Coffee pod machines are the ultimate shortcut to achieving quick, convenient coffees. All pod machines have a similar basic function: the user loads in a coffee pod, presses a button, and the machine then pumps hot water from an in-built reservoir, through the pod, and into a cup as coffee.

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The best machines will brew intensely aromatic espresso in under 30 seconds, from capsules or pods containing the perfect quantity of pre-ground and dosed coffee for a single shot.

The great merit to these is that the 'messy bits' of coffee making are taken off your hands – namely the grinding, dosing and tamping of grounds. This in turn makes the whole process from start to finish quicker and removes the need for these gadgets to have sophisticated tech, like the burr grinders of bean-to-cup coffee machines, or espresso machine accessories like portafilters that must be cleaned free of coffee oils after every use.

Of course, these machines come with the heavy caveat of environmental impact. There are many types of coffee pods sold in UK shops and online, including, but not limited to, Nespresso, Dolce Gusto, T-Discs (Tassimo), Iperespresso (Illy), Lavazza, and Dualit NX ESE (easy serve espresso) pods.

Whereas other coffee-making options simply produce used grinds as waste, the casings of coffee pods often contain both plastic and aluminium; recyclable alone but an environmental nightmare when mixed together.

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Figures compiled by Halo Coffee a few years ago revealed that for every 39,000 capsules produced around the world every minute, 29,000 end up in landfill – that said, more recent research by University of Quebec found that the carbon footprint of coffee pods is actually lower than that of making traditional filtered coffee.

ESE (easy serve espresso) pods are a compostable alternative, consisting of dosed and tampered ground coffee sealed between filter paper. Many third-party brands are working to make compostable alternatives more widely available and for a cheaper rate.

Our reviews experts tested over 20 coffee pod machines with compatible eco pods as similar in variety and roast strength as possible, to bring you this list of the best currently available. We regularly update this guide with models that impress with their performance. Find out more about how we test products.

All costs-to-run calculations were done against the variable tariff at the time of testing (16.6p/kWh), which has since changed – read more on the current energy price guarantee rates.

We test appliances every year to bring you impartial advice on the best products to spend your hard-earned cash on. The newest machines in this list were tested and reviewed by Natalie Bass. For the full roster of our tried-and-tested coffee recommendations, visit our guides to the best espresso machines, best coffee pod machines, best bean-to-cup coffee machines, best iced coffee makers and accessories, and best milk frothers.

For more, visit our reviews section and find over 400 practical buyer's guides and product reviews offering unbiased advice on what equipment is worth investing in. For more on coffee, we've reviewed coffee grinders and reusable coffee cups, too.

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The best coffee pod machines at a glance

  • Best affordable coffee pod machine: Lavazza Jolie, £47.50
  • Best coffee pod machine for quality espresso: Nespresso Vertuo Pop, £99
  • Best speciality coffee pod machine: Opal One coffee pod machine, £144.99
  • Best blowout coffee pod machine: Nespresso Vertuo Creatista by Sage, £649.95
  • Best for pod versatility: Nespresso Vertuo Next, £99
  • Best coffee pod machine for flavour: illy Iperespresso X7.1 coffee maker, £156
  • Best cheap coffee pod machine: Bosch Tassimo Vivy 2 TAS 140X, £35
  • Best eco-buy coffee pod machine: illy ESE coffee pod machine, £115
  • Best dual-purpose coffee pod machine: Dualit Espress-auto 4-in-1 coffee and tea maker, £199.99
  • Best coffee pod machine for retro styling: Lavazza A Modo Mio SMEG, £199

The best coffee pod machines to buy in 2024

Lavazza Jolie coffee pod machine

Lavazza Jolie coffee pod machine

Best affordable coffee pod machine

Pros:

  • Small footprint and easy to store
  • Does the basics well

Cons:

  • Manual stop for single espresso

Star rating: 5/5

Wattage: 1250W

For anyone who likes espresso or the slightly longer drink, the Lavazza is an affordable option that does the basics really well. Its footprint is only 3cm longer than your average 30cm ruler and at 12cm wide, is one of the smallest coffee pod machines on the market. The statement handle locks in the Lavazza pods and this is a versatile shape, as many independent roasteries sell compatible alternative roasts.

Nespresso Vertuo Pop coffee pod machine

Nespresso Vertuo Pop coffee pod machine

Best coffee pod machine for quality espresso

Pros:

  • Rich, dark espresso with thick crema
  • Easy to use
  • Looks attractive
  • Small footprint
  • Simple to unload and clean

Cons:

  • Manual is excessively large
  • A little noisy
  • Only uses Nespresso Vertuo pods
  • Stiff when lowering the lid

Star rating: 4.5/5

Wattage: 1260W

Available in six colours and designed with a smooth, rounded body, this more affordable machine within Nespresso's Vertuo range is ideal for those working with a smaller budget. Its footprint is small, too, and the controls are clear and intuitive.

We found the set-up a little time-consuming: the manual is excessively large because it's designed for all the models within the Vertuo range (rather than being product-specific), so you have to rifle through a lot of instructions that may not be relevant. That said, once we got going, the Vertuo Pop was very easy to use.

We had to be quite firm when lowering the lid to insert the Vertuo capsule, as it was stiff and needed two hands to lock it in. The coffee it produced, however, was excellent, with rich flavours, a creamy, thick crema and no bitterness.

Cost to brew one double espresso each day for one month: 2.5p

Opal One coffee pod machine

Opal One coffee pod machine review

Best speciality coffee pod machine

Pros:

  • Sleek, slimline machine
  • Produces quality espresso
  • Adjustable brew temperature
  • User-friendly features
  • Quick to heat up
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Some of the manual is unclear and poorly written
  • Drips a lot after brewing

Star rating: 4.5/5

Wattage: 1260W

Launched as 'the first machine purposely designed to brew speciality coffee pods', the Opal One is a modern-looking, slimline piece of kit that's easy to operate and clean up afterwards.

The manual comes with written instructions and diagrams, most of which were fairly clear though some of the text is a little clunky and hard to follow. Thankfully, we had no issues during set-up and found the controls were intuitive and quick to respond.

There are three espresso options on its push-button interface: short, normal, and lungo, with options to adjust the temperature if you want hotter or cooler drinks. We also loved the handle around the water tank lid, which reduced the risk of spillages as we lifted it out and carried it to and from the sink.

The makers of this machine advise using speciality pods, but we started with generic Nespresso-compatible pods for fairness – and the results were impressive. Our espresso was very hot, and had a thin but glossy, hazelnut-coloured crema. We then tried using Gesha pods from Colonna Coffee and really noticed the difference in quality: thick, silky crema with rich, dark espresso underneath, and a pleasant touch of acidity.

Cost to brew one double espresso each day for one month: 2.2p

Nespresso Vertuo Creatista by Sage

Nespresso Vertuo Creatista coffee pod machine

Best blowout coffee pod machine

Pros:

  • Attractive
  • Comes with milk-steaming function
  • Easy to operate and customise
  • Clear instructions, with QR codes linking to videos
  • Large water capacity
  • Adjustable tray height

Cons:

  • Expensive for a coffee pod machine
  • Large footprint
  • Noisy
  • Can only use Nespresso Vertuo pods

Star rating: 4.5/5

Wattage: 1500W

If you're looking for a high-spec coffee pod machine that goes the extra mile – and you have the budget for it – this glossy gadget ticks a lot of boxes. The Nespresso Creatista, made in collaboration with Sage, caters to a range of coffee options and cup sizes, with an adjustable steam wand for making frothy cappuccinos and silky lattes. A stainless steel milk jug is also included.

There's a quick-start guide with QR codes that link to videos, all of which are clear and well-explained. In use, it's a little noisy and screeches for a brief period when the steamer starts up, but works and heats up quickly. It's also a large machine, so better suited to those with more countertop space.

In testing, our espresso had a very strong, rich flavour and thick, bubbly crema. The milk frother can also be programmed to produce specific microfoam textures depending on which drink you're making, and it produced consistent, creamy results each time.

It's noticeably more expensive than other coffee pod machines on the market, but if you're looking for that polished stainless-steel build that's synonymous with Sage's coffee machines (normally in a much higher price bracket), this is a great value option.

Cost to brew one double espresso each day for one month: 2.5p

Nespresso Vertuo Next coffee pod machine

Nespresso Vertuo Next coffee pod machine

Best machine for pod versatility

Pros:

  • Reliable crema every time, no matter the drink size.
  • Made from 54% recycled plastic
  • Versatile range of Nespresso pods available

Cons:

  • Tad loud
  • Takes Nespresso Vertuo pods only

Star rating: 4.5/5

Wattage: 1260W

This coffee pod has a single button, but can make five different drinks. How? Because each has a bespoke barcode on the underside that the machine scans to know which drink to brew.

Pop a pod into this machine, manually adjust the drip tray to accommodate your chosen cup and the machine whirrs into life, brewing espresso, double espresso, gran lungo, mug, and alto drinks, each with a thick layer of silky froth. It's the right hazelnut colour for a crema and although a tad foamy, is a reliable addition for crema lovers.

Illy Iperespresso X7.1 coffee maker

Illy Iperespresso X7.1 coffee maker

Best coffee pod machine for flavour

Pros:

  • Excellent coffee
  • Attractive materials
  • Nifty steam wand

Cons:

  • A little wide in footprint
  • Pods can't be recycled in the UK
  • Interface could be clearer

Star rating: 4.5/5

Wattage: 1200W

The beautiful Illy X7.1 Iperespresso pumps out some of the best coffee we’ve ever tasted from a coffee pod machine. It’s made with tough, attractive materials, and features a nifty steam wand for making lattes and cappuccinos.

This isn’t the easiest pod coffee machine to master, but it’s also one of the best. If and when Illy rolls out pod recycling in the UK, as it has done abroad, this could become one of the best machines all round. Read our full Illy Iperespresso X7.1 coffee pod machine review.

Bosch Tassimo Vivy 2 TAS 140x

Bosch coffee pod machine with recommended badge

Best cheap coffee pod machine

Pros:

  • Easy to store
  • Shallow footprint
  • Recyclable packaging

Cons:

  • Easily marked with fingerprints
  • Only compatible with Tassimo Pods

Star rating: 4/5

Wattage: 1300W

This is a clever beast. Using an in-built barcode reader, it scans compatible pods and adjusts its settings to suit each drink. This makes for a supremely easy coffee-making process, with next-to-no-chance of the drink coming out horribly wrong.

On a more negative note, this does remove the small degree of personal input from the user which other machines still allow. Nonetheless, if ease-of-use is what you’re after, you can’t do better than the Vivy 2. Read our full Bosch Tassimo Vivy 2 TAS 140x coffee pod machine review.

illy ESE coffee pod machine

illy ESE coffee pod machine

Best eco-buy coffee pod machine

Pros:

  • Low wattage
  • Flip-down espresso cup holder
  • Easy serve espresso pods (ESE) compatible

Cons:

  • The lungo coffee isn't as long as we'd have liked

Star rating: 4/5

Wattage: 800W

illycaffè is B-Corp Certified, which is one way in which a brand can show it's committed to reducing its negative impact on the environment, its workforce and chain of production. As part of its energy-saving range, this 800W appliance is compatible with ESE pods (easy serving espresso), with pre-dosed and tampered ground coffee compressed between filter paper.

Being biodegradable, ESE pods are an excellent lower-impact alternative to even recyclable coffee pods. This is a slimline machine featuring a particularly satisfying flip-down espresso cup holder and produced richly dark espresso full of body and topped with crema.

Dualit Espress-auto coffee and tea machine

Dualit Espress-auto coffee and tea machine

Best dual-purpose coffee pod machine

Pros:

  • Versatile

Cons:

  • Expensive

Star rating: 4/5

Wattage: 1250W

Attractively designed, stoutly made and brilliant at making both coffee and tea, this is one of the best coffee pod machines money can buy. That’s just as well – it isn’t cheap. This machine makes a great hot drink: well-heated but never burnt. It’s highly versatile, with the capability, via its brew head and adaptors, to make drinks using various capsules, pods and even ground coffee. Read our full Dualit Espresso-auto 4-in-1 coffee and tea maker review.

Lavazza A Modo Mio SMEG coffee pod machine

Lavazza A Modo Mio Smeg

Best coffee pod machine for retro styling

Pros:

  • Removable dishwasher-safe components
  • Adjustable cup holder
  • 900ml water tank

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Bulky

Star rating: 3.5/5

Wattage: 1250W

For fans of SMEG's 1950s styling, this is the perfect statement coffee pod machine. It bares the iconic curves and logo across its front, along with that of Italian brand, Lavazza. The result of their collaboration brews excellent espresso, packed with body and flavour.

Espresso or lungo drinks are on offer, brewed in 30 seconds. The only drawbacks of this machine are its chunky footprint on the countertop and price. Performance-wise, you can match it with a much more affordable machine.

Other coffee pod machines tried and tested

How to choose the best coffee pod machine

Features to look out for:

  • Dual coffee settings: Although coffee pods tend to be a single shot (Nespresso's dome pods being the big exception here), coffee pod machines should give you the option to pull a longer shot called a Lungo.
  • Easily removable pod bin: for emptying used pods and easily cleaning the container.
  • Programmable shots: For setting your machine to pull a certain amount of water through each pod.
  • Dual-height drip trays: To accommodate both espresso cups and standard cups or mugs without letting espresso splash out.
  • Automatic sleep setting: To save power between espressos.

Check out expert barista Celeste Wong's recommendations for the best moka pots, gooseneck kettles, coffee grinders and decaf coffee to buy on our sister brand, olive magazine:

How we tested coffee pod machines

The coffee pod machines in this guide were the best performing from the test, using as similar a roast strength and bean variety as possible across compatible eco pods. Our reviews experts marked against the following core and contributing criteria.

  • Coffee quality

We looked for a dark espresso, richly flavoured with a strong aroma and hazelnut coloured layer of crema on the top.

  • Quality of materials

These machines need to withstand daily use, so those with flimsy, cheap-feel or rickety components were drastically marked down.

  • Value for money

Every criteria plays into this. The performance, coffee quality and feel of materials all had to be worth the quantity you fork out for investment.

  • Assembly and packaging

This included set-up time and clarity of instructions. Those with an abundance of unnecessary single-use plastic packaging were marked down.

  • Ease of use

Coffee pod machines are all about mess-free convenience so every stage of use, from filling the tank to selecting your coffee and emptying the pod bin had to be easy.

The following criteria also played into our decision-making.

● Extra functions e.g. milk frother, temperature control
● Kitchen footprint
● Ease of cleaning
● Ease of storage
● Eco-friendly credentials

We expect many pod coffee machine users will be seeking convenience above all other factors. Such buyers should look out for the functionality and ease-of-cleaning ratings in our individual pod coffee machine reviews.

Others may be looking for a little more finesse from their pod coffee machine, in which case we suggest looking out for the ‘results’ rating for each machine.

This type of buyer may also benefit from choosing a machine with a milk frother or steam wand, as having a good feature for foaming milk is essential to recreating drinks like lattes or cappuccinos.

Coffee recipes and tips

How to make cold brew coffee
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