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Cup of coffee from one of the best pod coffee makers

Best Pod Coffee Makers

CR’s tests identify the most convenient single-serve machines

Pod coffee makers could be a convenient way to jump-start your morning routine. Turn on the machine, fill the reservoir with fresh water, pop in a pod, press start, and—in a minute or two—you have a piping hot cup of joe. 

Almost all of the pod machines Consumer Reports tests brew similar-quality coffee when it comes to taste. (If you're a coffee aficionado who savors a high-quality brew, get a good drip brewer instead of a pod machine.) 

But pod machines differ when it comes to convenience, speed, consistency, and more. 

That’s why we put pod coffee makers through a battery of tests to determine which models you should consider. Our engineers test for a variety of factors, including brew speed for the first and additional cups; temperature and cup-size consistency; convenience; and more. Then our expert coffee taste-tester weighs in. All of these results are compiled into the Overall Score that every model in our pod coffee maker ratings receives.

“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’ve highlighted the best pod brewers for each major type of coffee pod, including 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, check our guide to recycling coffee pods.

Best Keurig K-Cup Brewer
Cuisinart Premium Single-Serve Brewer SS-10

Cuisinart Premium Single-Serve...

CR’s take: The Cuisinart Premium Single-Serve Brewer SS-10, which takes Keurig K-Cups, offers top-notch convenience as well as cup-size and temperature consistency. It features programming, an auto-off function, a removable water reservoir, a built-in water filter, and a height-adjustable drip tray, all wrapped up in a silver-and-black finish. And this Cuisinart is an affordable choice.

    Best Nescafé Dolce Gusto Brewer
    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. It earns high marks for cup-size consistency and first-cup brewing speed, as well as strong marks for repeat brewing speed, brewing range, and convenience. This DeLonghi comes in a silver-and-black finish and features a removable water reservoir, an auto-off function, and a height-adjustable drip tray. This machine is simple and reliably brews a good cup of coffee.

      Best Nespresso OriginalLine Brewer
      Nespresso Essenza Mini

      Nespresso Essenza Mini

      CR’s take: If you're considering a Nespresso pod coffee maker that uses OriginalLine capsules, check out the Nespresso Essenza Mini. It earned high marks for first-cup and repeat-cup speed, cup-size consistency, and brewing range. The Essenza Mini comes in a deep-red-and-black finish, adding a pop of color to your kitchen, and has a removable water reservoir, a height-adjustable drip tray, and an auto-off function. Like the Nescafé brewer, the Nespresso Essenza Mini is simple to use, but it has the added ability to brew three different types of coffee—lungo (an Italian coffee), espresso, and ristretto (a more concentrated espresso)—depending on the capsules you buy.

        Best Nespresso VertuoLine Brewer
        Nespresso VertuoPlus

        Nespresso VertuoPlus

        CR’s take: Prefer Nespresso’s VertuoLine capsules over the OriginalLine? The Nespresso VertuoPlus is the best VertuoLine model in our tests. It offers a superb brewing range as well as solid first-cup speed, temperature consistency, and convenience. In terms of features, it offers a removable water reservoir, a height-adjustable drip tray, and an auto-off function. And the VertuoPlus can brew both coffee and espresso depending on the VertuoLine capsules you use.

          Best Starbucks Verismo 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. 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 it works only with Verismo pods, which come in a much smaller selection than Keurig K-Cups do.

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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).