7 of the Smallest K-Cup Coffee Makers Compared: Which Is Best for Travel?

Smallest K-Cup Coffee Makers

if you’re looking for the simplest and most reliable k-cup brewer on the market, one that doesn’t take up a lot of space and doesn’t do all the fancy things most people don’t even do then read on.

Reading: Smallest k cup coffee maker

I can help you find the best unit that does the job right at the best possible price because I’ve bought and used every single little k-cup brewer featured on this page.

I even made a full comparison video where I briefly went through them side by side to make it easier for you. that video is further down this page if you want to scroll down.

to start, I want you to know from the beginning that the best option of all is easily the single-serve mixpresso coffee maker because it makes good coffee, it does not take long to heat up, it seems that it will last for many years, it is easy to clean and costs very little.

you can see the mixpresso prices with this amazon affiliate link.

To be clear though, I don’t think the mixpresso is the best k-cup brewer made, just the best little budget unit. click to see my list of this year’s best keurigs.

if you can pay a little more than the minimum, then i think you should go for the keurig k-mini plus instead of the mixpresso. It’s not much more expensive, it’s easier to clean and makes better coffee, and it’s the machine I’d use every day if it wasn’t my job to test new equipment all the time.

You can find my recommended places to buy the k-mini plus here.

Before we look at the rest of the options, let’s talk a little about myself.

If you don’t know me, you should know that I’m a bit of a coffee snob, though I’m not that bad. I love good coffee and I love to make the best possible coffee most of the time, but in many situations it’s better to make a quick cup with a single serve brewer using a k-cup.

they are easy.

I’ve reviewed a lot of coffee products here on the site, this is something I enjoy so it was a fun experiment and didn’t cost me too much money to complete.

Before I get into the reviews, I’ll give you a list of all the small coffee makers I’ve bought in no particular order.

the smaller keurigs I bought the two keurig minis, the k-mini basic and the k-mini plus.

I thought they would be almost identical, but it would still be worth comparing them head to head. you can see my k-mini & k-mini plus comparison here.

keurig also makes k-compact, k-express, and k-slim, but I don’t consider any of these to be particularly small. you can see my comparison of those entry level keurigs here.

cheapest k-cup coffee makers I also paid for the two cheapest k-cup machines I could find on amazon, the chefman instabrew and the basic chulux k-cup coffee maker.

These also happened to be some of the entry-level machines that had the most amazon verified reviews, as most people are generally looking to buy the lowest cost items they can seemingly find.

for what it’s worth, the chulux is a very small coffee maker, in fact the smallest on this list. it would be hard to use a travel mug underneath instead of instabrew or k-mini, which are a bit taller.

best selling small k-cup brewers (non-keurig) then I bought a mixpresso and the hamilton beach flexbrew 49974 because they were some of the smallest k-cup brewers I could find and because they didn’t cost a lot.

In fact, I really liked them both. the mixpresso is my recommendation n. #1 for anyone looking for a small but well made k-cup brewer and the flexbrew is a great alternative if you don’t need something small. it’s easy to pour water and very affordable.

flexbrew even has a “fancy” version for a little more money. the only difference is that the sleek model offers a “strong brew” setting much like keurigs.

You can see more k-cup brewers with a “strong button” here if you’re interested.

if you don’t know exactly how that setup works, check out this post for a full description: how the strong button works on keurig style machines

See also: Cà Phê Nâu Lắc Là Gì? 5 Cách Pha Nâu Lắc Ngon Tuyệt Chuẩn Vị

a few other single serve coffee makers that I didn’t like or couldn’t find I finally went out and bought a few more machines that seemed like good options at first but once I used them for a while and I couldn’t find any good reason to recommend them.

I bought the sboly single serve k-cup coffee maker because it had great reviews on amazon, but I didn’t like it because it took me over six minutes to get a cup of coffee after pressing the brew button. that’s about three times as long as the other machines. in fact a while after i bought the sboly amazon stopped selling it so that should say something.

Sure the coffee tasted good, but that’s a bit much for a basic k-cup brewing machine.

I also bought a super cheap farbeware k-cup coffee maker from walmart, one not sold on amazon, and it was terrible! not because it was slow or made bad coffee, but because it constantly leaked.

I ended up trying to figure out why it was leaking and could never find the problem. after brewing it for a while on a towel, i finally gave up and kept it in the garage with all the other k-cup brewers i’ve reviewed.

The only small k-cup machine I also wanted to try for the review, but didn’t buy, was the bunn mcu, which seems to be no longer in production. it’s available right now on ebay and some fringe online stores, but major retailers don’t seem to have them in stock anymore, which is a shame because I was really interested in owning one.

I’m also frequently asked about cuisinart machines, but I didn’t include them in this comparison because they’re not exactly small. you can check out this piece I put together separately if you’re interested: cuisinart vs keurig.

The following posts are also more FYI if you care:

► I recommend biodegradable & compostable k-cups ► do keurig machines make good coffee? + how to make it taste better

why am I checking out these little k-cup machines?

You should know that I chose these units for review primarily because of:

  • its small size,
  • followed by their low prices and
  • the popularity of your brand’s make/model.
  • of all the units i have reviewed, the keurig k-mini plus was the most expensive unit i bought, while the chefman instabrew was the cheapest.

    I could have bought about three instabrews for the price of a k-mini plus!

    I bought all the models in September 2019 and paid less than $100 for all of them. only the two keurig units were priced above $50, though some of the other cheap units had “facier” versions available that were priced slightly above $50.

    Also, some of these models were bought from local physical stores because I was able to get them on sale for less than the amazon price.

    Fun fact: In many cases, Amazon is not the cheapest place to get things. check your local stores and buy when they have sales; you’ll usually save a bit at the expense of convenience.

    let’s start with the reviews, starting with my video review which I embedded below.

    Fall 2021 update: The mixpresso is still my favorite small coffee maker. you can quote it yourself through this amazon affiliate link.

    smallest k-cup coffee makers compared

    Of all the coffee makers I looked for for this project, the smallest by height was the chulux. it was only 9.06 inches tall, which means it was easy to fit under lower cabinets or even inside cabinets on the shelf for storage purposes.

    as a side note, the mixpresso is only 9.1 inches tall and comes in a close second, while the keurig is nearly three inches taller at 12.1 inches tall.

    For side counter space, the slimmest model was the instabrew chefman at just 4.25 inches wide, closely followed by the chulux at just 4.3 inches wide. By comparison, the Keurig K-Mini & the k-mini plus machines were 4.5 inches wide, while the mixpresso machine was a still super slim 4.7 inches wide.

    Of the smallest units available, the chulux is easily your best option, however the model that is built to the best durability standards is probably the keurig k-mini (base model) as it has high quality internals. the best quality, such as the pump and heating element and the simplest design.

    If sheer size isn’t that important to you, definitely check out the flexbrew, which was the widest and tallest of the six entry-level brewers I tested, measuring 13.35 inches tall and 6, 5 inches wide. these are still small numbers and for the price you probably won’t get better usability. flexbrew is the easiest machine to clean and maintain on this list for me, by far.

    Based on general price and size considerations, though, I’d recommend most people get a chulux. However, if you want extra features like bold settings or a better casing, then the K-mini Plus is probably worth a look. it’s still small and will work better than others for longer due to quality improvements.

    See also: Your Guide to the Best Coffee in Austin

    here are some amazon affiliate links to these brewers for your convenience:

    ► chulux ► flexbrew ► instabrew ► mixpresso ► k-mini (basic version)

    As a side note, the k-slim and k-mini plus are slightly larger and more expensive, but are still good options to consider. see this post where i compared the k-slim and k-mini (plus) side by side.

    more ideas on these travel-friendly k-cup coffee makers

    1. mixpresso this machine is the best of all the small k-cup coffee makers. It is very compact, making it perfect for traveling or storing in a cabinet when not in use. in fact, it’s a bit larger than the smallest k-cup machine I’ve ever held in hand. not only do you get a very small unit when you buy this but you also get a machine that brews very hot although i still measure coffee from this constantly either on par or about a degree below the keurig k-mini and you get a machine that brews beer at a reasonable speed. the total time to get a cup of coffee is around 3 minutes and 12 seconds and the contact time between the water and the coffee grounds is 1:06, longer than all the other machines on this list, which allows you to make coffee that actually tastes good. This little machine is relatively easy to add water to despite its small size and the water reservoir even comes with a removable filter that can be cleaned. It doesn’t come with a basket of grounds, but that’s not a reason not to buy it in my opinion. Considering this machine is one of the lowest priced machines on the market, it’s my favorite small k-cup machine, perfect for travel or small spaces. I would never regret buying one of these for myself or anyone else I care about.

    2. chulux a lot of what i said about the mixpresso unit also applies to this entry level chulux unit, except this machine is a bit smaller, making it the smallest on this list, and it’s a bit harder add water without spilling everywhere. It brews a couple of degrees cooler than mixpresso and gives you a slightly quicker brew with less contact time between the water and the grind. all of this results in a coffee that tastes good but not that good. This is one of the cheapest k-cup brewers you’ll find anywhere and it doesn’t give you the taste of cheap plastic in your cup, so it’s excellent value and worth buying if size is your biggest concern. in fact, this is the machine I would probably take with me on a business trip or vacation because it will reliably make me decent coffee and doesn’t seem to break while in transit. the k cup compartment also has a locking mechanism which is unique to this unit and i really like it. is another reason why this is the best of all to travel.

    3. keurig k-mini makes the hottest coffee of this bunch and can brew freshly ground coffee with third-party reusable k-cups or keurig universal my k-cup. the lower needle can be removed for cleaning, but not the upper needle, and the water reservoir is not removable for cleaning, although it is large enough to easily get water from a cup of coffee.

    4. The Keurig K15 Mini is the easiest of these machines to fill with water because the single-serving reservoir is wide and low. however, I can’t easily clean the reservoir, so it’s still a bit annoying, especially since this machine is the most expensive of the 7 machines I bought. It’ll also take reusable k-cups if they’re purchased separately and it brews about as hot as any other option I’ve experimented with. again, however, the top needle cannot be removed for cleaning, which is a feature most keurigs lack.

    5. Sboly Single Serve K-Cup Maker This is one of the best selling entry level K-cup machines on Amazon and I can’t for the life of me understand why. It’s cheaper than entry-level Keurig machines, but it’s not even close to the cheapest units on sale in the category. it is brewed at a very low temperature and it takes a long time to get a single cup of coffee. when i use it i consistently get a low temperature cup of coffee in just over 7 minutes! not only is it low temperature and slow, the coffee it makes always tastes a bit like cheap plastic, though not as bad as the chefman I’ve outlined below. like a lot of the cheap non-keurig coffee makers this machine comes with a reusable grounds basket making it a better deal but the speed and low brew temperature are deal breakers for me because there are units smaller ones that brew better coffee faster that also doesn’t cost as much on this list as the chulux and mixpresso I’d buy on top of this unit any day of the week.

    6. Hamilton Beach Single Serve Flexbrew This is the largest “small” K-Cup brewer on this list, however with size comes ease of use. it is very easy to fill with water and clean with the exception of the water reservoir which is not accessible. The upper needle, lower needle and lower funnel can be removed for deep cleaning and the machine comes with a grinding basket for you to use for your own grinding. It brews black coffee slightly colder than the K-Mini Plus and is a great low-cost alternative to the Keurig. however, one of these units failed me after about 9 months, so it may not be as durable, which is reflected in its lower price tag.

    7. chefman instabrew True to its name, the instabrew is indeed the fastest of these brewers for brewing a cup of coffee and takes up a small amount of counter space, however, this is where the advantages end. the coffee maker brews coffee at a much lower temperature than keurig machines and the cheap materials used always make the coffee taste a bit like plastic. the low temperature causes poor flavor extraction and the end result is really terrible tasting coffee. This machine comes with a basket of fresh grounds and can brew up to 14oz and with its low price it is certainly disposable. If you forgot it in a hotel while traveling, it wouldn’t be a big deal, but there are still better k-cup coffee makers for travel and some of them even cost less.

    which one is better?

    of the models reviewed i would easily say the keurig k-mini plus is the best due to build quality and added features like brew strength selectors, a removable water reservoir, used pod storage, improvements to the enclosure and power cord management.

    the keurig model also heats and pumps water with the highest power: 1470 watts. the chulux and mixpresso models only use 800 while the hamilton beach and chefman use only 1000 watts.

    In short, the components that make these brewers work are bigger and stronger with Keurig and should last longer too.

    This unit can easily be found for under $100 both online and in physical stores if you search, but I still think you can get more value for your money by staying away from the Keurig brand.

    chulux, for example, has a slightly improved model that costs only a fraction more than its base model. the updated model is slightly wider and taller, but uses better casing and components that give it a better look and a more durable feel.

    if you want the extra brew strength selector, you can get it by modeling on the hamilton beach line of flexbrew machines. flexbrew model number 49979 is still about half the price of the k-mini plus and, while slightly larger, gives you regular strength and strong brew options.

    what is the best k-cup coffee maker for the money (best value for money)

    chulux is basically my pick for the smallest entry level k-cup coffee maker and the k-mini plus is probably the best of all the small machines but value wise I have to say chefman is probably the best value for money of all because it is very affordable and does the job well enough.

    I don’t see problems with leaks or pumps shutting off prematurely, which sometimes happens on cheaper models, but if it fails, it’s not a big financial loss at all.

    For those who really want some basic updates, I think flexbrew with force brew options is the next best value. it’s still very low cost compared to keurigs and is only slightly more expensive than the base flexbrew unit.

    Looking for specific brewer comparisons or dedicated reviews?

    I’ve taken a very close look at these six little k-cup coffee makers and in this article have given them a good overview of the things that will matter to most people, but I still have a lot more to say about them.

    Which one has the biggest or tallest cups? which is the easiest to clean? Which one is the quietest? Which one prepares the coffee faster? What is the difference between a model and another model?

    I’ve linked below to a handful of articles that directly compare and review these machines and answer these questions and more.

    learn more about keurig & k-cup coffee through these supporting articles

    ► difference between k-compact, k-classic and k-select ► keurig k-duo vs k-duo plus vs k-duo essentials ► how to uncap a keurig & fix common problems ► k-mini vs k-compact ► k-express vs k-mini ► difference between k-supreme plus & k-supreme plus smart ► k-elite vs k-select ► k-elite vs k-supreme ► keurig k-coffee vs nespresso vertuo plus ► keurig k-supreme plus smart review ► k-coffee vs k-latté

    See also: Cà phê muối là gì? Cách pha cafe muối chuẩn Huế – Bonjour Coffee

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