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Canisters. Cutting boards. Miscellaneous utensils. It’s hard enough to find counter space and adding an oversized coffee maker to the mix only creates another headache.
This list covers a number of space-saving alternatives, from mini drip coffee makers to non-electric brewers small enough to store in cupboards. Compact coffee makers tend to be more affordable than standard-sized ones (a win-win!), so this could also be an opportunity to experiment with less-familiar options, like a French press or pour-over. Both can be found at prices as low as $20, some even cheaper than that.
For keeping your kitchen clutter free, here are the best small coffee makers to buy.
Best Overall: Keurig K-Mini Plus Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer
Slightly cheaper than most Keurigs
Stores up to nine K-cups
Must fill water before every use
Coffee isn't the hottest
There’s no doubt about it, Keurig is one of the most beloved names in coffee. The company's K-cup pods are easy to use and offer a wide range of coffees, teas, and more, making this 5-inch wide coffee maker perfect for folks who value convenience in a small space. A pod storage bin holds nine K-cup pods to keep them handy and slides into the front of the brewer when it’s not in use. If you want your coffee a little stronger than usual, all it takes is the press of a button.
This brews from 6-12 ounces of coffee, simply by adding that amount to the removable water reservoir. If you’re not sure how much coffee your mug holds, you can use that to fill the reservoir, so you’ll never overflow a cup, and if someone forgets the cup, the drip tray can hold all the liquid for easy disposal and cleaning. With the drip tray is removed, you can brew directly into a travel mug up to seven inches tall.
The coffee maker turns itself off 1 1/2 minutes of completing a brew. If you want to store the coffee maker in between uses, the cord stores neatly in the back of the brewer, so it won’t tangle when the brewer is resting on a shelf in the pantry.
"For such a small machine, the K-Mini Plus offers a considerable number of features, from K-Cup storage to a bolder brew setting." — Derek Rose, Coffee and Tea Expert for The Spruce Eats
Best Budget: BLACK+DECKER 5-Cup Coffeemaker
Easy to use
Includes reusable filter
No automatic shutoff
A small, affordable coffee maker, this doesn’t have a lot of frills, but it still makes a good cup of coffee. The carafe holds five cups, so you have plenty of coffee to last the morning, or to share. It operates with a simple on/off switch that lights up to let you know that the coffee maker is on. The hot plate will keep the carafe warm as long as the coffee maker is on, but there is no auto-off feature.
The carafe is designed for ergonomic handling and drip-free pouring, so you won’t make a mess, and the lid is completely removable for easy cleaning when the coffee is gone. If you can’t wait for the first cup, this stops the brewing process, so you can pour a cup without making a mess. A permanent filter is included, so you’ll never need paper filters.
Best Large Capacity: Ninja 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker
Programmable up to 24 hours
GoldTone filter included
Two coffee strength options
Too tall for some cabinets
While no one would accuse this brewer of being petite, it packs a lot of features into a relatively narrow footprint, including a 12-cup carafe and a 60-ounce water reservoir.
Ninja coffee makers get good reviews overall from users who appreciate the multiple brew settings and the flavor of the coffee. A proprietary thermal extraction process gets the best flavor from the grounds without excess bitterness.
If you’re in a hurry for the first cup, you can pause the brewing so you can pour your cup without making a mess. When all you want is one cup, this brewer can do that too. This can be programmed to brew your coffee up to a day in advance, and even the warming plate is adjustable. It can keep your coffee warm for up to four hours without burning, or it can automatically turn off after two hours. A permanent filter is included, which saves you money and cuts down on paper waste.
Best Versatile: Nespresso Inissia Espresso Machine with Aeroccino Milk Frother
Easy to use
Removable water tank
Fairly slow for Nespresso machine
While the Nespresso Inissia is more of an espresso machine than standard coffee maker, this tiny item is perfect for crafting specialty drinks like lattes and cappuccinos while saving space in the kitchen. The Inissia is often sold in a bundle deal that includes an Aeroccino milk frother; depending on your preferences, it can be more convenient that the coffee maker and frother are two separate pieces as they'll be easier to store.
The Inissia only takes Original Nespresso capsules and can brew two different cup sizes: a 1.35-ounce espresso shot and a 5-ounce lungo espresso. The water tank is on the smaller side, as expected, but it brews lightning-quick at less than 30 seconds. Like most Nespresso machines, this item is extremely easy to use and can be depended upon to make consistent drinks for years to come.
Best with Grinder: Chefman Grind and Brew 4-Cup Coffee Maker
Fairly priced for machine with grinder
Adjustable coffee strength
Unique shape, fits under cabinets
Blade grinder, not burr
Hard to clean
Under 12 inches tall, this compact brewer will fit into most cabinets, getting it off your counter and out of the way when it’s not in use. It comes with a small carafe which holds 4 cups of brewed coffee and is designed specifically to give you the freshest coffee possible. It grinds coffee beans, brews quickly, and is ready for another brew when you are.
The purchase includes a permanent coffee filter so you won’t need to buy paper filters, and it’s easy to clean. The Chefman Grind and Brew is affordably priced for a coffee maker with a grinder, but this is partially because it uses a cheaper blade grinder instead of a more expensive burr grinder. Blade grinders are slightly less consistent—something worth keeping in mind for customers looking for the absolute best of the best—but still get the job done for fresh coffee.
Best Pour Over: Bodum 17-Ounce Pour Over Coffee Maker
Dishwasher safe (excluding collar)
Available in multiple sizes
Poor heat retention
Filter strains too quickly
This little pour-over device is affordable, easy to use, and saves more space in the kitchen than even the slimmest electric coffee maker. Its elegant design is similar to that of a Chemex—rounded glass body, cork or rubber band—but it comes with a permanent stainless steel filter, so you won't have to buy countless paper ones.
Capacity might be an issue for the true coffee addict, as this model only holds 17 ounces, roughly equivalent to two or three cups of joe. However, Bodum also manufactures the item in two larger sizes: 34 and 51 ounces.
Customers give the Bodum Pour Over high marks, especially regarding its value for money and easiness to clean (simply remove the cork or rubber band and toss the item in the dishwasher). A scant number of reviews mention chipping or breaking, but this is to be expected of any glass coffee maker. The size and price make it a great gift option, so keep it in mind for holidays, birthdays, or just-because days.
"Pour-over coffee makers often produce a richer flavor than standard drip coffee, and they are especially great for individual use." — Derek Rose, Coffee and Tea Expert for The Spruce Eats
Best without Pods: Zojirushi Zutto 5-Cup Drip Coffee Maker
Consistent flavor and temperature
Removable water tank
Charcoal water filter
No automatic shutoff
Water tank prone to leaking
While brewing coffee with pods is certainly convenient, it can be expensive and create a lot more waste than ground coffee. This slim 5-cup brewer saves space and eliminates waste, letting you use your favorite grounds. Other perks include a removable water tank for easy filling and a keep-warm plate that can be turned on and off with a side-located switch.
The Zojirushi Zutto Coffee Maker has widely positive reviews, with customers saying the coffee is consistent and that the machine is easy to clean. One common complaint is that the water tank is prone to leaking, but this does not happen to most users. The company provides a one-year warranty should this be an issue.
Best Single Serve: AdirChef Grab N' Go Personal Coffee Maker
Comes with travel mug
Takes ground coffee only
Slower brew time
Travel mug leaks
This slim coffee maker can fit into all kinds of nooks and crannies, whether it’s in a kitchen, dorm room, or RV. The device is terrific personal use since it has single-serve capabilities. It does not take pods, which one might expect given its diminutive size, but instead uses real coffee grounds to brew a fresh cup of joe. Customers widely say it’s quick and super easy to use.
As an added bonus, the AdirChef Grab N’ Go comes with a stainless steel travel mug that you can take to class or keep in a cupholder during your morning commute. Other travel mugs fit inside the machine too, should you already have a go-to favorite in your cupboard (maybe just measure its height beforehand). While this isn’t the most versatile coffee maker out there—no settings for programmability or adjustable brew strength—the machine itself plus the travel mug come at an incredibly affordable price and offer unbeatable value for money.
Best Thermal: Cuisinart DCC-450BK 4-Cup Coffeemaker with Stainless Steel Carafe
Durable and long lasting
Hot plate with thermal carafe
Difficult to remove carafe lid
This petite coffee maker from Cuisinart has a four-cup carafe so you can make enough coffee to share or enjoy by yourself, and it has a pause feature so you can grab your first cup before the brewing is done. An indicator light lets you know that the coffee maker is on, and the warming plate turns off after 30 minutes, so you don’t have to worry about it burning if left unattended.
While it doesn’t have as many features as larger coffee makers, users say that it makes a good cup of coffee. The carafe is made from stainless steel, so it’s unbreakable, while the knuckle guard helps to keep your knuckles away from the hot pot while you pour.
Best for Office: Cuisinart Compact Single Serve Coffee Maker
Compatible with K-Cups and ground coffee
Multiple beverage sizes
Removable water reservoir
Prone to leaking
Coffee grounds often end up in cup
The wrong machine can make workplace coffee a touchy subject. Who cleans the thing? Who has to brew the next batch? But the Cuisinart SS-5 eliminates hassle and confusion, all while saving much-needed space in the break room.
This is a single-serve machine, so you'll get coffee much faster than from a drip machine and always in your favorite blend. You can also select between three drink sizes: 6, 8, and 10 ounces. The machine is compatible with K-Cups, which makes the whole process quick and easy, especially clean-up. A 40-ounce water reservoir is fairly sizable, so you won't constantly be going to the sink.
One area of concern is that the item is prone to leaking around the base, though some customers did not have the issue. Another thing to be conscious of is the amount of waste that comes with pod-based coffee makers, especially when used in office settings. Check out Keurig's reusable K-cups; you can fill them again and again with your favorite ground coffee to produce the same tasty (and quick) cup of joe.
The K-Mini Plus (view at Amazon) is the slimmest Keurig coffee maker available and, on top of its space-saving design, it offers the beloved convenience of K-Cups. BLACK+DECKER's 5-Cup Coffee Maker (view at Amazon) is a much cheaper alternative, as well as one of the most compact electric brewers you can find. It's also a great option for customers who prefer freshly ground coffee to pods.
What to Look for in a Small Coffee Maker
Just because a coffee maker is compact doesn't mean it's limited to a small capacity. There are plenty of space-saving options that brew upwards of 14 cups (some of which can be found on this list). Think about the amount of coffee you consume a day, as well as the number of coffee drinkers in your household. If it's a lot, your best bet is likely a drip coffee maker. If you primarily brew a cup or two a day just for yourself, check out pour overs, French presses, and pod-based machines.
This is an important consideration when buying any type of coffee maker, not just compact ones. But price is unique here since small coffee makers can vary from $10 pour-over brewers to $300 machines. Knowing your budget will help narrow down the many options.
Small coffee makers tend to have fewer features than full-sized ones, but there are still loads of compact devices with all kinds of bells and whistles, including automatic shutoffs, bolder strength settings, and even temperature control. If you’re looking for convenience, just be prepared to pay the price for advanced models.
What is descaling?
Descaling is the process of removing mineral residue that builds up in an electric coffee maker. If left untreated, the buildup—also known as scale—can cause issues like the machine not getting hot enough or not working whatsoever. Many brands sell descaling products to make the process easier, but a simple combination of vinegar and warm soapy water also works. Check if the manufacturer of your device recommends how often you should descale; otherwise, the rule of thumb is to perform the task every one to three months.
What is a 1-4 cup setting?
Many drip coffee makers are equipped with a 1-4 cup setting. This is to ensure that smaller batches of coffee are perfectly brewed. Since drip machines are usually designed to brew a full pot, the speed that the water passes through the coffee grounds is often too fast when only making a few cups. That’s why smaller batches can end up weak and watery. To account for this, the 1-4 cup setting adjusts the drip function to a slower speed and extracts the grounds to suit a smaller pot of coffee.
What grind size should I use?
Owners of a drip coffee maker, AeroPress, or pour-over should use medium-ground coffee beans when brewing. Luckily, this is the standard grind size for bags of pre-ground coffee, so it is very easy to find both in-store and online. Those who use a French press or a cold brew coffee maker should stick with a coarse grind. Finally, espresso makers and moka pots require a very fine grind to produce the rich and bold coffee they are known for.
What is the best coffee-to-water ratio?
Even if you are switching to a smaller coffee maker, the general coffee-to-water ratio remains the same. The Golden Ratio—a phrase used among baristas and other coffee experts—is 1 to 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water. There are slight differences depending on the type of brewing device you own, but this is a common starting point. Experts also recommend measuring coffee in terms of weight instead of volume, if possible, because it improves accuracy. If you do own a kitchen scale and want to weigh the grounds and water you use, the Golden Ratio translates to 1 gram of coffee for every 15 to 18 grams of water.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is a freelance food writer who specializes in product reviews and recipes. Her work has appeared on Serious Eats, Fine Cooking, and her own recipe blog, Cookistry.com. She's also the author of Make Ahead Bread, a cookbook meant to simplify the bread-baking process.
This piece was edited by Derek Rose, the coffee and tea expert for The Spruce Eats. He researches a variety of coffee products, from measuring scoops to commercial espresso machines, and interviews field experts for their insight. One of his favorite coffee makers that didn't make this list is the Bodum BRAZIL French Press, a great budget option, especially for those who prefer non-electric brewers.