Buying Guides

Keurig K500 vs. K550: Which Is Better For Your Kitchen?

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Keurig is a household name for many coffee fans. They are the face of the easy-to-use single-serve coffee machine and the attractive, modern designs of their original brewers are hard to pass up when searching through rows and rows of coffee machines looking for the right one.

But how do you know which model is best for you? In this article, we compare two of Keurig’s most popular choices: the K500 and the K550.

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keurig k500 vs k550

Product Overview

Keurig K500

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  • 80 oz reservoir
  • Programmable night light
  • Color touch display with customizable wallpaper
  • Brew strength settings
  • Keurig 2.0 Brewing technology
  • Platinum metal exterior color design
  • Works with K-Cup, K-Mug, and K-Carafe Pods
  • Works with single-serve refillable capsules
  • Programmable

Keurig K550

  • 80 oz water reservoir
  • Programmable night light
  • Water filter handle
  • Water filter cartridge
  • Large color touch display with customizable wallpaper
  • Brew strength control
  • Keurig 2.0 Brewing technology
  • Platinum metal exterior color design
  • K-Cup compatibility with standard K-Cup, K-Mug, and K-Carafe Pods
  • Works with single-serve refillable capsules
  • Programmable
  • Auto Brew

At a glance, the K500 and the K550 pretty much look like the exact same product. Despite their obvious similarities, however, they do have their own set of distinguishing characteristics. 

What Drinks Can You Make?

Disposable 2.0 K-Cups and K-Carafe Pods

Both K500-series brewers work with Keurig’s coffee pod system and Keurig 2.0 brewing systems. Unlike Keurig 1.0 coffee machines, those with Keurig 2.0 technology are embedded with a pod-scanning system that automatically calibrates and pulls the correct amount from the water tank to brew different cups of coffee.

Each 2.0 K-cup has a barcode printed on it, which the machine reads. Once you hit the brew button, the machine gets to work and brews according to the barcode’s instructions. Basically, it removes any guesswork from coffee brewing.

This is great if you’re a coffee drinker who’s afraid of always making bad coffee. Plus, there are dozens of types of pods available on the market, and not just for coffee! You can find a Keurig k-cup for just about any hot drink including tea, cocoa, cider, and various coffee-based beverages.

Keurig has also recently expanded its offerings with larger K-Carafe pods which have brew sizes of several servings instead of just one.

Refillable K-Cups

Like most Keurig brewers, the K500 and K550 are both compatible with refillable capsules as well. Data says that tens of billions of used K-cups are in landfills currently and that it takes a great deal of time for them to break down appropriately.

Utilizing a reusable K-cup helps to decrease your carbon footprint and preserve the environment. Each reusable pod is simple to operate, but reusable pods don’t work with the Keurig 2.0 brewing technology capability.

The barcode on 2.0 K-cups relays the brewing instructions, including the amount of water needed, to the device, but refillable K-cups don’t have a barcode.

You can, however, choose your own grounds and style of brew, not limited by the K-cup’s directions.

There is one negative of reusable K-cups, though: they’re not pre-packed. The beauty of a disposable pod is selecting your flavor of choice, popping it into the machine, and brewing without hassle.

Refillable options require you to pre-pack them or fill them up each time. Although this doesn’t take long, it is a bit less convenient.

Differences Between the Keurig K500 and K550

When it comes to the Keurig K500 and K550, there really aren’t any key differences in performance. The devil, however, is in the details. 

The product dimensions vary greatly between the older model, the K500, and the newer K550. The K550 is actually about eight inches taller than its counterpart, and weighs roughly 15 pounds, whereas the K500 comes in at only 8.5 pounds.

The real difference, mechanically, between the two models is the water filter. The K500 simply doesn’t have one. The newer K550, however, was upgraded to include this component.

Ultimately, if all you’re looking for is something that brews coffee pods, there is nothing you can do with the K500 that you can’t do with the K550.

That being said, the K550’s water filter is a major improvement to the K500’s simple water reservoir.

Should You Go for the K550 Over the K500?

When choosing between the two coffee maker models, the decision primarily boils down to two things: the size and whether or not you want the water filter.

If you are looking for a compact option to store in tight spaces, or if you have limited counter space, the K500 is probably the better choice.

However, if you value the guarantee of purified water, then you absolutely should choose the K550 for what we consider its “premium feature” — the built-in water filter.

As another major selling point, or perhaps just an extra benefit, the K550 offers an expanded number of brew modes, including auto brew.

Basically, if you’re in a rush in the mornings, you can pick out your coffee at night and have it ready as soon as you wake up.

The K500 does have some different coffee settings, but none of these is the option to auto brew.

Things to Consider

If your heart is set on either the Keurig K500 or the K550, it can be difficult to pick between them. When comparing the two, it is essential to consider the following:

  • Each Keurig coffee machine brews the same types of beverages
  • Both devices have the same sized water reservoir
  • Both the K500 and the K550 utilize the Keurig 2.0 system
  • Each coffee maker is around the same price point

Conversely, you also need to consider the following:

  • The Keurig K550 is heavier and larger, taking up more counter space
  • The K500 does not include a water filter
  • The K550 is a more automatic coffee machine, with the option for auto brew

With that being said, if you don’t have any storage constraints in your kitchen and can accommodate the larger dimensions, the K550 is a no-brainer. Between the built-in water filter and auto brew option, the K550 has a slight edge over the K500.

Downsides To The Keurig K500 and K550

Although the Keurig brand and model lines have excellent ratings, and you can find them in the homes of many coffee-drinkers throughout the world, they have some downsides.

To begin, many customers complain about the needle getting clogged with grounds from pods.

Although you can rectify this with routine maintenance and a cleansing brew, it can take some additional work to get your coffee maker clean if it becomes too clogged.

While some Keurig machines include a pot to brew an entire pot of coffee, the K500 and  K550 don’t.

While the K500 and K550 can use larger pods to brew an entire carafe of coffee, they don’t come with the actual carafe that other models do. So, you can brew larger quantities with a K-Carafe pod, but you’re not given the thing you need to hold it all. 

Keurig does sell their K-Carafe separately, though, which brews the equivalent of about four normal cups of coffee — enough for a small group.

So What’s Better: The Keurig K500 or the Keurig K550?

At the end of the day, it’s all down to personal preference. If you are limited on space but desire a machine that produces high-quality coffee, the Keurig K500 is your best option.

If space isn’t a factor, but you don’t have access to high-quality water, the Keurig K550 is the route you should take. An additional perk is that it includes an auto brew option for early mornings.

Both options are a great choice for someone who wants a quick, high-quality cup of coffee, but the K550 has a few additional features that put it ever so slightly ahead of the K500.

Since both models sit at a similar price point, the better option for most people is going to be the K550 unless limited space is a pressing concern.

Happy Caffeinating!

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