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Best Pod Coffee Makers

Consumer Reports' tests identify the most convenient single-serve machines

A cup of coffee from one of the best pod coffee makers.

A pod coffee maker is a convenient way to get your morning going. Switch on the machine, add fresh water, pop in a pod, and press start. In a minute or two, you have a piping hot cup of joe. 

Just don’t expect it to taste particularly amazing.

Most pod machines Consumer Reports has tested brew coffee of similar quality—that is, coffee that’s just okay. None of the nearly 40 single-serve coffee makers in our ratings earns better than a rating of Good for taste, and according to our expert taste tester, that’s because of the quality of coffee in the pods themselves. (If you have higher standards for your coffee, we suggest a top-performing drip brewer instead.)

Because pod machines are about convenience, speed, and consistency, these are the qualities our testers focus on. We time brew speed for the all-important first cup and those that follow, note the temperature, record cup-size consistency, and evaluate convenience (operation and cleaning). 

“When you’re shopping for a new pod coffee maker, you’ll also want to consider the type of coffee pods you want to use,” says Ginny Lui, who oversees CR’s coffee maker testing. “Keurig K-Cups offer a much greater variety of blends and coffee brands compared to Nescafé Dolce Gusto or Starbucks Verismo.”

Below, we review the best pod brewer for each major type of coffee pod, including Illy IperEspresso, Keurig K-Cups, Nescafé Dolce Gusto, Nespresso OriginalLine and VertuoLine, and Starbucks Verismo.

To see other highly rated models, check our complete pod coffee maker ratings. If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of K-Cups and capsules, see our guide to recycling coffee pods.

Go to Consumer Reports’ 2018 Holiday Central for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more.

1
Best Illy IperEspresso Brewer
Illy Y3.2 Espresso/Coffee Machine 60296
Illy Y3.2 Espresso/Coffee Machine...

    Illy Y3.2 Espresso/Coffee Machine...

    CR’s take: If you love Illy’s Italian coffee and prefer Illy IperEspresso capsules, the Illy Y3.2 Espresso/Coffee Machine 60296 is the brewer for you. In addition to its ability to brew both coffee and espresso, this machine features a removable water reservoir, a brew-temperature adjustment, a height-adjustable drip tray, and auto-shutoff. It receives a rating of Excellent for repeat-cup speed (how quickly it can brew a second cup) in our tests, with superb temperature consistency as well.

    2
    Best Keurig K-Cup Brewer
    Bella Single Serve with Water Tank BLA14585
    Bella Single Serve with Water Tank...

      Bella Single Serve with Water Tank...

      CR’s take: The Bella Single Serve With Water Tank BLA14585, which takes both Keurig K-Cups and loose grounds, receives a convenience rating of Excellent and offers great cup-size and temperature consistency. This machine features an auto-off function, a removable water reservoir, and a height-adjustable drip tray, all wrapped up in a silver and black finish. And this Bella is an affordable choice, making it a CR Best Buy pick.

      3
      Best Nespresso OriginalLine Brewer
      Nespresso  Pixie Espresso Maker in Aluminum EN125S
      Nespresso  Pixie Espresso Maker in...

        Nespresso  Pixie Espresso Maker in...

        CR’s take: If you’re considering a Nespresso pod coffee maker that uses OriginalLine capsules, check out the Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker in Aluminum EN125S. It earns high marks for first-cup speed, repeat-cup speed, and cup-size consistency, as well as a brewing-range rating of Very Good, which means you have plenty of control over the strength of your brew. The Pixie has a removable water reservoir, a height-adjustable drip tray, and an adjustable brew temperature feature. Like the Nescafé brewer, the Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker in Aluminum EN125S is simple to use, and it can also brew three types of coffee—lungo (an Italian coffee), espresso, and ristretto (a more concentrated espresso)—depending on the capsules you buy.

        4
        Best Nescafé Dolce Gusto Brewer
        DeLonghi Nescafé Dolce Gusto Esperta
        DeLonghi Nescafé Dolce Gusto Esperta

          DeLonghi Nescafé Dolce Gusto Esperta

          CR’s take: If you prefer Nescafé Dolce Gusto pods, consider the DeLonghi Nescafé Dolce Gusto Esperta. This DeLonghi receives strong marks in just about all of CR’s performance tests, including an Excellent rating for first-cup speed. It comes in a silver and black finish and features a removable water reservoir, an auto-off function, and a height-adjustable drip tray. This DeLonghi is simple to use and dependably brews a good cup of coffee.

          5
          Best Starbucks Verismo Brewer
          Starbucks Verismo V Brewer
          Starbucks Verismo V Brewer

            Starbucks Verismo V Brewer

            CR’s take: Starbucks devotees who stick with the coffee chain’s Verismo pods should check out the Starbucks Verismo V. It earns strong scores across the board in our tests, falling short only in convenience, where it still receives a middle-of-the-road rating of Good. The Verismo V features programming as well as a removable water reservoir, an auto-off function, and a height-adjustable drip tray. It’s a solid machine, but keep in mind just how limited the pod selection is from Starbucks.

            6
            Best Nespresso VertuoLine Brewer
            Nespresso VertuoLine Evoluo Deluxe
            Nespresso VertuoLine Evoluo Deluxe

              Nespresso VertuoLine Evoluo Deluxe

              CR’s take: Prefer Nespresso’s VertuoLine capsules over the OriginalLine? The Nespresso VertuoLine Evoluo Deluxe is the best VertuoLine model in our tests. It offers a superb brewing range as well as solid first-cup speed and cup-size consistency. And Nespresso machines earn a rating of Excellent for owner satisfaction in our surveys. In terms of features, this machine offers a removable water reservoir, a height-adjustable drip tray, and an auto-off function. And the Evoluo Deluxe can brew both coffee and espresso, depending on the VertuoLine capsules you use.

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              Daniel Wroclawski

              I'm obsessed with smart home tech and channel my obsession into new stories for Consumer Reports. When I'm not writing about products, I spend time either outside hiking and skiing or up in the air in small airplanes. For my latest obsessions, follow me on Facebook and Twitter (@danwroc).