Which pod coffee maker is best?
Pod coffee makers are the perfect solution for when you want a single fresh cup of coffee without the hassle of brewing an entire pot. Whether it’s just for you, a household of picky coffee drinkers or an office full of employees, pod coffee machines offer various coffee drinks and settings customized to each individual.
The best pod coffee maker will help you brew a consistent cup of coffee each time you use it. Depending on the pod coffee maker’s settings, you may be able to select automatic brew settings so you can wake up to the smell of coffee.
What to know before you buy a pod coffee maker
The reservoir is the container in the coffee machine that stores water before you’re ready to brew. The amount of water a reservoir can hold varies by model. Some devices may require you to add fresh water each time you brew a cup of coffee, while others may have large reservoir attachments. The larger the reservoir, the more cups of coffee you can brew without refilling the water, which can be convenient for households with multiple coffee drinkers. While larger reservoirs can store 70 ounces of water or more, they can be bulky to carry to and from your sink to refill.
Different types of coffee makers are compatible with different kinds of coffee pods. K-cups are Keurig’s brand of pods, and some coffee makers only take those. They’re generally plastic cylinders with a foil lid. Other coffee makers can take both K-cups and regular pods, which are traditional round mesh bags of coffee commonly seen in hotel rooms. A third option on the market is a reusable pod, where a plastic or metal filter holds coffee grounds, and you can wash the pod after each use. Some coffee makers are compatible with all three types of coffee containers.
While K-cups produce the most waste, they’re by far the most popular with the widest variety of flavors, roasts and blends. If you grind your beans at home, you’ll want a machine that accepts reusable pods so you can use your own coffee grounds. Be sure to check which coffee maker is compatible with your favorite coffees before you buy.
Some pod coffee makers have a water filter as an extra feature. Before brewing the coffee, the machine filters the water you put in the reservoir. Coffee enthusiasts know that the mineral levels in tap water can alter the taste of brewed coffee, so filtering the water is another crucial variable to making an exquisite cup.
What to look for in a quality pod coffee maker
Most pod coffee makers offer multiple ways to brew a cup of coffee. Selecting a cup size determines the amount of water the coffee machine will use. In addition to the typical 8-ounce cup of coffee, many coffee makers offer 4-, 6-, 10- or 12-ounce options. Brew strength is another common feature, allowing you to adjust the strength of your coffee with a dial or button.
Waking up to freshly brewed coffee is even easier with automatic settings. Some coffee makers let you set a specific time of day to brew coffee, so a fresh cup can be ready for you when you need it most. An automatic on/off setting allows you to save energy by not heating water until someone is making coffee. It also lets you save time by heating water before you want to brew, so you don’t have to wait for it to heat up first.
The brewing settings on each pod coffee maker are either buttons or a touchscreen interface. Touchscreens are generally easier to use when programming multiple steps. However, they tend to be more expensive and cumbersome if you only want a standard cup of coffee. Button settings are more straightforward while offering fewer options, but they’re common on more affordable coffee machines.
Pod coffee makers come in many shapes and sizes, so you can undoubtedly find one that fits well in your kitchen. Varying heights mean that some coffee machines fit better under cabinets. Some have extra features like pull-out drawers or larger reservoirs that need to fit the depth of your countertop.
How much you can expect to spend on a pod coffee maker
Most pod coffee makers cost $50-$100. Inexpensive pod coffee makers are available for around $25, while expensive ones with extra features can reach upwards of $300.
Pod coffee maker FAQ
Can you brew a whole pot of coffee with a pod coffee maker?
A. Technically, yes, but brewing a whole pot of coffee with a machine built to brew individual servings would take a lot of time and a lot of pods. These coffee machines are better suited for brewing on the spot when you want a single cup of coffee.
Can you brew other drinks besides coffee?
A. Yes. Some brands offer different types of tea, hot chocolate and cider drink pods. Some coffee machines also include a hot water button to dispense only hot water into your cup, making it easy to add water to tea or noodles.
Are there environmentally friendly alternatives to disposable coffee pods?
A. Yes. You can buy reusable pods made from plastic or metal and wash them between each use. Reusable pods are also great if you have a favorite coffee that isn’t available in pod form, as you can add your own grounds for an even fresher cup of coffee.
What’s the best pod coffee maker to buy?
Top pod coffee maker
What you need to know: For daily coffee lovers, this is the most consistent pod coffee maker to brew a perfect cup of coffee every morning.
What you’ll love: Any K-cups or single-serve cup-shaped pod of coffee is compatible with this machine. The settings are easy to program on the LCD screen, a bottom tray catches spills and the reservoir holds an additional 72 ounces of water. Choose from five different drink sizes or just pour hot water with a hot water button.
What you should consider: This coffee maker can be a bit loud, and used models may have glitches, so be sure to buy it new.
Top pod coffee maker for the money
What you need to know: This classic pod coffee maker from one of the original coffee pod companies is a mainstay.
What you’ll love: The affordable single-serve machine offers four different cup sizes, a “strong brew” button and is noticeably quieter than others on the market. It also comes in a variety of colors to coordinate with your kitchen décor.
What you should consider: Water may pour directly from the spout when the power turns on.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: For coffee lovers with favorite drink settings, this pod coffee machine is a solid mid-range option for various hot or cold beverages.
What you’ll love: The 78-ounce water reservoir allows you to brew multiple mugs of coffee without having to refill it. Brew settings offer multiple drink sizes, varying brew strength and temperature control. If you love iced coffee in the warmer months, you can even program the coffee machine with a setting that melts less ice when pouring your coffee.
What you should consider: This model may not be as long-lasting as others.
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Katy Palmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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