What Coffee Maker Should I Buy for My RV?
Nothing says good morning better than a hot cup of joe. Coffee is a big part of daily life for people all over the world. In the United States alone 64% drink a cup of coffee every day. And if you are traveling in an RV a good small coffee maker is essential.
When it comes to camping or full-timing in an RV or travel trailer a hot cup of coffee warms you up on cold mornings in the forest or helps you stay connected to the way you used to live.
For me, a hot cup of coffee in the morning has always been a part of my daily life, even before I was full-timing in a travel trailer. Brewing coffee in the morning helps me feel normal and I love the smell and taste of coffee in the morning.
I’m going to assume that you live in a travel trailer, van, or RV and have some way to get power in the morning. For me, I use my goal zero or my inverter generator to power my coffee maker. Because the amount of watts each of these puts out is limited I have a small coffee maker that doesn’t use more than 625 watts while brewing.
If you don’t have a way to get power, pour-over coffee makers are a great way to go. I have one as a back up that I use some mornings when my battery is empty or I don’t want to start up the generator. If you live in an RV, van, or car there are even 12-volt options for making coffee.
Now to the question. What coffee maker should I buy for my RV? It should be small for easy storage, and energy-efficient. All the coffee makers on my list can be run with a good quality 1000 watt generator or a Goal Zero Yeti 1000. In this article, I review the best drip coffee makers and K-cup or pod coffee makers for an RV, travel trailer, or van.
You don’t have to give up quality coffee just because you are in the middle of the desert or high up in the mountains. These coffee makers are a great way to bring a part of normal life into your camping or full-timing experience.
Comparison Table of Coffee Makers
Best Small Coffee Maker
Best K-Cup Coffee Maker
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RV Coffee Makers Reviews and Info
First, we have the coffee maker I use in my travel trailer. The Black+Decker 5-Cup Coffeemaker. I bought this coffee maker for a few reasons the first being it doesn’t use a ton of power while brewing and I can plug it into my Goal Zero Yeti 1000.
It uses 625 watts while brewing which is really low power compared to bigger coffee makers. If you use a generator or have a solar set up this is going to be helpful. In the warming mode, it only uses about 150 watts for a short amount of time. It just clicks on for a few seconds then turns off for about 2 minutes.
The second reason it appealed to me was the size. The small coffee maker is only 10.75 inches tall, 7.25 inches wide, and 8.2 inches deep. It fits easily in the cupboard and doesn’t take up much space in my RV kitchen when it is out.
Black+Decker has been around for years making appliances and much more, this small coffee maker of theirs is a great budget-friendly product with some nice features.
The carafe doesn’t drip when you pour and has a removable lid which makes it very easy to clean. There is a sneak a cup feature that stops the coffee from dripping out when you remove the carafe. It uses a simple on/off switch that is lighted and there is a water window with markings so you can see how much water has been poured into it.
The brew basket is removable for easy cleaning and it comes with a reusable filter, I prefer paper filters but this is a nice bonus for when the paper filter supply is getting low.
For a small budget-friendly coffee pot the Black+Decker 5-Cup Coffeemaker makes a decent cup of coffee. It comes out hot and flavorful and brews coffee fast. It has a durable high quality feel to it and has worked perfect every time even after being jostled around while the trailer is being towed. I’ve never regretted buying it for my RV.
- Brews at 625 watts
Mr. Coffee is another well-known coffee maker brand. Their small 4-Cup coffee maker is a great one to take on the road with you in your RV, travel trailer, or even a van. It measures only 10.0 inches tall, 9 inches wide, and 7.25 inches deep.
I’ve used this exact coffee maker and the thing that made it stand out was the carafe. That thing is an absolute unit of a carafe. You pull it out to pour your coffee and it just feels durable and strong. It also has a grab-a-cup feature that stops the coffee from dripping when you remove the carafe.
This small coffee maker is another one that uses very little power. It takes 650 watts at the most and brews at around 600 watts. The warming feature takes about 150 watts for a few seconds in intervals. I make sure to turn mine off right when it’s done brewing to save energy but if you let it warm for awhile it won’t use a ton of power.
There are water windows on each side of the Mr. Coffee but only the right side has water level markers. The simple on/off switch has an indicator light that shines with the coffee pot is on. The brew basket is easy to remove for cleaning and if you like reusable filters you can buy one separate for this specific coffee maker.
The Mr. Coffee 4-Cup Coffee Maker is great for Rv’s, travel trailers, tiny homes, and even vans because it is small, durable, and makes coffee quickly while using just a small amount of power.
My only critique is I don’t think the water gets quite as hot when brewing as other coffee makers so the flavor of the coffee it brews isn’t quite as robust. But the difference is minor and this is still an excellent budget-friendly small coffee pot that will be a great addition to any traveler’s kitchen.
- Uses only 650 watts
A lot of RVer’s have the Cuisinart 4-cup coffeemaker because it has a stainless steel carafe. This feature is awesome for travelers because it can’t shatter and break like glass carafes and it’s better at insulating keeping your coffee for warm longer.
Because of the stainless steel carafe, this small coffee maker is not quite as budget-friendly as the other two drip coffee makers on this list but it’s still an excellent choice. And it has the sneak-a-cup feature so you can remove the carafe while the coffee maker is brewing and it will stop releasing coffee.
Probably the best part about this coffee maker is the fact that it only uses 550 watts. This is the most power-friendly coffee maker on this list and if you have limited electricity but still want an electric coffee pot this is the best option. It also has a 30-minute automatic shut-off which can be a lifesaver if you forget to turn it off.
The super-low power usage is great for efficiency but it does take a little bit away from the flavor of the coffee. The water doesn’t get hot in the Cuisinart and you may need to add an extra scoop of grounds to make the flavor as robust as you are used to. But that’s a minor detail that doesn’t bother very many people, I’m just mentioning it to make the review as thorough as possible.
The Cuisinart is a very small coffee maker measuring only 10 inches tall, 8 inches wide, and 5.2 inches deep.
Even though it comes with a fancy stainless steel carafe this coffee pot is very simple in design. It has an on/off button on the side with a small light that turns on when the pot is on, and there are no water windows.
To measure how much water you need there are water level markings inside the water reservoir on the right side. This is slightly less convenient than having a water window but it works fine.
It comes with a coffee scoop and some paper filters so you can get brewing right away.
The Cuisinart 4-Cup Coffeemaker is a great little coffee maker for RVs, travel trailers, tiny homes, and vans. I love the stainless steel carafe which makes it extremely travel-friendly, especially if you don’t have a secure place to store it. If you have a little more to spend this is an excellent option.
- Stainless steel carafe
- Very low power usage
- Unbreakable carafe
Some of us campers and travelers prefer the single-serve capsule/pod/k-cup coffee makers. The traditional ones are large and take a ton of power but lucky for you k-cup lovers they make small pod coffee makers that don’t use a ton of power.
The CHULUX single-serve capsule coffee maker is a great little unit for not only RV’s but homes as well. This is a very popular capsule coffee maker because it only takes 2-3 minutes to brew a cup of coffee, you can use a reusable filter in it, and it’s compatible with all coffee pods, Keurig and knock-off brands included.
Unlike Keruigs that need to warm up, this coffee maker heats and starts brewing right away, and it automatically shuts off when it’s done so you won’t waste any power. It uses up to 800 watts while brewing which is higher than traditional drip brewers but much lower than other pod coffee makers.
Mug size is a factor with K-cup coffee makers and this one can take mug sizes up to 5.3 inches, which is a tall mug.
To use you pour 5 to 12 oz of water (the amount of coffee you want) into the reservoir, place the coffee capsule, close and lock the lid using the turn knob, and press the button on the side which will illuminate while the coffee maker is on.
Some people say that these kinds of coffee makers start putting out less and less water over time but that’s just a cleaning issue. All you need to do is take a paper clip and clean out the 4 water holes under the piercing needle. Then run half water half vinegar through the system and you are good to go.
Just because you are camping or live in an RV doesn’t mean you can use K-cups. The CHULUX Single Serve Capsule Coffee Maker doesn’t use a lot of power and can brew coffee very fast. It’s super small and portable and you don’t have to worry about a carafe breaking because there is none. This is a very good option for capsule coffee lovers who travel or need a coffee maker in their RV.
- Brews in 2-3 minutes
- No breakable carafe
- Can use any kind of K-cup
The Sboly single-serve K-cup coffee maker is one of the best small pod coffee makers you can buy. It’s portable but has a lot of the bells and whistles a large Keurig has.
Let’s start with the measurements it’s 11.6 inches tall, 5.4 inches wide, and 7.3 inches deep. It can brew up to 14 oz of coffee in just 3 minutes and shuts off automatically when it’s done brewing for safety and to save power.
It uses 900 watts the most watts of any coffee maker on this list, but it shouldn’t be a problem if you have a good generator or solar set up.
The fancy features of this small pod coffee maker are subtle but useful. The water reservoir has steps in it at 6, 8, 10, and 14 oz. So you can fill it with the tap and know exactly how much coffee it’s going to brew.
It also comes with a reusable ground coffee filter so you can brew coffee the normal way as well, nothing new but this coffee maker has a separate button for when you are using the grounds filter, which is normally only found on larger capsule brewers or not at all.
So there are two buttons, one for k-cups and one for the reusable filter. The button you choose will light up to show the coffee maker is on. To clean you press both buttons at once and a cleaning cycle will start.
This pod coffee maker is compatible with k-cups and the knock-off brands as well, making it cheaper and easier to use than a Keurig.
The Sboly Single-Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker is a great higher-end choice for the RV, camper, and even a van. It’s very portable and there’s no carafe you have to worry about breaking. It does use more power than a drip coffee maker but it makes a cup faster. What it comes down to is what your favorite kind of brewer is. If you like pod coffee, then this is one of the best options out there.
- Brews in 3 minutes
- Separate button for a reusable filter
- Can use any kind of K-cup
- Cleaning cycle
My Recommendation for Best Small RV Coffee Maker
I have to recommend the Black+Decker 5-Cup coffeemaker. It’s the most budget-friendly and in my opinion makes the best cup of coffee compared to the other two.
Sure the carafe is made of glass and can break if not stowed away properly but if you find a good cupboard for it you will be fine. Mine has survived many a trip down bumpy and washboardy roads with no cracks or issues.
I like that it makes 5 cups instead of just 4 while still being very small. And the power usage is small compared to large coffee makers making it perfect for camping. It’s a simple machine but it gets the job done. And the markings on the water window match the markings on the carafe perfectly, which isn’t something that always happens.
This is the best small coffee maker for camping, an RV, camper, tiny home, or van.
My Recommendation for Best RV K-Cup Coffee Maker
If I was into K-cups this would be the coffee maker I would buy whether I lived in an RV or not. It’s small in size but has some excellent features the CHOLUX just didn’t have.
It uses more power than drip coffee makers but those who love capsule coffee should still be able to use a K-cup coffee maker even in their RV, camper, or van. It makes a fantastic cup of coffee fast and hot, just the way it should be.
This is the best K-Cup coffee maker for camping, an Rv, travel trailer, tiny home, or van.
What to Consider
Unless you can plug into a 30 or 50 Amp power grid everywhere you go using your great big grind and brew coffee maker isn’t going to be a very good option. For those of you who are weekend warriors and just need a small coffee maker that will run off a generator while camping a coffee maker that uses only 600 watts is going to be invaluable.
So before you go out and buy a coffee maker for your RV, think about what kind of power source you will have and research how much power the coffee maker will use. You don’t want to wake up in the woods, start up your generator just to have it shut off on you because the power load was too much.
Campers and RV’s are infamous for their limited storage space and the kitchen cabinets can be even more limiting. They are often shallow and short. You could store your coffee maker on the counter if you have a little room for it but then it’s even more important to get a small coffee maker that will be out of the way.
The best thing to do would be to decide where the coffee maker will go in your RV before you buy it. Measure the space, then make sure the coffee maker doesn’t measure greater than the cupboard or will fit under the cabinet. If you don’t have an RV yet any one of these coffee makers on this list should fit somewhere as they are some of the smallest electric coffee makers you can buy.
Some of us are drip coffee lovers others are into K-Cups and some like the pour-over style of coffee maker. If you are thinking about what style of coffee maker to put in your RV or travel trailer you need to know what kind of power source you will have. Sometimes power just isn’t available, and while I love being able to use my drip coffee maker while camping, I have a pour-over single-cup coffee maker and a kettle to boil water in for those days when I just don’t have any power.
Number Of Cups
When you buy a small coffee maker it’s not going to be able to brew as much coffee as a large coffee maker. The 4 and 5 cup coffee makers are perfect for 2 people and the K-Cup coffee makers make a single serving no matter what. If you have friends or family visiting or camping with you it might be necessary to brew coffee a few times. Make sure you have enough power for it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which small coffee maker makes the hottest coffee?
The Black+Decker 5-Cup Coffeemaker makes the hottest coffee overall. The Sboly Single-Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker makes the hottest coffee of the K-cup coffee makers but it still isn’t quite as hot as the Black+Decker.
Will a coffee maker start a fire?
Fire and RV’s don’t mix. When they go they really go and you don’t want an unsafe appliance putting you or your RV at risk. Fires can start from faulty wiring, a broken thermostat or just being unlucky and leaving your coffee maker on for way too long. Make sure you buy a good brand like the ones on this list, and when you are done using your coffee maker unplug it.
Will a coffee maker purify water?
You might think that because coffee makers get water hot that it cleans or purify the water somehow. The truth is that they do not purify water in any way. Make sure you always use the kind of water you would drink normally in a coffee maker, dirty or bad water will likely cause damage to your coffee maker anyhow or make it unsanitary.
Can a coffee maker make tea?
Some capsule or pod coffee makers have a teacup you can buy to make tea but a regular coffee maker won’t be great for tea. If you place tea in the filter basket and even use a paper filter it will come out very weak and pretty much just warm water.
Can a coffee maker make hot chocolate?
Ok so I tried this one when I was little and trust me, it does not. I put the hot chocolate powder in the grounds basket which then started it up. The powder immediately clogged up the basket and there was coco water overflowing within minutes. The mess was large and the coffee machine was very hard to clean, especially for a child.
If you use a coffee maker to make hot cocoa use it to make warm water, put the warm water into your mug, and then add the hot chocolate powder. This will save you much heartache, trust me.
Can a coffee maker get moldy?
Yes, it absolutely can. Regular cleaning is recommended with any kind of coffee maker. Warm water is perfect for mold and bacteria to grow in and that’s what your coffee maker makes. I always open the lid and let it air out after use as well. For detailed instructions on cleaning a coffee maker check out this article here.
Coffee can grow mold as well. I remember coming back from a trip and finding that my carafe had a little bit of coffee left in it and it was covered in mold. Make sure you empty and clean the carafe after use.