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Keurig produces one of the best coffee makers on the market, but they can be a little pricey. Fortunately, they aren’t the only game around, so if you want the Keurig experience without the price tag, buying one of the best Keurig alternatives is a great way to do just that.
These appliances will let you enjoy the convenience of a single cup brewer with the advanced functionality of a specialty coffee machine. Single-serve machines make it easy to mix up your favorite coffee drink by using a pod instead of fresh grounds. And Keurig alternatives give you the same user-friendly, programmable features in an easy-to-clean, compact machine for a fraction of the price.
There are many different types of Keurig alternatives, so the right one for you will depend on many different factors. For example, because these machines generally specialize in producing one type of coffee, the best model for you might be a single-serve espresso machine or drip coffee maker. Some can also make tea or hot chocolate. Regardless, you can be sure that it will afford you versatility, convenience, and savings.
Keep reading our buying guide to learn more about Keurig alternatives.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model is straightforward to clean because it has plastic housing and a stainless steel interior. You’ll also love that it’s suitable for grounds alongside pre-made pods. It has a one-key switch operation.
This single-serve model is fantastic for many reasons, but one of the biggest is the 800 watts of power the motor brings to the table. This makes it a high-powered option that will deliver fresh, delicious coffee during every brew cycle. You can use regular coffee grounds with this model, as well. Unfortunately, even though it’s compatible with coffee grounds, it does not come with a reusable filter. You’ll have to purchase that separately.
It only takes around 3 minutes for the brew cycle to complete because of the rapid brew technology and the motor, as mentioned above. Beyond this, an auto shut-off feature allows you to rest easy, knowing you won’t accidentally leave your coffee maker on and cause a safety risk. You can use this multifunctional model to boil water, as well, for tea or other hot beverages. A travel mug of up to 5.3” will fit in this model.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: The fully programmable design means you can get precisely what you want from this model. Beyond that, it has multiple beverage sizes to give you better precision control over your morning cup of joe.
If you’re looking for a great range of brew sizes, this is the perfect model to meet those needs. You’ll be able to choose from cup-size settings between 4 and 12 ounces. This gives you ultimate control over the cup of coffee you choose to brew. Unfortunately, some consumers have reported that this design feels cheap because of the plastic used in its manufacturing. This may be a dealbreaker for some.
This is also a fully programmable model with a backlit LCD display. You’ll be able to see the settings and navigate the system quickly. You can use the adjustable temperature control settings to ensure your cup of coffee is perfectly brewed. It also has an auto-rinse mode that allows you to clean up the interior of your brew chamber for a more straightforward clean-up process. The water reservoir can hold up to 72 ounces and is completely removable.
Award: BEST FOR COMPACT SIZE
WHY WE LIKE IT: You’ll enjoy the automatic function of this model, removing much of the guesswork that comes with drip models. It also has premium construction so it can outlast competitors. Beyond this, it’s easy to clean.
For quick cups of coffee in the morning, this is a great model to go with. It can preheat in just two minutes, ensuring that you get your cup filled up that much sooner. You’ll love that it’s a compact model and can easily fit on your countertop without taking up too much space. However, this compact size has a downside for some consumers. You won’t be able to fit a travel mug under the drip spout as you can with competitor models.
All you have to do is press one button to begin the brew cycle, making it an easy-to-use option even for beginners. This effortless process makes your morning routine that much easier. You can also use this button to drain the inner part of the coffee maker. That means the cleaning process is much easier. It comes with a motor that packs in 800 watts of power. This is a high-powered option for those who want their coffee delivered quickly.
Award: BEST FOR TRAVEL MUGS
WHY WE LIKE IT: You’ll enjoy the compact nature of this brewing system. Even while fairly compact, it can also fit an entire travel mug for better convenience. You’ll only have to wait 3 minutes for this model to finish brewing.
You’ll be able to brew up to a 10-ounce cup with this model. It’s a fantastic choice for those who require a range of different sizes to suit their needs. Best of all, it can fit full-size travel mugs under the drip spout. That means you don’t have to transfer coffee from a cup to your mug anymore messily. Unfortunately, some troubleshooting will most likely be required if you go with this model. It’s known for having the occasional technical difficulty show up.
There is a range of choices for brew style, as well. You can use K-Cups, as well as most other coffee pods. Because of this, you won’t have to worry about compatibility issues or getting your hands on any one specific brand. You can also purchase a reusable pod and use ground coffee in a pinch. This easy-to-clean model comes apart at unexpected places, such as the pod-piercing needle. This part will pop out easily so you can clean it and prevent clogging.
Award: BEST FOR PRECISE BREWING
WHY WE LIKE IT: The range of brewing sizes available to you means that you have total control over your morning cup. This system is also tall enough to accommodate travel mugs, which heightens the convenience factor significantly.
This model provides a great 2-in-1 brewing system that will allow you to have precision control over every cup of coffee you brew. You can use coffee pods for a convenient experience or switch to coffee grounds if you want your coffee budget to be lower. However, this system is a bit on the bulky side. This might make it challenging to find adequate counter space or store it in your cabinets.
It’s easy to use even for beginners and is a highly convenient option for anybody. It even fits travel mugs up to 7 inches tall, which is great for those making coffee in the morning for their commute. A size selection button allows you to choose between 6 or 14 ounces of coffee. This system includes a complementary filter basket, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing one separately.
Award: BEST FOR COMPATIBILITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: This multi-functional model can use grounds alongside pre-made capsules. You’ll have an easier time cleaning it because it has a removable drip tray, as well. It’s compatible with several branded capsules.
Having a removable drip tray is a huge plus for this brewing system. You’ll enjoy how much easier it is to clean up after you’re done brewing. It’ll also create more room under the brew spout so you can fit in larger mugs, including travel mugs. However, according to some consumers, the heating element is prone to wear out after only a few uses. This might be a dealbreaker for some people.
This super-compact model will be easy to fit almost anywhere. You can pop it onto your countertop or store it in a cabinet. Since it’s so small, it won’t be a hassle to travel with if you’re taking a long trip and want to bring your coffee maker with you. There is a visual water reservoir, so you know exactly when to add more water. You’ll also enjoy the concealed needle design that helps keep your hands safe from an accidental prick.
Keurig is the brand that made single-cup brewers popular. Their innovation made it easy to brew a single cup of coffee from a K-pod in less than 60 seconds. However, there are plenty of other brands that follow this model. Simply put, a Keurig alternative is merely a single-serve pod coffee maker manufactured by any other brand. They typically include all of the best features of a Keurig, but a few models include more. Plus, Keurigs tend to look sleek in a corporate space, which you can find in our roundup of the leading office coffee makers.
In general, a single-cup coffee maker is designed to use a coffee pod to brew a single serving of coffee. The coffee is usually dispensed directly into your cup instead of a carafe. Although they can all be used with pre-filled coffee pods, most also have the option to use a reusable filter for loose pre-ground coffee.
In general, there isn’t too much difference between a Keurig alternative and a standard Keurig machine. Both are single-cup brewers that accept a pre-filled pod of ground coffee, push water through it at high pressure, and then brew a single cup of coffee. However, there are many different Keurig brand models, some of which also brew an entire carafe of coffee.
A Keurig alternative performs the same function as a Keurig but doesn’t carry the Keurig name. Many different brands make similar machines. Depending on brand and functionality, you may find yourself paying more or less than you would pay for a Keurig. However, the benefit of a Keurig alternative is that they frequently perform better in the niche.
Also, like Keurig, a Keurig alternative coffee maker will usually let you choose from a selection of brew sizes. Some models, however, may not have as stylish a design as a Keurig coffee machine.
And when it comes to flavor, critics of Keurig machines say that it produces a very weak cup of coffee. This isn’t necessarily true of many alternative brands, however. Coffee lovers may find better flavor in something like Nespresso’s Essenza Mini or the Nespresso Lattissima Pro. Or, if you want genuine espresso and all-around delightful coffee, there’s the costly De’Longhi Dinamica Plus.
When talking about a single-serve brewer, they all work very similarly. They accept the best K pod coffee and push water through it at high pressure to produce delicious coffee in seconds. Once you place the pod in the machine and lower the lid, it punctures the pod on the top and the bottom. The machine then pushes water through it, allowing it to extract flavor from the grounds inside, and then deposits the coffee in your coffee cup.
Keurig alternatives that have additional capabilities, like brewing carafes of coffee, will function much like regular drip coffee makers. Some Keurig alternatives may brew espresso shots or specialty beverages. The Nespresso Vertuo, for example, uses integrated frothing mechanisms to create professional-quality cappuccinos, lattes, and other drinks like those you might get at a coffee shop. However, there are other brands, like Cuisinart and Hamilton Beach, that offer value and simplicity at a lower price point than Keurig.
With Keurig alternatives that brew espresso, they work much like an espresso machine. They pull water from a removable water reservoir and use a pump to create the pressure needed for optimal extraction. These types of alternatives also accept pods rather than fresh grounds, making it easy and quick to get your favorite drinks at home.
If you don’t already have a Keurig-type machine at home but want the convenience of a pod brewer, these machines can offer simplicity and convenience. Most are easy to use and can brew a single cup of coffee or a cappuccino quickly. Alternatively, if your old Keurig is on its last leg, but you don’t want something cheaper than the brand name model, a Keurig alternative coffee maker may just be what you’re looking for.
The lifespan of a Keurig alternative coffee maker will depend on the brand and the type of machine you buy. If you care for it properly and clean it regularly, you can expect your middle-tier Keurig alternative to last 2-5 years.
Luckily, they’re relatively easy to clean, especially with a removable drip tray. Higher quality machines will last much longer, while low-end budget options may only last 1-2 years. Ensure that you check the warranty information to ensure that you can get a replacement if something goes wrong.
When shopping around for a Keurig alternative, there are some things you want to keep in mind. Focus on the types of coffee you want to make, the features, and the sustainability.
A Keurig alternative is capable of making many different beverages. The most simple options are single cup brewers that receive pods and then brew your beverage with hot water. However, there are many kinds of pods, from coffee and tea to hot chocolate and apple cider. You can even use the hot water option for loose tea or tea bags, as well as powdered cocoa.
You can find Keurig alternatives with steam wands and espresso pods if you prefer to drink cappuccinos and lattes. These are a bit more expensive, but they allow you to make more specialty beverages.
You may also want to consider a dual coffee maker that allows you to brew single servings as well as an entire carafe for when you’re entertaining.
It comes down to preference, really, but while the number of features on your Keurig alternative can make it more convenient, but be sure it’s still user-friendly. Too many features may make it more complicated, and you shouldn’t be paying for something you’re not going to use. If it doesn’t simplify your life, it’s not worth the cost.
You’ll find everything from fully programmable machines to simple, one-touch budget options with very few buttons. Some simply have a single brew button. You may also want to consider an auto-off function or an auto-on that gives you more control over having your coffee ready. Pay attention to cup sizes, brewing strengths, and water brew temperature if you want to customize your beverages.
Cleaning is also essential, so if you’d rather not clean it manually, look for a machine with an automatic cleaning cycle and a warning light when it’s time to clean it or change the filter.
Not all pods are recyclable or compostable. While you should always shop for the best Keurig coffee, if you’re worried about the environment or your footprint, look for fully compostable pods. You can also get a reusable basket that allows you to brew regular coffee grounds rather than using pods.