The Best Pod Coffee Machines in 2023 — Buyers Guide, Review, and ComparisonAs much as we'd like to, we can't afford to run to cafes every time we crave coffee. Pod coffee machines are a handy way around this quandary. Made with convenience in mind, these machines give you cafe-quality coffee at the push of a button. Pod coffee makers brew your coffee exactly how you like it, they're also fast, require minimal effort, and make great coffee.
- Programmable LED screen
- Integrated milk frother
- 19-bar pressure pump
- Automated functions and indicators
- Removable parts
Pod Coffee Machines Comparison Table
Best High End
Best High End
|Check Price At Amazon Creatista Plus Review|
|Check Price At Amazon Nespresso Vertuo Review|
|Check Price At Amazon Keurig K-Mini Review|
|Check Price At Amazon Keurig K-Classic Review|
|Check Price At Amazon Cuisinart Single-Serve|
In a hurry? Skip to our reviews of our top picks:
Best Pod Coffee Machines Buying Guide
The best thing about pod coffee machines is that they satisfy the perfectionists in us. Coffee enthusiasts are set in our ways. Once we find our sweet spot, we’ll stick to it — almost religiously.
Go ahead and tell a coffee drinker they should try and shake things up. I’ll wait.
This need for consistency is why pod coffee makers are so appealing. They’re a testament to precision, and leave little room for human error.
Have you ever manually brewed grinds only to find out that you messed up the method, and the resulting coffee made your soul weep in disappointment?
That won’t happen with a capsule coffee maker because they’re made to run like clockwork.
You won’t struggle to find suitable options either. Pod coffee makers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, each boasting different functions and features.
One machine may give you control over the fine-tuning, while another is entirely automated for those on the go. Even the pods come in a range of flavor and strength profiles that you can choose from.
You get all the variety, without the interfering variables that affect traditional brewing. With pod coffee makers you’ll enjoy great coffee every time. What more could a bean enthusiast want?
Before we get to the best pod coffee maker reviews, think about what you’re looking for. It’s safe to say that most, if not all, capsule coffee machines have at least one of the following highlights:
Fast heating and brew times
Automated or energy-saving features
Variety in the types of coffees
Advantages of Pod Coffee Machines
As I said, coffee enthusiasts are stubborn, and that means (whether we admit it or not) there are many among us who fervently criticize pod coffee makers.
I’m willing to bet you’ve been told pod machines don’t make real coffee, that they’re overpriced, or that drip coffee is the only way and automated machines are an insult to all that is good and pure in the world.
Ignore all that. Capsule coffee machines may not be everyone’s cup of, well, coffee. But they have a slew of undeniable perks you won’t find in other machines.
If you’re on the fence or simply need some cool facts to throw in the faces of naysayers, here’s why investing in a pod coffee maker is a wise choice.
Pod Machines are Lightning Quick
Depending on the model, you can have coffee ready in under a minute. Some capsule coffee machines, like the Keurig K-Classic, are ready to go immediately with no heating time or preparation required.
Here’s a fascinating fact: Pod coffee machines work so quickly because they rapidly heat and shoot water through grinds — the pressure extracts flavor as it passes through the raw coffee.
That is similar to how espresso is made. A few procedural nitpicks aside, it’s close enough to say that capsule machines are espresso machines, technically speaking.
Capsule Coffee Stays Fresher for Longer
Dry coffee is a shelf-stable food that can last for years before spoiling, but that doesn’t mean its freshness isn’t affected. When beans or grinds are exposed to air, they oxidize and the quality is diminished.
It’s why all pre-ground coffee is vacuum-sealed when you buy it. Once you pop the lid, however, you introduce oxygen. The longer it’s open, the more your grinds deteriorate.
Coffee capsules don’t have this problem because they’re sealed individually and only open upon use.
Less Mess, Less Fuss
Pod coffee makers simplify the brewing process and are easier to manage and maintain. For one, you don’t have to bother measuring out your grinds, grinding fresh beans, or cleaning your machine after every use. Most pod coffee machine reviews compliment how orderly these makers are.
The best pod coffee machines have removable components for easy cleaning, while some — like the Breville Nespresso Vertuo and the Breville Nespresso Creatista — have used-capsule storage compartments. The Cuisinart Premium even has a rinse function to flush the machine from the inside.
Overall, the operation and upkeep of pod machines is much simpler than traditional models or true espresso makers. Use your pod, discard it after use. Simple.
They’re Eco-Friendly (I Swear)
We’ve all heard the criticism that pod coffee makers are anti-green because of the sheer amount of plastic waste they produce. I saw many people pledge to save the earth by disposing of their pod machines in pursuit of a healthier planet.
New research shows that was unnecessary.
According to studies by Alf Hill, a Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Bath, pod coffee is more sustainable than traditional espresso. When the whole life-cycle of the coffee is taken into account, and the amount of pod machines use compared to traditional coffee machines, pods turn out to have a smaller environmental footprint.
Not to mention, times have changed and more producers have switched to recyclable or biodegradable pods. The best pod coffee machines come with energy-saving features as well, and on average, use less power than traditional machines.
Consistency and Control
This is a big deal for me. I don’t like guessing whether or not my coffee will hit the spot, and I will unabashedly admit that I take personal offense when it does not.
Because of their features — controlled temperatures, pressure, brewing time, and dosage — as well as the aforementioned freshness, your coffee will taste great every time.
Don’t take my word for it. Take a look at capsule coffee machine reviews to see how uniform pod coffee quality is. In fact, it’s extremely difficult to ruin a cup of coffee using one of these machines.
They’re Compact and Portable
Generally speaking, pod coffee makers are much smaller than traditional machines, which is important if your kitchen counter is cramped.
In line with this, they’re easier to carry or transport. If you really can’t go without your joe when you’re away from home, you can take your pod machine with you. This is especially true for compact machines like the Keurig K-Mini.
How to Choose the Best Pod Coffee Machine
You may think that since pod coffee machines all serve the same purpose any old model will do. But brewing decent coffee isn’t the be-all and end-all of capsule machines. When selecting one, there are a few things to consider.
How much control would you like over how your coffee is made? If you’re fussy and want coffee your way, look out for the following options:
- Brew size and strength control.
- Cup size selection.
- Adjustable temperature.
- Milk frothing options and programmable settings.
There are capsule coffee makers that automatically regulate temperature, or brew at scheduled intervals for your convenience. Auto-off is a great energy-saving feature to look out for too.
Select Nespresso machines use barcode recognition technology to automatically optimize settings according to the coffee input.
Filtered pods, plastic capsules, or K-Cups? Cross-compatibility is rare, so double-check that your machine will accept the coffee you like. Certain machines will only brew own-brand pods, and some are even more particular and only brew specific brand ranges.
Another consideration here is that some machines are dual brewers that take both pods and loose grinds.
Pay attention to the heating time and brew speed of the machines you like. Some may boast that they brew coffee in 30 seconds, then take 10 hours to warm up, and you don’t want that at eight in the morning!
If you’re after convenience, there are countless one-touch machines to choose from. Just bear in mind that user-friendliness often comes at the cost of user control. The simpler the interface, the likelier the machine isn’t programmable.
Sure, pod coffee makers are simpler to manage than traditional machines but you still have to look after them. The best pod coffee systems have removable parts for easy cleaning, with emphasis on the reservoir and spill tray.
Our Pick of the Best Pod Coffee Machines
Breville Nespresso Creatista Plus BNE800
~ Best High End
Our Rating: 4.7/5
- Programmable color LED screen
- Milk frother
- Capsule storage
- 19-bar pressure pump
- Stainless steel finish
- Removable reservoir and spill tray
- Tasting Box samples included
Indisputably one of the best coffee makers on the market, this sleek machine comes with a whole suite of features that more than justify its price point. Not to mention, the coffee quality (espresso, lattes, macchiatos, and more) is exceptional.
There are three cup sizes to choose from and, rare in coffee makers, you can set your preferred water hardness. An included milk frother lets you select your milk texture and temperature. A color LED screen goes above and beyond when it comes to programmable features.
Breville’s Creatista Plus uses a powerful 19 bars of pressure to brew your joe. Its 50-ounce reservoir and spill tray are removable, and there are a full indicator and auto-off functions. It also has a capsule storage container.
In terms of aesthetics, the slick stainless steel finish suits any kitchen well.
If you don’t want to settle for lesser coffee machines and can afford to spoil yourself, you won’t regret choosing the Creatista.
Breville Nespresso Vertuo
~ Best One-Touch
Our Rating: 4.6/5
- Patented Centrifusion Technology
- Capsule Recognition Technology
- 40-ounce removable reservoir
- Compact size (8.3 x 11.91 inches)
- Lightweight at just 12 pounds
- One-Touch interface
- Descaling alert
- Used capsule storage holds 20 pods
- Tasting Box samples included
This user-friendly, one-touch coffee machine brews high-quality espresso and coffee. A compact machine — it measures around 12 inches tall by 8 inches wide — its size is no indication of its coffee-making finesse.
Making use of Nespresso’s patented Centrifusion technology, this machine spins capsules up to 7000 rotations per minute. The result is effectively blended grounds for a smoother coffee.
Another clever, high-end feature worth noting is Nespresso’s Capsule Recognition, your machine will optimize its settings according to which brand or brew you make.
As for its specs, the unit impresses with a removable 40-ounce tank and spill tray, 15-second heat-up time, auto-off function, and five size options. In addition, a descaling alert lets you know when it’s time to clean the coffee maker. A used capsule storage area can hold between 13 to 20 spent capsules.
Perhaps the Vertuo’s biggest drawback is a lack of user control. This factor, coupled with the price point means it won’t suit everyone. But for buyers after an efficient, top-grade machine that performs reliably, this is a smart buy.
~ Best Compact
Our Rating: 4.5/5
- Auto-off function
- Single-cup reservoir
- Cable storage slot
- Accommodates seven-inch travel mugs
- Measures 4.5 by 12.1-inches
- Brews grinds and pod coffee
Mini by name and mini by nature, the K-Mini from Keurig weighs 4.6 pounds and spans only 4.5 inches in width. This easily transportable coffee maker will fit anywhere you need it to, be it your kitchen bench or in your RV.
Fully compatible with reusable filters, you can use this machine with cups or grounds. The unit’s drip tray can hold a full cup’s worth of spillage and it has enough space to accommodate travel mugs. This coffee maker accepts K-Cups of all types between 6 and 12 ounces.
A fast-working auto-off function shuts down the idle machine after 90 seconds, reducing your energy consumption and saving on power bills.
Though it may not boast enough power or control for more serious or picky coffee drinkers, it’s a smart (and reasonably affordable) choice for those who won’t mind sacrificing detail for convenience.
~ Best Assortment
Our Rating: 4/5
- Suitable for 6, 8, and 10-ounce cups
- Removable drip tray and water reservoir
- Energy-saving auto-off function
- Indicator lights
- Descale function for easy cleaning
- Iced coffee option
- No heating time
This coffee maker shines in almost all areas, but its convenience is worthy of a gold medal. Users will love its intuitive design, speed, intelligent technology, and efficiency.
With three cup sizes (6, 8, and 10 ounces), you’ll have control over the amount of coffee made and, to a certain degree, the strength of your brew. When filled, the removable 48-ounce water reservoir stores enough for six cups before needing a refill, saving you that extra bit of effort.
Maintenance is made easy with a handy descale function, which also extends the machine’s lifespan. The K55 is ready to go when needed, yet a smart auto-off function helps conserve energy.
It may not be to everyone’s taste and naturally isn’t without pitfalls, but it’s a consumer favorite for a reason and comes highly recommended.
Cuisinart’s versatile and programmable coffee machine offers plenty of choice. The unit is compatible with K-Cup single-cup pods and generic versions. Or if you prefer, use your coffee maker to brew grounds.
A hot water function means you can also use the coffee machine to make tea and other hot drinks.
With no tedious heat-up time, your coffee brews within a minute so you can get out the door faster. The 72-ounce removable reservoir means you won’t have to refill too often either.
A blue backlit screen allows for easy viewing. Use the linked control panel to set your brew size, temperature, and more.
The machine boasts a charcoal water filter and a reusable filter cup. And when it comes to clean-up, a removable spill tray and the rinse function allow for easy maintenance.
If you’re looking for a coffee maker that gives you control over how you take your coffee, don’t overlook the Cuisinart Premium Brewer.
The best pod coffee machines on the market are as convenient as they are stylish. Regardless of the (unfair) complaints against them, capsule coffee is excellent and fills holes that traditional machines can’t — including speed, precision, and efficiency.
Yes, they tend to have a higher price point among coffee makers, but keep in mind that you get what you pay for.
In this case, that’s unbelievably fast, effortless, top-notch coffee.
Pod coffee machines are suitable for almost everyone thanks to their simplicity. And they’re a valuable tool for busy bean lovers and people who don’t have the counter space for traditional espresso makers.
If you enjoy the experience of brewing coffee manually, capsule machines might not suit as they eliminate almost all human intervention. On the other hand, if you’re after convenience, efficiency, and reliably excellent coffee, go ahead and take your pick of the best pod coffee machines.
Best Pod Coffee Machines FAQs
What’s the Difference Between Pod Coffee Machines and Capsule Coffee Machines?
Though the terms are used interchangeably, technically speaking, pods refer to grinds wrapped in ready-to-go filter bags, while capsules describe small, air-tight plastic containers that store grinds. So, there is no real practical difference when it comes to your coffee.
Do Pod Coffee Machines Take All Types of Pods?
Usually not. Most machines will only accept one sort of pod (standard pods, capsules, or K-Cups). Though there are a few machines that are cross-compatible, such as the Chulux single-serve coffee maker. Check the model’s specifications to be certain. It’s more common for pod coffee machines to be dual brewers and accept both pods and loose grinds.
Are Pod Coffee Machines Suitable for Commercial Kitchens?
Pod coffee makers are generally small, lightweight machines that may not endure excessive use well. That said, installing a pod coffee machine in a small business is not impossible. Since the machines are simple enough to use, you don’t need to be a barista to operate one.
Do Pod Coffee Machines Make Real Coffee?
Objectively, yes, as there is no chemical difference between the grinds found in pods and freshly ground coffee. In fact, pod coffee could be considered better than loose coffee as it doesn’t spoil as quickly and retains both freshness and its flavor profile.