If you're limited on space and mornings are a bit hectic, then rather than the usual coffee machines, you'll need the best coffee pod machine to suit your lifestyle. And when the weekend brunch beckons with your besties, make a retro, Italian or futuristic coffee pod machine the centrepiece of your home coffee bar.
Brands like Tassimo and Dolce Gusto plus many other coffee subscription services offer over 50 drink options and are a great option if you're not sure how to use a cafetière. So, if you love Costa Coffee or Cadburys hot chocolate then you're in for a treat. Plus, if you feel like unleashing your inner barista, opt for a coffee machine model that has a milk frother, such as the Nespresso Creatista.
There are so many coffee pod machines on the market it can be overwhelming to decide which model is right for you. They do have some common features, including being convenient, compact and energy efficient. With a coffee pod machine, you have none of the time-consuming preparation required for a filter or bean-to-cup coffee machine. The latest models take up little space, but that also means they have a small water tank with capacity of around 1.2L or less. If you're a small household then anything around 1L will suffice, but shared houses, offices or large families may want to consider bean-to-cup or filter coffee machine options.
Best coffee pod machine at a glance:
• Best coffee pod machine for large mug size: Nespresso Vertuo Next Coffee Machine
• Best budget coffee pod machine: Tassimo by Bosch, Suny 'Special Edition'
• Best coffee pod machine for espresso: Lavazza A Modo Mio Tiny EspressoCoffee Machine
• Best energy-saving coffee pod machine: De'longhi Nescafe Dolce Gusto Genio S Plus
In addition to having automatic shut-off when not in use, research by the University of Quebec found that making coffee in a coffee pod machine is more efficient than making traditional filter coffee. The precision with which a pod-based machine can heat the water uses less energy than a kettle. Also, because the coffee is pre-portioned in a single-serve pod means less wastage by being too generous with the serving size. You can even get
For more brew-how, scroll to the FAQs. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy our guide to the best coffee pod machines for every budget, size, and preference. Whether you're a coffee novice or a seasoned barista you can discover your perfect blend at the touch of a button.
Best coffee pod machine
Best coffee pod machine for large mug size
For lovers of one-touch tech, Nespresso Vertuo Next coffee machines are so easy to use; one button
- Large size coffees
- Nespresso quality
- Delicious crema and strong coffee taste
- Easy to use
- Expensive pods
- Wish more capsules were compatible with it
Best budget coffee pod machine
If you’re in the market for a new coffee pod machine but have a stricter budget, the Tassimo by
- Wide variety of flavour pods
- No fiddly buttons
- Intelligent brewing
- Small water tank
- Only takes Tassimo pods
Best for making larger barista-quality coffees
Made in partnership with Philip, the L’OR Barista Sublime has dual capsule recognition technology,
- Can make two drinks at once
- Dual coffee pod compatibility
- Compatible with other pod brands
- Menu and pod system can seem complicated
- Pod bin fills quickly
Best coffee pod machine for espresso
- Quality Italian espresso
- Removable drip tray so a mug will fit
- Compostable pods available
- Only espresso
Best energy-saving coffee pod machine
Enjoy your favourite high street coffee brands with this small, powerful and easy-to-use De'longhi
- Compact design
- Adjustable drink size
- Smaller capacity
- Can't fit a latte glass under the spout
Best high-end coffee pod machine
If you love lattes or cappuccinos, then this coffee pod machine will be your most valuable product
- Easy one-touch programmes
- Quick heat-up
- Dense milk froth
- Milk wand needs additional cleaning to prevent clogging
Best coffee pod machine for easy lattes
Savour authentic, silky cappuccino or latte macchiato, made directly in your cup or glass.
- Compatible with both regular coffee cups and taller latte glasses
- Compact size
- Quick heat-up time
- Capacity could be bigger
Best luxury coffee pod machine
Make Grind One the centre-piece of your home coffee bar and impress your guests at your next
- Stylish stainless steel design that's built to last
- Compostable pods
- Small coffee portion
Best Nespresso Original coffee pod machine
For an elegant morning coffee routine, the Citiz is a chic and convenient machine. It packs the
- Easy to clean
- Great tasting coffee
- Brilliant milk frother
- Small coffee serving
How much does a coffee pod machine cost?
Coffee pod machines range from £50 to £300. However, you can be limited to a certain brand of pod/capsule – and often, buying exclusive pods from a brand can add up.
Nespresso coffee pods range from 45p to 75p per pod. In comparison, L'OR capsules can be bought in bulk and on subscription from Amazon for around 24p per pod. Factor in pod compatibility too. Many coffee pod machines accept the standard 44mm ESE (Easy Serve Espresso) pods. But be aware that Nespresso Vertuo machines only take Vertuo capsules. Similarly, Tassimo machines only take their branded T Discs.
Check the product specification before buying so you know what coffee pods are compatible.
What are the pros and cons of coffee pod machines?
A small machine doesn't have to necessarily mean small coffee. Yes, there are coffee makers like Lavazza A Modo Mio Tiny that are specifically designed to make espresso. But, there's the Nespresso Vertuo Next, with a footprint of just 14cm that can brew a hearty mug-size coffee. But it's worth noting that, unlike a filter coffee machine, you only get single-serve coffees from pod machines. Here's a summary of the pros and cons of coffee pod machines in general:
• Quick and easy to use
• Compact, takes up little space
• Large variety of coffee flavours
• Affordable price for a machine
• One-touch operation
• Expensive to buy coffee pods/capsules
• Limited to machine brand pods/capsules
• Some pods are recyclable but not all
• Weaker coffee than bean or filter
Is it coffee pods or capsules?
Pods and capsules are used interchangeably to describe single-use shots of coffee that get slotted into coffee machines.
What type of coffee pod is best for the environment?
Coffee pods being single-serve can result in a lot of coffee pod waste, with 29,000 pods going to the landfill every minute (Retail Times).
If you're environmentally conscious, opt for a compostable coffee pod that's made from plant-based materials. Corn starch and paper pulp will break down as organic food waste. Nespresso compostable pods are coming to France and Switzerland in 2023 and compostable pods from Grind are available in the UK. Because they don't have the oxygen barrier that aluminium and plastic pods have, how long you can store biodegradable pods is up for question. It is, in effect, like storing your ground coffee in a paper bag.
An aluminium pod is vacuum-sealed, so the coffee stays fresh for months. In addition, aluminium pods are recyclable, with a lifespan of 80-100 years. In most cases, you have to remove the used coffee grounds and arrange the recycling using Podback.
Some brands still use plastic pods, however, all the major brands have made a point of using recycled plastic. This can be recycled through schemes like TerraCycle.
Finally, there is the reusable coffee pod such as Bluecup Reusable Capsules. This is made from stainless steel, plastic or aluminium. It requires the effort of spooning ground coffee into the pod and sealing it with foil. It's worth the extra minute or two because it works out a lot cheaper, as well as being green.
Natalie Knowles is a Homes & Garden Product Writer for Yours, specialising in home appliances. When she's not testing sparkling water makers, she flexes her creative flair as an artist.