Is a Keurig Worth it and Cost Effective? (Pros and Cons)

By Shabbir
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Few coffee machines are quite as polarizing as Keurigs! Pop over to Youtube and Instagram and you’ll find people who either hate them or can’t live without them!

So the question is:

Is a Keurig worth it, and is it cost effective?

Keurig machines offer unmatched convenience in brewing coffee, but at a cost. The machines themselves are expensive, as are the pods.

A cheap Keurig goes for around $100, and higher-end machines can set you back more than $200. The cost per cup is less than going out for coffee, but it will still be more than buying regular coffee and using it with a regular drip coffee maker.

If you value convenience more than anything else, Keurig machines are worth it.

Is the Keurig Starter Kit worth it?

The Keurig Starter Kit is very worth it if you regularly drink 2 to 3 cups of coffee per day and are looking to buy a new Keurig. You’ll get the Keurig for free(or 50% off), and you’ll also save 25% per order of coffee pods. Even if you get the brewer for 50% off, the savings from the pods will further reduce the overall cost of the brewer.

The Keurig Starter Kit is a program where you get a Keurig coffee maker for free(or a deep discount) if you commit to buying at least 4 boxes of coffee pods every 6 weeks for one year.

4 boxes of coffee is 96 pods for between $45-60 depending on the type of coffee. This works out to be a little more cost effective than Amazon.

You’ll get 6 orders over a year, which works out to about $300-400 over the year.

You’ll get the K-Mini or K-Select for free, or 50% off other Keurigs.

Considering you’d have spent $300-400 per year on coffee anyway, getting a new Keurig for free or heavily discounted is a huge plus.

Also read: Best Keurig for College Students

Cost-effectiveness of Keurig vs regular coffee makers

Let’s do a quick breakdown of Keurig and a drip coffee maker. We’ll look at the upfront cost and how much Keurig costs per cup as well as how much drip coffee costs per cup.

Cost of Keurig machine: $100

Keurig cost per cup: $0.45

Assuming your household drinks 4 cups a day, your monthly expense is $54.

Now for a regular coffee maker

Cost of coffee maker: $50

Cost per cup of coffee, assuming you use 12 grams for one cup: $0.25

Note: The average cost of ground coffee is $0.50 per ounce. One ounce is 28 grams, so you can make two cups of coffee for every ounce of grounds, thus $0.25 per cup.

Assuming your household drinks 4 cups a day, your monthly expense is $30.

There’s lots of room for nuance and variation, of course: you could use a more expensive coffee maker, or more expensive coffee, but on average, a regular coffee maker is far cheaper than a Keurig.

Pros of Keurig coffee machines

1. Keurigs are convenient

By far, the biggest advantage of a Keurig machine – any Keurig machine – is how incredibly convenient they are. The starter machines are also pretty small in size, so they don’t take up much space on your kitchen counter, either.

You simply pop a pod in the bay, close the lid, and push a button, and within a minute, you’ll have a single serving of hot coffee to start your morning right.

Let me tell you a little something about my morning routine:

When I wake up, the first thing I want(and sometimes NEED) is a cup of coffee. I used to own a Keurig, and it was so easy to just go and pop in a pod, idle around for a minute, and have a cup of coffee in my hand.

There’s no need to fiddle around with any beans, grinding, filters, or messy coffee grounds. Especially when you’re sleepy and your motor skills have not completely come awake yet!

Plus, there’s no need to measure anything. The cups are already pre-measured for one serving of coffee – you literally just have to pop in the pod and push one button. You can even leave water in the tank overnight without any issues.

So as far as convenience goes, Keurig machines rack up a nice big checkmark in the PRO column. If convenience comes before everything else for you, a Keurig is worth it.

2. Variety of flavors

Keurig happens to control 30% of the market share of single cup coffee makers in the United States, so it’s no surprise that a lot of coffee companies have jumped on the Keurig ship and make compatible pods.

All of your favorite names have their own pod offerings: Starbucks, Caribou Coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Folgers are some names you’ll find that have their own pods. Angelino’s is a company that makes pods from freshly roasted beans.

On the Keurig website, you’ll see there are – as of this writing – nearly 230 varieties of pods available.

The Keurig machines are not limited to just being coffee makers. Keurig pods are available in a wide variety of beverages, like hot chocolate and teas.

In this way, it’s very flexible. You can have your coffee in the morning, and if you’re feeling like another kind of beverage later in the day, you can just pop in an herbal tea pod or a hot chocolate pod(my preferred drink aside from coffee) and have another piping hot refreshment in your hand in just one minute.

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3. You can also use your own coffee

Using one pod every day will certainly save you money compared to going to a Starbucks, but if you’re a family of coffee drinkers and you collectively drink 3-4 cups per day, you’ll find that the cost of pods will run very high very quickly.

Fortunately, there is a great alternative. Keurig makes reusable pods that you can fill your own coffee in and use it to brew just like a normal Keurig pod.

This does detract a little from the extreme convenience of ready to brew pods, since you’ll have to measure out and fill your pod with grounds, but your coffee will still be ready in just around one minute.

The cost savings will be quite significant.

Here is one type of K-cup available from Folgers:

The average cost per pod works out to be right around half a dollar.

A 30 ounce can of the same coffee works out to be around the same cost, per ounce. However, for brewing one cup of coffee, you’ll need one scoop of coffee, which is two tablespoons, or 0.35 ounces give or take.

That means you can have 3 times as much coffee using regular grounds than K-cups for the same price!

So it’s good of Keurig to allow this functionality of using your own coffee grounds in reusable cups.

Other pod machines such as Nespresso don’t have official versions of reusable pods, but people have made aftermarket devices to emulate the effect.

What about the taste?

Here’s where things get testy.

Ask a coffee purist, and they’ll tell you that Keurig machines make terrible coffee. A lot of the aromas and oils from coffee that are extracted through more traditional brewing don’t get as much treatment as they deserve in Keurigs, and the result is a less-than-exquisite cup of coffee.

However, you need to remember that you’re getting your coffee in less than a minute – and the only other option you have is instant coffee, and don’t even get me started on that!

So given the constraints of time and convenience, the Keurig does not do an altogether bad job of brewing coffee. But if you want “pure” coffee, then you should consider other methods of brewing!

On the flip side, you have the freedom to try tons of different kinds of coffees and brands without having to worry about wasting coffee. There are sampler packs available which contain a variety of coffees. Normally, you’d have to buy a large quantity of grounds, but if you like to give your taste buds something new, you could even try a new pod every day.

Cons of Keurig machines

1. Keurigs are expensive

The first and most obvious disadvantage of a Keurig is the upfront cost. Keurig machines will set you back $100 at the very least.

Compared to other drip coffee makers, Keurigs are very expensive. When comparing to a French press, even more so!

For the cost of a high end Keurig, you could probably buy a grinder and a small coffee machine.

So to justify the cost, you have to weigh the convenience factor. Drip machines will take a few more minutes to brew, and you’ll have to manage the grounds yourself.

For deciding whether or not a Keurig is worth it – strictly for the money – ask yourself: “is the convenience of no-mess, quick coffee worth the extra money to me?”

Why are Keurigs so expensive?

Because Keurig is a proprietary product, they can demand a premium price. The Keurigs themselves cost the same as other high end coffee makers, but the cost of coffee pods will really add up.

2. Price and environmental cost of pods

Aside from the upfront cost, the recurring cost of pods will also run high very quickly. It will still be cheaper than popping into Starbucks every morning, but it is more expensive than using coffee grounds, or making your own grounds from roasted beans.

The second and more striking cost is the environment cost.

According to this article in the New York Times, Keurig sells billions and billions of K-cups per year.

Keurig says that pods actually use less water and fewer grounds than normal machines. That may sound like a good thing, but…

Even though they’re moving to recyclable pods by 2020, there is still a carbon cost involved in making the pods and recycling them.

Finally, even if consumers are offered only recyclable pods, consumers will still have to actually recycle them, which is an entirely different story! You’ll have to peel off the foil to separate it from the plastic, and your recycling center will have to deal with mountains of tiny plastic pods.

Keurig vs Espresso machines

Let me share my experience brewing with Keurigs and brewing with an espresso machine. I used to own a Keurig, but right now, I use a small espresso machine and a french press for my coffee.

Making coffee with the espresso machine is quite an involved process. I prefer cappuccinos, so I have to steam the milk, brew the espresso shot, and then combine both. It takes me about 4 to 5 minutes to make a nice cup of cappuccino – and the time will nearly double for every extra cup I have to make, since I have to foam the milk in every cup individually.

Back when I used a Keurig, I’d just have to pop in the pod, press a button, and add some milk – I used to prefer a spot of milk with coffee – and I’d be ready to go.

Is the Keurig coffee better than my cappuccino? No way! But is it convenient and still good tasting? For sure!

Keurig vs French press

I also use a French press at home. French press coffee tastes really great, because the water and coffee mix together really well and there’s a lot of time for the aromas and oils to get naturally extracted from the grounds.

However, a cup of French press takes even more time to brew than a cup of cappuccino.

First, I have to wait for my kettle to heat the water up to my desired temperature. My kettle only has one option, so I have to wait for it to finish boiling, then wait for it to cool down.

Then I pour the water into the French press and give it a few more minutes to brew, and finally I get to enjoy my coffee.

Does the coffee taste excellent and rich? For sure! But if you’re in a hurry or don’t wish to do so much for a simple cup of coffee, a Keurig is a good alternative.

Keurig vs drip coffee

Finally, let’s say you’re using a drip coffee maker. Drip coffee makers are the slowest of the lot, but their main advantage is being able to brew a large volume of coffee at once.

If you’re making coffee for guests, not only will the Keurig machine turn out to be quite expensive – you have to use that many more pods – it will take one minute per cup, and that may end up being the same as the time it’ll take your drip machine to brew that many cups.

Drip coffee tastes OK, to be completely honest. It’s not as good as espresso or French press coffee, or even Keurig, in my opinion, but the main advantage of a drip machine is the cost. For $20, you can find a decent drip machine.

Conclusion: Should I buy a Keurig?

Are Keurigs worth it and should you buy one? It really depends – there are a lot of factors, but I feel the deciding factor should be convenience and variety. If you’re a coffee purist, you may not even touch a Keurig machine or even go near one.

But if you want fast, drinkable coffee without the hassle of messing with grounds and/or beans, Keurig will do the job beautifully.

Frequently asked questions

Is Keurig a good investment?

Keurigs are incredibly fast brewers and offer convenience that few other coffee machines have. If convenience is the number one factor, a Keurig is a good investment.
Otherwise, many people(myself included) feel that Keurig takes a lot of the charm out of coffee brewing.

Is a Keurig better than a regular coffee maker?

Only if you value speed and convenience over everything else. Keurig coffee will never taste as good as freshly roasted, freshly ground coffee brewed in a regular coffee maker.

Last update on 2023-11-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About Shabbir

Shab is the Chief Caffeine Officer at Coffee Brewster. When he's not weighing out coffee beans for his next brew, you can find him writing about his passion: coffee.