The simplicity of Keurig products helps to keep the morning running smoothly, all while brewing a tasty cup of joe. We researched the best Keurig machines and pods on the market, purchasing the top products to be tested back-to-back in our lab. Our team of coffee experts spent many caffeinated days brewing and sipping cup after cup, noting which ones stood out amongst the rest. We hope this in-depth review helps you make the most informed decision possible when purchasing a new Keurig product.
There's an overwhelming number of methods for brewing coffee. Pod-style coffee makers tend to be the quickest and most convenient. However, if you are in the market for a brewer that makes more than one cup at a time, our review of top-ranked coffee makers will be of great use. Our team of coffee experts has tested and reviewed everything from espresso machines and coffee grinders to milk frothers.
Editor's Note: This comprehensive Keurig review was created on March 6, 2023, to help you find the best Keurig products for your coffee corner.
The Keurig K-Supreme Plus Smart is the ultimate option when it comes to pod-style brewers. This brewer is one of the most tech-forward models on the market. It connects to the Keurig app, allowing you to remotely control the machine, create brewing schedules, adjust settings, and more. The app will even automatically order new K-Cups when you're running low. This feature-rich device is excellent for busy people. The K-Supreme Plus Smart also has excellent customizable options like brew size, strength, and temperature. With BrewID, the machine recognizes which K-Cup is inserted and changes its settings accordingly. With these highly adjustable features, this coffee maker brewed some of the best-tasting coffee in our lineup, time and time again. Almost everything can be controlled through the mobile app; however, the brewer's interface is also intuitive and highly functional.
Though we love the Keurig app, it wasn't the easiest to set up. Initially, we had quite a bit of trouble getting the app to pair with the coffee maker. With all its bells and whistles, this brewer comes at a premium price. If you're set on a Keurig and want the best regardless of the price, we think you'll be pleased with the K-Supreme Plus Smart.
Cup Sizes: Between 6-12oz | Dimensions: 11.3" x 4.5" x 12.1"
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
The Keurig K-Mini is among the simplest and most minimalistic brewers we have tested. The brewing process is easy, only requiring the user to insert the pod, add water, and push the large start button. This straightforward coffee maker is ideal for those who aren't interested in an involved process. Hence the name, the K-Mini is small and takes up very little counter space. It is also lightweight and can easily be stored between uses. The Mini is available in a handful of different colors. This, paired with its minimalist design, makes it one of the most aesthetically pleasing Keurigs in our lineup. The K-Mini brewed decent coffee at a price that's hard to beat.
While the simplicity might be ideal for some, others might find the lack of features frustrating. Truly, there are no customizable options other than the color of the machine. You won't be able to change the water temperature or strength. That said, we weren't overly impressed with the coffee. The consistency, strength, and taste varied from cup to cup. Though if you're looking for a budget-friendly option, you can't go wrong with the K-Mini.
Looking to combine the convenience of a Keurig with an espresso machine? The Keurig K-Cafe is built just for this reason. With pre-programmed selections like lattes, cappuccinos, and iced coffee, you'll be making cafe-style drinks right at home. It also includes a milk frother, which we found particularly pleasing as we added almost two inches of foam onto our drinks. The K-Cafe has additional customization with brew strength, temperature control, and cup size. The brewer remained fairly consistent throughout our tests, giving us some of the best-tasting coffee in the lineup. Not only that, it was fun to use. It's a bit more involved compared to the others, but this process can easily become a pleasing part of your morning routine.
Though we appreciate the creativity this machine allows, the shots were weak compared to traditional espresso shots. A Keurig can only do so much when pulling from a K-Cup, though. Additionally, this brewer is quite large and heavy, so you'll need to free up a bit of counter space.
The Keurig K-Elite is an intuitive coffee maker that reliably brews great coffee. It's highly adjustable, with options for brew strength, cup size, temperature, and even iced coffee. Time and time again, the machine brewed coffee with a consistent temperature and volume. Consistent brewers provide better-tasting coffee, which the K-Elite proved to be true. Its interface is sleek, not overly complicated, and it is straightforward to use. All functions are clearly marked, with reminders to add water and descale the machine. We were also impressed with its large 75-ounce reservoir. This is particularly useful for back-to-back use.
This top-performing brewer has its downsides, mainly the upfront cost. Those who don't care about consistency might benefit from a more budget-friendly option. It also took us 70 minutes to descale the machine, which could be a hassle for busier people. In addition, this coffee maker is on the larger side. You will need a decent amount of counter space for this bulky machine. With these considerations in mind, we think this is an excellent machine for those who can spare the cash and space.
Pod Type: Medium Roast K-Cup | Disposal: Non-Recyclable
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
Not the strongest flavor profile
This medium roast is highly popular among Keurig users. Rightly so, Donut Shop Medium Roast lands perfectly as a middle-ground brew that satisfies various palates. As it was brewing, we were pleasantly greeted with faint, aromatic notes of tobacco. The medium-bodied roast carries hints of chocolate and rye with a minimal aftertaste. Likewise, the overall flavor is savory with low acidity. This pod is a great option to have available in offices, as it will satisfy a wide variety of coffee drinkers.
This middle-of-the-road coffee might not be for everyone as its flavor profile isn't the most boisterous. Those who prefer light or dark roasts might find this too strong or weak, depending on their palates. With disposable K-Cups, the plastic-like aftertaste is hard to avoid. Unfortunately, this brew couldn't avoid it either. Like many others, we were left with a subtle taste of plastic.
Pod Type: Medium Roast K-Cup | Disposal: Non-Recyclable
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
Those with dark roast preferences might find this weak
The McCafe Premium Roast Coffee is a medium roast that brews a mild, well-balanced cup of coffee. Initially, we were met with a subtle nutty aroma. Upon tasting the coffee, we were pleasantly greeted with a light flavor profile with hints of citrus and toasted almonds. The aroma and taste blend beautifully and build off one another. The brew is mildly acidic, which compliments the light-bodied, nutty flavors well. This medium-light, balanced brew alongside a warm slice of coffee cake is a combination you won't want to miss.
This brew is a little lighter than we would expect from a medium roast. Though some might find this pleasing, others might find this brew to be lacking flavor for their preferences.
Pod Type: Dark Roast K-Cup | Disposal: Non-Recyclable
REASONS TO BUY
Bold and flavorful
Tastes good alone or with milk and sugar
REASONS TO AVOID
Might be too robust for some
The Cafe Bustelo K-Cup is a dark roast that boasts a rich, flavorful cup of coffee. This full-bodied brew is among the strongest we tasted while staying far away from burnt. The aroma and flavor profile is perfectly balanced with notes of toasted hazelnut and sweet caramel. The brew is enjoyable on its own. And with a little milk and sugar, we were pleased to find the robust flavor remained.
This dark roast is not for those who enjoy light or even medium roasts. The bold flavors might be overpowering for some. Though we enjoyed this balanced brew, we were displeased with the plastic-like aftertaste, a difficult thing to dodge with K-Cups.
After thoroughly researching the best Keurig coffee makers and K-Cups on the market, we purchased the most promising options. Our team rigorously inspected and assessed each of these Keurig coffee makers and K-Cups. Through back-to-back testing, we were able to determine which products stood out and which were mediocre. We didn't merely stop at taste. Our tests include hours of systemized cleaning, customizing, and brewing. We set our personal preferences aside and objectively judged these products.
Our team of coffee experts was led by Buck Yedor, Genaveve Bradshaw, and Becca Glades. Buck has had a lifelong love for coffee. This passion was solidified while living with a distinguished professional barista who helped perfect his brewing techniques and palate. Genaveve's coffee obsession also started early in life and has morphed into a lifelong passion. Not only that, she is a true culinary whiz testing many of our kitchen-related reviews, such as coffee grinders and electric kettles. Becca acquired a taste for coffee in her 20s and has been honing her barista skills ever since. She is also a huge fan of convenience and simplicity, making her the right person to test and write about Keurig brewers.
How to Choose a Keurig
Choosing the right coffee maker to fit your needs can be quite daunting. Keurig has many brewers available with many options and features. Then, once you've settled on a machine, there are even more K-Cup options to choose from. Luckily, our barista experts and researchers have done all the testing for you.
Why do you want a Keurig?
Keurig coffee makers are available in an assortment of sizes with different features. Before selecting a Keurig, it is worth noting your reasons for acquiring one. Are you looking for the most convenient option, ultimate customization, a budget-friendly brewer, or the best-tasting coffee? Perhaps you are looking for a combination of these factors.
Let's be real, all Keurigs are convenient. To optimize the efficiency of the machine, you'll want to determine which features are necessary. You might find it particularly useful to create schedules and remotely start the brewer using an app. Or, you might find that all these extra features get in your way. In that case, you might prefer a brewer that has very few steps involved. Regardless, it's difficult to find a Keurig that is hard to operate. All have intuitive designs with clean interfaces.
2. Customization and Features
While most Keurigs have options for cup size, some include additional options for strength and temperature selection. Some of these machines have advanced pre-programmed options for iced-coffee, lattes, and cappuccinos. These premium features come at a price, but could are worthwhile for those who frequent coffee shops. If you're a design whiz, many of these brewers are available in different colors and finishes. So, theres's no need to worry about the brewer clashing with your kitchen design. The simplest models only have one button that starts the brewer. Machines with extensive customization can take away from its simplicity. If you're in the market for a coffee maker that simply makes hot coffee, all these features could be overkill. However, some might find these customizable features appealing.
A handful of these machines are built with minimalism in mind. These brewers take up very little space and work great in dorm rooms, apartments, or personal offices. However, these also look great in almost all spaces as they aren't too clunky. The downside of these brewers is that they usually don't have a large water reservoir. You might find yourself making frequent trips to refill it. These larger reservoirs come in handy when multiple people are consistently using the machine.
Most Keurigs brew coffee that is pretty similar in taste. For those who merely enjoy coffee, no matter what kind, you might not even be able to notice the difference between these machines. We analyzed the consistency of the temperature and volume output. These factors directly impact the flavor profile. If you're a bit picker about your coffee, you'll want to choose a brewer that did well in our consistency tests. With Keurigs, it's difficult to get away from the plastic-like aftertaste. A vast majority of K-Cups are made from plastic. Again, if you're not too picky, you might not even notice.
Once you have decided on a Keurig coffee maker, you'll need to find the right coffee to brew. Keurig pods are disposable plastic containers that have a one-time serving of coffee grounds inside. First, you'll want to determine what kind of coffee you like. Do you prefer a light or dark roast? Or are you somewhere in the middle with a medium roast? If you are completely new to coffee, it is worth figuring this out before investing in K-Cups, as they can get pricey.
Keurig-branded pods are trademarked as "K-Cups," though many companies make Keurig-specific pods that aren't considered "K-Cups." Some of the "smart" Keurig machines have BrewID, which recognizes K-Cups and changes the brewing setting based on the pod. It really doesn't matter what kind of compatible pod you use, though using BrewID K-Cups might be worth it if you own a "smart" Keurig. What matters most is the flavor and your personal preferences.
If buying hundreds of disposable plastic cups isn't your jam, Keurig has an alternative reusable K-Cup. With this option, you'll be able to add ground coffee directly into the K-Cup. This ultimately cuts down on waste and allows you to customize the amount of grounds in your K-Cup. It also gives you a bit more freedom when choosing what coffee you will use. Want to keep supporting your favorite local coffee shop? You can still buy their locally roasted beans and use them with your reusable K-Cup. If you compost, a handful of companies now make compostable pods that are compatible with Keurig machines.
What other options are available?
Nespresso makes an assortment of single-serve pod-style brewers that are similar to Keurig machines. When testing these head-to-head in our best single serve coffee maker review, we found the Nespresso machines provide stronger and better-tasting coffee than Keurigs. Nespresso pods eliminate the typical Keurig plastic aftertaste as they are made from aluminum. The company has a pod recycling program where used pods can be dropped off or shipped directly to the company. However, these premium machines come at a price. Nespresso machines and pods tend to be quite a bit more expensive than Keurig machines and pods.
When searching for simplicity, traditional drip coffee makers are the next best option. While they don't have the ultimate convenience factor that Keurig machines do, they are still pretty simple to use. Drip coffee makers come in a large selection of prices and quality. Selecting a high-quality drip coffee maker will often lead to better-tasting, more robust coffee. Additionally, these brewers are capable of making much larger batches, which could be ideal for a larger household full of coffee drinkers.
Choosing a Keurig coffee maker and pods can be a daunting task, especially with the large number available on the market. However, using the right brewer can easily become a pleasant routine. To help guide you, we hand-selected the most promising Keurigs and tested them extensively side-by-side. We hope this guide helps you make the most informed decision possible when purchasing a new brewer.
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GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.