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best coffee pod machines

The Best Coffee Pod Machines in 2021

Author: Joanna Davis

Home & Kitchen Expert

In recent decades, the coffee pod machine has become one of the most successful kitchen appliances in private households. Significantly cheaper than a fully automatic coffee machine, it allows you to prepare fresh, tasty coffee easily, quickly and by the cup.

Since there are many different models to choose from on the market, it makes sense to find out how they work and what they offer, as well as the quality of individual models, by testing or comparing coffee pod machines before you buy. You can find the relevant useful information here with us.

Sboly Single Serve Coffee Maker Brewer for K-Cup Pod

Sboly Single Serve Coffee Maker Brewer for K-Cup Pod
17,230 Reviews
Sboly Single Serve Coffee Maker Brewer for K-Cup Pod
  • Rapid Brewed Coffee Right At Your Fingertips: This personal…
  • Durable & Compact Design: Innovatively designed to be…
  • 2 In 1 Brewing: Whether you want to brew a coffee pod or…
  • Auto Cleaning Button: When you are done using this one of a…
  • Warm Tips: Be sure to add water into water tank before press…

Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod

Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod
36,555 Reviews
Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod
  • FITS ANYWHERE: Less than 5 inches wide, perfect for small…
  • YOUR PERFECT AMOUNT: Brew any cup size between 6-12oz with…
  • ONE CUP RESERVOIR: Just add fresh water for each brew
  • FAST & FRESH BREWED: Coffee made in minutes
  • CORD STORAGE: For easy transport and tidy countertops

Mixpresso Original Design 2 in 1 Coffee Brewer K-Cup Pods

Mixpresso Original Design 2 in 1 Coffee Brewer K-Cup Pods
1,599 Reviews
Mixpresso Original Design 2 in 1 Coffee Brewer K-Cup Pods
  • THE PERFECT SINGLE SERVE ONE CUP COFFEE MAKER : If you’ve…
  • QUICK BREWING SYSTEM AND AUTOMATIC POWER OFF : Simple coffee…
  • COMPACT AND SMALL SIZE : We at Mixpresso want to bring you…
  • THE THINKING : Thinking about your comfort and safety is…
  • LOVE IT OR YOUR MONEY BACK : Looking for a genuine…

Keurig K-Select Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod

 Our Pick
Keurig K-Select Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod
20,944 Reviews
Keurig K-Select Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod
  • WHAT’S IN THE BOX: One water filter handle, and one filter…
  • BREWS MULTIPLE CUP SIZES: (6, 8, 10, 12 oz.). Enjoy the most…
  • STRONG BREW: Kicks up your coffee strength and intensity
  • LARGE 52 oz. WATER RESERVOIR: Allows you to brew 5 cups…
  • SIMPLE BUTTON CONTROLS: Just insert a pod, select your…

NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Coffee Machine

NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Coffee Machine
584 Reviews
NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Coffee Machine
  • The Nescafe Dolce Gusto Esperta 2 is an automatic capsule…
  • COFFEE HOUSE INSPIRED DRINKS – Explore the wide variety of…
  • EASY INTERFACE – Boasting an easy-to-use wheel interface…
  • PRESSURE BASED SYSTEM – The Esperta 2’s 17 bars of…
  • ULTIMATE COFFEE FRESHNESS – After spending our time crafting…

Keurig K-Select Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod

 Our Pick
Keurig K-Select Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod
20,944 Reviews
Keurig K-Select Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod
  • WHAT’S IN THE BOX: One water filter handle, and one filter…
  • BREWS MULTIPLE CUP SIZES: (6, 8, 10, 12 oz.). Enjoy the most…
  • STRONG BREW: Kicks up your coffee strength and intensity
  • LARGE 52 oz. WATER RESERVOIR: Allows you to brew 5 cups…
  • SIMPLE BUTTON CONTROLS: Just insert a pod, select your…

Keurig K-Slim Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod

 Our Pick
Keurig K-Slim Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod
19,881 Reviews
Keurig K-Slim Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod
  • FITS ANYWHERE: Less than 5” wide, fits neatly on your…
  • MULTIPLE CUP WATER RESERVOIR: Removable 46 ounce reservoir…
  • 3 CUP SIZES: brew an 8, 10, or 12 ounce cup at the push of a…
  • FAST & FRESH BREWED: Delicious coffee made in minutes.
  • TRAVEL MUG FRIENDLY: Removable drip tray accommodates travel…

Chefman InstaCoffee Single Serve Coffee Maker Compatible with K-Cup Pods

 Our Pick
Chefman InstaCoffee Single Serve Coffee Maker Compatible with K-Cup Pods
6,928 Reviews
Chefman InstaCoffee Single Serve Coffee Maker Compatible with K-Cup Pods
  • FAST BREW TIME: With this single serve coffee maker, you can…
  • ONE TOUCH OPERATION: Enjoy coffee house quality, fresher and…
  • K-CUPS OR GROUNDS: Have your cup of joe how you want it with…
  • COMPACT DESIGN: Narrow profile fits and stores anywhere and…
  • RJ14-UB ASSURANCES: CETL approved with advanced safety…

Frequently Asked Questions: Coffee Pod Machines

What is a coffee pod machine?

In a way, a coffee pod machine is a further development of a conventional filter coffee machine. When comparing these two machines, the first thing that stands out is that, for example, all coffee pod machines in our test can be operated with coffee pods from any manufacturer. These pods are individual portions of ground coffee.

They are surrounded by a closed sleeve made of compostable cellulose fleece, which acts as a filter during operation of the coffee pod machine. The pods thus perform a dual function: they are a filter and portion packaging in one. Due to the suitability for use of such pads, each coffee pod machine in the test can be used to quickly make individual cups of coffee.

To do this, one such pad (or, depending on the nature of the pad holder, two) pads are placed in the pad holder of the coffee pod machine. This is then locked into place. Depending on the model and manufacturer, the locking of the pad holder is worked differently.

When juxtaposing a coffee pod machine from our test and a conventional filter machine, it is noticeable that both are equipped with a water tank. However, while the filter machine heats all the water in the tank, coffee pod machines only heat the amount of water needed for one or two cups of fresh coffee.

The machine pumps this amount into the integrated boiler. Here, the water is heated to around 90°C, well below the boiling point of water.

In comparison, the water in many filter coffee machines is much hotter and often reaches a temperature of 100°C. The lower temperature in many filter coffee machines means that the water is heated to a much higher temperature. The comparatively lower temperature in a coffee pod machine helps to prevent the volatilization of the all-important aromatic substances contained in the coffee powder.

For this reason, the coffee from almost every pad machine in the test tastes significantly more aromatic and full-bodied than from a filter machine.

Once the water in the coffee pod machine has reached the required temperature, the pump presses it through the inserted coffee pod at a pressure of about 1.4 to 1.6 bar (high congruence when looking at different models). The finished coffee runs through the outlet, which can be either fixed or adjustable when comparing different models, directly into the cup positioned below. The used pad can then be disposed of either on the compost heap or in the organic waste.

Because the coffee powder in a pad has much shorter contact with the water in this way, pad coffee is usually quite round and mild. This is because fewer bitter substances are dissolved out than in the brewing method used in filter machines.

Which pods should you use for a coffee pod machine?

In comparison, almost all coffee pods available today are of very good quality. Which pods you should buy therefore depends primarily on your individual coffee taste.

Simply try out several manufacturers and decide on the variety that tastes best to you.

Can a coffee pod machine be considered sustainable?

Of course, various plastics and metals are processed for the production of almost every machine in the test. Nevertheless, a coffee pod machine is quite sustainable. This is because the cover of the coffee pods is made of compostable cellulose and the machine therefore does not produce waste that is difficult to recycle.

The coffee pod machine in use

Like filter machines, coffee pod machines are mainly used in the home. They are suitable for households with low to medium coffee consumption. Considering the needs, the machines in the test presented by us are best suited for those consumers who drink quite little coffee, but place high value on an outstanding aroma and freshness.

All of the coffee pod machines in the test are always ready to use and allow you to brew a cup of coffee in well under a minute. This is significantly faster than using a conventional filter machine. Even with expensive fully automatic machines, fresh coffee does not turn out much faster.

Due to the, in direct comparison with fully automatic machines, often quite compact footprint, a coffee pod machine is easy to accommodate even in confined spaces. This makes it ideal for use in the office, among other things. The simple and robust technology also ensures a long service life for almost every model in the test, which can be determined by a long-term practical test. The care of a coffee pod machine is correspondingly simple and does not require much work or time.

Since none of the coffee pod machines in the test is equipped with a fresh water connection, but all work with a removable water tank, the models can be operated anywhere there is a power outlet. Therefore, the coffee pod machine is also sometimes the best choice for operation in the construction trailer. It can be effortlessly operated with water from bottles or canisters.

Due to the work involved in portioning and packaging the coffee powder into pods, the cost of coffee pods, compared to loose powdered coffee, is of course somewhat higher.

However, when you consider the significantly better quality of the prepared coffee, which is noticeable from the very first taste test, this marginal difference in price is of little consequence to true frahling lovers. If one starts an experiment and compares the costs of purchasing and operating a coffee pod machine with those of a fully automatic coffee machine, the pad machine usually also comes off significantly better.

Although the price per serving is often higher for coffee pod machines, all machines in the test cost only a fraction of what you would have to invest in a fully automatic machine.

Types of coffee pod machines & their advantages and disadvantages

Although coffee pod machines have been around for almost two decades now, almost all models in comparison are still based on a single operating principle. They are very similar in terms of equipment and function, which means that there is a high degree of congruence in these areas. Nevertheless, there are of course also in the field of coffee pod machines further developments, so that you can divide into different categories. These are:

  • Coffee pod machine without additional function
  • Machines with milk frother
  • Pod machines with additional filter coffee function

From each category, some models are included in the test we present. They have been subjected to close inspection, resulting in various advantages and disadvantages that we want to tell you about.

Coffee pod machine without additional function

These are the “classics” in this market segment, as they have been offered on the market, almost without change, since 2001. Such a machine is only suitable for making one or two cups of fresh coffee in a single operation. Special coffees cannot easily be created with the corresponding devices in the test. However, these machines still impress with their robust, simple and, above all, durable technology.

Main advantages:

  • easy and uncomplicated to operate
  • robust and durable technology
  • usually small footprint
  • high-quality coffee enjoyment with little effort
  • fast and almost everywhere ready for use

Possible disadvantages:

  • Limited spectrum of coffee variations
  • Only conditionally suitable for large quantities of coffee within a short period of time
  • Higher cost per cup compared to filter machines
  • Not the perfect choice for real “frequent drinkers

Coffee pod machines with milk frother

You will also find coffee pod machines in the test that offer an increased range of functions in a juxtaposition with the “basic models”. For example, they are equipped with an integrated or external milk frother or offer the option of preparing coffee in different strengths.

Models are also available with a height-adjustable coffee spout. This makes it possible to use large coffee mugs or latte macchiato glasses, for example. In the practical test, this sometimes results in other advantages and disadvantages for such a coffee pod machine.

Main advantages:

  • even more flexible use possible
  • In addition to normal coffee, various variations such as Cappuccino and Latte Macchiato possible
  • still quite simple operation
  • fast availability of the coffee variations
  • in the acquisition more favorably than a full automat or sieve carrier
    to operate everywhere

Possible disadvantages:

  • Increased cleaning effort (milk frother!)
  • higher susceptibility to defects due to more complicated technology
  • more moving parts increase the risk of damage
  • higher costs per cup than with filter coffee
  • only recommended for occasional drinkers without restrictions
  • no fast preparation of large quantities of coffee possible
  • sometimes larger footprint

Coffee pod machines with additional filter function

Since the manufacturers of coffee pod machines have recognized that their conventional devices are subject to some limitations in terms of producing larger quantities of coffee, they have reacted in the meantime.

Therefore, the test now also includes models that can be operated with both pods and conventional coffee powder. In comparison, these devices are of course more expensive. On the other hand, it is possible to brew coffee “by the pot” in the traditional way.

Main advantages:

  • More flexibility in the preparation of coffee
  • Even larger parties can be easily supplied with coffee
  • Ready to use at any time as needed
  • relatively robust technology that is not susceptible to failure
  • lower costs for larger quantities of coffee

Possible disadvantages:

  • more floor space is required
  • Disadvantages of filter coffee must be accepted
  • usually lower capacity than pure filter coffee machines
  • significantly more expensive than the “basic” models
  • increased cleaning effort

How are coffee pod machines tested?

When comparing different coffee pod machines, for example to select the test winner, various features and aspects of the devices represented in the test are compared.

This is because only an intensive test run can insufficiently evaluate the individual models in such a way that a real guide for the purchase is created. Instead, such a study tests the equipment, reliability and handling, as well as numerous other factors that are of interest to you as the end user. The test result then suggests whether or not a coffee pod machine is suitable for your purposes.

After all, even though there is a high degree of consistency in the features and functions of these machines, significant differences in quality are still possible. A coffee pod machine is subjected to a product test according to the following criteria, among others, from which the test result is derived after weighing the importance:

  • Equipment
  • Cleaning
  • Operation
  • Space requirements and design
  • Price
  • Taste quality
  • Robustness, longevity and susceptibility to failure

Equipment

For the consumer, the features of a coffee pod machine are particularly important in comparison with other models. What can he do with the device in question? While some models only provide normal coffee, others have an integrated milk frother. Among other things, this allows you to make cappuccino and latte macchiato, as well as latte. In addition, some machines have a selector switch for the coffee strength as well as an indicator for the necessary descaling.

While one coffee maker is only suitable for preparing one cup per brewing process, other models allow you to brew two cups at once or even have the option of making entire pots of filter coffee.

Cleaning

With the devices in the test, it is also advantageous for the consumer if there is an automatic mechanism for quick and thorough cleaning. After all, only a machine that is cleaned regularly will provide long-lasting, tasty coffee.

The test also rated positively, for example, a descaling indicator or the option of cleaning removable parts of the coffee pod machine in the dishwasher. This is particularly advantageous for models that are equipped with a milk frother and saves the tedious rinsing of these components by hand.

Operation

The simplest possible operation is an advantage for the consumer, which is why this criterion is rated particularly highly in the test. It is ideal if a coffee machine can be operated as intuitively as possible, preferably even without having read the operating instructions beforehand.

Here, a trade-off must be made in the test with the desirable features, since additional functions naturally make the operation of the coffee pod machine more complicated.

Space requirements and design

In a modern kitchen, a wide variety of electronic and manual helpers and devices are used. Therefore, it can be considered positive in the test if a coffee pod machine takes up little space compared to the other tested models, so that there is still enough room where you can develop individually in your kitchen.

In addition, any coffee pod machine should not only be functional, but also look chic. The design is therefore also included in the result of a comparison test and can sometimes decide who the test winner will be.

Price

The price is a not unimportant criterion for the result of such a self-test. With a few exceptions, a coffee pod machine is significantly cheaper than a fully automatic machine. Nevertheless, there are significant price differences in this product segment, which does not necessarily mean that the cheapest device wins the test.

What is more important is how it compares to the competition in terms of price and what features and quality it offers for the retail price. The price-performance ratio is therefore crucial for a good rating in the test.

Taste Quality

Typically, the consumer who buys a coffee pod machine attaches great importance to a very good tasting quality of the coffee produced and wants to enjoy it at any conceivable time. In the test, therefore, the aroma and subtle flavor nuances of the coffee provided by the different devices are evaluated.

This results in an objective assessment of the taste quality, which can definitely be helpful for the fragrant lover when choosing the suitable coffee pod machine.

Robustness, longevity and susceptibility to failure

A coffee pod machine is considerably cheaper than a fully automatic machine. Nevertheless, it should last as long as possible and guarantee unadulterated coffee enjoyment. 

The quality of workmanship, robustness and susceptibility to defects and malfunctions are therefore always factors that must be included in the evaluation of a detailed suitability test. After all, you as a consumer do not want to keep buying a new coffee pod machine.

What you need to look for when buying a coffee pod machine

Since coffee pod machines are used regularly, usually on a daily basis, some parts are constantly stressed. For some models, both the test and the experience of long-time users reveal some weak points or frequently occurring defects, about which we would like to inform you in advance.

Thus, you have the opportunity to pay attention to a high-quality design of the corresponding components when buying your new coffee pod machine:

Water tank tightness

Especially in models with a removable water tank, there is a risk that the seal at the water outlet of the tank towards the machine will leak over time and the device will “leak”. Among other things, this can cause damage to the surface on which the coffee pod machine stands.

In comparison, this problem does not exist in models with a fixed water tank. By the way: Water with a high lime content can accelerate the corrosion of seals!

Level sensor on the tank

This sensor prevents the machine from starting when the water level in the tank is too low. It is often implemented by means of a float in the tank, which is equipped with a magnet. In some models, this float tends to get stuck after some time.

This either prevents the machine from operating even with a full tank, or allows it to operate despite an empty tank. The latter damages the coffee pod machine irreparably in the worst case. The remedy is to buy a new water tank.

Tank capacity too low

The tank capacity of various coffee pod machines is less of a flaw and more of a weakness. Due to particularly attractive designs, it is so small that you sometimes have to refill it after preparing 2 cups.

Therefore, you should rather opt for a less unusual design and a larger water tank to ensure comfortable handling.

The pod holder lock

It is one of the most stressed parts of a coffee pod machine and therefore breaks down much more often compared to other components. Unfortunately, this also applies to some devices from the test we presented. In most cases, it is not worth repairing the machine if the locking mechanism is defective, and a new purchase is due.

Therefore, make sure to treat these sensitive components as gently as possible right from the start.

Broken boiler or defective seals inside the device

Among other things, very chalky water can lead to corrosion and defects both on the boiler and on seals and pipes inside a coffee pod machine. The durability of these parts is therefore an important criterion in any test.

As a preventive measure, it is recommended to always use only previously decalcified water, because a repair is usually not worthwhile in such cases and the machine must be disposed of.

Coffee Pod Machines Accessories

Like so many other household appliances, most coffee pod machines in the test can be usefully supplemented with useful accessories. This makes them more efficient in comparison, for example, they get a wider range of functions, work in a cost-saving way or are particularly environmentally friendly. Below are some common accessories that are available for many devices from the test.

  • Reusable pods: they can be filled with coffee powder and used over and over again. This significantly reduces the price per cup of coffee.
  • Larger tank: It allows you to brew more cups of coffee without having to refill water.
  • Special pods for specialty coffees: Some manufacturers offer pods that can be used to make drinks such as hot cocoa, cappuccino or latte macchiato even with a basic model.

Coffee Pod Machines Alternatives

Depending on your expectations and requirements for a coffee machine, the following devices may be an alternative to a coffee pod machine for you:
 
  • Filter coffee machine
  • Coffee capsule machine
  • Fully automatic coffee machine
  • Sieve support coffee machine

Last product update on 2021-04-10 | Source: Amazon Affiliate