Which is the Best Keurig Machine? These K-cup model reviews reveal all…
Ok, we like you, so we’re not going to lie to your face (or screen): we’re not big fans of Keurig models. Like most coffee connoisseurs and enthusiasts, we much prefer being in control of the coffee brewing process, rather than relying on pre-packaged K-Cups.
If you can kind of see what we mean but don’t think you’re ready for a manual pour-over, we believe that a drip coffee maker or an espresso machine would be a better choice than single-serve coffee makers. But don’t worry: we’re still going to help you find the best Keurig coffee maker for you, of course!
The Keurig K-Elite
Out of all the K-cup machines; this one is your best option
• 5 different cup sizes, iced coffee and strength control
• Temperature control and altitude settings
• Programmable features
A little premise – Why you won’t find Keurigs in coffee shops
While Keurig is undoubtedly a popular and innovative company given that they launched their signature K-Cups back in 1998 and 22% of US homes use their machines (1), you surely wouldn’t find them in coffee shops, nor is any coffee connoisseur going to recommend them to you.
This is because single-serve coffee makers don’t allow you any control over the brewing process, other than picking a capsule flavor and pressing a few buttons.
We like to roast our coffee, grind it or, for those of us who don’t want to invest in all that, at least use coffee brewing methods that let you choose the grounds quantity and brewing time, such as a manual pour over, a French press, an espresso machine or an automatic dripper, for example (2).
“If you buy good coffee and want to prepare it well, you have to choose a method that lets you express your dedication, skill, and enthusiasm.”
K-Cups are certainly quick and practical, but… cost-wise? You’ll end up spending more than buying ground coffee. John Sylvan himself (Keurig founder) admitted to not brewing coffee with his own invention as “they’re kind of expensive to use”. (3)
But the real cost of the K-Cup is its environmental impact, which is why he also admitted that “I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it” (3). Made of different types of plastic and foil that make it hard to separate and recycle, K-Cups are bad for the environment as they stick around in landfills for centuries. (4)
“Keurig produced 9.8 billion non-biodegradable K-Cups in 2015, each taking up to 500 years to break down. Put end-to-end, they’d circle the globe around 10.5 times!”
That’s also why we’ll always recommend brewing methods that let you use grounds instead of stale coffee that’s been sitting in single-use plastic capsules for ages (which, in turn, will be sitting in landfills for ages).
If the reason why you’re looking at Keurig machines and single-serve coffee makers in general is that you value speed and practicality above anything else, you could look at the other options in our list of the best single serve coffee makers here.
How to choose the best Keurig machine
If the prospect of pushing a button and being guaranteed consistency sounds better than what we’ve just said, we don’t take any offense. There are so many different Keurig models to choose from, so we’ll try and help you anyway (still friends, right?). Here are some things you should know and consider in order to find the best Keurig coffee maker for you.
Wait, K-Cups aren’t just generic coffee capsules?
Given the incredible popularity of their unique coffee capsules, Keurig’s K-Cups are often used as a generic synonym. Spoiler alert: they’re not! If you are looking to buy a Keurig machine thinking that you’ll be able to use that Nespresso stock of plastic coffee capsules that you’ve got in your cupboard, you’d be in for a nasty surprise, so we thought we’d warn you:
K-Cups don’t work for other capsule or pod-based coffee makers, and vice versa.
Luckily, Keurig is amongst the companies that introduced reusable alternatives (5). Once you’ve found the best Keurig coffee maker for you, we strongly recommend that you also get a My K-Cup Universal Reusable Filter instead of relying on single-use plastic capsules. Cheap, practical and designed to work with any Keurig model, this small coffee filter allows you to reduce the environmental footprint of your Keurig coffee maker and experiment with your own grounds. It’s a win-win!
Common Keurig features
At the time of writing this article, all Keurig coffee machines have a few common features. They can give you a cup of coffee in a minute or less, have a removable drip tray (which is not only a blessing when it comes to cleaning it, but it also means that you can fit a travel mug as well as a coffee cup), have a removable reservoir and, while the time might vary depending on the model, they all have an auto-off feature to save you electricity.
Now that you know the features that you’ll get with any Keurig model, think of what other options you need. It could be that that’s about it (so a cheaper, basic model will be the best Keurig model for you) or you might want to be able to control the strength of your coffee, set a timer so that your coffee maker wakes up before you do, or set different brew sizes.
Different models offer different features, and we’ve outlined them for you in our Keurig coffee maker reviews below.
Just black coffee or more?
What you’ll get with a basic Keurig machine is a cup of drip coffee. Some models, however, are more versatile: they allow you to froth milk, make tea, iced tea, iced coffee or even a jug of drip coffee. So, before investing money in something more expensive, think of what you actually expect from your new coffee brewer.
The models in the current Keurig assortment vary in size considerably. While most machines are a standard drip coffee maker size and would work on any countertop, some of them can get pretty big, especially if they have extra frothing/drip features. On the contrary, some are particularly small and portable. We’ve included the size of each model to make things easier for you.
Keurig comparison: the 6 Best Keurig Machines of 2020
Now that you know what you must consider, read our Keurig Coffee Maker reviews to find the best K-Cup coffee maker for you.
Available in black or red, this is an iconic classic and one of the best one cup coffee makers. We think that this single cup coffee machine is great value for money and matches the quality of some more expensive Keurig models. If you are looking for a simple, intuitive machine without too many options or flashy displays, the K55 Classic Coffee Maker might be what you are looking for.
You can brew your usual cup of joe, but also other hot (or even cold!) beverages, so you definitely won’t get bored. Thanks to the minimalistic interface consisting of a few old-style buttons, you can also choose between 3 different brew sizes. The removable 48-ounce reservoir means that you can have a 6 oz cup of coffee every day for a week without having to refill it. It’s also very easy to clean and descale.
If you simply want a consistent cup of coffee without having to invest too much, this practical one cup coffee maker is the best Keurig machine for you. If you think you’re likely to take this with you, might also consider the K-15, which is a smaller and more portable package with similar functionality. But if you are still torn between this Keurig model and its predecessor, you can read our detailed K50 vs K55 comparison here.
You don’t want your coffee brewer to take up too much room in your kitchen? Perhaps you’d like to be able to take it with you when you go on holiday? Then we think you’re gonna love the K-Mini Plus! Taking it with you is even easier thanks to the cord storage and the included pod storage unit that contains up to 9 K-Cups.
This is the slimmest Keurig and, thanks to its sleek design and five colors, we have no doubt it will fit and look great on your countertop.
You can brew 6-12 oz worth of coffee and choose to brew it stronger should you have one of those I-desperately-need-a-caffeine-fix days.
If you’d rather have a simple but compact and portable coffee maker rather than a larger one with many functions, the K-Mini Plus Single Serve coffee maker is the best Keurig machine for you. Why not check out other portable travel coffee makers (see this list) that don’t even need to be plugged in order to give you a fresh brew?
There’s a lot that we like about the K-Elite. Its 3 different premium brush looks make it the most elegant and stylish of all Keurig coffee machines, whilst the 75-ounce water tank means it’s perfect for large households (or for those who don’t want to have to fill it up any other day). What strike us the most, however, are its functionalities and quality.
You can brew 5 different cup sizes and, if you prefer, choose the strong brew option. Or how about a nice full-flavored cup of iced coffee? Yep, you can get that too with the ICED option, while the HOT WATER button makes this coffee maker ideal when it comes to brewing a cup of tea or even adding water to instant soups or oatmeal. Thanks to the brew temperature control (very rare when it comes to Keurig models!) you can adjust it between 187 and 192°F and even tweak the altitude settings to ensure the best results!
Thanks to its programmable features, you can set the time it turns on in the morning (aka you won’t have to wait for your morning cup of joe!) and how long it shuts off after your last brew, saving you energy. The Quiet Brew Technology minimizes the machine noise and the maintenance reminder lets you know when it’s time to descale your coffee maker.
If you can give up a couple of the K-Elite’s features (in particular the Iced button and temperature control), the K-Select will save you 10 or 15 percent over the K-Elite. But if you want the best that Keurig can offer, look no further than this single serve programmable model. Read our full review of the K-elite here.
It’s hard to get the whole office to agree on something, especially when it comes to important matters such as coffee and drinks, but we think the Keurig K155 Office Pro might just do the trick.
It lets you choose between coffee and other types of hot and cold beverages, as well as 4 different brew sizes, while the 90-ounce water tank means that you won’t have to refill it multiple times when making coffee for everyone.
We particularly like the intuitive and interactive LCD display: this full-color touchscreen lets you choose features such as brew temperature control and language (English, Spanish or French). You can also set a clock and, if you want your brewer to follow your 9-to-5 lifestyle, the automatic on/off feature.
Like the name itself suggests, this is the best Keurig model for the office: just knowing that this brewer will be waiting for you at work should certainly help with the old Monday blues.
5. Keurig K-Cafe Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee, Latte and Cappuccino Maker – large and versatile
Brews: coffee (black or concentrated shot), tea, hot cocoa, iced beverages, with frother for lattes or cappuccinos
- Strong brew option: yes
- Cup sizes: 4, 6, 8, or 10 oz
- Removable water reservoir: 60 oz
- Dimensions: 12.5”H x 15.3”W x 11.7”D
You like black coffee, but you also can’t resist the foamy or frothy magic of other coffee-based drinks? Then bring some coffee house vibes into your kitchen with this all-in-one coffee maker.
This large Keurig machine comes with a dishwasher-safe frother that you can use for milk as well as dairy-free alternatives. Just press the SHOT button (that will give you an espresso-style shot) and froth up your milk to obtain a latte or a cappuccino.
You can obviously still enjoy Keurig’s classic black coffee, choosing between 4 different cup sizes and the option of making your coffee stronger thanks to the strength control.
The K-Café has a smart start option too, which means you can choose the brew size before waiting for the machine to heat up (and then it will automatically brew it as soon as it’s ready). This model has a large 60 oz water tank and a useful descaling reminder. Read our full review of the K-Café here.
If you like the look of it but would rather make it even more stylish, you can check out the K-Café Special Edition, which comes with a premium nickel colored finish and a metal handle and drip tray.
If you want to experiment with milky coffees and are still on the fence, we recommend looking at these Ninja coffee makers, too.
6. K-Duo Plus – Best Keurig for Drip Coffee
The newest model
Brews: coffee, tea, hot cocoa, drip coffee (with ground coffee)
- Strong brew option: yes
- Cup sizes: 6, 8, 10 or 12 oz (carafe: 6, 8, 10 or 12 cups)
- Removable water reservoir: 62oz
- Dimensions: 14.19”H x 8.2”W x 11.7”D (reservoir on the side) or 14.19”H x 7.68”W x 15.88”D (reservoir on the back)
Do you like both K-Cups and large pots of joe? Do you also happen to enjoy waking up with the smell of coffee, by any chance? Then check out the newest Keurig model: the K-Duo Plus.
This coffee maker lets you choose between K-Cups and large carafes of black coffee that you can brew using your own ground coffee.
The 12-cup thermal carafe keeps it warm for 2 hours, while the 20-second Pause & Pour feature means that you won’t have to wait until the whole carafe has been filled before you can enjoy your first cup of coffee of the day.
The K-Duo Plus has an intuitive, user-friendly interface that includes a button for strength control and lets you program your coffee up to 24h in advance. You’ll also notice 4 buttons with the numbers 6, 8, 10 and 12: they refer to the number of cups if you’re brewing drip coffee or the brew size of the single cup (in ounces) if you are using K-Cups. Nice and easy!
Another fantastic feature of this model is the 62 oz multi-position water reservoir, that can be placed on the left, right or back of the main body, meaning that you definitely won’t struggle to fit the whole thing on your countertop.
So… who doesn’t like a large pot of joe? If you’re interested in this model, you might want to consider dropping the K-Cup element and go straight for a drip coffee maker. If you’re curious but don’t know where to start, you can check out our list of SCAA approved drippers.
After making this Keurig comparison and experimenting with the different models from their current range, we think that their best K-cup coffee maker is the K-Elite: this single-serve programmable coffee maker lets you customize your brew much more than other Keurig machines thanks to features such as temperature control (plus, it’s incredibly stylish!).
We still think that if you value speed and practicality, drip coffee makers are better options than the best K-Cup coffee maker, as they allow you to choose the grounds quantity (and remember that buying ground coffee is cheaper than capsules!) and have a smaller environmental footprint (6). Either way, we hope you’ve found our Keurig coffee maker reviews helpful and… best of luck with your choice!
No, K-Cups and coffee pods are not the same. K-Cups are plastic coffee capsules sold by Keurig and only compatible with their coffee makers. Coffee pods (also known as pads) are biodegradable paper filters usually containing around 7 g of coffee grounds.
There are more than 400 flavors and varieties of K-Cups sold by Keurig.
No, you can’t make espresso in a Keurig because their machines don’t brew under pressure. While it’s far from being a true espresso, however, you can get a concentrated coffee shot from the Keurig K-Café, to be used as a base to make lattes or cappuccinos.
K-Cups could be bad for you in the long run. This is because they use aluminum (linked to Alzheimer’s, mental illness and autoimmune disease) and plastic. While their plastic is BPA-free, when it’s heated up it can release particles in the coffee, and K-Cups resulted positive for estrogenic activity, as well as containing polystyrene, a possible carcinogen.
Yes, the Keurig K575 is discontinued. The closest model is now the Keurig K-Elite.
The warranty on Keurig coffee makers is one year from the date of purchase.
Yes, you need to descale your Keurig machine in order to avoid calcium and scale buildup and prolong the life of your coffee maker. While the frequency depends on the level of mineral content in the water that you use, you should remember to descale it every 3 to 6 months. Some models remind you automatically.
- Maloney, J & Maidenberg M. (2019, February 28). Keurig Dr Pepper Says Sales of Its Coffee Brewers Fell. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/keurig-dr-pepper-says-coffee-brewer-sales-volume-fell-11551364971
- Freeman, J. (n.d.). Pro-Tips: Coffee Maker vs Pour Over. Retrieved from https://blog.bluebottlecoffee.com/posts/coffee-maker-vs-pour-over
- Hamblin, J. (2015, March 2). A Brewing Problem. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/03/the-abominable-K-Cup-coffee-pod-environment-problem/386501/
- (n.d.). K-Cups: How environmentally unfriendly are they?. Retrieved from https://www.cartacoffee.com/blogs/island-blog/K-Cups-how-environmentally-unfriendly-are-they
- Miller, P. (2019, March 28). The problem with coffee pods and the eco-friendly alternatives to use instead. Retrieved From https://inhabitat.com/the-problem-with-coffee-pods-and-the-eco-friendly-alternatives-to-use-instead/
- (2016, March 7). This German City Is The First To Ban Those Wasteful Coffee Pods. Retrieved From https://www.fastcompany.com/3057342/this-german-city-is-the-first-to-ban-those-wasteful-coffee-pods