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, 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.
Keurig K-Mini Plus Single Serve Coffee Maker
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. Its K-Cup pods are easy to use and offer a wide range of coffees, teas, and more. The Keurig K-Mini Plus takes the brand's signature convenience and bottles it into a 5-inch-wide device, made for those hoping to save space in the kitchen. A pod storage bin holds nine K-Cup pods to keep them handy and slides into the front of the brewer when not in use. If you want your coffee a little stronger, all it takes is the press of a button.
This brews 6 to 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. When the drip tray is removed, you can brew directly into a travel mug up to 7 inches tall.
The coffee maker turns itself off 90 seconds after brewing. If you want to put the coffee maker away 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.
Price at time of publish: $60
Grounds or Pods: Pods (or reusable K-Cup filter) | Capacity: 6 to 12 ounces | Dimensions: 11.3 x 4.5 x 12.1 inches | Warranty: 1-year limited | Wattage: 1,470 | Voltage: 120
Black+Decker 5-Cup Coffeemaker
Makes good drip coffee
Cord storage compartment
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.
Price at time of publish: $20
Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: 5 cups | Dimensions: 7.25 x 8.2 x 10.75 inches | Warranty: 2-year limited | Wattage: 650 | Voltage: 120
"Considering the good drip coffee it makes, as well as its compact and storable size, you’re really getting a good deal on this little guy."
Best With Grinder
Cuisinart DGB-450 Grind and Brew 10-Cup Coffee Maker
Durable and long lasting
Brews with pre-ground coffee too
Blade grinder, not burr
Mixed reviews on ease of cleaning
A coffee grinder is the best accessory you can add to make a fresher, tastier cup of joe. Unfortunately, it's yet another item that takes up space in your kitchen—that's why coffee makers with built-in grinders are so handy, and the Cuisinart DGB-450 is one of the most compact examples you can find. The downside is that it has a blade grinder instead of a burr grinder. Experts widely prefer the latter because they grind more evenly. The good news is that blade grinders are more affordable, so it keeps this coffee maker's price reasonable.
The Cuisinart Grind and Brew comes with a variety of convenient features, too. There's a 1- to 4-cup setting for when you need a little caffeine, but don't want to make a full pot. It's also programmable up to 24 hours in advance and has a self-cleaning function. That said, some customers mention that cleaning by hand can be a little rigorous, which is somewhat expected considering the built-in grinder.
Price at time of publish: $130
Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: 10 cups | Dimensions: 8.1 x 10 x 15.5 inches | Warranty: 3-year limited | Wattage: 1,025 | Voltage: 120
Coffee Gator Espresso Machine
Fast heat-up time
Reservoir placement saves space
Not the strongest steam wand
Espresso makers tend to be bulkier than other brewing devices, but this Coffee Gator model is among the most compact you can find. It’s just 5.5 inches wide–slimmer than some drip coffee makers on our list–and, at 10.3 inches tall, it fits comfortably below most cupboards.
Don’t let its stature fool you, though: The tiny brewer packs a powerful punch. One of our writers tested the espresso firsthand and consistently found the shots to have a strong flavor, rich body, and an all-important, golden-brown crema. During the tests, he didn’t have to wait long for delicious coffee, as the item heats up in roughly 20 seconds. Producing thick, foamy milk takes a little longer, however, as the steam wand isn’t the strongest our team has tested. That said, our reviewer said the wand is easy to use and still sufficient for lattes and cappuccinos.
Such strong flavor makes the Coffee Gator Espresso Machine a viable option for seasoned espresso drinkers, while the item’s intuitive design and affordable price makes it an excellent choice for those new to espresso as well. Once the red display lights stop blinking and turn solid, all you have to do is turn the machine’s lone dial, located on the side, to start pulling espresso shots.
Price at time of publish: $119
Grounds or Pods: Grounds or ESE pods | Capacity: N/A | Dimensions: 12.4 x 5.5 x 10.3 inches | Warranty: 1 year | Wattage: 1,150 | Voltage: 120
"The Coffee Gator Espresso Machine may not have the features of pricier, more automated options—no grinder and users have to pull the shots manually—but it excels at what it does offer."
Ratio Six Coffee Maker
Blooms coffee for more flavor
Beautiful and slim design
Uses paper filters
No pause-and-serve feature
With an eye-catching design and a unique brewing style, the Ratio Six has a high-end feel that distinguishes it from most drip coffee makers. The stainless steel shower head is visibly different than the average plastic one, and it maximizes flavor by smoothly and evenly pouring water over the coffee grounds. There's also an automated "bloom" phase, which is typically associated with non-electric coffee makers like pour overs and French presses. In this phase, the Ratio Six gently saturates the coffee grounds before fully brewing them so that they release pent-up CO2 and, as a result, have a better taste.
Overall, the Ratio Six is an excellent and reliable brewing device, but there are few considerations to mention. It is expectedly more expensive than the average drip coffee maker, and despite the high price tag, there's no pause-and-serve feature. Paper filters are required for brewing, as well, as opposed to a permanent filter. The Ratio Six is also quite long for a coffee maker, due in part to the separate water reservoir and shower head. It is exceptionally slim, however, measuring under 7 inches in width, which is why we feel it's compact enough to include on our list. Width is usually a more important factor in saving counter space than depth.
Price at time of publish: $365
Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: 40 ounces | Dimensions: 13.5 x 6.75 x 14.25 inches | Warranty: 5-year limited | Wattage: 1,400 | Voltage: 120
Best Pour Over
Bodum 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 lover, 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 with glass coffee makers. The size and price make it a great gift option, so keep it in mind for holidays, birthdays, or just-because days.
Price at time of publish: $20
Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: 17, 34, and 51 ounces | Dimensions: Varies by capacity | Warranty: 1-year limited
"If I’m making coffee for myself, it’s almost always pour over. I really believe it's the best way to make a cup of coffee." — Nigel Price, Founder and Owner of Drip Coffee Makers
OXO Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker
Sleek, minimal design
Thermal carafe for long-lasting heat retention
Brews excellent drip coffee
Makes single-serve and large batches
Water reservoir isn't removable
Thermal coffee pots provide multiple benefits over glass ones. First off, they're more durable. Second, and perhaps most important, they retain heat better than glass carafes, which actually helps the coffee taste better in the long run. Glass coffee pots usually have hot plates underneath them to stay warm, but this added heat essentially "cooks" the coffee, changing its flavor and making it more bitter. A thermal coffee maker, like this one from Oxo, keeps coffee fresh and delicious for hours by leaving the flavor intact.
It's no wonder we were highly impressed with the quality of the coffee that this machine brews. Our tester noted that the showerhead evenly distributes water over the coffee grounds, leading to a well-balanced cup of joe. The device also has the unique capability to brew one cup at a time when you prefer that over a full 8-cup pot.
The design is not only slim at 7 inches wide but incredibly simple too. There are only three buttons on the machine: a power button and two brew settings. A major downside to the simplicity, however, is that the Oxo 8-Cup Coffee Maker is not programmable. So, if you like to situate your coffee maker at night and set it to brew before you wake up in the morning, you might prefer another option.
Price at time of publish: $200
Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: 40 ounces | Dimensions: 10.5 x 7 x 13.5 inches | Warranty: 2-year limited
"I liked the slim design because I had no problem finding space for it on my kitchen counter. And I found the minimal design to be a big plus too."
AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
Fast brewing (2 minutes)
Easy to clean
Slight effort to plunge
A favorite among outdoor enthusiasts and coffee experts alike, the AeroPress is the best travel companion you can find. It's small enough to toss in a backpack or suitcase, and all it takes is access to hot water to make a tasty cup of coffee or even a richer, espresso-like brew. Our expert product tester compared the flavor and smoothness to pour over coffee.
One question that pops up with the AeroPress is whether it's useful as a primary brewing device—like a drip coffee maker, for example—or if it's more of an occasional, on-the-go gadget. There's no set answer, but our reviewer thinks it's suitable for both. Just keep in mind that it has a small capacity of 8 ounces and requires more hands-on effort than most coffee makers, so some people may tire of using it and cleaning it multiple times a day. That said, cleaning is quick and easy. The four main plastic parts of the AeroPress are top-shelf dishwasher safe, and our tester adds that rinsing by hand takes no more than a minute. The AeroPress is also reasonably priced, on par with other non-electric brewing devices and cheaper than many electric ones.
Price at time of publish: $40
Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: 8 ounces | Dimensions: 4.75 x 4.5 x 11.75 inches | Warranty: 1-year limited
"The AeroPress is made of several parts that can conveniently be broken down to make it more travel-friendly."
Best Without Pods
Zojirushi Zutto 5-Cup Drip Coffee Maker
Consistent flavor and temperature
Removable water tank
Charcoal water filter
Water tank prone to leaking
While brewing coffee with pods is certainly convenient, it can quickly become expensive. This slim 5-cup brewer solves the issue by letting you use your favorite coffee grounds instead of pods. 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.
Price at time of publish: $74
Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: 5 cups | Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 10.6 inches | Warranty: 1-year limited | Wattage: 650 | Voltage: 120
Nespresso Essenza Mini with Aeroccino Milk Frother
Consistent espresso and crema
Compact and lightweight
Easy to use
Small container for used capsules
Espresso lacks complex flavors
By itself, the Nespresso Essenza Mini is a reliable and easy-to-use espresso maker. A member of our team tested the item over several weeks and said the espresso consistently had strong flavor and a rich crema. Throw in an Aeroccino3 Milk Frother and the bundle becomes highly versatile, allowing users to whip up lattes, cappuccinos, and more right from home.
It's all the drink options you get from an automatic espresso maker (except for an Americano), but in a more compact device. The Essenza Mini is roughly 4 inches wide, so it can slide between cookbooks, canisters, and other countertop accoutrement. And the separate milk frother, measuring 3.5 inches in diameter, takes up little space too; it can also go in a cupboard when not in use.
There are two drink size options on this machine, espresso and lungo, labeled on top with a pair of simple buttons. The capsule container needs to be emptied after six shots of espresso, which is smaller than many alternative Nespresso machines, but that's a natural consequence of such a slim design. While Nespresso products skew toward the pricier end, the Essenza Mini is one of the most affordable, and our tester called it an excellent value-for-money option.
Price at time of publish: $200
Grounds or Pods: Pods | Capacity: Single serve | Dimensions: 4.3 x 8 x 12.8 inches | Warranty: 1 year | Wattage: 1,255 | Voltage: 110
"Considering its compact size, ease of use, and consistent performance, the Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine is very affordable."
Best Single Serve
AdirChef Grab N' Go Personal Coffee Maker
Comes with travel mug
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.
Price at time of publish: $23
Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: 15 ounces | Dimensions: 6.7 x 5.1 x 10.1 inches | Warranty: 1-year limited | Wattage: 650 to 750 | Voltage: 120
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 breakroom.
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.
Price at time of publish: $100
Grounds or Pods: Both | Capacity: 6-, 8-, and 10-ounce servings | Dimensions: 10.7 x 7.25 x 12.1 inches | Warranty: 3-year limited | Wattage: 1,200 | Voltage: 120
The K-Mini Plus 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 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.
Other Options We Tested
- Ninja CE251 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Brewer: This drip coffee maker from Ninja is worth considering for many coffee drinkers. It packs a 12-cup capacity into a surprisingly slim design. Unfortunately, the coffee was mediocre and the quality of the materials somewhat flimsy, preventing us from recommending the item.
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.
"I like to look for a coffee maker that hits a couple of marks. The first is price point, of course. But I also only want to buy a coffee maker once, so a good warranty and replaceable parts is important. The next is functionality—how it performs and what is offers. Temperature control is important. Luxury coffee makers can retain the proper brewing temperature between 195 degrees and 205. After this, you get a cup with better extraction, better flavor, and better body." — Allie Caran, Product Manager at BaristaValet
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 brewed consistently. 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?
This piece was written 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. He also tested the Coffee Gator Espresso Machine over the course of several weeks and fully recommends it.
Nigel Price is the founder and owner of Drip Coffee Makers in New York City. He has worked in the coffee industry for more than a decade. Established in 2015, Drip now has multiple locations.
Allie Caran, the Product Manager at BaristaValet, was interviewed for this piece. She previously worked as the Director of Education at Partners Coffee. Allie has been in the coffee industry for more than 15 years.