The best Keurig coffee maker of 2020
When Keurig introduced the first single-cup coffee pods, it filled a niche many devoted caffeine fans didn't realize existed. These pods allowed individual coffee drinkers to choose a specific blend at a specific serving size. Communal drip coffee served in a 12-cup carafe was no longer the only option in the office breakroom.
However, Keurig recognized the need to produce mass quantities of fresh-brewed coffee from time to time, so some of their more popular models offer a dual function. A familiar 12-cup carafe sits comfortably next to a single-cup K-cup brewer.
While Keurig continues to promote its proprietary blends of coffee, tea, and hot cocoa, it is now possible for owners to use third-party pods in a number of their machines. Reusable DIY K-cups also allow users to add their own preferred grinds of gourmet coffee.
We have taken a fresh look at our own short list of the best Keurig coffee makers, taking into account changes in the technology and consumer trends. Our updated list includes two dual-function machines, along with a budget-friendly favorite for single-serve enthusiasts.
Best Keurig coffee makers of 2020
1. Keurig K-Duo Plus Coffee Maker: Our new top pick combines a crowd-pleasing 12-cup carafe with a convenient single-serve pod in a configuration that won't take up too much countertop real estate.
2. Keurig K-Classic: A long-standing favorite of ours, this budget-friendly single-serve machine accepts non-Keurig brand pods and a range of serving sizes.
3. Keurig K-Duo Single-Serve and Carafe Coffee Maker: If ground gourmet coffee is more your speed, this newcomer to our list can brew a full pot and keep it warm for hours.
For full reviews of these products, scroll to the bottom.
What you need to know before buying a Keurig coffee maker
At one point in history, coffee brewing was mostly a communal experience, with large pots of drip or percolated coffee waiting for consumers. There were single-serve packets of decaffeinated coffee available but not much else. The developers of the single-pod brewing system, Keurig, finally made it possible for coffee, tea, cider, and cocoa enthusiasts to produce individual cups of their favorite blends.
When shopping for a Keurig system, size and capacity do matter. A commercial Keurig for office use can take up a bit of real estate, and the smallest versions for single users have very limited capacities. Models with a slim profile and a generous water reservoir are very popular choices. Serving-size options are also a good thing, because some blends benefit from a concentrated 6-ounce brew, while others can hold up in a 10- or 12-ounce travel mug.
While Keurig's single-serve pods may have started a revolution in coffee brewing, the company still recognizes the benefits of communal coffee served in large carafes. For those who seek both a traditional office coffee pot and single-serve K-cup service, there are Keurig coffee makers with dual functions. This can be a very useful option if the majority of a group prefers drip brewed coffee while a few co-workers or clients may prefer tea or decaf or hot cocoa.
Ease of use and maintenance is also a consideration when comparing Keurig coffee makers. Some models, particularly those with 2.0 technology, will only accept K-cups authorized by Keurig's Green Mountain coffee producers. Others will allow owners to use third-party coffee pods that are physically compatible. K-cups can be ordered in bulk for office break rooms, or found in smaller packs on store shelves. Setting up a complete coffee station with sweeteners, stirrers, creamers, snack items and napkins is a good idea as well.
Most Keurig coffee makers arrive with a higher-end price tag, but they will also perform reliably for years if properly maintained. Expect to pay at least $100 for a basic single-serve model with a decent reservoir capacity and a range of serving sizes. Dual-function machines with programming features start around $130, while commercial-grade models with large reservoirs, warming plates, and multiple serving sizes can cost $200 or more.
Q. I have a large collection of specialty and imported coffees. Can I prepare them in a Keurig coffee maker?
A. You will probably need to purchase a reusable K-cup alternative and experiment with the grind and portion sizes. The brewing cycle is calibrated to the company's proprietary K-cups but should still yield a good cup of coffee. You may also want to search for equivalent coffee blends in the Keurig product catalog.
Q. I'm not a coffee drinker. Can I make hot tea or cocoa in a Keurig coffee maker?
A.Yes, you can prepare a number of beverages in a Keurig, including tea, cocoa, and cider. You can also find tea blends to make brewed iced tea. You may want to search online for non-coffee products, since traditional grocery stores may not offer a wide variety on shelves.
In-depth reviews for best Keurig coffee maker
Best of the best: Keurig K-Duo Plus Coffee Maker
What we like: Streamlined design takes up little counter space. Total of four serving sizes available. Stainless steel 12-cup carafe. Surprisingly fast brewing time for both drip and single-serve options.
What we dislike: On the expensive side. Some concerns about the water delivery system.
Best bang for your buck: Keurig K-Classic
What we like: Multiple serving sizes available. Two-hour automatic shut-off. Affordable price point. Accepts non-Keurig coffee pods.
What we dislike: Limited to single-cup mode. Limited programming functions.
What we like: Compatible with K-cups and ground coffee. Automatic brewing program available. Choice of regular or strong brew with single serve. Warming plate included.
What we dislike: Limited choice of housing colors. Brew strength is not consistent.
Michael Pollick is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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