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What are the best coffee pod machines?

Need help choosing the best coffee pod machine? Find out which models CHOICE experts rate as the best.

Last updated: 15 September 2022


Checked for accuracy by our qualified fact-checkers and verifiers. Find out more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

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 disappointed

CHOICE 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.

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Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.

DeLonghi Essenza Mini bundle EN85RAE


Price: $229

Choice Expert Rating:  77%

Ease of use score: 84%

Milk frothing score: 60%

This Choice Recommended capsule pod machine received a great score in our taste test (80%) as our testers found it was easy to use and easy to clean with a wipe over. It comes with a separate milk frother, which unfortunately scored 'only OK' on frothing milk, and two programmable cup sizes. And it's nice and compact too, which means it will fit into a snug space on your kitchen benchtop. There are many cheaper homebrand alternatives to the Nespresso Original pods this machine uses so you have more options when it comes to the pods you'd like to use. 

Read the full review of the DeLonghi Essenza Mini bundle EN85RAE.

Lavazza Desea LM950 Coffee Machine


Price: $349

Choice Expert Rating: 76%

Ease of use score: 84%

Milk frothing score: 70%

This sleek-looking coffee pod machine comes with an in-built milk frother and glass mug, and a one-touch interface that allows you to select between five milk-based coffee recipes or four different coffee sizes. This machine uses the A Modo Mio capsules, which are not compatible with coffee machines from other brands, and there are some brands that produce their own versions of capsules compatible with these machines. 

Read the full review of the Lavazza Desea LM950 Coffee Machine.

Smeg Lavazza A Modo Mio LM200


Price: $349

Choice Expert Rating: 73%

Ease of use score: 84%

Milk frothing score: 80%

Smeg appliances are known for the distinctive retro designs and sleek looks that can create a talking point in your kitchen. And although we sometimes see that Smeg appliances sometimes sacrifice performance for good looks, this coffee pod machine comes recommended by our CHOICE experts. And it comes in a stylish black, red or cream so you can complement your kitchen colour scheme. It scores well on ease of use and receives a taste test score of 70%. A milk frother has to be purchased separately. 

Read the full review of the SMEG Lavazza A Modo Mio LM200.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.