Best Coffee Maker For College Students on a Budget

Are you off to college and in need of a new coffee maker? We provide you with the top models to fit your needs!

Between hours of cramming, attending classes and completing homework college requires a lot of time and a whole lot of energy. Coffee is a popular tool many college students lean on to provide an instant boost of energy! Let us help you review the best coffee maker for college!

Ready to brew now? Here are our top 5 picks for best college coffee maker:

1. PerfecTemp 14-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker (Top Pick)
2. Keurig K Mini Plus (Top Pick)
3. Black+Decker Single Serve Coffee Maker with Travel Mug 
4. Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker
5. Mr. Coffee Café Barista Premium Cappuccino System

For those attending university, the problem with a coffee addiction is that multiple trips to a coffee shop a day can make a huge dent in an already small college budget. 

An easy solution to this money conundrum is to invest in a reliable but affordable coffee machine. That way you can make a cup of caffeine anytime you want for way less than purchasing coffee at a coffee shop.

Whether in a dorm or attending classes virtually at home, having a coffee maker within reach to be able to brew and go is a must! Today we review our recommendations for the best coffee makers for college.

Types of Coffee Makers for College 

Brewing coffee in college dorm room.
Its important to understand the size of your counterspace when purchasing a new coffee maker to ensure proper fit.

When it comes to coffee makers there are no shortage of options. Coffee makers come in a wide variety of sizes, types, options and functions. 

For college friendly coffee makers, there are a few types to consider:

Single Serve Coffee Maker for Pods

Single serve coffee makers are one of the easiest and most convenient coffee machines on the market today. For those who are not familiar with single serving brewers, they use a capsule or pod that is made with pre-measured coffee inside. 

To brew you simply choose which capsule or pod you want to make, insert it in the brewer, select your brewing options and let the machine do the rest! 

One other advantage of single serve coffee makers for pods is that there are several available on the market today that are designed to be small, compact and portable. This makes K-Cup brewers a perfect fit for dorm rooms and small spaces.

The cons of this brewing machine is that capsules and pods are more expensive than buying coffee in bulk. 

Additionally, most single serve coffee makers only make one cup of coffee at a time so they are not a good option for those who will want to brew in bigger batches to share with friends or roommates. However, if you are seeking the best of both worlds we highly recommend to review Keurig’s K-Duo Plus. This machine gives you a single serve option with the ability to brew in larger batches using a carafe.

Single Serve Coffee Maker (No Pod)

Another single serve option available is one that brews single servings of coffee, but does not use a pod or capsule. 

There are several advantages to this type of brewer. It often comes in small, compact offerings which make it ideal for small spaces such as a dorm. It is low maintenance, not requiring you to clean anything more than the mug you drink out of versus an entire carafe.

They are also convenient, with many coming with a travel mug that fits under the coffee maker so you can simply brew and go.

This is not a good option if you will be brewing for multiple people on a regular basis. 

Programmable Coffee Maker

Programmable coffee makers are the epitome of convenience. They give you the ability to set the time you want your coffee to brew so you can have a perfectly timed fresh brewed cup whenever you want it! 

Most programmable coffee makers come with a carafe, and are good for brewing small or large batches.

The downside is convenience does come at a cost, with programmable coffee makers being more expensive than standard brewers. Also, most programmable options will be slightly larger and will occupy more counter space. 

Classic Drip Coffee Maker

Classic drip coffee makers are traditional coffee brewers that use a carafe. They are typically very inexpensive. 

Most models come with glass carafes that sit on a warming plate so you can enjoy a refill of hot coffee without having to run another brew cycle. 

Classic Drip Coffee Makers are simple to operate and require not much more than plugging the coffee maker in and hitting brew. They also are a great option when brewing for a large number of people.

The downside to these types of coffee makers is that you will have to manually measure your coffee to water ratio. Additionally, they usually don’t come with many extra brewing features.

What to Consider

When purchasing a coffee maker for college there are several key factors you want to consider. This includes: 

  • Easy to use
  • Simple to maintain and clean
  • Reliable
  • Makes the kind of coffee you prefer
  • Brews the amount of coffee you will need regularly 
  • Will easily fit in a small space
  • Affordable to buy and brew

We have reviewed the below list of coffee makers based on this criteria. Read on to find out which ones made the grade!

Top Models For Dorm Room

Cup of coffee on dorm room desk.
Studies show that coffee is the primary source of caffeine consumption in college.

PerfecTemp Programmable Coffee Maker (Top Pick)

The Cuisinart PerfecTemp Programmable Coffee Maker offers a lot of features at an extremely reasonable price point. Although there is no such thing as a perfect coffee maker, this one comes pretty close to fulfilling everything a college student could need or want in a coffee brewer.

The Cuisinart PerfecTemp comes with state-of-the-art brewing technology that ensures a hot and delicious cup every time you want one.  With the pause and pour feature you can also enjoy a cup of coffee before the entire brewing cycle is complete. 

This is a very convenient option for those who want their caffeine fix right away or don’t have the time to wait.

The Cuisinart PerfecTemp is fully automatic and comes with 24 hour programmability which gives you the ability to set it and forget it. 

You have the ability to customize both your brew strength as well as the keep warm temperature control on the machine. 

The Cuisinart PerfecTemp comes with a glass carafe that can brew just enough for an individual cup or up to 14 cups in one brew cycle. One other advantage of the Cuisinart PerfecTemp is that it comes with a reusable gold filter. 

A reusable filter is not only environmentally friendly, but it also saves you a few dollars a month because you won’t have to worry about spending money on paper filters. As an added bonus a reusable filter is easy to clean, you simply rinse after use and replace. 

With the Cuisinart PerfecTemp even clean up is easy and automated with a built-in self cleaning function that is activated at just a push of a button.


  • 24 hour programmability 
  • Adjustable serving sizes (low or high capacity)
  • Built in warming plate with temperature control
  • Metal filter basket
  • Self Clean Function


  • Water reservoir can be difficult to refill

Keurig K-Mini Plus

The K-Mini Plus delivers the quality and taste coffee lovers associate with the much loved Keurig brand, with the added benefit of a compact design for small spaces. There is a lot to love about this machine!

The K-Mini Plus can brew a 6 to 12 ounce cup of great-tasting coffee. With over 400 brands and 60 types of drinks available in Keurig K Cups and Pods there will never be a shortage of drink options to choose from. For a thorough look at the most popular K-Cups on the market we highly recommend you review our buying guides:

You also have the ability to remove the drip tray to use a travel mug that is up to seven inches high, making brewing on the go a breeze.

With the K Mini Plus you will need to refill the water reservoir with the cup size you want to brew every time you make a cup. This can be a  convenient feature as you can opt to brew what you need and nothing that you don’t. For some having to refill with water every time can be a hindrance.

For more information check out our comprehensive review of the K-Mini Plus!


  • Small and compact
  • Brews a wide variety of drinks using K-Cups
  • Removable drip tray to accommodate travel mugs


  • K-Cups can be expensive
  • Have to refill water reservoir every time you brew

Black+Decker Coffee Maker with Travel Mug 

This is a very convenient and economically priced option for those who want to brew and go! This simple Black+Decker Single Serve Coffee Maker brews directly into the 15 ounce travel mug that the machine comes with.

This brewer is built with a space-saving design that works well for small spaces such as dorm rooms. With a permanent grounds filter you don’t have to spend any additional money on paper filters. 

This is a fast, no frills way to brew a piping hot cup! 


  • Small, space saving design
  • Comes equipped with 15 ounce travel mug
  • Economically priced


  • Does not brew in large batches, no carafe
  • Brew cycle is not as quick as other machines

Hamilton Beach Programmable Coffee Maker

For an economical and simple coffee maker we recommend the Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker. 

This brewer does not come jam packed with features, instead it offers the essentials needed to brew a more than decent cup. 

The Hamilton Beach Coffee Maker comes with a programmable clock so you can schedule in advance the time you want your coffee maker to brew a fresh pot. 

It also comes with an energy saving auto shutoff feature that ensures your coffee maker will automatically power off 2 hours after you last brew.

 Automatic pause and serve allows you to pour a cup before the brew cycle is complete, which is a great option to have when brewing in a hurry.


  • Programmable 
  • Pause and serve feature
  • Economical 
  • Automatic shut off


  • Requires paper filters
  • Does not come loaded with features

Mr. Coffee Café Barista Cappuccino System

For a true coffee shop experience right in your dorm room try the Mr. Coffee Cafe’ Barista Premium Cappuccino System. 

With the ability to easily make espresso, cappuccino and lattes at the push of a button it is like having your own personal barista.

The Mr. Coffee Cafe’ Barista is a semi automatic brewer, so it does require a more hands on approach. However, its 15 bar pump system will result in a delicious coffee shop worthy drink that makes a bit more effort worth it!

This brewer has a one touch control panel making it easy for you to choose your drink selection. 

To use you simply pick a single or double shot, add your coffee of choice, fill up the milk reservoir and choose your brew! 

The Mr. Coffee Cafe’ Barista is capable of making lattes, cappuccinos, espresso and more. A recipe book is even included so you can be the drink brewing envy of your dorm!


  • Brews popular coffee shop drinks
  • Automatic Milk Frother
  • Simple and easy to use


  • Requires a more hands on approach
  • More components to clean (ie milk frother reservoir)

Cuisinart Coffee-on-Demand Coffee Maker

The Cuisinart Coffee-on-Demand Coffee Maker allows you to enjoy fresh brewed cups of joe all day long. 

This unique carafe-free brewer uses Coffee on Demand technology to brew cup by cup so you can have fresh coffee whenever you want it. 

With a removable reservoir, a coffee cup countdown to tell you how many cups remain before having to refill the machine and 24 hour programmability this machine is a very easy way to enjoy a fresh, hot cup. 


  • Brews fresch coffee cup by cup 
  • Brews up to 12 cups before having to refill
  • Coffee countdown gauge counts the cups of coffee remaining before having to refill machine


  • Not good for large batch brewing

Nespresso Pixie

The Nespresso Pixie machine may be small but brews a mighty cup of espresso! The Pixie is one of the most compact and fastest single-serve Nespresso models on the market today. 

Its tiny size means it is portable and can easily find a home in a college dorm. There is a lot of functionality packed into this small machine. 

The Nespresso Pixie brews espresso and lungo size drinks at the touch of a button using Nespresso OriginalLine capsules to create drinks that feature Nespresso’s signature crema on top. 

Given its size, the Pixie has a decent sized 24 ounce water reservoir. This equates to approximately 20 espresso shots or nine lungo shots before having to refill the water in the reservoir! 

Check out our in depth review of the Nespresso Pixie.


  • Extremely Fast Brewing
  • Programmable 
  • Compact size, fits and goes anywhere
  • Creates delicious espresso with fluffy crema on top


  • Only brews espresso, not coffee
  • Nespresso capsules can be expensive

Cozy’s Bottom Line

Many college students rely on a steady stream of caffeine to get them through the busy week. Owning individual coffee makers while in college is an economical way to have a hot, fresh cup whenever you want one. 

Whether you opt for a programmable, classic or espresso brewer there is no doubt there are many options that are worthy of your dorm room! 

Happy Brewing!

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