Over the last decade, pod-based single-serve coffee machines have grown by leaps and bounds.
The first Keurig coffee maker appeared at the beginning of 2000, and the brand’s single-serve models have dominated the market since then.
So it’s no surprise that every other renowned coffee maker manufacturer has produced the best Keurig alternative.
With the boom of the coffee maker industry, there are many outstanding coffee brewers that aren’t created by Keurig.
These coffee makers are equipped with the same Keurig-like features, so performance does not take a hit along with many other important aspects.
Let’s see how they offer a worthy alternative in detail.
Our Reviews For The Best Keurig Alternative Coffee Makers
- Breville Nespresso Vertuo Coffee And Espresso Machine
- Cuisinart SS-10 Premium Single-Serve Coffeemaker
- Bunn MCU Single Cup Multi-Use Home Coffee Brewer
- Chulux Single Serve Coffee Maker Brewer
- De’Longhi EN80B Original Espresso Machine
- Hamilton Beach 49980A 2-Way Brewer Coffee Maker
- Ninja Single-Serve Pod-Free Coffee Maker
#1 Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine by Breville
It’s not news that Nespresso single-serve coffee makers are very popular models.
Therefore, you shouldn’t be surprised to know that Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine by Breville-Nespresso offers the most delicious freshly brewed coffee. Even with crema!
You get to choose from 3 different cup sizes; 14 ounces (Alto), 8 ounces (Coffee), and 1.3 ounces (Espresso). All you have to do is press a button for that.
As for the capsule sizes, there are 2 options. The first is large for Alto and Coffee while the second is small for Espresso.
What’s unique here, however, is the inclusion of a special extraction technology called Centrifusion. This patented technology uses barcodes for delivering fantastic in-cup results. It includes delicious crema for a larger coffee cup.
When you activate the brewing action after closing the lever, the capsule rotates at a speed of 7,000 spins per minute. Enough to blend your favorite ground coffee thoroughly with water and to produce the perfect crema.
The 40-ounce water tank is removable for easy filling. There’s a quick heating-up time of only 15 seconds.
This means no more having to wait for your morning espresso or coffee when you’re in a hurry. And lastly, the automatic shut-off feature saves energy by turning off the machine after 9 minutes of no activity.
Needless to say, this does seem like the best Keurig alternative. After all, you get to prepare both coffee and espresso here. Moreover, with its Aeroccino 3 milk frother, you can try your hand at milked espresso variations such as cappuccino and latte to almost perfect results.
While the 2-year warranty it comes with might be the cherry on top, the cool appearance of the machine itself will make it the cherry on… your countertop.
This single-serve coffee maker by Cuisinart is very popular for providing you with tons of freedom in the form of serving size options.
These include 12, 10, 8, 6, and 4 ounces of delicious, freshly brewed coffee. Once you choose the desired temperature, you can enjoy your favorite coffee, hot chocolate, and tea without leaving the comforts of your home.
The machine is compatible with all K-cups, unlike the Vertuo above which only accepts Nespresso cups. This model also comes with a reusable filter cup.
You can pull out the coffee maker’s drip tray for accommodating your travel mug. Isn’t that a convenient option?
Speaking of convenience, the 72-ounce water tank is large enough to avoid frequent refills.
What you’re looking at here is a versatile and completely programmable coffee maker perfect for personal use.
It’s not just the task of preparing delicious coffee that the machine simplifies. Even cleaning the unit is a hassle-free experience thanks to the Rinse function.
What this does is clean the brew chamber instantly and thoroughly from inside so you don’t have to make that effort.
To be honest, this simple yet feature-packed coffee maker stands its ground against even the toughest Keurig competition. That’s for sure.
#3 Bunn MCU Single Cup Multi-Use Home Coffee Brewer
You can have your personal café right at home if you opt for this multi-use coffee brewer by Bunn.
It allows you to brew coffee, tea, K-cups, loose tea, tea bags, and more. Your very own personal café, indeed.
The single-serve capacity ranges from 4 ounces to 14 ounces. That seems like enough even for the most ardent coffee lovers. What’s exceptional here is the Pulse Brew function.
This stops and starts water flow at the time of brewing for better and bolder extraction of your flavored drink. Its stainless steel water tank also helps to keep the perfect temperature for the best flavor extraction possible.
Then there’s the drip tray you can remove for large cups. This drip tray catches every drop for a mess-free experience.
Speaking of mess-free, the different parts of the coffee maker are dishwasher-safe. These include the cover of the drip tray, drip tray, and drawers.
What are the drawers I’m talking about here?
There are 4 of them; water drawer, pod drawer, ground coffee drawer, and cup drawer.
The cup drawer is compatible with all K-cups, including hot cocoa and tea along with coffee.
The ground coffee drawer holds generous amounts of grounds. The pod drawer is good for tea and coffee pods as well as teabags. As for the water drawer, it dispenses on-demand hot water for instant coffee preparation.
To sum it up, it’s a great non-Keurig machine, even for coffee snobs.
#4 Chulux Single Serve Coffee Maker Brewer
Not every coffee lover wants to brew an entire pot of coffee.
In that regard, you might appreciate the 5 to 12-ounce single-cup capacity of this cheap Keurig alternative. When I say cheap, I mean only in terms of price and not quality.
Chulux Single Serve Coffee Brewer is very stylish and compact. The latter is what makes it suitable for small spaces.
The machine is outfitted with auto shut-off, which turns off the coffee maker automatically after the completion of the brewing cycle. Then, there’s an illuminated brewing switch as well for easy usability.
The heating element and the hassle-free, uncomplicated single-button operation enable faster brewing. The water tank size is generously 12 ounces and the drip tray conveniently removable.
To be honest, the chances are you might love Chulux more than Keurig thanks to its one-person design.
#5 De’Longhi EN80B Original Espresso Machine
Here’s yet another compact, lightweight, tiny footprint, and arguably the best K-cup coffee maker.
It’s called Nespresso Inissia and it prepares Barista-grade coffee and espresso. You won’t find a Keurig substitute better than this in terms of delivering the perfect cup of coffee or shot of espresso so quickly.
It’s a single-serve machine equipped with a patented extraction mechanism and automatic operation.
The extraction system provides a pressure of 19 bars. As for speed, water temperature is heated in just 25 seconds. Once that happens, the unit prepares 9 cups of single-serve coffee without you having to refill the 24-ounce water tank.
Cup size is adjustable using the programmable Lungo and Espresso buttons. The drip tray folds to make room for larger coffee mugs. Moreover, it is also an energy-efficient unit as it features automatic shut-off after 9 minutes of inactivity.
As a coffee novice, if you think espresso tastes incredibly bitter, then you have to try the 1.3-ounce espresso that comes out of this De’Longhi machine.
You’ll never power on your Keurig ever again or go back to drinking regular coffee.
#6 Hamilton Beach 49980A 2-Way Brewer Coffee Maker
Are you ready to get to know all about this 2-way coffee maker by none other than Hamilton Beach?
By 2-way, I mean the brewer allows you to add coffee grinds into the filter and it lets you enjoy soft pod coffee.
The 2 brewing options offer the most amount of convenience. The first way makes room for stronger coffee. It prepares a pot as generous as 12 cups.
As for the second option, brewing coffee is way more fun this way. The 2-way coffee maker’s heating plate is nonstick and keeps your coffee hot for a very, very long time.
Once brewing is done, the machine turns off automatically after 2 hours. You can even have your beverage prepared in advance thanks to the integrated programmable clock plus timer of this thing. And by advance, I mean 24 hours in advance. Isn’t that amazing!
It’s a very affordable and low-maintenance version of just about any top Keurig coffee maker.
With the ability to brew both premium and basic roasts in no time!
#7 Ninja Single-Serve Pod-Free Coffee Maker
Presenting the next-generation coffee maker by Ninja. This Keurig alternative offers a variety of brew sizes and types.
It’s even got an integrated frother that provides both cold and hot frothing capacities. What’s also included is a multi-serve cold and hot tumbler big enough for holding a generous amount of coffee for you and one more person.
It’s a pod-free brewing system, meaning you can use just about any coffee brand. Even having the opportunity to adjust the quantity of coffee grounds paves the way for personal customization and unlimited variety.
This is what’s unique about the current pick.
The advanced thermal technology for flavor extraction is perfect for unlocking complete flavor potential. The Classic brew option delivers a balanced, smooth flavor. The Rich brew flavor stands tall against milk, flavorings, and creamers. And the Over-Ice brew prepares the most delicious iced coffee, which doesn’t taste watered down at all.
As for the coffee maker’s signature brews, they’re Specialty and Café Forte. The latter comes in the form of full-bodied coffee to the very last drop, and the former has a concentrate that’s super-rich, thus ideal for combining with frothed milk.
The built-in frother only takes seconds to transform cold or hot milk into a smooth, silky foam-rich topping. So you can finally put an end to those expensive trips to Starbucks without having to buy a Keurig for whatever reason.
Why Keurig Is the First Choice
Whenever Keurig is a part of the topic, the one thing that gets drawn into the picture is convenience. You just have to insert your favorite K-cup into the coffee maker, then press the single button. That’s it.
The company has sidelined the whole traditional method of brewing and even grinding plus dosing.
Your morning coffee gets prepared in a matter of a few seconds only. Minus any cleaning up afterward!
Once this was well-established, Keurig partnered with popular coffee producers and brands. The collaboration led to the production of huge varieties of coffee compatible with Keurig brewing systems.
Comparatively speaking, using a Keurig machine offers not only simplicity but also speed, and the latter is essential if you have a busy life. This explains why, more often than not, Keurig is the #1 choice.
Then Why Go For A Keurig Alternative?
Keurig’s patent is what kept other coffee maker manufacturing companies from producing the same machine.
However, these patents were bound to expire one day. Once that happened, brands jumped at the opportunity to produce a broad range of brewing systems that accepted K-cups.
But why should you choose the best Keurig substitute over Keurig itself?
Here’s the most straightforward answer to this question: Keurig is not an affordable or cheap option.
The majority of Keurig models are expensive, no doubt. On the other hand, top-selling Keurig alternatives are cost-friendly and, at the same time, equally feature-packed.
One more reason why consumers pick non-Keurig coffee makers over Keurig presents itself in the form of Keurig’s 2.0 series.
The 2.0 models use only official K-cups. Meaning if the K-cup is not licensed by the brand, you cannot use it for any 2.0 Keurig brewers. Unlike the older Keurig-made coffee makers that are compatible with both official and unofficial K-cups.
But it’s not just the compatibility issue. More functionality is also a very popular reason for opting for a Keurig alternative.
The original Keurig brewing systems prepare just one cup. It’s only recently that the manufacturer decided to add mugs and carafes. Nevertheless, other non-Keurig machines offer a lot more.
There are quite many coffee makers in the current market that deliver all types of beverages using different kinds of pods. And one very great example of that is a non-Keurig espresso coffee maker.
Why Should You Opt for an Alternative?
The first two main reasons why you should consider opting for an alternative have already been covered right above: affordability and versatility. All the products I’ve listed above offer more variety compared to Keurig systems in much cheaper ways.
Compatibility and durability issues have also been mentioned: as the system of the machine changes, your needs, and your expenditure will change, too.
However, there are more reasons to ditch Keurig, which don’t only concern you as an individual but also our precious planet as a whole.
K-cups are known to produce a whole lot of waste: most of them are made of either non-biodegradable or non-recyclable material. Even when recyclable material such as aluminum is used in their making, it poses a threat to the ecological system since toxic byproducts are released to the environment while recycling aluminum.
Moreover, although those Keurig K-cup pods are claimed to be BPA-free, plastics which might affect hormones in unexpected ways are still present in them.
If you’re an environmentally conscious coffee drinker, this alone might be enough reason for you to consider opting for an alternative and do it quickly.
How Much Money Can You Save With an Alternative?
If you want to drink a fine-tasting coffee produced by a Keurig device, you have to purchase branded K-cups, and they will cost $0.40 – $0.60 per cup.
Non-branded cups, on the other hand, cost $0.35 – $0.40 per pod.
If you want to go more natural, let me tell you that ground coffee, even a high-quality one, will only cost around $0.20 – $0.30 per cup.
The math here is simple. Just by not using K-cups, you’ll be cutting your costs by half.
The Controversy of Keurig and Non-Keurig Single-Serve Coffee Makers
It goes without saying that K-cups are more expensive in comparison to purchasing coffee beans and opting for the traditional brewing methods like Percolator and French Press.
It actually depends on the K-cup and coffee brand up against each other, but mostly, Keurig is at least 3-5 times costlier.
As far as numbers go, 11 grams per pod coffee costs around $40 for every pound. At the other end of the spectrum, the price is about $9-$12 for a pound of whole bean coffee.
There are premium roasters that sell the same quantity for $18-$20. Even so, the cost is half in comparison to pod/K-cup coffee.
Apart from the high cost, another important aspect that draws criticism is the negative impact on the environment.
The sad part about using pods is that 9 out of 10 of them are not easily biodegradable and recyclable. You can only recycle K-cups when the different components are separated before recycling.
The materials used for manufacturing pods are paper, aluminum, and plastic. The contents inside should be taken out before you dispose of the cup. At the same time, the different materials present within the pod must also be taken apart. Most people, unfortunately, don’t carry this out.
The outcome of which is plastic pods filling up in the trash.
Traditional Pour-Over and Drip methods make use of compostable and biodegradable paper filters.
As for Percolators and French Press, they create zero waste. However, the same does not apply to Keurig coffee makers. Disposable K-cups and the environment are not buddies in any way. Even manufacturing the former takes more from the latter.
The truth about pod-style brewing systems is that coffee lovers find them incredibly convenient. These machines prepare consistently delicious coffee each time. Also, they’re comparatively cost-effective and you get to pick from a huge variety of rich, delightful flavors.
Features to Take Into Account When Buying Single-Serve Coffee Makers
When I say size, I don’t mean capacity. Instead, I’m implying the actual size and footprint of the coffee machine.
If you have enough space on your kitchen counter, this factor doesn’t really matter. But if that’s not the case, you might want to pick something lightweight and compact with a small footprint so it can fit under or inside a shelf or cabinet.
Now here I mean the actual capacity of coffee the machine pours into the cup meaning how small or big is the serving size, which brings into the picture the capacity of the water reservoir too.
Speaking of serving size, many single-serve coffee makers offer different brew sizes. They usually start from 4 ounces of coffee and 1.3 ounces of espresso and go up to 14 ounces.
There’s no right answer in this department. It all depends on how much coffee you like to prepare for yourself or when and if entertaining guests.
Why does one buy a single-serve coffee maker in the first place? So that you can prepare delicious coffee in no time, right?
This means it’s no good if the brewing system requires you to wait for a long time just to get your morning cup ready.
As far as convenient, quick brewing is concerned, a feature that also matters is an automatic timer.
You set the time you want the machine to start brewing well in advance, even 24 hours in advance. And the unit makes sure your favorite beverage is ready when you wake up or get home from work.
Coffee tastes best when it’s brewed between the range of 195 degrees and 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
The serving temperature should be 155-175 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this is not set in stone. Personal preferences vary widely. This is why adjustable temperature settings are a must, which allows you to boil the water at a lower temperature.
Final Say: There Are Many Great Keurig Alternatives Out There
It’s undeniable that Keurig ranks as the current market leader. The brand may be popular but that doesn’t mean non-Keurig options aren’t worth taking into consideration.
The most important part here is if the coffee maker meets your specific coffee requirements and personal preferences.
For K-cups, there are plenty of affordable brewing systems out there that don’t empty your wallet as in the case of Keurig models.
So, if you’re an espresso lover, I would highly recommend the Nespresso coffee maker I’ve reviewed.
It offers tons of flexibility. Otherwise, go for hybrid machines that accept both coffee grounds and pods, so you get a taste of both worlds.
Note: Maybe you’re looking for Keurig alternatives only because you have trouble with your current Keurig coffee maker. In that case, we have an article about Keurig troubleshooting just for you! Hopefully, this will help you solve your problems.
Note: Our comparison table only shows our top 3 picks. You can find the other recommendations within this article. If you’re reading this article, it means …