Best Under Cabinet Coffee Maker

Quick Answer: The Best Under Cabinet Coffee Maker is the Bonavita 5-Cup.

This is my roundup of the best under-cabinet coffee makers.

I have owned two of the machines in this list – the Keurig K Mini Plus and the Nespresso Essenza Mini.

While I do not have limited countertop clearance space myself, I do have small kitchen cabinets under my counter which are stuffed with waayyy too many pots and pans. 

I, therefore, think I have some idea of the type of problem that you might be facing if searching for an under-cabinet coffee maker – I am comparing it to my experiences trying to fit things in my small cabinets (vertical space is as much a limiting factor as area).

I also spent a whole day researching compact coffee machines online and I thought about whether I could fit each coffee machine in my crowded cabinet while putting together this article.

Let’s get started.

Top Picks

Best Overall: Bonavita 5-Cup

Cheapest I Can Comfortably Recommend: Mr. Coffee 5-Cup

Best for K Cups: Keurig K Mini Plus

Best for Super Tight Spaces: Nespresso Essenza Mini

Please note that there are no “true” under-cabinet coffee makers anymore. They have been discontinued entirely (I’ll explain this in a bit more detail later). 

You might be able to get one second-hand on eBay or something but that’s about it. 

To reiterate, the best under-cabinet coffee maker is the Bonavita 5-Cup.

Bonavita 5-Cup

Best Overall

The Bonavita 5-Cup makes the best coffee of all relatively affordable compact drip coffee makers.

What Qualifies as an “Under Cabinet Coffee Maker”?

An under-cabinet coffee maker used to be a very specific thing – namely a coffee maker that was literally built into the underside of your cabinet. 

They are more often found in RVs than regular houses and are also known as “mountable coffee makers” (I’ll be referring to them as such throughout this article).

I could not find anywhere online that consistently sold mountable coffee makers. Black and Decker appear to be their main manufacturer, but even these seem to have been discontinued.

I’m therefore going to ditch this outdated meaning of “under cabinet coffee maker”.

My interpretation of an under-cabinet coffee maker is something that:

  • Is under 13 inches tall
  • Has a footprint of under 100 square inches
  • Can make coffee (obviously)

Coffee machines that fulfil these criteria should be able to:

  • fit comfortably in kitchens with limited clearance between your countertop and your cabinets
  • fit in any under-counter cabinet, even if they are already stuffed full of pots and pans.

Best Overall: Bonavita 5 Cup

Bonavita 5-Cup

Best Overall

The Bonavita 5-Cup makes the best coffee of all relatively affordable compact drip coffee makers.

Quality of Coffee

The Bonavita 5 Cup makes excellent coffee that can rival any drip coffee maker, regardless of price.

The Bonavita 5 Cup is Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) certified, meaning that it meets the build quality criteria needed to make the best possible drip coffee.

In other words, you will not find a machine that makes significantly better coffee than the Bonavita 5 Cup.

This finding is backed up by a study done by America’s Test Kitchen which found that the Bonavita 5 Cup made the second-best coffee out of seven premium coffee makers (watch the whole video here).

In short, the Bonavita 5 Cup makes excellent coffee.

Quality of Coffee Rating: 9/10

Design and Build Quality

The Bonavita 5 Cup has good, but not great build quality. While its brewing system is excellent, it does not seem to be a machine that is built to last for more than a few years.

The Bonavita 5 Cup has a good-quality heating and brewing mechanism. This is shown through its SCAA certification. 

The SCAA will not certify any machine with a poor quality brewer (one that does not brew at a consistent temperature, for example).

Its external build quality is quite poor, however, with a lot of plastic being used in the machine’s brewing chamber and water tank.

While the machine is not flimsy, I am not filled with confidence that it will perform at its fullest potential after years and years of use. This is a sentiment that I found regularly on Reddit (example here).

Design and Build Quality Rating: 6/10

Value For Money

The Bonavita 5 Cup is a high-end machine at a mid-range price. It, therefore, offers excellent value for money.

The Bonavita 5 Cup is one of the cheapest SCAA-certified coffee makers on the market.

For this reason alone, I think it offers excellent value for money. 

While Bonavita has cut some corners with the external build quality, this is reflected in its much lower price compared to other SCAA-certified coffee makers.

Value for Money Rating: 8/10

Breville Bambino Pros

Works well with pre-ground and freshly ground coffee.

You can make a wide variety of milk textures with its steam wand.

You can make an espresso within three seconds of turning it on.

It is quieter than most machines.

Breville Bambino Cons

Its steam wand does have a small learning curve.

You cannot open up the machine and modify it.

Cheapest I Can Still Recommend: Mr. Coffee 5-Cup

Mr. Coffee 5-Cup

Cheapest I Can Still Recommend

The Mr. Coffee 5-Cup is small, cheap and durable. It is the perfect no-frills coffee maker for under your cabinets.

Quality of Coffee

The Mr Coffee 5-Cup makes mediocre coffee. This is reflected in its price tag, however.

The Mr Coffee 5-Cup is not SCAA-certified. 

The main reason for this lack of certification is that it brews with water that is under the ideal brewing temperature for coffee of 195-205 Fahrenheit.

The machine reaches this ideal temperature eventually, but this only happens at the end of the brewing process. Your brewing water is below this ideal temperature for the majority of the brewing process.

This results in bland, watery coffee.

Let’s put things into perspective. 

The Mr. Coffee 5 Cup does not make terrible coffee, it just makes mediocre coffee.

I’d still probably take a coffee made with this machine than K cup coffee.

Quality of Coffee Rating: 6/10

Design and Build Quality

The Mr Coffee is a very simply built machine. While this puts limits on its coffee quality, it means that it will last a very long time.

The Mr. Coffee is kind of the opposite of the Bonavita 5 Cup in that while it does not have a sophisticated brewing mechanism, it is built to last and should deliver a consistent quality of coffee years and years after you start using it.

Testament to this is the fact that Mr. Coffee coffee makers are often discussed in the “Buy It For Life” subreddit which is dedicated to durable products that provide excellent value by virtue of their long lifespans.

You can find an example of a Mr. Coffee coffee maker being discussed in this subreddit here.

As far as I know Mr. Coffee has not changed their machine’s fundamental design in years so new models should be similarly as durable as the “classic” models discussed so commonly on this subreddit.

One disadvantage of the machine’s design is that it has a glass carafe. 

If the machine is jostled about in your cabinets and the glass carafe rolls off the machine’s hot plate then it can shatter in your cabinets. 

This could, of course, be a massive pain to clean up.

Design and Build Quality Rating: 7/10

Value For Money

The Mr. Coffee 5 Cup offers excellent value for money if you are not too fussed about coffee quality.

The Mr. Coffee 5 Cup is very cheap for a drip coffee maker.

While the machine would probably be described as “cheap and nasty” by coffee snobs, if you just want an average quality coffee then this machine can represent incredible value for money.

This is in no small part to its great durability and long lifespan.

Value For Money Rating: 8/10

Mr. Coffee 5-Cup Pros

The machine is very durable, and should still work well decades into your ownership of it.

It can make a relatively large serving of coffee (25 oz max) in one go which is a lot considering the machine’s small size.

The machine is easily the cheapest featured in this article.

Mr. Coffee 5-Cup Cons

It makes quite bland coffee due to its less-than-stellar heating mechanism.

It has a glass carafe which can roll out the machine and smash.

Best for K Cups: Keurig K Mini Plus

Keurig K Mini Plus

Best for K-Cups

The Keurig K Mini Plus is the best compact K-cup coffee maker. Its slim design means it takes up very little space on a crowded countertop.

Quality of Coffee

The Keurig K Mini Plus makes good coffee by K cup standards. I think that its coffee is similar, if not slightly worse, than the Mr Coffee 5 Cup.

The Keurig K Mini Plus brews with single-serve pods (K cups).

I find that K-cup coffee is inferior to drip coffee with loose grounds, even when the loose-ground drip coffee is made with a low-quality brewer.

This is because K cups do not hold enough ground coffee within them to create a rich drink.

The Keurig K Mini Plus makes good coffee by Keurig machine standards largely due to its presence of a “strong button”.

This strong button lengthens the machine’s brewing time, resulting in better coffee than Keurig machines that do not have this button (the Keurig K Mini, for example).

Quality of Coffee Rating: 5/10 (8/10 by K cup standards)

Design and Build Quality

The Keurig K Mini Plus is very compact and has decent build quality. It should last you a while so long as you descale it regularly.

The Keurig K Mini Plus is very slim, meaning that it’s a good machine for a crowded countertop.

The machine has ok build quality but will break if it suffers a hard fall. 

It has a few flimsy components, its lid in particular suffers from this problem and will likely be the first of the machine’s parts to break.

I found a lot of complaints online about the machine’s water pump failing after a few months and the machine not dispensing enough coffee as a consequence of this.

I think a lot of these people just need to descale their machine to fix this problem. 

The Keurig K Mini Plus clearly has very thin pipes that scale up easily so it requires regular descaling (every two months or so).

I think that if you descale regularly, the Mini Plus should last you a few years at least.

Design and Build Quality Rating: 7/10

Value For Money

The Keurig K Mini Plus is a bit overpriced, in my opinion.

Keurig machines make similar quality coffee to cheap drip coffee makers but cost way more than such machines.

I do not think that Keurig machines offer great value for money, and the Mini Plus is no exception.

There are some specific advantages to having a Keurig machine, specifically the fact that it gives you access to lots of different K cups to try.

If you specifically want this then the Keurig K Mini offers decent value (by K cup machine standards).

Value for Money: 4/10 (7/10 by K cup machine standards)

Keurig K Mini Plus Pros

It allows you to brew with all the different K cups on the market.

It is very slim with a tiny footprint – great for crowded countertops.

It has a “strong” mode which improves the quality of coffee.

Keurig K Mini Plus Cons

K-cup coffee tends to be worse than drip coffee.

It does not offer great value for money compared to other drip coffee makers.

Best for Super Tight Spaces: Nespresso Essenza Mini

Nespresso Essenza Mini

Best for Super Tight Spaces

The Nespresso Essenza Mini is the smallest coffee maker that can still make a decent cup of coffee.

Coffee Quality

The Nespresso Essenza Mini makes a good espresso and you can make a decent long coffee with it by adding boiling water to your espresso.

The Nespresso Essenza Mini makes espresso-style coffee only. 

It’s therefore not that easy to compare it to other drip coffee machines.

The espresso that it makes is decent, but not a patch on espresso made with a high-quality “real” espresso machine.

You can still make a good long coffee with the Nespresso Essenza Mini by topping up one of its espressos with boiling water. 

This makes a better long coffee than you could make with the Keurig K Mini Plus or Mr Coffee 5 Cup, but not as good as you can make with the Bonavita 5 Cup.

Quality of Coffee: 7/10

Design and Build Quality

The Nespresso Essenza Mini is a well-built machine that should last you years.

The Nespresso Essenza Mini is absolutely tiny. I read the machine’s specs before I bought it but did not realise how small it was until I got my hands on it.

I cannot see you struggling for space to accommodate this machine no matter how little countertop/cabinet space you have.

Despite its tiny size, the machine still feels very durable. I could find very few complaints about this machine breaking down online, which leads me to believe that the machine should last you many years.

Nespresso is known for its high level of internal build quality and for its machines rarely succumb to technical issues. This reliability is reflected in its machine’s prices, however, and the Essenza Mini is no exception.

Design and Build Quality Rating: 9/10

Value For Money

The Nespresso Essenza Mini does not offer great value for money. You have to pay a premium for Nespresso’s super-reliable brewing system.

The Nespresso Essenza Mini is the most expensive machine on this list. I do not think that it is the best machine on this list, so in that sense, it does not offer great value for money.

This poor value for money is exacerbated by the cost of Nespresso pods. This means that the operational cost of the machine is higher than with drip coffee machines.

Value for Money Rating: 3/10

Breville Bambino Pros

Makes better long coffee than a cheap drip coffee maker. Just add boiling water to your espresso.

Nespresso machines are very reliable and seldom break down.

The machine is absolutely tiny.

Breville Bambino Cons

Still does not make great espresso in the grand scheme of things.

Nespresso pods are expensive meaning that the operating cost of the machine is high.

What Should I Ask Myself When Buying an Under Cabinet Coffee Maker?

Here are the questions that you should ask yourself when shopping around for an under-cabinet coffee maker.

What are The Product Dimensions?

You want your coffee maker to be under 13 inches tall and have a footprint of less than 100 square inches to ensure that it will be easy to fit on your counter or in your cabinet.

From what I have found online (read: about 10 mins of Googling), older homes in the US were often designed with 19 inches of clearance space between the countertop and any overhead cabinets.

As taller appliances became popular, people started wanting more countertop clearance, so a typical kitchen in a newer American home has around 24 inches of countertop clearance.

In my (not) expert opinion you need to have around 5 inches of vertical clearance above a coffee machine for it to be easy to use.

This obviously varies from machine to machine, but I think 5 inches of clearance should make it easy to use all designs of coffee makers.

The amount of space inside kitchen cabinets can vary so much from home to home, but I think a 100-square-inch footprint means that your machine will be reasonably (at least) compact and should be suitable for storing in almost any kitchen cabinet.

The table below shows the dimensions of all the machines listed in this article:

Machine NameHeight (inches)Footprint (square inches)
Bonavita 8 Cup10.6 inches76.26 square inches
Mr Coffee 5 Cup10.7 inches72.27 square inches
Keurig K Mini Plus12.1 inches50.85 inches
Nespresso Essenza Mini8.1 inches55 square inches

Does it Have Any Glass or Other Easily Breakable Elements?

You want a machine to ideally have no glass or other easily breakable elements if you are going to store it in your cabinet. This is less of a problem if you are storing your coffee maker or your counter (under your cabinets).

One problem with storing coffee makers in the cabinet under your counter is that they often have glass elements, like carafes, that can break.

This means that if stuff jostles around as you try to cram one more pot into your cabinets, then you have the risk of something smashing and it is a massive pain to clean up and replace.

You, therefore, want a machine with no glass or easily breakable elements, especially if you plan on storing it in your cabinet.

If you plan on storing your coffee machine on top of your counter then this is less important.

The table below shows whether the machines listed in this article have any glass or breakable elements:

Machine NameDoes it have any glass or easily breakable elements?
Bonavita 8 CupNo
Mr Coffee 5 CupYes – it has a glass carafe (quite hard to shatter though)
Keurig K Mini PlusNo
Nespresso Essenza MiniNo

What Type of Coffee Do You Want to Make?

The machines listed in this article all make slightly different types of coffee. Pick a machine that makes the type of coffee that you want.

I have basically just found the best machines that are compact enough to be practical for someone with limited countertop clearance or who want to keep their coffee maker in a cabinet.

I intentionally picked machines that made different types of, and quality of, coffee, so you can choose one that matches your needs.

Buying a machine that has coffee types that you will probably never drink is a surefire way of wasting money (this is how they get you).

The table below shows the types of coffee that the machines featured in this article offer:

Machine NameWhat type of coffee does it offer?
Bonavita 5 CupDrip coffee
Mr Coffee 5 CupDrip coffee
Keurig K Mini PlusDrip coffee from K Cup (worse than drip coffee, in my opinion
Nespresso Essenza MiniEspresso style coffee

How Many Serving Sizes Do You Want to Make in One Go?

Different machines vary a lot in the quantity of coffee that they can make in one go. 

Choose a machine that meets your needs but beware that machines which can make more coffee in one go will usually be larger in size.

The table below shows the maximum serving size that each machine listed in this article: 

Machine NameMaximum serving sizes
Bonavita 5 Cup5 cups (25 oz)
Mr Coffee 5 Cup5 cups (25 oz)
Keurig K Mini PlusSingle-serve only 
Nespresso Essenza MiniSingle-serve only

Does it Brew at The Ideal Brewing Temperature of 195-205 Fahrenheit?

Machines that brew at the ideal brewing temperature make far better coffee than ones that do not. Machines that do this are also quite a bit more expensive than ones that do not.

The main difference between how good a cup of coffee a machine can make is whether it brews at the ideal brewing temperature for coffee (195-205 Fahrenheit) throughout the entire brewing process.

While almost all machines hit this temperature at the end of brewing, not many start brewing at this ideal temperature. 

This means that with inferior machines your coffee is being brewed at below its ideal brewing temperature. This results in bland, watery coffee.

The table below shows whether the coffee makers featured in this article brew consistently at your coffee’s ideal brewing temperature:

Machine NameDoes it brew consistently at coffee’s ideal brewing temperature?
Bonavita 5 CupYes
Mr Coffee 5 CupNo
Keurig K Mini PlusNo
Nespresso Essenza MiniYes

Final Verdict

The best under-cabinet coffee maker is the Bonavita 5-Cup.

Bonavita 5-Cup

Best Overall

The Bonavita 5-Cup makes the best coffee of all relatively affordable compact drip coffee makers.

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