Last Updated: 5/26/19

The Best ​​​​Single Serve Coffee Maker

​Ninja Coffee Bar
​Top Rated Overall​​​

K-Elite Front View

Keurig ​K - Cafe
​Best Bang For Your Buck​​​

K-Cafe with coffees

​AdirChef Grab N' Go
​The Economical Option

K-Cafe with coffees

​​Ninja Coffee Bar

Ninja Coffee Bar
  • ​Many Settings
  • ​Easy to Use
  • ​Included Travel Mug

​Keurig K-Cafe

K-Cafe with coffees
  • ​Automatic Frother
  • ​Minimalist Design
  • ​Ease of Use

​​AdirChef Grab N' Go

ADIRchef grab N go
  • ​Portable
  • ​Reusable Filter
  • ​Dishwasher Safe

Single serve coffee machines are an excellent solution to a problem suffered by many: that half full carafe of steaming coffee, poured down the drain. The market for single serve coffee machines is extensive, and goes far beyond pod-style machines that most of us think of when we hear “single serve coffee.” One of the downsides od pod style machines is that they are usually exclusively espresso machines. So what about those of us who still want a regular cup of coffee with the convenience of single-serve? Not only are pod-style machines catching on to this, but a lot of brands are finding creative ways to deliver single serve coffees in functional, versatile, at-home coffee machines. From ultra compact, portable coffee machines to ones that can brew almost anything, here is our list of the best single serve coffee makers for 2020.

How We Chose The Best Single Cup Coffee Makers

We take a lot into consideration when we review and recommend products. Just as there are some great, unique products on the market, there is also a lot of junk. Here are some of the main things we looked at when choosing our selection of single serve coffee makers.  

Is it functional?

This might seem like a no-brainer, but functionality can mean a lot of things. Some users want a machine that can do a bit of everything, while others are simply looking for a hot cup of coffee. A coffee maker needs to strike a balance between useful and complicated functions. We find that even the most versatile machines can be easy to use, and that even the most simple machines can be set apart from their competitors if their functionality is increased. Simple features like brew strength or a hot water dispenser are examples of simple functions that go a long way. But overcomplicating things, especially when it comes to at-home coffee makers, is a quick ticket to our bad books.

Is it high quality?

We firmly believe that a little more cost up front is always better than replacing a product within a year. When it comes to coffee makers, you get what you pay for. There are excellent low cost coffee makers on the market, but they are also going to be simple in their functionality. If you’re paying bottom dollar for a supposedly premium machine, ​it's often build quality that suffers. Quality means not only a durable, functional product, but also good coffee. Isn’t that why we’re here?  

Does it reduce waste?

Waste is definitely a consideration when we look at our products. Convenience is great, but consumers should also be aware of the waste they produce depending on the type of product they buy. It’s not just about wasting coffee or producing garbage - it’s also about saving energy, which in turn, saves you money too.

Is it good value?

Ah yes - the value of a product. Everything we’ve listed so far is part of what determines the value of a coffee machine. Value is not just about weighing cost and quality, it’s also about personal taste. We look at a variety of different coffee machines that represent value to different types of coffee drinkers. Someone who prioritizes taste will find value in a different machine than someone who prioritizes convenience. We break down our reviews to reflect who exactly will get the most value out of which product.

#1

​Ninja Coffee ​Bar
Best All-Arounder

Ninja Coffee Bar In Use
 Why We Love It

It’s a versatile all-arounder that makes great coffee.

Who Should Buy This

Coffee lovers who want variety at a good price.

Ninja is widely known for their ultra high quality blenders that can make everything from smoothies to soup at the push of a button. The brand has also expanded into other markets, including coffee makers. As general fans of the Ninja brand, we were pretty excited to review this product. The Ninja Coffee Maker (CF080Z model) is a spectacular all-arounder. It brews carafe style coffee or single serve, with customizable settings that allow you brew at your desired strength. It also has a milk frother so you can easily upgrade that cup of coffee into any variety of milk-based coffee beverages. To encourage creativity, the Ninja also comes with a recipe book chalk full of coffee drinks for you to experiment with. With so many features, this machine does have a bit of a learning curve, but learning the ins and outs of the machine makes your coffee options skyrocket. It’s also dead easy to use once you know how. This machine doesn’t brew espresso style coffee, so it’s not ideal for die hard espresso fans. Because of its versatility, it’s also a bit bulkier and more involved than, say, a pod-style unit. But since we prefer quality and versatility over convenience, this is a really impressive all-around coffee machine, and we highly recommend it for any coffee lover.

Pros:

  • Lots of coffee settings
  • Easy to use
  • Single serve to full carafe
  • Comes with travel mug
  • Milk frother
  • Recipe book

Cons:

  • No espresso style
  • Less convenient than pod style
  • Bulky size

#​2

​Keurig K-Cafe
Easiest to Use

K-Cafe on Table
 Why We Love It

It’s versatile and easy to use.

Who Should Buy This

Those who want variety with minimal effort.

The Keurig K-Cafe is a great instant coffee machine for people who like the convenience of pod-style machines but also want a bit more variety. The K-Cafe gives you all the benefits of a classic pod-style machine: Keurigs variety of teas, coffees, and other hot beverages at the push of a button, easy cleaning, and minimalist style. However, it also add a little more flare with its automatic frother. That way you have access to coffee and tea lattes, cappuccinos, or ultra creamy hot chocolates. Keep in mind it does not have a hot water dispenser, so you’ll have to rely on the Keurig cups to get your tea and hot chocolate fix. It has an adjustable drip tray so you can fit mugs/cups of various sizes under the spout. Due to its extra features, the K-Cafe is a wider unit than most. It’s not ideal if you want an ultra-compact machine, but given the variety it provides, it’s size is quite impressive. The K-Cafe gives you the widest variety of drink options with the least skill and effort.

Pros:

  • Very easy to use
  • Automatic frother
  • Minimalist design
  • Travel mug friendly

Cons:

  • Wide shape
  • No automatic “on” feature
  • No hot water dispenser
  • No crema

#​3

​AdirChef
Grab N’ Go
Most Affordable

Grab N Go in Use
 Why We Love It

It is ultra compact, portable and simple to use.

Who Should Buy This

It is perfect for bachelors, bachelorettes and students, or anyone who wants an ultra-compact, portable machine.

The AdirChef Grab N Go is one of the coolest compact coffee machines on the market. A coffee machine is not normally something we think of as a portable item, but the AdirChef is perfectly designed for that purpose. It’s design is dead simple: a mini coffee brewer that comes with a 15oz stainless steel travel mug and an eco-friendly reusable filter. You can brew your favourite coffee at any time, and the mug is dishwasher friendly. The whole machine can be easily packed up and moved or taken on trips. It is an ideal machine for bachelors and bachelorettes, and especially for students. It is the perfect coffee machine for dorms and small apartments, and is by far the easiest, most compact coffee-to-go provider. Best of all, the AdirChef is suitable for any budget. There are, of course, limitations of the AdirChef given its size. It brews only one style of coffee and is not designed to brew large quantities. But for portability and on-the-go convenience at the lowest price, the AdirChef is unbeatable.

Pros:

  • Portability
  • Perfect for on the go coffee
  • Comes with 150z stainless steel travel mug
  • Energy efficient auto shut off
  • Eco friendly reusable filter ( no paper)
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Not good for groups
  • No carafe
  • No hot plate
  • Only good for one style of coffee

#​4

​Nespresso Vertuo
Most Versatile

Vertuo with beverage
 Why We Love It

It’s a more high-tech pod style machine with surprising versatility.

Who Should Buy This

Pod-style fans who want the most options.

Nespresso’s new VertuoLine is designed to give coffee lovers more versatility with their pod style machines. The Vertuo uses slightly different capsules that offer espresso or coffee, and are designed to extract more flavour and leave less mess with the centrifuge-style extraction method. Beyond the added versatility in its coffee options, the Vertuo also comes with a separate milk frother. On its own this frother is a great device that is actually easier to use than most built-in nozzle frothers. So the advantages are two-fold: you get a fantastic extra appliance, and the ability to elevate any of your coffee drinks with steamed milk. The frother is as easy to clean as it is to use. The Vertuo is only compatible with Nespresso’s VertuoLine capsules, which are a bit more expensive than the tradition capsules. The coffee style capsules, designed to brew a full mug of coffee rather than just espresso, are also larger. But if you’re willing to take the leap, the Nespresso Vertuo is one of the most versatile pod-style single serve coffee machines available.

Pros:

  • Larger, richer drink
  • Centrifuge system
  • Makes both coffee and espresso
  • Separate milk frother

Cons:

  • Larger coffee pods are a bit more expensive
  • less compact
  • Vertuoline capsule compatible only

#​5

​Cuisinart Coffee-on-Demand (DCC-3000)
Best for Larger Households

DCC-3000
 Why We Love It

It is an easy to use, high capacity yet compact coffee machine.

Who Should Buy This

Large households or group settings such as offices.

The conundrum of a single serve coffee machine is that sometimes you want single serve style, but you need to accomodate a large group of people. The Cuisinart Coffee-Demand offers a unique approach to this that delivers fresher, more environmentally friendly coffee than pod style machines. From the outside, the Cuisinart appears like your average carafe-style coffee maker, but there is a catch. While the brew style is similar to that of drip coffee, it brews single mugs at a time for up to 12 cups. The advantage this machine has over pod-style is that there is less waste, and you can brew your favourite beans. It has a convenient display that will tell you how many more cups of coffee are left before you need to brew again. You can also remove the drip tray to accommodate taller cups or travel mugs, and you can adjust the strength of your brew. Some users find the design makes it a bit tricky to clean, and it doesn’t brew carafe-style. But as the name suggests, it’s the perfect machine for fresh, on-demand coffee that functions as a single serve but can accommodate a larger group

Pros:

  • 12 cup capacity
  • Display shows available coffee
  • Easy to use
  • Removable drip tray ( large and small cups )
  • Adjustable coffee strength

Cons:

  • Only one coffee style
  • No carafe
  • Difficult to clean

#​6

​Hamilton Beach Single Serve
Most Eco-Friendly

Hamilton Beach The Scoop
 Why We Love It

It is an eco friendly choice with a super compact size.

Who Should Buy This

Those who want a simple, compact machine with minimal waste and environmental impact.

The Hamilton Beach Single Serve is another great bachelor/student-style coffee machine. It is affordable, super compact and straightforward. The Hamilton Beach offers a little more versatility than the AdirChef in that it’s not designed exclusively for travel mugs. It has an adjustable cup platform so you can get your caffeine fix whether you intend to sit or stay. The podless brew style means it uses far less waste, and it will automatically shut off after brewing to save on energy. Due to its compact size, the water tank is fairly small so it will require refilling more often than other models. It also has minimal brew features, though you can choose between a regular and a bold brew. It’s easy to clean, easy to store, and is a great option for those looking to keep their waste production to a minimum without sacrificing their fresh morning coffee.

Pros:

  • Compact size
  • Adjustable cup platform
  • Easy to clean and use
  • Eco friendly

Cons:

  • Small tank size
  • Minimal features/brew options

Which Single Cup Coffee Maker is Right for Me?

If you want a little bit of everything: Ninja Coffee Maker

Some of us want a bit of everything when it comes to coffee. We like everything from a regular cup of joe to an iced mocha with foam on top, and we want to explore and create these choices from the comfort of our homes. If you have a taste for quality and want a machine that can do it all, the Ninja is a top notch choice.

If you want something easy to use: Keurig K-Cafe

If you’re less concerned about being involved in the drink-making process and just want variety at the push of a button, the K-Cafe is a great choice. It’s just as easy as any other pod style single serve machine, but doesn’t limit you to espresso only. It’s the easiest way to get espressos and lattes without expending much extra effort. 

If you want portability and affordability: AdirChef Grab N’ Go

The AdirChef is specifically designed for portability, and is the perfect single serve coffee machine for those on a budget. It is amazingly simple, ultra-compact, and can be afforded on any budget.

If you want versatility: Nespresso Vertuo

The Nespresso Vertuo is truly a one-stop shop kind of machine. It’s only limitations are that it is VertuoLine compatible only, but once you make the leap, it’s hard to find a more versatile coffee machine. It is one of the only machines that can make both espresso and coffee, and comes with an awesome hand held frother. For versatility in one machine, the Nespresso Vertuo is the answer.

If you want to accomodate a larger group: Cuisinart Coffee-on-Demand (DCC-3000)

The Cuisinart Coffee-on-Demand is the perfect balance between single serve and carafe style. It brews like a drip style coffee but releases the coffee in single serve fashion. It’s a great machine if you have a larger group, especially if people will be drinking coffee at different paces.

If you want simplicity and minimal waste: Hamilton Beach Single Serve


If the wasteful nature of a pod style machine is not your style, the Hamilton Beach Single Serve is our most eco friendly choice. It’s just as easy as any pod-style machine but with less waste and more energy efficiency. This is a simple, compact machine for the environmentally conscious.

5 Things to Look For When Choosing a single serve coffee maker

The Best Single Serve Coffee Maker 1

A single serve coffee machine is designed to brew smaller amounts of coffee for less waste and more instantaneous access to your beverage. There are so many single serve options on the market that it can be hard to know what to look for. No matter what you choose, always keep these features in mind before settling.


Functionality

As a single serve machine, the process should generally be quick and easy. In the world of coffee machines, a little extra involvement can go a really long way in terms of quality, but that doesn’t mean you should have to spend a lot of time fighting the machine. If you are willing to grind beans, froth milk, and learn the different settings on your machine, the results will be much higher quality than one-button-done machines. However, even this extra effort rarely takes longer than a few minutes. If you’re constantly fighting with your coffee machine or expending lots of effort for below average drinks, it could be a reflection of low functionality of your machine. The simpler your tastes, the easier it will be to find a functional machine, but if you like versatility, you shouldn't have to sacrifice that.


Quality 

Quality makes a world of difference when it comes to coffee machines. A high quality coffee machine will often be a little more up front, but will always pay off when the machine is built to last. The modern world pumps out a lot of low bar products that struggle to last a year, and while they may be cheaper, you are ultimately throwing money down the drain. It’s always better to get a higher quality product. Not only will it save you money, it will also produce less waste - and less frustration.

Versatility

Versatility is not as important to everyone. Some people are perfectly happy with a simple cup of coffee, but others want more variety. The good news is that there are tons of machines on the market that are designed to make a variety of drinks from coffee, to espresso, to a multitude to latte and milk-based beverages. Features such as hot water dispensers, milk frothers and brew settings can all make a huge difference in giving you a much greater range of choices.

Eco Friendly 

Thinking about the waste you produce as an individual is so important these days. While throw-away products have given us a lot of convenience, their impact on the environment has proven to be detrimental. When it comes to coffee, there are lots of ways you can reduce waste. Single serve machines can solve problems of coffee waste. Buying pod-free machines or looking for recyclable or reusable pods can also make a huge difference. Machines with automatic shut off features can also go a long way in saving energy, as well as reducing your electricity bill.

Value 

It can be easy to overspend on a coffee machine if you don’t know what you’re looking for. It can be tricky to balance price, quality and functionality, but a little research can go a long way. It’s important to get a coffee machine that is quality made and gives you all the features you need, but a high cost does not always reflect high quality. Premium quality will always cost more, but there is a limit to what household coffee machines can actually produce in terms of quality. You can read more about balancing the cost/quality of common coffee machines here.


The Best Single Serve Coffee Maker
The Best Single Serve Coffee Maker 2

Last Updated: 5/26/19 The Best ​​​​Single Serve Coffee Maker ​Ninja Coffee Bar​​Top Rated Overall​​​ Keurig ​K - Cafe​​Best Bang For Your Buck​​​ ​AdirChef

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