First of all, if you’re like me, buying a coffee machine that that only brews one cup of coffee at a time. For me, that makes perfect sense in terms of affordability, convenience and minimal waste. However, this is where a rather tricky question arises – what’s the best single cup coffee maker with pods on the market currently?
After taking a look at some relevant reviews online and most importantly customer reviews on Amazon, It’s safe to say that the Hamilton Beach (49980A) Single Serve Coffee Maker is the top single-cup coffee machine with pods that money can buy.
This is not only the top-rated product in this category, but it’s also super affordable.
Above all though, it’s compatible with soft coffee pods, unlike most of the other single-serve coffee makers out there.
Something worth noting is that I was actually quite surprised that there aren’t an awful lot of coffee machines, which work with soft pods.
These days the so-called plastic pods (or Keurig/K-Cup pods) seem to be the order of the day.
However, finding a machine that can brew coffee using soft pods (not plastic ones) can be quite challenging.
Probably because about 99% of the people on the internet confuse one for another.
Table of Contents
What Is The Difference Between Coffee Pods And K Cups?
The difference is that coffee soft pods aren’t compatible with K-Cup coffee makers, while K Cups (i.e. plastic pods or capsules) will not work in coffee machines that brew coffee grounds or soft pods.
However, some machines like the Bunn MCU Single Cup coffee maker can make coffee using both K-Cups and soft pods, and even ground coffee.
Now, time to weigh the pros and cons of each pod type and how they work in more detail:
- They’re biodegradable, thus less messy
- There’s a better aroma during the brewing process, due to the lack of plastic (as opposed to K-Cups)
- They allow for better coffee extraction because of their flat, circular shape
- Less flavor and roast options compared to K-Cups (or plastic pods)
- They are harder to find, even more so soft pod coffee makers
Essentially, soft pods look like larger tea pods, thanks to their round, disk-like shape.
They contain ground coffee that’s been pre-packaged and they rely on the same concept as Keurig (or K Cup) pods:
To provide a convenient, single dose of coffee grounds!
- Also read: Best single-serve coffee maker
Also, soft pods have been around for a long time, way before Keurig came up with the K-Cups.
And since there aren’t all that many coffee makers on the market right now that are compatible with soft pods, makes this brewing method even more unique.
- Lots of flavors and blends to choose from
- Excellent availability – you can find them almost anywhere
- They aren’t as unaffordable as they might’ve been in the past
- Still, for the most part, they’re more expensive than soft pods
- They create more waste, thus are messier than soft pods
You can say that K-Cups are quite similar to soft pods since they contain ground coffee.
Anyhow, the only difference being the fact that the coffee is inside of a plastic container (e.g. a cup/capsule).
But with the help of Keurig and their thematic K-Cup coffee makers, K-Cup capsules and plastic pods, in general, have flooded the market.
They offer great convenience and there are even cappuccino and hot chocolate K Cups now.
Regardless of their popularity, it’s quite funny that most people still assume that soft pods and plastic pods are the same thing.
To sum it up, think of soft pods as coffee grounds in a big tea pod and K-Cups as ground coffee in a plastic container (pod/capsule etc.).
While both can give you a great cup of coffee, soft pods are generally the less expensive option (although they’re harder to find).
What is the Best Single Serve Pod Coffee Maker?
Model: Hamilton Beach 49980A Single Serve Coffee Maker
Top-rated in its class: Yes
As I already mentioned, there are only a handful of classic single-cup coffee machines that only work with soft pods or ground coffee and not K-Cups.
And if you’re on the lookout for the top-rated one, then look no further than the Hamilton Beach single-serve machine.
A quick look at the user reviews for this coffee machine on Amazon says it all.
Apparently, the majority of the individuals who rated this product have given a maximum rating.
Not only that but with a best-in-class overall rating, it’s the most beloved single-serve coffee maker that works with soft pods and coffee grounds.Check Price on Amazon
In addition to the single-serve brew option, the Hamilton Beach Two-Way Brewer can also brew a full pot if you intend to share your coffee with someone else!
One thing that’s worth pointing out though is that a travel mug isn’t included in the price although you do get a 12-cup glass carafe when you purchase this coffee machine.
Regardless if you’d like to bring your caffeine-infused cup with you, you’d have to buy a travel mug separately.
Just note that a 16 oz thermos (i.e. travel mug) can fit under the single-serve side.
However, the maximum capacity of this serving type is around 12 oz. so it most likely won’t fill up your travel mug.
Still – at least you’ll have your coffee with you!
All in all, the Hamilton Beach 2-way coffee maker is a super affordable coffee machine that relies on pods and coffee grounds.
At the same time, it has a stellar reputation and it’s quite easy to maintain and keep clean since its cleanliness rating is quite good.
- Brews multiple k-cup pod sizes: (6, 8, 10 ounce)...
- Large 48 ounce water reservoir: Allows you to brew...
- Descaling: An important part of cleaning your...
What is the Best Single Cup Coffee Maker To Buy Currently?
Model: Keurig K55, K-Classic Coffee Maker
Top-rated in its class: Yes
Keurig is probably the most recognizable name when it comes to coffee makers and there’s a good reason for that.
Keurig units have always been considered as some of the best in their respective segment and the K55 coffee machine makes no exception.
It’s the best selling single-serve brewer and has been for quite some time now.
Now, Keurig’s K55 single-cup brewer is 100% compatible with all K-Cup packs or any K-Cup brand for that matter.
There are also 3 different brew sizes to choose from:
- 6 oz
- 8 oz
- 10 oz
Note that by opting for the smallest brew size (6 oz), you’ll get the strongest K55 brew.
But if you don’t want to use a coffee cup or mug, you can also put a travel mug under this Keurig unit.
You’ll be able to fit a 7.1-inch travel mug underneath by simply removing the drip tray, which can be detached and attached again.
The K55 also comes with a neat auto-off function that turns the machine off if its been idle for 2 hours! However – it’s still advisable to unplug your coffee maker when you’re not going to use it for longer periods of time.
There’s also an enormous water reservoir with a 48-oz capacity that can brew up to 6 cups, so you won’t have to bother with refilling too often.
What’s the Best K Cup Coffee Maker?
Model: Keurig K55
Top-rated in its class: Yes
Again, it’s the Keurig K55 model thanks to its super impressive user rating (especially considering the number of reviews) and overall reputation.
In fact, It’s a no-brainer that it’s the absolute best K-Cup-compatible brewer the market since K-Cup pods were invented by Keurig themselves.
Thus, the K55 brewer works with all kinds of K Cups and this makes it quite versatile as well.
Basically, Keurig’s K55 is a total legend when it comes to single-serve K Cup coffee brewers and to this day it’s one of the most popular models.
Honorable Mention – AdirChef Grab N’ GoCoffee Maker
Name: AdirChef Grab N' Go Personal Coffee Maker
Top-rated in its class: Yes
Okay, so I did my fair share of research and eventually, I came across the AdirChef.
If what you need is a single-serve coffeemaker with a bulletproof reputation and ratings, then this is your best bet.
Because it comes with almost impossible to beat price-to-quality ratio and a brilliant rating.
But what’s even more astonishing to me are some of the more specific ratings of this product.
It turns out that most users gate it a top rating, while it also receives a lot of praise in terms of how easy it is to clean.
That’s probably because it works only with ground coffee or even regular soft pods, not K-Cup ones!
So, to throw any confusion out the window, keep in mind that:
The AdirChef Grab N’ Go Personal Coffee Maker Isn’t compatible with k-Cups!
Now, this unit is quite small (6.7 x 5.1 x 10.1 inches) and pretty light (1.3 pounds) making it ideal for having a hot cup of coffee on the go.
Especially when you consider that neat 15 oz travel mug that it comes with.
It also comes with a permanent filter (no need to buy reusable coffee filters), dirt-cheap price and just about everything you’ll need to brew a nice cup of personal coffee.
So it’s easy to see why this single-cup coffee maker is so popular.
Apparently, this coffee maker has the capacity to fill up an entire 15 oz travel mug.
That sure is awesome, but what if you want just one cup (e.g. 8 oz) of coffee?
Well, just use that cup or mug as a measuring cup when you pour the water into the coffeemaker.
This way you won’t deal with any overfills and you’ll get the perfect amount of coffee for a single cup.
And to put things into perspective, I think that a single serve coffee machine is all about convenience and not spending a dime, just to get your daily dose of caffeine.
Thus, that’s exactly what the above-mentioned AdirChef coffee maker does.
Thus, its biggest advantage (apart from the price-to-rating ratio), in my opinion, is that you can take this coffee maker anywhere with you, making it ideal for traveling.
What About the Best Single Cup Coffee Maker No Pods?
As you might imagine, almost all coffee makers these days work with pods.
And just not any pods (i.e. regular soft pods), but the K-Cup ones.
That’s why finding a great single-cup coffee maker that doesn’t rely on pods is quite challenging.
Thankfully though, this coffee maker courtesy of Hamilton Beach has the best reputation under the ‘single-serve coffeemaker without pods’.
Note that this is a pretty ordinary coffee maker, without any bells and whistles – but there’s no need for any.
Also, over half of the users are super happy with this single-cup brewer, highlighting some of its key strengths like the top-notch durability and material quality.
Here are some of the most important things that you need to know about the Hamilton Beach 49981A:
- This unit works with coffee grounds via a single serve (scoop) filter
- It doesn’t brew coffee with K-Cups
- The 49981A can make up to 14 oz of coffee, depending on the amount of water used
- It’s not meant for any pods, although you can probably try to use a small soft pod (i.e. ground coffee in a paper filter)
Subsequently, if a standard, hot and delicious cup of a coffee is your thing, then I’d say that this is most likely the most optimal choice.
This is a cheap, reliable and basic coffeemaker that simply gets the job done.
Besides, the manufacturer (Hamilton Beach) is a pretty reputable one, so it’s easy to see why this product is such a success when it comes to single-cup, no-pod coffee makers.
What do the Single Serve Coffee Maker Reviews Say About the Best Single-Cup Coffee Maker?
I went through several relevant reviews online and the Keurig K55 Single Serve Coffee Maker grabs the #1 spot on most occasions.
It’s safe to say that there’s a clear winner when it comes to single-serve coffee machines, according to most of the single cup coffee maker reviews across the internet.
And while this is inevitably a brilliant coffee machine by arguably the most popular coffee maker brand (Keurig), it’s still not the top-rated one on Amazon.
Yes, it looks modern, yes it has boatloads of reviews and a great rating but we can debate whether or not it’s the best of the best.
However, there are single-serve coffee makers (both with and without pods) that have higher ratings and we’ve already listed some of them in this article.
But hey, to keep things objective (instead of subjective), let’s see what other people think about this Keurig unit.
We’ll take a look at 3 of the most helpful user-generated reviews, both positive and negative ones.
Here’s What Some of the Most Positive Keurig K55 Reviews Show:
Firstly, some users highlight the easy-to-use nature of the Keurig 55 and the fact that other capsules (not Keurig/K-Cup ones) can work too.
You just have to make sure that they’re of the same size.
Now, there was also a review that wasn’t a genuine review per se since the customer apparently didn’t even try the coffee maker.
Nonetheless, the product didn’t arrive with any cosmetic issues and everything seemed neatly packaged – all good.
Last but not least there’s another review that’s quite intriguing.
Apparently, the user reports that he encountered a problem with the piercing needle causing the machine to stop working due to ground coffee residue buildup.
Eventually, he mentions the solution to this problem that he came up with, showing you why this review is so upvoted by other users.
And Here’s What Some of the Most Negative K55 Reviews Reveal:
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that you can draw a clear conclusion from some of the most negative reviews of the K55.
Obviously, the customers seem to be unhappy about two primary aspects:
- Reliability issues
- A weird taste of the coffee that comes out of the Keurig unit.
One of the reviewers blames the company for poor reliability since his/her unit clogged up and stopped working.
This same customer even goes as far as to mention that even his friends and close ones had reliability issues with Keurig coffeemakers.
But there’s no way to confirm such claims, so consider that when making your own judgment.
As for other “bad” reviews, one of them is about the taste of the coffee degrading badly, while another there is about reliability issues (again).
Honestly – while all of the aforementioned reviews might be real, that still doesn’t make the Keurig 55 brewer any bad.
Every product on the planet will have some negative customer reviews, so it’s up to you to decide whether you think a coffee machine is great or not.
Indeed, there aren’t many single-cup coffee makers that work with regular (soft) pods on the market.
Regardless, it seems like the best one of the bunch is the Hamilton Beach Single-Serve Coffee Maker (49981A) .
It’s quite affordable, efficient, easy to use and above all, it has the best rating in its class.
But I’d now love to know what your personal favorite single-serve coffee maker with pods is?
Don’t hesitate to let me know by leaving a comment below!
Did somebody say coffee? Two shots of espresso for me, thanks. Oh, nevermind – I’m Simon, nice to e-meet you, dear CoffeeLifior! I like to write, drink coffee and I believe in Jesus. Highly-caffeinated drinks are my thing, but you can occasionally see me sip on decaf (my wife never finishes her coffee). Speaking of which, I’m off to grab another cup of caffeinated goodness now, laters!
Last update on 2021-05-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API