Last Updated: 27/05/19
The Best Keurig Coffee Makers
K - Elite
Top Rated Overall
K - Cafe
Best Bang For Your Buck
K - Select
The Economical Option
K - Elite
K - Cafe
K - Select
Keurig’s are known as the king of convenience, providing consumers with single-serve coffee through a simple pod-based system. When they first hit the market, they were unparalleled in terms of convenience and selection. But these quirky little machines have come under fire for reliability issues, as well as environmental concerns from the disposable pods.
Keurig’s certainly wouldn’t be our first choice, but there are some circumstances where these machines are a good choice. Alternately, there are some other fantastic machines on the market that offer the same benefits with less drawbacks. In this guide, we’ll be going in-depth to show you everything Keurig has to offer. We’ll show you the models that are worth buying, and explain what you need to avoid. We’ll also be taking a look at a few different types of coffee makers that we prefer, so you figure out which option best suits your needs.
What Makes Keurigs So Popular?
The appeal of Keurig began with their single-serve plastic coffee pods, K-cups. Their machines gives users an ultra convenient way to get a cup of coffee in record time. In the modern age of machine-driven convenience, Keurigs take the effort out of making coffee. No need to grind your beans, measure your amounts, or wait for the brewing to finish. Keurigs can brew a cup of coffee or tea in a minute or less, and some even have frothers for instant, on the go lattes and cappuccinos. At the end of the day, what makes Keurigs popular is the speed and convenience with which they can produce coffee.
Are Keurigs a Good Buy?
What attracts consumers to Keurigs is their convenience and ease of use. A single cup of coffee only takes a few minutes, and with the K-cups you can enjoy a variety of coffees. Despite their popularity and convenience, there are a few reasons why these machines would not be our first choice.
One of the biggest complaints about these machines is their environmental impact. Single-use plastics are a major environmental concern. At a minimum, environmental advocates are calling for use of recycled materials. But ideally, we want to reduce the amount of disposable packaging that’s used. With K-Cups, waste is dramatically higher than any other type of coffee brewing. Each K-Cup has 3-4 grams of non-recyclable, non-biodegradable packaging for 10 grams of coffee. In response to this criticism, Keurig now offers reusable cups. But most Keurig owners are still using the K-Cups.
Reliability is another known issue with these machines. Keurigs are quite a bit more complicated than your average coffee maker. A lot of these parts are mass produced inexpensively, and are generally not replaceable. This means that if one piece breaks, the whole machine is trash. Many consumers reported early models failing within the warranty period. Newer machines are better, but they require that you follow a cleaning and descaling procedure. It’s a little involved, and does detract from the convenience appeal of these units.
The next issue is cost. A K-cup runs around 50 cents on average. While this is much cheaper than going to starbucks every day, bulk coffee can be found for a quarter of the price.
For us, the real deal breaker was the taste. We just didn’t find it to be particularly good. In our opinion, it’s about on par with a standard diner brew. Each K-Cup contains a fairly small amount of grounds, which leads to a more watered down flavor. This issue is particularly noticeable when you make a larger cup. There are two main factors at play here: the freshness of the grounds and the brewing temperature. Many people enjoy pre-ground coffee, but freshly ground beans tend to taste much better. Leaving coffee grounds out for a week can create a noticeable flavor difference, and K-Cups might be packaged and stored for up to a year before they hit the shelves. With regards to the temperature, hotter water does a better job of extracting the coffee from the grounds. Because keurigs are on-demand and high speed, the temperature just doesn’t get hot enough for a proper brew.
With all that in mind, these machines aren’t terrible. We just feel there are better options. There are machines that are more convenient, machines that produce better tasting coffee, and machines that are more affordable. However, Keurig is still one of the only options if you want all three of these things. It’s a bit of a jack of all trades, but a master of none.
If these issues are of concern to you, there are ways you can avoid them. In this guide, we’re going to help you select the best keurig machines available. And if you decide that this might not be the best option for you, you can click here or read on to see our recommended alternatives.
Should Anyone Buy a Keurig?
All of this doesn’t mean Keurigs aren’t suitable for some people. Not everyone is hung up on the overall quality of their coffee. Some people are perfectly satisfied with a weaker brew. Keurigs are also great for situations where the need for “quick and easy” surpasses the need for a rich cup of joe. Rushed early mornings and office spaces are great examples of this. Keurigs are also handy in that you can personalise each cup of coffee. Without brewing multiple pots, you can satisfy a tea lover, a dark roast devotee, and a hazelnut coffee fan in one sitting.
Keurig Coffee Machine Reviews
Thinking that one of these machines is right for you? Let's take a quick look at our six favorite models. First, we'll be going in-depth to see what each one has to offer. After, we'll help you decide which one is right for you. If you want to explore other options, scroll down to the bottom where we'll direct you to some other fantastic brands that make popular keurig alternatives that we recommend.
The Best All-Around
Why We Love It
Compared to a lot of other Keurigs, the K-Elite has more features and nicer looking design. It’s a little more sleek, sophisticated, and versatile.
Who Should Buy This
If you’re already a fan of Keurig and looking for an upgrade, the K-Elite is the best all-arounder with a bit more going for it.
It’s nice to see Keurig giving a little more style to some of their designs. With its brushed slate or brushed silver exterior, the K-Elite is an overall better looking unit than most. From an aesthetic point of view, it gives the impression of a slightly higher end unit than the basic Keurig, and is actually a nice addition in the kitchen.
There are a few basic improvements, like a larger water reservoir (that means you spend less frequent refilling), a removable drip tray and easy controls. It also seems to produce a little less of a plastic flavour, but don’t expect more than a subtle improvement.
The real advantage of the K-Elite though is its extra features. It has a hot water dispenser for tea and hot chocolate drinkers, and better yet - an iced brew setting. A note to users - this setting does not actually brew cold coffee. It just brews a slightly stronger coffee at a lower temperature to compensate for the ice (added manually by you) to your cup. It is still hot coffee coming through the machine, so you won’t want to use glass here. It also has more size options (4, 6, 8, 10, and 12oz settings). Since most users find anything beyond the 8oz setting to be far too diluted, it’s handy to have an extra setting on the other end with the 4oz.
The K-Elite also has automatic on/off setting. If you’re a fan a Keurig, there’s a good chance it’s because you prioritize convenience and speed with your morning coffee. The K-Elite’s smart start setting removes the wait for machine warm up, and will start brewing your morning buzz immediately. It will also turn off automatically after a few hours of no use, saving on energy.
There are a few drawbacks to the K-Elite, one being its size. At about 16.5”, it takes up quite a bit more counter space than your average coffee maker. It also only takes K cups, which is pretty common among Keurig products, but customers have long been waiting for more versatile machines.
Overall, the K-Elite is a great all arounder with some useful improvements from the basic model. There’s nothing truly outstanding about it, but it’s a better looking and more functional Keurig for existing fans of the product.
For Those Who Want More Variety
Why We Love It
The K-Cafe gives you more on-the-go beverage options with its frother and mug-friendly size.
Who Should Buy This
Users who want the convenience of quick, to go coffees with the option of a latte or a cappuccino.
The Keurig K-Cafe is great for lovers of more elevated coffee drinks. It has all the convenience of a single serve coffee machine with the added benefit of steamed or frothed milk. The automatic frother gives you a lot more freedom customizing your beverages. It’s easy to use, and means you can make lattes or cappuccinos rather than settling for a plain old cup of joe.
It also offers a stronger espresso brew, giving you flavour that’s a bit closer to an espresso based cafe latte than the bland “coffee and milk” taste that some Keurigs produce. The one limitation of this frother is that unless you’re satisfied with K-cup tea options, tea, tea lattes and hot chocolate are out of the question from this machine. The K-Cafe does not have a hot water dispense options, meaning you’ll have to rely on a good old fashioned kettle to brew your alternative beverages.
One of the best features of this model is its travel mug friendly size. One of the apparent oversights of the notoriously convenient Keurigs is that they are often too small to accommodate travel mugs. Seeing as so many users rely on the machine for quick, on the go coffee, it can seem like a bit of a redundancy to have to pour your drink from one capsule to another. Thankfully this problem is addressed with the K-Cafe.
The K-Cafe has an appealing minimalist look, but it’s a fairly large machine with a wide design. It also doesn’t have the automatic on feature like a lot of Keurigs. Keurig isn’t exactly known for the quality taste of their coffee, and this remains true. Even though it caters to espresso lovers, you won’t get the coveted crema of true quality espresso. It’s also on the higher end price-wise, so not ideal for the budget shopper.
The Budget Option
Why We Love It
The K-Select is more affordable than most Keurig models, but won’t break down as easily as the cheapest options
Who Should Buy This
This is a good model for you if you want a budget Keurig, but don’t want something that will break down in the first few months
Keurig is notorious for making pricey machines that break down far too easily. While we generally suggest thrifty shoppers look elsewhere, there is a Keurig for fans of the product who are looking for a cheaper option. It’s not their cheapest model, but we recommend the K-Select because it’s less prone to prematurely breaking down than the cheaper models. As our budget choice, it has less bells and whistles than the other products on our list. But it’s got all the basic features of a classic Keurig, and even a few extras.
This model has a quiet brew option, which is great for early risers or shared spaces. Because it’s a lower end model, it’s probably not your best choice for high traffic use (like you’d get in an office). But the quiet option is still nice for a family household, or if you simply can’t stand the whir of a coffee machine warming up in the am. There is also a strong brew option for real caffeine lovers. Keurig’s require a little more TLC if you want them to last, and the K-Select has a maintenance reminder feature to save you the trouble of keeping track. Maintenance is also relatively easy, and Keurig sells machine cleaner that usually requires you to simply run the cleaner through the machine, followed by a rinse run.
This is a basic model, so you won’t find a frother or 4 oz brew option, and it will only take K cups. It’s also not a machine that’s built to last (a general reality of Keurig products), but it is a step up from the other budget priced models. Overall, it’s a decent model and our top suggestion as a standard model.
K155 Office Pro
Best Option for Heavy Use
Why We Love It
The Keurig K155 Office Pro can withstand higher traffic use and has a variety of useful features
Who Should Buy This
As the name suggests, the Keurig K155 Office Pro is ideal for high traffic use and office and workplace environments
One of the most popular places for a Keurig machine is an office space. Even Keurig critics can acknowledge that the product is pretty ideal for these kinds of settings. Office spaces are not generally generally revered for the quality of their coffee, so the convenience of a Keurig machine is well suited to an environment where there is a lot of busy people. A world does exist in which people are more preoccupied with the ease and convenience of obtaining a caffeinated beverage than they are with the taste. The people who live in this world include overtime police officers, customers in pursuit of a complimentary drink, and bored office workers. For them, the Keurig K155 is a solid option.
For starters, it’s actually a nice looking machine. It has a minimal design and reasonable dimensions, so it won’t take up too much space. There’s a good chance you’ll want a large selection of teas and coffees nearby, so having a sleeker machine is a lot more convenient.
This model is designed for simplicity's sake, so it’s easy to use. It has a colour touch screen feature with language settings (English, Spanish and French) and quiet brew setting, which is so important for a high traffic coffee machine. It also has automatic on and off settings, saving you all the more time. The single serving aspect also saves staff the trouble of frequently cleaning and re-brewing coffee. With frequent use comes a variety of needs. This model has a hot water feature to accommodate tea and hot chocolate fans.
One feature this model lacks is the strong brew setting, so those fatigued employees might miss their extra kick. The plastic waste - a nearly universal problem with Keurigs - is also exaggerated in an office setting. But, it’s convenient and easy to use machine that caters to frequent use environments will minimal maintenance.
The Premium Option
Why We Love It
Offers more versatility than other models, with programmable controls and a carafe for brews up to 30 oz.
Who Should Buy This
People who like to have a little more versatility in their single-serve coffee machines.
One of the major appeals of Keurig machines is also a drawback; they brew single serve coffee. This is a great feature on the go, and can result in less wasted coffee. However, many customers still want a larger pot of coffee from time to time, and it can be a nuisance to require a second coffee machine for this purpose.The K575 Premium addresses this issue by including a carafe option. The carafe is still pod-style coffee, but can brew up to 30 oz for those lazy, coffee-filled mornings.
The K575 Premium offers a bit more versatility in other features as well. It’s removable drip tray is great for cleaning, and when removed, you can fit a travel mug under the brew spout. The reservoir has a flip top lid, which is more convenient for refilling the machine. It also has a hot water feature for tea fans and programmable controls like automatic on/off, strong brew and 5 size options.
For a machine with more options, one thing it’s really missing is a frother. That being said, the K575 Premium is nice compact size as it is, whereas the frother machines tend to be more bulky. This machine also takes longer than other to warm up (about 3 minutes). You can theoretically combat this issue by presetting the “on” time, but customers find the longer wait a bit annoying nonetheless. It also does not have a quiet brew setting, so it’s a little louder than other models. Overall, this is a fairly standard Keurig machine that stands out for its carafe brew option.
Recommended Accessory: Reusable K-Cups
One of the most outstanding complaints about Keurig machines is their impact on the environment. Sure, the single-use K-cups are ultra convenient for your grab and go coffee, but our reliance on single use plastics is one of the most pressing environmental disasters today. Keurig K-cups are one of the worst polluters in this category. In fact, inventor John Sylvan himself has expressed regret for not producing recyclable K-cups. The company has made strides to lessen their environmental impact, and one of their solutions is a reusable K-cup.
Resuable K-cups come in a number of different options. Most are designed with a durable stainless steel mesh, and some include two fill lines for cups or travel mug sized coffees. They are also designed to fit any machine, so you shouldn’t have to worry about compatibility. Of course, because they require the user to fill them with coffee grounds, they are slightly less convenient than the traditional disposable pods. However, the advantages really outweigh the minor inconvenience. For one, it is a much cheaper option that continuously buying K-cups. While disposable K-cups are generally cheaper than buying a coffee every morning, many customers are rather surprised at how quickly the cost adds up. Another huge advantage is that if gives you the option of using your own coffee. If there’s one thing Keurig is notorious for, it might the terribly bland coffee their machines produce. With the reusable cup, you can brew single servings of your favourite blend. Finally, the environmental benefits are huge. Reusable K-pods are a cheap, easy way to reduce your environmental footprint.
Three Options to Choose From:
4 Pack Universal K-Cup (3rd party)
My K-Cup 2.0
My K-Cup 1.0
Why we love it:
Most of the convenience of a keurig, with less waste and better taste. Plus, you save money too! A must have for any Keurig owner.
Who Should Buy This:
Although machine washable, they do require cleaning.
Which One Should I Choose?
The K-Cup has gone through a few minor design changes over the years. Some cups are universal, while others are only designed for one or the other. If you are looking at any machine on our list, you’ll want the Keurig 2.0 compatible cups. For older machines, you’ll want the 1.0 compatible cups.The Keurig 2.0 Official reusable K-Cup is our personal favorite. It’s well made and easy to clean, but it is a little more expensive. The older version is still available if you don’t have a 2.0 machine.Alternately, the reusable mesh cups are super affordable and come in four-pack. This is great for larger households, and the cheapest option. The mesh can be a little harder to clean, so we recommend machine-washing them.
What's The Best Keurig For Me?
For the General Purpose User: K-Elite
If you’re not looking for anything over the top and just want an all-around single serve coffee machine, the K-Elite is our recommendation. It’s a decent Keurig with useful features like a hot water dispenser, iced coffee setting and a pretty sophisticated look to it. It has 5 different oz settings and a large reservoir for less frequent refilling. While it’s a fairly sizable machine, it’s convenient and easy to use. So for the general user, we suggest the Keurig K-Elite.
For Users who like Variety: K-Cafe
For some people, your regular cup of joe doesn’t always quite cut it. The K-Cafe is great for those who prefer a latte or cappuccino to start their day. With its frother, strong brew option and travel mug-friendly design, the K-Cafe is our top recommendation for lovers of variety.
For Thrifty Coffee Lovers: K-Select
Single serve coffee machines can be pretty pricey, even when you now you’re saving money in the long run. Selecting a coffee machine based solely on low price can result in a terrible quality product breaks down far too prematurely. So for coffee fans on a budget, we suggest the Keurig K-Select. It’s not their cheapest model, but it’s better quality than the lowest priced machines while still going for a good price.
For High Traffic Use: K155 Office Pro
Offices and business are a great place for single serve coffee machines. Between their convenience, ease of use, and relatively low maintenance, they’re a great option for high traffic areas. For workplaces that need to cater to coffee and tea lovers alike throughout the course of the day, we recommend the Keurig K155 Office Pro.
For a Higher-End Experience: K575 Premium
If you like a little more sophistication and are okay will spending a bit more, Keurig does have some premium models. In the modern household, the more you can do with one machine the better. The K575 is a premium model Keurig that gives you the option of brewing single serve or up to 30 oz with its carafe. With its versatile settings and uses, the K575 Premium is our suggestion for those looking for a more elevated model.
What are some Keurig Alternatives?
A lot of people prefer to avoid Keurig, but are still intrigued by the ease and convenience they offer. The good news is that Keurig is not the only brand making single-serve coffee machines, and better yet, we find that other companies are actually doing it better. Depending on which aspects of a Keurig you like, here are some great alternatives to satisfy you without all the drawbacks of a Keurig machine.
If you liked the ease of use, Check out Grind & Brew Coffee Makers
Part of the convenience of a Keurig comes from the fact that you don’t have to grind your own coffee. While pre-ground pods are convenient, they are also wasteful and much less fresh. Grind and brew coffee makers take out the effort of grinding while producing infinitely fresher coffee in the process. Rather than a pod of year old roasted beans, you get on the spot fresh ground coffee. Grinding your own bulk coffee is also significantly cheaper per cup (at least 4 times cheaper by some estimates) than buying individual pods. Take a look at our list of the best grind and brew coffee makers here.
If you only need to brew coffee for one, check out these single-serve coffee makers
Keurig is not the only company to manufacture single-serve coffee makers, and frankly they’re far from being the top dog. Whether you like pressed coffee, espresso, or Keurig-style pod machines, there is a variety of other single-serve options available on the market. Some options are drastically cheaper and better for the environment, and others offer the same convenience of a Keurig with notably better taste and overall build quality. You can read more about our top recommendations for single serve coffee makers here.
If you like the low cost, check out these french presses
Keurigs themselves are relatively cheap compared to similar machines, but there are so many other ways to brew a fresh cup of coffee at a dramatically lower price. A french press is a classic example. French presses are great because they are cheap, extremely easy to use, low maintenance, long lasting, and produce some of the freshest tasting coffee of any method. Check our suggestions on french presses here.If you like the variety of a pod-based system, consider a NespressoA lot of the problems with Keurig (environmental concerns, poor taste, unreliable machines) are seen in their competitors as well. The overall approach of instant, single serve coffee is simply not conducive to quality beverages on some fundamental level. However, Nespresso seems to have found a way to balance this convenience with actual quality. Unlike Keurig and other competitors, pod based Nespresso seems actually brew some decent tasting coffee. One reason seems to be that they add more grounds to their pods for fuller, bolder flavour. Take a look at our list of the best Nespresso machines and find out for yourself what set them apart.