If you're currently working with an appetite for caffeine, a small kitchen, and a minimal amount of countertop space, then say no more. You need a small coffee maker that will allow you to get your daily caffeine without resorting to a kitchen makeover. Yes, we've found and reviewed nine professional barista-style machines that really are impressive. And they're packaged to be tiny enough to slide and sit in a corner. And the best part is that most of them are nice and affordable.
A great coffee maker is hard to come by, especially if you have a bunch of must-have specifications. Many of our Real Homes editors and writers pay a pretty premium to live in the city, so a shoestring kitchen is pretty standard *no shame*.
So whether you want something easy to use, affordable to buy, or a pod machine for less mess, scroll on to see which petite appliances we appreciate. We've reviewed all of the machines featured for a set period, or better still, they've gone on to live in our homes forever. We've even included two portable beverage makers so you can enjoy your favorite blend on the go.
9 of the best small coffee makers
Why you can trust Real Homes Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Our favorite small coffee machine
Size (in): H10.04 x W4.02 x L15.8
If you want a proper full-flavored cup of coffee, consider this the future of pod machines. Yes, bean-to-cup machines might appear more professional, but this specialist capsule-compatible machine is a little beast. The OLED screen and dial mean business and it has 10 default brew modes to make the ultimate beverage.
Read our Morning coffee machine review for more.
Our favorite pick for looks
Size (in): H10 x W7 x D13
You know the saying: wake up and smell the coffee. But your eyes will be the first sense to be awakened when you see how chic this machine is. We already know Nespresso makes a decent cup of coffee, but what makes this pod coffee maker stand out is that it's basically a statement home decor piece.
Find out what else gives this appliance its wow factor by reading our Grind One Pod coffee machine review.
For a retro look
Type: Pod machine
Size (in): H13 x W8.19 x D13
While Smeg arguably does retro with relative simplicity, you can usually rely on KitchenAid to showcase a few bells and whistles. Whether it’s the six coffee programs, automatic turn-off, or 30-second heat-up time, this beautifully stylish small coffee machine will certainly make sure you never regret making the extra space for it. To make things even easier for you, it features a descaling option so you can keep it in great condition for a long time.
Read our KitchenAid Artisan Nespresso 5KES0503 review for more.
For single households
Type: pod machine
Size (in): H8.27 x W4.88 x D12.99
Jolie means "pretty" in French, and with its gunmetal gray exterior, the Lavazza model suits its name. Compatible with coffee pods, this stylish, high-pressured machine produces both single and double espressos with a smooth, rich crema. Use compatible milk pods alongside its range of preset coffee settings to create your own drink, whether it’s a cappuccino or a latte. While it does only have a 0.6-liter capacity tank, it’s perfect for individual usage.
Read our Lavazza A Modo Mio Jolie Plus review for more.
A portable coffee maker
Type: Portable coffee maker
Size (in): H5.31 x W3.94 x D3.94
One of the best portable coffee makers, the AeroPress uses manual pressure to infuse the coffee flavor into the water. It’s easy to use, doesn’t take up any countertop space, and people rave about the coffee that it produces. So much so, our editor in chief named it one of the most useful kitchen gadgets she owns. Whether you’re planning a coffee-tasting trip to Colombia or heading on the express train to work, you can experience coffee wherever you are with this.
For making coffee on the go
Type: Portable coffee maker
Size (in): H6.89 x W2.76 x D2.36
If you are particularly picky about your coffee but you’re struggling to find a large enough space in your kitchen for a full-sized coffee machine, this clever little portable espresso maker can be tucked neatly in a drawer until you’re ready to use it. Weighing just 0.7 lbs, simply fill the base up with hot water, use the scoop to pop your favorite blend of ground coffee in its container, put it together, and pump until the pressure starts pushing the water through the coffee — et voila, a creamy, luxurious espresso. If you’re camping, you could heat this on the stove, but otherwise, in many situations, you will need to bring a vessel of hot water with you. Buying so you can make a decent coffee at work or in hotel rooms? This won’t be an issue.
Read our Wacaco Minipresso NS review for more.
Our favorite for iced coffee
Type: Pod machine
Size (in): H12.14 x W4.76 x D15.2
You'll no doubt recognize Keurig as one of the most famous coffee machine brands out there. But if you're after the best Keurig appliance for personal use (perhaps in a home office), this is the perfect pick.
Keurig pods are some of the most versatile out there as the brand works with coffeehouses like Starbucks and Dunkin' to bring out new flavors so that your tastebuds will never get bored. As well as making conventional hot coffees, you can also switch things up in summer with a chilled drink.
Read our Keurig K-Slim + ICED Single Serve Coffee Maker review for more.
A one-touch coffee maker
Type: Pod machine
Size (in): H9.8 x W5.3 x D16.7
The Vertuo Next is a fuss-free pod coffee maker that’s sleek, stylish, and perfectly practical in every single-serve way. Its one-button operation makes creating premium coffee easy, and truthfully we're struggling to find a reason why you shouldn't buy it. As far as Nespresso coffee makers go, it's a money-saving machine that's simple to use, looks amazing on your counter, and produces delicious coffee.
A small machine with a built-in frother
Type: Ground coffee or pod machine
Size (in): 12.76 x 8.7 x 14.6
While hardcore coffee drinkers will happily survive with a good espresso maker, some of us prefer to sip java topped up with a splash (or generous glug) of milk. But if you don't want to add cold milk straight from the fridge, or invest in a separate milk frother (for lack of space or budget), the Breville One-Touch CoffeeHouse II is what coffee-flavored dreams are made of. No need to know how to froth milk, this machine will make the fluffiest-looking lattes and cappuccinos for you. Just add syrup.
Read our Breville One-Touch CoffeeHouse II review for more.
Real Homes review process: How we reviewed these coffee makers
Here at Real Homes, if we're not already sipping on a cup of coffee then you can bet we're messaging our colleagues to see when they're getting their fill of freshly-brewed java. We've got a professional bean-to-cup machine in the office and several coffee shops to choose from around our London Paddington office.
However, when we're WFH, we need a machine for modest spaces. And so, often when we're testing these machines, we won't just get the tape measure out. Nope, we'll take these appliances home to see if they can fit on the tiniest of countertops with shelves, cupboards, and alcoves added to the mix.
When we're testing multiple machines side by side, we prefer to travel to our test kitchen in Reading, UK. Yes, this does involve shotting several cups of espresso, but someone's got to do it. Heart rate aside, we measure how noisy the machines are, analyze their brew times, and discover what coffee types are available. Because you don't want to be stuck with a loud device that makes a terrible drink, right? Here's what else we consider while reviewing coffee machines:
Does the machine have a long cable to stretch to the few plug sockets we have? This is something we need to know. Can it sit flush or does it have to be displayed at an angle? Another query we think about while quaffing coffee.
Ease of cleaning
Let's not pretend that we like cleaning, so if the components can fit in our tiny dishwashers, then the small coffee maker will definitely earn some brownie points. Though, if it's handwash only, we'll evaluate how easy it is to take apart and reassemble once clean.
Cleaning the plastic and stainless steel components is not the only maintenance needed for a small coffee maker. You'll also need to descale it every couple of months. So the team will run a cycle, keeping an eye on how lengthy it is, and how thoroughly the agent can get to work. This is where we like to keep hold of machines to really push the limits on whether they can tolerate hard water (especially in our city dwellings).
People like different beverages, so we try and strip out subjectivity by commenting on coffee as part of a tasting panel. This might include other editors and writers across the Future Plc homes portfolio. After all, some of us like milk in our beverages while others prefer theirs black, and sometimes we'll add a splash of a plant-based milk alternative to keep up with the ever-changing options out there.
Meet our coffee machine reviewers below:
Out of all of the pod machines out there, this is one serious bit of machinery. There is a huge menu of compatible pods and the founders really care about the most subtle nuances in coffee profiles. This isn't your cookie-cutter machine. I personally could spend hours (on a lazy and rainy weekend) making tweaks to the water temperature and playing about with the Bloom & Brew feature to optimize the extraction of my coffee. And let's not look over how incredibly chic that OLED screen looks. This is one pod machine you won't turn your nose up at!"
Real Homes’ editor in chief Melissa loves coffee and has tested a wide range of manual and automatic coffee makers at home. She has been an Aeropress convert for two years now and refuses to go back to her digital machines or French press. Since switching, she's noticed a big increase in the taste quality over capsules and other presses. It also pumps out a single serving rather than three or four cups of coffee that often go cold before she gets to them. She prefers different coffee types and flavors compared to her husband and extended family, so this cuts out arguments over what grounds to use.
The compact gadget also takes up little room in a suitcase, so she brings it on vacations and trips home to visit family, which means a good latte is always guaranteed.
Real Homes' head of reviews Millie Fender tested the Grind pod coffee machine in her South London kitchen. She thinks it's totally iconic and just as gorge in person as it looks online. She recalls that the shiny stainless steel does mark easily, but it also buffs clean with a microfiber cloth. Your options with this pod machine are limited, but what it does, it does well.
You can choose to dispense either a short or long shot of coffee — this is adjustable if you want it extra long. However, if you do want to top up a bulky mug you'll struggle to get it under the dispenser. It's also a winner for sustainable credentials, with a made-to-last design that won't find its way into a landfill for a long, long time. The pods are also compostable and the coffee inside is super delicious.
Ecommerce editor Louise Oliphant stays caffeinated with the Nespresso Vertuo Next. Thanks to this machine, she's canceled her coffee subscription and saved lots of money (and queue time) in the process. In her East London apartment, her coffee bar setup includes a bottle of Monin syrup (with a pump for barista vibes) and a glass jar filled with cookies.
Nishaa has the Breville One-Touch CoffeeHouse in her apartment, and it's been there since she moved in two years ago. She loves how easy it is to use, and it's saved her so much time and money on going out for a cup of coffee or a matcha latte. The only thing she doesn't like is that the milk compartment is an awkward shape to clean, but the price more than makes up for it.
During the warmer months of the year, cold coffee beverages are what fuel Jacyln throughout her day. Don't get her wrong, she'll happily drink a hot cup of java 12 months out of the year, too. So, the Keurig K-Slim + Iced Coffee is that happy medium with a convenient ability to brew iced and hot coffee — all in a compact footprint.
Freelancers who reviewed coffee machines for us:
Sarah Warwick, our freelance reviewer tested the Kitchenaid, Wacaco, and Lavazza branded coffee makers you see in this guide. She liked all of them for different reasons, but gave both the KitchenAid Artisan Nespresso 5KES0503 and Lavazza Jolie Plus four stars out of five.