The best pod coffee machines provide 3 important things for a hassle free, quality coffee experience. You benefit from one touch 60 second coffee. You can also get great coffee and a cheap pod coffee machine but you need to be careful because the cost of the pods can add up.
There are 3 brands that totally dominate the POD and Capsule coffee machine market:
There is one notable brand missing from this list and that is Lavazza. Pretty much a household name for coffee, Lavazza has been unable to break through in the pod coffee machine market despite being one of the biggest manufacturers of coffee worldwide.
The general consensus is that Nespresso is better quality at a similar price and Dolce Gusto and Tassimo is better value at the budget end of the market. Lavazza pod machines are pretty basic and don’t really have a point of difference that make them stand out above the 3 market leaders.
If you have decided to buy a pod coffee machine then it should primarily be for convenience. You pop in the pod and press one button and your coffee is delivered. No mess, no fuss, super easy.
Although the purchase of the machine is not a huge expense the cost of coffee over the long term is more expensive than if you grind your own coffee beans for use in a filter coffee machine, cafetiere, pump espresso machine or bean to cup coffee machines.
If you have a million other things on your mind and can’t be bothered with the hassle of adding coffee to that list but you do want to taste your coffee and instant does nothing for you then sit back and relax because we have scoured the market, looked at and researched hundreds of pod and capsule coffee machines and picked out the top 11 that represents the best of best.
It’s not just ourselves that recommend these products. These are tried and tested winners over the long term. Thousands of people have purchased these coffee machines and have had an overwhelmingly positive experience.
Before we dive into each product it’s worth taking a minute to understand the difference between the 3 brands.
Nespresso and Dolce Gusto are both owned by Nescafe who are owned by Nestle – one of the worlds largest companies.
There is something reassuring to be taken from the fact you are buying a product from a company that is able to invest heavily in research and development and be able to make the best possible product.
Nespresso is more geared to the premium end of the market and Dolce Gusto is more at the budget end of the market so if you don’t want to spend much then you will be leaning towards Dolce Gusto but if you are prepared to spend a little more then Nespresso could be for you.
Tassimo is owned by Jacobs Douwe Egberts who may not be a household name but are huge in their own right and own coffee brands such as Maxwell House and Kenco.
Tassimo is in direct competition with Dolce Gusto so if you don’t have a big budget then these two brands may be more suited to you.
These are the best pod coffee machines in the UK:
If you are looking for everything you will ever need in a pod coffee machine then this Sage made and designed Nespresso machine will deliver across every measure.
First of all, you get the beauty of the Sage design. Nespresso commissioned Sage to make this coffee machine for them and it just oozes class and quality from the moment you lay eyes on it. Sage is known for their high-end espresso machines which are more for the coffee connoisseur but they have perfectly translated their quality to this Nespresso pod machine that gets you about as close as you will get to a coffee shop experience with a coffee pod.
For the best possible experience, you should always froth and heat the milk yourself for milk-based drinks such as Cappuccino and Latte. it’s the only way to truly get the temperature and texture of the milk just right.
With this machine, you get to choose from 11 different temperatures that range from lukewarm to boiling hot. Once you have worked out the one that suits you best just leave it to froth on its own and the sensor will stop the heating process automatically at exactly the temperature have set using its inbuilt sensor.
This is our number one rated pod machine but it does come at a price. If you are looking for something a bit cheaper that still delivers a great espresso then our number two rated pod machine could be what you are looking for.
Whilst the Creatista Plus is a high design feature-rich pod machine the Essenza is basically the opposite of that. It’s a very basic, plain Nespresso pod machine.
But we will let you into a little secret. Every Nespresso machine delivers the same quality of coffee regardless of the model you buy.
They all take the same pod’s and they all deliver the coffee at 19 bars of pressure so you get the same thing whether you buy the top of the range model or the basic entry-level model. The higher up the pricing ladder you go, the more features and the more design you get.
The Essenza is design free and it has two buttons on it. You will also have to buy a separate milk frother because it doesn’t come with one but if you are looking for a no-frill coffee machine that still delivers quality coffee at a great price then this is worth taking a look at.
The Citiz is an upgrade from the Essenza in design only. There is a bit of chrome on there and a bit of colour in the body and some design features in the coffee delivery spout.
The buttons for coffee delivery and the quality of coffee are exactly the same so it’s an interesting comparison to do. If you want something that looks a bit nicer then you can pay a bit more for the Citiz but if you are not bothered about looks and you want to save a bit of money then go for the Essenza
This machine comes in a nice modern design that incorporates functionality into the design by way of making the water container look like it sits separate to the coffee machine itself but is connected to the base and you can always see how much water you have without having to get around the back of the machine to have a look.
It also takes a larger pod called the Vertuo capsule that is tailor-made for specific drink types. So whether you like a short espresso or a big mug of Americano or anything in between you can just pop in the appropriate capsule and the Vertuo Plus will deliver the perfect amount of coffee every time.
Nespresso also has a cheaper version of the this called the Vertuo “Next” that delivers exactly the same quality of coffee but is a little more manual when it comes to opening the lid to insert the pod and the water container holds a little less water than the Plus. Full details of the differences between the two variations are in the full review.
It looks good in a pleasant piano black finish and is very small so if space is a premium then this will work for you and it also won’t break the bank
It is also extremely easy to use. Pop in the pod, move the lever to one side to start coffee delivery and move it back to the middle when you have the right amount of coffee in your cup.
The Pixie is another variation on the Citiz. It does the same thing and has the same features but it looks different so you can compare styles and pricing and see what works best for you.
One button delivers a short burst of water for espresso and another button delivers more water for a longer coffee or “lungo” as Nespresso call it.
This is where Nespresso makes the whole coffee-making process fully automated.
The integrated milk carafe allows you to select several different buttons to automatically deliver a cappuccino or a latte. You can also choose how much froth is created by turning a dial.
The milk carafe is detachable and easily stored in the fridge for use again during the day or the day after.
Whereas the Creatista plus (the first recommendation on this list) gives you full control over the temperature and frothiness of your milk as you heat it in a jug yourself, with the Lattissima touch you are restricted to the default settings on the coffee machine.
A great option if you want ultimate convenience by pressing one button for a milk-based drink.
The clue is in the name. The “mini me” is an extremely compact coffee machine that almost defies belief that something that small can take the Dolce Gusto pods and deliver a coffee at the touch of a button. If you don’t have much space then this is the one to go for.
Unlike the Dolce Gusto Oblo which is manually operated to stop the flow of coffee, the mini me will automatically stop once the coffee has been delivered.
All you have to do is pop the capsule in and select the amount of water you want to be delivered into your cup by selecting a level on the selector on the front of the machine, press one button and you are done.
A great entry-level machine that is one of the best selling Dolce Gusto machines ever produced.
There is a valid argument that Tassimo is better than Dolce Gusto because they have what they call an “Intellibrew” system.
What this means is that each capsule has a barcode on that tell the coffee machine exactly how much coffee to deliver into your cup so you never have to think about it.
No stopping or starting the coffee delivery manually or choosing how much coffee you want with a coffee level selector like with the mini me, just pop in a pod and press one button to get your coffee delivered just right – every time
Oh, and it’s one of the cheapest options on our list.
Where the Vivy 2 does it all for you and uses preset defaults to do so, with the Tassimo “My Way” it gives you full personalisation option so if you are not happy with the standard default options then you can adjust things to exactly how you like your coffee.
Change how strong or mild you like your coffee and also adjust the temperature depending on how you prefer it.
If you want your coffee to be your way then the “my way” could be right up your street
This coffee machine operates in the same way as the mini me but it has a different design and the water tank is a bit bigger.
Just insert the capsule and turn the lever to the right for coffee delivery and move it back to the middle to stop
If you don’t want to be topping up the water every day or every other day then you may prefer this over the mini me and at a very reasonable price point.
Are coffee pod machines worth it?
If you want to drink good coffee but you don’t want to get involved with the preparation then this is a great way to drink way better coffee than you currently experience with instant coffee.
Pod coffee machines don’t quite deliver the same quality as you get in a coffee shop. Coffee pods contain pre-ground coffee which are then vacuum-sealed to preserve the freshness and that produces far better flavour than instant coffee but not as good as freshly ground coffee beans.
Coffee in a pod gives you the convenience you are after but you compromise on flavour compared to coffee ground from beans just before brewing.
The other important thing to be aware of when considering if pod machines are worth it is the cost of the pods. It’s easy to get excited by a new coffee machine and then find that it’s quite surprising how cheap they are especially with Dolce Gusto and Tassimo only to then be surprised again by how expensive the pods are.
Something that is not widely known is that you don’t actually need to buy the pods from the manufacturer of your machine. Part of the business model of Nespresso, Dolce Gusto and Tassimo is to sell you a cheap coffee machine and then make a lot of money out of you once you start buying the pods.
With Tassimo it is difficult to find replacement pods that are not from Tassimo because they have a barcode on each pod that tells the machine how to deliver the drink but with Nespresso and Dolce Gusto cheaper pods are readily available from many different companies.
This article explains how you can find alternative great value for money coffee pods:
And if you want to understand how to choose between Dolce Gusto and Tassimo then this article explains in detail:
The 11 coffee machines listed above have been bought and are loved by thousands of people. The information above summarises the best coffee pod machines on the market.
Please click on the link review within each summary for a detailed breakdown of everything that each machine has to offer.
You are now in a position to make a fully informed decision on exactly which pod machine suits your needs and budget.