Top 7 Best Coffee Makers for College - Review
Going to college or university is one of the greatest (and scariest) times of your life. Everything is new — people, places, classes, and rules.
Some colleges are very strict about what you can bring with you, especially appliances. We understand that anything electrical may be a fire hazard, so it makes sense that some coffee makers are prohibited.
But, as we discovered, it all depends on which college you’re attending. So, we put together a Top-7 list to help you choose the best coffee maker for college with a small footprint, is reliable and produces great coffee.
Top-Rated Coffee Makers For College Dorm Rooms
Let’s jump right into our list. Prices range anywhere from $45-$200+.
Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee and Espresso Machine
- Automatically chooses best settings for each type of capsule
- The water tank swivels and is removable
- One-touch brewing system
- Recyclable coffee pods
- Motorized capsule lid
- Can only be used with Nespresso Vertuo capsules
- Some complaints of issues with cleaning the machine
The Nespresso VertuoPlus tops our list as the best coffee maker for college dorms because it has a killer combo — it’s stylish, versatile, super reliable and brews an amazing cup of coffee.
You can brew different single serve sizes ranging from espresso (1.35 oz) to alto (14 oz). And the best part is — you don’t have to press a certain button to adjust the cup size! The machine scans the barcode on the Nespresso Vertuo capsules (which are recyclable) and automatically chooses the optimal settings. Brew your morning, afternoon or evening cup with the touch of a button — no fuss, no mess, only perfection.
It comes in four colors: gray, ink black, matte black and red. The VertuoPlus features a water tank that can swivel, making it perfect for a dorm with limited counter space. The auto-shutoff feature ensures the machine never poses a fire hazard.
There’s an optional “Aeroccino” milk frother to create barista-level cappuccinos, lattes or other milky coffee drinks.
Keurig K-Mini Plus Coffee Maker
- Brew cup sizes anywhere from 6-12 oz
- Make stronger coffee by using the “Strong” button
- Energy-saving fast auto-shutoff 90 sec after your last brew
- Sleek, stylish design
- Some customers complain that the new K-Mini Plus is of worse quality than the previous generation
The Keurig brand needs no introductions. It’s one of the most popular brands of coffee makers and pods on the market. The K-Mini Plus is a single serve coffee maker with a small footprint — it’s less than 5 inches wide! It comes in five colors: teal, cardinal red, evening red, studio gray and white.
This could be the best coffee maker for dorm room because the water reservoir is removable and the coffee pod storage holder holds up to nine used K-Cups. You can store the cord when not in use and easily transport or move it. Brew any cup size between 6-12 oz, and if you prefer a stronger cup of coffee, the “Strong’ button will come in handy.
Includes a removable drip tray to accommodate large travel mugs up to 7 inches tall. The drip tray can hold a full cup of coffee in case you forget to put your cup on those sleepy college mornings.
Cuisinart 14-Cup Glass Carafe Programmable Coffee Maker (DCC-3200)
- Temperature control for the warming plate
- Programmable 24-hour auto-brew
- Permanent filter
- Adjustable brew strength (regular and bold)
- Auto-shutoff (0-4 hours)
- Variety of color options
- Glass carafe which could potentially break
Our #3 pick is very different from all the other coffee makers on our list. It has a massive 14-cup capacity and comes with a glass carafe. And, you guessed it, it keeps your coffee piping hot thanks to the warming plate. The great part about the warming plate is you can adjust the temperature — so if you like drinking your coffee with milk, crank up the temperature, or, if you prefer it black, keep the temperature lower.
The Cuisinart has a full suite of programmable features, including a 24-hour auto-brew, self-clean, auto-shutoff and 1-4 cup setting. The 1-4 cup setting is great because it heats the water twice for steaming hot coffee.
What else makes this one of the best coffee makers for college students? Brew strength control — choose from regular or bold. And it makes an audible tone when your coffee’s finished brewing in case you’re studying so hard you lose track of time. If you decide to brew a large pot but want your coffee right away and don’t want to wait until the brew cycle is finished, you can safely remove the carafe, pour yourself a cup, and put the carafe back to finish brewing.
Hamilton Beach Single Serve Coffee Maker (Model 49981A)
- Ease of use is unmatched. Scoop, Place, Brew
- Regular and bold strength button
- Can be used with ground coffee
- Includes coffee scoop which doubles as a permanent filter
- Adjustable height drip tray
- Fits a 14 oz travel mug
- Possible overflow if you don’t pay attention to to the coffee ground fill lines
- Some customers complain of a plastic taste from the scoop. One customer recommends cleaning it with rubbing alcohol to remove the aftertaste.
With a footprint that’s smaller than a standard piece of paper, The Hamilton Beach Scoop Single Serve Coffee Maker is both compact and economical. Not only is it the least expensive machine on our list, but it also fits the college lifestyle (and budget).
How, you ask? You can brew your own ground coffee, which is almost always cheaper than using coffee pods, and it brews fast! Under 90 seconds for an 8 oz cup and just under 2.5 minutes for a large 14 oz travel mug.
For ease of use, this is easily the best dorm coffee maker. It comes with special mesh scoop filters — load up your ground coffee (or scoop it), place the scoop into the machine and brew away!
This machine gives you amazingly tasty coffee for an affordable price. The auto-shutoff feature, adjustable height drip tray and built-to-last quality
CHULUX Coffee Maker Single-Serve Coffee Machine
- Easy, one-button operation
- Can be used with K-Cups and other off-brand coffee pods
- 12 oz water reservoir with mesh water filter
- Locking lid
- Under $50
- Quality of materials
- Only fits a 5.3-inch tall mug (although some customers report a taller mug may be used without the drip tray)
This ultra-compact coffee maker can be used with a variety of coffee pods, including Keurig K-Cups, VitaCups, and some generic coffee pods as well as ground coffee. Please note that the permanent filter for ground coffee is sold separately.
It comes in a variety of colors and has one-button brewing with fast heating. Also, it has a built-in 12 oz water reservoir and a removable drip tray to fit travel mugs (up to 5.3 inches tall).
The fact that the price point, versatility and ease of use are unmatched make this a great choice for college kids on a budget. And if your college friends come over and want a cup of coffee, you don’t have to teach them how to use it because the instructions are right on the machine!
Dnsly Coffee Maker Single Serve
- Works with K-Cups or ground coffee
- Lightweight with a small footprint
- Auto-clean and auto-shutoff features
- Brews 6-14 oz cup sizes
- Comes with a permanent filter
- Quality of materials
- Not available on Amazon anymore for some reason
- Only comes in one color
Another great coffee maker for college-bound students on a budget. Like the Chullux, you can use this machine with single serve K-Cups or your own ground coffee. Choose from a 6-14 oz cup size to adjust how strong your coffee is and get a fresh cup of coffee in under 3 minutes.
The Dnsly coffee maker includes a removable 14 oz water reservoir, an auto-clean and auto-shutoff feature as well as a removable drip tray for taller mugs. Weighs in at just over 2.5 lbs for easy transportation and storage. This compact, 1000W unit brews strong, full-flavored coffee.
De Longhi Original Espresso Maker
- Ultra stylish design that comes in 3 colors: black, creamy white and silver
- Comes with a complimentary pack of 16 Nespresso Original capsules
- Can be used with any brand of capsules that are Nespresso Original compatible
- Has a convenient handle for transportation and storage
- Only makes up to a 5 oz cup of coffee
To be clear, the full name of this coffee maker is the Nespresso EN80B Original Espresso Machine by De'Longhi, but it’s also known as the Nespresso Inissia machine.
We chose this as our #7 pick because it’s limited in brew cup size: 1.35 oz espresso and 5 oz lungo. But for the price point and features, it could easily be higher. As a coffee maker for college students, it fits the bill. It heats water to temperature in under 30 seconds and has an A rating for energy consumption.
The water reservoir has a capacity of about 24 oz, and the machine has an auto-shutoff feature. The high-pressure pump delivers up to 19 bars of pressure (hint: more pressure = faster brewing).
Like our #1 pick, the VertuoPlus Coffee, the Inissia machine can be used with the optional Aeroccino milk frother to create frothy, milky coffee drinks
Can You Bring a Coffee Maker To College?
The bigger question is — does the college or university you’re attending allow coffee makers? And the answer is — it depends.
For example, Harvard prohibits cooking appliances in dorms, including but not limited to coffee makers, teapots, hot plates, etc.
Some colleges are more specific, like the University of California-Berkeley and Michigan State University — which only allow coffee makers with a UL-mark. UL is one of the most common certifications in the US and ensures that the appliance has been thoroughly tested and adheres to UL’s safety standards.Our best advice is to call the housing department and ask if a college coffee maker is allowed.
What to Look for in Coffee Makers for College
Once you know what’s allowed and what’s not, you can get down to choosing a dorm coffee maker. This is what you should look for:
Dorm rooms are usually fairly small, and space is limited, so a coffee maker with a small footprint is ideal. The ones in our list were handpicked to take up as little counter space as possible.
Easy to Clean
You have enough to worry about in college, and cleaning college coffee makers should be the last thing on your mind. The most important thing to pay attention to is the warning light. Most coffee makers have a warning light that tells you when the machine needs to be cleaned.
Make sure to follow the exact instructions in the user manual for cleaning and descaling. If you don’t do it correctly, the coffee maker may malfunction or break.
Reliable and Durable
Finding out your machine is broken when you really need a jolt of caffeine is the worst. Choose from the best machines and don’t opt for the cheapest option.
If you know you’re going to be storing the machine after use, look for a good balance of quality materials and weight. Most machines are made of high-quality plastic, stainless steel, or a mix of both. Obviously, stainless steel models tend to last longer, but they are also heavier.
Why are you not allowed to have a coffee maker in some colleges?Electrical appliances may be a fire hazard, so some colleges and universities prohibit them in residential areas.
What coffee maker to buy for your dorm?Choose a dorm room coffee maker that’s approved by your college/university, has a small footprint, and produces great coffee. We recommend Nespresso, Keurig, Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach, Chullux, Dnsly and De’Longhi coffee makers.