Best Single Serve Coffee Maker (No Pods): Top 5 Reviewed

woman holding a metal mug by a lake

In a rush? Our top pick is the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker.

Sick and tired of the single serve coffee pod?

I hear you – loud and clear.

They’re terrible for the environment. And on top of that, the quality just can’t compete with freshly ground coffee beans. Still, you have to hand it to pods – they sure are convenient.

Here’s the thing, though:

A single serve brewer that doesn’t use pods is just as convenient. Plus, they make better coffee, and they’re better for the planet. Can’t argue with that.

To help you find the best single serve coffee maker that doesn’t use pods, I’ve reviewed the top models on the market today. 

I’ve also thrown in a buying guide at the end, to help you understand which features you should be looking out for.

So, ready to find out more?

Let’s get started!

Top 5 Single Serve Coffee Makers That Don’t Use Pods

Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker

If it’s versatility you’re looking for, look no further. 

The only way that the Ninja coffee bar could be any more versatile is if it could also vacuum your house and do your grocery shopping.

Unfortunately, it can’t do those things. But as far as making your morning cup of coffee goes, there’s pretty much nothing it can’t do.

Whether you want a single cup of regular coffee, a full carafe, or a cappuccino with creamy foam on top –  this coffee maker has got you covered.

All those options might seem intimidating. But believe me – once you get to know it a little, this machine is actually super simple to operate.

And it’s pretty easy to clean too, so you won’t be wasting any time fiddling around with a bunch of parts like you would with other machines. 

Pros

  • You’ll feel like a pro barista with all the different drinks you’ll be able to make
  • Features a milk frother so you can make milk foam for cappuccinos and lattes
  • The removable water reservoir is a breeze to detach, so refilling it is quick and easy
  • You can choose between a thermal or glass carafe depending on your budget
  • The heating plate can be switched off to avoid ending up with burnt coffee
  • It’s fully programmable, so you can set a timer in advance to make your coffee

Cons 

  • Because it has so many features, it takes up quite a bit more counter space than single serve coffee makers that only have the single serve option
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Technivorm Moccamaster Cup One Coffee Brewer 

If you’re looking for a coffee machine that just brews the one cup, I’d definitely recommend going with the Moccamaster Cup One from Technivorm. 

It might not have a whole lot of different options like some coffee makers do, but it sure does brew delicious coffee. 

What’s so good about it?

The secret lies in the fact that Technivorm coffee makers always have an optimal brew time and water temperature. Because of this, the extraction of your coffee is always perfect. 

It’ll never taste burnt, bitter, or sour. It’ll taste perfect every time.

But it doesn’t just make excellent coffee. It’s also one of the best looking coffee machines out there.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. The Moccamaster is exhibited in the MoMA design store in New York. Albeit, it’s a larger model that brews a full 10 cup carafe. Still, it’s the same design, and it’s sure to be a feature wherever you place it.

Pros

  • Optimal brew time and water temperature means your coffee will taste perfect every time
  • Comes with porcelain mug that features a silicone sleeve so you can hold it when there’s hot coffee inside – but you can also use other mugs as it fits most sizes
  • Available in a range of colors that’ll look amazing in your kitchen
  • Comes with a 5 year warranty so you can rest easy knowing your coffee machine will last

Cons 

  • Not as compact as other single serve coffee makers on the market, so you need to make sure you’ve got enough space on your kitchen counter
  • It only makes one 10 oz cup of coffee, so if you want to fill a large 15 or 20 oz travel mug you won’t be able to get enough coffee from this brewer
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Hamilton Beach Scoop Single Serve Coffee Maker

There are two types of people in this world: 

There are people who like just a regular sized cup of coffee. And then, there are people who like a massive cup – the bigger the better.

You’ll often hear people complaining that their single serve machine doesn’t make as much coffee as they’d like to drink in a single serving.

That’s not the case with this machine.

You can choose between an 8 oz brew, which is enough to fill a standard sized mug. Or, you can opt for a 14 oz brew to fill an entire travel mug.

Another thing you can choose is regular or bold – for a milder or stronger brew, depending on how you like it.

That’s it. 

Small, large, mild, strong. 

Those are your options. 

Select your preferences, and watch your cup of coffee brew in a matter of minutes. 

This machine is so intuitive and easy to use, you won’t even need to read the manual.

And the best part is, cleaning it is a piece of cake. The filter scoop is even dishwasher safe, so maintaining this machine is pretty much effortless.

Pros

  • Offers both an 8 oz and a 14 oz brew, so you can fill either a standard or a travel mug depending on how much coffee you want
  • You can choose between regular and bold, depending on whether you like your coffee stronger or milder
  • Features a cup stand that flips around to fit smaller mugs – this prevents coffee from splashing around and making a mess all over your counters
  • Super easy to use and even easier to clean, saving you time and effort in multiple ways

Cons 

  • The water temperature is lower than it is on a lot of coffee makers, so if you like your coffee piping hot you probably won’t be satisfied with this model
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Cuisinart DGB-550BKP1 Grind & Brew Automatic Coffeemaker 

As far as grind and brew coffee makers go, this is my favorite model that offers a single serve function.

Fresh coffee brewed from freshly ground beans is definitely the best – nobody can argue with that. 

And having a machine that both grinds and brews your beans saves you the hassle of having to grind them separately.

But what if you want to use ground coffee?

Not a problem!

Just turn the grinder off and load the filter up with pre ground coffee instead. Simple as that.

It also features 24 hour programmability, which lets you set a timer in advance. 

Picture walking into the kitchen each morning to find a freshly brewed cup of coffee waiting for you. 

Who wouldn’t want to start their day off like that?

Pros

  • The fact that it’s a grind and brew coffee machine means you get the freshest possible coffee, which has the most flavor
  • It uses both whole coffee beans and pre-ground coffee, so you can use any type of coffee you have on hand
  • It can brew anywhere from a single cup to a full 12 cup carafe – whether you’re making coffee for yourself or the entire family, this machine is up to the task
  • 24 hour programmability means you can have a fresh cup of coffee ready and waiting for you the minute you get out of bed in the morning
  • It’s a well-made, durable machine that’ll last a long time without having to be replaced

Cons 

  • The grinder is quite loud, so it might wake up other members of your household
  • It’s a blade grinder, which isn’t as good as a burr grinder
  • It doesn’t measure your coffee beans for you, so you have to measure them out yourself before you put them in the machine
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BLACK+DECKER Single Serve Coffeemaker 

If you’re on a tight budget, here’s something you’ll be able to afford without having to dig deep into your pockets.

This little coffee maker is super small and super simple. 

It only has the one button, so you can even teach your grandma how to use it without confusing her. 

And it’s so tiny that you can fit it in literally any space. A cramped kitchen counter, a college dorm room, an RV – you name it.

It comes with a travel mug included that fits perfectly into the machine. It’s thermal, so it keeps your coffee warm. 

And it does a good job at it. 

Your coffee won’t go cold for a good 2 hours after you’re done brewing it, which is more than enough time to drink it – no matter how slowly you sip.

Pros

  • Anyone can afford this coffee maker, no matter how tight a budget – it costs way less than any other single cup coffee maker I reviewed
  • It comes with a 16 oz thermal travel mug, so your coffee will stay warm for at least 2 hours after you brew it
  • Extremely straightforward to use – it only has one button, so you can’t get it wrong
  • It’s compact and doesn’t take up much space, so you’ll be able to fit it anywhere
  • Dishwasher safe parts make cleaning it super quick and easy

Cons 

  • Difficult to fit standard sized mugs onto the machine – prone to wobbling and splashing
  • It’s made of plastic, which obviously isn’t the most durable material
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A Guide To Buying A Single Serve Coffee Maker (No Pods)

single serve coffee maker brewing coffee into a white mug

Looking to ditch your Keurig K Cup pod coffee makers, Nespresso pods, and coffee pods in general?

Getting a single serve coffee maker that doesn’t use pods is the best way to do it.

But as you can see, there’s a vast variety of options.

To narrow down your search, you need to know which features to look out for.

Some of the things you should take into account include:

  • The amount of coffee the machine can brew
  • Whether or not it comes with a carafe or mug included
  • How much space the machine takes up
  • What type of filter it uses
  • Whether or not it has any advanced features

I’m going to go over each of these in more detail, to give you a better idea of what you should pay attention to when you look at different models.

Let’s take it from the top.

Brew Size & Cup Size

Each of these coffee machines offers the option of brewing a single cup of coffee.

But how big is that cup size?

See, the answer is different for pretty much every machine.

The Technivorm Moccamaster, for instance, brews a 10 oz cup of coffee – and that’s the only size it offers. If you want to fill a travel mug which can be up to 20 oz in volume, you’ll only be able to fill it halfway.

Then you’ve got machines like the Hamilton Beach Scoop, that give you a few different options to choose from. This machine will let you brew a smaller 8 oz cup, or a larger 14 oz cup.

And finally, you’ve got those that can brew you anything from a single cup to a full carafe. 

Take the Ninja specialty coffee maker, for example. It offers a range of different sizes for single servings, as well as full and half carafe brewing options.

Carafe

Speaking of carafes – some of these coffee makers have one and others don’t. 

Some of them come with some type of mug that you can use interchangeably with your own mugs. 

Others don’t include any type of vessel – you just brew directly into your own mugs and coffee cups.

If you want a single serve coffee maker that can also make larger batches of coffee, you’ll probably want to look at models with a carafe.

Keep in mind that a glass carafe won’t retain heat as well as a stainless steel carafe. 

That being said, coffee makers with stainless steel carafes do tend to be quite a bit pricier than those with a glass carafe. 

Size

You’ll notice that the models I’ve reviewed in this article vary significantly in size.

That’s because some of them are designed to make a single cup of coffee and nothing else. On the other hand, other models can brew anywhere from 1 to 12 cups at a time.

Obviously, a coffee maker that only brews a single cup isn’t going to be as big and bulky as a machine that can make a full carafe.

Still, there are certain models that can only brew one cup, but still take up quite a bit of space. Namely, the Moccamaster Cup One is larger than most other models that only do a single cup.

The bottom line is – you should always take the time to measure the space where you plan on keeping your coffee maker before you buy it. 

That includes the size of the footprint, but don’t forget to measure the height as well.

Doing this will save you time in the long run. The last thing you want is to have to send your brand new coffee maker back because it doesn’t fit on your kitchen countertop.

Filters

As far as coffee filters go, most single serve coffee makers have reusable mesh filters. 

Others require paper filters, although you can also use paper filters in a lot of the mesh filter models, if that’s your thing.

I don’t really see why you would, though. It’s an extra expense, and it creates unnecessary waste. 

Plus, emptying and cleaning the mesh filter between brews is as quick and easy as it gets.

Some models even feature a filter that doubles as a coffee ground scoop. I’m a big fan of this, just because it’s super convenient. You don’t have to fiddle around with measuring out your grounds and pouring them into the coffee maker. Just scoop and load – it’s that easy.

Advanced Features

Some of these coffee makers are as simple as they come. Others offer some impressive extra features that are definitely worth considering when you’re choosing a new machine.

There are some models that feature an integrated coffee grinder. These types of machines grind your beans fresh right before brewing them, giving you the freshest cup of coffee possible. 

Another neat feature is 24 hour programmability. This gives you the ability to set a timer and have your coffee brewed and ready precisely when you want it.

You’ll never have to stand around waiting for your coffee to brew again.

And then you’ve got models like the Ninja specialty coffee maker, which take advanced features to a whole other level. Aside from being fully programmable, it also has its own milk frother, which lets you make your own cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos.

The Final Verdict

As you can see, there are quite a few great single serve coffee makers to choose from, and each of them is pretty unique.

Still, none offer as much as the Ninja specialty coffee maker

It lets you make drip coffee, as well as a stronger coffee that’s more like espresso, which you can use to make drinks like cappuccinos and lattes. 

It even comes with its own milk frother, so you have everything you need to make all your favorite coffee drinks from the comfort of your own home.

To give you a few ideas of things you can try out, head on over to our guide on different types of coffee.