When it comes to single-serve coffee machines, one brand has blazed a trail for two decades. Keurig Dr Pepper is the beverage behemoth behind Green Mountain Coffee, Dr Pepper, Snapple, 7Up and makes the hugely popular range of Keurig brewing machines and K-Cups.
Since its first K-Cup pod launched in 1998, Keurig has consistently been a market leader in the US, ahead of the likes of Nespresso, but in recent years it has fallen down the ranks as established coffee giants like Starbucks enter the market.
So is a Keurig machine still worth buying in 2019? For this guide, we run through the pros and cons of the Keurig K-Compact Coffee Maker using our expert knowledge about coffee makers to help you decide if it’s the best coffee machine for you.
We’d also expect to see the K-Compact, as well as other Keurig machines, discounted during Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2019, and we’ll be updating our best coffee maker deals page as and when these savings go live. For more options, read more in our best coffee machines page.
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The Bottom Line: The K-Compact is not the cheapest, nor the smallest single-serve coffee maker in the Keurig range – that title goes to the Keurig K-Mini – but it’s the closest you’ll come to getting the features of its more premium models without paying a premium price. It’s also the slimmest of the removable water reservoir range meaning you don’t have to refill it each time, like you do with the K-Mini.
Pros: There are more than 260 K-Cup pods to choose from for Keurig machines, making them highly versatile with mass appeal, whatever your choice of beverage. As its name suggests, the Keurig K-Compact is suited to small homes or where space is limited, and its simple design means it has fewer buttons and controls than some of the more complicated models. This also makes it cheaper.
Cons: You sacrifice the ability to make iced drinks for the Keurig K-Compact’s lower price, and its maximum drink size tops out at 10oz, rather than the 12oz seen on larger, more expensive models. You also may sacrifice some of the nuances of taste due to its wide selection; making the K-Compact a somewhat jack of all trades, master of none.
The Keurig K-Compact Coffee Maker: everything you need to know
The Keurig K-Compact Coffee Maker retails for $59 and comes in black, red, white, grey and turquoise. It brews three cup sizes – 6oz, 8oz and 10oz – and comes with a 36oz removable water reservoir. Drinks are made in under a minute.
Design: The Keurig K-Compact Coffee Maker isn’t much wider than a regular mug, at 8-inches, and is tall enough to be used with a 7-inch travel mug. It has a single slot for a K-Cup hidden inside a bale in the top of the machine alongside three buttons representing the different drink sizes it makes. When the bale is closed, the machine is 12.5 inches tall. This extends to 16.25 inches when opened.
Pods: There are more than 260 K-Cups available from a wide variety of brands but 11 of these are iced-based, meaning they’re not suitable for the K-Compact. Of the rest, the cheapest are from Caribou and cost $4.79 for a pack of six, or around 80 cents a cup when bought directly from Keurig. At the opposite end, you can get 96 pods of Barista Prima Coffeehouse pods for $59.99 (62 cents per cup), while a 75-pack of Starbucks pods comes in $59.97. Alternatively, you can save money (up to $10 on a pack) by signing up for a subscription, or buy pods via Amazon, and other online stores or supermarkets which may be cheaper.
Choice: No other single-serve machine comes close to the Keurig range in terms of choice. Despite calling itself a coffee maker, it’s often simply referred to as a brewing machine as a catch-all because of the various beverage types and brands it makes. Highlight brands include Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Folgers, Cinnabon, Maxwell House, Lipton, Tetley and Twinings of London.
Quality: There's a fair amount of snobbery when it comes to single-serve machines, especially from coffee purists who claim the quality of the drinks is lacking compared to the larger barista-style machines. Typically this is the case, but that doesn’t mean the machines don’t make decent coffee. Plus, in many instances the convenience will outweigh any drop in taste. Based on online reviews, Keurig’s K-Compact produces a mixed bag of results. Some reviewers love the taste, others claim this taste is lacking in depth. This is unsurprising, given its simple design and the fact it uses the same process to make each of its drinks.
Conclusion: The sheer choice provided by the Keurig K-Compact, without the need to learn complex controls or become an expert barista, gives the machine huge mass appeal. As does its price. It’s an accessible, affordable way to get into home-brewed coffee and we recommend beginners, in particular, buy this.
If you’re more skilled in the art of coffee making, this is unlikely to be the machine for you. However, even if you didn’t use it all the time, we’d imagine you’d soon get your money back when compared to how many takeaway coffees and other drinks it can effectively replace so it may be worth buying as a convenient back up just in case.
TechRadar is scouring every retailer and rounding up all the top deals over the Black Friday period, and we’ve put all the best Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday deals in easy-to-navigate articles to help you find the bargains you’re looking for.