Best pod coffee machines 2022: for low-maintenance mornings

Pick up the best pod coffee machine with our top 10 from Grind, De'Longhi, Lavazza, Nespresso and Tassimo, featuring our hands-on reviews

one of the best pod coffee machine options on a marble kitchen countertop, with cakes and baked good around it on a tiered trap, cups of coffee, a cannister of coffee pods, and a jar of granola
(Image credit: Illy)

Using the best pod coffee machine can be an easy way to streamline those busy mornings, but coffee lovers will know that that's no excuse to compromise on quality brews. That's where our pod coffee machine reviews come in, because each and every one of our top 10 best pod coffee machines you see here has been reviewed by the coffee-loving Real Homes team. 

When picking the right pod machine for you, it's important to take the brand into account as well as the look of the machine. Because there is a selection of pod types out there, from Tassimo to Nespresso Vertuo, you're not only committing to a machine you like when you buy, but a brand of coffee, too. 

Pod machines have come a long way since they were first developed. Gone are the days of weak and acidic americanos – you can now pick machines which will scan in-built barcodes on every pod to adjust the brewing length and strength, to make sure that every brew tastes its very best. Below you'll find our top 10 best pod coffee machines from Nespresso, Grind, Lavazza, Sage, De'Longhi, and Tassimo. Some of these machines even feature in our roundup of the best coffee machines

What is the best pod coffee machine?

If you want our number one pod coffee machine, then we highly recommend you buy the Nespresso Vertuo Next. It's so sleek and modern, with in-built pod reading for perfectly refined brews. 

But if you're a sustainability-conscious consumer, the Grind One pod coffee machine is a top pick. It's got a stainless steel build that looks great, and is really built to last. 

The best pod coffee machines

Nespresso Vertuo Next, with milk frother and a mug full of coffee

(Image credit: Nespresso)
Best pod coffee machine overall: sleek and space-efficient

Specifications

Best for: Long coffee fans
Type: Nespresso Vertuo
Pressure: Not applicable (see below)
Capacity: 1.1L tank
Dimensions: H 32 x W 14 x D 38 cm

Reasons to buy

+
Makes long coffees as well as espresso 
+
One-button-operation
+
Quick heat-up time

Reasons to avoid

-
Small water tank size

Let’s say you like espresso, but you frequently choose longer black coffees. Speaking your language? Then check out this pod coffee machine which is specially made to deliver more of a drink.

Tell me about Nespresso Vertuo Next

We’re glad you asked. Nepresso Vertuo capsules are a different, and newer, capsule than the Nespresso Original pods. They’re designed to make espresso, but you can also make longer coffee drinks at home easily with capsules from this range.

Using the Vertuo capsules – and this must be in a Vertuo machine – can deliver you up to 414ml of coffee in one go, and there’s no programming or holding down buttons to get the amount of coffee you like. The machine reads the barcode on the capsule when it’s making your coffee so the process is automatic.

What do we like about it?

It’s the five cup sizes, fellow black coffee enthusiasts: 414ml alto, 230ml mug, 150ml gran lungo, 80ml double espresso, 40ml espresso. In other words, you can suit your desire for a small shot or a long, long drink to the time of day/your caffeine need/how many minutes you have to drink it.

We also like the fact that the water tank can be positioned at the back or on the left or right of the machine thanks to a rotating arm, which helps fit it neatly on to your worktop.

The 1.1ltr water tank is smaller than most, but the capsule container capacity of 10 won’t have you emptying all the time. 

Coffee extraction

Nespresso Original machines use a high-pressure 19 bar extraction system. Vertuo models like this one use Nespresso’s Centrifusion extraction. Once the machines read the barcode (see above) it spins the capsule to extract the coffee. Our view? It makes a coffee that’s just as tasty and with a great crema (the foamy head of the coffee created by the brewing process).

What don’t we like?

Although there are compatible pods available when we’re talking Nespresso Original Line pods, this isn’t the case with Vertuo, restricting you to the brand’s own pods. Despite this, it's still the best pod coffee machine out there, in our opinion.

Real Homes rating 4.5 out of 5 stars: read our full Nespresso Vertuo Next coffee machine review

Grind One pod coffee machine

(Image credit: Grind)
Best sustainable pod coffee machine: this one's designed to last

Specifications

Best for: Eco-conscious consumers
Type: Nespresso
Pressure: 19 bar
Capacity: 1.2L tank
Dimensions: ‎H39.2 x W30.4 x D22.4 cm

Reasons to buy

+
Custom coffee lengths
+
Quick pre-heat
+
Long-lasting and chic style

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive for such simple functions

Grind is ever-so-stylish, with pink coffee pod subscriptions and carbon-positive delivery. The pod machine comes with the option of an additional milk frother, which we suggest pairing with your purchase if you plan on drinking lots of lattes. 

Quality design

Designed to be 'an antidote to the mass-market plastic machines that seem destined for landfill', Grind's machine is stainless steel and has an airplane-style lever to lock your pod into place.

What do we like about it?

While there are two preset coffee lengths to choose from (espresso or lungo), you can easily adjust them by pressing down the dispenser button. To turn on you just need to flip the control switch and your machine will start preparing to pour. We enjoyed how fast the pre-heat was - our coffee was ready to pour in seconds. 

Love the look

We also like the look of this machine – a definite worktop enhancer in our book. It doesn’t take up too much space either. The sturdy design is made to last, and it will pair well with plenty of other kitchen gadgets. 

What don’t we like?

It’s a value question here really. If you care about sustainability and like the look then it’ll be worth the pricey outlay. 

We didn't like having to remove the drip tray to pull out the pod bin, and while there are latches to raise and lower the tray which holds your mug, it won't fit very large mugs. 

Real Homes rating 4.5 out of 5 stars: read our full Grind One Pod coffee machine review review

SAGE NESPRESSO CREATISTA UNO SNE500BKS Pod Coffee MachineReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Illy)
Best pod coffee machine (over all): brews up speedily and makes fabulous coffee

Specifications

Best for: Coffee-shop-style-coffees
Type: Nespresso
Pressure: 19 bar
Capacity: 1.5L tank
Dimensions: H30.8 x W17.1 x D39.3cm

Reasons to buy

+
Makes all your favourites 
+
Quick 3 second heat up 
+
Tasty drinks

Reasons to avoid

-
Investment buy

This coffee machine by Sage is our number one pod coffee machine. Why? Well, it makes great coffee and great coffees. In other words, you can whip up a delicious espresso, and you can also make all the coffee shop favourites with espresso as a basis.

Quick off the mark

Yes, fellow coffee fans, we know: who wants to hang about? And with this machine, you don’t have to. It has a heat-up system that reaches the ideal temperature in 3 seconds, which, we think it’s fair to say, qualifies as ready in a flash.

What do we like about it?

We’ll take the convenience of the pod system itself as read. But there’s plenty more that pleases us with this machine.

First of all there’s a choice of three coffee lengths from petite ristretto (25ml volume), to classic espresso (40ml), and longer lungo (110ml).

If you’re venturing away from its black coffee repertoire, there’s plenty you can create. There are three milk froth settings: one for flat white, one for cappuccino and one for latte macchiato, so you can create authentic coffee shop drinks at home.

Even better, the steam wand simply needs wiping before it auto purges, so keeping on frothing is no hassle.

Easy to clean

There’s no hard graft to maintain this machine in tip-top shape. The necessary parts can be easily removed for cleaning, and there’s an alert that’ll remind you to descale.

What don’t we like?

You will pay for the pleasure of using this machine and it does have less expensive rivals that will  produce the same black and milk drinks. However, if your budget does extend this far, we think you won’t be disappointed as it offers good value in terms of taste and savings versus drinking at your local coffee shop, which is why it's one of our best pod coffee machine choices.

Real Homes rating 5 out of 5 stars: read our full Sage Nespresso Creatista Uno SNE500BKS coffee machine review

Hotel Chocolat The PodsterReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Hotel Chocolat)

4. Hotel Chocolat The Podster

Best contemporary pod coffee machine

Specifications

Best for: Modern looks
Type: Rabot Estate (Nespresso Original compatible)
Pressure: 9 bar
Capacity: 1L tank
Dimensions: H35cm x W15cm x D23cm

Reasons to buy

+
Designed with sustainability in mind
+
Good pressure level
+
Thoughtful accents

Reasons to avoid

-
Handle isn't ideal for under counters

Say you’re not spoiled for space in the kitchen, and your room has a distinctly modern look. Nodding vigorously? Then this could be the best pod coffee machine  for you.

Small and light

This lightweight machine is far from a space hog. Although it doesn’t have the most minimal dimensions of our selection, it’s pretty diminutive. And it’s not visually bulky thanks to the slimline narrow shape – also a valuable attribute for a machine that’s going to live in a small room.

What do we like about it?

Simple but high quality, the Hotel Chocolat the Podster machine is made in collaboration with Dualit. It's got a textured handle that works as a lever to lock your pods into place, and this echoes the design of the Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser. It's definitely the sturdiest part of the machine, but other elements such as the soft-touch buttons and ribbed pod container elevate the somewhat simple design.

With nine bars of pressure, we also really enjoyed the taste of our coffee. Rich, with plenty of crema, we did find that it worked best on espresso shots. Even so, longer coffees had a lovely aroma.

Sustainable pods

Simply put, there is no pod machine that is more sustainable than a bean-to-cup. That said, the Podster takes a big step in the right direction with its Podcycler. This comes included with the machine and is designed to work with the Rabot Estate coffee pods that can be bought at Hotel Chocolat stores. They're made of aluminium, so by ejecting the used coffee grounds from the pods and giving them a rinse, you can put your pods through household recycling. A good step away from plastic pods. 

What don’t we like?

The machine took a while to heat up, and dripped a bit both before and after we pulled our shot of coffee. It's not cheap for the two-drink design, but it pairs well with the Velvetiser for a more premium look. 

Real Homes rating 4 out of 5 stars

Lavazza A Modo Mio Idola Coffee MachineReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Lavazza)
The best pod coffee machine for espresso fans: great-tasting black coffee from a simple-to-use machine

Specifications

Best for: Espresso
Type: Lavazza A Mode Mio capsules
Pressure: 10 bar
Capacity: 1.1L tank
Dimensions: H28 x W14.5 x D38cm

Reasons to buy

+
Good looker
+
Quiet
+
Great choice of coffees 

Reasons to avoid

-
You want a built-in steam wand 

If it’s only black coffees you need, then the Lavazza A Modo Mio Idola coffee machine will be right up your street. It’ll deliver the length of drink you want and fabulous taste with, of course, all the convenience of doing so in your own kitchen whenever you like, with no grinding and tamping required.

A brilliant black coffee option

It’s the only machine capsule fans who are after black drinks need. It’ll do the business with no fuss, and you’ll be delighted by the flavour of its brews.

What do we like about it?

It may specialise, but there’s actually plenty of flexibility with this machine, which offers choice for lovers of espresso-based drinks. Yes, it will make an espresso (30ml), but you can also create a long espresso (60ml), or a long coffee (100ml), or even get it to brew your own preferred drink volume with the free dose button. For us, that makes it a top choice because it’ll create the coffees you crave at different times of day.

Also notable are the aroma of the coffees this machine makes – very enticing – and the authentic froth (more correctly, crema) on the top of its coffees. No compromises on the coffee shop there, either.

Other favourite features of this machine for us? It’s ready to go in 35 seconds allowing you to get your first caffeine dose of the day before you even contemplate which breakfast cereal to go for.

Low maintenance life

Coffee machines vary greatly in how much looking after they demand of you, and this one is definitely on the low workload side. The used capsule drawer holds 10 pods so you won’t be emptying it all the time. You can easily take off the parts that need cleaning, so that’s no trouble, and there’s a light to remind you to get rid of limescale as well, taking the remembering part off your plate.

What don’t we like?

It’s Lavazza A Modo Mio capsules you need for this machine, so you might have to look a little harder for them on shelves busy with the pods of rival systems such as Nespresso and Nescafé Dolce Gusto. That said, you can normally find Lavazza A Modo Mio capsules at all the major supermarkets or buy online, so keeping yourself in coffee won’t be a problem.

Real Homes rating 5 out of 5 stars: read our full Lavazza A Modo Mio Idola coffee machine review

De'Longhi Dedica Style EC685 Pod Coffee MachineReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: De'Longhi)
The best two-in-one pod coffee machine: uses capsules but works with ground coffee, too

Specifications

Best for: Flexibility
Type: ESE capsules or ground coffee
Pressure: 15 bar
Capacity: 1.1L tank
Dimensions: H30.3 x W14.9 x D33cm

Reasons to buy

+
Choice of using ESE pods or ground coffee 
+
Stylish design
+
Milk frother

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricer choice

If you like the idea of capsules but think the flexibility of being able to use ground coffee as an alternative is a brilliant idea, then this machine has your name on it. Other benefits? There are plenty, including coffee with a taste we definitely approve of.

Use capsules or ground coffee

This isn’t the cheapest of the pod coffee machines in our list, but you are getting more for your money and, if being able to brew up with either ESE capsules or ground coffee is something you’re going to take advantage of, it could well be worth the extra spend.

Not heard of ESE pods? The ESE stands for easy serving espresso and the big difference between this and other capsule systems is that it’s an open system with lots of companies making the capsules that fit into compatible machines like this one. Bottom line? You’ll have plenty of choice when you’re purchasing pods, and you can find the coffee taste you love.

What do we like about it?

The fact that you can make espresso or cappuccino – or whip up some hot milk for a hot chocolate – helped make this machine part of our list of the best. After all, even if you’re a fan of just espresso, it’s good to be able to make a visitor their favourite drink.

We’re also rather taken by its compact dimensions. A lot of machines with similar functions are significantly more bulky and, if your kitchen’s on the small side, this can make them a space-hogging nuisance. This machine’s just under 15cm wide. Nice!

Colours to suit

We’re awarding points for the fact it makes espresso and cappuccino, more for the fact it uses ground coffee as an alternative to pods, and – on top of all that – we give it credit for the fact that it comes in a metal, black or red finish which should complement plenty of kitchen colour schemes.

What don’t we like?

We found it did drip a bit after use in our test. Although the tray will catch these splashes, we’d rather it didn’t.

Real Homes rating 4 out of 5 stars: read our full De'Longhi Dedica Style EC685 coffee machine review

Bosch Tassimo Happy TAS1002GB Pod Coffee Machine with a mug of coffee on itReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Amazon)
Best pod coffee machine that makes other drinks: brew up tea and hot chocolate as well as a range of coffees

Specifications

Best for: Making more than coffee
Type: Tassimo
Pressure: 3.3 bar
Capacity: 0.7L tank
Dimensions: H30.5 x W36 x D23cm

Reasons to buy

+
Makes coffees, teas and more 
+
Simple operation
+
Compact

Reasons to avoid

-
 Limited to branded capsules 

Like the idea of an all-rounder rather than a specialist when it comes to your choice of machine? Then we’d recommend you check out this model, one of the best Tassimo machines, which could be the perfect addition to a household with varied tastes.

Simple operation

Fill (the water tank), load (the capsule) and press (the button) to get your drink; we’d say it doesn’t get much more straightforward than that, which is all to the good.

The only complication is when you’re making a milk-containing drink, which generally take two capsules to make: milk first, then espresso. But it’s not a huge deal.

What do we like about it?

The fact that you can create a whole lot of drinks: espresso, Americano, latte, cappuccino, flat white and so on. Flavoured coffees such as Toffee Nut Latte, Baileys Latte Macchiato, or Costa Gingerbread Latte are also on the menu. Add to that tea with Twinings T-Discs, or a hot chocolate – with offerings from Cadbury, Milka, and Baileys – or even an Oreo drink.

It gets a thumbs-up on cleaning and care as well. Yes, we mean there isn’t too much to do. Some parts are dishwashable, and descaling is indicated with a light so you don’t need to remember (we have to confess this is our downfall sometimes).

Small size

At H30.5 x W36 x D23cm, this machine should definitely be on your list of options if your kitchen isn’t large. And while it’s not committing the offence of taking up more than its fair share of the worktop, it will bring a pleasingly curvaceous form to the area it does fill.

What don’t we like?

It doesn’t have a huge water tank, leaving your refilling more often than you might like. It’s also a tad noisy. Yes, that means you can’t sneak yourself a drink without alerting the rest of your household into adding their orders while you’re there.

Real Homes rating 4 out of 5 stars: read our full Bosch Tassimo Happy TAS1002GB coffee machine review

Illy Y3.3 Iperespresso Coffee MachineReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Illy)
Best pod coffee machine for style: get good looks and a great cup of coffee

Specifications

Best for: Looks
Type: Nespresso
Pressure: 19 bar
Capacity: 1.4L tank
Dimensions: H33 x W20.8 x D33cm

Reasons to buy

+
Handsome addition to your kitchen 
+
Easy to use
+
Great coffee

Reasons to avoid

-
 Not a budget option 

If design credentials are equally as important to you as a tasty espresso, then have a shufty at this beauty. It looks the part, operates smoothly, and delivers a drink you’d get from a barista.

Ease of use

In our testing, this machine was a champ when it came to day to day use. You select the volume of the coffee from two coffee length options, and you're good to go.

You can press it again to add extra to the cup, or to stop the brew early, too. At the end, you have to move the handle up again to eject the capsule. Quick and hassle-free.

What do we like about it?

Sometimes, simple is better. The Illy Iperespresso Y3.3 is very straightforward to use, with two one-touch buttons, and nothing else. 

It's perfect for espresso lovers because the quality illy pods create a cracking shot or lungo. They’re great coffees, too, delivering in the categories of aroma, crema, and, most importantly, taste.

And while we are loathe to admit to impatience, we don’t like hanging about when we’re ready for a coffee (OK, we are admitting to impatience). However, as this machine heats up in 30 seconds, we can rejoice in its delivering on that score, too.

Low maintenance

Coffee machines do need a certain amount of effort on your part to keep producing great coffees, but this one keeps the work to a minimum. The capsule container holds 14 of the things, which is great.

Removing the parts for cleaning is no hassle, and some can go into the dishwasher, which we’re always happy about.

What don’t we like?

For the price it's pretty simple. We do think the Illy Iperespresso Y3.3 has a real 'less is more' vibe, with an attractive colour lineup, but it's not one for those who want a high-value machine, because other options we reviewed had far more functions for the £100 price mark. 

Real Homes rating 4 out of 5 stars: read our full Illy Y3.3 Iperespresso coffee machine review

Lavazza Tiny Pod Coffee Machine with an espresso in a mug on itReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Lavazza)
Best compact pod coffee machine: tiny by name… but still makes a cracking cup of java

Specifications

Best for: Small spaces
Type: Lavazza A Modo Mio
Pressure: 15 bar
Capacity: 0.75L tank
Dimensions: H24.6 x W12 x D29cm

Reasons to buy

+
Compact
+
Easy to use
+
Won’t break the bank 

Reasons to avoid

-
Espresso only 

The clue’s in the name with this one. It is a small pod coffee machine, but don’t let its size fool you. It’ll still deliver you a tasty brew and in double-quick time, too. And you can’t say better than that.

Simple operation

The machine’s ready to go in 25 seconds flat (hurrah). Your job? Just fill the water tank, put in the pod and click to brew. Done. If you want to adjust the size of your drink, you’ll need to use the free use button to get the length of coffee you prefer.

Some of the parts go in the dishwasher too, wiping down’s no trouble, and there’s the drip tray to attend to, of course.

What do we like about it?

It sets out to make you a good espresso – and it does. We’re big fans of Lavazza’s A Modo Mio capsules in any case. They reliably deliver a coffee that tastes like one you’d get in a coffee shop, and using them in this machine proved no exception to this rule.

It looks good on the worktop, which is definitely an important factor when you’re buying an appliance that’s going to be on show all the time. We like an accent of red, but there are black and white alternatives if the bold shade doesn’t float your boat.

What don’t we like?

You have to eject capsules manually. It’s not a huge deal, we’re just saying.

Real Homes rating 4 out of 5 stars: read our full Lavazza Tiny Coffee Machine review

Lavazza Desea A Modo Mio Pod Coffee Machine with a mug of coffee inside itReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Lavazza)
Best pod coffee machine for speciality coffees: having cappuccino on tap has never been easier

Specifications

Best for: Speciality coffees
Type: Lavazza A Modo Mio
Pressure: n/a
Capacity: 1.1L tank
Dimensions: W14.5 x D38 x H28cm

Reasons to buy

+
Speciality coffee on tap
+
Zero effort
+
Stylish design

Reasons to avoid

-
If you want big brews

Ideal for anyone who likes frothy coffee, this coffee machine could be your next go-to if you (now) work from home more often, or just like coffee on demand (and who doesn't?).

Easy to use

Once you've rinsed the water tank, plugged it in and switched it on, the fun can start. As with the Lavazza Tiny (above) they're are plenty of yummy coffee pods to choose from. Think; black americano, espresso ristretto, lungo...

You'll then just need to place your mug or cup on the cup support, insert your pods and select the advised drink symbol so the machine to get brewing. If you just want to steam some milk, you’ll need to fill the milk jug up to the corresponding drink symbol and seal it with the lid and attached frother.

What do we like about it?

We LOVE the ease of use and how easy it is to keep clean. All removable components are dishwasher safe.

Our reviewers favourite feature is the extra hot button. Select it so that it lights up, before selecting your drink of choice if you like your coffee to stay warmer for longer. This machine is energy efficient and will switch to stand-by mode automatically after nine minutes of no use to conserve energy.

What don't we like?

If you use the milk frother, you may lose a bit of froth and heat when you transfer your cappuccino to your own mug from the jug. And if you like big brews, you may want to double up on espresso caps when making large cappuccinos to ensure you get the perfect coffee (and caffeine) to milk ratio.

Real Homes rating 4 out of 5 stars: read our full Lavazza Desea A Modo Mio Pod Coffee Machine review


Why buy a pod coffee machine

Pod coffee machines have a lot in their favour. They are easy to use and easy to clean, and of course they can deliver a delicious cup of coffee. But what coffee aficionados might not appreciate is that they can also pull off the same fancy tricks as espresso machines, with the ability to froth milk a feature of some machines.

How to choose the best pod coffee machine

Before you buy one of the best pod coffee machine options, check out running costs. Take a look online or in your local supermarket to see how much the various pods retail for. This will give you a rough price per cup – and note that while some brands offer a cheaper machine, the pods can be more expensive. 

Also look at the pod range. If you like a straight forward espresso or Americano, then your options are wider, but for those who fancy a flavoured latte or perhaps the choice for hot chocolates, Tassimo and Dolce Gusto ranges will serve you best. You could alternatively opt for a pod coffee machine with attached milk frother to expand your drink choices to lattes, cappuccinos and milky coffees.

Watch the video below to learn more about what we consider when choosing a good pod coffee machine.

More coffee info...

Millie Fender
Small Appliance and Cooking Editor

Millie joined the Real Homes team in 2021 after working at TopTenReviews as a Staff Writer. She is now the head of all things cooking, working as the Small Appliances and Cooking Editor on the Homes Ecommerce team. Millie is constantly on the hunt for the latest (and best) kitchen appliances, and reviewing these products hands-on. She has passed our five-step certification process to become a verified customer advisor on coffee machines. As a baking enthusiast, Millie’s job at Real Homes is the perfect excuse to cook up an endless supply of snacks. When she’s not in the kitchen though, she loves knitting and exploring London's top food markets. 

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