Morning routines can be chaotic and overwhelming. Between making breakfast and ensuring everyone has brushed their teeth, it can be hard to find the time to brew a cup of joe. Pod coffee makers, however, offer a quick and easy solution for busy mornings. With the push of a button, you can have a cup of coffee within minutes. What’s even better? A pod coffee maker doesn’t require a specific measurement of coffee grounds, and there’s no need for coffee filters. Just pop a pod into the top, place your favorite coffee mug under the drip, and you’re ready to go.
This shopping guide will help you navigate the process of finding the best pod coffee maker for your kitchen. Check out the top picks below to get started.
- BEST OVERALL: Keurig K-Supreme Plus Coffee Maker K-Cup Pod Brewer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Hamilton Beach 49974 FlexBrew Coffee Maker
- UPGRADE PICK: Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker, Single-Serve K-Cup Pod
- BEST FOR ICED COFFEE: Keurig K-Elite Coffee Maker K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer
- BEST COMPACT: Nespresso Essenza Mini Original Espresso Machine
- MOST VERSATILE: Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine Bundle
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Pod Coffee Maker
When shopping for a pod coffee maker, consider features like the size of the pods and the size of the machine itself, how much water it can hold, and its brew settings. Keep an eye out for additional features that are especially important to you, such as a milk frother.
Counterspace is a valuable and limited resource in many kitchens. With a toaster, knife block, and fruit basket taking up so much counter space, adding anything else may make it feel cramped and unfeasible for meal prepping and cooking. Measuring how much wiggle room you have and comparing it to the pod coffee makers’ dimensions will help ensure the coffee maker you purchase will fit comfortably.
How much water a pod coffee maker can hold is important. Finding a coffee maker that holds more water will help on those busy mornings: All you have to do is hit a button to go. Some pod coffee makers hold up to 75 ounces of water. That’s approximately 10 cups of coffee, which means it may only need to be refilled once per week.
Pod and Grounds Compatibility
Pod coffee makers are available in a variety of sizes and therefore require different pods, depending on their make (e.g., Keurig, Frigidaire, etc.) and size. Pods typically come in three sizes: 6 ounces, 8 ounces, and 10 ounces. Finding a pod coffee maker that can fit each size will enable you to brew any size cup of coffee.
This rule also applies to pod coffee makers that have the ability to brew loose coffee grounds. While these coffee makers can still function with pods, they can also be used with traditional loose grounds. Again, the size and amount of grounds is an essential factor to note. If the machine is unable to hold 6 ounces of grounds, it’s unlikely it will be able to brew large cups of coffee.
Three types of pods can be used with a pod coffee maker: soft, hard, and capsule. Soft pods come in a pouch, similar to a tea bag. Hard pods are typically used to brew espresso. Capsules are the traditional K-cup–style pod.
Pod coffee makers can do more than make a standard cup of coffee. Many pod coffee makers now have options to create iced coffee, lattes, and cappuccinos. Some of the higher-end options even have a frother to add a special touch to at-home lattes and cappuccinos.
Pod coffee makers also offer size options. For users who’d like to enjoy a small cup in the afternoon, there are coffee machines that offer an 8-ounce cup option. For those who need a hefty morning pick-me-up, there’s an option for a 14-ounce cup.
As mentioned above, some pod coffee makers include unique features such as milk frothers. A milk frother can elevate any regular morning coffee to taste like a barista-crafted beverage. Along with milk frothers, some pod coffee makers offer specialty coffee drink options, which may include lattes, cappuccinos, and iced coffee.
Other special features may include removable drip trays, a self-cleaning option, programmable brew settings, auto shutoff, timers, or an at-home care kit to keep the coffee maker in tip-top shape.
Coffee makers typically live on our countertops where everyone can see them, so it’s nice to have one that not only functions well but also looks fantastic. Although some machines are only available in one color option, many have a least two or three color options to choose from. Look for a pod coffee maker that not only brews the type of coffee you like but also comes in the color that best suits your aesthetic.
Our Top Picks
A freshly-brewed cup of coffee in the morning is a comforting and tasty way to start the day. Using the considerations mentioned above, this list presents the best pod coffee makers available to transform your morning routine from stressful to manageable.
This pod coffee maker by Keurig allows up to three users to program their individual preferences to brew a 4-, 6-, 8-, 10-, or 12-ounce cup of coffee. Its 78-ounce reservoir enables you to make up to nine cups of coffee before having to refill, and it is removable for added convenience. With Keurig’s MultiStream Technology, you can customize your coffee using three strength and three temperature settings to ensure it is to your exact liking.
The digital display screen, with its simple interface, makes brewing quick and easy; you can even brew back-to-back cups with no need to wait for the machine to reheat. This coffee maker comes in a sleek yet versatile stainless steel to suit almost any style of kitchen and measures 16.02 inches by 10.63 inches by 14.33 inches.
This affordable pod coffee maker works with both pods and loose grounds and even includes a pod holder and a grounds basket. It can make up to 10 ounces with a pod and 14 ounces with grounds, making it easy to get a large travel mug ready for long morning commutes.
Measuring 13.35 inches tall, 6.5 inches wide, and 10.2 inches deep, this pod coffee maker by Hamilton Beach fits nicely under cabinets and takes up less space than other coffee makers on this list. The base is adjustable to fit either a mug or travel cup up to 8 inches tall. Brew time is three minutes for this coffee maker; after it’s finished, it will shut itself off to save energy. It comes in black or red.
With just a push of a button, this machine can craft lattes and cappuccinos using any K-Cup pod. It can also brew drip coffee for those who don’t need anything too fancy. There are programmable buttons for four cup sizes, a “strong” button for an extra-strong brew, and two buttons for coffee or lattes and cappuccinos. In addition to making excellent coffee drinks of all kinds, this machine notifies users when it needs to be cleaned and when the 60-ounce water tank is running low.
It also includes a dishwasher-safe milk frother to create creamy drinks. To save on energy, the machine turns off after two hours of inactivity. Note, this might not be a great option if counter space is in short supply, as it stands at 17.32 inches tall, 14.17 inches deep, and 14.41 inches wide.
No matter the time of year, sometimes an iced coffee hits the spot. With this pod coffee maker by Keurig, that craving can be fulfilled. It’s compatible with pods or a reusable coffee filter for loose grounds. For an iced coffee, simply fill a cup with ice, press the “iced” button, and it will automatically brew the coffee with the optimal temperature and strength for a delicious cup of iced coffee. It also has other programmable settings for regular coffee, including temperature control, five cup sizes, auto “on” and “off” settings, and a “strong brew” option.
At 16.5 inches tall when opened, 12.7 inches deep, and 9.9 inches wide, this coffee maker is one of the largest on this list and will need plenty of space on the counter. It holds 75 ounces of water in a removable water tank and comes in three color options: brushed gold, brushed silver, and brushed slate.
For small spaces or to save precious counter real estate, this mini pod coffee maker is only 8.1 inches tall, 12.8 inches deep, and 4.3 inches wide. Its small size does not take away from its powerful capabilities; it still holds half a liter in its water tank. Similar to the larger-size version of this machine, it reads the pod that’s been inserted and customizes its settings, such as temperature, pressure, and coffee size to brew an excellent cup of coffee or espresso.
The design is sleek and the machine comes in three colors, including lime, red, and black. To save on energy, the machine has an auto-shutoff option after nine minutes of inactivity. This pod coffee maker includes a variety of sample pods and an informational booklet.
For a variety of coffee drinks, with just a push of a button, this pod coffee maker by Nestle Nespresso makes espresso drinks as well as coffee. New technology allows this coffee maker to scan the inserted pod and change the brewing setting according to the type of coffee. These setting changes include pressure, temperature, brewing time, and the size of the coffee. Once it’s done, it automatically ejects and stores the used pod so it’s ready for another.
This pod coffee maker is larger than most and stands at 12.2 inches tall, 12.3 inches deep, and 9 inches wide. There’s a color to suit almost any aesthetic with five hues from which to choose: black, red, graphite metal, silver, and titan. The water tank is removable for easy refilling and holds up to 54 ounces. This bundle includes the pod coffee maker, a milk frother, and a Nespresso capsule set.
FAQs About Pod Coffee Makers
After learning about what makes a great pod coffee maker, you may have more questions. Here are the most frequently asked questions with their corresponding answers.
Q. Do coffee pods work in all machines?
No, not all coffee pods work in all machines. Some pod coffee makers only accept a specific type of pod, while others accept a variety of types. Check your specific machine to find out what kind of pods it will work with.
Q. How much coffee is in a pod?
Pods hold roughly 2 tablespoons of coffee.
Q. Are all coffee pods the same size?
All K-Cups are the same size. However, Nespresso has its own pods, and they come in different sizes, depending on the type of coffee.
Q. How often do I need to clean a pod coffee maker?
Many pod coffee makers have a sensor that will tell you when the machine needs to be cleaned. However, weekly cleaning is always a great way to prevent the buildup of scale and debris.
Q. How long does a pod coffee maker last?
If cleaned and cared for properly, a pod coffee maker can last up to five years.