What are the Best Single-Serve Coffee Makers?
A single-serve coffee maker is the best option if you want a quick and convenient coffee for one. These machines can be manual or automatic and brew with freshly ground coffee, capsules, or coffee pods. Yet, they all have one thing in common: making a single cup of coffee at a time.
How do you know which one is right for you with so many options? This guide explains what to look for when buying a single-cup coffee maker. Below are the best single-serve coffee maker brands on the market.
What is the best single serve coffee maker for 2023?
Homegrounds is here to help you choose the best of the best single-serve coffee makers in Canada right now. Whether you’re looking for delicious coffee in a hurry or want the best price, we have an option for you.
1. Keurig K-Elite – Best Overall
Keurig coffee makers are the most popular single-serve option in Canada, with Keurig accounting for nearly 30% of all coffee machines sold in the country. Unlike other pod machines that make espresso-style coffee, K-Cup coffee makers brew single cups of drip coffee.
Keurig introduced the Keurig K-Elite as an upgrade to the K7575. K-Elite is now one of the best-selling single-serve coffee makers on the market. It offers greater versatility than many other Keurig machines, with the option to adjust the brew temperature, cup size, and brew strength.
The K-Elite also has settings for iced coffee and high elevation brewing.
The K-Elite has many features for added user-friendliness, including a hot water button for making tea or hot chocolate, a maintenance reminder alert, quiet brew technology, a removable drip tray, and a large 2.2 litre capacity water reservoir. It’s made from plastic but has a brushed metal finish.
The Homegrounds team doesn’t like this machine’s environmental impact of using K-Cups. However, you can opt for a reusable My K-Cup to avoid waste. It’s also larger and heavier than other single-serve coffee machines, so it’s not great if you have limited counter space. Despite all this, K-Elite will be the best personal coffee maker for most people.
For more information, check out our full review of the Keurig K-Elite.
2. Nespresso Pixie – Best Pod Machine
Nespresso was the first to introduce capsules to replicate espresso-style coffee at home with incredible convenience. Thus, Nespresso coffee machines are the best-known single-serve coffee makers. The Pixie is one of Nespresso’s most popular single-serve machines due to its compact design and fast brewing speed.
Pixie features a thermoblock heating system that provides a 25-30 second heat-up time and a 25-second brewing time for single espresso shots. The 19-bar pump ensures high-pressure extraction for a rich-tasting espresso and even a layer of crema.
…as smaller machines go, the Pixie pumps out surprisingly tasty and well-structured shots of espresso.
It has a 700 ml capacity water reservoir, which might seem small, but it’s enough to make 17 espressos without refilling. Although this personal coffee maker is mainly plastic, it has added sturdiness from the aluminium siding, which is made from recycled Nespresso capsules.
This is not the best single-serve pod coffee maker if you like milk drinks or want to customize your coffee. The only option for adjustments you have is to change the preset water volume of the espresso or lungo – there’s no choice for a double espresso.
For more information, check out our full Nespresso Pixie review.
3. Cuisinart SS-10 – Best Keurig Alternative
The Cuisinart brand has a long history of making kitchen appliances, but this is one of its few forays into the world of single-serve coffee machines. It’s compatible with K-Cups and ground coffee, making it a strong competitor for Keurig machines.
A Cuisinart single-serve coffee machine is an excellent choice for anyone who wants the flexibility of using K-Cups and your favourite ground coffee. It also offers good versatility for coffee brewing, options for five different cup sizes, and adjustable brewing temperature for hot coffee.
The Cuisinart SS-10 features a 2.1 litre water reservoir, second only to the Keurig K-Elite. It also features a programmable start time, a hot water button, a rinse function, and a built-in storage container for the ground coffee filter basket. It has an all-plastic construction with a stainless steel finish.
The downside to the Cuisinart SS-10 is that it doesn’t brew as fast as other coffee makers on our list. Some customers also find that the machine doesn’t puncture the K-Cups properly.
4. Ninja CM401 Specialty Coffee Maker – Best for Lattes and Cappuccinos
Ninja is an American brand well known for its dual coffee machines. These machines are single serve and pot coffee makers, landing Ninja a spot on our list of the best electric coffee makers.
The Ninja CM401 is the best one-cup coffee maker for anyone who wants to make a wide variety of coffees, including cafe-style specialty drinks. You can choose brew styles, including Classic, Rich, Over Ice, or Specialty Brew, an espresso-style coffee you can use in combination with the built-in milk frother. It’s even been certified by the Specialty Coffee Association.
Features of the machine include six brew sizes: single cup, mug, travel mug, large travel mug, half carafe, and full carafe. It has a removable 1.2 litre water reservoir and a 1.5 litre glass carafe. The machine has plastic, stainless steel, and glass components.
The payoff to all this flexibility is that the Ninja Specialty Coffee maker doesn’t have the compact size and ease of use that make single-cup coffee makers so convenient. And while it does froth hot or cold milk, it doesn’t heat milk.
5. AdirChef Grab N’ Go Personal Coffee Maker – Best for Road Trips
AdirChef isn’t a big name in the coffee industry, but its Grab N’ Go Personal Coffee Maker is the best single-serve drip coffee maker for travel. It has the convenience of an automatic machine, but it’s small enough to pack in your suitcase.
AdirChef coffee maker features an insulated travel mug that fits the direct brewing machine. The travel mug is dishwasher safe and tapered to fit most car cup holders. The machine will automatically shut off after the brew cycle to save power. You don’t have any brew settings to customize your coffee, but this makes the machine much more straightforward to use.
The downside to this single-serve coffee machine is that it has a small 415 m water reservoir, and the plastic construction isn’t as durable as other machines. Some customers say that it doesn’t work as well with regular cups as with the included travel mug.
6. Aeropress Coffee Maker – Best for Camping
The introduction of the Aeropress brewing system took the coffee world by storm in 2005. It was designed by the head of a frisbee company who wanted to engineer the perfect cup of joe.
AeroPress is a trendy coffee maker due to its portability, ease of use, and the high-quality coffee that it produces. It doesn’t require electricity as a manual coffee maker, so it’s an excellent choice for camping. It’s also one of the only single-serve coffee makers made in the USA.
The AeroPress consists of just three parts: a brew chamber, plunger, and filter cup, all made from BPA plastic. It’s a simple piece of equipment but can be versatile depending on how you use it – with recipes for everything from French press style coffee to concentrated coffee like espresso.
The downside to the AeroPress is that you’ll need a way to heat water, and you’ll also need to buy AeroPress paper coffee filters or a reusable metal filter.
Read our full AeroPress review to find out if this coffee maker is right for you.
7. BLACK+DECKER Single Serve Coffeemaker – Best Value for Money
Black+Decker patented the first portable power tool back in 1910 but has since made all kinds of appliances, including coffee makers. This is one of the brand’s most inexpensive single-serve coffee makers. This coffee maker’s price falls below $50, making it an excellent choice for anyone on a budget.
The Black+Decker Single Serve Coffeemaker is not only affordably priced, but it’s also easy to use and very compact. It’s one of the best small coffee makers in the market and it’s an excellent choice for small spaces like a dorm room. It’s the only individual coffee maker on our list to use ESE pods, an environmentally friendly alternative to coffee capsules.
The machine features one-touch brewing, automatic shut-off, and a stainless steel travel mug that you can place in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
The downside here is that the small footprint also means a small capacity, with a water reservoir of just 475 ml. You also have no option to adjust your brew.
8. Coffee Gator Pour Over Brewer Travel Mug – Best All-In-One
Coffee Gator is an American brand that offers a wide range of brewing equipment. That includes French presses, kettles, coffee scales, and cold brew coffee makers.
This Coffee Gator single-serve coffee maker is incredibly convenient for making hot coffee the go, with both the pour-over brewer and the travel mug included. Coffee Gator products are durable construction backed by excellent customer service.
It features a stainless steel filter mesh to reduce wastage, though you can add a paper filter if you prefer a cleaner cup of coffee. The stainless steel travel mug features vacuum insulation to keep your coffee hot for up to 6 hours or keep cold drinks cool for up to 20 hours.
The downside here is that pour-over brewing takes a little more technique than other coffee makers, and you’ll also need a way to heat water.
9. Primula Single Serve Coffee Brew Buddy – Budget Pick
The Primula brand produces a vast range of products for coffee, tea, and serving, but it’s the Brew Buddy single-serve coffee maker that’s become a favourite travel coffee brewer. It’s not only highly portable and lightweight, but it’s also the cheapest single-serve machine on our list.
The Primula Brew Buddy consists of a wide plastic rim that sits on the rim of your cup, with a fine polyester mesh filter. It’s effortless to use; you add your coffee grounds to the filter, then fill the cup with hot water.
Primula advertises Brew Buddy as a pour-over brewer, but the filter sits inside the cup, making this more of an immersion brewing method.
The downside to the Brew Buddy is that you have very little control over the brewing process, and it also doesn’t produce as strong a flavour as you would get from a proper pour-over coffee maker.
10. The Hamilton Beach 49981 Scoop – Best for Ground Coffee
The Hamilton Beach brand is well known for its affordable kitchen appliances. These include a wide range of coffee makers, and the Scoop SingleServe Coffee Maker is among its best sellers.
Hamilton Beach Scoop is a good choice for making coffee on busy mornings, as the coffee maker brews directly into a travel mug for coffee on the go. It brews a 415 ml travel mug in 2.5 minutes or a regular 240 ml cup in 1.5 minutes.
The Hamilton Beach Single Serve Coffee Maker features a removable filter basket, so you can measure your coffee grounds directly into the basket and insert them into the machine. You have the option of regular or bold coffee, with the bold brew setting recommended for finer grinds of coffee. You can adjust the drip tray to accommodate travel mugs as well as regular cups. It has a stainless steel construction with a few plastic parts, making it a great value.
The downside to this coffee maker is that it’s not as fast as a machine that uses capsules. Some users say it can leak if overfilled.
What Should You Think About Before Buying a Coffee Maker?
The things you should consider when buying any kind of coffee maker are:
- Lifespan – a coffee maker is an investment and you want to ensure it’s durable enough to last for many years.
- Brewing method – does the coffee maker brew the kind of coffee you like to drink?
- Capacity – the machine’s capacity determines how much coffee it can brew at a time and how often you need to refill it, but large capacity coffee makers also take up more space.
- Milk frothing – if you like to drink lattes or cappuccinos, you’ll either need a machine that froths milk, or factor in the price for a standalone milk frother.
- Budget – the price of coffee makers varies significantly, and more expensive doesn’t always mean better.
What is a single-serve coffee maker?
A single-serve coffee maker is designed to make a single cup of coffee at a time, rather than multiple cups or a carafe of coffee. There are different single-serve coffee makers, including pod machines, single-serve drip brewers, and manual coffee makers.
The benefit of using a single-serve coffee maker is that it’s much quicker than waiting for an entire pot of coffee to brew, and they also tend to be much smaller machines. Single-serve coffee makers that use pods or capsules are also very convenient, with no need to grind coffee or clean a filter basket, and there’s no brewing knowledge required.
The price of a single-serve coffee maker can vary greatly, with some manual coffee makers costing less than $10, while the price of automatic pod machines can cost more than $200.
What are the advantages of single-serve coffee makers?
When you compare single serve coffee makers vs. regular coffee makers, single-serve coffee makers have advantages, including:
- Fresh coffee – unlike with drip coffee makers, the coffee brewed does not sit on a hot plate for long periods.
- Convenience – single-serve coffee makers that use pods don’t require you to grind or measure your coffee.
- Compact size – most single-serve coffee makers have a smaller footprint than a regular coffee maker.
- Fast brew time – some single-serve coffee makers can brew coffee in less than 30 seconds.
What are the disadvantages of single-serve coffee makers?
Single-serve coffee makers do have their disadvantages, including:
- Coffee pod commitment – if you choose a coffee maker that uses pods, you’ll be limited to the pods that fit that machine.
- Limited brewing capacity – unless you buy a dual coffee maker, you won’t be able to make large batches of coffee.
- Added cost – buying coffee capsules is pricier than ground coffee.
Environmental impact – coffee capsules, K-Cup pods, in particular, result in more waste than ground coffee.
In 2014, enough K-Cups were sold that if placed end-to-end, they would circle the globe 10.5 times. Almost all of them ended up in landfills.
Many disadvantages of single-serve machines are related to single-use capsules rather than the machines themselves. You can avoid this if you opt for a reusable coffee capsule or K-Cup pod, though you will miss out on the convenience that these machines are designed for.
This list showed how varied and versatile single-serve coffee makers can be. The best single serve coffee maker for you will depend on your exact needs and budget, but the Homegrounds team likes the Keurig K-Elite. Its user-friendliness, fast brew speed, and customization options all add to being our pick for the best single-serve coffee maker.
If a single-serve coffee maker isn’t right for you, there are plenty of other options for you to choose from.
The other types of coffee makers are:
drip coffee maker,
pour over coffee makers,
stovetop espresso maker,
cold brew coffee maker.
If you need some help deciding, check out our guide to the best coffee makers of all types.
No, you can’t use K-cups in a Nespresso machine, or vice versa. First of all, the pods are of different sizes and shapes, so you probably won’t be able to make them fit. More importantly, Keurig and Nespresso machines use different brewing methods so that you won’t get the desired result.
Yes, Keurig machines work with ground coffee if you have a reusable K-Cup pod. You can fill these functions like a regular K-Cup, but with the coffee grounds of your choice. They’re a great idea if you want to save money or reduce your environmental impact, but they’re not as convenient as regular K-Cup pods.
- Linshi, J. (2014, June 23). Here’s What You Need to Know About the War on K-Cups. Retrieved from https://time.com/2913062/k-cups-war/
- Hunt, K. (2018, July 17). 4 Eco-Friendly K-Cups You Can Swap Into Your Keurig. Retrieved from https://www.greenmatters.com/home/2018/07/17/Zcy0TY/eco-friendly-reusable-keurig-k-cups
- Tark, S. (2019, April 17). How to Store Roasted Coffee & Prolong Its Freshness. Retrieved from https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2019/04/how-to-store-roasted-coffee-prolong-its-freshness/