Last Updated on October 1, 2021 by John Moretti
Do you want to make coffee more quickly and consistently without a lot of fuss? Then, a coffee pod machine may be an excellent option for you. These brewing devices come in many shapes and sizes and create a fascinating array of potential brewing choices. This list will include the best small pod machines on the market. Each should fit easily into your kitchen and provide years of excellent brewing opportunities.
- Best Compact Model: Nespresso Essenza Mini Original Espresso Machine
- Best Overall Pick: Nespresso Vertuo and Milk Frother
- Best Runner Up Option: DeLonghi Nespresso Lattissima Pro Espresso Machine
- Best Budget Option: Chulux Single Serve Coffee Maker Brewer
- Best Ice Coffee Maker: Keurig K-Elite Coffee Maker K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer
- Best Dual Brewing Choice: Hamilton Beach FlexBrew 2-Way Coffee Maker
- Best Espresso Brewer: Nespresso VertuoLine Evoluo Deluxe
- Best Non-Espresso Option: Keurig K-Café
Best Compact Model: Nespresso Essenza Mini Original Espresso Machine
Are you trying to save room in a small apartment or home and want a compact machine that you can trust? Then, this option might be the best choice for you. It takes up just 8 by 12 by 4 inches on your counter, allowing you to keep your kitchen from getting cluttered. However, this powerful model still holds a half-liter of water in its take. As a result, you can get a surprising amount of good coffee.
- Very small and compact for people who need that kind of machine
- A diverse array of different settings for many coffee options
- Surprisingly attractive and colorful design for such a compact option
- You can’t make more than a handful of cups of coffee on a single tank
- Surprisingly costly given its relatively compact and sleek design style
Best Overall Pick: Nespresso Vertuo and Milk Frother
What sets this coffee pod machine apart from all the others on my list? First, I love that you can produce both quick coffee and espresso drinks with minimal difficulty. I also loved how easily this fit into most kitchen designs and the unique variety of different coffee options it provides you. However, there are a few things that I didn’t like, as well, but these were fewer and further in between.
- Very fast drink preparation minimizes your waiting time with this machine
- It comes with 12 coffee capsules to get you started with your coffee right away
- Relatively easy to clean and capable of lasting a long time with minimal upgrades
- Requires Vertuo coffee capsules and doesn’t take any other
- May be a bit potent in flavor for some drinkers
Best Runner Up Option: DeLonghi Nespresso Lattissima Pro Espresso Machine
This fascinating brewer lets you produce simple cups of coffee, lattes, cappuccinos, espresso, and much more. The milk frother helps to produce up to six drinks, which you can program with a single-touch interface. This simplicity makes this one of the finest options on the market because it helps to cut back on any confusion you might experience. Even the most clueless will produce great drinks with this model.
- The simple design is easy enough for kids to understand
- A diverse array of brewing options (the most varied on the list)
- Compact design makes it easy to fit into many kitchens
- Quite expensive even for this already quite costly market
- Cannot make a “drip coffee” style drink, frustrating some buyers
Best Budget Option: Chulux Single Serve Coffee Maker Brewer
Are you on a tight budget and don’t have the kind of money necessary to throw down on an expensive machine? Then, this might be the best choice for you. It holds up to 12 ounces, making it a perfect one-serving pod option for many people. Though it is a bit slower when brewing, it does produce one of the most consistent quality levels. As a result, it is a reasonable option for many situations.
- Very affordable for those who are on a tight budget
- Produces a consistent quality of coffee
- Works with K-Cups, one of the most popular options on the market
- Coffee may be a bit bland for some users
- Material quality is a little lower than other machines
Best Ice Coffee Maker: Keurig K-Elite Coffee Maker K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer
Some people love ice coffee and prefer it over a hot beverage. Thankfully, Keurig provides a high-quality coffee pod machine that lets you produce iced coffee. Simply fill your cup with ice, select the “iced” option, and your coffee will come to you at the perfect temperature. Other features include a variety of brew intensities and a myriad of other fascinating possibilities.
- Diverse choices make this an ice coffee machine you’ll enjoy
- It also produces hot coffee brews of a very high quality
- It comes in a broad array of different colors and styles
- It might be a bit expensive for some tastes
- Relatively large and may take up a significant portion of counter space
Best Dual Brewing Choice: Hamilton Beach FlexBrew 2-Way Coffee Maker
When you run out of coffee pods, you have to rush out to the shop or wait for a delivery from Amazon or the manufacturer. However, this fascinating dual brewer lets you use coffee grounds in the place of pods. As a result, you can get both high-quality pod coffee and grounds for those who prefer it. Though this machine does brew a bit slower than other options, it is a good choice if you want a dual-brewer that can handle both pods and grounds.
- It can be programmed 24-hours ahead of schedule, providing many brewing choices
- Versatile design that makes it easy to use in any brewing situation
- Takes ground coffee if you ever run out of pods for your machine
- Grounds may spill when the coffee percolates
- Requires two different water reservoirs that must be kept filled
Best Espresso Brewer: Nespresso VertuoLine Evoluo Deluxe
If you want a great espresso, this machine is the best option for you. Consistently rated as one of the finest brewers on the market, its espresso comes out tasting strong and tasty with every brew. The simple and compact design makes it easy to fit into a variety of different situations, as well, making your kitchen more comfortable and impressive. The quality of the materials is also quite strong with this machine.
- Adjustable drip tray produces a substantial array of different brewing situations
- Automatic shutoff minimizes confusion and potential burns
- Excellent rating from most customer reviews found online
- Requires VertuoLine capsules to use and is not adaptable with other options
- It costs a bit more compared to other options on the market
Best Non-Espresso Option: Keurig K-Café
Do you want a coffee pod machine but don’t mind one that doesn’t produce an authentic espresso? Then, you might appreciate this option. It uses a milk frother design to deliver an espresso-like drink and many other types of coffee options. This array of potential drink choices make this not only a tremendous non-espresso machine but a model that should work in many homes and commercial kitchen designs.
- Very durable and trustworthy design from a reliable company
- Simple to use and efficient in overall design
- Produces espresso-style drinks with minimum difficulties
- May disappoint fans who want an authentic espresso
- Quite large compared to most of the models on this list
What to Look For When Buying a Small Coffee Pod Machine
When I examined each of the machines on this list, I took a look at a variety of different features. Each of these elements can be weighed and balanced to give you an idea of which model works best for you. So, even if you didn’t find a brewer that suits your taste in our list above, you can use the information below to research options that may be suitable for you.
A small coffee pod machine should be between 6-12 inches wide and 12-24 inches tall. Though some of the models on this list are slightly larger than that range, most are well within it. You want a compact model to minimize how much room is taken up on your countertops.
What can you do if the model you like is too big for your home? First, talk to the manufacturer to see if any other options are available for your needs. It might be possible to identify a myriad of different choices that could work well for you and minimize your expenses in a variety of valuable ways.
Coffee pod machines take various pot types, including K-Cups, Nespresso capsules, Vertuo capsules, and E.S.E. pods. Try to find an option that takes as many as possible to get the best results. Some machines limit their use to pods that the manufacturer created, which ultimately limits you and may even cost you extra money on expensive pod refills.
However, some machines allow you to use multiple pods and may have an adjustment setting that makes it easier to select the options you want. This choice is great because it helps cut back on high costs if you’re trying to save money on your pod machine. After all, you can buy whatever pods you can find on sale and save real cash in the process.
Try to find a machine that can create a broad array of different drinks. For example, the best machines on our list produce standard coffee and let you create espresso, cappuccino, and even latte drinks. In addition, most have straightforward controls that make it very easy to adjust these options and create the kind of drink that makes sense for you.
Also, make sure that the machine design makes sense for you. This factor includes operational methods that feel tight and reasonable. You don’t want a machine that feels like you need to be a rocket scientist to work it. A tight, smooth, and simple coffee pod machine saves you time and mental energy and produces a fascinating array of drink choices.
Pod Expiration Dates
Research each of the pod types available for your coffee machines and figure out how long it takes for them to expire. Most usually last at least 8-12 months but may even last longer. Please note that the “Best By” date indicates the time when your pods start losing flavor rather than expire or spoil. Many people don’t realize that this is the case.
As a result, you may be able to use pods far past their “Best By” dates, though you’ll find the coffee produced is of lower quality. That said, they should still be drinkable for long after the “Best By” date, so it might not be a bad idea to plan your consumption around these times. Doing so helps to cut back on the “stale coffee” effect old pods produce.
How many cups of coffee is your machine capable of producing? Typically, this factor is measured by the amount of water your reservoir holds. Most hold between 60-75 ounces of water, which is between 8-10 cups of coffee. For smaller machines, though, this number may be much smaller depending on the overall size and reservoir of your model.
For instance, some slight coffee pod machines may be good enough for 8-24 ounces of water, which is between 1-2 cups of coffee. However, how often do you want to fill up your machine? If you’d rather have one you only filled up once a week, a more extensive reservoir is preferable. Just know you’ll lose out on the compact size and counter space if you do.
While many pod machines (minimal options) don’t have a choice for grounds, others do. You’ll be losing out on the compact nature of the device, naturally, but you’ll have a more diverse array of brewing options that will make your brewing experience more enjoyable.
Some people who get into pod brewing quickly find that they can’t go back to grounds and are spoiled by pods. Others like the grounds option for guests who may not like pod coffee or for those times when they run out of pods. Whatever your choice, find a grounds selection that makes sense for you. In this way, you can satisfy as many people as possible.
Look and Style
Your coffee machine doesn’t just have to be a practical machine used for brewing. Instead, you can focus heavily on aesthetics to get a high-quality look that looks and feels right for you. For example, some machines may utilize high-quality color schemes that fit into various home designs. Try to find a scheme that feels right for your needs.
Or you might want a machine with sleek and round curves that fit into a modern kitchen design. Whatever choices make sense to you, make sure you commit to them fully. Doing so will help cut back on the need to change any other element of your kitchen. And it can also save you money and ensure that you are satisfied with your coffee.
Try Out a Few Machines That Make Sense for You
Do these small coffee pod machines sounds interesting to you? Or would you rather try a different option instead? Thankfully, finding an exciting device that works perfectly for your needs shouldn’t be too hard. Experiment with a few other choices, and you should find a model that feels right for your needs. Talk to a few different manufacturers or vendors, or try out your friend’s machines to see which you like the most.