Although its product line extends beyond coffee pod brewing systems, Keurig is best known for those types of coffee makers. Two of their main competitors in this family are Cuisinart and Mr. Coffee. Ironically, several models carrying these two brand names are made by Keurig!
In the world of single-cup coffee makers, Keurig is a mid to upscale brand. The Cuisinart and Mr. Coffee models sell for about half of the cost, and are definitely worth looking into if you want to get “Keurig” at a discount.
An interesting competitor is the Insignia coffee maker that sells for less than $20, has received some nice reviews, and can be found in most BestBuy reusable coffee cup stores. The Mr. Coffee model costs about 3 times as much. You might also consider the Nescafe Dolce Gusto Genio which at $130 sells in the same price range as many of the Keurig models, or the Nespresso Pixie in the same price range and is reputed to be one of the best on the market.
Keurig Pros and Cons
The company has a sound reputation, and one that is backed up by mostly favorable reviews, but there are both pros and cons. They initiated the K-Cup system in 2000, followed by Vue system coffee makers in 2012, and the RIVO system, also introduced in 2012, that makes both coffee and espresso.
Pods offer the easiest way to brew a cup of coffee, and all K-Cup systems are one-touch systems.
There are no bells and whistles, because there is no need for them.
Pods keep coffee ground fresh until they are ready to be used.
Pods come in a variety of flavors.
The use of pods makes cleaning coffee makes a quick and easy task.
The K-Cup line of coffee makers produce a cup of hot coffee in about a minute. The Vue system brews a cup in less than a minute, and the drink strength, coffee temperature, and serving size are adjustable.
While pods are available in box stores and most supermarkets, such was not always the case. Before investing in a Keurig machine it’s always best to check on the availability of pods.
The use of pods is convenient, but on a cup-by-cup basis they are more expensive than using the more conventional methods of brewing a cup of coffee,
Some pods are reusable; others add to the amount of plastic discarded as waste, making their use less attractive to those attempting to go green.
Vue pods are not interchangeable with K-Cup pods. This may or may not be an issue.
The drink strength is cannot be adjusted in K-Cup models.
A Range of Features, From One to Many
The strength of the K-Cup product line lies in simplicity of use. After nearly 15 years on the market, this product line is as popular as ever. The strength of the Vue system lies in its adaptability. There are a few buttons to push, but the user has control over the size, temperature, and strength of the coffee, or in the case of RIVO, the strength of espresso, being brewed.
Things to Watch For
There are at least two somewhat interrelated complaints people have that are worth noting. One complaint is the tendency of some Keurig models to produce servings that are smaller than advertised. A second complaint is the tendency of the line to clog. This depends to some extent on the water being used. Some water can cause scaling to form. Almost any coffee maker has to be cleaned periodically, but the K-cup models may require a little more than the normal amount of maintenance.