The Best Single Serve Coffee Makers In 2023

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How did people ever manage to make coffee back in the olden days? Well, some used the rough-and-ready, filter-free cowboy method, while others strained their brew through a sock. (A clean one, we hope.) Luckily Mr. Coffee came along some 50 years ago to save us from such horrors, but even this modern marvel left room for improvement. When you brew up a full pot at a time, usually you only get one really good cup out of it, and the rest either gets cold or grows stale and bitter on the warmer. In 1992, however, came the next evolution — some might even say revolution — in coffee brewing: the Keurig single-serve coffee maker!

Keurig is still a dominant brand in single serve brewers, so much so that its name, or at least its initial, has been adopted as part of what is now seen as a fairly generic term: K-cups. In the 30 years since Keurig machines were introduced, however, numerous competitors have entered the arena. Bad news if you're a major Keurig stockholder, perhaps, but good news if you're in the market for a new coffee maker as you now have a wide variety of brands, styles, and price ranges from which to choose. Our list ranges from super high end machines with all the bells and whistles to bargain-priced appliances that will fit even a college student's budget, but each one holds a place among the best single serve coffee makers available today.

Most versatile: Ninja CM401 Specialty Coffee Maker

If you want a coffee maker that can be all things to all coffee drinkers, the Ninja CM401 Specialty Coffee Maker may fill the bill. For starters, it offers a choice of six different sizes, from single cup to extra-large travel mug and even a full carafe. It also lets you dial in your desired brew: the standard-strength classic, the stronger rich, and a coffee concentrate that can be used to make espresso drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, etc. You can even choose an iced coffee setting.

But wait, that's not all! The machine even comes with a built-in milk frother so you can top off your specialty creations in style. If you're not feeling frothy, you can always fold it back out of the way. What we like best about this machine, though, is that you don't need to purchase any pricy pods to use with it. As it brews so many different sizes of coffee, it instead comes with a "Smart Scoop" that helps you measure out the exact amount of ground coffee needed. The scoop even tucks away into its own storage spot on the machine when not in use.

Purchase the Ninja CM401 Specialty Coffee Maker from Amazon starting at $129.99.

Best double-duty coffee machine: Hamilton Beach 2-Way Brewer

If you'd like the flexibility of switching between brewing a single cup and a full pot of coffee, you can always go with two separate coffee makers, but who's got the counter space for that? No matter how large your kitchen, counter space, like cupboard or refrigerator space, is one of those things that is always at a premium. If you don't need a coffee maker that's quite as feature-rich as the Ninja Specialty one but will still save you some valuable countertop real estate, we recommend the Hamilton Beach 2-Way Brewer.

In single serve mode, the Hamilton Beach 2-Way Brewer will work with most mugs, even the tall travel kind. It also comes with a 12-cup glass carafe if you're making coffee for the whole household. You can choose between regular or extra-strong brew strength, and you can program the coffee maker up to 24 hours before you'd like your first cup. This brewer is also pod-free (pods, after all, wouldn't work with the multi-cup setting), so you can use any kind of ground coffee you like. It does come with a reusable filter, but one Amazon customer notes that it can also be used with coffee "pads" (otherwise known as soft pods).

Purchase the Hamilton Beach 2-Way Brewer from Amazon for $74.99.

Best coffee maker with built-in grinder: PowerXL Grind & Go

If you're a true coffee afficionado, you may even like to grind your own beans. Yes, you can purchase a stand-alone grinder, but that's one more gadget cluttering up your countertop. Instead, why not purchase an all-on-one unit that grinds the beans and brews them, too? While there are higher-end machines offering this functionality, we prefer the lower-priced PowerXL Grind & Go since that will leave you with more money to spend on pricey single origin beans.

The PowerXL Grind & Go may be budget-friendly, but it still gets the job done. The unit is fairly compact, too, so it won't take up too much room. You can brew a single cup ranging from 6 ounces all the way up to 16, and you can bypass the grinder if you're in a hurry and want to use pre-ground beans. If you are grinding your own, however, the process couldn't be any simpler as the Grind & Go will automatically begin brewing as soon as the beans are done. If you've never tried grinding your own beans because you thought it would be a hassle, this machine will let you see what all of the fuss is about without having to invest too much time or money.

Purchase the PowerXL Grind & Go from Amazon for $70.

Best high-end luxury machine: Smeg Fully Automatic Coffee Machine

If price is no object and you really want a coffee maker that will do everything but serve your coffee in bed, then you may want to drop the big bucks on a Smeg Fully Automatic Coffee Machine. This machine will grind the beans to your specification, and then automatically brew them into your choice of coffee creations: ristretto (regular or light), espresso (also available in a light version), Americano, long coffee, or just plan coffee. It will also do hot water in case you'd prefer a cup of tea. You don't even have to fill it up with water every single time, since it has a storage tank that holds 47 ounces, which is just shy of 6 cups.

This coffee maker has Smeg's signature retro style, with soft rounded corners, sleek brushed aluminum, and a pop of color in your choice of black, red, taupe, and white. The display is surprisingly uncluttered, too, when you considered how multi-functional this machine is. Smeg's all about the design, though — and is priced accordingly.

Purchase the Smeg Fully Automatic Coffee Machine from Amazon starting at $849.95.

Best machine with reservoir: Cuisinart Coffee Center

If you drink multiple cups of coffee per day, then a single serve coffee maker with a reservoir is nice to have. There's no need to pay big bucks for this feature, either! Not every machine has a water tank since the on-board storage does tend to bulk up an appliance, but if you do have the room for a slightly larger coffee maker, you'll soon come to appreciate the convenience of not having to add water every time you want to brew a cup.

Our pick for a mid-priced coffee machine with a reservoir is the Cuisinart Coffee Center with its generously-sized 72-ounce water tank complete with charcoal filter. You can set it to brew coffee or heat up water for soup, tea, or hot chocolate in sizes ranging from 4 to 12 ounces, and you can take the drip tray out if you need to fit a travel mug under the spout. This machine is K-cup compatible, but you do have the option to purchase it with a refillable filter cup that allows brewing bagged coffee as well.

Purchase the Cuisinart Coffee Center from Amazon starting at $149.95.

Best budget-priced programmable: Wirsh Programmable Single Serve Coffee Maker

A programmable coffee maker is a nice thing to have, particularly if you can't function until you have the day's first cup in hand. Even though the nice thing about most single-serve coffee makers is the fact that they typically don't require too much fiddling, you still have to wait for what seems like an agonizingly long time before your coffee is ready. With a programmable machine, though, you can arrange for a fresh-brewed cup five minutes after your alarm goes off. This is certainly an incentive not to hit snooze, since you wouldn't want the coffee getting cold! While some programmable coffee makers may come in at the higher end of the price spectrum, you can also have this feature on a budget machine such as the Wirsh Programmable Single Serve Coffee Maker..

What we like about the Wirsh, besides the low price tag and the programmability, is the sleek, compact design. While this machine can't be used with K-cups, it does come with its own re-usable coffee filter, which in itself will save you money since bagged coffee is quite a bit cheaper. The Wirsh even comes with a free matching 14-ounce travel mug, although you can certainly brew coffee in smaller cups if you prefer.

Purchase the Wirsh Programmable Single Serve Coffee Maker from Amazon for $26.72.

Best for iced coffee: Keurig K-Supreme

Once the temperatures soar, does your trusty coffee maker suddenly take a back burner, as you find yourself gulping cold drinks instead of hot coffee? What you need is a dual-purpose machine capable of switching from hot coffee to iced with the touch of a button. One such coffeemaker is the Keurig K-Supreme from the original masters of single cup brewing.

The K-Supreme, as its name implies, offers a number of higher-end options, including a 66-ounce water reservoir that can be positioned on either side of the unit for countertop convenience. You can also select your brew size ranging from short (6 ounces) to tall (12 ounces). Brew strength is also customizable, permitting for standard, extra strong, and — the one we're most concerned with here — over ice. What you get, if you choose the iced coffee setting, is 6 ounces of coffee that comes out not quite as hot as usual so it won't melt all the ice at once. Even though the coffee isn't brewed at the maximum temperature, Keurig says their "multi-stream" technology still ensures that every last bit of coffee flavor comes out of the pod.

Purchase the Keurig K-Supreme from Amazon for $139.99.

Cheapest and cutest: Brentwood Appliances TS-112 Single Serve Coffee Maker with Mug

Single-serve coffee makers can be pretty pricy at the higher end, so much so that some buying guides may consider a $50 machine to be a "budget" offering. True bargainistas, though, will keep hunting for an even better deal, and we've found just that in the Brentwood Appliances TS-112. This machine can be had for under $25 for a basic white model, although certain colors like black, red, and blue may run a bit more. You even get a free mug with purchase, too.

For this price, you get a pretty no-frills machine, but it brews a single cup of coffee just the same as the pricier ones do. What's more, the reusable filter basket (this machine doesn't take pods) allows you to add extra ground coffee to make a double-strength brew if that's your pleasure. Our favorite thing about this unit, besides the price, is the fact that it's so darn cute, all rounded and curvy and darn near anthropomorphic in design. We think the white one looks like a friendly ghost, while the black one kind of resembles No-Face from Studio Ghibli's "Spirited Away."

Purchase the Brentwood Appliances TS-112 Single Serve Coffee Maker with Mug from Walmart starting at $21.96.

Best low-tech option: Aeropress Coffee and Espresso Maker

All of the coffee makers on this list so far are, like most kitchen appliances, operated by electricity. Which is all well and good as long as you are a) at home and b) the power is on. If you live in an area where power outages happen on a regular basis, though — either that, or you do a lot of camping or otherwise like to live an off-the-grid lifestyle — you're not necessarily doomed to drinking instant coffee. Okay, you'll still need to find a way to heat the water (sterno stove?), but with the Aeropress you'll have tasty coffee in just about a minute.

The way the Aeropress works is, you put ground coffee in the filter chamber, add hot water, wait for a minute, then hold the whole thing over your cup and gently press on the plunger. In fact, you can even skip the water heating and use the Aeropress to make cold brew, and you can also tinker with the proportion of beans and water to make something espresso-strength.

Purchase the Aeropress Coffee and Espresso Maker from Amazon for $39.95.

Best compact: Keurig K-Mini Plus

If you're living in a tiny apartment with an itsy-bitsy kitchen, you may be wondering where you're going to find even the smallest space to cram in one more appliance. In that case, you're probably looking for a super-compact coffee maker, and the K-Mini Plus was designed with your situation in mind. Not only is this machine one of the smallest that Keurig offers at just 4 ½ inches wide, but it also manages to sneak in enough storage space for nine K-cups. There's even on-board storage for the cord so you can stash it away when the machine's not in use.

The K-Mini Plus, despite its small size, is as feature-rich as many larger Keurigs. It offers adjustable brew size and strength and an auto shut-off feature and is also compatible with the My K-Cup reusable filter. Our favorite part, though, is that the K-Mini comes in a wide range of cute colors: not just black, white, and red (although these are also available), but also grey, pale green, sky blue, and teal.

Purchase the Keurig K Mini Plus from Amazon for $108.99.

Prettiest: Keurig Jonathan Adler K-Mini

Why must kitchen appliances be so boring? A pop of color is nice, but what's even better is a pretty design. You see this in dishware and even pots and pans, but seldom in appliances. With most coffee makers, form not only follows function, but does so at a distance. Designer Jonathan Adler doesn't feel that this has to be the case, however. As he says on his website, "I don't think a coffee routine needs to be ... routine." As he's a big Keurig fan, he decided to create a beautiful brewer for the brand, and he nailed it with a gorgeous geometric blue-and-white design that seems to combine a '60s mod aesthetic with a motif reminiscent of Byzantine mosaics.

The Adler-designed brewer is Keurig's compact K-Mini design, which is similar to the K-Mini Plus, but lacking the cup storage. While it's no longer available directly from Keurig, it is still in stock at Best Buy. Sadly, Best Buy doesn't offer the matching mug and K-cup canister, but even on its own this lovely machine will make you smile every time you brew a cup of coffee.

Purchase the Keurig Jonathan Adler K-Mini from Best Buy for $99.99.