When it comes to buying a capsule coffee maker, many doubts assail us. The supply of capsule coffee machines is significant, and we usually do not know the fundamental differences between the different brands (as well as understanding the differences between each model).
Perhaps you are simply looking for the cheapest possible capsule coffee machine and limit your research to the 3 or 4 brands available in your local hypermarket, not knowing that the range is much wider. What is the best capsule coffee machine available today? Which capsule coffee machine to buy in 2021? Why are there so many price differences between the best capsule coffee machines and the low-end ones? Which models offer more for the same price than others?
Well, we are going to clear all these doubts for you… and many, many more.
On this page, we aim to compile all the information about the capsule coffee machines currently on the market, and we will also try to guide you on which is the best capsule coffee machine according to your needs and budget. If you are thinking of buying a single-serve coffee machine and you don’t know which one to choose, congratulations because you have come to the right place.
- 1 What should I contemplate before purchasing a coffee machine?
- 2 The best pod coffee machines brands
- 2.1 Nespresso pod coffee machines
- 2.2 Dolce Gusto pod coffee machines
- 2.3 Tassimo Bosch pod coffee machines
- 2.4 Philips Senseo pod coffee machines
- 2.5 Illy pod coffee machines
- 2.6 Lavazza pod coffee machines
- 2.7 Cremesso pod coffee machines
- 2.8 Delta Q pod coffee machines
- 2.9 Fagor Stracto pod coffee machines
- 2.10 Keurig pod coffee machines
- 2.11 The Philips L’Or pod coffee machine
- 2.12 Pod formats and their compatibilities
- 3 The pod adapters for each coffee machine
- 4 Our selection of the best pod coffee machines in the world
- 5 And the best pod coffee machine is…
- 6 Pod coffee machines and their reference prices
- 7 Universal pod coffee machines
- 8 Pod coffee machines with steamer
- 9 Pod coffee machines for the car (12v)
- 10 But… I’m looking for a pod coffee machine for the truck (24v)
- 11 Are automatic pod coffee machines better?
- 12 Are there professional pod coffee machines?
- 13 Toy pod coffee machines
- 14 The best pod coffee machines for companies
- 15 Large pod coffee machines
- 16 Small (very) pod coffee machines
- 17 Vintage pod coffee machines
- 18 Pod coffee machines with Wifi
- 19 Some frequently asked questions about pod coffee machines – FAQs
- 19.1 What about the Krups and Delonghi pod coffee machines?
- 19.2 I need to choose: Pod coffee machine or espresso?
- 19.3 Pod coffee machines vs. super machines
- 19.4 Can I use a capsule coffee machine to make chocolate?
- 19.5 Do Nespresso pods work in Dolce Gusto coffee machines?
- 19.6 Which pod coffee machines are compatible with private labels?
- 20 2021’s cheapest pod coffee machines
- 21 Second-hand pod coffee machines
- 22 How to clean a pod coffee machine
- 23 What is the best-selling pod coffee machine in 2021?
- 24 Latest pod coffee machines reviewed on the web
What should I contemplate before purchasing a coffee machine?
Before reading our recommendations for the best capsule coffee makers of 2021, you can start to learn more about the industry by reading a series of basic guides such as these:
Buying a capsule coffee machine for your home is not a trivial matter. There are many aspects to consider before making the final decision, and many are often overlooked or not given the importance they deserve.
We are going to give you three guidelines that you should not overlook:
- To be the best pod coffee machine, we have to pay attention to the quality of the coffee, which is the main reason why most users buy a coffee machine. Do you like Nespresso’s or Dolce Gusto’s coffee maker better? Do you prefer Tassimo’s varieties or Senseo Phillips’ pod coffee machine? Or perhaps you prefer some quality alternative, although less well known on the Internet, such as Illy’s or Lavazza’s pod systems?
- The operation mode of the coffee machine. Is it manual or automatic? Is the water tank large, or will I have to refill it frequently? These are issues that will make it easier to use a device that, let’s not forget, we are going to use practically every day of the year.
- Finally, we will look at those accessories or extra functions that, although we do not always value when making our purchase, do serve to distinguish or highlight a particular model over another.
The best pod coffee machines brands
If you want to know which is the best brand of pod coffee makers today, here’s a review of the top ten players in this game. You will be able to find more, but their distribution will be a minority. I’m sure you know some of them, but others may surprise you:
Nespresso pod coffee machines
Nespresso and Dolce Gusto are undoubtedly the two market leaders (and almost worldwide), and little presentation is needed at this stage. The Nespresso capsule coffee machines follow a slightly different commercial line than the Dolce Gusto machines, as many of the models that were active at the time are now discontinued.
Today, the Inissia and Essenza Mini (the most economical models), the Lattissima, and the unique Creatista in the top of the range all work at full speed. The older models also continue to sell well but are now just stock leftovers.
As you know, Nespresso coffee machines only brew single-serve coffees (no pods of mixed varieties with milk) and are aimed at a somewhat more demanding public with the quality of their coffee.
Dolce Gusto pod coffee machines
The other spearhead on the market is the Dolce Gusto pod coffee machines, which are slightly more casual and less ambitious than the Nespresso machines. Their main feature is that they can be used to make hot or cold drinks, and the different models are divided into two groups: manual and automatic. Here you can find out more about them: Differences between manual and automatic Dolce Gusto coffee machines.
We love them, but we always have the same problem: the new models have few innovations, and there are few functional differences between the different machines.
Tassimo Bosch pod coffee machines
In all probability, Tassimo pod coffee machines occupy the third step of this imaginary podium of the best manufacturers of single-dose coffee machines.
All Tassimo single-serve machines are manufactured by Bosch (as well as their accessories) and are equipped with the Intellibrew system: a barcode reader on each capsule that tells the machine exactly how much water to use for each brewing.
Philips Senseo pod coffee machines
If the Tassimo brand is manufactured by Bosch, the Senseo pad coffee machines are the exclusive property of Philips. That’s why you’ll find almost all of them referred to as “Philips Senseo”. These machines have lost steam from their predecessors and hardly have any new features in their catalog, which is why they have become less popular in recent years.
The most basic and popular is the Senseo New Original, although this brand has really advanced and original models, with features not found in other brands. For example, we recommend you take a look at the Senseo Switch and Senseo Latte Duo.
The big advantage of Philips Senseo pad coffee makers is that single-serve machines are usually cheaper, and there are many compatible brands.
Illy pod coffee machines
Illy’s capsule coffee machines are guaranteed by the excellent quality and the good reputation – justified – of their coffee. They use their own pod format, called iperespresso, and are usually high-end machines, more expensive and with a more careful design than other popular manufacturers. In other words, only for lovers of authentic Italian espresso.
The most basic model of this brand is the Illy Y3, a coffee maker. If you can afford to buy the pods usually online (in shops, they are not always distributed), it is perhaps the best quality alternative in the market for capsule coffee.
Lavazza pod coffee machines
Lavazza is a brand that shares characteristics with Illy. It is a purely Italian coffee, the birthplace of espresso, whose pods are sold on the market with a well-deserved reputation in the coffee bean sector. They also have their own capsule system, which is not compatible with any other.
The difference is that Lavazza’s pod coffee machines are usually slightly more affordable and accessible than Illy’s. At least, some models.
It should be remembered that Lavazza has two different product lines (both machines and capsules) which are not compatible with each other:
- Lavazza AModoMio pod coffee machines: the domestic line.
- The Lavazza Blue pod machines: for businesses and companies.
Cremesso pod coffee machines
Cremesso is a Swiss company that is very popular for the quality of its coffee and for being the authors some years ago of the well-known promotion “the infinite coffee machine“, which successfully introduced hundreds of units of its machines on the market.
The Cremesso pods have a wide range of varieties, including mixed milk preparations, and there are also some brands that sell compatible products at a more affordable price. In any case, they are very popular in Europe.
Delta Q pod coffee machines
In Spain and Portugal, Delta coffees enjoy the sympathy of consumers and a significant market share. They are reflected in the coffee pod sector by the Delta Qool, or Delta Q Evolution (the most recent model), a very practical and fairly economical model.
Delta Q capsules are not a format of their own but belong to the Caffitaly capsule system. It is not the same as Nespresso or Dolce Gusto, but at least it has numerous manufacturers who market their own varieties. You don’t always have to stick to the official brand, but the fun of choosing the coffee machine and the Delta pods is precisely enjoying your own coffee.
Fagor Stracto pod coffee machines
With the Stracto coffee machines, something similar to the Delta Qool happens. It is a brand that only has this coffee maker on the market (there are not several models), very economical, and that in certain regions of the world is really popular. Its Stracto capsules are also compatible with the Caffitaly system, by the way.
Keurig pod coffee machines
Of the 10 brands of capsule coffee makers we include in our top, this is perhaps the least popular. But we included it because in countries like the United States, for example, they are the absolute leaders in the industry. Keurig pod coffee machines use the K-Cup system and, with a few exceptions, cannot be found on Amazon. Interestingly, we can buy many adapters and refillable pods for this format, but not the machines themselves.
The Philips L’Or pod coffee machine
We ended up with another independent capsule format that has only one machine on the market: the Philips L’Or Barista capsule coffee machine. But this one, unlike the others, has a majority and growing market share. It is selling more and more and although there is only one model of this machine (L’Or Barista) we can find it in different finishes and versions. The most advanced of all comes with a milk frother included. And also the Philips factory, as with the Senseo brand.
What distinguishes L’Or Barista pod coffee machines from the rest? Basically, the unique L’Or Barista XXL capsules, which, as their name suggests, allow you to enjoy really great coffee. A distinctive feature that has enabled them to get into the Hispanic market very quickly.
Pod formats and their compatibilities
We are going to address an issue that confuses many users, especially those who are entering this world of capsules for the first time.
The brands of the coffee machines are one thing, but the formats of the coffee pods they use are another. Each brand uses a certain capsule format, some are their own, some are not, and not all have compatible private labels to choose from. Let’s make a summary diagram to clarify the doubts once and for all.
|BRAND||FORMAT||IS THERE A WHITE LABEL?|
|Dolce Gusto||Dolce Gusto||Yes|
|L’Or Barista||L’Or Barista||No|
The pod adapters for each coffee machine
Often users, especially newcomers (and forgive us for alluding to them so often; that is the case), are bent on defying the laws of logic and the market, pretending to turn the impossible into a de facto reality.
This is what happens when we ask if the capsules of one machine work in another or if such a format is compatible with another. No! The formats are independent and not compatible with each other because each one works with monodose of its own size, shape, and material.
What does exist, only in some cases, are adapters that allow us to artificially use coffee pods of a format that is not that of our coffee machine.
NOTE: Check the specifications when trying to buy one of these because most are designed to allow the use of capsules of very small formats, such as the K-Cup, in Dolce Gusto coffee machines that have a much larger action range. They are NOT universal adapters, and there are NO Nespresso to Dolce Gusto adapters on the market (or vice versa).
- Works in all Dolce Gusto® machines.
- Compatible with K-fee - your system capsules.
- Suitable for Tealounge System capsules.
- Suitable for Aldi® Expressi capsules.
- TÜVRheinland® certified quality.
Our selection of the best pod coffee machines in the world
It’s a subjective opinion, of course, but if we were to choose “the best capsule coffee maker in the world”, so to speak, the candidates would most likely be these. But be prepared to save a few months, because some of these machines are not the typical ones you find on your supermarket shelf.
Dolce Gusto Infinissima
It is almost obligatory to highlight some models of Dolce Gusto among the best pod coffee machines. Although this Infinissima model has competed for some seasons now (it dates back to 2018), it is fair to say that it has performed well on the sales lists and has an exceptional tank capacity of 1.2 liters (much higher than the average of the brand’s other machines).
Senseo Latte Duo
With an attractive cubic design in a range of colors, the presentation card of this Latte Duo is its 100% touch panel and the cappuccinatore system that allows you to prepare fresh milk foam directly from any external container.
Yes, we know that we have included two Nespresso machines in our list, but we really believe that they deserve to be here on their own merits. The Nespresso Lattissima coffee maker is the ideal choice for those who love to enjoy their coffee with a good, smooth, thick, and creamy milk foam on top.
The main feature of the Nespresso Lattissima lies in its fresh milk storage compartment, which is where the steamer is served to make such a precious cream instantly and spread it joyfully over our coffee.
A pleasure now within everyone’s reach. In addition, its water tank has a capacity of 0.9 liters and includes all the usual features of Nespresso coffee machines (automatic capsule ejection, removable drip tray, 19 bar pressure…).
- Exclusive single serve system with the DeLonghi patented “automatic cappuccino: thanks to an optical sensor, machine recognizes the quantity of milk in the jug and uses all, avoiding any waste
- Easy and effortless preparation of cappuccino and latte macchiato recipe at the touch of a button
- 3 beverage backlit buttons to choose favourite drink: espresso, lungo and a milk recipe which delivers 40 ml of coffee and either 135 ml or 330 ml of frothed milk
- Compact milk jug for single beverages, Dishwasher safe
- High performing 19 bar pressure pump system and 25 second heat up
A similar, though more expensive, the option is the spectacular Illy Y5 Milk, which you can learn more about by reading our in-depth analysis of the Illy Y5.
Tassimo Happy: an economical option
It happens in many manufacturers, and Tassimo is no exception. Many of their machines differ little from each other, and in essence, they all serve to prepare coffee in the same way and with the same capsules, so… the “advanced” functions are not usually very useful for most consumers.
That’s why buyers choose the simplest and cheapest capsule coffee maker possible. And with these conditions, the Tassimo Happy is an almost unbeatable contender. It is difficult to find a new pod coffee machine cheaper than this one of any system.
- Enjoy a selection of 40 hot drinks from renowned international brands, prepared with the push of a button
- Get optimal quality in your drinks thanks to the INTELLIBREW technology, which prevents flavors from being mixed.
- Savor your favorite drink in any type of mug or glass, thanks to its flexible cup holder adjustable in height.
- Prepare all kinds of hot beverages: coffee, teas, chocolate, etc. and does it individually and automatically.
Illy X1 Ground
And continuing with the Italian firm Illy, we must also mention their top-of-the-range model: the X1. The main attraction of this Illy X1 coffee maker is its design, which is absolutely spectacular (you can see it in the photo) and is combined with a wide range of super bright colors.
But the most interesting thing is that the Illy X1 coffee machine is sold in different variants or models: Iperpresso, Trio, and Molido. And it is precisely the latter Illy X1 Molido that we are referring to in this comparison. It is the most advanced model of this coffee machine and allows you to use both capsules of the Illy system and conventional ground coffee (to prepare espresso with our own blend).
Therefore, the Illy X1 Ground goes far beyond the simple concept of a “pod coffee machine”.
- Thanks to its advanced technology, it prepares both espresso and filter coffee and thanks to the steam nozzle allows you to create a creamy cappuccino.
- The coffee maker X1 was designed by Luca Trazzi as a perfect synthesis of beauty and technology.
- Thanks to the exclusive Hyperespresso technology, the coffee capsule is extracted from the most intense aromas to obtain an aromatic espresso with a perfect cream.
- With the steam nozzle you can prepare a creamy cappuccino. Automatic output shutdown
- Automatic energy saving mode and automatic descaling.
Philips L’Or Barista: the XXL pod coffee machine
We have already talked about it in the section on best brands. If you wonder which is the best capsule coffee maker today, you will see that it is permanently high on the sales lists. The reason for this is the good quality of its coffee, and above all, the success of the L’Or Barista XXL capsules.
And the best pod coffee machine is…
Which is the best Nespresso capsule coffee machine? Well, without a doubt, this one. And the Nespresso Creatista Plus is, in our opinion, the best pod coffee machine on the market. It is much more expensive than any other, but its possibilities, functions, and qualities are unparalleled in the industry today. Unfortunately, stocks are low, and it is not always available on Amazon.
Nespresso Creatista Plus
It is a coffee machine with 19 bars of pressure to get the best possible espresso, and it also adds practically professional functions that will leave you with your mouth open and will satisfy most sybarite coffee lovers. For example, we can mention the exclusive milk vaporizer, the container for used capsules, the Thermoblock system, or the automatic decalcification warning.
The price, as you can see, is up to its exclusivity.
- Very fast heat up time; 3 seconds
- Large selection of different coffees to choose from (Espresso, Cappuccino, Latte Macchiato etc.)
- Available settings: 3 coffee volume settings (from 25 to 150 ml), 8 milk texture/froth settings (from 2 to 30 mm) and 11 milk temperature settings (from 56 to 76°C)
- Easy cleaning by emptying the drip tray, rinsing the milk jug and following the on-screen prompts for wand cleaning
- Comes with a 480ml stainless steel milk jug, pop out cup support, removable drip grid and removable drip tray
The other candidates are also excellent choices, but when it comes to quality in coffee machines, the Nespresso Creatista Plus takes first place without a doubt.
Pod coffee machines and their reference prices
Prices of capsule coffee machines vary greatly depending on the brand and especially the type of product we are evaluating. The simplest models can be found for 40-50 pounds (sometimes even less), but the more complex ones can cost several hundred pounds.
As a reference, you can take the following table:
- Basic range pod coffee machines: up to 60 pounds.
- Mid-range pod coffee machines: between 60 and 100 pounds.
- High-end pod coffee machines: over 100 pounds in price.
Universal pod coffee machines
At first, it was a utopia, but over time these universal capsule coffee machines have become commonplace, and there are already several models on the market.
They are machines that work with interchangeable adapters, each of which allows a certain capsule format to be used. Most commonly, multi-brand pod coffee machines come with 3 adapters: one for the Nespresso format, one for the Dolce Gusto format, and one for using a ground coffee dose in an armored coffee machine. Some models allow you to buy additional adapters for other formats.
You can learn more about them here: guide of multi-capsule coffee machines.
Pod coffee machines with steamer
The steamer lance is a typical feature of espresso machines and is not usually found in pod coffee machines. The reason for this is threefold:
- On the one hand, some formats such as Tassimo, Senseo, or Dolce Gusto already include capsules that automatically prepare lattes or cappuccinos using powdered milk.
- Some advanced machines do allow the use of fresh milk for these preparations but through an own milk tank. They do not include Pannarello for external emulsification. This is the case with the Nespresso Lattissima or the Senseo Latte Duo.
- The average capsule machine user prefers to pay little money for his coffee machine. The market for the large – very expensive – models is quite limited.
Some of the pod coffee machines with a separate steamer are the top-of-the-range machines of the Nespresso and Illy brands:
A different case is that of the single-dose and ground coffee machines, which are armchair coffee machines and do have a steamer. But the pod machines they use are the paper ones, in the ESE format, not the hard capsules we are dealing with here.
Pod coffee machines for the car (12v)
There are basically two types of car coffee machines, filter coffee machines, and pod coffee machines. We are going to talk about the latter, of course.
The car capsule coffee makers include a 12-volt connector, which is used to plug the machine into the cigarette lighter socket of the car.
They generally work with ESE (soft) single-dose machines, but there are some models of car coffee makers that are compatible with Nespresso pods. The most interesting is the Wacaco Minipresso and Nanopresso, and the Handpresso Auto.
Disadvantages? We can think of two: the good ones are somewhat veneered, and in some models, you have to pour hot water to get a good espresso.
But… I’m looking for a pod coffee machine for the truck (24v)
In this case, everything said in the previous section is valid, but changing the 12-volt socket to a 24-volt one. The only thing is that you should look carefully before buying: because not all car capsule coffee makers are sold in the 24v version for trucks. Here are some 24v pod coffee machines:
Are automatic pod coffee machines better?
Well, “better” as such they are not, because they work with the same capsules and make the same coffee as manual ones. Automatic pod coffee machines are, above all, more convenient. And this is a key aspect for many users.
We would like to remind you that manual capsule coffee machines differ from automatic machines in that you have to start and end the water cycle yourself. In other words:
- When buying an automatic pod coffee machine, you only have to press the button once to make a coffee (the machine knows how much water to use and will stop itself).
- On a manual capsule machine, on the other hand, you have to press the button twice: once to start the coffee extraction and once to stop it. If you don’t do the latter, the water keeps coming out until it overflows or the tank runs out.
Nowadays, most pod coffee machines of all brands are automatic. However, some manufacturers such as Dolce Gusto still rely on manual machines (on average, somewhat cheaper). Here you can see the differences between them better: differences between a manual and an automatic Dolce Gusto coffee machine.
Are there professional pod coffee machines?
Professional capsule coffee machines are a “hybrid” option between the traditional coffee machines for the catering and hotel industry and the convenience and speed of the pod coffee systems.
When buying a professional pod coffee machine, there are a few criteria to consider:
- They must have the capacity to serve many coffees a day without having to continually refill the tank. If possible, they should be connected directly to the water supply.
- This type of machine is suitable for companies, small businesses, or where coffee is not the main service. For a cafe or bar, an armored espresso machine (and with at least 2 or 3 groups) will always be more practical.
- Some brands have lines of professional capsule coffee machines, other than the domestic ones, such as Nespresso or Lavazza. This means that the coffee pods are not the same as those in domestic coffee machines.
Take the Nespresso professional capsule coffee machine as an example:
- Fitted with the double head technology and milk frothing function
- this machine is perfect for Latte lovers as the Gemini 223 makes flawless Cappuccinos and Latte macchiatos.
- Simply choose from 3 programmable cup sizes: Ristretto, Espresso and Lungo and the machine will do the rest.
Toy pod coffee machines
Of course, the little ones also have the right to enjoy one of our great hobbies, don’t they? Of course, they can’t drink coffee, but they can imitate us and make their own “recipes” with one of these funny toy capsule coffee makers (yes, the “real thing” could cost as much as these):
More information in our guide of toy coffee machines for children.
The best pod coffee machines for companies
If you are looking for a capsule coffee maker for your office or company, there are several criteria you can consider, especially depending on the number of employees and daily services you estimate you may need.
We will give you some ideas, although you can always consult our guide of coffee machines for offices for a wider range of suggestions.
Criteria for buying a pod coffee machine in your company
Before buying your capsule coffee machine for the office, we advise you to consider these guidelines:
- The budget: if you are going to buy the coffee maker together, you should assess whether you want to make a stronger investment at the beginning, or on the contrary, you prefer to save more in the long term with the purchase of the capsules and the maintenance of the machine.
- The number of employees or people who will use the machine at the end of the day. In some cases, a coffee machine that is too big or too small will become a headache, and you will stop using it because of the discomfort.
- Everyone’s tastes: it is not the same to consume only espressos (even if you add the milk later on your own) to prefer a wider range of preparations, such as those offered by the Tassimo or Dolce Gusto brands, for example. Agree before you decide.
With these criteria in mind, here are three ideas for pod coffee machines for your company:
A Tassimo Vivy coffee machine
Why? Because it is very cheap and gives you access to drinks for all tastes: black coffee, cappuccinos, milk, chocolates, infusions… it is ideal for companies with very heterogeneous tastes.
Disadvantage: the pods will cost you dearly and do not support compatible formats.
- Wide variety of over 40 drinks from many popular brands.
- Perfect drink quality thanks to INTELLIBREW
- Easy drink preparation thanks to one-button operation.
- Portion machine: individually prepared coffee specialities.
- Space-saving thanks to compact device size.
A Nespresso, Dolce Gusto or Senseo machine… but one of the cheapest of each brand
Why? Because these formats have many private labels that manufacture compatible capsules… and this will allow you to save a lot of money in the long run with the massive purchase of coffee pods.
Inconvenient: Maybe the quality suffers a little… but for a quick coffee in the office, we are not going to get exquisite either, right?
A Lavazza Blue or Nespresso Pro pod coffee machines
Why? Because they are the specialized lines of business and companies of these brands. Their capsules, machines, and support service are aimed at companies, not individuals.
Disadvantage: they are only suitable for large companies, not for small premises.
Large pod coffee machines
One of the traditional “drawbacks”, to call it what you will, of the domestic capsule coffee machines, is that they tend to go for very compact sizes, and therefore the water tank cannot be very large either.
So if you are looking to buy a large pod coffee machine, you should know that you cannot use the same price scales as other machines.
Generally, it is not easy to find capsule coffee machines that are larger than a liter in capacity. The size of 0.6 to 0.8 liter is usually the most common, but we will give you some interesting options on the market:
- In Dolce Gusto, the models Infinissima (1.2 litres) and Genio XL (1 litre).
- At Nespresso, the two top-of-the-range models: Lattissima and Creatista (1.5 litres), which is the capsule coffee maker with the largest capacity on the domestic market.
- Cremesso has several very compact and narrow capsule machines, such as the Compact One, which is only 14 cm wide.
- At Senseo, both the Switch and the Latte Duo reach the litre capacity.
- At Lavazza, we have the Idola, with a capacity of 1.1 litres.
- And at Illy, both the Y3 and X7 almost reach the litre barrier.
Small (very) pod coffee machines
On the opposite side of the scale, the smallest pod coffee machines on the market reach 0.6 liters capacity, and we will not list them in detail because practically all brands stick to this standard figure.
So it’s time to look at the size of the body, as most users who need to buy a small capsule coffee maker do so for reasons of space or location in their kitchen.
In this respect, you should mainly look at two dimensions: the bottom (depth) and the width, depending on what you are interested in for your space.
Thus, very narrow capsule coffee machines or coffee machines with very little depth are
- The Piccolo XS and Mini Me models in Dolce Gusto.
- The Essenza Mini by Nespresso; perhaps the smallest pod coffee machine on the market today.
- The Happy by Tassimo.
- Cremesso has several very compact and narrow capsule machines, such as the Compact One II, only 14 cm wide.
- The Lavazza Tiny model.
- And at Illy, the Y3 and X9 machines share a very narrow and stylish design.
NOTE: We have deliberately left out of the equation the portable capsule coffee machines, which are logically much smaller and only allow you to make one cup of coffee at a time. But they are not intended for use at home.
Vintage pod coffee machines
The world of capsule coffee machines for the home often relies on consumers with a young, dynamic profile who are looking for bright colors and innovative designs. So the idea of buying a retro-style pod coffee maker is not very common.
Most models on the market today do not meet this requirement, and although aesthetics are very subjective, it is difficult to label a capsule machine as “vintage”.
The closest thing is Illy’s X7 and X1 coffee machines (the latter is a hybrid, not just a capsule machine), but there is little else we can do in this respect.
You can always check out more options, or other machines, in our guide to retro-style coffee machines.
Pod coffee machines with Wifi
Wifi (or Bluetooth, in some cases) connectivity is another advanced or premium feature, which does not usually fit into the most “economical” profile of this type of machine and its buyers. At the end of the day, being able to operate your coffee machine from your mobile phone is not something we are going to worry about much when we make ourselves a quick coffee in the morning before work.
One company that opted for this technology was Nespresso a few years ago, with its Expert and Prodigio models, but the truth is that their high price did not help them to have a wide range on the market.
More recently at the time of writing, and although it has not yet arrived at the same time all over the world, it is the best of the Dolce Gusto Esperta, which is also more expensive than its range sisters and it remains to be seen what acceptance it has in the market.
Some frequently asked questions about pod coffee machines – FAQs
In this section, we have tried to collect some of the most common doubts and questions of users and readers, especially those who are facing the purchase of a capsule coffee machine for the first time. We are sure that this will help you to clear up more than one doubt:
What about the Krups and Delonghi pod coffee machines?
There is a lot of confusion about this because both Krups and Delonghi act as machine manufacturers for the two main brands on the market: Nespresso and Dolce Gusto. But they do not market their own coffee machines (they only work in the espresso machine segments).
In other words, there are no Delonghi or Krups capsule coffee machines as such.
What you can find in the shops are a few models (Nespresso and Dolce Gusto), manufactured either by Krups or by Delonghi.
This is the case, for example, with the Inissia or the Essenza Mini, at Nespresso. You can see them here:
As you can see, they are the same machine (Nespresso Inissia), but one was made by Krups and the other by Delonghi. They are identical except for some small aesthetic detail, of little importance.
What happens is that many users are unfamiliar with the industry, see the name “Krups” or “Delonghi” on the packaging or in the instruction manual, and think it is the model. And they end up talking – or asking – about the Nespresso Krups coffee machine or the Nespresso Delonghi machine. When in fact, the model is, in both cases, the INISSIA. Easy, isn’t it? Well, we hope that at least with this slight note, it has become clear to you.
I need to choose: Pod coffee machine or espresso?
This is a common doubt among many users who do not know in depth how each system works. Each one has its pros and cons, and we will try to summarize them here to decide if, in your case, it is better a capsule coffee maker or an espresso.
In principle, espresso machines allow you to manually control the coffee extraction and adapt it to your taste. You need to have some knowledge, but the possibilities are immense, and it is easier to obtain a high-quality coffee. With a capsule coffee maker, you can’t make many virgins. Either you like their coffee, or you don’t.
On the other hand, an espresso machine is usually more expensive than a pod machine, but in the long run, the coffee will cost you less.
Finally, when it comes to cleanliness, speed and convenience, capsule coffee machines clearly win.
Pod coffee machines vs. super machines
This is already a more difficult question because these are very different machine segments and usually focus on very different user profiles.
It does not make much sense to decide between one or the other because they usually have little to do with each other.
Both machines focus on the preparation of espresso coffee and have in common the simplicity and the aim of having the user intervene as little as possible in the process.
However, the super-automatic coffee machines incorporate many more options and also allow you to use the coffee beans you like best. Naturally, they are much more expensive than pod machines.
Can I use a capsule coffee machine to make chocolate?
No, unless they incorporate capsules of this type of specific beverage (as is the case with the Tassimo or Dolce Gusto systems, among others).
But it should always be through a specific capsule, no messing around like “pouring milk into the tank of the coffee machine and putting cocoa powder in the dispenser”
Do Nespresso pods work in Dolce Gusto coffee machines?
No, no and no. We have already discussed this question in the section on adapters, which, by the way, do not exist either. And the Dolce Gusto capsules do not work in Nespresso coffee machines either.
Which pod coffee machines are compatible with private labels?
This is a delicate issue, so we will try to give you as much information as possible.
First of all, on this same page, you can see a summary table showing the capsule formats currently supported: Nespresso, Dolce Gusto, Senseo, Lavazza, Cremesso, and Caffitaly.
However, it should also be noted that not all Nespresso coffee makers are compatible with the “unofficial” single-serve format. There was a time known as the “patent war” when Dolce Gusto and Nespresso did not allow anyone else to make capsules compatible with their coffee machines.
Nespresso even went one step further, and when it lost its patent, it introduced some modifications to the injectors of the coffee machines so that they were not able to pierce coffee pods different from its own, taking advantage of the fact that often the materials (harder or softer) did not match.
This all changed with a French court ruling in 2014, after which Nespresso was forced to cooperate with other manufacturers rather than torpedo them. But logically, many primitive machines (some of them very popular, such as the first generation of Inissia) are still in circulation and working normally in many homes.
In short: if you have a Nespresso coffee machine before 2014, it probably won’t be able to pierce compatible capsules.
2021’s cheapest pod coffee machines
If you are wondering which is the cheapest capsule coffee maker on the market, in this section, you will discover several models. We will separate them into two groups: new and second-hand.
The best pod coffee machine under 100 pounds
Many of us have been thinking for several months about buying an economic pod coffee maker for our home. The advantages are many: high-quality coffee in just a few seconds, variety of drinks available to us without effort, ease of use and no risk of burns suitable for the whole family…
However, one must be frank and assume that the price of these coffee machines is often a difficult barrier to overcome before deciding to buy one. Luckily, a coffeemaker.top we are on your side, and we will remind you that coffee pods offer the same (and delicious) results in all models of each brand, whether our machine is the most expensive or the cheapest in its range.
In this article, we are going to show you which are the best options if you want to buy a pod coffee maker for less than 60 pounds, and which would be our final choice.
What should I consider?
Before buying a pod coffee maker under 100 pounds, you should make sure that the capsule system it uses is to your liking. Otherwise, you will be throwing away money no matter how much you save by buying the machine.
Don’t forget that coffee machines alone don’t make coffee or any other drink: the secret is in the coffee pods. Consider whether you like the taste of their coffee, whether they allow you to make other drinks such as chocolates or teas, the price of each capsule and so on.
Buying the coffee machine is only the first step, but don’t forget that you will have to buy coffee pods afterwards to get the most out of it!
Without further ado, here are four good pod coffee makers under 100 pounds:
Dolce Gusto Piccolo XS: £44.99
The first option we present to you is the Piccolo XS by Dolce Gusto, a reduced version of a mythical machine, the original Piccolo, which has always been the cheapest of the Nestlé firm. Successive updates and improvements to the range have enabled the endearing Piccolo to be reduced in price to an incredible 40-50 pounds.
- Compact design - extra-small capsule coffee machine (14cm W x 28cm H x 27cm D) with 0.8L water tank
- Delivers professional quality coffees with a thick velvety crema – thanks to its maximum 15 bar pump pressure
- Over 50 beverage varieties including NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto or STARBUCKS coffees
- Hot & Cold Drink capability for delicious hot and cold beverages prepared with one easy move of the machine’s manual lever
- Easy to Clean - as all the coffee grinds stay in the pods there is no mess, no fuss
Dolce Gusto Mini Me: £69.00
Another classic which is below the 100-pound barrier, and which is also automatic, not like the previous one which is manual.
It’s a compact pod coffee maker, small in size, with a slightly larger tank than its sisters in the Piccolo and Genio ranges (0.8 litres) and, of course, fully automatic: Select the intensity you want in your drink from seven different levels, and the machine will prepare it in the right dose according to what you have indicated.
Another advantage is that it allows you to enjoy a very wide variety of drinks, thanks to the enormous catalogue presented by Dolce Gusto. The tray for collecting the drops can be adjusted to different heights to use cups or glasses of different sizes.
Nespresso Essenza Mini: £79.95
Nespresso’s cheapest coffee maker is also the smallest. It is available in several colours, although if you are not convinced by its design, you can choose the Inissia, which has very similar characteristics but is a little older.
- Automatic and programmable water quantity control
- Rapid 25 second heating time
- Removable container for used capsules (5 to 6)
- 0.6 L removable water tank
- Nespresso's most compact machine
Tassimo Happy: £46.00
And we end up with the newest and most basic Tassimo machine: the Tassimo Happy (or TAS10), which happens to be the cheapest pod coffee machine on the market.
- Great variety of more than 40 beverages Suitable for almost all cups No heating time after switching on.
- Competence in drinks from well-known brands: e.g. L'Or, Costa, Jacobs, Kenco, Gevalia, Cadbury, Milka and Twinings.
- Perfect beverage quality thanks to INTELLIBREW Thanks to its patented technology, the barcode technology every drink with the right amount of water, temperature and perfect infusion time.
- TASSIMO reads the respective bar code and prepares the perfect drink
Overview of economy pod coffee machines (by brand)
All brands of capsule coffee machines have simpler machines (the cheapest) and other high-end machines aimed at a different audience. Here is a list of the cheapest pod coffee machines according to the manufacturer, for those who want to go to the bean:
- Dolce Gusto Piccolo
- Dolce gusto Mini Me
- Tassimo Happy
- Tassimo Vivy
- Nespresso Inissia
- Nespresso Essenza Mini
- Senseo New Original
- Lavazza Tiny
- Illy Y3
Second-hand pod coffee machines
A good way to save a handful of pounds is to choose to buy a second-hand capsule coffee maker from Amazon. This type of coffee maker is among the most popular on the market, and therefore as they are the most purchased, they are also the most returned. The stock in the refurbished section of Amazon is always very well stocked, much more so than in other types of products.
This way has, like everything else, its pros and cons.
On the one hand, the savings are obvious. In addition, many of these second-hand pod coffee machines are not used, have not even been opened, and have not been removed from their packaging. These are products that are subject to returns or transport errors, which for regulatory reasons, can no longer be offered for sale as new items. In many cases, they are coffee machines checked and certified by Amazon, with a one-year guarantee from the company itself.
On the other hand, however, it is fair to acknowledge that capsule coffee machines are precisely one of the most economic segments of the domestic coffee industry, and therefore the savings in reconditioned coffee machines are sometimes not so significant as to make a decision. Sometimes, for a few pounds more, you can have a completely new model with all the colours and options to choose from at the factory.
How to clean a pod coffee machine
Then we tell you how to clean a capsule coffee machine step by step. When we talk about cleaning a capsule coffee maker, we usually mean mainly decalcification, so we’ll start there:
Step 1: Decalcifying the coffee machine
Executes a complete decalcification cycle. If you don’t know how to decalcify a pod coffee maker, consult our guide on how to decalcify a Dolce Gusto. We recommend removing at least 3 cups of coffee with hot water and another 3 with cold water.
Step 2: Clean the tank
After decalcification, rinse the tank several times (remove any remaining decalcifying liquid) and then wash it. To do this, pour a dash of detergent into the base and a pinch of water (not too much). Stir the solution and make it spread over the entire surface of the tank. Then fill it up with water and leave the water and detergent mixture to stand for several hours. Finally, rinse it again several times and let it dry before using it again.
Step 3: Clean the deposit tray and the drip tray
The quickest way is to do it under the tap with hot water and detergent, but the most effective way is to put them in the dishwasher.
Step 4: Remove the pod holder and clean it well
A damp cloth or cloth should do the trick, depending on the coffee residue. Let it dry well before putting it back in the coffee maker.
Step 5: Clean the injector and head area
Here we explain how to clean the nozzle of a Dolce Gusto, which is more or less valid for all pod coffee machines with an injection needle. With the capsule holder out of place (see step no. 4), take the opportunity to clean the bottom of the head with a damp cloth.
Step 6: Cleaning the outside of the coffee machine
This should not affect the processing of the coffee, but… things should not only be clean but look clean. So don’t forget to wipe the entire external body with a damp cloth, especially the area closest to the cups or glasses (this is where most splashes fall).
What is the best-selling pod coffee machine in 2021?
We don’t want to end without reviewing the best-selling pod coffee makers. This does not mean that they are necessarily the best, but buying trends are always a good indication of what users’ preferences are.
Latest pod coffee machines reviewed on the web
So that you don’t miss out on anything new, these are the latest pod pod coffee machines we have reviewed on the website: