If you love coffee pods instead of having to brew your own grinds, you know that the whole point of using a pod machine is to ensure quick, efficient coffee every day.
Of course, there’s also the taste factor to bear in mind as coffee pods can give you a flavor-rich experience.
But what pod coffee machine should you buy?
It really depends on your coffee preferences, such as if you love Nescafé capsules or K-Cups, for example, as well as what features the machine has in place to ensure it will help you create a quality cup of coffee.
There are a range of pod coffee machines on the market, but to make it easier for you to find the one to suit your lifestyle and coffee-brewing preferences, we’ve got a list of six of the best pod coffee machines in 2020.
Start your morning on the right footing with the best pod coffee makers.
A quick glance at the above table will help you locate the best pod coffee machine for your needs so you can find it in our list of reviews and see what else it has to offer. Whether you want a coffee machine that gives you brewing and pod coffee or you only want K-Cups, we’ve got you covered!
- 1 Best Pod Coffee Machines – Reviews & Buying guide for 2020
- 1.1 Best Overall: Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Coffee Maker
- 1.2 Runner Up: Keurig K-Mini K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer
- 1.3 Alternative: Keurig K-Select K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer
- 1.4 Alternative: De’Longhi NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Coffee Maker
- 1.5 Alternative: Keurig K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer
- 1.6 Alternative: Keurig K-Classic K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer
- 2 Pod Coffee Makers FAQ
- 3 Is pod coffee any good?
- 4 Conclusion
Best Pod Coffee Machines – Reviews & Buying guide for 2020
Best Overall: Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Coffee Maker
This is the best coffee pod machine and it’s called the FlexBrew for a reason: it’s a machine that combines brewing coffee with using pods, so you can be more flexible about your coffee choices.
- Two water reservoirs
- Cup rest included
- Programmable functions
- This is essentially a two-in-one coffee machine. You can make a full pot of coffee by making use of the carafe or you can pop in a pod when you want faster coffee. This versatility is a big plus that prevents you from spending money on a coffee machine that only offers you one type of coffee.
- This pod coffee machine comes with a cup rest so you can use a variety of cups and mugs with it.
- You can remove the piercing needle that pierces the coffee pod so that you can clean it. This prevents it from becoming clogged, which has been linked to problems such as exploding coffee pods.
- Both of the brewers in this machine have a water reservoir. This is great because you’ll be able to see the amount of water that each one has at any time.
- If you want to make 12 cups of coffee with the carafe, you can enjoy programmable functions to make it easier than ever to brew a delicious cup. These include a two-hour automatic shut-off and a programmable timer.
- Some people have complained that the display on the machine is sometimes difficult to see or read.
- Another drawback is that you can’t use both sides of the coffee machine at the same time. So, if one member of your family wants brewed coffee while another wants to use the pod, you’ll have to make the coffees separately.
- Not only can you choose to make different coffees with this machine, but you can also choose the coffee strength you want when using this machine, such as regular or bold, so you get exactly the type of coffee you want.
This two-in-one coffee machine gives you the best of both worlds – pod coffee and brewed coffee – without forcing you to choose. It works well and has many features to make your morning coffee even more enjoyable.
Runner Up: Keurig K-Mini K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer
Keurig is well known in the coffee industry for its pods and machines, but this one is a compact and easy-to-use coffee maker that you’ll love, especially if you enjoy K-Cups every day. Here’s what you should know about it.
- Small and compact
- Accommodates travel mugs
- Makes coffee in minutes
- If you don’t want a large coffee machine to take up a lot of space in your kitchen, you’ll love this Keurig one – it is only five inches wide so it can fit anywhere.
- Don’t be fooled by its size, though – it can brew any cup size between 6oz and 12oz.
- If you want to fill a travel mug, you can do so easily with this machine, thanks to its removable drip tray. The machine can accommodate travel mugs that are up to seven inches tall, so it’s perfect for when you need coffee on the move.
- You can make coffee in minutes with this machine. All you need to do is add water, so it couldn’t be easier.
- This machine is also energy-efficient, as it has an auto switch-off feature. Once you’ve made a cup of coffee, it will automatically switch off after 90 seconds, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting it on when you leave the house for work.
- One of the most obvious drawbacks of this product is that it can only brew K-Cup pods, which might feel restrictive if you like to use other pods.
- It’s made of plastic.
- It can be used with the My K-Cup Universal Reusable Coffee filter.
- It can be purchased in a variety of matte colors.
If you love K-Cups and you want the convenience of a small, compact coffee machine that gets the job done, this Keurig is the one for you.
Alternative: Keurig K-Select K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer
If you liked the previous Keurig coffee maker but you want even more versatility, consider upgrading to this model. It has some extra features that you’ll love if you’re a coffee pod aficionado. Let’s check it out!
- Five-cup capacity before refilling
- Low noise
- Extra items included
- This coffee machine prevents you from being limited to a certain cup size. It can brew cup sizes that are from 6 oz to 12 oz, so there’s a cup size for every coffee lover!
- It’s a quiet machine. One of the things you might not like about coffee machines is how noisy they can be. This one doesn’t make a lot of noise, so it’s perfect for really early mornings when you’re craving coffee but don’t want to wake up the rest of the house.
- You can easily brew up to five cups of coffee without having to top up on the machine’s water, thanks to its 52 oz water reservoir. This is a great way to save you time and ensure you never run out of coffee when you need it.
- It’s really easy and simple to use. You just have to insert your coffee pod and choose the brew size, then enjoy coffee within mere minutes. Done!
- It comes with a removable drip tray so that you can fill your travel mugs. And, it can accommodate travel mugs that are up to 7.4 inches in height.
- It’s made of plastic.
- Some people who have purchased this coffee maker have reported that it causes their K-Cups to explode. This, however, could be as a result of the machine needing to be cleaned.
- Others have reported that the coffee which gets produced by this machine is quite weak, however that might not be a problem for you.
- You get a variety of extra items in the pack, such as a water filter handle, a filter, and a K-Cup pod variety pack so you can start enjoying K-Cups immediately after unpacking this machine!
If you want a K-Cup pod coffee maker with some extra frills, purchase this one. It has many excellent features that make it feel like a high-end machine. While it does have some drawbacks that could be deal-breakers for you, it certainly redeems itself with its benefits.
Alternative: De’Longhi NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Coffee Maker
What if you really want espresso coffee more than any other type?
Then this is the coffee machine to purchase! It’s a single-serve coffee machine from De’Longhi. Here’s what to know about it.
- 60oz water reservoir
- Thermoblock heating system
- Easy to clean
- This coffee maker uses a pressure system to extract the most aroma and flavor from your coffee so you’ll be able to enjoy espresso as though it were made by a barista.
- Espressos might be your go-to coffee drink, but you can use this machine in a variety of ways, such as to make lattes, cappuccinos, espressos, and even iced coffee drinks.
- You can easily customize the coffee you make, thanks to various features, such as those that enable you to control the intensity and size of your coffee. Just make use of the user-friendly seven-level LED display on the machine.
- You don’t have to wait around for the machine to warm up. It has a Thermoblock heating system to control the temperature and this ensures that you can brew coffee for a shorter amount of time, too. No wasting time in the morning!
- It comes with a 60oz water tank so you’ll always have coffee on demand.
- One of the biggest drawbacks of this machine is that it can only be used with Nescafé Dolce Gusto capsules.
- These capsules are expensive and some people have reported that they’re not always easy to find.
- Some people who have purchased this coffee maker have reported that the piece where you have to pull out the capsule often becomes jammed.
- Although they are expensive, Nescafé Dolce Gusto smart capsules are renowned for maintaining the freshness of your coffee until you’re ready to brew it.
- This coffee maker saves energy because it goes into stand-by mode after five minutes of no activity.
- The machine is easy to set up and very easy to clean, which is a bonus.
If you love Nescafé Dolce Gusto coffee capsules and you want an easy- to-use machine that ensures hot and quick coffee on a daily basis, you’ll love this one.
Alternative: Keurig K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer
This Keurig coffee machine means business, with large capacity and other great features. Let’s check it out.
- 80-oz capacity
- Five temperature settings
- Digital clock
- This coffee machine has a reservoir that can accommodate 80 oz of water. This means you can brew more than 10 cups of coffee in one go without having to refill the water. It’s perfect for large households, when you have guests over, or when you need lots of coffee to get you through a busy day!
- The water tank can be removed for extra convenience when refilling. This makes it easier to use and handle.
- You can use this machine to brew K-Cup pods and a carafe, so it offers you versatility.
- You can brew K-Cup pods that are between four and 12 oz, while the carafe can brew up to 30 oz.
- You can choose from five temperature settings so you’re always guaranteed of getting coffee as hot as you like it.
- The machine has a digital clock display that ensures you can see it without a hassle.
- You can program the machine to turn on or off at certain times. This not only ensures you’ll have hot coffee on demand but it also prevents energy from going to waste when the machine is not in use.
- The carafe is sold separately.
- Some people who have purchased this machine have stated that it’s quite noisy.
- You can’t use any other coffee cups besides for K-Cups, which is disappointing.
- You can choose different night light options for your machine to illuminate your kitchen. This shows how the machine is focused on attention to detail in its design.
If you want a coffee machine with greater capacity that’s also programmable, this one is a good choice that will give you many years of delicious coffee.
Alternative: Keurig K-Classic K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer
Can’t afford the previous Keurig model?
No worries. This is a more budget-friendly Keurig machine that still gives you the chance to make tasty coffee on a regular basis. It also boasts many high-end features that will make you feel like you’ve got a more expensive machine.
- Descaling feature
- Low noise
- You can brew K-Cup sizes that are between 6oz and 10oz.
- The water reservoir is 48 oz, so you can brew approximately six cups of coffee before you need to refill the tank.
- Like with some other Keurig machines, you can remove the water reservoir. This makes it easier to fill and handle it.
- You know that cleaning your coffee machine is important to do on a regular basis to prevent calcium and other deposits from tap water accumulating in your machine and reducing its performance. To take the hassle out of cleaning your machine, this Keurig comes with a “descaling” feature. This is one of the high-end features that we mentioned earlier that you can find on this budget-friendly pod coffee machine.
- Unlike with other Keurig models, this machine doesn’t come with a digital clock.
- Some people who have bought this product have reported that the drip tray looks flimsy.
- The machine is made of plastic.
- If you don’t like noisy coffee machines, you’ll love this Keurig coffee maker because people who have purchased it have reported that it’s much quieter than other models.
- It can accommodate a travel mug, so it’s the perfect way to ensure you get your caffeine fix when you’re on the move.
- Some people who have purchased this machine have commented that the on/off button is located on top of the machine, instead of at the back which is the usual location with other machines. This offers greater ease of use.
If you love Keurig, this is a solid machine to buy. It’s packed with features to make coffee a much more convenient and pleasurable experience. You can choose to buy it in black or red to suit your kitchen.
Pod Coffee Makers FAQ
Now that we’ve looked at some of the best pod coffee machines on the market, let’s answer some important questions about these types of coffee makers.
Keurig vs. other brands
When you think of coffee pods, chances are you think of K-Cups. These Keurig coffee pods are popular, but what if you want to purchase a different pod coffee machine instead of a Keurig?
You do have options at your disposal, as we’ve seen in this buying guide of the best pod coffee machines. That said, it helps to see what the differences are between Keurig cups and those provided by other brands.
Keurig Vs. Nespresso
Nespresso capsules come in a few varieties and they’re produced by the brand. These offer brews of excellent quality. The cups themselves are made of aluminum so they can be recycled.
Keurig, by comparison, offers much more variety when it comes to their pods. But their pods are made of plastic with aluminum on top, which is a bit trickier to recycle because all the parts have to be separated before you can recycle them.
Choosing which one you like also depends on the type of coffee you want. While you can choose from a variety of flavors with Keurig, Nespresso offers an espresso pod coffee machine (as seen in our previous pod coffee maker reviews).
Keurig Vs. Hamilton Beach
Both Keurig and Hamilton Beach offer many options to help you make the perfect pod coffee.
Keurig does have even greater varieties of coffee pods to enjoy. However, one of the benefits that Hamilton Beach has in its favor is that it has the Flexbrew machine that allows you to brew coffee with a pod or granules.
Is pod coffee any good?
If you’re tempted to use pod coffee, you might wonder how it fares when compared to coffee that you make in a machine.
While it’s certainly more convenient because you just have to put the coffee pod into the machine and then let it work its magic for a minute, there are things to consider.
- You can’t always use whatever coffee you want, because some machines will only accommodate certain pods. An example is with Keurig that only allows you to use K-Cups. That said, if you’re a fan of a certain brand and you enjoy the variety of pods that they provide, then this might not be an issue for you.
- There is something to be said about the taste of capsule coffee. You might not be able to make changes to how your coffee tastes, such as when it comes to the size of the coffee grinds or strength, which could be a drawback for you.
However, it’s important to focus on purchasing coffee pods that contain quality coffee as this will make the best pods coffee machine work even better!
Some of the best coffee pods include Eden Project coffee pods (from Nespresso) that contain Arabica coffee from Guatemala, Costa Rican coffee, and Colombian coffee.
Another one worth trying is the Tassimo Kenco Americano coffee pod. It contains 100 percent pure Colombian Kenco coffee that is said to provide a velvety smooth cup of coffee.
One of the reasons why coffee pods are said to offer you tasty coffee is because after the beans have been roasted they are stored in the capsules that are properly sealed.
This prevents the freshness of the coffee from escaping and since the coffee doesn’t come into contact with any oxygen or moisture, this keeps it fresh.
Do coffee pods work in all machines?
One of the biggest problems you might encounter with coffee pods is that you’re often limited to only using certain pods depending on the brand and model of your coffee machine.
This also means that you have much less choice than if you were making your own coffee with beans or store-bought ground coffee.
So, if you have coffee pods that you’ve been using in one type of machine and then you change your machine, such as by moving over to a different brand, this will usually mean that you can’t use those pods anymore.
This lack of versatility is what has caused some people to try to hack their way to making use of pods in more than one pod machine. An example has been seen with Keurig customers who have tried to use generic pods in their Keurig machines instead of being limited to official K-Cups.
It’s worth looking out for third-party coffee pods as sometimes these can be compatible with your coffee machine and help you to increase the amount of coffee pods you can use.
Why is pod coffee so expensive?
One of the biggest disadvantages of using coffee pods is that they’re really expensive, and it doesn’t help that you can only use a pod once before it has to be thrown away. You might not realize just how expensive coffee pods are, so let’s break it down.
It’s been estimated that the small quantity of coffee that you get in each K-Cup pod is the equivalent of $40 per pound, which is three times more than what you’d pay for a pound of ground coffee, as Money reports.
K-Cups cost double or even triple the amount you’d pay to traditionally brew your coffee.
Bear in mind that even before you spend money on buying coffee pods, you’ll have to purchase a machine.
Luckily, as we’ve seen in this buying guide, you won’t have to spend that much money to get a quality product. The money you might save by purchasing a budget-friendly coffee pod machine will probably end up being spent on the pods!
There are some clever tips to help you save money on the coffee pods you love to buy.
You can try your hand at reusing pods. By simply removing the foil that’s on top of the pod and then putting in your own coffee grounds (which are usually cheaper), then covering the pod again with a new piece of aluminium foil, you can reuse your coffee pods so that you don’t have to keep reaching for a new one.
Just remember to poke some holes into the foil, as Woman’s Day reports. This will relieve pressure in the pods. The site goes on to say that this coffee pod hack could save you $250 per year, so it’s definitely worth trying!
It’s also a good idea to purchase coffee pods in bulk at times as this will help you to save money. You should search for bulk buys online, such as on Amazon.
Is pod coffee better than instant?
We’ve looked at some differences between pod coffee and using ground coffee, but how does pod coffee fare when compared with instant coffee?
Again, it comes down to quality. When you choose pod coffee that’s made with attention to quality beans, this will make it taste really good.
You also get more flavors from pod coffee. While you can find different varieties of instant coffee, coffee pods offer you barista-quality coffee aromas and flavors.
If you love making the perfect cup of coffee with a pod, you’ll need to get your hands on the best pod coffee machine. In this buying guide, we’ve listed six of the best coffee machines that use pods to take your pod coffee to a higher level of quality.
Whether you’re all about K-Cups or you love being able to brew your coffee sometimes too, you’ll find the best coffee machine to suit your needs and ensure you can indulge in all the tasty varieties of coffee pods.
Last Updated on May 15, 2021