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10 Best Keurig Coffee Makers Reviewed. Buyer’s Guide to Keurig!

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Sasha Pavlovich

10/08/2021 · 9 min reading

How much do you spend at your local café? Many of us need that caffeine burst before facing the day. If you don’t have time to brew a pot in the morning and you’re tired of spending a ton at the coffee shop, then a Keurig coffee maker may be the perfect solution for you. Here we rounded up 10 of the best Keurig coffee makers to help you decide which one is for you.

Quick Buying Guide to Keurig Coffee Makers

Quick Buying Guide to Keurig Coffee Makers

Before the 1990s, most people thought about coffee in terms of large pots. With the second wave of coffee spurring the growth of coffee shops, people began thinking of coffee in single servings. The first Keurig coffee machine appeared in 1998, and that changed home coffee brewing forever.

What Is Keurig?

A Keurig coffee brewer is a machine that dispenses a single serving of coffee in about a minute. The technology is built around the K-cup: a single serving of ground coffee sealed Inside a plastic cup. You place the K-cup in the machine and close the lid. That punctures the top and bottom of the cup. Hot water flows in the top, saturates the grounds, and drains out the bottom into your waiting coffee cup.

Since then, Keurig has created over a dozen modes that include a whole array of features. Most can brew several sizes of coffee. Some models can produce a strong brew while others have variable water temperatures. The K-Café can even heat and froth milk so you can make a drink similar to a latte or cappuccino without having to leave home.

The K-Cup and Convenience

The ability to brew a single cup of coffee means no more dumping out pots of half-full coffee. While most coffee makers can adequately make a 6-cup pot or more, smaller pots usually result in weak, under-extracted coffee. Plus, it takes time to set up and brew a pot of automatic drip coffee. With the Keurig, just pop in a K-cup, and a minute later you’ll be sipping a hot cup of Joe.

Another advantage of a Keurig brewer is that everyone can have their favorite hot beverage. You can find K-cups in a variety of single-origins and blends in light, medium, and dark roasts. You’ll also find K-cups for flavored coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.

The Drawbacks

While you can brew a variety of cup sizes with a Keurig, there’s one major drawback. Regardless of how much hot water is used, it’s always the same amount of ground coffee. That means a larger cup size results in weaker coffee.

Another disadvantage is coffee freshness, or lack thereof. With the third wave of coffee, people became much more aware of the value of freshly roasted and freshly ground coffee. By definition, a significant amount of time passes between when the coffee was ground to when the K-cup goes in your brewer. This just wasn’t acceptable to many coffee connoisseurs. Also, coffee enthusiasts want to brew the coffee from their favorite local roaster.

All of these problems were swept away with the invention of the My K-Cup Universal Reusable Coffee Filter. These are about the size of a typical K-cup. You fill them with your favorite ground coffee and pop it in your Keurig. It has two fill lines, so you can brew a larger cup and retain the strong taste. All current Keurig models are compatible with the My K-Cup. But, many people like the Keurig because of the convenience: no measuring, no mess. Filling your own reusable filter nullifies that advantage.

Review of 10 Keurig Machines

Keurig offers over a dozen models of brewers. These vary in size, features, and functions. Some can even brew a full carafe of coffee. Here we break down the best Keurig coffee makers so you can decide which Keurig brewer is best for you.

1 Keurig K-Express Essentials

Keurig K-Express Essentials
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Enjoy the pure simplicity of a Keurig machine at a bargain price. This is a streamlined, single-serve coffee maker. It's one of the newer models in the Keurig line. It was developed exclusively for Walmart. You can get it in basic black, red, and tropical blue.

The pushbuttons are on the front of the machine, making them easy to access. You can choose to brew a 6-, 8-, or 10-ounce cup. At only 6.5 inches wide, there's room for this on almost any counter. Despite its compact size, you can still place your travel mug up to 7 inches tall under the spout.

You will find other compact Keurig models on our list. What sets this apart is the large reservoir. That lets you brew multiple cups back-to-back. You don't have to stop to refill or reheat the water. This brewer also has a warning light when you need to add water as well as a light when it's time to descale.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Easy to use
  • Available in 3 colors

Cons:

  • No brew strength setting
  • Small reservoir

2 Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker

Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker
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If you want a portable coffee maker, the Keurig K-Mini may be for you. Besides its diminutive size, it features an onboard cord storage space to make travel easier. This is a fun-size brewer, and it comes in five fun colors: black, dusty rose, oasis, poppy red, and studio gray.

This brewer is super easy to use. There is a single button to push. It does not have pre-set cup sizes. However much you put in is the amount that will come out. This could be a plus since you don't have to guess your cup size. The drawback is that you do have to refill with water with every use.

In addition to saving space, this machine saves energy. It shuts off 90 seconds after the brewing process ends.

Key Features

  • Dimensions (D x W x H in inches): 11.3 x 4.5 x 12.1
  • Weight (pounds): 4.6
  • Reservoir: Single serving
  • Cord length: 26 inches
  • Maximum cup height: 7 inches
  • Cup size: 6 – 12 ounces

Pros:

  • Portable
  • Easy to use
  • Available in 5 colors
  • Energy efficient

Cons:

  • Add water for each cup
  • No brew strength setting

3 Keurig K-Classic

Keurig K-Classic
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This machine was one of the original Keurig designs, and it's still popular. That's because it's easy to use and it delivers what you want: a speedy cup of coffee. All you need to do is pop in a pod and choose your drink size.

This is a great machine if you'll be drinking several cups throughout the day. The water stays hot for up to two hours. If you forget to turn the machine off, no problem. It will automatically shut itself off.

This brewer is basic and does not allow for customization. It does, however, have indicator lights that tell you when you need to add water and when it's time to descale. It's available in black and rhubarb, which is a rich red color.

Key Features

  • Dimensions (D x W x H in inches): 13.3 x 9.8 x 13
  • Weight (pounds): 10.6
  • Reservoir: 48 ounces (removable)
  • Cord length: 32 inches
  • Maximum cup height: 7.1 inches
  • Cup size: 6, 8, and 10 ounces

Pros:

  • Large reservoir
  • Easy to use
  • Descale function
  • Longer cord
  • Energy-saving option
  • Includes water filter
  • Available in 2 colors

Cons:

  • No brew strength setting

4 Keurig K-Elite

Keurig K-Elite
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This Keurig coffee maker is a step up in price from the previous ones on our list, but it's also loaded with many features you might want. It offers programmability as well as the ability to customize your drink. It also has a more modern look. It comes in your choice of three metallic finishes: brushed gold, brushed silver, and brushed slate.

If you like a stronger coffee taste, just press the "Strong" button. Next to that is the button for hot water. That allows you to get a straight shot of hot water much faster than putting a kettle on the stove. That's great if you love things like tea, oatmeal, and instant soup or noodles. You can also manually adjust the temperature between 187- and 192-degrees.

If you like iced coffee, press the "Iced" button. Put a cup of ice under the spout, and you'll be drinking flavorful iced coffee in almost no time. This setting brews a small, stronger cup of coffee that won't taste watery when poured over ice.

This brewer is programable. It has an Auto On function that will turn the machine on at the time you designate. You can also set the Auto-Off feature. Your housemates might appreciate this machine's Quiet Brew Technology when it kicks in early in the morning.

Key Features

  • Dimensions (D x W x H in inches): 13.3 x 9.8 x 13
  • Weight (pounds): 10.6
  • Reservoir: 48 ounces (removable)
  • Cord length: 32 inches
  • Maximum cup height: 7.1 inches
  • Cup size: 6, 8, and 10 ounces

Pros:

  • Very large reservoir
  • Strong brew setting
  • Iced coffee setting
  • Hot water dispenser
  • Variable temperature
  • Filter included
  • Quiet operation
  • Available in 3 colors

Cons:

  • Short cord
  • Expensive

5 Keurig K-Café

Keurig K-Café
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If you like café-style drinks with frothy and foamy milk, then this is the Keurig coffee maker for you. While it doesn't make a true espresso, it comes very close with its concentrated 2-ounce shot. You can easily make lattes and cappuccinos with the press of a button.

This machine has an automatic milk frother. You can choose from three settings: cappuccino, latte, and cold. The frother is also great for hot chocolate. While higher-fat milk performs best, you can use plant-based milk such as soy and almond.

The cappuccino setting will heat the milk and deliver thick foam to spoon on top of a cappuccino. The latte setting will heat the milk and incorporate microbubbles, giving a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. The cold setting froths the milk, making it taste sweeter and creamier, without heat. This is the perfect setting for iced lattes and cappuccinos.

Key Features

  • Dimensions (D x W x H in inches): 13.3 x 9.8 x 13
  • Weight (pounds): 10.6
  • Reservoir: 48 ounces (removable)
  • Cord length: 32 inches
  • Maximum cup height: 7.1 inches
  • Cup size: 6, 8, and 10 ounces

Pros:

  • Froths milk
  • Large reservoir
  • Strong brew setting
  • Dishwasher safe milk frother

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Large footprint

6 Keurig K155 OfficePRO Premier Brewing System

Keurig K155 OfficePRO Premier Brewing System
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This is a commercial-grade brewer designed for offices, waiting rooms, and other busy places. With the 90-ounce reservoir, it can dispense 10 to 20 cups before having to refill.

The interface is an easy-to-read touchscreen. People can choose English, Spanish, or French. Everyone can tailor their drink to their liking. Size options include 4-, 6-, 8-, and 10-ounce cups.

In the settings menu, you have a variety of options. You can remove the 4-, 6-, and 10-ounce settings. That could be especially helpful in public settings where you provide a disposable coffee cup. You can set the time display. You can also set an auto-off feature so you're not wasting energy overnight. The water temperature is also adjustable.

The main drawback to this machine is the clunky water reservoir. It slides out from the side and can be tricky to replace, making it prone to leaks. But once you figure it out, it's easy enough. The benefit is that your customers won't be fiddling with the water supply. Luckily, because of the large reservoir size, it should only need filling once a day or less.

Key Features

  • Dimensions (D x W x H in inches): 13.3 x 9.8 x 13
  • Weight (pounds): 10.6
  • Reservoir: 48 ounces (removable)
  • Cord length: 32 inches
  • Maximum cup height: 7.1 inches
  • Cup size: 6, 8, and 10 ounces

Pros:

  • Huge reservoir
  • Long power cord

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Tricky to replace water reservoir

7 Keurig K-Select

Keurig K-Select
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This is a fairly straightforward Keurig coffee maker. The operation is very easy. Turn it on and select your cup size. You also have an option for a stronger brew.

A definite advantage of this machine is its higher clearance. When you remove the drip tray, you can place a travel mug up to 7.4 inches under the spout. It also has a fairly large reservoir, so you can go several days before refilling. Warning lights let you know when the water level is low and when you need to descale.

One thing we like the most about this brewer is all the fun colors. It comes in Volcanic Glass, Matte Black, Vintage Red, Oasis, Sandstone, Matte Navy, and Matte White.

Key Features

  • Dimensions (D x W x H in inches): 11.6 x 9.2 x 12.5
  • Weight (pounds): 7.4
  • Reservoir: 52 ounces (removable)
  • Cord length: 27 inches
  • Maximum cup height: 7.4 inches
  • Cup size: 6, 8, 10, and 12 ounces

Pros:

  • Strong brew setting
  • Quiet operation
  • Available in 7 colors
  • Good for travel mugs
  • Large reservoir

Cons:

  • Not programable

8 Keurig K-Duo

Keurig K-Duo
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Sometimes you want a little, and sometimes you want a lot. In addition to making single-serve coffee, this machine has the ability to brew a full carafe of coffee. Both sides of the machine share a single, 60-ounce reservoir.

The K-Duo comes with a 12-cup glass carafe and warming plate. The dual function on this brewer makes it great for when you have guests. It's also handy when one person wants something different like decaf or tea or a different roast.

With a clearance of 8 inches when the drip tray is removed, this brewer can easily hold tall travel mugs on the single-serve side. For larger servings, you'll probably want to hit the Strong button to get a full-flavored cup. To save energy, the auto-off feature turns the brewer off five minutes after a single-serve brew.

The carafe side has automatic brew pause for when you can't wait for the whole brew cycle to finish. It's also programable, so you can wake up to the smell of freshly brewing coffee. The warming plate will keep the coffee hot for two hours before automatically shutting off.

Key Features

  • Dimensions (D x W x H in inches): 12.8 x 10.9 x 12.9
  • Weight (pounds): 9.7
  • Reservoir: 60 ounces (removable)
  • Cord length: 30 inches
  • Maximum cup height: 8 inches
  • Cup size: Single Serve/Carafe 6-, -8-, 10-, and 12-ounces/cups

Pros:

  • Strong brew setting
  • Brew Pause for carafe
  • Fits tall travel mugs
  • Programable
  • Brew full pot or single-serve

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Carafe may dribble

9 Keurig K-Duo Plus Coffee Maker

Keurig K-Duo Plus Coffee Maker
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While this provides the same functions as the regular K-Duo, it goes about it in a very different way. This versatile brewer offers a more compact design. It uses the same spout to brew both single-serve and a full carafe of coffee. This brewer includes a stainless-steel thermal carafe.

A unique feature of this brewer is that you can position the water reservoir in a variety of ways. If you have a narrow but deep spot on your counter, position the reservoir in the back. For a wider but more shallow space, position the reservoir on either side.

Like the regular K-Duo, this model also features a Strong brew option, brew pause, and programmability. The auto-off feature keeps the water hot for five minutes before shutting off.

Key Features

  • Dimensions (D x W x H in inches): 11.7 x 8.2 x 14.1 -or- 15.9 x 7.7 x 14.1
  • Weight (pounds): 11
  • Reservoir: 60 ounces (removable)
  • Cord length: 39 inches
  • Maximum cup height: 8 inches
  • Cup size: Single Serve/Carafe 6-, -8-, 10-, and 12-ounces/cups

Pros:

  • Strong brew setting
  • Thermal carafe
  • Brew Pause for carafe
  • Fits tall travel mugs
  • Programable
  • Brew full pot or single-serve
  • Long cord

Cons:

  • Very expensive

10 Keurig K-Compact

Keurig K-Compact
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Although this is not the smallest brewer Keurig offers, it is the smallest that has a removable water reservoir. It has a warning light to indicate when you need to add water.

This model has an easy push-button interface. Just turn it on and select your cup size. That's it! It's not very tall, but thanks to the removable drip tray you can fit a 7-inch travel mug under the spout.

The K-Compact comes in four colors: Black, Grey, Imperial Red, and Turquoise. What we like best about this machine is its price tag. This is a great option for those on a budget who just want a hot cup of coffee in a minute.

Key Features

  • Dimensions (D x W x H in inches): 13.2 x 8.2 x 12.5
  • Weight (pounds): 6.9
  • Reservoir: 36 ounces (removable)
  • Cord length: 26 inches
  • Maximum cup height: 7 inches
  • Cup size: 6-, 8-, and 10-ounces

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Auto shut-off
  • Available in 4 colors

Cons:

  • No brew strength setting

Things to Consider Before Buying a Keurig Coffee Maker

The Keurig may not be for everyone. While we love the ability to brew a single cup of coffee, that may not be enough for others. If you know you’ll always want more than a single cup, you might want to look for a more conventional coffee machine. But if you love the idea of single-serve coffee, here are some things to think about when deciding on which model.

Want a Little or Want a Lot

You love your single-serve machine, but what do you do when you have company? Or, what if everyone in your home likes a dark roast but you want a light roast? For these problems and more, the solution may be a brewer from the Keurig Duo line. These machines offer the ability to brew a full pot of coffee while also offering the convenience of the single-serve function.

Cup Size

Do you prefer a small, intense cup or a larger cup with a more subdued taste? Most Keurig brewers offer a range of cup sizes. Only the K-Cafe line offers a concentrated 2-ounce shot of coffee. The smallest cup size on other machines may be 6 or even 8 ounces. If you plan on using a My K-Cup Universal Reusable Coffee Filter, you may want to get a brewer that has a 12-ounce option. That’s because the My K-Cup allows you to use more coffee grounds than a regular K-cup.

Cost

A Keurig brewer will be more expensive than a standard automatic drip coffee maker. How much more varies widely. The basic models may be around $50 while machines with lots of options may be a couple hundred dollars. If you’re looking for a commercial-grade Keurig, you’ll be paying several hundred dollars. Also, the operating cost of a Keurig machine is more than a standard drip brewer. The individually packaged K-cups cost more than bulk coffee beans. But remember that you’re paying for convenience. If your alternative is stopping at the coffee shop, you will still save a significant amount of money with a Keurig.

Programing and Customizing

With some Keurig machines, you just touch a single button and get a cup of coffee. Others have loads of features. Decide what features you need and which you can live without. Of course, the cost of the machine typically goes up the more bells and whistles it has. Here are some features you might find on a Keurig:

  • 24-hour programmability
  • Brew strength control
  • Water temperature control
  • Large water reservoir
  • Auto-off
  • Setting for iced coffee

Crave Cafe-Style Drinks?

Most Keurig coffee machines only make coffee. But what if you love lattes and cappuccinos? If you want a single-serve brewer that can also heat and froth milk, you’ll need to go with the K-Café.

Tall Mugs

A brewer isn’t any good if it can’t fit your favorite mug. Most Keurig brewers only have about 7 inches of clearance. Many travel mugs are taller than that. If your favorite travel mug is closer to 8 inches, then look for a brewer that can accommodate that height.

Compact and Portable

Most Keurig machines have a footprint larger than your typical drip brewer. Some are considerably larger. But Keurig does offer some amazingly compact machines. If you’re tight on space, you may want to look at smaller machines like the K-Mini, which is only 4.5 inches wide.

Noise

Most Keurig machines are quite noisy. If you’re an early riser but others in your household are not, consider looking for a Keurig that offers their Quiet Brew Technology. Your housemates will thank you.

Reservoir Size and Ease of Refilling

Some Keurig brewers have a water reservoir large enough to make a dozen cups of coffee while others only hold enough for a single cup. If you have a short counter, you may not want to have to drag the machine out to refill the water every day. Another consideration is if the reservoir is removable. A removable water reservoir is easy to carry to the sink to refill. This is definitely a factor to consider when comparing models.

Hot Water on Demand

Keurig machines are known for their speed of heating water. If you like tea, instant oatmeal, instant noodles, and other things that require hot water, a Keurig machine can be handy. With some Keurig machines, you can touch a single button to get a cup of hot water. Other machines can run without a K-cup installed, but you have to press a series of buttons as you would for coffee.

How to Clean Your Keurig Coffee Maker

With any coffee maker, regular maintenance is required to keep it running well. About once a week, run hot water through the machine to get rid of built-up oils and grinds. You’ll also want to regularly wash the reservoir and any other removable parts with soap and warm water.

You also need to do a process called descaling. This removes the deposits left by minerals in your water. Many Keurig brewers have a light to indicate when it’s time to descale. If yours does not, it’s recommended to descale the machine every three to six months, depending on the hardness of your water.

  • Fill with solution: Keurig makes their own descaling solution. You can also use a mix of 50% white vinegar and 50% water.
  • Run the machine: Run the Keurig like you would for brewing coffee.
  • Repeat: Keep cycling the machine until the Add Water light goes on.
  • Wait: It’s best to let the solution sit in the machine for about 30 minutes to let the solution lift the deposits.
  • Refill reservoir and Rinse: You’ll want to run up to a dozen cycles of plain water to completely clear the deposits and remove the taste of vinegar.

FAQ

  1. How long do Keurig brewers usually last?

    The average lifespan of a Keurig seems to be about five years. Of course, that depends on how often you use it. To get the maximum lifespan of your machine, be sure to regularly clean and descale it.

  2. Are K-Cups and Coffee Pods the same?

    Yes and no. Coffee pods are primarily a round, flat filter packet with ground coffee inside. These are not compatible with a Keurig brewer. However, since the original K-cup patent expired, many brands are producing coffee products that work with Keurig coffee makers. These will be labeled as “compatible with Keurig” and are often refers to as pods.

  3. How many times can you use a K-Cup?

    K-cups are designed strictly for single use. But you can get a My-K-Cup Universal Filter that you fill with your own ground coffee. These are designed to use over and over.

  4. How many different flavors of K-Cups are there?

    There are literally hundreds of different Keurig brand K-cup choices. You'll find them in a variety of roasts and flavors. That's not counting the teas, hot cocoa, and ciders

  5. What are the different kinds of K-Cups?

    You'll find coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and more packaged in K-cups. Within the coffee category, you can get light, medium, and dark roasts as well as decaf and flavored coffee. Some K-cups are single-origin, organic, fair-trade certified, or rainforest alliance certified.

  6. Can I use a reusable K-Cup filter?

    Yes. For the longevity of your machine, we recommend getting the official My K-Cup Universal Reusable Coffee Filter.

  7. Do I need to descale my Keurig coffee maker?

    Yes! We cannot stress this enough. Even if you use filtered water, regular descaling is critical for the longevity of your machine.

The Hat Tip Goes To…

On this list of the best Keurig coffee makers, our overall top pick is the Keurig K-Express Essentials. This machine is easy to use and delivers fresh, hot coffee quickly. In short, it does everything a Keurig machine is supposed to do. At only 6.5 inches wide, it’s easy to fit on the counter even in small kitchens. The water reservoir holds 36 ounces, so you can go a few days before refilling. And it does all this at a very affordable price.

Of course, this may not be the best choice for every situation. If you must have latte- and cappuccino-style drinks, you would probably want the K-Café. If you need a machine to deliver both a full pot of coffee and single-serve coffee, you’ll want one of the models in the Duo line. Whichever machine you choose, any Keurig brewer can make those sleepy, foggy mornings a little bit easier.


Sasha Pavlovich

Hi, I'm Sasha, and this blog is about coffee!

I'm myself an experienced barista with a high passion for coffee. Love brewing, cupping, and talking coffee non-stop. I hope you enjoy my blog and feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions.

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