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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

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 that cupful to be particularly amazing. Most of the pod machines Consumer Reports has tested brew coffee of similar quality—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. According to our expert taste tester, the quality of coffee in the pods themselves is just not that great. (If you’re someone who savors a high-quality brew, we suggest a good drip brewer instead of a pod machine.)

Pod machines are about convenience, speed, and consistency—so here at CR our testers focus on those qualities. We time brew speed for the all-important first cup and those that follow, note temperature, record cup-size consistency, and evaluate convenience, which comprises the daily aspects of operation, including filling the reservoir, and cleaning. For the first time, we’re also incorporating survey data collected from thousands of CR members on brand reliability and satisfaction. All these ratings factor into the new Overall Score every model 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 call out the best pod brewers 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.

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

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, brew-temperature adjustment, a height-adjustable drip tray, and auto-shutoff. It receives a rating of Excellent for repeat-cup speed in our tests (how quickly it can brew a second cup), with superb temperature consistency as well.

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

    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.

      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 earns high marks for first-cup speed, repeat-cup speed, and cup-size consistency, as well as a brewing range rating of Excellent, which means you have plenty of control over the strengh of your brew. The Essenza Mini 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. A deep red, it adds a pop of color to your kitchen.

        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. 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.

          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, where it still received 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.

            Best Nespresso VertuoLine Brewer
            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).