Best pod coffee machine 2021

The very best pod coffee machines for quick and easy capsule coffees, including options from Nespresso, Sage, illy, Tassimo and Lavazza
  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • Buy the best pod coffee machine for an endless supply of fresh coffee at the touch of a button. The best capsule coffee machines from Nespresso, illy, Lavazza, Tassimo and Sage all offer a different selection of available coffee pods, but what they have in common is the convenience of a simple pod design, with all the delicious flavour you expect from the best coffee machines.

    Many love the best pod coffee machines because they are smaller and more space-efficient than bean-to-cup coffee machines, and they are also a lot cheaper on average. Another major perk of the best pod coffee machines is the mess-free design, because you can simply lift the lever to remove your used pod and insert another one for your desired drink.

    How much is the best pod coffee machine?

    Around £50-£80 should secure you an entry-level pod coffee machine but the thing to be most aware of is the system you’re buying into. None are compatible with the others, so investigate the cost of pods when looking at coffee machines.

    Spend more than £100 and you’re likely to have the option of frothing and warming milk, either in a separate appliance or with a wand. Premium pod coffee machines can cost up to £400, thanks to additional features, a more robust construction and eye-catching design.

    Best pod coffee machines 2021

    1. Lavazza A Modo Mio Deséa

    Best pod coffee machine overall

    Best-pod-coffee-machine-Lavazza

    Type: Lavazza
    Capacity: 1.1 litres
    Dimensions: ‎L50.3 x W18.8 x H35.2 cm
    Reasons to buy: 

    • So convenient to use
    • Decent water tank size
    • Dishwasher-safe cup included
    • No splashes

    Reasons to avoid: 

    • None!

    Love cappuccinos but not the mess and clean-up that goes with frothing and decanting hot foamed milk? Then the Deséa is the pod coffee machine for you.

    Compact, yet with a good-sized 1.1-litre water tank, and compatible with the brand’s eco-friendly compostable capsules, it comes with a dishwasher-safe glass cup that serves as both your frothing vessel and mug.

    This means that you can fill the cup with milk, slot it into the machine, add a capsule, and the machine will do the rest, producing a café-worthy latte or cappuccino with a single button press. There’s no pouring or splashes – so you can walk away and return to find a drink that’s ready to go.

    It’s not just convenience that the Deséa has in spades, it also comes with more options than the average pod coffee machine. For example, there’s a button for more foam, a coffee temperature boost and a cleaning cycle that can be run to make sure that your first beverage will always be as good as the last.

    Its five milk programmes include hot and cold frothing for making hot chocolate or milkshakes, plus there’s a choice of espresso, long espresso, long coffee and a free dose for those who like their drink just so.

    A final reason to love it is how quiet it is during operation – a mere 43dB during coffee delivery. Perhaps the only downsides to be aware of are that capsule disposal isn’t automatic, so you’ll still have to remember to raise the lever at the end to release the pod into the integral bin, and that the frothing boost button isn’t suitable for larger volumes of milk as it’ll overflow.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    2. Nespresso Vertuo Plus

    Best pod coffee machine for everyday luxury

    Best-pod-coffee-machine-Nespresso-vertuo-plus

    Type: Nespresso
    Capacity: 1.1 litres
    Dimensions: ‎W14 x D38 x H32 cm
    Reasons to buy: 

    • Premium coffee but not too pricey
    • Sleek design
    • Makes coffee quickly

    Reasons to avoid: 

    • On the noisy side

    If you’re the sort of person who opts for bedlinen with a high thread count, bone china on the table and beautifully scented candles, the VertuoPlus is the coffee machine for you.

    The reason is simple – it delivers that little bit of a treat everyday – in this case, by dispensing rich, generous cups of aromatic coffee, topped with the sort of rich crema that feels more like a dessert than a drink.

    Even using it feels indulgent, from the capsule holder that opens automatically with a gentle nudge and closes with the same action, to the chunky chrome cup platform that can be positioned at four heights, so you can accommodate tall glasses and shorter mugs.

    There’s just one button on the top, which functions as the on-off, brew button or will run a deep cleaning programme. Each capsule has a barcode around the rim that’s read by the machine, so you don’t even have to adjust the volume for espresso or longer drinks (there are five drink sizes, each of which can be adjusted between 10-500ml).

    When it’s finished brewing, simply open the capsule holder and the used pod slides backwards to drop into a used pod container at the back.

    It was a little noisy while brewing, making a whirling sound, and took under a minute to make a 230ml mug of coffee, and about 30 seconds for 150ml. Also, if you love foamed fresh milk on top of your frothy drink, you’ll have to invest in one with an Aeroccino3, as the VertuoPlus is purely a coffee maker. Plus none of its parts are dishwasher-safe.

    However, for generous mugs of joe, on-point espresso and luscious lungos that are as good for entertaining as they are on a daily basis, the VertuoPlus is a sleek solution.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    3. Lavazza Voicy

    Best smart pod coffee machine 

    Image credit: Lavazza

    Type: Lavazza
    Capacity: 1.1 litres
    Dimensions: 44 x 21.5 x 35 cm
    Reasons to buy:

    • It’s seriously smart
    • Very easy to use
    • Can be app or voice controlled

    Reasons to avoid: 

    • You need the app to make the most of it

    Combining the best pod coffee machine and the best smart speaker, the Lavazza Voicy has a lot going for it. It’s the latest release from Lavazza’s A Modo Mio range, and comes with a box of the different coffee flavour pods available to help you experiment and decide which is the right one for you. We thought they all tasted amazing, and while you do need to take them to specific sites, they can be composted as part of an eco-conscious scheme.

    You can ask Alexa to make you a coffee, long coffee, hot coffee, or your favourite coffee (which can be chosen using the Lavazza app). While there are only two coffee preset buttons, you can change what type of coffee they make using the app. This adjusts the length of the brew, and we found that the pods are certainly potent enough to make a delicious and rich americano.

    Yes, it’s a pricey choice, but we found that everything about the Voicy feels very high quality. Of course you need to add a pod and a cup before even using Alexa, but it’s still very handy to be able to use the in-built speaker to play music, tell you the weather, or even a joke.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Read our full Lavazza Voicy review

    4. Grind One Pod Coffee Machine

    Best sustainable pod coffee machine

    Grind One Pod coffee machine

    Type: Nespresso-compatible
    Capacity: 1.2 litres
    Dimensions: ‎39.2 x 30.4 x 22.4 cm
    Reasons to buy: 

    • Sustainable metal design
    • Adjustable coffee length
    • Easy (and fun) controls

    Reasons to avoid: 

    • The exterior marks easily

    Sustainability isn’t something we often associate with pod coffee machines, but the Grind One pod coffee machine is designed with just this in mind. Made in Stockholm in a partnership with Sjöstrand, it’s designed to be an antidote to plastic pod coffee machines, and the metal design really does feel built to last and stay out of landfill. The Grind pods are also made with plastic-free and compostible packaging, but all the convenience of a normal coffee pod.

    At 22cm wide, this is a neat option for any kitchen, but it’s not the smallest pod coffee machine in our guide. A step away from the curves of options from Tassimo and Lavazza, the Grind One is block-like and simple in its design. The metal exterior is very smart though, and it has Grind’s classic logo on the front which pairs perfectly with the Grind pod coffee container.

    It has two preset coffee lengths, but the Grind One will allow you to adjust the length of these presets by simply holding the button down, which is perfect for those who like a longer drink. You can buy it with a matching Grind milk frother or on its own. Or, take a look at our other best milk frother picks for more options.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    5. Bosch Tassimo My Way 2

    Best pod coffee machine for custom features

    Bosch Tassimo My Way 2

    Type: Tassimo
    Capacity: 1.3 litres
    Dimensions: ‎‎39.79 x 31.5 x 26.4 cm
    Reasons to buy: 

    • So many coffee options
    • Make milky drinks and even hot chocolates
    • Setup was speedy
    • Self-clean mode

    Reasons to avoid: 

    • Low in pressure

    Select from three different strengths (think of them as ranging from all-day sipping to wake up now), three different volumes and even three temperatures – great for extra-hot drink lovers with the Bosch Tassimo My Way 2.

    To make it even easier to get your ideal Americano, it’ll store up to four personalised settings, so you won’t have to constantly reset the machine to the way you like your coffee. Of course, this being Tassimo, it’ll also make tea, hot chocolate and a range of other drinks, so it’s good for a busy household who all like something different.

    If you’ve used a Tassimo machine before, you’ll know it’s all about the barcodes. Each T-disc is placed into the My Way so it can read it and dispense an appropriate amount of water (keeping espressos short for example), with pressure as required.

    Its warm-up time was almost instant (no waiting around for a thermoblock meant it initialised in 10 seconds), and its flow heater could keep going drink after drink without pauses to recover. It doesn’t froth fresh milk, offering creamer discs or combined discs instead, but they may not be for everyone.

    A final reason to love it is that it’s low-maintenance. There’s a self-cleaning function, so your coffee will always taste great, and its parts are dishwasher safe.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Read the full Bosch Tassimo My Way 2 review

    6. Lavazza A Modo Mio Jolie

    Best pod coffee machine compact, stylish features

    Type: Lavazza
    Capacity: 0.6 litres
    Dimensions: ‎‎33 x 12.4 x 21 cm
    Reasons to buy: 

    • Compact and stylish design
    • Automatically shuts off
    • Only one button for convenience

    Reasons to avoid: 

    • Remember to lift up the lever

    Lavazza makes some seriously high-quality machines, so the Lavazza A Modo Mio Jolie is a very high-value machine when you look at its sub-£50 price. We were impressed to find that this compact coffee machine makes a delicious brew, and because there’s only one button, using it couldn’t be easier.

    This coffee machine is seriously tiny, so it’s perfect for offices, small kitchens, or even as a spare you use when you want a speedy brew. It’s compatible with the full A Modo Mio coffee capsule line, so while you can only have one length of coffee, it does have lots of flavours to choose from. The machine will also automatically run another cycle when the first one finishes, so you can make your coffee longer by just leaving it to pour again. Don’t forget to lift up the lever though, or it will keep going until the auto shut-off kicks in.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Read the full Lavazza A Modo Mio Jolie review

    7. Sage Nespresso Creatista Uno

    Best pod coffee machine for latte lovers

    Type: Nespresso
    Capacity: 1.5 litres
    Dimensions: ‎H30.8 x W17.1 x D39.3cm
    Reasons to buy: 

    • Comes with all the charm of a traditional coffee machine
    • Use the steam wand to make milky drinks
    • Very powerful

    Reasons to avoid: 

    • Quite expensive

    The Sage Nespresso Creatista Uno brews delicious espressos using Nespresso’s high quality and recyclable pods, but there’s no need to buy a separate frother if you want a cappuccino. It has an in-built milk wand and comes with a jug for straightforward brewing.

    This machine heats up in just three seconds, and the 19 bar pressure yielded some seriously professional-quality coffee. There are three drinks sizes; petite ristretto (25ml volume), classic espresso (40ml), and longer lungo (110ml).

    Cleaning is easy, with a regular wipe-down required and a monthly deep clean. The deep clean is prompted by an LED light, so you won’t forget about it.

    During testing, the machine proved to be incredibly intuitive to use, plus the large water tank (which can be positioned at the back or either side if you’re short on space) meant it didn’t have to refilled as frequently as some compact machines.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    8. Lavazza A Modo Mio Idola

    Best pod coffee machine for different types of coffee

    Lavazza Idola Capsule coffee machine

    Type: Lavazza
    Capacity: 1 litre
    Dimensions: ‎‎42.3 x 18.8 x 35.2 cm
    Reasons to buy: 

    • Narrow design
    • Four length options
    • Adjustable temperature

    Reasons to avoid: 

    • A heavy option

    The third Lavazza option in our guide is the Idola. It’s like the Desea, but without the milk frother wand, so if you like a black coffee or just prefer your milk when it’s not steamed, the Idola is the one for you. It has four length options and you can also add to or decrease the temperature of your coffee. That’s great for making an iced coffee, or if you’re heading out the door and want your drink to stay warm for longer, you can just give it a bump in temperature.

    We loved the touch pad interface, which felt very stylish, and the exterior of the machine looked sleek on the kitchen counters. It’s a little more hefty than other machines though, so opt for the Jolie if you plan on moving your machine around.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    Read the full Lavazza A Modo Mio Idola review

    9. Illy Iperespresso Y3.3

    Type: illy
    Capacity: 0.8 litres
    Dimensions: ‎29.8 x 10 x 25.4 cm
    Reasons to buy: 

    • Sleek design
    • Amazing espresso
    • Plenty of colours to choose from

    Reasons to avoid: 

    • Restrictive pod options

    The illy Iperespresso Y3.3 makes a mean espresso or americano. It arrived with a box full of classico roast and intense brew options, and both tasted rich and aromatic when testing. The quality of this coffee is excellent, but because there’s no option to make a milky coffee you may find that it’s a little restrictive. Of course, you can pair it with a milk frother to get your morning latte, and it’s a lovely compact option for small homes.

    Available in red, white, black and blue, this coffee machine is only 10cm wide, so it’s well-suited to smaller homes and even offices or bedrooms. Cleaning is easy, too, but the drip tray cannot be removed which means you need to wash by hand and not in the dishwasher.

    As you can see with the two buttons on the front of the machine, there’s either an espresso or americano option with this machine. The tall cups take only 45 seconds to brew, so it’s great for speedy drinks between zoom calls.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    10. Nespresso CitiZ&Milk

    Best pod coffee machine for small spaces

    Best-pod-coffee-machine-Nespresso-Citiz

    Type: Nespresso
    Capacity: 1 litre
    Dimensions: ‎W13.0 x D27.8 x H37.2 cm
    Reasons to buy:

    • Incredibly easy to use
    • Lots of pods to choose from
    • Quick to heat up

    Reasons to avoid: 

    • Black coffee only

    Slim, stylish and devilishly simple to use, there’s a reason why CitiZ has won awards for its design. Not only can it fit snugly into the most compact of kitchens (it’s only 13cm wide), there are just two programmable buttons, making it good for bleary-eyed mornings when all you want is a shot of coffee without any fuss.

    There’s no waiting around – we found that it heated up in seconds, plus you can pop a pod in straight away, hit the button to brew and walk away.

    Unlike some compact machines, the one-litre water tank is fairly substantial for its size, meaning it should last all day without repeat trips to the sink. There’s also an internal bin for used capsules that will only need emptying daily (it’ll fit up to 11), so it’s ideal for a home office.

    A drop-down drip tray as well as the main one means it can adapt to any cup size, from espresso cups to your favourite mug, without causing splashes on the worktop. Another plus is the CitiZ’s build quality – it feels robust yet elegant, thanks to its metal drip trays, smoothly sliding moving parts and minimal controls.

    All this sleekness wouldn’t matter if the coffee wasn’t up to scratch. Fortunately, it is. The Nespresso capsule system offers the widest choice of blends and varieties, and CitiZ makes the most of them, delivering a thick, velvety crema and a faultless brew every time. The espressos we made were short, flavour-packed and punchy, the lungos rich and aromatic.

    The only areas that might give you pause for thought are the price, as the CitiZ costs more than most equivalent machines, and the fact that milky drinks aren’t catered for until you pair it with an Aeroccino 3 – by itself, this is one for black coffee aficionados.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    11. Dualit Espress-Auto Coffee and Tea Machine

    Best pod coffee machine for commitment-phobes 

    best-pod-coffee-machines-6 Dualit_Espress_auto_Tea_Coffee_Machine

    Type: Most coffee types
    Capacity: 1.5 litres
    Dimensions: ‎‎37.9 x 32.79 x 28.8 cm
    Reasons to buy: 

    • You can drink most coffee types
    • Drip tray indicator
    • Temperature can be altered

    Reasons to avoid: 

    • Grounds can get messy

    Are you the sort of person who likes the idea of a pod coffee machine but you can’t fix yourself to one system? Those clever folk at Dualit have the answer for you.

    The Espress-Auto is a multi-brew 19 bar pump pressure pod coffee machine. This means that not only will it make coffee from Nespresso capsules and ESE pods, you can also pop in alternatives.

    This includes tea capsules, its own NX capsules or even ground coffee, giving you freedom those with a single-pod system don’t benefit from.

    There’s two buttons for single or double espresso and one for tea (which raises the temperature of the water and extracts for longer). This can be altered for warmer or cooler, too. An easy to clean steam wand is on hand for frothing milk and the water tank is a generous 1.5 litres.

    There’s even a handy ‘drip tray full’ indicator to let you know when to empty the coffee machine dregs.

    Its auto-off is a rather long 30 minutes, however, so it’s probably best to remember to switch the coffee machine off after use. During testing, using the ground coffee was the most tricky and messy part. However, aside from that, all the coffee brewed was velvety smooth and of a consistently high quality.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    12. Bosch Tassimo Vivy 2

    Best pod coffee machine for beginners on a budget

    best-pod-coffee-machines-3 Bosch Tassimo Vivy2

    Type: Tassimo
    Capacity: 0.7 litres
    Dimensions: ‎‎‎38.4 x 30.3 x 21.2 cm
    Reasons to buy: 

    • Very affordable
    • Automatically switches to standby

    Reasons to avoid:

    • Small tank
    • Low pressure

    Whatever your coffee of choice is, investing in a Tassimo machine will keep you supplied with all your favourite blends. As one of the smaller coffee machines in the range, the Vivy 2 is everything that’s great about the T-Disc system in a simple to use package. Each coffee capsule is barcoded so the machine knows how much water to dispense and all you need to do is push a button. There’s descaling and water tank refill alerts, too.

    It’s also an eco-friendly design, with fast heat-up at the start, reverting to a standby mode after each drink. Where it differs from other coffee machines is its lower 3.3 bar pressure. How the coffee tastes will have more to do with the selected disc rather than the brewing process. In tests, the espresso was rich but with only a hint of crema, while the hot chocolate was indulgent and frothy.

    Once or twice it had trouble reading the barcodes. However, this is a good coffee machine to go for if your household has a higher proportion of non-coffee drinkers who don’t mind regular refilling of its smaller-than-average 700ml tank.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars


    Black Friday pod coffee machine deals

    Black Friday pod coffee machine deals are usually some of the best of the season. Last year we saw big savings on Nespresso machines especially, although it’s new, we’re expecting some initial discounts on the Lavazza Voicy for those who want a smart coffee machine for their kitchen.

    See our Black Friday home deals page

    Other discounts can usually be found on Bosch Tassimo machines, although these are already priced quite low, so you may not save as much with these Black Friday and Cyber Monday pod coffee deals.

    Why do I need a pod coffee machine?

    Anyone who’s ever tried to use an espresso machine only to end up with soggy grounds and a dribble of brown liquid will have learnt their lesson. The biggest appeal of pod coffee machines is that you don’t need expertise to make a great espresso.

    For homemade coffee from scratch, check out the best coffee grinders

    Instead, each capsule contains exactly the right amount of ground coffee, arranged so all you need to do is press a button.

    Less costly and bulky than bean-to-cup machines, pod coffee makers also often take up less room on a worktop. This makes them a good fit for small kitchens, home offices and even bedrooms.

    How to buy a pod coffee machine

    1. Tank size

    Every pod machine will have a refillable water tank so check its size before you buy. Anything less than a litre will require more frequent topping up, especially if you prefer long drinks. Some can be filled in-situ (for moments when you realise the water’s about to run out). Others will need to removed – if you have a small kitchen sink or short tap, check that you can fit the tank below the spout easily.

    2. Bar pressure

    This is how much force the machine uses to pump the water through the pod. Look for a minimum of 15 for a pro-style crema, though machines designed to handle a wide range of drinks can be lower.

    Updating your small appliances? Best blenders – the top models for making smoothies, soups and much more

    3. Milk frothing

    There are two ways a pod coffee machines can make frothy cappuccinos, lattes and flat whites. The first is by using dried or UHT milk pods – these are great if you don’t have access to a fridge but may not be to everyone’s taste. The other is by a separate or conjoined milk frother, such as the Aeroccino that often accompanies Nespresso machines.

    4. Drink size

    Great for those who like an espresso in the morning, but a latte at weekends, some machines have a choice of different-sized beverages. Often there is the ability to adjust the amount of water dispensed to suit your taste. You may also be able to save your favourite settings to create easily reproduced personalised drinks. The latest crop of coffee machines can even be controlled by an app, so you can set them to brew the moment you step out of the shower.

    5. Spout size

    Check there’s enough room for your favourite cup beneath the spout. Some pod coffee machines have narrow platforms that won’t accommodate big mugs. Espresso fans should look for spouts that drop down or adjustable cup platforms that raise smaller cups towards the spout. This not only helps prevent splashes on the worktop, but makes for a thicker crema on your espresso.

    What drinks can your pod coffee machine make?

    best-pod-coffee-machines-6 Dualit_Espress_auto_Tea_Coffee_Machine_Lifestyle

    Image credit: Dualit

    Most of the mainstream pod coffee machines can make basic milky drinks, but it’s common to find those that can produce anything from a chai latte to a caramel macchiato. Some coffee machines can also make cold drinks, such as chilled tea or coffee. There’s the option of branded drinks with the Tassimo T-Disc coffee system.

    Machines that use ESE pods (which resemble a round teabag) will only brew coffee or tea, while other systems favour a variety of single-origin coffee types rather than a range of drinks.

    What other key questions do I need to ask?

    Best-pod-coffee-machines-2

    Image credit: Darren Chung

    1. Can you recycle the coffee machine pods?

    Check if your coffee pods can be recycled to help cut down on waste. For example, Nespresso coffee pods are made of infinitely recyclable aluminium.

    2. How about descaling your pod coffee machine?

    If you live in a hard water area, make sure your coffee machine has descaling alerts. Regular descaling is essential to keep your pod machine running smoothly.

    3. Do pod coffee machines use a lot of energy?

    Your pod coffee machine’s thermoblock (the part that heats the water) can be an energy guzzler. Choose a model that will switch itself off after a few minutes of non-use. This may be referred to as an eco mode.

    More expert advice: Best kettles – the top models for the perfect cup of tea in a flash

    4. How easy are pod coffee machines to clean?

    A clean coffee machine is a happy one, so buy one that’s easily maintained by a rinse cycle and with removable parts for cleaning, such as the drip tray. This will be especially relevant if your coffee machine uses milk pods, which can smell if not regularly cleaned away.

    All the latest from Ideal Home