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Keurig K50 vs K55: A Review and Comparison

Keurig has many single serve coffee makers to choose from, some of which include extra features such as milk frothing or carafes of drip coffee. If you’re torn between the K50 and K55, though, it’s pretty safe to assume that you’re not interested in any of those: you just want a quick cup of coffee with little to no customization, right? Gotcha.

Keep reading our Keurig K50 vs K55 comparison if you feel like you’ve been going insane, looking at these two brewers and thinking “Is there even any difference between the two?”. You’re not alone: these entry-level model Keurig machines are pretty much non-identical twins, but we promise that there are some minor (and even bigger) elements that set them apart.

Quick Look: The Keurig K50 coffee maker

Keurig K50 coffee maker
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The Keurig K50 was the first of the two models to be released. It’s a practical, user-friendly machine that gives you 3 different brew sizes to choose from (6, 8 or 10 ounces) and is compatible with hundreds of K-Cups.

Instead of a modern LCD screen, Keurig opted for traditional button controls which makes it very easy to operate as there aren’t many features. This model does however include a handy Strong Brew option, perfect for those who want their coffee to have a bold taste. The K50 has a 48 oz water reservoir, large enough to allow you a coffee a day for a week without having to refill it. This coffee machine shuts off after 30 minutes, which will save you energy and money in the long run (1).

While the K50 and the K55 coexisted for a while after the release of the latter, we must inform you that the K50 is now discontinued. It is however still available for purchase at the time of writing this article. And for the sake of completeness, you might want to look into the K-15, which we review in this post.

Quick Look: The Keurig K55 coffee maker

Keurig K55 coffee maker
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This Keurig K55 model is better known as Keurig K-Classic and has now replaced the K50 in Keurig’s current range of coffee brewers: while it was originally meant to be a separate model, it’s now widely regarded as the upgraded version of the K50.

The K55 has a smoother design, combining retro and modern elements. It offers the same 3 cup sizes and a 48 ounce reservoir, but this time it’s compatible with Keurig’s charcoal water filters and there’s a handy Add Water light that flashes when the reservoir doesn’t contain enough water for the selected cup size. This model is energy efficient and has an Auto Shut Off feature that turns the machine off 2 hours after your last brews. You also get a handy Maintenance Reminder thanks to the flashing light that warns you when it’s time to descale your Keurig coffee maker.

The Showdown: The Keurig K50 vs K55

K50

6, 8, 10 ounces

48 ounces

9.8 x 13 x 13.3 inches

Over a minute

Features

Cup sizes

Water Reservoir

Auto Shut Off

Dimensions

Strong Brew

Speed

Automatic Descaling

Charcoal water filter

K55

6, 8, 10 ounces

48 ounces

9.8 x 13 x 13.3 inches

Under a minute

Yes, these two Keurig machines are very similar. If you’re still on the fence (which is totally understandable), keep reading our Keurig K50 vs K55 review: we’ll point out the actual differences between the two in order to make your choice easier.

Speed

Both the K50 and the K55 are coffee brewers without bells and whistles that do exactly what they advertise: brew a cup of coffee in under a minute. Or… do they? (Drumroll.) While the K55 does, we found that it’s not actually true for the K50, which usually takes an extra 30 seconds.

WINNER: K55. Although they’re both very quick, the K55 is undoubtedly faster, needing less than a minute to brew a cup of coffee.

Custom Brewing Features

Both models offer the same 3 brew sizes and are compatible with hundreds of K-Cups. However, the K50 offers an extra feature: by pressing the Strong Brew button, you’ll get a stronger (duh) and bolder cup of coffee. (It’s not quite espresso, but these are not espresso machines.) If you need an extra caffeine kick sometimes, this is definitely something that you should keep in mind when making your choice. Another machine with a range of custom brewing features is the K-Select; read our detailed Keurig K-select review to find out if it’s the right machine for you.

a cup of coffee
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Neither the K50 nor the K55 lets you make cappuccinos and lattes; if that’s a brewing feature you’re interested in, take a look at our full review of the K-Cafe.

Water filter

We know, it sounds like the most boring feature. But if you think that, ultimately, your final cup of joe is made of coffee and water… you see why good water is important, right? While the K50 is still relying on a mesh filter alone, the K55 is also compatible with Keurig’s activated charcoal filters.

WINNER: K55. Having two water filters translates into a smoother and better-tasting coffee.

Cleaning

Cleaning is every caffeine addict’s nightmare, but Keurig models are actually pretty easy to look after. Both the K50 and the K55 have a removable K-Cup holder, drip tray and water reservoir. The K55 goes the extra mile, though: it has a handy Maintenance Reminder. The Descale light turns on when it’s time to run white vinegar or Keurig’s descaling solution through your coffee maker to fight mineral buildup (2).

At low concentrations of bicarbonate or calcium, in water we call soft, scale forms very slowly, but at higher concentrations, in hard water, the formation of scale is rapid.

If you go for the K50, you must remember to descale it every 3 to 6 months depending on the mineral content of the water that you use (3).

WINNER: K55. Descaling is a vital maintenance task that is often overlooked. With the K55’s descaling reminder, you won’t forget about it.

Aesthetics

Both models come in a limited choice of colors compared to other Keurig coffee makers, but they both include the safest go-to option: black. While this is obviously personal, we think that the K55 has a better design, as its corners are smoother rather than pointy, making it look more compact. It’s a modern classic when it comes to single-serve coffee makers.

WINNER: K55. This is a personal opinion, but we think that the smoother, more elegant look of the K55 blends in more easily with most kitchens.

The Verdict

While the two models are undeniably very similar, we think that the K55 is a better choice because it’s faster, has a handy cleaning reminder, a charcoal water filter, and a smoother design. The only real advantage that the K50 can boast over the newer model is the Strong Brew option. Keurig is also known for changing and discontinuing models quite often, but, given its popularity, it doesn’t look like the K55 is going anytime soon… unlike the K50 (#RIP).

Keurig K55 coffee maker
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FAQs

The best Keurig model is the K-Elite, in our opinion: it is the most customizable, with features such as temperature control, altitude setting and strength control. It’s also programmable, has a large water reservoir and an elegant, sleek design. You can find out more in our K-Elite review right here.

Yes, K-Cups are bad for the environment because they are not recyclable and result in plastic waste that will be around for hundreds of years. Because of the environmental impact of K-Cups, we strongly recommend that you purchase a My K-Cup reusable filter: not only is it a much greener option that doesn’t involve single-use plastic, but it will also save you money in the long run and, by relying on coffee grounds, you’ll get a much better-tasting cup of coffee.

There is no real difference between the Keurig K45 and K55, but the K45 has been discontinued and replaced by the latter.

  1. (n.d.). (2019, January 14). How Much Energy Does My Coffee Maker Use? Retrieved from https://www.firstchoicepower.com/the-light-lab/energy-education/how-much-energy-does-my-coffee-maker-use/
  2. Eldridge, C. (2016, July 11). What is Scale? Retrieved from https://www.freshcup.com/what-is-scale/
  3. (n.d.). (2017, June 28). How often do I need to descale my system? Retrieved from Retrieved from https://support.keurig.com/article?id=kA036000000CJgi

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Hi, I'm Scott, and I've traveled extensively through North America and Europe, exploring food and drink pairings around the world. My Love of coffee began during my teen years when a friend's family introduced me to the glories of the classic Italian Moka pot. That technology got me through too many early-morning final exams in college and eventually led to a manual espresso machine after graduation.

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