Keurig has taken the coffee world by storm with its automated brewing devices built for home use that make coffee-shop-perfect coffee available to you in the comfort of your own home whenever you want. But if this is your first time shopping for Keurig machines you may have a lot of questions about where to begin.
Are they difficult to use? Do they make good coffee? How do you know which one to buy? There are so many different versions, features, and options that it can be difficult to choose the best Keurig for your needs – or even to know if the Keurig is right for you to begin with.
While many people cannot live without their morning cup of Joe, there are even more who are being introduced to the world of at-home coffee through convenience coffee makers and brewers like those manufactured by Keurig.
Many coffee connoisseurs balk at the idea of an instant coffee maker that does it all for you while you sit back and watch, there are many benefits to them. The most obvious being they bring an amazing coffee experience right into your home. You can also brew hot water for things like tea, hot chocolate, and other beverages from your Keurig machine.
From the basic models to the more elaborate coffee bars, Keurig has something for every coffee need. It may be different from the way we’re used to doing things, but different can be better. Think of innovation and ease of use, busy families, and coffee on-the-go. You can find them in dorm rooms, in office spaces, in kitchens everywhere, and even in hotels or at conferences. The quiet brew technology is one more thing that makes them so coveted.
The fact of the matter is, Keurig makes specialty coffee drinks available to nearly anyone. And if you love coffee, that’s something to be happy about. It’s great to see coffee becoming more accessible in homes today, and we’re going to explain today just what it is that makes Keurig so popular a brand in the coffee world.
What is a Keurig?
Before we dive into the types of Keurigs available today, let’s get down to basics. What is a Keurig? While it’s become somewhat of a household name in recent years, it’s okay if you still don’t really know what it is. We’re going to break it down for you.
Keurig is a company that has risen in the ranks of coffee fandom over the years. They now manufacture a huge line of coffee makers and accessories, to include carafes, filters, and even coffee consumables. They entered the coffee world in the early 1990s when making a coffee maker for an office setting. They do still offer corporate brewing modes, but what’s really become their bread and butter is their home machines.
From there, they expanded their coffee machine range and now have many models that are commonly found in kitchens across the United States. While there are a variety of machines in lots of different sizes and colors, the one thing that they have in common is that they produce good-tasting coffee quickly and easily.
Keurig Changed the Coffee World Forever
Whatever you may think or feel about the Keurig, it’s safe to say the company has changed the world of coffee forever. They were introduced to the home coffee maker market around 1992. This just happens to be around the same time that Starbucks was growing in popularity.
The idea of single cups of coffee was now becoming more popular in modern culture, despite it being more expensive than brewing your own pot at home. Keurig decided to get in on this trend and make a way for you to have single cup coffee in an instant at home.
If you’ve ever tried to make a single cup of coffee with your traditional drop coffee maker, you know it’s hard to do. While you can always make more coffee and then enjoy a cup of it later, it’s not the same as having it fresh.
Keurig came along and solved this problem by making a single cup machine that you can use right in your home to brew a cup of your favorite coffee any time you want. It’s quick and easy – typically just one press of a button – and it gives you great tasting coffee.
Although Keurig’s K-Cups were more expensive than bagged coffee you can buy in bulk, they were still cheaper than getting a cup of a coffee from a Starbucks or a local coffee shop. When Keurig really started to take off was after they were acquired by Green Mountain Coffee in 2006. By 2008, Keurig was basically a household name.
Before we get to the list of best Keurigs available on the market, let’s take a look into why you may want to own one.
Why You May Want a Keurig
So, what are some reasons someone might want a Keurig in their home? When you want really great coffee to brew super-fast, all in the comfort of your own home, then a Keurig might be right for you. Additionally, if there are a lot of people who live in your home who love coffee, or who drink different types of coffee, this could be a good choice for you.
You can get hot coffee fast without losing a lot of the flavor. It’s convenient and easy – the biggest selling points for people who use them. Imagine one simple machine that can give you, with just the press of a button, the best coffee you’ve ever had at home.
But there are also a lot of K-Cup flavors available. This is another reason you might want one. This is an excellent way to try out lots of different coffee flavors to see what you really like. You don’t have to worry about buying a whole bag of coffee and then not liking it. Keurig K-Cups come in around 400+ different flavors for you to choose from.
Due to Keurig’s partnerships with so many different brands, there is no shortage of flavors and varieties to choose from. You can also buy variety packs that give you samples of different flavors. This is perfect for trying them out to see which flavors you like and might want to have again.
Single Cup Coffee Maker
For some people, one cup in the morning is all they need to get their day started off right. And the single cup coffee maker option from Keurig is perfectly suited to that need.
While the foundation of the single cup coffee maker is just one cup at a time, some of them do allow for different brew sizes, making them even more versatile. And some even come with travel mugs that you can brew your single cup of coffee right into and then take it with you on the go.
Here are some brands of K-Cups you might enjoy:
- Krispy Kreme Doughnuts
- Newman’s Own Organics
- Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
- Laughing Man Coffee Company
- Gloria Jean’s Coffees
- Coffee Shop Coffee
- Tully’s Coffee
And here are some flavors you might enjoy:
- Chocolate vanilla
- Hot cocoa
- Butterscotch Swirl
- Sundae Coffee
- Pecan Pie
- Hot Fudge
- Blueberry Cobbler
- And many more!
The Top 7 Keurigs
Now that we have all of that out of the way and you have a better understanding of the Keurig brand and what kinds of coffee makers they produce, it’s time to get to the reviews of our favorite machines. Here are our best picks for the best Keurig models on the market today:
1. Keurig K-Elite
This Keurig model is, by far, the best overall. It is one of the most versatile machines in the entire Keurig line up and this is why it is often found at the top of these types of lists. It’s programmable and it can give you the best of both worlds as it offers the latest brew technology and also a very affordable price.
With the Keurig K-Elite, you can brew over ice or also select a strong brew flavor. It’s one of the fastest machines in the K-lineup and can brew a cup of coffee in under a minute. It also has a very popular auto-on feature that allows you to program a time for your coffee to start brewing for you. It’s perfect for busy families or those people who really need their cup of coffee in the morning before they are fit to brew their cup of coffee in the morning.
2. Keurig K-Café
The Keurig K-Café is a great machine for the person who likes to do it all! If you consider yourself a bit of an at-home barista, this might be the perfect machine for you. You can make every kind of coffee drink you can think of – including frothy espresso-based drinks, all from your own kitchen.
This model comes with a dishwasher-safe milk frother and many other great features that give you loads of versatility with your coffee making. Other features include:
- Coffee shots for specialty drinks (espresso)
- Cold setting for cold frothed milk
- The strength setting for bolder brews
The K-Café is like having your own mini-café in your home.
3. Keurig K-Supreme
Next on the list is the K-Supreme and this model brings you the best, most up-to-date and fresh technology in a single-serve coffee maker on the market today. It comes with MultiStream Technology which means there are multiple streams of water that deposit into the Keurig pod, meaning the coffee’s flavor and aroma is maximized. You can get more flavor from any brewed pod that with older models. It’s also slim and compact and available at a good price point.
It comes in three different models: K-Supreme Base, K-Supreme Plus, and K-Supreme Plus Smart.
The K-Supreme Plus comes with:
- Temperature control
- Strength control (three levels)
- 78 oz reservoir capacity
And the K-Supreme Smart Plus also comes with:
- Has BrewID, which recognizes the K-Cup you use and brews it per the roaster’s recommendation
- The K-Supreme Plus Smart is one of the few models with a display screen
- Works with Keurig App
As you can see, this is a great model if temperature and brew strength control is important to you. If you don’t need the extra features, the base model will work fine for your needs.
4. Keurig K-Select
When you want a simple cup of coffee, fast and without all the fuss, the K-Select might be right for you. This is very similar to the K-Classic, but it gives you some additional sizing options, which is very convenient. The large water reservoir can hold up to five cups of water.
- Larger water capacity
- Tells you when to descale
- Four cup size options
- Fast coffee brewing
- Removable drip tray
- Simple button controls
5. Keurig K-Duo Plus
When you need a dual function Keurig machine, this is going to be the one to meet your need. The Keurig Duo does drip coffee from one side and coffee pods from the other. It’s also a good choice for a small kitchen when you want to have both functions in one machine, rather than two machines to make space for on your counters.
- Provides a strong option for a more flavorful brew
- Includes a glass carafe and heating plate
- Pause and pour lets you pour a cup out of the carafe mid-brew
- Stainless steel thermal carafe
- Multi-position reservoir
- K-Duo Plus comes with a gold mesh filter starter kit
This is also an ideal coffee machine for an office setting. Different people can brew the different flavors of coffee they enjoy, and you can also brew a larger pot of coffee at once. You really can’t go wrong with the K-Duo.
6. Keurig K-Mini and K-Mini Plus
This is the best option for someone who only needs to make one cup at a time, or for those who have smaller kitchens and need a device that doesn’t take up a lot of counter space. It’s marketed as their slimmest design yet and it allows you to brew your favorite cup of coffee from anywhere you can get a power source.
Other features of the Keurig K-Mini are:
- One cup reservoir—you have to use fresh water every time
- Auto-Off kicks in 90 seconds after your last cup
- Cord storage means no messy wires or cluttered counters
- Bright colors add life to any room
Another huge benefit to the K-Mini lineup is that it’s very portable. If you’re traveling, you can pop this machine into your bags and use it at the hotel so you’re guaranteed great coffee and you can save yourself money, too.
7. Keurig K-Classic
It’s a classic for a reason, and this is one of the top Keurigs on the market because it meets all the basic needs and comes at an affordable price. This is the model that began it all and sparked the Keurig craze in kitchens everywhere.
The classic Keurig has:
- One minute or less brewing time
- Programmable auto-off
- 3 cup sizes
- Indicator lights
When you want something simple but that gets the job done, this is a great pick. It’s not flashy with all the bells and whistles of newer models, but it gets the job done and it’s dependable and affordable.
Now that you have our picks for the best Keurigs on the market today, you’re ready to start shopping for yourself. Let’s take a look at what kind of features you should look for when comparing different coffee machines.
Common Keurig Features
Coffee drinkers all over the world will want to know what features come with a particular machine they are considering. Here are some of the most common features you may find on a Keurig machine. When you understand these features, it will help you when shopping for your own Keurig. Here are some common features:
- Quick brewing time (usually under two minutes)
- Many flavors of K-Cups
- Easily washable parts
- Removable drip tray
- Removable water reservoir
- Energy-saving features
These features are going to be found on nearly every model of Keurig you look at. If you want to distinguish beyond that, look for things like a large reservoir for water, strong brew feature, reusable filter, or milk frothers. These are just a few of the things you may find in upgraded models that might suit your needs.
Now, why would you choose a Keurig over your traditional electric drip coffee machine? Or maybe you’re looking to make an upgrade and you’re not sure it’s worth it. Let’s compare.
Keurig vs a Drip Coffee Maker
What’s the difference in a Keurig and your traditional electric drip coffee maker? This is an important distinction to make if you’re looking to make the switch to a Keurig. A drip coffee maker is the type that most people are familiar with for home use these days.
Some people also just call it a “regular coffee maker”. While they seem very commonplace these days, they were actually not introduced until the 1970s. Prior to that, people had to make their coffee at home with manual methods.
While drip coffee makers were a big step up from the old ways of making coffee and they increased convenience by quite a bit, they still required knowing how to use the machine and also how to measure your coffee and your coffee to water ratio properly.
The Keurig takes it a step above and makes coffee brewing a one-step process for you. You don’t have to worry about grinding beans or measuring out ground coffee. It also makes types of specialty coffee you may not be able to make with your traditional coffee machine.
Advantages of the Keurig
Here are some advantages of a Keurig:
- It’s very easy to use
- The coffee will be high quality
- There are many coffee flavors to choose from
Advantages of the Drip Coffee Maker
Here are some advantages of a drip coffee maker:
- It’s affordable (and much cheaper than a Keurig)
- There is no plastic waste and it’s friendly to the environment
- There is more freedom in coffee you choose and how you brew it
Why Aren’t they Used in Local Coffee Shops?
If a Keurig is so great, why aren’t your local coffee shops using them? Well, there are some good reasons for this. First, the Keurig was designed as a single-serve coffee maker. While the Keurig machine and other pod brewers give you convenient coffee in a flash at home, there are some things that are sacrificed, and this is why you don’t see them being used in coffee shops.
You do lose some of the flavor when you use this type of machine. A commercial brewer found in a coffee shop is designed to brew the best coffee while maintaining the integrity of the flavor of the coffee beans in the process. This means better-tasting coffee with each cup. Unless you have a commercial sized coffee machine in your home, the Keurig is going to be the next best thing.
How to Shop for a Keurig
What should you look for when shopping for your Keurig? This is a great question because it will help you to sort what features you need, which ones are a happy bonus, and which ones you can live without. This will allow you to sort the Keurigs according to your needs and more easily find the best one. What’s best for one person or household may not be best for you. This is why we can’t tell you “This is the best machine”. All we can do is give you the information to make this decision for yourself.
Here are some things to consider:
Speed – Because Keurig machines are designed to make one cup of coffee at a time, this means you need to consider how fast they work. If you’re the only coffee drinker to be using it, then speed might not be as big a factor. But if there are several people in your home who are all going to be making coffee at the same time, you need a faster machine that can keep up.
Cup Size – While it’s true that the Keurig was designed as a single-use machine, what is considered “one cup” can vary. Most Keurig models have the three basic cup sizes – 6oz, 8oz, and 10oz. When you change the cup size with the function on the machine, you’re also changing the brew strength of the coffee. This means the 6oz will give you a stronger brew.
Space Required – How big is the machine and how much space is it going to take up in your kitchen? Can you afford the counter space? When you don’t have a lot of counter space to work with, it might be important for you to have a smaller machine. Keurig has thought of this and offers some models that take up very little space.
Water Tank Size – What is the capacity of the water tank? If you only drink one or two cups of coffee a day, you don’t need a large water tank. But if you drink more, or are making coffee for more than one person, you may need a bigger water tank.
Brew Strength Options – Changing the cup side, as mentioned above, is one way to control the brew strength but some models also come with this feature built in. If you have more specific needs for brew strength or have a household with different coffee drinkers who like different strengths, this is a good feature for you to have on your model.
Temperature Control – Most Keurig machines have a pre-set brew temp of 192 degrees. But there are some models that allow you to adjust this water temperature, giving you more control over your result. If this is important to you, be sure to look for a model that has it.
User Interface – One of the top selling features of the Keurig is the easy-to-use interface. Because they are so simple to operate, people who normally might not use a coffee machine can also benefit from them. That said, the more expensive models do have more intricate interfaces. They come with a sleep LCD touchscreen display. They also have a customizable nightlight and wallpaper, which are fun features, if you have it in your budget to upgrade.
Automatic Features – An auto-on feature or auto-off feature might suit your needs. All models have an auto-off feature for safety and to conserve energy. However, not all models have an auto-on feature. If you want your coffee to brew on a timer, then be sure to look for this feature when shopping for your Keurig.
Understanding K-Cup Pods
So, what are these K-cups and what do you need to know about them? What’s the difference between K-cups and coffee pods? You might think they are the same thing because they do look similar, but they are unfortunately not interchangeable.
They are both used for serving single cups of ground coffee. However, pods are packaged in filter paper and usually wrapped in foil to maintain freshness.
K-Cups come in plastic cups that store the ground coffee inside and when you’re ready to use, you just pop them into your Keurig machine. Coffee pods are not compatible with as many machines as the K-Cups are and you cannot use coffee pods in your Keurig machine at all.
Although coffee pods are much better for the environment and sustainable, they are not usable in a Keurig machine. If you opt for the Keurig, you will be producing a lot of plastic waste.
Note: K-Cups should never be re-used. They are meant for one-time-use only and there is no benefit to trying to reuse them. If you want to do better for the environment, you can recycle the plastic cups after use.
Downsides to Keurig Coffee Machines
Although ease of use is one of the top selling points to the Keurig, let’s look at what might not be so great about it. There’s always a con to every pro and before you drop a lot of money on a Keurig, it just makes sense to explore the possible downsides. Once you know them, if you determine they are not big enough to hold you back, then you can make your purchase with confidence, knowing you have explored every angle and thoroughly researched every step of the way.
What about Espresso Drinks?
Now let’s look at another popular type of coffee drink – espressos. Will the Keurig allow you to make espresso and espresso-based coffee drinks? Yes, you can make espresso drinks with a Keurig. Certain models of the Keurig are specifically designed for espresso-based drinks. For example, the Keurig Café is advertised as a cappuccino and latte maker, and it also has a “Shot” option on the machine. That said, it brews like regularly coffee and is not specifically an espresso machine.
What About Iced Coffee?
What if iced coffee is your jam? Will the Keurig measure up for this need? You can use your Keurig to make iced coffee and there are a variety of ways to do this, depending in the type of Keurig you have. Some models will also do a cold brew for you, so if iced coffee is something you have a lot, you may want to look into this when deciding on which one to buy.
Conclusions of the Top Keurig Coffee Makers on the Market Today
Now you know enough to help you make the best decision about the Keurig that suits your needs the best. At the end of the day, all of the models are good. It’s all about deciding what meets your needs the best. The first step is to decide if a Keurig is right for you.
From there, you can explore the different types and their features, and see how they measure up to the list of things you need and want from a coffee maker or home coffee bar. We’ve given you our picks for the top Keurigs on the market and explained their features and details so that you can make an informed decision about what is best for your own kitchen.
Coffee drinkers around the world can unite on one thing – anything that makes it easier for us to enjoy our favorite coffee is a good thing. Enjoy!