Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

The 9 Best Small Coffee Makers for Home Use and Travel

four Pour over coffees dripping into each other.

Small coffee makers are great. Whether you’re trying to save counter space, embracing van life, or looking to add a coffee maker to your office or workspace, going small can often be the right choice. As coffee lovers, we at The Manual support any move that makes getting coffee into your mug easier. Of course, no matter how high-end your coffee maker, your java isn’t going to taste good unless you start with quality coffee beans. If you haven’t yet played around with coffee beans, grinds, water temperature, and brew time, check out our full guide on how to brew the perfect cup of coffee with any coffee maker you choose.

Let’s assume you’ve got your beans sorted out. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing a small coffee maker:

  • The style of the coffee maker. Do you want a pour-over, Keurig, French press, stove-top?
  • How small are you looking to go? Most of these coffee makers are single-cup but there are small coffee makers that will make multiple cups as well.
  • Water temperature. Some coffee makers brew at higher temperatures than others. French press or Aeropress coffee makers allow you to control the water temp. and adjust it for your beans.

Let’s walk through the best small coffee makers to help you make a decision.

Best Small Minimalist Coffee Maker: Aeropress

Aeropress coffee maker on a white backdrop.

The Aeropress is a simple, easy-to-use coffee maker perfect for at home, on the go, and camping. All you do is fill the chamber with ground coffee and hot water, let it steep, and then press the coffee out. This is a great option for one or two people. The Aeropress packs down small and is easy to clean. Check out the video below from our local Stumptown coffee roasters as they demonstrate how to use the Aeropress.

How to Brew Coffee in an AeroPress | Stumptown Coffee

Some other benefits of the Aeropress: It works without electricity, though you will need a way to heat water. It’s super durable-perfect for backpacking trips or offroad adventures, and should be part of your camping gear essentials.

Best Small Pour-Over Coffee Maker For Travels: Kalita Wave

Kahlita Wave Pour Over on a white backdrop.

Pour-over coffee tastes great and gives the brewer a lot of control. Exact water temperature, coffee (measured in grams), and specific brew times can be achieved with a pour-over style coffee maker. It can still make a darn good cup of coffee even you’re not so exacting. The Kalita Wave is my first choice because of its durability. It’s a great coffee maker for at home that will hold up to use on the go. To get a demonstration of how to brew with a Kalita Wave, our friends at Stumptown come through again.

Best Small Pour-Over Coffee Maker For Home: Hario Ceramic Coffee Maker

If you’ll just be using your pour-over at home, you might consider a ceramic coffee maker. This ceramic coffee dripped from Hario is another great option.

Hario Pour Over Coffee Maker on a white backdrop.
Prima Coffee Equipment

Best Small French Press Coffee Maker: Bodum Caffettiera

Bodum Small French Press on a white backdrop.

A brunch party is only complete with a steaming hot French press on the table (and maybe a mimosa). But if you live alone or don’t drink coffee that often, a full-sized French press might take up more space than it’s worth. Small French presses are a great choice in that case. This one from Bodum, a well-known name in the coffee world, makes a single cup of coffee. Perfect for individuals and those without a ton of space to store kitchen gadgets.

Best Small Stovetop Coffee Maker: Bialetti Moka Express

Bialetti Moka Express on a white backdrop.

Made in Italy, the Bialetti Moka Express makes a fine cup of Italian coffee. Though branded an espresso maker by some, this coffee is somewhere in the middle of true espresso and your standard drip coffee. It doesn’t provide the crema you’d get with a true espresso maker but does make a stronger cup than your Mr. Coffee. You will need to buy finer, espresso ground coffee for this one.

Best Small Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker: Breville Bambino Plus

Breville bambino Plus Coffee Maker on a white backdrop.

The Breville Bambino Plus brings the coffeehouse into your kitchen without taking up a lot of space. Simple, quick, and easy to use, the Bambino Plus allows you to pull one shot at a time and steams milk manually or automatically.

Best Small Automatic Espresso Maker: Gaggia Anima Espresso Machine

Gaggia Anima Espresso Maker on a white backdrop.

The Anima from Gaggia removes all the work from your coffee-making routine. Beans are ground fresh before every brew and water temperature or coffee strength can be automatically set with the touch of a button.

Best Small Keurig Coffee Maker: Keurig K Mini

Keurig K Mini Coffee Maker and coffee cup on a white backdrop.

The Keurig K Mini is small in size while still delivering that Keurig coffee taste you enjoy. The downside of this Keurig coffee maker is you will need electricity to use it, so not the best for your outdoor adventures. But upsides include a compact footprint and tremendous ease of use.

Best Small Drip Coffee Maker: Black and Decker 5 Cup Drip Coffee Maker

Black and Decker 5 Cup Coffee Maker on a white backdrop.

If you’re looking for a simple, affordable, no-frills coffee maker, the Black and Decker 5 Cup Coffee Maker is for you. Unlike the other options on this list, this coffee maker allows you to make more than one cup at once. While it doesn’t make espresso or steam milk, if drip coffee is your thing, this coffee maker is the way to go.

You may have noticed the coffee makers on this list only brew coffee in one style. Maybe you like drip coffee in the morning but want an afternoon or post-dinner espresso shot. Monday morning might just mean getting coffee into your system, while the weekends offer more time to luxuriate in the coffee brewing process. Instead of buying multiple small machines to do different jobs, a combination coffee maker might be just what you need. Though it will have a larger footprint than any of these small coffee makers, a combination coffee maker can pack a lot of different coffee styles into one convenient package, saving you space in the long run.

Editors' Recommendations

Benjamin Buckingham
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Ben lives in Portland, Oregon where he works as a freelance writer and outdoor guide.
The Best Saucepans for Smaller Cooking Jobs
best saucepans cuisinart stainless steel saucepan

Cooks rely on a number of utilitarian tools, from a trusty wooden spoon to a quality blender. A reliable small saucepan is on the list of must-haves for anybody with culinary leanings. The small pot can pretty much do it all. You know the type -- the small, handled vessels you see stacked ceiling-high in the kitchen of your favorite restaurant. There are many reasons why they're so beloved. A small saucepan can boil, simmer, reduce, thicken, congeal, and more. They're great for making sauces, naturally, but also reductions, glazes, and even single-serve or double-serve entrees like lasagna, cornbread, soup, or sauteed vegetables.

Need to quickly melt some butter and whip up some chocolate sauce? Need to boil a small bit of pasta? Fine-tuning your homemade barbecue sauce or baked beans recipe? Making some mulled wine for a small group? The small saucepan is your savior. Like a chef's knife or apron, it should be one of the most-used and most accessible items in your culinary arsenal.

Read more
These are the Best Vitamix Blenders You Can Find
Vitamix KC33000, Black A3300 Ascent Series Smart Blender on a white background.

One of the most sought-after kitchen brands on the market, Vitamix is known for its high quality, durable, and innovative blenders. With the ability to blend the smoothest of smoothies, silkiest of soups, and to pulverize the toughest nuts and seeds, these blenders have become the gold standard for home cooks and professionals alike. With a wide range of models that boast features like wireless connectivity, aircraft-grade stainless steel blades, and uniquely designed containers, Vitamix's products are high performing but also tend to be high priced. However, the cost comes with the confidence that these blenders will outlast most other kitchen counter machines on the market. If you're considering investing in one of these all-star appliances, we've gathered nine of the best Vitamix blenders, ranging from simple to high-tech to help you get in the mix. 
Vitamix 5200 Blender

Perfect for the casual Vitamix user, the Vitamix 5200 packs a lot of power without a lot of bells and whistles. This model features a 64-ounce container, easy-to-use 10-speed settings, and stainless steel blades that easily pulse, puree, and pulverize with the added ability to heat cold ingredients while it blends. Praised for its durability, this model comes with a cooling fan and thermal protection system that prevents it from overheating so you can blend without worrying about burning it out. 

Read more
The 9 Best Electric Skillets and Frying Pans for Fall 2022
Stainless electric skillet on a kitchen countertop.

Electric skillets are nothing like we've ever seen before. However, they have actually been around since the Sunbeam corporation decided to amp up cast-iron skillets in 1953. Our cooking and eating habits have dramatically changed in those 68 years as a result of that one innovation.

Electric skillets are ideal as an essential kitchen appliance to have in your home-chef toolkit. They provide an extra cooking source when you're cooking for large gatherings. And since it's fall now, they're just the perfect kitchen tool since people are cooking inside a lot more. They can also be your go-to cooking device if you don't have the luxury of a kitchen or of some nice nonstick frying pans. They're very versatile. They provide enough space to act as a griddle for searing and frying and can be used for slow-cooking one-pot meals.

Read more