If you're in the market for a new coffee machine, there are a lot of reasons why you may be considering a coffee pod or capsule machine over a manual or automatic model.
If you don't want to mess around with grinding coffee beans or steaming your own milk in the morning when you're in need of a caffeine hit, they're a convenient choice. A coffee pod machine will have your cuppa on its way to you in minutes or even seconds, all you have to do is pop in a coffee capsule and push a button. Some machines will also froth the milk for you.
On the whole, coffee pod machines are cheaper than manual or automatic espresso machines and, with many stylish designs available, they also usually take up less space on your kitchen bench.
How do coffee pod machines perform in CHOICE tests?
CHOICE coffee machine test expert, Adrian Lini, says, "We have tested a huge variety of capsule coffee machines in our labs, from all the big-name brands including Nespresso, DeLonghi, Smeg, Breville, Aldi and more, priced anywhere from $79 up to around $850.
"When our expert taste testers blind taste the coffee from pod machines, we do find that the coffee from these machines doesn't score as highly on taste when compared to coffee from manual machines," says Adrian. "If you're serious about the depth and intensity of your coffee, a pod machine may leave you disappointed. This is because when you make a coffee in a manual machine as opposed to a pod machine, you have more control over the process.
If you're serious about the depth and intensity of your coffee, a pod machine may leave you disappointedCHOICE testing expert Adrian Lini
"However, this isn't to say that manual machines are always a better choice than pod or capsule machines. If you can find a machine that suits you and your lifestyle, and makes coffee that you like, then that's the most important thing."
But with such a huge range of brands and models at wildly varying price points, how do you know which coffee pod machine is the best and which one you should choose?
What things should you look for in a coffee pod machine?
There's a wealth of information to help you decide on a coffee pod machine in our coffee machine buying guide, but some of the things you should be looking at apart from the cost of the machine itself and its features such as whether it has an inbuilt milk frother or steam wand, are the types of pods you can use and how much they cost.
"I recommend looking closely at the features and exploring a variety of brands before you buy," says Adrian.
"One of the main things to consider are the types of pods the machine uses. Some brands and models are restricted to certain types of pods, and they can get quite expensive, costing up to $100 per kilogram."
You may also like to consider a machine that you can use compostable or refillable pods in.
Our detailed espresso machine reviews include information about each machine's performance, ease of use, durability and features – all important factors to also consider when purchasing a coffee pod machine.
Only CHOICE members can access our detailed testing data. If you're not yet a member, join CHOICE to get instant access to all our expert, independent reviews, from coffee machines and grinders, to kettles and cots, toasters and TVs, and more.
Or log in to unlock this article and find out which coffee pod machines deliver the best taste and overall performance.
Unlock this article and more
- Information you can trust
- See the best brands
- Avoid the worst performers
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.