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: July 28, 2021
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Large coffee makers are fine for groups but aren’t great for those who just want one cup of coffee to start their day. One option is a single-serve pod coffee maker, though those pods can be expensive. They also make quite a bit of plastic waste, which adds to our already overflowing landfills if they aren’t recycled properly. So, what’s the alternative? Well, many people are checking out the best single serve coffee maker with no pods. These are smaller and use regular coffee so that you can buy a bigger tub of it for a lower cost.
Like with any product you buy, you’ll want to check out the features for these handy little appliances, to be sure you’re getting exactly what you want. First, is the cup size, as this can vary from machine to machine. The filter included is also something to look at, as these can be made of different materials and may also double as scoops. The dimensions of the machine tell you how much space it will take up on your counter. A good warranty is also a must, so check out what’s covered before you buy.
To help you decide which model is the best single serve coffee machine with no pods for you, we spent several hours looking over manufacturer’s information, comparing product features, and reading dozens of customer reviews. Then we chose the five best single-serve coffee makers without pods, created a comparison table, and added some in-depth reviews for each one. We also put a buying guide at the bottom to help you make your final decision.
Even though we named this machine the best single-serve coffee maker without pods, the Chefman InstaCoffee Single Serve Coffee Maker isn’t an entirely no pod coffee maker. It is actually K-pod compatible, with a little pod holder and a K-cup needle to pierce the pod when it’s time to start brewing. This model isn’t just for K-cups, though. It also has a separate filter basket for your favorite ground coffee as well. This way, you can use it for either of these options, depending on your preferences.
This compact appliance is easy to use. All you need to do is choose your coffee and fill the water reservoir at the back to match the size of your cup and the strength of the coffee you prefer. Then push either the ground or the capsule button to start the machine. The coffee is brewed in about three minutes, so you don’t need to wait around to enjoy it.
Since cleaning the machine isn’t anyone’s favorite part of the morning, this machine makes this process extra easy. Add some water and press the two buttons simultaneously to start the auto-cleaning process. It also has an auto shut-off when the coffee is made, so you don’t have to worry about the coffee maker overheating.
If coffee isn’t your thing, you can also use this handy little machine to heat some water for hot chocolate or tea or use the K-cups for these alternative beverages. This machine is lightweight, too, so you can move it around as needed.
The best single-serve drip coffee maker with no pods doesn’t need to be huge to be useful. The AdirChef Grab N’ Go Personal Coffee Maker is compact and lightweight, so you can use it at home, at a hotel, or even on a camping trip, provided you have the electricity to run it.
This little model is made of high-quality plastic, so it is pretty durable, though it could be damaged if it isn’t handled properly. It comes in multiple color options, including black, ruby red, sour green, and a few more, which gives you the option of choosing one to fit your personality as well as your kitchen.
Rather than using disposable paper filters, there is a permanent filter included with the coffee maker. This saves on waste as well as money. There is an easy-fill top for the water, which makes it even easier to pour in the perfect amount for the size of cup you plan to use. There is only one button, too, plus this machine has an auto shut-off when the brewing process is done.
Included with the coffee maker is a 15-ounce travel mug. It has stainless steel on the outside and plastic on the inside. This makes it durable and allows it to keep your coffee hot for about an hour, so you can take your time drinking it. It is also designed to fit into standard cup holders.
Sometimes you want just a single cup to enjoy on your own, while on other days you need a whole pot to serve to guests. Rather than buying two separate coffee makers, you could try out the Cuisinart SS-15CP. It is a 2-in-1 machine, with a side for a full pot and a side for single-serve cups. It also comes in black, copper, and silver, so you can match it to your other appliances.
The single-serve side of this machine includes a reusable filter for grounds, plus is compatible with Cuisinart’s capsules, so you can use it with either to meet your preferences. You can choose the amount of coffee you want to brew as well, with 6, 8, and 10-ounce options available.
This coffee maker has a removable water reservoir which makes filling it easy. The drip tray on the bottom is also removable for using this side with travel mugs. This drip tray can’t be raised, though, so if you’re using a smaller mug, you may be cleaning up some splashes.
The 12-cup side is 24-hour programmable. It also allows you to choose the Bold coffee option, adjust the water temperature, or just keep the carafe warm. It even has a cleaning button to make this process even easier for you. The carafe is glass, with a BPA-free plastic lid, and a stainless steel handle. It also uses a gold-tone coffee filter to maintain the pure coffee flavor you love.
What are its best features?
Removable reservoir and drip tray
Three color options
12-cup pot and single-serve options
What could be improved?
The tray on the single-serve side isn’t adjustable
If you are looking for the best single serve metal coffee maker with no pods, the Hamilton Beach 49981A is a great choice. It is made of mostly stainless steel, which is quite durable. This material, combined with the removal parts also makes it easy to clean, which is a must for great tasting coffee.
There is a steel mesh filter, which doubles as a scoop with two fill lines for the perfect strength of coffee. This little appliance takes both ready-made coffee or you can grind your own beans, though the finer grounds may leave some sediment in the cup, meaning a small paper filter may be needed.
Another great feature is the custom cup option, which allows you to brew your coffee using the regular automatic drip or choose a bolder flavor. The regular is a bit weak, so some may prefer the bold setting. You can also choose the size of the cup you want, up to 14 ounces. There is an adjustable stand that you can raise or lower as needed to accommodate smaller mugs or the larger travel mugs.
On the base of the machine is a wide drip tray, which also works as a spill-resistant drain to catch any spills from the cup as it brews. The fill line on the water reservoir helps to prevent overflows. When the coffee is brewed, an auto shut-off turns the machine off.
You don’t have to spend half your paycheck to get a great single-serve coffee maker. The BLACK+DECKER DCM18S proves this, making a great cup of coffee in very little time, despite its very low price.
This little personal coffee maker is compact and lightweight, so it is easy to move from a counter to a cupboard if needed, plus you can take it on the road with you for tasty coffee anywhere you are. It does have a short cord, though, so be sure to clear some space next to the electrical outlet for it when it’s time for your morning brew.
There is a permanent grounds filter included, so you don’t need any extra paper filters. This not only saves you some money, but it also means less waste. This mesh metal filter can be used with even the finest grounds or with soft pods if that’s what you prefer.
The BLACK+DECKER DCM18S is easy to use, with a single button to start the brewing process. The water reservoir has a small opening, so be careful when filling. It also has an auto shut-off when the coffee is brewed. Most importantly, it heats the water to the optimal temperature for the best flavor possible.
Included with the coffee maker is a handy 15-ounce travel mug, with an easy-grab handle and a tight-fitting lid. This mug has a tapered design to fit most cup holders, plus is dishwasher safe for added convenience.
What stands out?
Travel mug included
Great low price
What cons did we manage to find?
Very short cord
Small reservoir opening
Things to Consider
Brewing large pots of coffee is fine if you’re going to be serving a group but not so great for just one person. That’s where a single-serve coffee maker with no pods comes into play. They make you one perfect cup of coffee every time, rather than forcing you to dump any extra coffee down the drain or deal with the excess waste of those plastic pods. If you’re interested in the best single-serve coffee maker with no pods, check out the sections below.
What is good about investing in a single-serve coffee maker that uses no pods?
There are a few great reasons to buy yourself a single-serve coffee maker with no pods. First, a single-serve machine makes you just one cup of java, which is a must when you’re the only one drinking it. Even if you want more than one cup, it takes very little effort to make a second one, plus it will taste better than coffee that’s been sitting on a warmer.
Another reason to get one of the best single-serve coffee makers without pods is that they save you some money. Those little capsules and pods can be expensive, especially when compared with the ground coffee that’s sold at any local grocery store. The pods also create more waste than a single tub of coffee would. With the ground coffee, you can even adjust the strength of the coffee to meet your preference, which isn’t a possibility with a pod.
Features to consider while choosing a single-serve coffee maker without pods
There are a lot of single-serve coffee makers on the market, so it may be hard to choose the right one. The following sections will tell you what features you should look for to help you decide.
Cup/water reservoir size
Single-serve coffee makers without pods don’t use huge water reservoirs. Instead, they use smaller ones that you need to fill each time you’re ready to brew a cup of coffee. Though this may seem like a hassle, it is better to keep the water in there fresh for every cup you brew. The size of the reservoir usually determines the size of the cup you should be using as well, as models like the BLACK+DECKER DCM18S use a simple one-button control to run all of the water through the machine and into the waiting mug. The less water you put into the reservoir, the smaller your cup of coffee will be.
Some models allow you to choose the size of the cup you want. The Cuisinart SS-15CP lets you choose 6, 8, or 10-ounce cups of coffee, so you can just fill up the reservoir and push the button for the size you want. This may leave some water left in the reservoir when it’s finished brewing, though, so if you aren’t making another cup that day, it’s best to dump it and refill the reservoir with fresh water the next day.
Single-serve coffee makers with no pods usually use permanent filters rather than the paper ones. This helps reduce waste, plus can save you a bit of money since you don’t need to buy replacement filters all the time. These filters can be filled the conventional way, using a teaspoon or the scoop that comes in many coffee tubs that you buy at the store.
Some of them, like the filter in the Hamilton Beach 49981A, also double as a scoop, including a fill line that prevents overflowing when the coffee starts brewing. These filters are easy to clean when your coffee is done brewing, either with a quick hand wash or in the dishwasher, depending on what they’re made of.
If the mug is included
Though this isn’t included with every model, a lot of the single-serve coffee makers include a handy mug, like the one with the AdirChef Grab N’ Go Personal Coffee Maker. These are usually travel mugs since many people need something they can take with them on the road to work or various activities. These mugs are designed to fit the coffee maker perfectly, so you don’t need to worry about trying to find a mug that is the right size for these compact machines.
Best of all, just because the mug is included, it doesn’t mean it’s the only one that can be used with your little coffee maker. You can use the travel mugs for the days when you have to take your coffee with you and use a different one for relaxing at home.
One of the best features the single-serve coffee makers with no pods have to offer is their compact size. These models are meant to make just one cup at a time, so they don’t need the space for a huge carafe. This makes them convenient models for small apartments, dorms, or even when staying in hotels. These small models are also great for camping since they take up so little space in a backpack or an RV.
Not every product you buy is going to work as well as it’s supposed to. To ensure you can get it repaired or replaced at no extra cost, you need a good warranty to cover the product. Otherwise, you’ll be purchasing a new one out of your own pocket.
Three of the models on our list have a one-year limited warranty, which is common. This gives you a bit of time to try out the single-serve coffee maker to make sure everything is working as it should be. The Cuisinart SS-15CP has a full three-year limited warranty, which covers you for all defects with either the workmanship or the parts during that time. If the issues take more time to show up, or if something breaks down long before it should, this length of time ensures that you won’t have to pay the cost of any repairs yourself.
Though making great coffee is the main purpose of a single-serve coffee maker with no pods, there are a few extra features that make them even more worthwhile. One is the auto-shutoff, which turns the machine off when the coffee is finished brewing. This keeps it from running constantly, saving you on energy costs and preventing the machine from overheating.
An adjustable stand is also handy to have, especially if you’re going from a large travel mug to a smaller glass one. The closer the mug is to the spout, the less splattering there will be, which means less of a mess to clean up.
Many of the models on our list come with a few different color options, which makes it easier to match your little coffee maker to your other kitchen appliances. It also allows you to pick your favorite instead of settling on basic black for everything.
Though we’ve focused on models that don’t need pods to make coffee, these little capsules can be handy at certain times, like when you’re traveling or don’t have time to fuss with cleaning out the coffee grounds in the morning. Some models that we’ve reviewed, like the Chefman InstaCoffee Single Serve Coffee MakerSboly Single Serve Coffee Maker, allow you to use both options for added convenience.
How to keep your coffee maker in a top-notch condition
To keep your single-serve coffee maker running perfectly, you need to keep it clean. The following steps should help you with this.
Unplug the coffee maker.
Remove all the parts possible, including the water reservoir, filter, and trays.
Wash the pieces with warm, soapy water and dry them thoroughly.
Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe down the outside of the machine, then replace all of the parts.
Fill the water tank with half water and half vinegar and turn on the machine to clean out the internal parts.
Fill the water tank with fresh cold water to flush out any of the leftover solution.
Each machine has a fill line in the water reservoir. If there is no selector, but you want a smaller cup than the maximum size, all you need to do is fill the reservoir with less water. To make this even easier, you can use the mug you plan to drink out of, filling it with water to the level of coffee you plan to drink, then pour that amount into the reservoir.
Yes, you can use other mugs or cups with a single-serve coffee machine. Most of them are big enough to hold a travel mug, so your regular home mugs should fit as well. Some of the models on our list also add an adjustable tray, so you can raise or lower it as needed to fit the cup you want to use.
Most of the filters included with the single-serve coffee machines have fill lines on them, which makes it easy to add in the proper amount of grounds. If there is no fill line, you may need to try out different amounts, though be sure not to overfill the filter. This could lead to overflowing when the brewing process starts, so it’s best to keep the level below the top of the filter.
A single-serve coffee maker with no pods can be a convenient appliance to have on hand. They give you the perfect amount for just one person, plus save you some money on those expensive pods. Though there are many different models to choose from, some have a bit more to offer.
Our favorite is the Sboly Single Serve Coffee Maker, which is lightweight and compact. It is K-cup compatible, with features like the auto-clean, auto shut-off, adjustable water level, and three-minute brewing.
The AdirChef Grab N’ Go Personal Coffee Maker is a great portable model, with multiple color options and a tapered, insulated 15-ounce travel mug included. It also uses one-touch operation and has an auto shut-off.
The Cuisinart SS-15CP gives you both single-serve and large carafe options for brewing. The single-serve side has a removable reservoir and drip tray, as well as three size options. The carafe side is 24-hour programmable, with a timer and bold brew options. This model also comes in three great colors.