Best coffee maker for college dorm cheat sheet 2020

It doesn’t matter whether you are going to college or attend online classes; coffee helps you get up and running. Not only students, but it can also be, in fact, helpful for teachers to get a fresh start before that hectic day. For this purpose, it does make sense to go ahead and search for the best one. But you need not worry since we have listed out the best coffee maker for college dorms that you can buy in 2020, available in the UK, US, and Canada.

On top of that, if you are the kind of person who prefers to have multiple cups of coffee in a day, your monthly budget for just coffee will be sky-rocketed. Spending so much of your money on coffee doesn’t make sense at all. Hence you should probably get a coffee maker, which will last for 3-4 years of your college and provide excellent coffee.

Best coffee maker for college dorms you can buy in 2020 (Available in the US, UK and Canada)

1. Hamilton beach scoop single serve coffee maker

Hamilton beach scoop is probably the best option that provides an excellent price to performance ratio. This portable machine brews an 8oz cup under 90 seconds or a full travel mug of 14 oz in under two and a half minutes. As the name suggests, it involves just three steps – scoop, place, and brew. You do not need a separate filter paper. There is a mesh scoop filter, which does a pretty decent job.

hamilton beach - our top inexpensive recommendation for college students

Why is this our top recommendation?

  • Best option to consider under a budget of $50.
  • Can provide your daily cup of joe in couple of cents.
  • Built using a stainless steel body, which is not only easy to clean but also provides longevity.
  • You can use your coffee grounds in the scoop filter.
  • Have the option of brewing your beverage with a natural setting, or use the BOLD toggle for more finely ground coffee.
  • The scoop filter is marked with two lines so that you add the same amount of powder every time you run the machine.


  • Includes a scoop to measure the amount of coffee powder.
  • Option for brewing bold/ regular coffee.
  • Stainless steel body – durable and easy to clean.
  • Brews 8 oz cup under 90 seconds.
  • Automatic shut off available.
  • Affordable price, under $50.


  • Not programmable; need to wait till the brewing.
  • No extra scoop is provided in the retail package.

Related: Best small coffee maker recommendations by us, do checkout!

2. AdirChef Grab N’ Go, Personal coffee maker

This coffee brewer is small and straightforward, and most importantly, the AdirChef machine’s price is almost equal to that of approximately 3-4 Starbucks coffee. Do you want to know another good thing about this machine? It comes with a free travel mug, lid, and an internal filter as well. Isn’t it amazing?

adirChef - best coffee maker for college dorm with compact size and travel mug

What more, with dimensions of 6.7 x 5.1 x 10.1 inches and weighing just 3.8 pounds, it will be easy to carry for camping or business trips. The entire machine is made using stainless steel and high-quality plastic. The 15-ounce travel mug is constructed of stainless steel and can fit easily in most cup holders. The average time required for preparing the beverage is 3 minutes.

Features offered by AdirChef:

  • Very compact in nature, can be packed in your travel back pack as well.
  • It has been constructed using high quality material which will make it last longer for sure.
  • The price per cup of coffee will be just couple of cents rather than dollars.
  • Includes travel mug for free, so that you need not buy it seperately.


  • Eco-friendly: Includes in-built filter, no need to use external paper filters.
  • Affordable price.
  • Stainless steel body and mug, easy for maintenance.
  • Compact in nature and lightweight, can be carried around easily.
  • This machine comes with a free travel mug and lid.
  • It has a “travel and go” pouch as well, which can be purchased separately.
  • It comes in various color options like Red, Crystal Blue, Ruby Red, Green, Sour Green, Orange along with a Black/ Stainless steel combination.


  • Not programmable, you need to wait till the coffee is dispensed.
  • Build quality may be a problem for few.

3. Black + Decker Brew N’ Go, personal coffee maker

The black and decker model is another compact model with 10.3 x 7 x 6.1 inches in size and weighing just 1.61 pounds. You can easily carry these within your suitcase or backpack for trips or dorms. With priced under $20 (at the time of writing this post), you can consider this one of the options.

black decker personal brewer

One more thing worth mentioning is it comes along with a 15 oz travel mug as well. You need to fill the water in the reservoir first and get it heated, add coffee grounds to the filter basket and the sweeteners to the mug itself. Just leave the machine to brew, and it will fill in your cup. Once the brewing is done, the device will automatically turn off. It should not take more than 3 minutes to get your favorite drink!


  • Compact body and lightweight machine.
  • Affordable price tag.
  • Multi-purpose basket filter.
  • It can dispense only hot water, which is useful for preparing tea, Maggi, oatmeal, and other things that rely on hot water.
  • It includes a free travel mug of 15oz.


  • The quality of the travel mug is satisfactory.
  • The brewing performance is not on par with other peers available in the market.

4. AmazonBasics 5 cup coffee maker

Amazon Basics is a renowned brand known for various products like iPhone accessories, washing machines, to name a few. This espresso maker is another good alternative available within the sub $30 price range to the rather expensive ones. What more, you even get a glass carafe in the retail package. As the name suggests, it can brew up to 5 cups of coffee at a time. Another thing worth noting is that the size of the serving is 5 ounces.

AmazonBasics 5 cup maker

The carafe also has markings to pour the exact amount of coffee in your travel mug or cup. It includes a reusable filter and filter basket so that you can clean it easily. There is even a window present to check the water level in the machine. Once you turn on the device, it will brew the coffee and pour it in the carafe. There is a safety feature wherein the coffee flow will stop if you remove the carafe midway. This will ensure that the coffee doesn’t get spilled, so you don’t have to worry about cleaning it every time. Once the coffee is brewed, the hot plate below the carafe will keep it warm, which is another useful thing.

Tip to convert this into smart coffee maker!

What if you tell you that this budget brewer can be converted into a smart device? Yes, you need to buy the smart plugs available and connect them to this machine. The cable is long enough, about 36 inches, so you need not worry about keeping it away from the socket. Once you buy the smart plugs compatible with Alexa, you need to connect your account with it. Next time you have to brew coffee, you can tell Alexa, “Alexa, brew me some coffee,” and this super machine will start brewing. Isn’t it amazing? You can check out the smart plugs here.


  • Best budget-friendly option, will not burn a hole in your pocket.
  • Removable and reusable filter.
  • You can turn it into a smart coffee maker.
  • You get a free glass carafe as well.


  • The glass carafe is not dishwasher safe, needs to be hand washed.
  • The water tank is small as compared to the amount of beverage brewed.

5. CuisinArt 14 cup Programmable coffee maker

Cuisinart DCC-3200P1 is another option worth considering at a slightly higher price tag. The entire machine is made up of stainless steel, which is durable in the long run. There are a couple of buying options available in case you decide to buy it. You can buy the 12 cups thermal carafe or the 14 cup glass carafe along with the machine. As regards the packaging itself, there is a standard option present along with the Frustration-free packaging.

cuisinart programmable - one of the best coffee maker for college students

About the build quality

As for the looks, don’t get deceived by the appearance. It may not appear catchy like the Jura coffee makers, but it has many features to compensate for that look. The LCD present on the front panel lets you program your beverage needs for the complete 24 hours. So, you need now worry about waiting in between breaks while your machine dispenses the coffee. Just program it once, and it will ensure an uninterrupted supply of your favorite drinks throughout the day.

Features offered by this CuisinArt espresso maker

Like most of the machines that we have seen, this one comes with a reusable filter. That ensures that it is eco-friendly, and you need not worry about running out of paper filters. The total time required to brew is close to 19 minutes, i.e., to fill the entire pot. Just like the Amazon Basics model, this one cuts off coffee flow when you remove the carafe. This is super helpful when you are in a hurry and want to sneak a cup mid-brew.

Another thing is, the coffee doesn’t spill while pouring using the carafe. With the price of under $80 (at the time of writing this post), it can seem costly to get started with college, but it’s worth considering. You do not need to waste much time cleaning this machine since time is precious when you are in college. Not to mention, the homework, assignments, traveling, and parties eat up most of our day.


  • Stainless steel design for a sturdy build.
  • Programmable for up to 24 hours.
  • It includes a glass or stainless-steel carafe.
  • Automatic shut off.
  • Easy to clean and maintain.
  • There is one button cleaning function.
  • It is available in multiple colors like graphite, light grey, sky blue, gold, copper, and plain stainless steel, and black stainless steel.


  • The water reservoir size is average.

6. Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso machine

The Nespresso espresso machine is a must-have one for coffee lovers. Although it is priced higher than the other ones mentioned, it’s worth every penny. This particular model allows you to choose from 5 different sizes of servings, right from 1.3-ounce espresso to 40 ounces shot. You do not need to wait for a longer time as well. It takes 15 seconds tops and boom; it will dispense your brew.

nespresso combo pod maker

The water reservoir is quite large, 40 ounces to be precise. So, if you have friends coming over for studying overnight, it can provide 40 shots of espresso without any hitch. As far as the dimensions go, it measures out around 30.5 x 30.3 x 21 cms and weighs approximately 10 pounds which makes it little bulkier. Another good thing is, Nespresso will provide you with 12 different coffee pods to experiment with your new machine! What more, there is even milk frother included within the device, so you do not need to buy another one.


  • Make beverages in 5 distinct cup sizes at the touch of a button.
  • Large water reservoir.
  • Very simple to operate.
  • It comes with 12 different coffee capsules.


  • Coffee will be lukewarm if you use cold milk.
  • It can be a little noisy.

How to choose the best coffee maker for college students?

There are various types of espresso machines present in the market, depending on the type of brewing method, the number of beverages brewed, the number of cups brewed, and few to name, among others. It is necessary to find the best one that suits your needs and provides you with the perfect cup of your favorite drink.


This is a crucial thing to consider while buying. You should make sure that your perfect brewer is within your budget and doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket. One thing for sure is, getting one of these will increase your savings month on month. If you are worried about the product quality, then Amazon offers a one-year warranty on their products if you are uncertain about the lower price tag.


working on macbook

Another important factor while choosing should be pretty straightforward to use. It doesn’t make sense to spend your time on getting around learning the functions offered by the machine. In case if you decide to get one, then you should probably get it ahead of your college start date. This is to ensure that you get familiar with the machine’s operation and do not spend your precious college time getting to know it better.

Easy to clean and maintain

This is something that bothers most of the college-going students. It becomes tough to take care of other things while you are in college, and spending too much time on unnecessary stuff makes no sense. So, it is necessary to make sure that the model you finalise is easy to clean and maintain.

Suitable for daily use

It should satisfy your requirements for the amount of coffee it can brew and the time required. If you are a coffee lover and cannot stay without having coffee, you should get one. If you are not a regular drinker and instead prefer to have coffee on special occasions ( which is rarely the case), you can skip buying one altogether.

Electric or stovetop: Which one?

This is your personal choice; you can go for one with the stovetop model, or electric one is the best with a minimal amount of effort needed to get started.

Space – the most important one!

We all have limited space in our dorms, making sense to use it preciously! We have listed out the options above, keeping in mind space and storage issues. If you decide to get the drip coffee maker, you should make some space to store the coffee beans in a cold and dark place. Even for pod machines, you need to keep the pods, which will take some space anyways. So, before buying, you need to factor in additional space required for storing beans or pods.

Are coffee makers allowed in dorms?

This is generally a confusion among the students who are starting college or going to start soon. Usually, the coffee makers are allowed in dorms, as long as it doesn’t have a hot plate. That means you can carry pod-style makers, but the drip makers will not be allowed. Every college has different rules, so I’d suggest looking up the college website to know more about the rules and regulations. Alternatively, you can even ring up and ask the college authorities to get a clear answer for this. Let’s say you decide on attending Luther college, you can refer this section in student handbook which highlights their policy on various gadgets/ coffee makers.


These are all the recommendations provided by us in case you are starting college. The budget options under the $50 should last enough if you take care of it. If you have a slightly higher budget, I’d suggest you go with the Cuisinart or Nespresso model; you cannot go wrong with those. Do you have any good recommendations that you want to share with us? You can let us know through the comments below.

About Arianna Koss

Hi there! My name is Arianna Koss. Some of my friends call me a coffee freak, but I admire coffee and it’s my passion. I love to have lattes and espressos, and even worked as Barista for 3 years! I have created this blog to share the recipes and tricks that I have used to make the great cup of joe. Don’t forget to subscribe so that you do not miss out on any updates!

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