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7 Best Small Coffee Makers Compared in 2024

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This is a review of the best small coffee makers. Read on to find your next compact machine.

I live in a small apartment and am sick of having a coffee maker that takes up a lot of space. That inspired me to develop this guide on finding the best machines for smaller homes.

I chose the Nespresso Essenza Mini as the best overall small coffee maker because it’s the most affordable way to produce great-tasting espresso. This works great for anyone who doesn’t have much space, yet wants cafe-quality espresso.

nespresso essenza mini espresso breville

Nespresso Essenza Mini:
Best Overall

  • Price: $$$
  • Dimensions: 12.79 × 4.33 × 8.07 in (D, W, H)
  • Water Reservoir Size: 20.3 fl oz = 2 cups
  • Material: Plastic
  • Coffee Maker Type: Capsule
  • Warranty: 2 years

You may not want a Nespresso for some reason, or may want a coffee maker that’ll also brew black coffee. Consider one of our alternatives in that case.

Let’s do this.

Best Small Coffee Makers for Home Use

  1. Nespresso Essenza Mini: Top pick
  2. Bonavita BV1500TS: Best drip maker
  3. Keurig K-Mini: Best for single-serve
  4. Breville Nespresso Vertuo Plus: Best for low cabinets
  5. Zojirushi Zutto: Best machine w/o pods
  6. Brentwood TS-213BL: Most affordable
  7. AeroPress Go: Best maker, Canada

Top 7 Small Coffee Makers

The following sections will cover the best small coffee makers in-depth. I’ll talk about each makers’ pros and cons, who they’re best for, and additional relevant information to help you know whether it’s worth buying.

None of these small coffee makers will have grinders. Because that feature would add too much mass.

Other than not having much counter space, you’d want a small coffee maker in these situations, or if you’re one of these people:

If you have any questions or concerns on what I’m discussing, refer to the buyer’s guide toward the end of this piece. It should clear up some information in addition to helping you build a criterion.

Dive into the first pick.

1. Nespresso Essenza Mini: Best Overall

nespresso essenza mini espresso breville
Price *$$$
Dimensions12.79 × 4.33 × 8.07 in (D, W, H)
Water Reservoir Size20.3 fl oz = 2 cups
MaterialPlastic
Coffee Maker TypeCapsule
Warranty2 years

Pros

  • Offers two programmable cup sizes.
  • Compact design saves counter space.
  • Energy-saving mode conserves power.

Cons

  • Limited to Nespresso Original capsules.
  • Lacks a milk frother.
  • A pain to access water reservoir.

The Nespresso Essenza Mini is a no-brainer for anyone wanting a compact Nespresso machine that’ll fit under low-hanging wall cabinets.

Capsule coffee makers use pre-measured, sealed capsules of coffee grounds. The machine pierces the capsule and pumps hot water at high pressure, extracting the coffee flavor. 

Capsule coffee makers are a good choice for people who are short on time or want a fuss-free way to make coffee. Capsule coffee makers are also a good option for people who live in small spaces, as they take up very little counter space.

This thing’s the most affordable Nespresso Original Line machine out there and will provide the best-tasting espresso at this price point.

And only espresso.

It’s an Original Line machine, which uses Original pods—the smaller ones. It can’t brew with Vertuo pods, and in extension, can’t make black coffee. Consider a machine like the Nespresso Vertuo if you’re after an affordable(ish) Nespresso that’ll brew black coffee and espresso.

It doesn’t include a milk frother, as with most Nespresso machines. You must buy an Aeroccino or a third-party milk frother for drinks like lattes and cappuccinos. Or get a Nespresso Lattissima, which includes a frother.

Why couldn’t Nespresso have taken inspiration from Keurig’s machine design choices. For instance, why couldn’t the Essenza have an adjustable water reservoir like Keurig’s K-Duo Plus?

Such a design choice would make accessing the water tank from the machine’s front much easier. Instead, You must reach around to grab the tank. But it’s still a removable reservoir, which makes cleaning and refilling easier.

You shouldn’t have issues accessing the tank, even when placing this under a wall cabinet.

Let’s dive into the good stuff.

You want a Nespresso machine because it takes 25 seconds to heat up and less than a minute to brew coffee [1]. Perfect for students, office workers, or anyone else antsy about getting their morning cup of Joe.

It’ll then automatically power off after 9 minutes to save money on electricity bills. However, you can’t program it to automatically start brewing. But that doesn’t matter, considering it takes less than a minute to deal with brewing.

The Essenza Mini offers 2 cup sizes; solo shot espresso and lungo. The latter is a watered-down espresso shot.

This machine’s good for serving one person at a time. If that’s not what you’re after, consider the next pick.


2. Bonavita One Touch: Best Small Drip Coffee Maker

bonavita 5 cup
Price *$$$
Dimensions12.3 × 6.2 × 10.6 in (D, W, H)
Water Capacity5 cups
MaterialStainless steel & plastic
Coffee Maker TypeDrip coffee maker
Warranty1 year

Pros

  • SCA-approved.
  • Uses a thermal carafe.
  • Includes pre-infusion.

Cons

  • Requires a lot of vertical clearance.
  • Can’t program to brew later.
  • Often has bitter-tasting coffee.

The Bonavita One Touch (BV1500TS) works best for anyone who wants an SCA-approved drip coffee maker that doesn’t require much width.

Drip coffee makers brew coffee with hot water poured over ground coffee beans, then collect in a carafe. They are best for simple coffee at home.

This coffee maker’s worth the money if you’re after drip coffee. It isn’t if you want espresso.

SCA stands for the Specialty Coffee Association. They’re an organization that rigorously tests machines to see whether the devices meet their standards. And if they do, the makers generally produce higher-quality coffee than machines not in the program.

For instance, machines’ water temperatures cannot fall under 200 °F [2]. This helps ensure that beverages will have a consistent taste and temperature.

The One Touch also includes pre-infusion, which gently saturates coffee beans prior to brewing. This helps your machine extract more flavors from beans and produce better-tasting coffee. Many coffee makers in this price range (especially smaller models) don’t include pre-infusion.

Meaning, this machine’s a catch.

Many people complain that this machine has a bitter taste. They could have let the coffee sit in the reservoir for too long, had too fine of grinds, or had a malfunctioning model. However, I felt the need to bring this to your attention.

You can’t program this machine to brew coffee at a later time. This isn’t ideal if you want the One Touch to brew coffee immediately when you wake up.

And this model requires a lot of vertical clearance when opening the lids to the water tank. Why couldn’t they have made it removable like the grounds bin? Then the machine would be the perfect drip coffee machine.

At least you could see how much water’s left in the reservoir without having to look behind the machine. A design choice that most manufacturers don’t incorporate into their machines.

The One Touch’s stainless steel carafe will keep your drink hot for hours without requiring a warming plate. This is nice for anyone who doesn’t want to risk burning their coffee in glass carafes.

This machine’s not ideal for producing single cups of coffee. The next one is, though.


3. Keurig K-Mini: Best Single-Serve Small Coffee Maker

keurig k mini plus
Price *$$
Dimensions4.5 × 11.3 × 12.1 in (D, W, H)
Water Capacity12 fl oz = 2 cups
MaterialPlastic
Coffee Maker TypeCapsule
Warranty1 year

Pros

  • Automatically powers off.
  • Heats & brews fast.
  • Fairly easy to clean.

Cons

  • Hard to see & access water reservoir.
  • Not programmable.
  • Pod slot isn’t diagonal.

The Keurig K-Mini is best for anyone who needs a slim coffee maker that’ll fit on countertops that don’t have much space.

Capsule coffee makers are the lazy person’s dream. You pop in a pre-measured pod of coffee, press a button, and voilà. You have a fresh cup of coffee in minutes. No need to measure beans, grind them, or tamp them. 

Capsule coffee makers are perfect for people who are short on time or want to avoid dealing with the hassle of making coffee the traditional way.

This machine’s worth the cost despite what I’m about to write.

It’ll take 2 minutes for the Mini to heat up and brew a cup of coffee. Not as quick as a Nespresso, but quicker than any drip coffee maker. And after 90 seconds, the machine will automatically power off.

This is nice to save money on electricity on a microscopic level compared to machines that power off after around 9 minutes. But it’s annoying if a couple of minutes later you decide you want to brew another cup.

The drip tray is removable, which allows you to fill a travel mug or coffee carafe. However, the water tank isn’t. This machine actually has one of the worst Keurig water tank designs. You can’t change the reservoir’s position, which makes it more difficult to see and refill.

It doesn’t hold much water; you must constantly refill it. Then the machine requires several inches of vertical clearance, which’ll clear the 18 inches most homes have between cabinets and countertops. But you may not be able to fit a pitcher under the cabinet.

And the window to see the reservoir is tiny and on the machine’s rear. It’s a pain to know when to refill the machine. But if you do it after every cup or 2, that isn’t important.

There’s also the Keurig K-Mini Plus, which has a removable water reservoir and a strong brew function. This feature will brew coffee slower to extract more flavor. Get the Plus model if you don’t mind paying more for some extra features.

This machine’s not programmable. You can’t set it to brew coffee when waking up. And since it requires you to tap a button to operate, a smart plug won’t allow for programmability here.

Most Keurig makers have diagonal pot insert slots, which makes cleaning and adding pods easier. This one doesn’t, which proves a bit inconvenient.

However, the machine’s easy to clean otherwise. You could remove the pod slot and handwash that. Otherwise, wipe down the machine’s body and you’re done.

You may prefer a different time to brew coffee with this machine. The next choice will brew quicker.


4. De’longhi Nespresso Vertuo Plus: Best Short Coffee Maker for Low Cabinets

nespresso vertuoplus
Price *$$$
Dimensions12.7 × 8.7 × 12.8 in (D, W, H)
Water Capacity40 fl oz = 8 cups
Machine TypeCapsule coffee maker
MaterialsPlastic
Warranty1 year

Pros

  • Brews black coffee & espresso.
  • Can adjust water reservoir position.
  • Bluetooth connectivity.

Cons

  • More expensive.
  • Can’t program to turn on at specific time.
  • No handle on water reservoir.

The Nespresso Vertuo Plus is a boon for anyone who wants a Nespresso coffee maker that allows you to access the water reservoir from the machine’s front.

Capsule coffee makers work by piercing a sealed pod of ground coffee with a needle, then forcing hot water through the coffee at high pressure. This creates a rich, crema-topped espresso.

Capsule coffee makers are best for people who want a quick and easy cup of coffee without measuring or grinding beans. They are also a good option for people who live in small spaces, as they are relatively compact.

This coffee maker’s worth every penny.

It’s a Vertuo Line machine, which will accept Vertuo pods. Not Original ones. These pods allow you to make black coffee and espresso (depending on pod size and type). And it’ll allow you to brew carafes of black coffee.

A feat that no Nespresso Original Line machine can accomplish. However, you’ll want this machine if you want both coffee types. If you want only espresso, go for Original machines. They’re cheaper.

This specific model costs more, partially because it comes with an Aeroccino milk frother. It’s harder to find Vertuo Plus machines that don’t include one. However, it allows you to brew drinks like cappuccinos.

The Vertuo Plus has my favorite water reservoir design of all Nespresso makers because it’s removable and adjustable. If you don’t have as much counter width, move the tank to the machine’s rear. Otherwise, keep it on the side. Then you’ll see the amount of water remaining.

And to have easier access, which makes it an amazing machine for anyone with low-hanging wall cabinets. No need to reach around your device to grab the water reservoir. However, no Nespresso water reservoirs have handles like some Keurig machines.

Making it more difficult for folks with wrist problems to grasp the water tank. Or for anyone who has wet/oily hands.

Connect the machine to the Nespresso app VIA Bluetooth to know when to clean or descale your machine. Helps with removing guesswork. But I wish they would have added a means to program your machine through the app. Would have made wireless connectivity more practical.

If you strictly want black coffee, consider the next machine.


5. Zojirushi Zutto: Best With No Pods

zojirushi zutto
Price *$$
Dimensions6 × 8 × 10 in (D, W, H)
Water Capacity5 cups
MaterialStainless steel
Coffee Maker TypeDrip coffee maker
Warranty1 year

Pros

  • Stainless steel body for enhanced durability.
  • Removable water reservoir.
  • Controls are easy to use.

Cons

  • Doesn’t brew at an optimal temperature for good-tasting coffee.
  • Difficult to access water reservoir.
  • Doesn’t shut off automatically.

The Zojirushi Zutto is a perfect machine for anyone who wants something simple to use and will last a long time.

Drip coffee makers brew coffee by pouring hot water over ground coffee beans in a filter and collecting the coffee in a carafe. Drip coffee makers are best for people who want simple, quick, and affordable coffee at home.

Zojirushi makes high-quality products and generally competitively prices them. This machine’s no different.

The water reservoir is removable, but it’ll require a lot of vertical clearance to access. It is impossible to fit under wall cabinets without having to move it when it comes time to refill. I recommend keeping it on a coffee cart, table, or dishwasher.

Since it’s small, it could also probably fit on a desk.

A window on the machine’s front’ll show you how much water’s left. Ideal because you don’t need to look behind the machine for this information.

It has a single button, which makes it dummy-proof. Press it when you want it to operate, and don’t worry about learning what a million other buttons do. However, that also means this machine isn’t programmable.

Meaning, you can’t program it to power on to make coffee immediately when you wake up.

You could fix this by buying a smart plug and by leaving the button powered on. Speaking of powering on, it’ll keep your coffee warm for a couple of hours. I wouldn’t keep it warm for more than 45 minutes, though. Because that’s the timeframe that you risk burning your coffee.

Glass carafes, while susceptible to burning coffee and breakage, will give your coffee a clean taste. And if you’re not already using filtered water, the Zutto includes charcoal filters, which will strip most chlorine from your water.

Besides the glass carafe, this machine has a solid body that’s not easily prone to wear and tear.

Many folks complain that the machine doesn’t brew at an optimal temperature. However, this could be subjective for many folks. It’s not an SCA-approved machine, and it’s cheap. There’s not too much to expect.

If you’re looking for a cheaper machine, keep reading.


6. Brentwood TS-213BL: Best Cheap Small Coffee Maker

brentwood ts 213bl
Price *$
Dimensions8 × 6 × 10 in (D, W, H)
Water Capacity4 cups
MaterialPlastic
Coffee Maker TypeDrip coffee maker
Warranty1 year

Pros

  • Makes hot coffee effectively.
  • Compact size saves counter space.
  • Includes reusable filter.

Cons

  • Not programmable.
  • Plastic components emit a strong smell.
  • Fragile construction, prone to breakage.

The Brentwood TS-213BL works best for anyone who wants a cheap coffee maker and nothing more.

Drip coffee makers brew coffee with hot water pouring over ground coffee beans in a filter, then collect them in a carafe. Drip coffee makers are best for simple, easy coffee at home.

This machine’s a perfect price for anyone who wants cheap drip coffee.

It’s small, which means it’s ideal for smaller kitchens. The color and aesthetic may fit retro-style kitchens. And it’ll make hot coffee as well as a machine could in this price range.

It’s not programmable, which means you can’t set it to brew for later. But it’s easy to use, considering its single button. You shouldn’t make any mistakes when you’re waking up at 8 AM and barely able to function.

It does include a reusable mesh filter, though. This will save you money otherwise spent on paper filters, but it won’t result in as clean-tasting of coffee. Plus, mesh stainless steel filters tend to accumulate oils, which could make them hard to clean and lead to stale-tasting drinks.

And you may have more sediment in your drinks.

The Brentwood also includes a warming plate that’ll keep your drink warm for a couple of hours. There’s a pause-and-serve function that allows you to grab the coffee mid-brew. But I’d keep a rag nearby in case it drips.

Even with the pause-and-serve function, cheaper machines tend to let out some drips. They also use low-quality plastic to achieve a lower price, which could reduce durability and a strong chemical smell when opening.

This smell will go away after a while, though. Air out your kitchen, and keep an activated charcoal air purifier nearby.

I’m not trying to dissuade you from buying this specific machine. I want you to know the downsides of buying a cheap machine to prevent you from making a regrettable decision. If your budget for a coffee maker isn’t that high, choose the Brentwood over anything else on this list.

Here’s another compact, slightly less-affordable coffee maker that’s a viable alternative.


7. AeroPress Go: Best Small Coffee Maker, Canada

aeropress go portable coffee press kit
Price *$
Dimensions13 × 9.9 × 9.9 cm (D, W, H)
Water Capacity236 ml = 1 cup
MaterialPlunger seal: silicone
Plunger & chamber: BPA-free polypropylene
Coffee Maker TypeAeroPress
Warranty1 year

Pros

  • Lightweight & portable.
  • It is easy to produce tasty, strong coffee.
  • Well-built, compact, & reasonably priced.

Cons

  • Smaller capacity than the original AeroPress.
  • The included filter holder doesn’t like to stay closed.
  • Travel cup is a bit bulky.

The AeroPress Go is the best small coffee maker for those living in Canada and the United Kingdom due to its lack of electricity requirements. Meaning, you won’t have to worry about voltage incompatibility.

AeroPress coffee makers brew coffee by forcing hot water through ground coffee using a piston. They are best for people who want a quick, easy, and clean way to make coffee with various brewing options.

If you’re after a companion for traveling or camping, the AeroPress go is worth the cost.

You won’t crush the Go if you place it in your backpack or luggage. It’s made of thick, BPA-free plastic. Making it ideal if you’re traveling overseas or across the border. It’s also not susceptible to breaking like glass or ceramic coffee makers (e.g., Hario V60).

To become portable, it has to become smaller. Hence, why it’s ⅓ the size of the regular AeroPress [3]. If that’s not ideal for home use, then get the AeroPress Original. It could still fit in luggage, but you’ll have a bit more weight and mass.

The filter holder tends to pop open, which could lead to spillage. Keep a rag nearby just in case.

Otherwise, it’s one of the most affordable, compact coffee makers at this price point. It’ll brew espresso-like beverages and black coffee. But mind you, it’s not actual espresso.

It doesn’t use any bars of pressure like espresso machines. And it has almost no crema, which is a crucial component in an espresso shot’s anatomy.

The travel cup is large and bulky. If you’re traveling and find that it’ll take up too much room, use cups at your hotel or hostel instead. While camping, you don’t have much of a choice other than to bring the cup.

That’s all for our machine reviews. Keep reading to learn whether you’re making the right choice when buying a compact coffee maker.


How to Choose the Best Small Coffee Maker: Buying Guide

Consider these factors when shopping for a compact coffee maker:

CriteriaWhy it’s Important
Additional FeaturesFeatures to enhance speed & convenience.
Drinks it Can BrewBrew(able) drinks.
Ease to Clean & MaintainDetermines time spent on cleaning & maintenance.
Machine TypeVarying machines will brew coffee differently.

I’ll dive more into each of these criteria throughout the following sections. Follow along and sketch an ideal coffee maker in your head.

1. Additional Features

Consider these features when shopping for a small coffee maker:

FeatureDescriptionBenefit
Removable water reservoirEasy to fill & clean.No more messy spills.
Programmable timerSet coffee to brew ahead of time.Wake up to fresh coffee.
Automatic shut-offPrevents coffee from burning.Save energy & extend the life of the coffee maker.
Keep-warm functionCoffee stays hot for hours.No need to rush to make coffee before it gets cold.
GrinderFreshly ground coffee every time.Better flavor.
Milk frotherAdd foamed milk to coffee.Creamier, more luxurious coffee.
LED displayEasy to see time, temperature, and other settings.No more squinting at tiny buttons.
PortableEasy to take on the go.Coffee anywhere, anytime.
CompactTakes up less space on the counter.More counter space for other things.

Most small coffee makers will include removable water reservoirs and automatic shut-off. Many Nespresso and Keurig machines won’t include milk frothers, grinders, and programmable timers.

No small coffee maker should include a grinder. You’ll need to upgrade to a bigger coffee maker if that’s something you want. And if that’s the route you choose, opt for a front-loading coffee maker with a grinder.

While rare, it would make accessing the grounds bin and water reservoir much easier in compact areas.

2. Drinks It Can Brew

Here are what drinks small coffee makers can usually brew:

AmericanoBlack coffeeEspresso shots
Black EyeMochaIrish Coffee
CappuccinoMacchiatoLazy Eye
LatteFlat WhiteRed Eye

All Keurig and Nespresso machines can make espresso shots. Ones with milk frothers can make drinks like macchiatos, cappuccinos, and lattes. Getting a separate milk frother will also allow you to make these drinks.

Drip coffee makers and Keurigs will brew black coffee. Nespresso Original Line machines won’t. But Vertuo Line machines will, since they also have black coffee pods.

3. How Easy It Is to Clean & Maintain

A coffee maker that is difficult to clean can become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold, which can make your coffee taste bad and make you sick.

Features that can contribute to ease of cleaning include:

  • Removable parts: The carafe, brew basket, & water reservoir should all be removable for easy cleaning.
  • Dishwasher-safe parts: Toss them in the dishwasher after each use.
  • Self-cleaning features: Some makers have self-cleaning features that make it easy to remove coffee residue & mineral buildup.

Consider these design choices and features that can make maintenance easier:

  • Easy-to-access controls: The controls on the coffee maker should be easy to reach and understand.
  • Visible water reservoir: A visible water reservoir makes it easy to see how much water is left.
  • Cool-touch exterior: A cool-touch exterior means you don’t have to worry about burning yourself when you’re handling the coffee maker.

It is becoming more common for small coffee makers to include features that make them easier to clean and maintain. This is because consumers are increasingly demanding appliances that are easy to use and care for.

4. Machine Type

Here are the different types of small coffee makers:

Coffee MakerBest ForAvg. Price
Drip Coffee MakerAutomation & saving time, large volumes.$20–$100
AeroPressTravelers & single-cup coffee aficionados.$30–$40
Manual Pour-overPrecision & control, coffee connoisseurs.$20–$60
Thermal Coffee MakerKeeping coffee hot for long periods, offices.$40–$150
Stovetop Coffee MakerSimplicity & strong coffee lovers, small kitchens.$20–$50
Capsule Coffee MakerQuick espresso.$100–$250
Semi-automatic Espresso MakerMore control over espresso-making.$50–$1,000

I’ll make choosing a machine a bit easier:

  • Drip Coffee Maker: Anyone who wants a quick and easy way to make coffee for a group. 
  • AeroPress: Coffee lovers who want to experiment with different brewing methods.
  • Manual Pour-over: Coffee enthusiasts who want to control the brewing process. 
  • Thermal Coffee Maker: People who want to keep their coffee hot for an extended period of time.
  • Stovetop Coffee Maker: People who want a budget-friendly option or who like the taste of stovetop coffee.
  • Capsule Coffee Maker: Anyone in a hurry or who wants to make coffee quickly.
  • Semi-automatic Espresso Maker: Coffee lovers who want to make espresso drinks at home.

Capsule coffee makers take up the least space since they don’t require grinders or storing coffee beans.

Stovetop coffee makers and percolators will also not take up much space if you opt for pre-ground beans over a grinder. Since a grinder will demand a lot of counter or cabinet real estate.

Our Verdict

Let’s review our top picks:

I went with the Breville Nespresso Essenza Mini as the top pick because you can’t beat the water tank heating in 25 seconds and brewing in less than a minute.

nespresso essenza mini espresso breville

Nespresso Essenza Mini:
Best Overall

  • Price: $$$
  • Dimensions: 12.79 × 4.33 × 8.07 in (D, W, H)
  • Water Reservoir Size: 20.3 fl oz = 2 cups
  • Material: Plastic
  • Coffee Maker Type: Capsule
  • Warranty: 2 years

Footnotes:

  • * Price will vary by model, manufacturer, and vendor.
Photo of author

Author

Tim Lee is, as you might have guessed the founder of TimsCoffee.com. He is a former barista and a professional web publisher. He has now combined his knowledge and expertise in both subjects to create TimsCoffee.com.
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