I'm a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Nothing beats the convenience of a single serve coffee maker. Instead of brewing yourself a whole pot, you can make one or two cups without any waste. Plus, it’s much faster than making a whole pot. Single serve coffee machines have vastly improved over the years and many brands have entered the fray.
The market is flooded with single serve coffee machines, so how do you choose the best? Don’t worry. We’ll break it down for you and make sure you get the best one for your needs. We compare design, performance, features, and more to show you which is right for you. If you’re looking for a full pot, then check out our review on the Best Coffee Makers.
Best Overall – Keurig K55 Single Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker
This is our top pick from all the machines we reviewed. Keurig practically invested single-serve coffee machines and this is their most classic model, so it’s no surprise that it’s still a titan in this market. It’s priced well, has a large 48oz water capacity and turns off automatically if it’s not being used. Plus, at under a minute a cup, it’s one of the fastest machines here.
While designed for Keurig specific K-Cup pods, it’s flexible enough to work with other brands as well. You can brew three different sizes: 6oz, 8oz, and 10oz with the simple button interface. There are also sensors for heating, low water level, and descaling.
The K55 is somewhat bulky. It’s 13.3” high and weighs 10.6 pounds. It might feel crowded on a small kitchen counter, but it does have the advantage of being durable and an easily accessible water tank. If you have the space, this could be the best single serve coffee maker for your needs.
We also did a Keurig K-Duo review if you’re interested in carafe brewing.
- Fast brew time
- Works with official K-Cup pods and other brands
- Simple interface
- Body is a little bulky
Mueller Ultima Single Serve Coffee Machine
Looking for the best budget single-cup coffee brewers? The Mueller Ultima provides excellent performance at a reasonable price. It’s streamlined, budget-friendly, and brews a delicious cup of coffee. It lacks some features of more expensive models, but you get all the basics.
It’s lightweight and compact at just 2.2 pounds and 11” tall. Despite being a compact coffee brewer, it has an impressive 48oz water reservoir that’s you easily access from the side. Feel free to use both official K-Cups and other brands. Brew time is about one minute.
The Mueller Ultima can brew four cup sizes: 6oz, 8oz, 10oz, and 12oz. There is a water gauge that shows how much water is left, plus it has an extended two-year warranty. It doesn’t have any other options, but if you just want a cup of coffee without bells and whistles, then the Ultima delivers.
- Fast brewing time
- Lightweight and compact
- Affordable pricing
- Few features or customization options
Programmable Single-Serve Coffee Maker Cuisinart SS-10
This advanced coffee machine has many features and customizations, allowing you to make the perfect cup of coffee. It has a massive 72oz water reservoir and a charcoal filter (for pure water) and five different brew sizes: 4oz, 6oz, 8oz, 10oz, and 12oz. It even comes with a reusable cup so you can use your favorite ground coffee. Or, use K-Cups or any other coffee pods you like.
The SS-10 is more complicated than other machines here, but it also has more features. The digital screen includes a clock for brewing at specific times. It has a button for hot water, self-cleaning feature, and you can change the water temperature.
This machine is somewhat heavy at 9.5 pounds and it will take some time to master the buttons, but it will be worth it as you can make your favorite drinks with ease.
- Variety of features (hot water, adjust temperature, brew time, etc)
- Five brew sizes
- Reusable filter cup, or use your favorite coffee pod
- Interface is somewhat harder to use, but it won’t take long to master
Nespresso Vertuo Coffee Machine, Single-Serve
Nespresso is known as the elegant option. From the rich crema to the deep, rich flavors, the Nespresso Vertuo might be the right coffee machine for you. It’s at a higher price point, but it pulls its weight with many premium features and a sophisticated feel.
Nespresso units use a proprietary centrifusion extraction method. This spins the water 7,000 times per minute. This creates the unique texture the Nespresso Vertuo is known for, but it can only be used with the Nespresso pods. The unit comes with 12 sample pods so you can try the flavors and see which is your favorite.
The machine is close to 11 pounds and brews sizes between 1.35oz to 14oz. Unlike other coffee machines, it will select the best setting for the pod and make adjustments so you have the best coffee, espresso, americano, or whatever other drink you’re making.
If you’re looking for a strong espresso without a whole machine, then the AeroPress Espresso and Coffee Maker.
- Distinct high-end flavor
- Automatically adjusts based on the pod
- Many brew sizes
- You must use Nespresso pods
Hamilton Beach 49981A Single Cup Coffee Machine
This is one of the simplest and most affordable one-cup, and in many ways functions similarly to a regular drip maker. It has a mesh filter for ground coffee and the interface is very simple. You can brew either regular or bold coffee. While it doesn’t allow for much customization, it is the easiest single-serve machine on this list.
It’s also one of the most affordable units, but that does mean some drawbacks. It can brew a 14oz cup in 2.5 minutes. The mesh filter is pretty good, but you may notice some grounds get in your cup. Consider using a paper filter. The reservoir is meant for only one cup, so you’ll have to refill this for every serving.
If price and simplicity are your main concerns, then this machine might be right for you. Otherwise, you may want to try another coffee maker on our list.
- Extremely easy to use
- Very affordable
- Use your favorite coffee grounds
- Only holds enough water for one serving
Single Serve Coffee Maker Buyer’s Guide
Trying to see what separates one high-quality single-serve coffee machine from another? These machines are supposed to be convenient and fast, so you want to prioritize these two features. Here’s a short guide on what you should look for:
- Price: Do you have a tight budget and want the best unit possible, or are you able to spend a little more for the features you want?
- Weight: A heavier unit is fine if the machine remains stationary, but you’ll want a lighter model if portability is a concern.
- Size: Do you have a large kitchen counter, or is space at a premium in your dorm, RV, or kitchen? You’ll also need some extra room to reach the water tank with most units.
- Design: How will the coffee machine look in your kitchen? If you’re into aesthetics, then you’ll want to consider if a sleek and slim model is best, something colorful, or maybe a simple and understated design works best.
- Brewing Time: Are you willing to wait two or more minutes, or do you want your coffee right now?
- Features: Do you want a simple unit, or one that allows you to adjust coffee strength, water temp, cup size, and more?
There’s no one-size-fits-all machine, but these parameters will let you know which is best for your needs. Just keep your needs in mind and you’ll find the right unit for you.
What Single Serve Coffee Maker is the Best?
According to our review, we found the Keurig K55 Classic is one of the best units. It makes coffee in less than a minute, is simple to use, and brews in several different sizes. We think it’s the best overall and would suggest it for your home or office.
Which Single Serve Coffee Maker Makes the Hottest Coffee?
On our list, the Cuisinart SS-10 makes the hottest coffee. It allows you to adjust the temperature to make your coffee either hotter or colder, depending on your preference.
How to Clean Single Serve Coffee Maker?
Cleaning your machine is easy. You’ll need either descaling solution (preferred) or white vinegar. Rinse the reservoir and fill with water and 1Tsp of descaling solution. Run the machine until the entire reservoir is empty. Rinse with soap and water.
How to Use Single Serve Coffee Maker?
This depends largely on your machine, so instructions will differ. In general, you will place a pod or ground coffee into the machine. Check to see if your water reservoir is full. Place a mug under the drip and press the button to start brewing. These machines are very simple and intuitive.
There are many great single serve makers out there, but we found that the Keurig K55 Classic is among the best out there. If you’re looking for something almost as good but a little more affordable, then the Mueller Ultima is definitely the runner up. Just keep your priorities in mind and you’ll easily pick the right unit for your needs.