Best Coffee Maker For the Dorm Room: Reviews + Buying Guide

best coffee maker for dorm roomHey guys and girls, are you seeking the best coffee maker for your dorm room? One that’s not humongous (preferably) and nice to look at too? Caffeine and collegiate life always go hand in hand, right? They easily stand toe to toe with midterms, fraternities, and parties.

Your exciting life journey is just around the corner, and I know as well as you do, that there’s a lot of considerations to think about. One of them is limited space. You may have room for only so many things, including small appliances.

The second is roommates…your first official lesson will be all about sharing that space. Will the two of you both agree about certain things or have similar habits, or be OK with sharing possessions, like things used for food and drinks?

That is why I wrote this article and guide…

Best Dorm Coffee Makers

If you’re in a hurry, or just curious, I’ve listed the top contenders here…Keurig K-Compact, Keurig K-Mini Plus

Black and Decker CM618, Hamilton Beach Scoop, and Black and Decker 4-Cup

My Evaluation Process

When I was attending college, the only appliances most of the other students had was a small cubic fridge and a microwave. It was the George Dubya years…Yep, loooong ago 🙂 The Keurig pod coffee maker as we know it today, was widely unknown…I’d never even seen one in 2002.

Fun fact: The Keurig company was started by two college roommates seeking a way to encapsulate coffee in individual servings …after a lot of testing and prototypes the first official coffee machine launched in 1998.

Today’s college student has a lot to look forward to in terms of great one cup coffee makers to get caffeinated up for a hard night of studying – more compact models, bold colors, and not to mention features like auto-shutoff too so when you’re trying to get out the door, no worries 🙂

The factors I used to make my choices are:

  • Cost, is it appropriate for a college students budget?
  • Safe, no conflicts with dorm appliance protocol
  • Have useful features for the student lifestyle
  • Versatility – other uses for it besides coffee?

I never even had an actual coffee maker…although I did put together my own coffee “bar” complete with a few mugs, jar of sweeteners, powdered creamer, spoons, But guess what I had to contend with?  Instant coffee made with the help of hot water from an electric teakettle. Oh, the shame. That’s why I’m insanely jealous of some of you right now as you will have some super cool options I didn’t 😎Alright, let’s dive in right now, shall we?
K-Compact Single-Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee MakerK-Compact Single-Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee MakerK-Compact Single-Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker

The Keurig K-Compact

This little beauty is a close cousin of the K-Select (which is also a great choice as far as a best choice of a Keurig for the dorm room) It’s got a lean, mean look, and a minimal electric footprint. and a 36-oz reservoir which is smaller than average; being about enough for 3 8-oz cups, so if you’ve got a roomie you’ll be able to share a little. With 6, 8 and 10 oz brew sizes, you can get a hot beverage going in just under a minute.

If you remove the drip tray, you should be able to get a cup with a max height of 7″ to fit in place. Auto-shutoff goes into effect after 2 hours of inactivity giving you a worry free experience when you get out the door in the morning. Lastly, you have three others color options besides black – red, turquoise, and gray.

Pros: Attractive colors, can make multiple cups

Cons: Nothing major, but you may prefer to turn it off manually

==>>Read my review of the Keurig K-Compact HERE

BLACK+DECKER Single Serve Coffeemaker, Black, CM618BLACK+DECKER Single Serve Coffeemaker, Black, CM618BLACK+DECKER Single Serve Coffeemaker, Black, CM618

Black and Decker CM618

This guy is perfect if “to go” coffee is high on your list! This compact brewer comes with its own 16 oz take-anywhere tumbler. With an orange indicator light and auto-shutoff, this is the perfect take-along on your college life journey. Not only is it a sleek, space-saving unit, the 7″ tall included tumbler is also designed to fit into your vehicle cup compartments easily as well, for those of you who many have some commuting from time to time.

Only downside is that this model is not one that uses K-cups….you can use loose grounds or soft pre-packaged coffee pods (however less expensive than K-cups in general) that are compatible with the permafilter and basket -cleanup is a breeze and yet one thing off the table for those days when you don’t feel like cleaning an appliance from top to bottom.

Pros: Great for to-go cups and tumblers, good size that won’t take up room, fits car holders easily

Cons: Cannot use k-cups with it

Keurig K-Mini Plus K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker, Matte BlackKeurig K-Mini Plus K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker, Matte BlackKeurig K-Mini Plus K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker, Matte Black

Keurig K-Mini Plus

Wow…and I thought I had the smallest Keurig on the market?? Check this baby out – it is the same height as mine (a foot tall), but look how skinny and streamlined this one is! Most of the girth is in the back as it has a really cool compartment feature to store up to 9 k-cup pods.  (Measurements: 12″ height, 12″ depth, but only 4.5″ in width!)

In a scenario such as a crackerbox dorm room in which every inch counts, this is one little pod brewer you should give some serious attention to.

The k-cup stowaway compartment needs to be moved prior to use. Other features include 6-12 size brewing options, a “strong” button that will give you a little bit richer flavor, and yes, you can also use refillable k-cups whenever you want to use your own personal coffee grounds.

Only “con” is it will not seat tumblers as its max height for cups is 6″. Choose from black or red and sit back, and thank me later, when you can set this on your dresser or desk, and have enough room for all of your other possessions.

Pros: Good size, compact, stows easily

Cons: Not made for tumblers

The Mini Plus has its girth in the side view

Hamilton Beach The Scoop Single Serve Coffee MakerHamilton Beach The Scoop Single Serve Coffee MakerHamilton Beach The Scoop Single Serve Coffee Maker

Hamilton Beach the Scoop

At a foot tall in height this baby has a classy look to it that will go with anything, and fit with the best of them. It will brew up a regular cup or a travel tumbler size (up to 14 oz) with just a push of the adjustable stand. It’s priced great, and includes a perma-filter basket. You won’t need to worry about fact, they won’t fit.  An excellent choice for getting a cup to go or a nice 8-10 oz size in the early evening. Stainless steel finish.

Another great addition is the permafilter doubles as a scoop…so no measuring either! Just be aware that its max limit is three tablespoons. Also the tumbler you see in the picture is not included. Still I have nothing but good things to say about this model. It is a great addition to your dorm room.

Pros: Attractive looking and functional,Auto-shutoff, can make coffee of any size, no need for filters or k-cups

Cons: Not anything obvious

Hamilton Beach 5 Cup Compact Drip Coffee Maker with Programmable ClockHamilton Beach 5 Cup Compact Drip Coffee Maker with Programmable ClockHamilton Beach 5 Cup Compact Drip Coffee Maker with Programmable Clock

Hamilton Beach 46111 Programmable 5-Cup Coffeemaker

I almost wrote this one off…as it’s the carafe style with a warmer…but the programmable clock on the front made me change my mind. What’s better than the aroma of freshly brewed coffee in the morning? You just set the clock to start before you get up, , no waiting, which means no worries about being late for class.

There’s advantages to having one of those 4 or 5 cup drip models on those days when you want a cup, and your roommate wants a cup, but you don’t want to fuss with one of those “regular” sized 12 cup models that you guys may, or may not finish.

It comes with a brew basket that you load in the front that swings open, and at 10″ in height it’s not going to take up a lot of real estate. And yes, it’s got the auto-shutoff feature that kicks in after 2 hours, (but for more epace of mind, you can hit power off)

Pros: Auto-shutoff, Programmable timer, Good size and compact

Cons: May be hard to locate replacement parts if needed

Buying Guide and Advice…

Now I want to offer some additional tips to keep in mind when shopping. Don’t forget, you can also use one of these single-serve brewers to heat water for ramen noodles (Hope that doesn’t sound too cliche?) and other food products. They’re not just for coffee anymore.

As rules may vary from college to college, if you have any concerns about what’s allowed in the residential area and what’s not, please get in touch with your RA (resident advisor) I strive to provide pertinent info based on what I experienced but this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. So be sure to double-check!

college students

Safety Concerns

As far as I know, coffee makers are happily permitted in dorms. Hot plates are NOT, and have always been on the no-no list. So when I complied my findings, I made sure I eliminated models that included hot plates/ warmers…which include the “dual pot” style I have written a few reviews on. That’s why single-serve coffee makers are ideal for dorm rooms – they don’t heated warmers, so that hazard is removed.

However, I realize that some of you still appreciate those “drip” models and I didn’t want to leave those out, but I did want to prioritize the auto-shutoff feature – and those that have that, so you can have a worry-free experience.

Now me, I’m in the habit of unplugging my coffeemakers if I’m going somewhere. Irregardless of auto-shutoff. If my drip maker carafe is empty, and it’s still warm/hot, I always make a practice to pour some water into it so there won’t be “dry burn” – not a pleasant experience. Two things you should do, too. It would be a good idea to make sure you have ample supply of bottled water available in your residence.


So, my fellow students-to-be, if you’ve made it this far…Best of luck to you in searching for a great pod brewer for the dorm and best of luck in your schooling.

Well that’s my lineup of the five best coffee makers for the dorm room – What do you think? Which one’s your favorite? have you tried any of these models out? Let me know in the comments section!

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