Have you been thinking about treating yourself to a K-Cup coffee maker?
These machines allow you to make coffee in less than a minute with push-button ease. All you need to do is slide in a K-Cup pod after topping up the water tank. Select your brew size and type then enjoy gourmet coffee that comes through with unerring consistency every single time.
With some of these machines, you’ll also get a carafe bundled. With multipurpose K-Cup makers like this, you can enjoy the benefits of both pod-based and drip coffee in a single compact unit.
As well as being remarkably easy to use, these appliances are equally simply to clean. Remove the water tank and drip tray to wipe down. Discard any used pods from the spent chamber and that’s about the extent of maintenance. Most of these machines will also require reasonably regular descaling, but that doesn’t require much by the way of effort.
Today, then, we’ll be reviewing the leading models on the market so you can buy with your eyes wide open and maximize the chances of getting the most suitable K-Cup coffee maker the easy way.
Check out this comprehensive guide to single serve coffee makers if you want to dive down in more detail on these wonderfully convenient appliances.
I. The 7 Best K-Cup Coffee Makers
1. Our Pick: Keurig K-Elite
While the line-topping Keurig K-Elite is not the cheapest K-Cup coffee maker, it’s undoubtedly among the best. As long as you don’t mind the lack of control you get with single-serve coffee machines, you’ll get exceptional ease of use, and you’ll need to do nothing more than push a button for consistent coffee every time.
The K-Elite gives you plenty of scope for choice even if you can’t tamper with many brewing elements. You can choose from 5 brew sizes from 4oz through 12oz. If you like your morning java extra-strong, just hit Bold.
Hot water on demand further widens your repertoire. Make tea or hot chocolate when you’re not in the mood for coffee.
The other huge draw with the K-Elite is the fact you can also make iced coffee rounding out a highly versatile package.
All we can really knock is the number of complaints about cavalier customer service with long hold times and poor resolution. That said, with a machine this well built, you shouldn’t encounter any problems in the first place.
- Tweak the cup size and strength to taste
- Serve coffee hot or iced for complete versatility
- Super-swift brewing in minutes flat with push-button ease
- Dealing with customer service can be frustrating
2. Budget Pick: Keurig K-Classic
Are you looking for a cheap K-Cup coffee maker that doesn’t let you down totally on the performance front? Who isn’t, right?
The K-Classic is one of Keurig’s best-selling lines and with just cause.
Don’t object a decade of service from a machine like this. While you can find many cheap K-Cup coffee makers, most are no good. The inexpensive machines like the K-Classic that don’t disappoint still won’t last as long as pricier units, though.
Packing a 48oz water tank, you can make 6 cups of joe before needing to top it up. Auto-off is a valuable safety feature while onboard descaling allows you to keep your K-Classic running perfectly with almost no effort required.
As with all single-serve machines, you’ll get push-button ease here and consistently tasty results every single time.
Aside from the questionable lifespan, we can’t recommend this Keurig strongly enough. If you’re looking for a bargain, it’s got to be the K-Classic.
- Unbeatable price/performance ratio
- Generous water tank holds enough for 6 coffees
- Inbuilt descaling program to keep your K-Classic running smoothly
- A number of complaints about lifespan
3. Cuisinart 12-Cup Coffee Center
Cuisinart make a wide range of kitchen appliances. This attempt at a K-Cup coffee maker is a resounding success, but what makes it so good?
This machine comes in two parts. On one side, you can choose from a 6oz, 8oz, or 10oz brew using single-serve pods. Aside from filling the water reservoir and slipping in a capsule, no further effort is required on your part for coffee in less than a minute. The other side features a 12-cup glass carafe into which you can brew ground coffee. This combination of brewing methods in one unit gives you greater value and flexibility while slashing running costs.
If you like the idea of using freshly ground coffee but you don’t want a complete carafe, use the single-serve filter and enjoy coffee for one.
A trio of sample capsules thrown in allow you to try the medium roast, dark roast, and French vanilla to see which best matches your palate.
This solidly-built and precision-engineered K-Cup machine is ideal for anyone who can’t decide between a pod-based coffee maker and a drip machine. Get both in one powerful package without breaking the bank.
- Elegant aesthetics
- Spacious 12-cup carafe gives you enough for the whole family
- Reusable gold tone filter slashes running costs
- Single-serve side of machine prone to leaking
4. Keurig K-Cafe
The K-Café is another enduringly popular K-Cup coffee maker from the dominant force in the single-serve space. What makes this model stand out, then?
Well, this machine is ideal if you prefer drinking longer, creamier coffees. If you love latte and cappuccino, get those classic drinks at the push of a button with pod-based ease.
This machine accommodates all K-Cup pods, so you’ll be spoiled for choice when you’re choosing java. There’s also the option of pressing the reusable filter into commission.
With a large water reservoir, you can rack up coffee for the whole family before needing to top up the tank.
The K-Café accepts cups up to 7 inches in height so you can fill your favorite travel mug to the brim to liven up the morning commute.
The milk frother bundled for those creamy coffees is dishwasher safe, too. With ease of use and cleaning both taken care of, you might be surprised to find the K-Café is priced very competitively compared to similar latte and cappuccino makers.
- Great variety of longer, creamy coffees
- 60oz water tank minimizes need for refilling
- Slide in tall and travel mugs with ease
- Some niggles about electrical issues developing
5. Keurig K-Duo
Next up is another multipurpose gem in the deep bench of Keurig single-serve coffee makers. What differentiates this model, then?
If you enjoy the occasional pod-based coffee, but you don’t like the idea of relinquishing your regular brewed coffee, you won’t need to. As the name hints, the K-Duo gives you the choice of using both brewing methods for maximum versatility in a single appliance.
For apartment-dwellers, or anyone with a small kitchen, this Keurig coffee maker measures up at just 13 x 11 x 13 inches. You’ll get powerful and diverse functionality, then, without eating up too much kitchen counter space.
Like your coffee stronger? Hit Bold and enjoy an intense brew.
Fancy snatching a quick cup before the whole carafe of coffee has dripped through? No problem there, either. Just hit Brew Pause and serve yourself up an eye-opener.
The 60oz water tank gives you plenty of scope to serve everyone without endlessly refilling the reservoir.
Despite the ability to make drip coffee, this side of the machine tends to be trickier to use with some disgruntled customers complaining of leakage. So, we would recommend this machine for anyone who drinks mainly capsule-based single-serve coffee with the occasional desire for drip. If you prefer drip coffee, opt for another model.
- 12-cup carafe bundled
- Use either ground coffee or K-Cup pods
- Brew stronger coffee at the push of a button
- Carafe side of machine can be problematic
6. Keurig K-Mini
As we edge to the end of our best K-Cup coffee maker reviews, it’s time for the most compact model in the line-up. The K-Mini works wonderfully if space is too tight to mention.
If you tire of black and silver kitchen appliances, you’ll appreciate the variety of bright and colorful alternatives in the K-Mini range. Match your machine to your décor with ease.
We should point out that speed is not of the essence here. You won’t need to wait as long as you would for siphon coffee, for example, but you will need to pack a little patience. The end result, though? Consistently smooth coffee each and every time with almost no effort required on your part.
Although corded like all coffee machines, the 30-inch cable maximizes your options for placement.
As an added kicker, you can also take advantage of a resuable filter if you want to minimize ongoing running costs.
For a small and effective single-serve coffee machine perfect for occasional use, roll with the Keurig K-Mini.
- Compact footprint ideal for cramped kitchens
- Wide choice of colorways
- Works with pods or resuable filter
- Certainly not the quickest single-serve machine
7. Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Coffee Maker
Last but certainly not least in our quest for the best K-Cup coffee maker is the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew.
This is another machine offering you single-serve convenience on one side, and the benefit of a carafe for drip coffee on the other. If you’re making a full pot, this should be ready to drink in just 3 minutes. The pod-based single-serve side ensures you get your cup of joe in less than a minute.
If you like the idea of coming down in the morning to a steaming carafe of drip coffee ready and waiting, take full advantage of the programmable timer and make that a reality.
For lovers of strong coffee, you can hit Bold for a punchier cuppa.
The removable drip tray is a cinch to clean. This also allows you to accommodate taller travel mugs.
The only real drawback with this machine is the fact a few users have complained about leakage. If you’re looking for a versatile and convenient K-Cup coffee maker at a very keen price-point, give the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew a shot.
- Choose from pod convenience or a full carafe with ground coffee
- Brew time roughly 3 minutes for carafe
- Programmable timer for coffee on demand
- Several users report leaking machines
OK, with our K-Cup coffee maker reviews put to bed, it’s time to round out with some things to consider when you’re hunting for the best single-serve coffee machine.
II. Things You Should Consider
You might think buying a coffee maker like this is one of the easiest things in the world. After all, you only need to punch a button or two, right?
Maybe. There are nevertheless a few key points to consider before whipping out your credit card.
- Type of K-Cup Coffee Maker
- Estimate Ongoing Running Costs
- Overall Performance
- Speed of Delivery
- Cleaning and Maintenance
- Build Quality vs Intended Use
- Choice of Capsules
Type of K-Cup Coffee Maker
While there are many types of single-serve coffee maker, if you’ve decided on a K-Cup machine, you’ll be going for one using K-Cup pods. Despite the name, these pods are actually capsules brimming with pre-ground coffee.
As well as this core functionality, some machines are also equipped with a carafe and the ability to make a full pot of drip coffee.
Some machines give you the option of brewing iced coffee as well as hot beverages.
If you’re partial to tea, hot chocolate, or infusions, look out for a K-Cup coffee maker featuring hot water on demand.
Your choices are reasonably limited with K-Cup coffee makers, but that’s not a bad thing. Not only does the relative lack of choice minimize confusion, but the industry heavyweights are such hard-hitters that you’ll have no problem finding a suitable machine.
Keurig, established way back in 1998, were pioneers of single-serve coffee bringing their suite of machines into homes throughout America and across the world ever since.
Nespresso make a wide range of single-serve coffee machines using one of two types of proprietary capsule.
You can also find K-Cup machines from Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach, and other leading coffee and cookware brands.
Estimate Ongoing Running Costs
Now, before you go any further, we’d like to do some simple sums…
Many people buy a single-serve machine without giving due consideration to the two things that count:
- How much coffee you drink
- How much the K-Cup pods you want cost
Many reviewers liken the cost per drink to roughly one-quarter of a coffee in a gourmet coffee shop. We feel, though, that’s like comparing apples to oranges. Nevertheless, whatever the cost of each capsule, you need to consider that in the context of how much coffee you drink.
As an example, one of our team drinks 10 or more coffees each day. (Yes, we know that’s way too much, but you can’t tell this guy!) He bought a single-serve machine but stopped using it after a month. The capsules cost far too much when consumed at that rate. Another team member drinks a couple of espresso each morning and uses his K-Cup machine daily.
Think about your coffee consumption, calculate your monthly cost, and determine whether you can weather that ongoing cost.
Here’s the kicker, though…
If you do the math and discover you can’t really afford to run a single-serve machine, opt for one with an integrated drip brewer. That way, you’ll get the best of both worlds without blowing the budget.
Performance should be considered in several areas.
Firstly, does the machine you’re looking at deliver the type of coffee you enjoy most? If you’re a fan of creamy coffees, look for machines with inbuilt milk frothers. If you like espresso most, why not treat yourself this summer?
You should then ask yourself whether you like iced coffee from time to time. If so, would you drink enough to hunt out a machine with this function?
Speed of Delivery
Speed is obviously one of the primary selling points of single-serve coffee machines. While you’ll never achieve the same quality of coffee as if you were using the pour-over or siphon method, here comes the other main advantage of K-Cup makers: consistency. Even if it’s not world class coffee, it’s the same every time without any effort required.
The majority of these machines will have coffee in your cup in no more than a minute. You’ll encounter the occasional machine that’s super-swift. Of course, you’ll also find some that aren’t quite as brisk in terms of delivery.
Those machines also incorporating a carafe should take roughly 3 to 5 minutes to deliver your morning coffee.
Size matters and never more so than if you’re trying to fit yet more appliances into a crowded kitchen.
Whether you live in an apartment, or your kitchen is small and overcrowded, make sure you have enough room to accommodate any machine you’re considering. All models come with their sizing clearly listed so don’t skimp this small but important step or you could end up making an expensive mistake.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Another main advantage of K-Cup machines is the fact they are typically very easy to clean and maintain.
With a removable water reservoir and drip tray, you can keep both clean without twisting yourself out of position.
Every month or so – this depends on how much you use your machine – you should descale your machine to keep it free of sediment and firing on all cylinders. You use either a proprietary solution, or a mixture of water and vinegar for descaling purposes.
That aside, you shouldn’t encounter any serious problems with upkeep.
Build Quality vs Intended Use
Next is another pair of elements you should consider in combination.
How much priority you place on build quality should depend to some extent on your intended use. If you only plan to whip this machine out once a month, even a cheap and flimsy K-Cup coffee maker will probably suffice. If, on the other hand, you’ll be making single-serve throughout the day, it pays to look for a substantial and rugged model.
Here’s the great news…
Even if you want a pricier K-Cup coffee maker, even at the upper end of the range, you should still find most machines fall within your budget.
Choice of Capsules
Last but not least, you should give some serious thought to the K-Cup pods your machine uses. You should do this long before you buy.
Make absolutely certain that you’re happy with the variety of coffee capsules on offer. Make sure, as above, you can afford the running costs, too.
Finally, you evidently need to make sure you can easily access the pods. Whether you choose to buy them online, or to pick them up in person, establish buying pods is something you can easily take care of.
Now, to finish up, a brief look at the most frequently asked questions about K-Cup coffee makers.
1) What is a K-Cup coffee maker?
K-Cup coffee makers are single-serve machines allowing you to make coffee in 60 seconds flat with pods pre-packed with enough grounds for a single coffee. All you need to do is punch a button for consistently good coffee every single time. Some K-Cup machines also include a carafe for drip-brewing on the other side of the machine.
2) Who are the main brands making K-Cup coffee makers?
Keurig is by some distance the industry-leader. You can also find a deep bench of Nespresso machines. These use different proprietary capsules. Other major manufacturers like Cuisinart and Hamilton Beach also make these coffee machines.
3) How long does it take to make a cup of K-Cup coffee?
Once you’ve filled the water reservoir, all you need to do is choose your drink size and/or type then push the button. You’ll have coffee ready to drink in less than a minute with most K-Cup machines.
Well, we trust by now you have a comprehensive overview of K-Cup coffee makers. If you don’t mind the eco-impact of using so much plastic, you’ll get push-button ease and consistently good coffee even if you’re a complete beginner.
How about if you don’t fancy sacrificing your jugs of drip coffee, though? Luckily, many of the models we review today are dual-functionality allowing you to enjoy pod-based coffee from one side of the machine and drip coffee from the other.
Stick with any of the machines we review today and you’re in safe hands. Fancy trying something different? Feel free, but bear our buying guidance in mind and you’ll streamline your decision wonderfully.
Before you head off, bookmark Hygge Bakery and pop back any time you want the lowdown on the best kitchen appliances from K-Cup coffee makers to air fryers, toasters, and much, much more. We’ll see you soon!