Most aspiring home baristas and out-and-out coffee fanatics probably cringe at the idea of an automated brewing device that pumps out java while we twiddle our thumbs. And if you’re a regular Roasty reader, you know that we, too, cringe at this thought.
We don’t really recommend Keurig coffee makers in general. Instead, we suggest you use coffee brewing methods like a pour-over or French press to make our favorite hot beverage (or cold, if you prefer your joe that way). But we realize many of you don’t care what we think; you want the ultra-convenience and rapid brewing time of a Keurig anyway. So, we’re putting our personal biases aside and doing our best to help you pick the best Keurig coffee maker for you.
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At a Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Keurig Coffee Makers
Quick Summary: The Best Keurig Coffee Makers
|KEURIG K-CLASSIC COFFEE MAKER
|Check on Amazon →
|KEURIG K-DUO ESSENTIALS COFFEE MAKER
|Check Price →
|KEURIG K-MINI COFFEE MAKER
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|KEURIG K-SLIM COFFEE MAKER
|Check on Amazon →
|KEURIG K-ELITE COFFEE MAKER
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|KEURIG K-SELECT COFFEE MAKER
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|KEURIG K-CAFE COFFEE MAKER
|Check Price →
It’s just a matter of deciding which machine would best fit your needs. And with so many to choose from, even knowing where to start can be daunting. To make your search even more difficult, Keurig upgrades its models twice a year!
This comprehensive, informative guide highlights the best Keurig coffee brewer models currently available. Whether you want to upgrade your existing machine or are about to cave and purchase your first Keurig, we have all you need to know.
First off, what is Keurig?
Keurig is a household name in the world of coffee machine manufacturing. They have a huge variety of coffee makers and accessories, including carafes, filters, and coffee consumables for coffee enthusiasts to add to their home and office coffee setups.
The company created its first coffee maker back in the early 1990s for use in an office setting. Since then, the product range has expanded and Keurig machines are now commonly purchased for household use and are staples in United States kitchens.
These brewing machines come in a variety of sizes and colors to suit all budgets and brewing needs. However, each brewer produces pretty much the same result: decent coffee and a smart, understated machine that looks cool on any countertop.
Why would you need one?
What makes Keurig machines such a popular choice is the fact that they can give users hot coffee fast without sacrificing too much flavor. Plus, the machines are reliable, simple to use, and pretty low maintenance.
Granted, you won’t get the same precise control over your brew that drip machines or a French press would give you. However, what a Keurig coffee maker can guarantee is consistency, convenience, and speed. Plus with around 160 flavors to choose from, you’re bound to find some that you enjoy.
Keurig coffee-making machines will brew in under one minute — an essential consideration for those who need their morning caffeine fix in a hurry. Even better, many Keurig machines are fully programmable, so you can set your coffee maker to deliver your early morning cup of joe before you even get out of bed.
Of course, if you want high-quality specialty coffees such as latte, cappuccino, and espresso, you may need to research semi- super-automatic espresso brewing systems. However, these machines are significantly more expensive than most Keurig brewers and might not suit your budget.
Other important considerations are ease of use, ease of cleaning, and ongoing maintenance. A Keurig is a whole lot easier to manage than an espresso machine on all counts.
Why Your Local Coffee Shop ISN’T Using One
You may be wondering why you don’t usually spot Keurig on the Top 10 lists for coffee makers. As we mentioned before, Keurig machines and other pod brewers (like Nespresso machines, for example) can be great if your priority is quick coffee with minimal clean-up.
But alas, there are some things you are sacrificing in exchange for that convenience…and the biggest thing is the taste of your beloved brew. Sure, these brewers make a decent cup of coffee, but they can’t compare to what the commercial machine in your favorite coffee shop can do. An equally convenient super-automatic espresso machine or even a good automatic drip coffee maker is going to give you a way better cup. But some of those can end up being about 10 times the price of a Keurig!
You have other options, though! If you are hesitant to go for a pod brewer but don’t know what else is out there that would be comparable, we encourage you to take a look at some of the following manual brewing methods* and tools:
- AeroPress: Very fast, easy clean-up, some technique required
- Clever Coffee Dripper: Decently quick brew, easy clean-up
- French Press: Slow process, bigger servings, great for cold brews
- Pour Over: More technique required, easy cleaning, a slow process
*Several of these options, when combined with an electric kettle and a burr coffee grinder, will produce bolder coffee than any pod brewer ever could. Plus, none of these brewing methods hog too much valuable kitchen counter space.
Plus, sometimes taking a little time for yourself by carefully concocting the perfect cup of coffee in the morning is a great way to practice self-care. However, if your lifestyle really doesn’t allow for that luxury or you’re already racing to get out the door in the morning, we understand your choice in going for a K-Cup brewer. So let’s get into that, shall we?
All Keurig machines work pretty much the same way. You fill the water tank, insert your chosen K-Cup coffee pod, and select your preferred brew size, place your cup under the dispenser, press the “go” button, and watch the brew cycle commence.
There are a few other features you can expect from your Keurig, including:
- A removable drip tray: This allows for easier clean-up and extra space for your mug if needed
- One-minute brew time: While the time it takes for the machine to heat up varies, all Keurig brewers take about one minute to produce coffee.
- Compatibility with K-Cup pods only: This, unfortunately, means your coffee options are somewhat limited, but the good news is, there is a wide variety of brands, roasts, and flavors of K-Cups to choose from.
- A removable water reservoir: Most Keurig water reservoirs are removable, which makes for easy refilling and cleaning.
- Auto-off: Coffee makers have a heating element, which eats power if left permanently switched on. The auto-off feature powers the machine down after a pre-set amount of time (ranging from one minute to two hours) from its last use. All Keurig machines have this feature, but the extent of programmability varies.
Roasty Rankings: The Best Keurig Models on the Market
There are more than 50 different Keurig models on the market. But, we’ve whittled them down to our favorite coffee machines and reviewed them for you.
We’ve mentioned the highlights of each machine, but for full specs and to order your favorite, just click on the links in each review.
Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker
Keurig’s K55, or the K-Classic as it’s also known, is quite the popular model. The neat, single-serve coffee machine produces delicious joe at the touch of a button, and it’s ideal if you’re brewing for just one or a handful of people; it even makes a solid addition to a small office with fewer than 10 employees.
You can brew all of your favorites with the K-Classic, and thanks to the machine’s 48-ounce removable water reservoir, you can brew about six cups before you need to refill it. This machine is great for first-time coffee maker owners because it’s easy to use and comes at a price point that’s lower than most of its competitors.
But even veteran coffee drinkers will love its descaling function that gets rid of limescale build-up and ensures your machine will continue brewing for a long time and the fact that it has multiple brew size options to choose from: six, eight, or 10 ounces.
As a bonus, you get four K-Cup pods and two free water filters with the machine.
Keurig K-Duo Single-Serve and Carafe Coffee Maker
Keurig K-Duo Essentials Coffee Maker
The K-Duo Essentials coffee maker has a 60 oz. single water reservoir that is shared between single serve and carafe brewing, which means fewer water refills to save you time.
The next Keurig coffee maker on our list is the perfect machine for the at-home barista whose coffee drinking habits change daily. One day, they’re only sipping one cup of joe, but the next, they need an entire carafe of coffee to make it through the day. Sound like you? If you answered yes, allow us to introduce you to the Keurig K-Duo.
This brewer is a two-in-one gem, with a 12-cup carafe on one side and a spout for single-cup brewing on the other. Just add ground coffee to enjoy a carafe of drip java or pop in a K-Cup pod for a single cup (eight, 10, or 12 ounces). Whichever brewing process you choose to use, the water flows from the same place: the 60-ounce water reservoir that’s removable for easy refilling.
This machine comes equipped with a programmable brew setting that allows you to schedule your brew up to 24 hours in advance, and the Pause and Pour feature lets you pour the freshly brewed coffee into your mug before the carafe’s full. And the best part? There’s no mess; just replace the carafe, and brewing resumes without missing a beat.
Additional features include Smart Start, an automatic-off feature for both the brewer and the hot plate under the carafe, and the simple button controls that make brewing a breeze for any and everyone.
See how it compares to the K-Duo Plus!
Keurig K-Mini Single-Serve Coffee Maker
Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker
Say hello to our slimmest brewer yet. At less than five inches wide, the incredibly slim and easy to use, K-Mini® single serve coffee maker makes anywhere perfect for great coffee.
If you’ve been drooling over Keurig K-Cup brewing systems but don’t have a lot of counter space to spare, the K-Mini just might be the brewer you need.
This machine is super straightforward, which is great news for coffee lovers who aren’t looking to reinvent the wheel when it comes to home-brewing. Plus, this portable, compact option fits comfortably into any kitchen or budget.
Easy storage is one of the best parts of this machine; as it’s only five inches wide, it can pretty much fit anywhere!
It’s a basic machine without too many bells and whistles, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an ultra-convenient brewer. When it’s time to brew your first cup of the day, you can choose anywhere between six to 12 ounces of joe. When the machine’s finished brewing, its automatic shut-off feature kicks in after just 90 seconds, which is much faster than other models.
Plus, if you have a member of your household who doesn’t drink coffee (poor thing), you can use the K-Mini to heat water for tea and hot chocolate, too.
Keurig K-Slim Coffee Maker
At first glance, you might think the Keurig K-Slim and K-Mini are identical. And while the two drip brewers look and function pretty similarly, there are a few key differences between the two.
For starters, the K-Slim is a bit larger than its Mini lookalike, and while the K-Mini requires you to fill the machine with water every time you brew, the K-Slim brewer is equipped with a 46-ounce water tank. The second difference lies in color options; the K-Mini is available in five different colors while the K-Slim can only be found in two.
This slim and sleek little brewer has three brewing size settings: eight, 10, or 12 ounces. Plus, the removable drip tray makes room for a seven-inch travel mug to fit right under the spout. That feature plus Keurig’s signature fast brewing times makes getting your coffee fix even as you’re literally running out the door a pretty simple process.
Keurig K-Elite K Single Serve K-Cup Pod Maker
Keurig K-Elite Coffee Maker
The newest Keurig single serve coffee maker, the Keurig K-Elite brewer blends a premium finish and programmable features to deliver both modern design and the ultimate in beverage customization.
For those of you who are already Keurig fans, we recommend springing for the K-Elite. This model has all the features you’ve come to expect of Keurig’s coffee machine, plus a few added extras you need…okay, maybe need is a strong word. But you’ll definitely appreciate them!
The K-Elite brewer blends a premium finish with programmable features to deliver modern design and the ultimate in beverage customization. One of the most exciting features is the iced setting, which is perfect for those who prefer to keep it cool in the mornings (or afternoons…). This handy feature allows you to brew over ice for a full-flavored and refreshing cup.
This machine also has a generous 75-ounce water reservoir, which means you can brew up to eight cups before you’ll need to refill it, and a large drip tray that’s removable for easy cleaning. It also gives you a considerable amount of space for brewing right into a travel mug that’s up to 7.2 inches tall. This machine also comes with a water filter handle and a free filter!
With the K-Elite, Keurig gives users a bit of strength control in the form of a strong brew button; that’s extra helpful on days when you need something a bit bolder in your cup. It also gives a cup size option, allowing you to choose from four, six, eight, 10, or 12 ounces. And the Quiet Brew Technology makes it easier for you to get your caffeine fix in the morning without waking up your household.
When you’re not craving coffee, you can also use the machine for hot water on demand, rather than having to boil a kettle, making it ideal for cooking oatmeal, instant soup, or tea.
Keurig K-Select Single Serve Pod Brewer
Keurig K-Select Coffee Maker
The Keurig K-Select single serve coffee maker combines sleek design and more intuitive features to help you brew your perfect cup every single time.
Maybe you need a machine that makes something a little stronger — a brew that’s a little closer to what you’d get from a standard coffee maker. Enter the Keurig K-Select.
We like the K-Select because it has a strong brew option that makes the coffee taste bolder and more intense, and the sleek design and simple button controls make brewing your perfect cup hassle-free every time.
This particular Keurig single-serve coffee maker has four brewing sizes — six, eight, 10, or 12 ounces — that are labeled by handy graphics rather than numbers, and the removable 52-ounce water reservoir and 7.4-inch cup space are much-appreciated features; you can brew about five cups before you need to refill and your travel mug will probably fit comfortably under the spout.
The maintenance reminders are great for helping you keep your machine in tip-top shape. The lights will tell you when to add water and, more importantly, when to descale the Keurig.
Keurig K-Cafe Single Serve Coffee, Latte, and Cappuccino Maker
Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker
Enjoy your latte or cappuccino hot or use the COLD setting for cold frothed milk to make a wonderfully refreshing iced latte or iced cappuccino. Brew 6, 8, 10, or 12oz of your favorite coffee, tea, or cocoa – select Strong Brew when you want a bolder cup of coffee.
Keurig’s K-Cafe is a perfect fit for those of us who need something that can do a little more than the run-of-the-mill, pod brewer schtick.
The Keurig coffee maker’s most notable feature is the automatic milk frother, an element that’s completely absent from most pod brewers. It’s not too shabby, either (just make sure you have the lid on!), and has three settings: latte, cappuccino, and cold, which is great for topping your favorite iced drinks with a bubbly layer of cold froth.
The brewer itself, while not quite as programmable as the K-Elite, is still pretty versatile with four cup sizes to choose from when you want to make your favorite coffee, tea, or cocoa — six, eight, 10, or 12 ounces — and four brew settings: latte/cappuccino, coffee, strong, and shot. It’s important to note, though, that even though it says “shot,” it’s not actually espresso, just more concentrated coffee.
You can make about six cups of joe before you’ll need to refill the 60-ounce reservoir — that’s a week’s worth of brew before you have to fiddle with it!
Additionally, the K-Café has Smart Start and Auto-Off functionality. Smart Start allows you to select your cup size while the Keurig coffee maker is heating up rather than having to wait. And the auto-off feature automatically turns the machine off after two hours of inactivity for safety and energy efficiency.
Things to Consider
As with any small appliance, different Keurig brewers are going to be better suited for different lifestyles and needs. So before you splurge on a shiny new Keurig coffee machine, here are some pretty vital factors you should think about:
All K-cup coffee makers are single-serve machines. That means they’re only designed to produce one cup of brew at a time, so, you’ll need to bear in mind how many cups of coffee you’re going to want to make back-to-back.
Speed of brew production is probably more important to consider if the machine is going to go in the office break room instead of your own home…unless you have a house full of coffee drinkers, of course!
Every Keurig machine has at least three basic cup sizes, and they probably range somewhere between six, eight, and 10 ounces. When you change the cup size, you slightly alter the coffee strength (for example, if you want a stronger brew, you’ll want to select the six-ounce option). But remember cup size will also affect the number of brews the machine can produce before it runs out of water.
This brings us to our next point…
Water Tank Capacity
If you only need one cup of coffee every day, a smaller water reservoir won’t be an issue. However, if you tend to go through lots of cups or prefer weaker brews, choosing a machine with a small water tank will be a pain, as you’ll have to keep refilling it.
To work out how many standard-size cups of coffee you’ll get from a full reservoir, divide the capacity by eight; that will give you a rough idea of how much coffee you can expect to drink before the machine runs out of water.
Most Keurig machines have a pre-set brew temperature of 192 degrees Fahrenheit. However, some will allow you to adjust the water temperature, giving you a little bit more influence over the result. This might be nice for people who crave control over the brew process, but it likely won’t be a deal-breaker for most.
Brew Strength Options
Changing the cup size is a crude brew strength control method, but some Keurig machines have settings that more accurately allows you to select brew strength. This is a nice feature if you have more specific preferences or live in a household where some like stronger coffee while others prefer it mild.
All Keurig machines are simple to operate, even for folks who are technology-challenged.
However, more expensive models also include a sleek LCD touchscreen display with customizable nightlight and wallpaper rather than just boring buttons. This is a nice touch if you can afford to stretch your budget slightly.
While all Keurig machines have an auto-off function, some models also have an automatic-on option.
The auto-on function is what allows you to set your Keurig to brew you a cup of coffee for a future time. This is a plus if you want to wake up every morning to the delicious aroma of freshly brewed coffee.
Considering Keurig: FAQs
What is the difference between K-Cups and coffee pods?
You might think K-Cups and coffee pods are interchangeable, and honestly, that’s not such a crazy thought; they do look kind of similar. But in actuality, the differences between the two are like night and day. Though both are single servings of ground coffee, pods are usually packaged in filter paper and wrapped in foil for added freshness. K-Cups, on the other hand, use little plastic cups to store your serving of coffee.
Coffee pods aren’t as compatible with as many machines as K-Cup pods are, — you can’t use coffee pods in your Keurig brewer — and there are fewer options for coffee pods than there are for K-Cups, but when it comes to sustainability, they’re the obvious winner thanks to their typically environmentally-friendly packaging.
How many times can you use a K-Cup?
Listen…we know sometimes money gets tight and buying K-Cups can get expensive, but listen to us closely when we say this: you can only use a K-Cup one time. Though it may be tempting to try to squeeze another cup of joe from the coffee grounds in your used K-Cup, they are only designed for single use; use them any more than that and you’ll end up with a cup full of flavorless murky water. Gross.
How long will my Keurig coffee maker last?
If you take good care of your Keurig, your Keurig will take care of you. With proper cleaning and maintenance, you can expect to enjoy K-Cup after K-Cup of delicious coffee for about five years, maybe more!
Make sure you flush the machine with water once or twice a month (you should keep running water through it until it flows out clear), and use vinegar or a descaling solution to clear out any limescale build-up that may have popped up over time.
What are the different kinds of K-Cups?
Since the company is partnered with so many different brands, Keurig offers over 400 K-Cups of different beverage varieties — coffee, tea, hot chocolate, you name it; there’s truly something for everyone.
But since you likely came to Roasty Coffee to read about coffee, we’re going to share our favorite K-Cup coffees with you. From light roasts to decaf brews to flavored joe, we made sure to cover them all. Check out our list here.
The Bottom Line
So, there you have it– everything you could want to know about buying a Keurig.
As for which model you should choose, it comes down to personal taste and what you need the machine to do for you. Be sure you do your research before making a purchase, and you and your Keurig will be good to go!