The 9 Best Single Serve Coffee Makers Of 2019 

Brewing a steaming pot of java to sip slowly over the course of a lazy Sunday is one of life’s great pleasures. But downing a quick cup to start a hectic workday morning is an equally vital activity.

Here’s 2019s best single-serve coffee makers, so you can get that caffeine in your bloodstream swiftly and efficiently without sacrificing great coffee.

TOP PICK: Keurig K55 Coffee Machine

Keurig Coffee Machine

The Keurig K55 Single Serve K-Cup Coffee Machine is well-known as a bestseller for convenient, quality coffee. And since the introduction of the reusable My K-Cup capsules, the environmental impact of Keurig’s machines is no longer as big of an issue.

At a reasonable price, this machine gives a consistent and reliable cup for home baristas who need a quick cup in the morning.

What To Consider Before You Buy A Single Cup Coffee Maker

guide in buying the best single serve coffee maker

Electric Or Gravity-Powered?

Single cup coffee brewers can be broadly divided into two categories: electric machines, and gravity-powered options that allow time or air pressure to percolate your grounds and aid extraction. We’re still talking fairly quick and convenient coffee options – if you’d rather take a little more time and care, check out the Best Drip Coffee Makers of 2018.

The best single serve coffee maker for you depends on your needs.

  • For the easiest machines to operate, even in that early morning fog, go electric
  • For travel or camping trips and with no risk of breakdown, go for gravity-powered
  • For a machine that will heat the water for you, go for electric. This may seem obvious, but if you’re going with one of the gravity and pressure-powered options, you’ll need a way to heat the water.

To K-Cup Or Not To K-Cup?

Keurig’s introduction of the K-Cup, and subsequent imitations, revolutionized the single cup coffee game in both positive and negative ways.

The Pros of K-Cups and pods:

  • Consistent brewing with no room for error – the same coffee-to-water ratio, the same water temperature, the same brew time, every time
  • Convenient setup for the perfect cup – no grinding or pouring
  • Variety of flavors – have a hazelnut latte one day and a minty hot cocoa the next, without buying a collection of syrups and creamers

The Cons of K-Cups and pods:

  • K-Cups contain pre-ground coffee, which you already know just doesn’t give you as good of a brew as whole beans, and the coffee they use may not be the same quality that you’d choose when picking your own coffee beans.
  • K-Cups and pods have a large environmental cost – more on this below
  • They’re single-serve (duh).
  • Higher cost-per-cup than most other brewing methods – K-Cups often cost around $27 per pound of coffee, much more than you’d pay for the same quality of coffee as whole beans or grounds.
    • How did we get this figure? Math. A pack of 24 K-Cups pack costs around $16, each K-Cup contains an average of 11 grams of coffee. That’s 264 grams of coffee, which works out to $27.50/pound.

A great alternative to K-Cups or pods that works in some of the best single serve coffee machines is a refillable insert like the My K-Cup – they allow you to fill your own capsule with the coffee and grind of your choice.

Many of the companies producing capsule machines are also at work on research to address their environmental issues. Also, Keurig has recently introduced some recyclable capsules.

What About the Environmental Cost of K-Cups?

One serious count against most capsules and pods is that they are neither recyclable nor biodegradable, sending millions of the disposable plastic cups to the landfill.

Environmental sustainability is a crucial factor for any coffee connoisseur to consider, whether it’s fair trade, shade-grown coffee or the waste generated by to-go cups from most coffee shops.

The environmental impact of K-Cups is only going to increase, as sales of Keurigs and other capsule machines are growing multiple times faster than traditional coffee machines.

The simplest solution is to use My K-Cup-style reusable capsules (third party options such as the Ekobrew work great as well). No more waste, and you can use any coffee you like – ground how you like and as fresh as you like.

The cost for one of these starts at less than $7 and the “investment” more than pays for itself when you consider how much money you’ll save by using fresh coffee over capsules.

Coffee Pods Vs. Coffee Capsules

Though many reviewers and some brands use the terms pod and capsule interchangeably, they in fact refer to two distinct coffee grounds containers.

Capsules are the small plastic cups favoured by Keurig and Nespresso, among others. When slotted into a machine, the machine pierces them before running hot pressurized hot water through the capsule.

Different Colors of Coffee Capsules

Coffee capsules

Capsules are convenient and they are sealed, meaning their contents stay a little fresher over long periods of time – if you are a sporadic coffee drinker, choose capsules.

Coffee pods

Pods are round bags of coffee that look a lot like large tea bags. They are more often biodegradable and come in a standard size that allows them to be used with a variety of machines. However, because they contain coffee grounds that are exposed to the air and contaminants, they will lose their flavor faster than capsules.


The Best Single Serve Coffee Makers Of 2019

Now that we've given you some points on what to consider when buying single-serve coffee makers, here are our top choices:

IMAGE PRODUCT FEATURES
hg-table__image Keurig K55
    Brews consistently good coffee from capsules – the Amazon bestseller option.
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hg-table__image Nespresso Pixie
    Extracts great coffee from Nespresso capsules using a high-pressure pump. Customize the strength and volume of the brew.
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hg-table__image Ninja Coffee Bar Single-Serve System
    Gets you any hot or cold beverage, capsule-free and customized – it’s even got a milk frother.
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hg-table__image AdirChef Grab N' Go
    Tiny and light, serves up the cup you need, anywhere you take it (includes a stainless-steel travel mug).
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hg-table__image Aeropress
    Known for the incredible flavor of the coffee, it’s simple and fast, once you figure it out (no electricity). Take this baby on the road!
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hg-table__image Oomph Coffee Maker
    Brews great tasting coffee using gravity and pressure, all in a container that also serves as a travel mug – take it anywhere.
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hg-table__image Coffee Gator
    Gets you pour over coffee on the go in a well-insulated travel mug that’ll stay hot for hours.
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hg-table__image Primula Single Serve Coffee Brew Buddy
    Affordable, simple, invincible, reliable – filtered coffee just the way you like it.
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hg-table__image Cuisinart Single Serve Coffee Brewing System
    Fully programmable with an easy-to-read LCD screen – this just might be the cadillac of them all.
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Keurig K-cup coffee maker

Keurig’s flagship machine, now updated from the original, continues to be an Amazon number one best seller. The K55 is their mid-level model and it offers everything the home or office brewer could want at a very reasonable mid-level price.

The 48-ounce water reservoir can brew up to 6 cups before needing a refill, getting you through the work week and increasing efficiency on those hectic mornings.

PROS

  • A proven track record – it’s been an Amazon Number One Best Seller for multiple years running
  • Convenient, consistent, and reliable for busy mornings

CONS

  • Requires K-Cup capsules (can be expensive and most aren’t recyclable)
  • Requires periodic deep cleaning and descaling to avoid breakdowns
  • Stays powered on for a long time while idle
BEST FOR: The home barista looking for a consistent and fast cup.

The Specs:

  • Coffee maker type: Electric – K-Cup, My K-Cup
  • Known for: These are the folks who started it all
  • Price: $$

Nespresso Pixie

The Nespresso Pixie is a higher-end model that produces a barista-style result thanks to a high-pressure pump that fully extracts the full flavor of the coffee beans. 

What else do you get for the extra investment? A machine that can be programmed to dispense just the strength and volume of coffee you want – if you just can’t make it to your local barista and you’re willing to compromise for a fast, simple alternative, this is your best bet.

PROS

  • High-pressure pump (19-bar) yields barista-style results
  • Heats water to temperature extremely fast – in only 25 seconds
  • Programmable so you can get exactly the strength and size of coffee you want
  • Shuts off after 9 minutes to minimize energy use

CONS

  • Requires Nespresso capsules
  • Coffee choice restricted to the capsules available
  • Relatively expensive
Best for: The coffee lover who just doesn’t have the time (or money) for a home espresso machine, but wishes that they did.

The Specs:

  • Coffee maker type: Electric – Nespresso capsules
  • Known for: High-pressure extraction – the simplest espresso-esque setup
  • Price: $$$

Ninja Coffee Bar Single Serve Coffee Maker

The Ninja Coffee Bar is a capsule-free system that caters to those looking for more than just a simple cup.

This little powerhouse offers all the tools needed to craft hot or cold espresso beverages with a built-in frother and custom brew sizes and styles.

By opting out of the capsule systems, Ninja Coffee Bar users gain the flexibility to customize your beverage by using any coffee brand, quantity, and grind.

PROS

  • Can craft any beverage (hot or cold, black or with milk and foam)
  • Capsule-free for the greatest flexibility, higher quality coffee (should you so choose) and a smaller environmental impact
  • Four custom brew sizes including a new XL

CONS

  • A lot of plastic used in construction means less durability
  • Relatively expensive
Best for: The coffee (or tea!) enthusiast who wants a little variety in their beverages but doesn’t like the idea of capsules.

The Specs:

  • Coffee maker type: Electric – capsule-free
  • Known for: Hot and cold drinks of all kinds
  • Price: $$$

AdirChef Grab n Go Coffee Maker

The AdirChef Grab N’ Go Coffee Maker is a simple coffee-delivery system with a tiny footprint. It’s perfect for tight kitchens with limited counter space or office cubicles.

Though simple, this one is well-built and well-designed. It won’t break on you, and neither will the included stainless-steel travel mug – this brewer is very affordable and will work for years.

As with the Ninja, this capsule-less system offers the user complete freedom when it comes to selecting beans and grind. The built-in filter is a boon to both the environment and your wallet – no buying filters or throwing out used ones.

Also – I can’t believe we almost forgot this – the components can be washed in the dishwasher.

PROS

  • Tiny and light enough to be easily portable
  • Comes with a stainless-steel travel mug
  • A permanent filter means less waste
  • Simple design and durable materials mean fewer problems than most electric brewers
  • The parts are dishwasher-safe!

CONS

  • Works best with accompanying 15-oz. travel mug (though others fit just fine)
  • Not as good for brewing other beverages
Best for: The minimalist – on the road, in the office or at home, you keep it real simple but like your coffee fresh.

 The Specs:

  • Coffee maker type: Electric – capsule-free, portable
  • Known for: Lightweight and easy to clean
  • Price: $

Aeropress

The introduction of the Aeropress took the coffee world by storm in 2005, thanks to the remarkable quality and flavor of coffee being extracted.

It was designed by the head of a frisbee company who wanted to engineer the perfect cup of coffee (no, really!). Its simple design belies the complex nuances of flavor achieved.

But don’t be intimidated. It operates much like a French press – pour hot water over grounds and then push the coffee through a microfilter. Unlike a French press, however, the microfilter ensures there are no gritty remnants in your cup, or in the press. Clean up is quick and easy.

The Aeropress is great for travel, and has found a particular fanbase among campers and backpackers.It requires no electricity, brews a cup in only a minute, packs down smaller than a travel mug, and is durable enough to survive being crammed in the bottom of a backpack.

Oh, and there are a world of Aeropress recipes and hacks to explore when you’ve got the time.

Convinced that you should at least try one of these? No? 

Well they’re only around $30, so buy one for someone as a present and kindly offer to help them learn how to use it. We won’t spill the beans on your scheme.

To see what it looks like in action, check out this video from Stumptown Coffee Roasters (yeah, this is the 5 minute explanation, but it’s worth it and we like it):

PROS

  • Known for the incredible flavor of resultant brewed coffee
  • Simple design and no electricity required
  • Only takes one minute to brew a cup
  • A favorite among campers and backpackers as it is light and portable
  • Microfiltration means no grit in your cup

CONS

  • Requires the purchase of paper filters unless you buy a reusable stainless steel filter
  • Numerous parts – that can be lost
  • Requires a bit more effort than other models on the list
    It looks like an oversized plastic syringe...
Best for: The budding barista champion who still needs an efficient, no-mess option for amazing coffee – anywhere.

The Specs:

  • Coffee maker type: Gravity (and pressure)-powered – capsule-free
  • Known for: Barista championship-winning coffee brewer that looks like a big plastic syringe.
  • Price: $ (!!)

Oomph coffee maker

The Oomph coffee brewer is a bit like the younger cousin of the Aeropress. It makes rich, high-quality coffee using a combination of steeping and hand pressure, and it’s amazingly convenient, especially if you’re on-the-go or travelling.

It’s much like the Aeropress, but with some key differences. Rather than having a bunch of parts to keep track of, the Oomph gives you everything in one container - from brewing to drinking. The Oomph uses gravity for the first part of the extraction process, while the Aeropress allows the coffee to steep.

The Oomph also might be a little more stylish – though the Aeropress is better-known and has won some barista championships, some say it looks clunky. Debate as you will. We’ll be here, drinking great coffee from both of them.

PROS

  • The Oomph uses a built-in stainless steel filter – nothing to buy or throw out (except your used grounds)
  • All in one brewing and drinking - you don’t need to pour into a decanter or a mug.The brew is very consistent
  • Adjust the brew strength and extraction until the coffee is just the way you like

CONS

  • Offers maximum convenience only if you use the brewer as a mug
  • You can only buy it from their website, which ships from the UK. (shipping cost is reasonable, though)
Best for: The on-the-go barista who needs a no-fuss, amazingly compact option for awesome coffee.

The Specs:

  • Coffee maker type: Gravity (and pressure)-powered – capsule-free
  • Known for: Ultra-portable filtered coffee – brew and drink from the same container (or not)
  • Price: $

#7 - The Coffee Gator

Coffee Gator

If the Oomph is a portable coffee brewer that hints at a pour over, the Coffee Gator takes it all the way. It’s a coffee mug and brewer in one – take off the lid, throw on the pourover filter, and you’re brewing.

The filter is stainless steel mesh, so there’s no need for any paper waste, and it makes a great, clean cup of coffee.

If you need pour over on the road, we’d recommend grabbing the Coffee Gator – it’s a sturdy, all-in-one system.

PROS

  • Pour over quality coffee
  • Stainless steel reusable filter
  • Mug keeps coffee hot for hours

CONS

  • Takes some pour over technique to brew well
  • You may prefer the quality of coffee brewed with other pour over methods, some of which are arguably just as portable
Best for: The pour-over coffee lover who wants a simple single serve setup to take on the road.

The Specs:

  • Coffee maker type: Gravity (and pressure)-powered – capsule-free
  • Known for: Quality drip coffee in a great travel mug
  • Price: $

Primula Brew Buddy

The cheapest, smallest, lightest, and easiest brewer on this list is Primula’s Brew Buddy.

Essentially a pour-over method with a reusable filter, the Brew Buddy is an eco-friendly option for the traveling coffee fanatic.

It is small enough to fit in your pocket and will never break. Its near-universal design means it works with almost any coffee cup.

Its simplicity allows for limitless flexibility in choice of beans, size of grind, and quantity of water so you can have your coffee just how you like it.

PROS

  • Very inexpensive
  • Small, light and easily portable
  • Will not break
  • Simple to use
  • Does not require the purchase of filters or capsules

CONS

  • Only makes drip style coffee, no espresso
  • Limited functionality
Best for: The coffee connoisseur who’s on the move and on a budget. 

The Specs:

  • Coffee maker type: Gravity (and pressure)-powered – capsule-free
  • Known for: Lightweight, tiny and pretty much invincible. Never be without great coffee.
  • Price: $

Cuisinart Single Serve Coffee Maker

The Cuisinart SS-780 is the most expensive brewer on the list, but also offers the greatest variety of features and the most automation and options to program in your preferences.

It also offers the largest water reservoir meaning fewer refills for a more efficient morning.

This brewer uses K-Cups or My K-Cups.

This machine even has a hot water tap which delivers boiling water on demand for hot chocolate, tea or instant soup.

While the most expensive on this list, $200 is still a very reasonable price for such an advanced machine.

PROS

  • Fully programmable with an easy-to-read LCD screen
  • Largest water reservoir of any brewer on the list means only refilling every ten cups
  • A hot water tap delivers boiling water on demand

CONS

  • Requires the purchase of K-Cups, or can be used with the My K-Cup
  • The most expensive brewer on the list
Best for: The home barista who’s responsible for supplying family and friends with quality coffee during those hectic mornings (seriously, they should tip you for it).

The Specs:

  • Coffee maker type: Electric – K-Cups, pods or neither
  • Known for: Having all the features you need to churn out great coffee every A.M.
  • Price: $$$

THE VERDICT: What’s The Best Single Cup Coffee Maker For You?

Any one of these great products could fulfill the needs of an average home brewer as each delivers a great cup of coffee, but the overall best single serve coffee maker can be no other than the Keurig K55.

Keurig K-cup coffee maker

This grandfather of the single-cup industry has been a consistent best seller from the outset for a good reason.

Unless you’re looking for a brewer to take off the grid, this trusty machine does it all but doesn’t break the bank.

Purchase a library of K-Cups to maximize convenience, or invest in a My K-Cup to minimize environmental footprint. Either way, this reliable brewer is one of the best single serve coffee makers.