4 Best Coffee Makers with Direct Water Line Connection + 3 Plumbing kits
If you’ve ever had a coffee maker run dry while brewing, you’ll understand the advantage of plumbing it directly to your water line. Direct water line coffee maker can be an excellent option for the home or the office, simplifying your life by eliminating the need to refill a water reservoir.
In this review roundup, we’ll cover what to look for when shopping for a plumbed coffee maker. We’ll also discuss four top models in detail, and consider three after-market direct plumbing kits as an alternative.
The Keurig K150P is a plumbed coffee machine designed to fit comfortably in a small office or large home. This NSF-certified single-serve machine has a very affordable price considering its premium features. On top of everything, K150P includes an interactive full-color touchscreen and customizable drink options.
How to Choose the Best Coffee Maker with Water Line
There are surprisingly few choices for plumbing coffee makers, which makes it harder to find the perfect combination of features. To ensure you find the one that meets your needs, consider whether it is for home or office, how many people will be using it, what style of coffee they prefer, and your budget for purchase, installation, and maintenance. But before all, you need to see if you wish for a plumbed coffee machine or maybe a plumbing kit.
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|Brew Express BEC-110 BS||
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|BUNN My Cafe MCO Single Serve||
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|K Filter Kit For Keurig By PureWater Filters||
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|Inline Water Filter Kit For Nespresso Coffee Brewers||
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|Umjava Coffee Maker Water Line Kit||
Plumbed coffee maker or Plumbing Kit?
As we said, the selection of plumbed coffee makers on the market is quite small. This is particularly true for coffee makers for home rather than commercial use. The primary reason for this is that a coffee maker connected directly to a water line offers less flexibility than a typical free-standing coffee machine, making the target market quite small.
Many consumers will opt to retrofit an existing coffee maker with an after-market plumbing kit rather than pay for a pricey plumbed machine. If you want to go this route, there are many drip coffee brewers we highly recommend, with the cream of the crop being the SCAA-certified brewers. Or you can check out the best coffee maker with a grinder.
The advantages of plumbed coffee makers
However, if you fall within the target market, there are several key advantages to plumbed coffee makers. The most obvious is the convenience of never refilling the water tank, particularly in large homes or offices with many coffee drinkers. This is even more valuable if you use the coffee machine as a hot water supply for tea or soups. Along with this convenience, you’ll also not need to worry about damaging your coffee machine if the water tank runs dry.
A small household can also benefit in several ways from a plumbed coffee machine. First, by eliminating the water reservoir, your coffee machine will be much more compact. Second, it means your brewing water doesn’t spend days sitting in the water reservoir, where it can grow stale or, worse, provide a breeding ground for bacteria (1).
A 2011 germ study conducted by NSF International found that coffee reservoirs ranked as the fifth germiest place in the homes sampled.
Surely, no one wants to get sick from their coffee. Nor do we want the image of germs in our head when we drink coffee.
There are some disadvantages to this brewer style as well, which you should factor in when deciding between a plumbed coffee machine and a plumbing kit. Your coffee machine will need to be situated relatively close to your waterline. That is, once you install it, you cannot move it around. The installation itself will require both necessary tools and plumbing knowledge, so you may want to factor in the increased cost of hiring an expert.
Maintenance is another consideration, particularly when it comes to expenses. The additional plumbing makes these brewers more prone to leaks, particularly if you opt for DIY installation. And while a plumbed coffee machine should operate as well as an alternative, if anything does go wrong, it’s more likely to be a severe issue that requires a professional to fix.
Is a plumbing kit a better option?
Buying a coffee maker designed to connect to a waterline is the best way to ensure it will perform as advertised. Yet with so few choices on the market, it’s likely that you won’t be able to find one of these purpose-built machines to suit your lifestyle. In that case, an after-market plumbing kit is a great alternative.
Significant brands of single-serve coffee machines, Keurig and Nespresso, offer plumbing kits that enable many of their machines to connect to your waterline. Similarly, Umjava provides a universal kit that works with most top brands. Using a separate kit to plumb your existing coffee maker into your water supply will save you the cost of a brand-new machine and allow you to maintain a bit more flexibility if you change your mind.
How much coffee do you want?
Coffee makers with a water line typically come in one of two styles, either brewing a single cup of coffee or a carafe. Thus, what you choose should be decided by what you prefer to drink and how you will use it.
Single-serve K-cup machine allows each user to brew coffee to their taste. Plus, it eliminates a lot of the mess associated with traditional coffee grounds brewing. If you decide on a single-serve coffee machine, you should also consider its options for drink sizes.
In a large office setting, it makes sense to opt for a single-serve coffee machine that brews K Cups or other coffee pods.
Some offer a more excellent range than others, particularly when it comes to larger sizes like travel mugs. If you decide to go with a K Cup brewer, you can also read our review of best K cup coffees.
Alternatively, you can purchase a plumbed coffee machine that brews a carafe of coffee at a time. This is undoubtedly a better option from an environmental standpoint, and it will probably save you money over purchasing K Cups (2). Though brewing with ground coffee is not quite as convenient as using K Cups, it opens up a much wider selection of coffees and can save time if everyone wants to drink the same thing.
If you opt for a carafe style brewer, consider looking for one with a thermal carafe. These are more durable than glass alternatives and keep your coffee hot all day long (3).
The 4 Best Coffee Makers with Water Line + 3 plumbing kits
Whether you need something for the home or office, something top-of-the-line or value-priced, there’s a plumbed coffee machine just waiting to hook into your water line. We’ve rounded up the best four to go over their essential features.
If none of the following coffee makers seems like your cup of tea, consider purchasing a water line plumbing kit instead. These can connect with a wide range of coffee machines from several brands, greatly expanding your possibilities. We’ve added our three top picks to this list.
The Keurig K150P is perfect for small or medium-sized businesses, but its reasonable size and price point mean it could be equally well-suited to home use. This versatility, coupled with several useful features, makes it our overall favorite for 2020.
K150P offers a full-color touchscreen interface, which makes it both incredibly easy to use and impressive to view.
Like most Keurigs, this machine brews a single cup of coffee at a time using K Cups, of which there are hundreds to choose from, including tea and hot cocoa as well as coffee. It delivers your drink in one of five different brew sizes, from 4 to 12 ounces. Moreover, via touchscreen, you can customize brew temperature and strength for each cup, ideal for a machine with multiple users with different tastes.
The K150P is certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), which uses extensive testing to ensure the coffee machine is rugged, sanitary, and fit for commercial application. You can program it to turn on and off automatically and to enter an energy-saving mode. The drip tray is easily removable for quick clean-up.
This machine comes with a removable 90-ounce water reservoir, one of the largest on the market, but it’s designed with the intention of plumbing it into a water line. Just be aware that the kit required to do this comes separately.
Though it would not be out of place in a small office and is indeed certified by the NSF for commercial use, the Brew Express BEC-110BS is the rare plumbed coffee machine designed for home use. Such characteristics allow it to be both more compact and more affordable than its commercial counterparts.
It brews using ground coffee beans, rather than K Cups or coffee pods, which provides greater coffee variety and better coffee quality, especially if you’re grinding your beans fresh at home (4). The BEC-110BS also provides hot water on demand, an excellent bonus for lovers or tea, hot chocolate, or instant soups.
Unlike the other machines on this list, the Brew Express is not a single-serve brewer. It comes equipped instead with a 10 cup thermal carafe, which is a tremendous value-added bonus, as these tend to be expensive. Thermal carafes rely on vacuum insulation to keep your coffee hot all day, an environmentally friendly alternative to brewing a single K Cup every few hours. That said, the BEC-110BS does have the option to brew coffee in either a unique mug or a half carafe.
This brewer plumbs exclusively to your water line, rather than you adapting it with a kit. As such, all the necessary plumbing equipment comes with your purchase. The downside of this is that it has no water tank, so you can’t use it as a standalone brewer.
The Keurig K3500 is a large commercial machine that is perfectly suited to the busy office breakroom but would probably feel out of place in the average home. This coffee maker has one goal: to serve many people in rapid succession. And it has several smart innovations to make that possible.
Its easy-to-use touchscreen display will walk you through the process to brew coffee in one of several languages. There are five options for cup sizes, from 4 to 12 ounces, and you can also adjust brewing temperature and strength. This degree of customization, coupled with the fact that it brews using the ever-popular K Cups, ensures that each individual can prepare cups of coffee as unique as they are.
The K3500 has two internal water tanks, ensuring that it always has hot water ready for back-to-back use. For coffee lovers who are always in a hurry, this is ideal for a quick and efficient brew during those all-too-short office breaks.
This NSF-certified brewer has clean lines and a sleek design, which, when paired with the full-color touchscreen, affords it a modern and tasteful look, ideally suited to a formal place of business.
Though designed to be plumbed to a water line, the kit required to do this comes separately. Don’t forget to take this into account when considering your budget.
The BUNN My Cafe MCO is another product geared toward the commercial market, with a few novel features that distinguish it from the Keurig K3500, which is of a similar size and price.
Like the Keurig, it’s a single-serve brewer that uses K Cups to ensure every user gets the drink they desire. It’s controlled by an intuitive touchscreen interface, which allows custom brew settings for coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and dispensing hot water.
It offers a greater variety of cup sizes, from 4 ounces to extra-large 16-ounce mugs, and you can adjust the brew sizes in quarter-ounce increments. A size variety, combined with a flip tray to accommodate a range of mug sizes, makes it easy to brew a full travel mug or thermos of coffee at a time if you want something to savor at your desk all day.
Internally, this NSF-certified machine employs a unique water jet extraction process and industry-recognized ideal brewing temperatures to guarantee quality results in your cup (5). After brewing, the coffee machine automatically ejects the used coffee pod into a waste storage bin that can hold 25 spent pods at a time.
As soon as it ejects the used pod, the MCO is ready for another brewing cycle. In fact, this machine can make 60 cups of coffee per hour! Amazing, isn’t it?
By the way, here’s where we reviewed the best BUNN coffee makers.
K Filter is the kit you need to connect either of the Keurig machines above to a water line, and it allows you to connect some other Keurig brewers as well, including the B150, K150, B155, K155, B155P, K155P, B200, K200, B3000, B3000se.
This kit is more than just tubing and valves; it includes a water filter from PureWater, one of the most trusted names in the industry. Because coffee is 98% water, water quality makes a big difference in the taste of your brew (6), so it’s best to use distilled or filtered water.
If you have irregular water, you will have an irregular brew. If you have acceptable water, you will get an acceptable brew. Ideal water will give you a superior brew.
The filter is made from porous activated carbon, which removes chlorine, tastes, and odors, and a wide range of toxic organic chemicals from your water (7). You should plan on replacing it about twice a year.
There’s also a polyphosphate scale inhibitor, which is NSF certified food-grade. The inhibitor prevents scale build-up in your coffee maker, extending its life and saving you the hassle of frequent descaling.
Goes with: Nespresso coffee machines
- Extras: Water filter
PureWater also manufactures a plumbing kit designed to operate with most non-commercial Nespresso machines. Because it’s connected via the existing water reservoir, it’s compatible with many models, including Inissia, Pixie, Vertuo, VertuoPlus, VertuoLine, Evoluo, Essenza Mini, Citiz, Lattissima, Creatista, and Maestria. If you’re an espresso lover, this is an excellent option because none of the purpose-built plumbed coffee makers we reviewed make espresso.
As with the Keurig kit, this one includes both the necessary plumbing materials and a water filter, ensuring that you’re brewing your coffee using only clean-tasting and healthy water. It’s easy to install, and most homeowners should be able to do it without the assistance of a plumber. You also get illustrated instructions, and free telephone support is available to walk you through every step.
The Umjava is a universal water line kit that can connect nearly any coffee machine to your refrigerator’s water line through the coffee maker’s water reservoir, including Keurig and Nespresso brewers.
This is by far the cheapest and easiest way to plumb your coffee maker, but it won’t work in every kitchen because it doesn’t tap directly into your plumbing. Instead, it requires either a refrigerator with an ice maker or an under-sink reverse osmosis system with which to connect.
The Umjava kit is incredibly easy to install, requiring just 15 minutes and a few essential tools to meet these criteria. Once installed, the refilling valve is cleverly mounted under a cabinet, where it’s both easily accessible and out of sight.
Whether you work in a busy office with lots of coffee drinkers or just want to guarantee fresh water for each brew, there are plenty of great reasons to opt for a coffee machine with a water line.
Our top recommendation for 2020 is the Keurig K150P. This sleekly-designed and affordable model has enough capacity for a mid-sized business but wouldn’t be out of place in a home kitchen. The full-color touchscreen display makes it easy to use and provides enough customization options to satisfy all the coffee drinkers.
To descale a plumbed coffee maker, you just need to disconnect the tubing and submerge it in a descaling solution, which can either be a commercial product or a simple mix of water and vinegar.
Yes, you can use a coffee maker for hot water, though generally not boiling water. A coffee maker with a water line can be an efficient way to make tea, soup, or oatmeal.
Yes, Keurig makes pods for hot chocolate, as well as coffee, tea, and even chilled beverages.
- Coffee Makers for Home Use. (2012, October 30). Retrieved from https://es.nsf.org/newsroom/coffee-makers-for-home-use
- Scauzillo, S. (2019, July 19). The curious, environmental case of the Keurig K-Cups (or what to do with them. Retrieved from https://www.sgvtribune.com/2019/07/19/the-curious-environmental-case-of-the-keurig-k-cups-or-what-to-do-with-them/
- Brennan, J. (2017, July 21). How Does Vacuum Insulation Work? Retrieved from https://homeguides.sfgate.com/how-does-vacuum-insulation-work-13408054.html
- Lee, J. (2015, January 20). Why Grind Coffee Fresh Every Time? Burr or Blade? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2015/01/why-grind-coffee-fresh-every-time-burr-or-blade/
- How Coffee Extraction Works And Why It Is So Important. (2019, June 21). Retrieved from https://www.liquidline.co.uk/news/how-coffee-extraction-works-and-why-it-is-so-important/
- Pocasangre, F. (2018, July 4). Testing Water in Pursuit of Excellent Coffee. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2018/07/testing-water-in-pursuit-of-excellent-coffee/
- Woodard, J. (2019, April 8). Activated Carbon Filters 101. Retrieved from https://www.freshwatersystems.com/blogs/blog/activated-carbon-filters-101