Best Coffee Maker for College Dorm Rooms

Whether you want to wake yourself up for an important early class or want to stay up late to finish the paper due tomorrow -which you might be ignoring to read this article-, a coffee maker would be a great way to help you get the coffee needed to achieve the task.

Understandably, if you’re in a college dorm, you might not have a lot of space, money, or convenience to spare.

And with so many limitations, it might be tough to find a suitable option. No worries though, I’ve tailored a list including all of the best coffee makers for college dorms that you’ll find on the market.

With the price, size, ease of use, and quality in mind, here are their pros, cons, and what to expect from each.

List of the Best Coffee Makers for College Students:

  1. Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker – Best Overall
  2. Cuisinart DCC-3200 – Most Compact
  3. Hamilton Beach BrewStation Summit) – Best for Simplicity
  4. Breville Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine – Most Versatility
  5. Cuisinart DCC-3000 – Best Budget Choice
  6. Keurig K-Select Coffee Maker – Best Bang for the Buck

Comparison Table

Coffee Maker/Specs Capacity Weight Dimensions Water Reservoir
Keurig K-Classic  6, 8, 10 ounces 9 pounds 13 x 9.8 x 13.3 inches 48 ounces (removable)
Cuisinart DCC-3200P1 14 cups 8.4 pounds 7.8 x 9 x 14 inches Built-in
Hamilton Beach BrewStation Summit  12 cups 7.3 pounds

 

9.2 x 12.5 x 16 inches Built-in
Breville Nespresso Vertuo 1.35, 2.7, 5, 8, 14 ounces 9.8 pounds 19.2 x 11 x 15.2 inches 40 ounces (removable)
Cuisinart DCC-3000 12 cups 9 pounds 22.50 x 14.25 x 17.25 inches 60 ounces
Keurig K-Select 6, 8, 10, 12 ounces 7.35 pounds 11.60 x 9.20 x 12.50 inches 52 ounces (removable)

The 6 Best Coffee Maker for College Dorm Rooms in 2020

1. Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker – Best Overall

Measuring 13 x 9.8 x 13.3 inches, the Keurig K-Classic is pretty compact, so you don’t have to worry about the availability of space.

It comes with a 48-ounce removable water reservoir that’s quite easy to detach and reattach, which makes it pretty convenient and easy to clean.

This model enables you to brew a 6, 8, or 10-ounce cup, so you can get exactly the amount of coffee you need.

It allows you to use k-cup pods or k-cup reusable filters to use your own ground coffee.

On the panel, you’ll find five buttons, including the power and auto-off one that switches the coffee maker off automatically two hours after the last brew to save power. That’s a pretty convenient feature for a dorm.

There’s also an “add water” button, “descale” button, and “heating” button that lights up when you need to add water to the reservoir, descale the unit, and when the water is heating, respectively.

Descaling should happen every three to six months, and you can find instructions online, which are pretty easy to follow.

The potholder is pretty easy to remove by just pushing it from the bottom, and the funnel comes off to make cleaning easier. It’s also dishwasher-safe, unlike the reservoir and lid that have to be hand-washed.

Not only that, but there’s a replacement date dial that you can set on the handle that goes into the reservoir to remind you to change the filters in your coffee maker -which, by the way, are included with the purchase.

Moreover, the Keurig K-classic’s drip tray is removable and can hold 8 ounces of overflow, which adds to how easy the unit is to maintain. It also allows you to place a tall mug beneath the unit.

Pros:

  • Three brewing sizes
  • Removable water reservoir
  • Auto-off feature
  • Works with both pods and ground coffee
  • Easy to maintain and use
  • Potholder is dishwasher safe

Cons:

  • Very noisy operation
  • It takes a long time to brew
  • Not very durable

Bottom Line

The Keurig K-Classic is a pretty minimalistic coffee maker that you can actually use to make other drinks like hot cocoa (using its cups). Although it’s not the most durable, it’s quite budget-friendly, easy to use, and doesn’t take up lots of space, so it’s an ideal choice for a college dorm.

2. Cuisinart DCC-3200 – Most Compact

The Cuisinart DCC-3200 comes with cutting-edge design and a stainless-steel housing with accented buttons, a digital display, and plenty of coffee technologies that enable you to brew the most delicious cups.

Around the digital display, you’ll find four buttons. The first one is the “carafe temp” that you can set to low, medium, or high. This helps if you add milk to your coffee, so you might want to set it at the highest temperature. However, if you’ve got nothing to cool down the brew, you should opt for the “low” setting to be able to drink your cup as soon as possible.

There’s also a “tone” button that mutes your coffee maker, so it doesn’t bother anyone when you’re brewing a cup in the middle of the night when you’re up finishing that assignment -an excellent addition for a college dorm choice.

Moreover, the five buttons below the screen are “clean,” “bold, “brew off/auto-off”, “prog/auto-on”, and “1-4.”

The first one is self-explanatory, and of course, adds a lot to the convenience of this unit as it doesn’t require any effort to clean. You can program your machine to go off at any time you choose, and the auto-off feature that you can set to 0 minutes up to 4 hours.

The “bold” one is used to control the strength of your brew, while the “1-4” controls the amount of coffee the machine brews for you.

Furthermore, the Cuisinart DCC-3200 comes with a glass carafe with a stainless-steel handle. Although it’s not the best at heat-retention, you can see how much coffee your maker has brewed and use the brew-pause feature to enjoy a cup while the rest is being made.

Inside the machine, you’ll find the filter holder in which you place the included filters after rinsing. There’s also a permanent gold-tone filter that’s reusable. It’s quite efficient at removing the sediment and combined with the paper filters, you’ll get rid of any sediment at all. 

The water reservoir might not be as easy to glance at as other makers, though, as it’s just a vertical line through which you can check the water remaining in the reservoir.

Pros:

  • Great design
  • Self-cleaning feature
  • Can brew small amounts of only 1-4 cups
  • Built-in filter
  • 14 cup capacity
  • Brew pause feature

Cons:

  • Brew temperature can’t be adjusted
  • Water reservoir isn’t as readily-visible as other choices
  • External can be hard to clean

Bottom Line

If you’re a college student looking for a versatile, mid-priced coffee maker for your dorm, the Cuisinart DCC-3200 is a pretty solid choice. It looks great, packs plenty of features, and comes with a 3-year warranty, so it’s a great choice overall.

3. Hamilton Beach BrewStation Summit – Best for Simplicity

The BrewStation Summit is a stainless-steel coffee maker that suits dorm rooms for its versatility. It comes with a thermally insulated tank instead of a carafe and combines the best of drip coffee and pod coffee makers. The machine prepares a pot of coffee and keeps it internally to allow you to brew one cup at a time.  

Its panel has six buttons and a digital display on which you can adjust your settings. The on/off button, start time button to set timings, keep warm button that retains your brew’s temperature, and brew-strength to control how strong the flavor is. This includes regular, flavor plus for bold coffee, a special setting for 1-4 cups, and ice coffee.

Moreover, the BrewStation Summit works with regular paper filters in which you can put your favorite brand of coffee.

To actually brew the coffee, you just have to press the mug or cup against the bar. The Summit, then, will begin to dispense coffee, and you can fill your cup one-handedly.

However, it’s not the easiest unit to clean, and if you don’t tackle this issue, your coffee may start tasting bitter.

Pros:

  • Retains heat and flavor
  • Has regular, bold, and iced brew options
  • Sleek design

Cons:

  • Not the easiest to clean
  • Produces bitter coffee over time

Bottom Line

No brewing, no spills, and no carafe that may break -the BrewStation Summit really takes convenience and ease of use to the next level. However, its cleaning is no walk in the park, so make sure you can handle it.

4. Breville Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine – Most Versatile

The Vertuo comes at a relatively higher price than other options on the list, which may deter some college students, but it’s definitely worth the money. If you’re a true coffee lover, you’ll enjoy adding this machine to your dorm.

It comes with a milk frother that enables you to make amazing cappuccinos or lattes, besides being able to make both coffee and espresso. That’s because the pods come with codes that the machine can read and, consequently, know whether to brew coffee or espresso.

You simply add the pod to the maker and press the top button. After it’s done brewing the coffee, it automatically dispenses the pods in the reservoir on the right side once you open the pod action.

On the left side, you’ll find the 40-ounce water reservoir that is quite easy to detach and reattach.

Depending on the size of the pod, you can get a portion of 1.35, 2.7, 5, 8, or 14 ounces. And thanks to the centrifugal technology, the Vertuo can extract all the taste from the pods as well as create a foamy top.

On top of that, it operates pretty quickly and doesn’t make you wait for ages to heat up and brew your cup of joe.

The best part? It comes with a welcoming kit, including 12 different pods that you can experiment with! It’s what a candy shop is for a child but for caffeine-powered college students.

However, it only works with Nespresso pods. It also doesn’t do the best job of producing the hottest coffee.

Pros:

  • Five brew sizes
  • Easy to use
  • Quiet operation
  • Allows you to make coffee, espresso, lattes, cappuccinos
  • Large water reservoir
  • Top-notch flavor

Cons:

  • Subpar job at retaining heat
  • Nespresso exclusivity

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to make different types of coffee-based drinks, the Vertuo is an excellent choice. You can use it to make either coffee or espresso, and if you get the milk frother, you’ll be able to make lattes and cappuccinos as well. Although it’s a little expensive, it comes with amazing features and pretty fun operation, besides the top-notch flavor or coffee.

5. Cuisinart DCC-3000 – Best Budget Choice

The Cuisinart DCC-3000 is another simple-operation coffee maker with a handy removable reservoir. Since it dispenses, one cup at a time, so you can make your full pot of coffee and brew a cup whenever you want.

The reservoir is double-walled, which guarantees keeping your water hot and ready for brewing at any time.

Moreover, it’s equipped with an environmentally-friendly gold-tone permanent filter and a charcoal-based water filter to produce the most delicious-tasting coffees without any weird tastes, odors, or chlorine from the tap water.

All the parts of this machine are removable, including the 12-cup coffee reservoir. This is pretty great, as this helps you clean them and keep your coffee tasting fresh.

The Cuisinart DCC-3000 has auto-on and auto-off features and is completely programmable, so you can set it to any hour to brew your coffee in advance.

You can also choose from 1 to 4 cups of coffee to control how the coffee is brewed and how it tastes. There’s also a coffee gauge that indicates how much you have left inside the tank. However, it doesn’t always give the most accurate readings.

Moreover, it’s equipped with a clean function that makes the cleaning process a breeze. An extra function that makes operating this unit easier is that it lights up the cup while it brews the coffee, so you can actually see how full your mug is and avoid overflowing.

Pros:

  • Highly programmable with 60-second power-loss protection to save programmed settings
  • Responsive customer service
  • BPA-free
  • Simple design and easy to use
  • Adjustable brewing time
  • A front gauge that indicates the number of coffee cups left

Cons:

  • A little hard to clean due to the complicated design
  • Can malfunction sometimes

Bottom Line

The Cuisinart DCC-3000 is a cheap coffee maker that you can add to your dorm for extra wakefulness. Although it’s a little hard to clean due to the complicated design, it does a good job and retains the taste and heat of your coffee for a considerable amount of time.

6. Keurig K-Select Coffee Maker – Best Bang for the Buck

The Keurig K-Select comes with such a dashing matte anti-fingerprint design that makes it an attractive choice just for the aesthetics. But it’s not only its looks that make it a great option, as it has plenty of great features.

It measures 11.60 x 9.20 x 12.50 inches, which isn’t the most compact. But then again, it features a 52-ounce water reservoir, so you won’t be having to refill it often. It’s even a removable one, which makes it more convenient as it’s easier to clean.

The drip tray is removable as well, allowing you to clean it easily as well as make more room for larger mugs for larger coffee portions.

Like the K-Classic and DCC-3200, the Keurig K-Select comes with filters that you can easily attach to the handle. You have to change them every two months or 60 refills.

Moreover, this coffee maker gives you the option to brew a 6, 8, 10, or 12-ounce cup. While it doesn’t reach the 14-ounce maximum found on other options, it does offer plenty of options.

There’s also a “strong” button similar to the “bold” one found on the DCC-3200, which enables you to get an extra push of wakefulness.

There are three more buttons: the auto-off that turns it off after 2 hours of the last brew, descale that tells you when it’s time to clean the unit and add water that indicates that the reservoir should be filled.

The K-Select is pretty easy to use without too many options to cause a hassle. It works with regular k-cups or a k-cup universal reusable coffee filter for ground coffee.

Pros:

  • Plenty of brew sizes
  • Auto-off feature
  • Drip tray and reservoir are dishwasher-safe

Cons:

  • Noisy operation
  • Not the most compact
  • Not the most affordable

Bottom Line

While it isn’t as compact and affordable as we’d like a dorm coffee maker to be, the K-Select is a pretty great option overall. It has a pretty massive reservoir, is easy to clean, works with non-coffee pods, and gives you ample brew-size options.

How to Pick a Coffee Maker for College Dorms

Well, if it’s shopping for a college student, it’s probably budget shopping. You’re probably not looking for something too big, convenient, and not necessarily the most durable.

But what are the factors that you should consider during the process?

Size

Since you’re living in a dorm room, I’d guess that you’re pretty tight on space, which is why you need something with a small footprint. There’s not much of a hassle as the problem with most coffee makers would be the height and not their footprint, so make sure you have enough room on your countertop without cabinets getting in the way.

You should also consider whether your coffee maker is a drip one for which you’ll need space (cool and dark) to keep your beans or a pod one for which you’ll need a storage space to keep your pods.

You should opt for the beans option if you prefer your coffee to be as fresh as can be.

Programming Features

A programmable coffee maker is an excellent choice for a college dorm as you’re likely going to forget to commence its operation. With programmable options, you’ll be able to set the machine to the time you usually like to have your cup of joe.

Moreover, programmability includes controlling the degree of control you have over the taste of your coffee, ranging from extra-mild to extra-strong.

What’s more, some machines even allow you to pick whether you want your coffee long or short, so you can control the strength of the brew.

Warranty

Even high-quality coffee makers may come with defects; that’s why you should always opt for a machine with a decent warranty to fix any issues that may arise.

Thermal Carafe and Cup Capacity

The thermal carafe that comes with your coffee maker will determine the portion you can produce at once, and it helps to have your coffee ready for brewing whenever you need it instead of having to wait every single time you make a cup.

Carafes come in different sizes and are made of either glass or stainless-steel. Although the former may look better, they’re more likely to break, and they aren’t as good at retaining heat as stainless-steel ones.

Moreover, you choose the size depending on how much coffee you want to keep around. Some carafes can accommodate cups of 1.35 ounces, and some can go all the way up to 14 ounces.

User-friendliness

For a college student living in a dorm, the last thing you want to add to your life is a hassle. That’s why you should check how user-friendly the coffee maker is. This includes whether it has self-cleaning features, how easy the brewing is, and how easy it is to adjust different settings.

Getting a coffee machine with a removable reservoir would add a lot to the maker in terms of convenience as they aren’t as messy and are easier to clean.

Final Thoughts

While it’s not easy to pick the best coffee maker for a college dorm, I’ve managed to pick out the very best possibilities on the market.

For one, if you’re looking for a mid-price option that gives you ample brewing options and plenty of convenient features, the Keurig K-Classic is a good choice.

If you’re tight on space, I’d recommend the Cuisinart DCC-3200, while if you’re tight on money, I’d recommend the DCC-3000.

Finally, if you’ve got some money to spare and you want top-notch and delicious coffee with plenty of drink options, including lattes and cappuccinos, I’d definitely recommend the Breville Nespresso Vertuo.

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