines, we’ll explore what makes each of them great. As such, we’ll talk about their key features. These include the type of pods and capsules a particular model supports and a water reservoir capacity to make sure you can brew enough coffee for all your household members. Next, we will check dimensions and weight so that you can be sure that a coffee machine fits in your kitchen. Apart from that, it’s important to think about the warranty to protect your investments. Let’s get started!
The crown jewel of all pod coffee machines is our Editor’s Choice, the Keurig K-Select Coffee Maker. Keurig is the premier name for pod coffee machines simply because they are excellent pod coffee machines and also because K-cups are, by far, the most accessible and usable in other coffee machines.
This one obviously only accepts the K-cup for pods to brew your coffee. It comes with a large 52-ounce water reservoir, which is the equivalent of roughly 1.5 liters of water. Keurig’s machines tend to be a bit on the bigger side, and this one is no different. It measures out to roughly 12.5 inches tall and 9 inches wide. It has a fairly average weight of 7.35 pounds. It operates very quietly, and when you don’t want coffee, it can produce hot water on demand as well.
What we liked: We very much enjoyed the four different brewing size settings on the Keurig. In the morning, it’s nice to be able to start with the largest size coffee, and at night after dinner, it’s great to unwind with the smallest cup. A very convenient option to have.
What could be better: We kind of hoped the area where you put your mug or travel mug was a bit taller as it only accommodates up to 7.4 inches of height. If you have taller travel mugs, these won’t fit unless you remove the drip tray at the bottom.
For shoppers looking for a budget-friendly pod coffee machine and perhaps, one that doesn’t take up too much room, it might be harder to find a better choice than our best value pick, the Sboly Single Serve Coffee Maker Machine. As the name implies, this pod coffee machine can brew only one cup at a time, but this should be more than enough to wake up in the morning.
It is very slim in design as it is 12 inches tall and only 5.25 inches wide. Because of its slender frame, it only weighs 2.5 pounds and only contains a water reservoir of 14 ounces. Thus, you’re likely to have to refill the reservoir every time you make a cup of coffee. It uses the widely acceptable K-cups, but it also allows you to brew ground coffee, giving you more options to choose from.
What we liked: If you’re a person that lives their life constantly on the go, it’s harder to find a better pod coffee machine than this one at this price. It’s quick and fast (coffee is ready in 3 minutes) and can accommodate many larger-sized travel mugs too.
What could be better: We definitely wish the water reservoir was at least double the size of what it is. It can get pretty annoying and cumbersome to have to refill the reservoir every time you use it.
For people that fancy a better pod coffee drinking experience rather than the mundane cup from drip coffee makers, many coffee lovers will find that with the Nespresso Pixie Espresso Machine. Everything about the Nespresso brand screams high-quality, and this Espresso Machine is no different. You won’t get your standard K-cup drip coffee with this pod espresso machine. Instead, this Nespresso capsule coffee machine will produce some of the best espressos you’ll have outside of Italy.
The coffee machine measures 13 inches tall and 6.5 inches wide. It has a 24-ounce water reservoir, which may seem fairly small, but you have to remember that cups of espresso generally come in a much smaller size than a cup of coffee.
This capsule espresso machine has a very durable feel to it, and despite being on the smaller side, it manages to weigh 7.65 pounds. It comes with a terrific 2-year warranty, ensuring you get some good value out of it if anything breaks down.
What we liked: Anyone who wants to try new flavors should consider this Nespresso machine. We especially love that the water in this machine is able to heat up in 25 seconds, and we get our espresso in less than a minute.
What could be better: A common complaint from customers was that the water could leak, which makes it a bit more cumbersome to clean up.
If you live a very busy life and find yourself constantly on the go, consider the Keurig K-Slim Coffee Maker. Having a pod coffee machine that is always ready for you and your busy lifestyle can be a very helpful thing, and that’s exactly what this Keurig machine does.
Since it is a Keurig machine, it takes K-cups, which is great because there are many companies that produce coffee in these pods. On top of that, you’ll get a fantastic 46-ounce water reservoir that is detachable, and while 46-ounces may not seem like a lot, but when you consider the slim design of this coffee machine, it’s actually great. It is 15 inches tall and 4.7 inches wide and only weighs 6.2 pounds. You can make three different sizes of coffee with this machine, and it comes with a wonderful auto-off feature so that you can just grab your coffee and go when it’s ready.
What we liked: On top of being a great pod coffee machine for our busy people, we also really love the slender design of this Keurig coffee machine. Some of Keurig’s regular machines are much bulkier and wider in size, but this one is great for smaller apartments and kitchens.
What could be better: Unfortunately, some large travel mugs won’t fit. It only allows for 7 inches of space, which is somewhat limiting.
Sometimes you don’t have enough time to wait for the water to heat up. If that’s the case, then you should check out our model with the rapid brew technology, the Mueller Single Serve Pod Compatible Coffee Maker Machine.
For convenience, this pod coffee machine uses K-cups and has a terrific and detachable water reservoir with a size of 48 ounces. You can brew up to four different coffee sizes with this machine. What’s great is that you don’t have to wait around for the machine to heat up, and the coffee comes out very quickly! The machine is also rather small in size too and measures out to 9.5 inches tall and 4.5 inches wide. It is, however, a bit on the heavier side when you consider its frame at just under seven pounds. On the other hand, it comes with an excellent 2-year warranty.
What we liked: If you want your coffee ready in under a minute, this is the perfect pod coffee machine for you.
What could be better: You really cannot use travel mugs with this pod coffee machine. It only has enough space for cups or small mugs, and it will not be able to fit any large mugs.
If one of the most important features for you is the size of the water reservoir, then you should check out the Cuisinart SS-10P1. This pod coffee machine has a water reservoir that is able to contain whopping 72 ounces of water, making it, by far, the largest on our list.
With this large water reservoir, you are able to brew from five different coffee size settings using K-cups only. To make it even better, you can also customize your brewing temperature so that you can ensure your coffee is either piping hot or just hot enough to your liking. One thing you’ll have to be mindful of with this pod coffee machine is that it’s built like a tank. It’s tall and wide and weighs more than any other pod coffee machine on our list. Lastly, it also comes with a 3-year warranty.
What we liked: The massive water reservoir means that you won’t have to refill it after each cup. The five different coffee cup sizes are also amazing and convenient to have.
What could be better: What could definitely be better with this pod coffee machine is the level of noise it makes when brewing coffee. It is noticeably loud, which can be somewhat annoying.
The NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Coffee Machine is quite unique. This one only takes specifically Dolce Gusto Coffee pods, and the reason why is because each pod has a different pressure level. Each pod requires a specific level of pressure that you need to adjust on your pod coffee machine. This is to extract the maximum flavor from the coffee so that you end up with an absolutely delicious beverage of your choice.
The 15-bar pressure is adjustable on the coffee machine, and green indicators help with it. This NESCAFÉ machine also has a large water reservoir (60 ounces) and a unique and curved build. You can adjust the size and boldness of your coffee and can also dispense your choice of a hot or cold coffee beverage with this coffee machine.
What we liked: We absolutely loved the adjustability of this pod coffee machine. By simply following the bar pressure recommendations on each pod, we really found those extra bold and rich flavors in our coffee compared to when we didn’t adjust the bar pressure.
What could be better: The one downside of this coffee machine is its cost and the accessibility of its pods. The unit is quite expensive, and since it only takes specifically Dolce Gusto coffee pods, they are rather expensive, and the selection is quite limited.
What’s better than brewing one cup of coffee? How about brewing two cups of coffee at once? That’s exactly what you’ll be able to get with the Senseo 7810\65 Coffee Maker. As the name suggests, you can brew up to two cups of coffee at once using the double-tap button. Once you press it, it will brew two cups of extra-strong coffee at once into your mug.
This coffee machine only accepts Senseo pods and has a decent-sized water reservoir of 40 ounces. It can only brew an 8-ounce cup of coffee each time, and it is rather small at 13.5 inches tall and only 8.5 inches wide. Also, it weighs just a shade under 5 pounds, and the parts of this pod coffee machine are actually removable and can be washed in the dishwasher. The one-year warranty will allow users to get the most of the unit without any worries.
What we liked: We really appreciated the extra boldness of our coffees when we used the double-cup feature. You should try this in the morning as it will help you start y our day faster.
What could be better: One thing that could be better with the double-cup feature is that the coffee could be more balanced. While you get that energy kick, the coffee taste can be a bit bitter, so not everyone will like the aftertaste.
One of the biggest frustrations can often be the lack of space to put larger cups or travel mugs under the dispenser. Well, that problem is solved with the Nespresso GCC1-US-GM-NE VertuoLine Evoluo Deluxe. This deluxe Nespresso coffee machine can accommodate different cup sizes from travel mugs to small espresso cups thanks to its adjustable cup support tray. It has four different points at which you can insert the cup tray, and this will support cups of all sizes while also minimizing the splash of coffee getting everywhere.
Be mindful with this pod coffee machine accepts only Nespresso VertuoLine capsules and not the Nespresso Original Line capsules. Once you have the right capsules, you’ll be able to insert up to 17 of them into this machine. It has a water reservoir capacity of 54 ounces and a warranty of one year. Apart from the premium feel of the Nespresso brand, this pod coffee machine is built very well and is quite sturdy at 11 pounds and is 12 inches tall and 9 inches wide.
What we liked: We love that this Nespresso machine heats up literally in 15 seconds and is ready to start brewing a fresh cup of espresso. The adjustable cup tray is also a nice touch, and it helps prevent the splash of coffee from landing all over our kitchen countertop.
What could be better: We wish we had known that this pod coffee machine only takes VertuoLine capsules as we had a few leftover Original Line capsules that we were hoping to go through with this machine, but we weren’t able to.
For people looking for a pod coffee machine that doesn’t take up their entire kitchen countertop space, check out the Illy y3.2 Espresso and Coffee Machine. This Illy capsule coffee machine is hip and slender looking and is only 4 inches wide while being 10 inches tall. Despite being very slim, it surprisingly weighs over nine pounds, making it one of the heaviest pod coffee machines. This machine only takes Illy pods and contains a water reservoir of 25.4 ounces.
Even though it is slender, this machine can actually hold up to 7 capsules, and it even automatically will eject used capsules so that you don’t have to go fishing it out every time. The settings on it are as minimal as its design since it only comes with two modes.
What we liked: If you’re limited on space in your kitchen and don’t want your pod coffee machine to stand out, this Illy one will definitely fit right in.
What could be better: The weight of this pod coffee machine is ridiculous for something this small. Thus, it can be too heavy to carry around.
Things to Consider
After comparing the top-rated pod coffee machines, it’s now time to turn our attention to their individual feature. There are many benefits of having a pod coffee maker, which we’ll discuss below and also explain in greater detail why some of these individual features are so important. This research should help you learn more about these units. Our hope is that we inform you enough to the point where we can make your purchasing decision.
Advantages of pod coffee makers
Perhaps, one of the biggest advantages of purchasing one of the best pod coffee machines is its convenience. You simply pop a coffee pod into your machine, and a minute later, a fresh cup of hot coffee is ready for you to drink.
With pod coffee machines, you won’t have to wait 5-10 minutes for a full batch of coffee to be ready to enjoy it because you can get ‘coffee on-demand’.
Another advantage of getting a pod coffee maker is that they are much cleaner to operate than a regular coffee machine. With a regular coffee machine, you have to worry about perhaps grinding down coffee beans and then putting those ground beans into a filter, which then has to go into your coffee machine. Let’s not forget those instances where you may happen to drop your coffee grinder, and it can be a terribly annoying thing to clean up.
Lastly, another advantage of a pod coffee machine is that you can tailor how tall of a cup of coffee you want. Most of the best pod coffee machines will have options for you to choose a small, medium, or large cup of coffee, such as seen with the Keurig K-Slim Coffee Maker, and this is great because you don’t have to be forced to drink a bigger cup of coffee if you don’t want to.
How to get the best capsule coffee machine?
There are plenty of excellent capsule coffee machines out there, but you may be wondering which one is right for you. There are many different ways people tend to choose a pod coffee machine, but some will explore it right down to its individual features. In this section, we’ll discuss the key features that you should check. Some of these features include pod type, brewing settings, water reservoir, ease of use, dimensions and weight, warranty, and finally, price.
The type of pod refers to what kind of pod exactly can a specific coffee machine accept and use to brew coffee. One big misconception when it comes to pod coffee machines is that they are all the same thing and can accept all kinds of pods. This is false. Pod coffee machines can really only take and use a single type of coffee pods. For example, a Keurig coffee machine can only use K-cup pods and cannot use Nespresso capsules. It’s recommended to check the instructions on what type of pods can be used in your coffee machine.
Currently, the majority of pod coffee machines accept only K-cups because they tend to be the most accessible and have a wide variety of flavors you can try and the number of different coffee brands that produce their coffee in K-cups.
In terms of brewing settings, many of these pod coffee machines come with the ability to make different coffee cups. Depending on the type of pod coffee machine, they can range from as little as four ounces to as much as 12 ounces per cup. Some pod coffee machines, like the NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Coffee Machine, will even let you control the intensity and temperature of the brewing process so that you can get that optimally and full coffee flavor.
In some pod coffee machines, water reservoirs are detachable, meaning you can remove it from the machine to fill it up under a kitchen sink, for example. This helps a lot to avoid the mess on the countertop.
There are some pod coffee machines where the water reservoir isn’t detachable, and you’ll have to pour your water into it. Depending on the pod coffee machine you choose to purchase, the size of the water reservoir can vary. Thus, you must decide how much water you need. We found that the average range is likely between 15 and 75 ounces of water. For example, the Cuisinart SS-10P1 has a 72 oz. water reservoir, so you and your family members will enjoy your favorite drink.
Ease of use
One of the biggest benefits of getting a pod coffee machine is really how easy it is to use. It is very convenient to have, and it is fairly intuitive to use.
If you’ve never used a pod coffee machine before, the steps to brewing a cup of coffee are relatively easy.
The first step is finding out where the water reservoir is and filling it up with water.
The second step is finding out where you place your coffee pod.
The last step is simply pressing a button to choose which size of coffee you want, and voila, here is your beverage!
Of course, with some pod coffee machines, there will be a few other buttons where you can optimize the brewing settings, adjust the temperature and intensity, such as seen with the NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Coffee Machine. These are also intuitive, and the instructions should clear that for you.
Dimensions and weight
The dimensions and weight of a pod coffee machine can also vary depending on the model you choose, and there are some models that are bigger in size. A good example of this is the Cuisinart SS-10P1, which measures out to 12 inches tall and 9.3 inches wide. Also, it is one of the heaviest pod coffee machines at 9.4 pounds. Because it is much larger in size, it comes with the biggest water reservoir of any on our list.
On the other end of the spectrum, you can purchase a small and space-saving pod coffee machine like our best value pick, the Sboly Single Serve Coffee Maker Machine. This one is 12 inches tall and only 5.2 inches wide. It only weighs 2.5-pounds, making it an excellent choice to be used at home or to be brought with you when you’re traveling.
The warranty on the best pod coffee machines is a slightly less important feature since they all tend to function perfectly well for long periods of time. But if a warranty is something that is of great importance to you, you can expect some fairly good policies with these pod coffee machines. The best warranty policy we found was for the Cuisinart SS-10P1 pod coffee machine as this one will be protected for 3 years. This is the highest figure on our list as most of the warranties tend to cover only one year with a few going up to two years.
Much like any product that has a wide variety of options, the best pod coffee machines can be found at different prices. Depending on the model you choose, you can easily find one that fits a particular budget you may have, or you can even splurge on one if you feel that you need its advanced functions.
For people shopping on a budget, our best value pick, the Sboly Single Serve Coffee Maker Machine, will only cost you around $60, whereas our premium model, the Nespresso Pixie Espresso Machine, can be found at $200. The rest of the pod coffee machines are likely to range somewhere in between these two figures, and prices can tend to vary, so it might be more or less than this range.
One of the best things about having a pod coffee machine is the ‘on-demand’ nature of these coffee makers. Many people purchase these machines simply because of the quickness and ease with which you can make a cup of coffee. When using a pod coffee machine, your coffee will typically be ready in anywhere from 30-90 seconds, depending on the size of the cup you are making. With some of these pod coffee machines, you may have to wait a minute or two to heat up the water, but this is not applicable for all pod coffee machines.
Generally speaking, no, it isn’t very hard to clean a capsule coffee machine at all. On top of being efficient and fast, pod coffee machines are also easy to maintain. After a month or two, you can take a wet paper towel and wipe it from the inside. After about four to six months, you can also clean it more thoroughly by descaling it with a mixture of vinegar and water. For some pod machines, like a Keurig, you can even purchase a pod that looks like a coffee pod, but it actually is a cleaner. You just use it as you would with any normal coffee pod – and it will clean out your machine instead of giving you hot coffee.
It is not possible to insert pods from different brands into your pod coffee machine. This is because pods made by different companies are usually different in size, and because of that, you won’t be able to put it inside. The slots where you place the pod are molded in the shape of the pod that is acceptable for that machine.
Now, we are ready to present to you our top three choices. The Keurig K-Select Coffee Maker is the king of pod coffee machines thanks to its overall build quality and design. It allows you to make that perfect drip coffee in the morning and pick the cup size you want. Also, K-cups are widely accessible, which makes this very convenient to own.
Next, our best value pick, the Sboly Single Serve Coffee Maker Machine, gives people looking for a bargain the option. It is slim, quick, and easy to use because it also accepts K-cups, which makes it even more attractive.
Lastly, the Nespresso Pixie Espresso Machine is worth considering if you can’t imagine your morning without an espresso shot. This pod espresso machine allows you to pick between two brewing styles, and its 25-second heating time is amazing.
We hope that our article helped you find the best pod coffee machine so that you can get that energy kick in the morning!