The name Keurig has quickly become synonymous with quick, easy pod coffee, but the best Keurig coffee makers can do much more than produce hot brews on command. From wide ranges of serving sizes on built in milk frothers, timers and more, you’ll find a wealth of fancy features on the best Keurigs these days.
A pod coffee machine is far more convenient than drip or espresso devices. The Keurig coffee maker takes care of all the hard work, simply brewing a single cup of coffee from the pod inserted within minutes. That’s ideal if everyone in your household is in a hurry and on a different schedule. It also means minimal waiting time, no messy drips, and – most importantly – no more wasted carafes poured down the drain.
Not only that, but with the move to recyclable K-Cup pods, the effect on the environment is being minimalised all the time as well. However, it’s still a consideration and you’ll still need to find environmentally friendly pods to reduce your footprint. There are, also a few other downsides to the speed and convenience of a Keurig coffee maker. The coffee may be weaker than what you’ll get with the best coffee makers and the best espresso machines, and the pods themselves range from about 60 to 80 cents each, making them far more expensive than ground coffee.
However, with easy cleaning and a no fuss approach to your morning coffee, there are plenty of reasons to check out the best Keurig coffee makers available.
If you’re looking for a basic model without too many bells and whistles to complicate things, this is the one to choose. From a full tank of water, you can make anywhere from four to eight drinks, depending on how big a cup you brew into. With a one minute brew time, this is a speedy machine indeed, and thanks to the programmable auto-off feature you won’t have to worry about powering your machine on and off either. It’s always ready to brew and simply shuts down when not in use.
However, if your favorite mug is huge, this might not be the machine for you, as the largest-size beverage you can select is only 10 ounces. The K-Classic comes in basic black or red.
The Mini is perfect if you have a small kitchen or there’s only one coffee drinker in your house. At less than 5 inches wide, it’s so compact you can even pack it in a suitcase and take it with you. The cord tucks away in a compartment in the back to keep things neat on the counter or on the road, and you’re even getting an extra slot for storing up to 9 K-Cup pods as well.
You will have to fill it up with water each time you use it though, which means it’s not ideal if you return for cup after cup throughout the morning. On the positive side, it does mean you start with fresh cold water every time you brew. You can choose your Mini in black, pale gray or Oasis, a pale teal shade.
Let’s face it, the reason many of us indulge in cappuccinos and lattes is because we love the frothy milk, not the espresso. If you’re one of those people, you’ll appreciate the K-Café’s onboard frother that makes it easy to whip up a foamy topping. You can get a stronger cup of coffee by choosing a dark roast and using the shot setting.
It’s a little pricier than the simpler Keurig coffee makers on this list, but if you’re after that coffee shop feeling at home it’s packed full of features and extra accessories to experiment with, all with easy to use buttons and smart heating for extra speed as well.
This is the Keurig for families with lots of people with many different beverage preferences. For starters, it offers serving sizes anywhere from a minuscule 4 ounces to a whopping 12.
If you don’t like the lack of control many pod coffee machines offer, this is an excellent choice. You can program everything from temperature to strength, and even offers a specific setting for iced coffee as well. This seeing keeps the coffee from being diluted when you brew over ice, and you’re also getting a hot water dispenser for making tea with a teabag.
The Keurig K-Elite also benefits from Quiet Brew, which minimizes noise during brewing, and reminds you when it’s time to descale as well.
As you would expect, though, more options mean this model is a little more complicated to operate and takes up more space on your countertop. You can choose from brushed silver, slate and gold.
With the Duo, you get a single-serve brewer and an automatic-drip coffee machine in one package. That makes it convenient for quick cups on weekday mornings and full pots to serve at weekend breakfasts and dinners. However, this device has fewer options than other Keurig coffee makers or full-size machines. There are only three single-cup sizes, no adjustable settings, and no clock for programming it ahead of time to brew a full carafe. It’s also available only in black.
Consider this machine if you have a home office or just a lot of heavy coffee drinkers coming through your kitchen. It’s also been certified by UL to meet the demands of commercial use if you’re looking to kit out a communal office space as well.
While it’s the most attractive Keurig, it’s also the biggest and by far the most expensive. There’s an LCD screen for programming the time you want it to turn on and off, the cup size, the brew temperature and whether you prefer it to read out in English, Spanish or French. With its huge 90-ounce water tank, the PRO can brew nine to 22 cups of coffee before it needs refilling. Available only in silver.
How we picked
To come up with our list of the best Keurig coffee makers, we looked at various review sites, including Wirecutter and Wired, as well as user reviews on sites such as Amazon.
How does a Keurig coffee maker work?
Keurig coffee makers use K-Cups, small sealed pods containing ground coffee. After inserting the pod into a compartment in the coffee maker, you then select the size drink you want. The machine then pierces holes in either end of the pod and forces water through the ground coffee in the pod and down into your mug. Once the water is hot, the brewing process takes just a little over a minute.
Keurig coffee makers and the environment
Until recently, K-Cups were not recyclable and wound up in landfills. New recyclable K-Cups made of polypropylene have been developed and have been rolled out across the US through 2019 and 2020. Keurig promised that by the end of 2020, all K-Cups will be recyclable, however there hasn’t been an update on this initiative since then. That means you may have to double check you are buying a recyclable K-Cup pod. To identify recyclable pods, look for a symbol on the package if you’re buying them at a store, or on the listing on Keurig.com if you’re shopping online.
Although the pods are recyclable, they are not compostable. And they’re only recyclable if you take the time to peel off the lid, toss or compost the coffee grounds inside and then rinse out the pods before throwing them in your recycling bin. There is also a concern that because they are so small, the K-Cups may be filtered out at recovery facilities and still wind up in landfills.
You can purchase a so-called My K-Cup Reusable Filter that you can use with your own ground coffee and then wash and reuse. Although it solves some of the problems associated with the pods, it does reduce the convenience of brewing with a Keurig, especially if you have many people using the machine throughout the day.
How to care for and maintain a Keurig coffee maker
- If you’re using a reusable coffee filter, be sure to use coarsely ground coffee and fill the mesh basket only to the bottom of the brown band (2.5 tablespoons).
- If you find grounds in your coffee or you’re getting a smaller cup of coffee than the size you selected, one of the needles may be clogged or need cleaning. Before cleaning the needles, unplug the machine. To unclog the exit needle, you need to remove and disassemble the pod holder and then use a paper clip to clear away any debris. Lift the head and use the paper clip to clean the entrance needle. We suggest that you watch this helpful video on the Keurig website before beginning the procedure.
- Every three to six months, or when you notice that brewing has slowed down, we recommend descaling your Keurig. Begin by filling the reservoir with 10 ounces of white vinegar (or Keurig’s Descaling Solution). Start the brew cycle without a K-Cup in place and let the machine run as usual, being sure to use a mug to catch the liquid. Repeat this process a second time with vinegar and then a third time with 10 ounces of fresh water.