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Updated: 31 May 2022

Best pod coffee machines for 2022

Find the best pod coffee machine with our expert advice and Best Buys for Nespresso, Tassimo, Dolce Gusto and other popular brands
Sabrina Sahota
Using a pod coffee machine

Pod or capsule coffee machines are the ultimate in convenience and a quick, easy way to make coffee at home. You simply put a pre-prepared coffee capsule or pod into the machine, press a button and your espresso is ready.

However, you're usually restricted to a specific brand of coffee pod — and each has its own pros and cons.

Nespresso, Tassimo and Dolce Gusto might be the best-known pod types, but there are other options worth considering, including Dualit, Illy and Lavazza. 

See Best coffee machines for help choosing between a pod, traditional espresso or bean-to-cup machine.

Best Buy pod coffee machines for 2022

In the table below we've selected some of the best-rated pod coffee machines from our rigorous coffee machine tests, which include a blind taste-test by our coffee experts.

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  • 88%
    • best buy

    This fantastic pod coffee machine is one of the best we've tested. It quickly and quietly produces excellent espressos. It’s also really simple to use and clean.

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  • 86%
    • best buy

    This coffee machine couldn’t be easier to use, but it gives you more control than most over what’s in your cup, whether you want a quick caffeine hit or an indulgent frothy creation. It’s quiet and incredibly quick, producing an espresso in less than 30 seconds. It scored top marks in our taste test too, so we've named it a Which? Best Buy.

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  • 85%
    • best buy

    This compact worthy Best Buy makes excellent coffee at the touch of a button. It has some handy features, including an espresso boost if you want a more intense coffee, an auto switch-off and a fast heat up, so you won’t be waiting long for your coffee. And it's super-slim size makes it perfect for small spaces. Pods aren’t the cheapest way to enjoy your espresso, though, and recycling them is tricky.

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  • 84%
    • best buy

    If you want to create lattes that look as good as the ones from your local coffee shop, this Best Buy coffee machine, which comes with an automatic steam frothing wand, could be one to consider. It was released back in 2017 but it's still one of our top picks for Nespresso-lovers.

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  • It’s not quite a Best Buy, but this is a high-scoring coffee machine from a popular capsule brand. This machine makes a great espresso and it’s simple to use, quick and quiet. It's compact, easy to clean and definitely one to consider.

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Want to see more machines like this? Check out all of our coffee machine reviews.

Video: How to buy the best pod coffee machine

Watch our video to find out the three key questions to consider when choosing between brands.

  • What drinks do you want to make? Lavazza, Illy and Nespresso focus on espresso coffee drinks, with a range of blends and strengths available. These usually also come with the option of frothing milk, so you can make lattes and cappuccinos too. Nescafé Dolce Gusto and Tassimo machines offer a wider range of drink options, including caramel macchiatos, hot chocolate and tea.
  • How much do the pods cost and where can you buy them? Coffee pods vary in price from around 20p per drink to more than 60p — a difference that can really add up over time. Depending on which pods your machine uses, you might be able to buy compatible capsules for less than the branded version.
  • Can the pods be recycled? Pod coffee machines make more waste than other types of coffee machines, and some pods are very tricky to recycle. Make sure you're happy with the recycling options for your choice of pod.

Our guide to the best coffee machine brands reveals which machines remain fault-free for longer.

Buying a Nespresso pod machine

Nespresso pod coffee machine

You can get Nespresso machines from a range of brands, including DeLonghi, Krups, Magimix and Sage, with plenty of styles, colours and sizes to choose from. Pricier models include a built-in milk frother or steam wand, while cheaper models can be paired with the Aeroccino milk frother accessory for around £50 extra.

What drinks can you make: The Original makes small or large espresso-based coffees, so you can enjoy an espresso, americano, latte and cappuccino, as well as various types of tea. The Vertuo is designed for making bigger espressos and longer coffeesm as well as coffees to be served with cold milk.

Capsule price: 33p-39p for Original Newspresso own brand. Vertuo capsules can cost up to 62p

Available from: Nespresso boutiques and online at nespresso.com

Compatible pods: 18p-60p (on sale in supermarkets and online)

Recycling: You can order or pick up a Nespresso recycling bag and arrange a free collection, or drop them off in-store. Alternatively, collect the used pods in a Podback bag ordered online from Nespresso and drop them off at a CollectPlus location.

Pros: Makes excellent expressos. Plenty of machines to choose from.

Cons: Pods are pricey and there are no compatible pods for the Vertuo system.

See all our Nespresso coffee machine reviews

For more Nespresso machine advice, see our guide to the Best Nespresso machines

Buying a Tassimo pod machine

Tassimo pod coffee machine

Tassimo machines work by scanning the bar codes on top of Tassimo pods (also known as T-discs) to select the correct water temperature, strength and brewing time for your drink. They also use milk pods rather than steaming fresh milk.

What drinks can you make: Tassimo pods cover the full spectrum of hot drinks, including hot chocolate, tea and café-style coffee drinks.

Capsule price: 21p-62p 

Available from: Large supermarkets nationwide, online

Compatible pods: None available

Recycling: Collect the used pods in a Podback bag ordered from Tassimo online and drop them off at a CollectPlus location. 

Pros: Easy to use. Can make more than 30 types of drink. Compact options available.

Cons: Only uses expensive own-brand pods that are hard to recycle. Machines can be very slow and don't work with fresh milk.

See all our Tassimo coffee machine reviews.

Buying a Dolce Gusto pod machine

Nescafe Dolce gusto pod coffee machine

Most Nescafé Dolce Gusto machines are made by either DeLonghi or Krups. Like Tassimo machines, Dolce Gusto machines work with milk pods instead of fresh milk.

What drinks can you make: A wide range of drinks including various types of coffee, hot chocolate and green tea.

Capsule price: 27p-56p

Available from: Large supermarkets nationwide 

Compatible pods: Available and priced at 16p-31p from supermarkets including Aldi, Asda, Lidl and Sainsbury's, although the range of options is relatively small.

Recycling: Collect the used pods in a Podback bag ordered from Dolce Gusto online and drop them off at a CollectPlus location. 

Pros: Compact options available. Makes decent drinks.

Cons: Machines tend to drip and don't work with fresh milk. Pods can be pricey and a faff to recycle.

See all our Dolce Gusto coffee machine reviews.

Illy, Lavazza and Dualit machines

These pod coffee machine brands are also worth a look if you're after an alternative to the most popular brands we've already covered.

Buying an Illy pod machine

Illy pod coffee machine

Illy coffee machines are made by several brands, including FrancisFrancis and Illy. Depending on the brand and model, some have integral steam wands for manual milk frothing, and others have automatic milk frothers.

What drinks you can make: Illy coffee pods (also know as IperEspresso capsules) are for making traditional espresso-based drinks. There is also a small range of filter coffee-style pods, for longer black coffees.

Capsule price: 38p-44p

Available from: Large supermarkets nationwide, online.

Compatible pods: None available.

Recycling: Illy espresso capsules are only recyclable through Terracycle.

Pros: Makes great-tasting coffees.

Cons: Some parts are difficult to clean. Milk often not warm enough.

See all our Illy coffee machine reviews.

Buying a Lavazza pod machine

Lavazza pod coffee machine

Most of Lavazza's range of A Modo Mio coffee machines don't come with milk frothers – something to consider if you're a fan of milky drinks.

What drinks you can make: Lavazza's A Modo Mio range is designed to produce only espresso-based drinks.

Capsule price: 27p-37p

Available from: Large supermarkets nationwide, online

Compatible pods: None available

Recycling: The current pod range claims to be industrially compostable so can go in your food waste collection — if your council provides one. The pods won't break down on a home compost heap.

Pros: Most make great-tasting coffee. Compact options available.

Cons: Descaling could be quicker.

See all our Lavazza coffee machine reviews.

Buying a Dualit pod machine

Dualit pod coffee machine

Dualit makes a small range of compact coffee machines that give the flexibility of using either ground coffee, ESE pods (see below) or Dualit NX coffee pods which you use with a specially adapted portafilter.

What drinks you can make: Plenty of coffee and tea options.

Capsule price: 20p-29p

Available from: Stores including John Lewis and Lakeland, and online

Compatible pods: Its NX pods are Nespresso-compatible so can be used in Nespresso Original machines and Nespresso-compatible models, as well as Dualit's own range.

Recycling: According to Dualit, if your recycling collection accepts mixed plastics, you can recycle its plastic NX pods if you dismantle, empty and clean them out. Dualit also sells a range of compostable capsules that can be composted industrially using your local council’s food waste collection scheme (if available in your area).

Pros: Easy to use

Cons: Some drinks are bland. Poor results from capsules

See all our Dualit coffee machine reviews.

Best pod coffee machine features to look for

Beyond making great coffee, there are a few things you should expect from a good pod or capsule coffee machine:

Intuitive, easy-to-use controls

Pod coffee machines should be designed to be quick and easy to use. If coffee-making or cleaning seems a bit time-consuming on a machine you're considering, look elsewhere.

Attractive, practical design

Pod coffee machines vary in design and colour, so you should have no trouble finding one to suit your taste. Sizes vary too - some pod machines are very compact and a good option for smaller kitchens. If you drink a lot of coffee or have a larger household, consider a machine with a large water tank.

Built-in milk frother

If you're a fan of milky drinks, consider buying a machine with a built-in frother for fresh milk.

Descaling program

To keep your machine in the best condition, it's worth descaling it regularly. Most pod machine manufacturers recommend only descaling with an approved descaling product. Always consult your manual for details.

Are cheap pod coffee machines worth the money?

Drinking coffee

Pod coffee machines are convenient, especially if you're working from home and no longer pass a coffee shop on your commute. But they're also an expensive way to drink coffee. If you're a daily coffee drinker and can afford it, an espresso machine or bean-to-cup machine is better value for money — and some purists claim the coffee tastes better, too.

Before deciding to buy a cheaper pod coffee pod machine, consider the following:

  • Is it value for money in the long run? When doing your sums, make sure you take into account the initial outlay on the coffee machine, as well as the cost of pods or capsules over time.
  • What's the cost to the environment? Making coffee at home means you're more likely to use a mug or reusable cup, but also consider how easy it is to recycle pods and capsules.

See how much different coffee machines cost over time in Best bean-to-cup coffee machines.

Which pod coffee machine works with the most pod types?

Most pod coffee machines, such as Lavazza, Illy and Tassimo, only work with official branded pods, which can be expensive and limit your drink options.

However, there are a few machines around that work across multiple pod systems. The IKOHS Potts multi-capsule coffee machine, for example, claims to work using Nespresso pods, Dolce Gusto pods and ground coffee, although we've not tested it.

At £100, it's well priced compared with entry-level Nespresso coffee machines, and there is a wide range of pods from both ranges to choose from. 

How does coffee from compatible pods taste? See best Nespresso-compatible pods and the best Dolce Gusto-compatible pods to find out.

Are pod coffee machines bad for the environment?

The simple answer is yes. Bean-to-cup and traditional espresso (ground) coffee machines are more sustainable options, as the coffee-making process cuts down on waste that then needs to be disposed of. 

If you're environmentally minded and still want to buy a pod coffee machine, choose one with pods that are easy and convenient to recycle or compost.

Find out more about recyclable, reusable and compostable coffee pods.