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5 Best Keurig Coffee Makers

Coffee Geek Lab / 5 Best Keurig Coffee Makers

Last Updated: Jul 30, 2020

There are many machines designed to make our lives better.

But my personal favorite is the Keurig coffee maker.

It’s always there when I need good coffee. And when I need it fast, which is very important.

Do you want such a little kitchen helper for yourself? Then keep reading and I will help you find the best Keurig coffee maker.

A Quick Preview

ModelReservoir CapacityBrew SizesRatingPrice
Keurig K250 Coffee MakerKeurig K250 Coffee Maker40 ozUp to 30 oz8.5 Check the latest price on Amazon
Keurig K575 Coffee MakerKeurig K575 Coffee Maker80 ozUp to 30 oz9Check the latest price on Amazon
Keurig K-Mini PlusKeurig K-Mini PlusOne-cup reservoir6, 8, 10, 12 oz7.5Check the latest price on Amazon
Keurig K55Keurig K5548 oz6, 8, 10 oz8Check the latest price on Amazon
Keurig K-SelectKeurig K-Select52 oz4, 8, 10, 12 oz9Check the latest price on Amazon

What Is Keurig?

You must have already heard about Keurig coffee machines. I mean, you can find one in almost every American household.

No wonder, as Keurig is one of the most famous brands on the market. It specializes exclusively on coffee machines. The company strives to deliver high-quality coffee at reasonable prices and, most importantly, allow you to enjoy that coffee in the comfort of your own home.

Keurig offers many machine types and designs in different price categories. What makes the company stand out from the competitors is that it has coffee makers for almost any user. There are models for home and office, big and miniature, advanced and simple. And all of them work with K-cups. This allows for extremely simple operation and minimal effort to get your beverage.

How Do Keurig Coffee Makers Work?

All Keurig machines are single-cup models, which means they dispense one coffee serving at a time. Of course, you can control the volume and get smaller or larger quantities. There are even a couple of models that can brew a whole carafe at a time.

Now, Keurig machines use those famous K-cups.

But how do they work exactly?

Let me explain. K-cups are small pods (capsules) that contain ground coffee. When you put the K-cup into your Keurig machine and close the compartment, tiny needles puncture the top of the pod, and the machine runs pressurized water through the grounds.

The majority of Keurig machines have a pre-set brewing temperature of 192 F, which is the optimal temperature for coffee extraction. However, some models allow users to set the desired temperature. This gives coffee lovers a chance to adjust their beverages more. It’s an ideal option for people who want full control over their coffee.

Such operation combines a bit from drip coffee makers and espresso machines. You see, the way water runs through the grounds and extracts the coffee is similar to the way regular dip coffee machines work. However, because there’s pressure involved (similar to the espresso machine method), the result is more flavorful.

Now, it is natural that you might start worrying about the freshness of coffee in those K-cup capsules.

But here’s the deal:

The company uses special multiple-layer packaging that keeps air and moisture away from the grounds. This means coffee gets fresh to you as if it was ground right before you start brewing.

Plus, some Keurig models work with reusable coffee pods. This means you can use your own coffee and even grind it right before use for the richest, most flavorful beverages.

What Unites All Keurig Machines?

Even though the variety of top-rated Keurig models is really wide, there are certain things that unite all the machines. These features can be considered Keurig’s signature:
  • Super-fast brewing time. Typically, Keurig machines brew coffee in under a minute.
  • Removable drip tray. This feature allows Keurig users to brew coffee straight into their travel mugs.
  • Plastic body. To make their machines affordable and easily accessible, Keurig uses mostly plastic components. They are of good quality, but some users may still see a plastic body as a drawback.
  • Removable water reservoir. All Keurigs have a convenient construction that allows for easy refills.
  • Keurig K-cups compatibility. These coffee makers work with coffee pods that are designed specifically for Keurig. There are dozens of brands that carry Keurig capsules and offer hundreds of different flavors.
  • Auto-off feature. It allows the coffee makers to automatically turn off when not being used to preserve power.
While all Keurig coffee makers have an energy-saving auto-off feature, some of them (more expensive models) also have an automatic On setting. This means they turn on and start brewing at the time you set, which is a great bonus, especially if you love waking up to the smell of fresh coffee.

Our Reviews of 5 Best Keurig Machines

Keurig K250 Coffee Maker

Keurig K250 Coffee Maker

The first item on our list of the best Keurig coffee makers is sleek, nice-looking, and multifunctional. The K250 model comes in 7 different colors. It measures 13.7 inches in height and is available in seven different colors to fit into different interiors.

Being one of the best single-serve coffee makers on the market, this model would be ideal for someone who appreciates customization and the ability to choose between different beverage sizes. It’s also a great option for multiple users, large families, or coffee lovers who often invite friends to come over.

What makes the K250 special is the brewing volumes that it offers. With this machine, you can brew a single cup (4, 6, 8, or 10 ounces), a larger travel mug (12-16 ounces), or even a full carafe (22-30 ounces). The settings allow you to adjust the volume for each specific brewing cycle. But make sure you use an appropriate K-Cup, K-Mug, or K-Carafe pod.

Now, the machine has a strong brew option for single-serve brewing, which means you can even adjust the flavor. The brewing time is under one minute. The K250 has a large 40-ounce reservoir, so you won’t have to refill it too often.

This model would be ideal for someone who appreciates customization and ability to choose between different beverage sizes. It’s also a great option for multiple users, large families, or coffee lovers who often invite friends to come over.

Keurig K575 Coffee Maker

Keurig K575 Coffee Maker

Another dual coffee maker that brews cup and carafe sized beverages, the K575 is one of the best Keurig coffee machines in terms of value for money.

This model has probably the largest water reservoir on the market – 80 ounces. It is removable, of course. Because the reservoir is see-through and placed on the side of the machine, it makes it super easy for users to see when it’s time to refill. The reservoir allows you to brew more than 10 cups before you have to add more water, which is ideal for families or multiple users.

The machine can brew 5 different cup sizes, plus 12-18-ounce mugs and a full carafe (22-30 ounces). There are also 5 temperature settings, which allows you to experiment with different brewing temperatures to find what works for you the best.

When a single cup is not enough, it’s good to have a carafe option. Keep in mind that a reliable carafe would keep your beverage fresh and warm without affecting its flavor. If that’s something you are interested in, you can check some of the good thermal carafe coffee makers and pick what works for you.

The K575 has a large, bright touch screen. It may serve as a digital clock when you are not using the machine. It also allows for effortless adjustments and settings, which is great for someone who appreciates simple controls.

Overall, this model would be a perfect option for people who want good value for money and customization. With such a large water reservoir, it’s also ideal for office use. Just keep in mind that the carafe does not come with the machine.

Keurig K-Mini Plus

Keurig K-Mini Plus

Don’t let this model’s size fool you. Despite being small and cute, the K-Mini Plus can be called one of the best coffee makers as it can brew a great cup of coffee.

Being less than 5 inches wide and only 12 inches tall, the K-Mini Plus would fit almost anywhere. It has a small 1-cup water reservoir and a removable drip tray. This machine brews one cup at a time and offers a fresh, rich flavor. You can also try the Strong Brew function, which will result in a more intense cup of coffee. There are 6, 8, 10, and 12-ounce brew sizes available.

The machine comes with a handy pod storage section that can hold up to 9 K-cup capsules. It perfectly fits between the drip tray and the coffee dispenser, helping you save counter space when not using the machine.

The Keurig K-Mini Plus is a perfect little brewer for people who have small kitchens and limited counter space. It’s also an ideal option for solo coffee drinkers who always want their beverages hot and freshly brewed.

Keurig K55

Keurig K55

Being one of the most popular models, the K55 appears in many professional coffee maker reviews and is often recommended by experts in the industry. This machine belongs to the K-Classic series and offers user-friendly design and customizability (to some extent).

Let me explain.

While this machine does not let users control the brewing temperature and seems rather simplistic, it still allows for certain adjustments. For instance, you can control the brew size and choose between three different cup volumes.

When it comes to cleaning, Keurigs are really easy to handle. Regular wiping and dusting are enough. Once every 6 months or so, depending on the hardness of your water, you will also need to descale the machine. The process involves filling the water reservoir with a descaling solution and running a cleaning cycle with a press of a button. And that’s it! Super easy.

This machine’s water reservoir allows users to brew around 6 cups of coffee before the refill is needed. Conveniently placed on the side of the machine, it is transparent so that you could easily see when it’s time to add more water. The K55 also comes with 2 water filters, so your beverages will always taste pure. And if you use bottled or filtered water, you will get even better results!

This model is ideal for people who want something simple. Because it offers a limited set of customization options, the K55 would be perfect for users who need a no-frills coffee maker.  

Keurig K-Select

Keurig K-Select

The Keurig K-Select is another simple model that can fully satisfy your coffee needs. It has a sleek body and comes with all the necessities for a good cup of coffee. The K-Select comes in 4 different colors and can fit into pretty much any interior. It has a nice matte finish and looks more expensive than it really is.

Now, this model offers 4 cup sizes: 4, 8, 10, and 12 ounces. It dispenses one cup at a time, allowing users to enjoy the freshest beverages. There’s also the Strong Brew feature that makes more intense coffee.

The K-Select has simple button controls. This machine does not require going through a learning curve, so it is suitable even for beginner coffee lovers. It has a 52-ounce water reservoir, meaning users can brew multiple cups without the need to refill every single time.

This model would be a perfect first-time coffee maker. It is simple and easy to use, which makes it ideal for beginners. Besides, it doesn’t require you to figure out the settings you like and it has a limited number of customization options. This is perfect for beginners who are just starting their journey into the coffee world.

While K-cups keep coffee sealed and protected from air and moisture, some users still find the coffee not fresh enough. If you are as demanding as they are, you may want to consider getting yourself a machine that would grind the fresh beans and brew them right away. Check out my grind brew maker guide to learn more about this type of coffee machines.

On the Negative Side: Common Issues with Keurigs and How to Fix Them

So, you’ve decided to get your own Keurig, which is great, but I want to warn you in advance:

Just like with any device, some issues are possible.

BUT you shouldn’t worry if your Keurig starts behaving weirdly. Most of the time, those issues can be fixed right away. Here are the most common ones:

  • The machine turns on and off automatically. This sometimes happens to programmable Keurigs. You just need to turn the timer off, and your machine will stop acting on its own.
  • The coffee maker isn’t brewing coffee properly. It can either be too slow or make spitting noises. In most cases, this signals that there’s too much buildup inside the machine caused by hard water. You just need to descale your coffee maker to fix this issue.
  • Your coffee tastes bad. Again, this can mean that it’s time to clean the inside of the machine. Don’t postpone the descaling – and you will always have a good-tasting cup of coffee. Another issue might be with the K-cup pod freshness. Make sure you read the Best Before date on the packaging before buying it.
  • The machine is not heating. Keurigs often turn the heating element off when the water is not being properly pumped. And that happens when you install the reservoir incorrectly. So, try to reset the water reservoir and make sure you hear that “click” sound signaling you’ve done it right.
  • The “Add Water” error pops up even when there’s water in the reservoir. This signal simply means that there isn’t enough water. Just add a bit more and brew your coffee. Sometimes this error appears when the machine is too dirty and the sensors simply do not detect the water. In this case, you need to take the pieces apart and thoroughly wipe the parts of your machine.

Potential Pitfalls

Retail Volume

Source: https://blog.euromonitor.com/keurigs-dominance-proving-hindrance-pod-coffee-expansion-north-america/

Keurig remains the most widely used coffee machine brand in North America. Dominating the market, Keurig brings the convenience of fast brewing into our homes.

But here’s the deal:

Not everything about these coffee machines is perfect. That’s why many experienced coffee experts avoid recommending this brand to new users. And that’s the reason why I want to be transparent with you and share some concerns and potential pitfalls that are linked to using a Keurig at home.

The first issue users often encounter with the Keurig is its limited compatibility with other capsule brands. In 2014, the company launched its next-generation line of coffee makers (Keurig 2.0), which uses a special scanning system that recognizes other pod brands and doesn’t let the machine brew with them (1). To say that consumers were upset (and still are) in an understatement. 

Why?

Firstly, because we, coffee lovers, do not like to be limited when it comes to choosing what coffee we want to brew. Secondly, it all comes down to the fact that Keurig-branded K-cups are rather expensive

Approximate estimates show that the coffee used in K-cups would cost $40 per pound (2). And that’s obviously quite expensive. Still, some users are willing to pay more for the convenience of these machines. Additionally, because many of the Keurig models are able to maintain an optimal brewing temperature, the quality of their beverages may also win you over despite the K-cup prices.

However, there’s another potential issue I have to warn you about: the environmental impact. Many coffee enthusiasts are worried about the recycling issues linked to K-cups. The estimates suggest that Keurig sells so many K-cups each year that those little pods could circle the globe more than 10 times when put together. And most of them end up in landfills (3). 

Now, let’s be fair: the company did put some effort into altering this situation. In 2016, Keurig started using recyclable coffee capsules made of polypropylene. Just like regular plastic bottles, these K-cups can be shredded and sold to those manufacturers that use recycled plastic to make their products (4). 

In a perfect world, those cups should’ve been compostable. After all, not everyone sorts their trash and recycles plastic. And most of those K-cups could still end up in landfills.

Luckily, both of the mentioned drawbacks (the price and the sustainability) can be fixed with one simple solution: a reusable My Cup coffee filter that the company offers to its customers for $14.99. You can use pre-ground coffee of your choice with this filter as many times as you want. This means more options when it comes to choosing your coffee type and less plastic trash in our environment.

How to Choose the Proper Keurig Size for Your Kitchen

Now, while most Keurig machines are quite compact, they do come in variations of shapes and sizes. And not all of them may be suitable for your kitchen, especially if your counter space is somewhat limited.

So, here are the main series of Keurig machines you can come across and the main size differences between them:

  • K-Classic, 13 inches high and 9.8 inches wide;
  • K-Select, 12.5 inches high and 9.2 inches wide;
  • K-Elite, 13.1 inches high and 9.9 inches wide;
  • K-Mini, 12.1 inches high, 4.5 inches wide;
  • K-Cafe, 12.5 inches high and 15.3 inches wide;
  • K-Duo, 12.92 inches high and 10.94 inches wide.

As you can see, the height of the Keurig coffee makers is quite similar across all the brewing lines. So, if your space is limited, it’s better to pay attention to the machine’s width as it varies from model to model.

F.A.Q.

What is the strongest coffee you can get for a Keurig?

You can try the dark-roasted coffee by Banned Coffee, ultra-caffeinated K-cups by Wake the Hell Up, or the Death Wish coffee pods for a stronger caffeine hit.

Can I use purified water in my Keurig coffee maker?

Yes. Purified or distilled water is a great option for brewing with a Keurig coffee maker as it can help prevent calcium buildup and allows for a cleaner taste of your beverages.

How many watts does a Keurig coffee maker use?

According to the manufacturer, Keurig home coffee makers use 1,500 watts for the first initial heating after being off. Then, if the power is kept on, the machine will operate on 200-400 watts when heating.

Conclusion

You can now see that you don’t really have to make much effort to enjoy a good cup of coffee. Your Keurig will do everything for you. And I have an idea of which one might do it the best. The Keurig K575 really seems to have everything that any coffee lover may ever want. While it allows for multiple customization options (including the brewing temperature), it’s extremely easy to control. Plus, it brews a great cup of coffee! But if you need something simpler (and cheaper), I suggest you try the K-Select model. It’s a great little coffee maker. It is fast, simple, and most importantly, it makes good coffee every time. So, have you decided on what machine you want to have in your house? Does Keurig seem like something you would enjoy using? Share your thoughts in the comments!

References:

  1. Josh Dzieza (2015, February 05). Keurig’s attempt to ‘DRM’ its coffee cups totally backfired. Retrieved from https://www.theverge.com/2015/2/5/7986327/keurigs-attempt-to-drm-its-coffee-cups-totally-backfired
  2. Brad Tuttle (2015, March 05). Here’s How Much You’d Save by Dumping K-Cups for Traditional Brewed Coffee. Retrieved from https://money.com/k-cups-price-cost-comparison-coffee/
  3. James Hamblin (2015, March 02). A Brewing Problem. What’s the healthiest way to keep everyone caffeinated? Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/03/the-abominable-k-cup-coffee-pod-environment-problem/386501/
  4. David Gelles (2016, April 15). Keurig’s New K-Cup Coffee Is Recyclable, but Hardly Green. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/17/business/energy-environment/keurigs-new-k-cup-coffee-is-recyclable-but-hardly-green.html

Yurii Brown

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