Yes, a Keurig machine may not be the machine of choice for people looking to brew the freshest cup and grind their own beans, but as you’re here its likely you value one thing over all – convenience.
I get it. You’re just looking for a single serve coffee maker that is fast, reliable, and easy to use. And for that, there aren’t many choices better than a Keurig machine.
The K50 and K55 are two popular and often compared machines, and it’s no wonder. The two coffee makers look almost exactly the same.
So are they pretty much the same, all things considered? Not quite. And I dove deep into the specs of both machines to help you decide which one would be a better purchase for you.
Let’s break down this Keurig K50 vs K55 comparison to see which of the two is the better purchase for you.
2The Keurig classic K50 is the predecessor of the K55. In terms of functionality, the two machines aren’t so different.
Both the K50 and the K55 are K-Cup compatible, and can be used to make coffee via k cups. They look alike and the similarities don’t end there. Here a spec comparison:
- Cup Sizes: 6oz, 8oz, 10oz
- Water Reservoir: 48oz, Removable
- Drip Tray: Removable
- Display: Button Controls
- Brewing Time: “Under a minute”
K55 Exclusive Features
- Auto-Off Feature
- Descale Feature
- Brew with your own grounds
- More color options
- Budget: $
- Dimensions:13.0″ x 9.8″ x 13.3″
- Reservoir Size: 48 Oz
- Material: Plastic
- Brew Time: 60 Seconds
- Features: Auto Switch Off
The K50 and K55 look about as different as a set of identical twins. The ordinary customer would pick one and run with it, but you’re no ordinary customer. You’re here because you feel that the devil’s in the details, and you’re right.
I had to take a deeper look at the functions, features, and feedback on both machines to find substantial differences between the two.
K50 Pros + cons
- Simple to operate
- Brews quickly
- Compatible with K-Cups
- Energy efficient
- Mesh filter
- Occasional Clogs
- Taste can be hit and miss
K55 Pros + cons
- Activated Charcoal Filter
- Maintenance Reminder
- Brews Quickly
- Compatible with K-Cups + your own grounds (needs re-useable k-cup)
Cup Sizes, Brews Available, and K-Cup Compatibility
Both coffee makers offer the same range of cup sizes: 6 ounces, 8 ounces, and 10 ounces. Both also have a removable 48oz water reservoir, and are K-Cup compatible.
Like I mentioned, the two coffee machines are more similar than they are different. It’s because of this that the winner of this round is the Keurig K50. Keurig’s older machine wins where innovations aren’t being made.
But Keurig did make some changes with the K55. Let’s find out what they were.
Auto Shut Off
The Keurig K50 and K55 both have auto shut off features. The K50 shuts off after thirty minutes of inactivity, and K55 shuts off after two hours of inactivity.
I couldn’t find an explanation for why the auto shut off time became longer with the K55. Yet, energy efficiency is an important consideration to make for any technological purchase.
Monetary savings and positive environmental impacts (big or small) are always welcome. So, the Keurig K50 is the winner here. Both machines have the auto shut off feature, but a little energy saved is better than no energy saved.
I’m not sure if you noticed, but I put quotation marks around “under a minute” beside “brewing time” in the specs of the K50.
Keurig claims that the K50 takes under a minute to brew. Users have reported that their Keurig K50 would take around a minute and a half to make their coffee. Now, there aren’t many situations where it’s okay to complain about coffee taking a minute and a half to make. But this is one of them.
Keurig’s bold claim stands with the K55. This time, it would appear that the company has been making good on their promise. Not as many users have been having that same issue with the machine.
Some users have complained about detecting an odd taste in the K50’s coffee after long periods of use. Poor maintenance habits can contribute to this decline in the coffee machine’s health. An example of this is failing to replace the filter every 2 to 3 months of regular use.
The taste issue does not persist with users of the K55. Keurig started using activated charcoal filters for their K55 coffee machines. They do a better job of trapping toxins from the water source and keeping the water from affecting the taste of the coffee. This could be causing the noticeable improvement in taste over K50’s track record.
The activated charcoal filter does not need replacing as often as the filter used in the K50 machine. As such, the quality of the water used by the K55 generally tastes better.
The winner here is the Keurig K55. Finally, one point for innovation! The K55 actually brews in less than a minute, and the activated charcoal filter is a great addition to enhance and prolong the quality of the coffee.
The K50 and K55 have a removal drip tray, water reservoir, and K-Cup holder making cleaning the machines easy peasy. But that’s not all that goes into maintaining a coffee maker.
As I’ve mentioned, an issue that often causes poor performance in coffee makers is poor maintenance habits. Replacing the filter isn’t enough.
Descaling is when a descaling solution (others use vinegar as a substitute) and water run through the machine the descale feature, making the Keurig hot. K50 and K55 allow the owner to clear the buildup of any minerals in the machine this way. It’s important to run water through the coffee maker after the descaling process. This minimizes the likelihood of (unpleasant) surprises occurring the next day.
So what happens when you don’t descale your coffee maker? The minerals found in water leave behind deposits and build up in the heating element over time. This causes occasional clogging or insufficient heating in the machine. Descaling your Keurig machine is important if you want to keep it running optimally for long.
But think about it. The average coffee drinkers (maybe even you) have no idea what “descaling” is, let alone how often to do it.
To address this problem in the K55, Keurig decided to add a maintenance reminder: a flashing light on the machine that lets the owner know that there has been an substantial amount of mineral buildup in the coffee machine. It is now time to descale or, if they have no idea what it means, maybe they should Google it and find out.
No reminders on the k50
The K50 does not have this maintenance feature. If you owned a K50 and you didn’t know what descaling was, your coffee would have just gotten gradually worse over time. Only months later would you Google the issue, when the taste had become unbearable.
In fact, some users complained about a noticeable decline in the quality of their K50’s coffee after a few months of use. This appeared to reflect on the quality of the machines themselves. But in reality, poor maintenance habits were likely culprits.
The lack of information on the importance of cleaning a coffee machine may have been a key contributor to the issue. That’s why the addition of the maintenance reminder is a win for both Keurig and the K55 owners.
The Keurig K55 wins this category. The maintenance reminder makes it much harder for owners to forget to maintain their coffee maker, and goes a long way in allowing K55 owners to properly enjoy the coffee they get from their Keurig.
Ease of Use
You’re choosing between pod coffee machines. That means ease of use ranks highly among your criteria for owning a coffee maker.
If you didn’t already know this, it would please you to find out that pod coffee machines are the simplest coffee makers on the market. For both the Keurig K50 and K55, ease of use is their bread and butter.
There aren’t many steps you need to take in order to make your coffee. Just make sure there’s water in the reservoir, pop a K-Cup in the holder, put your under the spout, and push a button. Give it a minute, on average, and your morning fuel is in your hand, ready for consumption.
But main issues users have had with pod coffee are not rooted in their difficulty of use. It’s through the irregularity of maintenance that problems start to occur. When the machines are neglected, forced to work without being allowed to clean every once in a while, their performance suffers.
The K55 offers solutions geared towards ease of maintenance. This is important for people who put off their coffee maker maintenance for as long as they can, but also don’t enjoy coffee when it tastes like plastic (dumb question, who does?!).
When it comes to the need for maintenance, less is more. Since it needs less maintenance than the K50, we’re declaring the Keurig K55 the winner of this category.
Keurig K50 vs K55: Stand-Out Features
There are some distinctions between the Keurig K50 and K55 that are important. Let’s start with the K55, which can do everything the K50 can, but with a couple of new features.
K55 Stand out features
Activated Charcoal Filter: This hits two birds with one stone. The filter improves the quality of water filtration and the taste of coffee at the same time. It also allows the owner of the coffee machine to replace the filter less often than usual.
Maintenance Reminder: This light informs the owner when it is time to descale the coffee machine. The fact that there is even a reminder at all to descale will prove beneficial to new coffee maker owners.
Use your own grounds: The K55 is compatible with my K-Cup where you can use your own coffee and brew via a Keurig!
K50 Stand out features
Simplicity: Despite the improvements of the Keurig K55, there is nothing the newer model can do process-wise that the K50 cannot. The K50 uses water from the water reservoir, it uses K-Cups, and allows descaling just like the K55.
The most tangible differences between the K50 and K55 are the added features on the K55 to make maintenance easier and using your own coffee. For some, changing filters every two to three months and remembering to descale every few months don’t seem like too much work. If you’re one of those people, you may not need the improvements that Keurig added to the K55 as much as the next person.
It’s important to note, though, that it certainly helps to have the added features of the K55 in owning a coffee maker in general.
Keurig K50 vs K55: The verdict
To sum up everything I’ve discussed so far, here is my final piece of advice on whether you should use a Keurig K50 or K55.
Buy the Keurig K55 if:
- You place importance on the taste of your coffee
- You tend to put off machine maintenance
- You want to use your own grounds in a k-cup (yes its possible!)
- Budget: $
- Dimensions: 13.0″ x 9.8″ x 13.3″
- Reservoir Size: 48 Oz
- Material: Plastic
- Brew Time: 60 Seconds
- Features: Auto Switch Off
Regardless of which one you choose, maintain your Keurig coffee maker. When you do, it can be a reliable and dependent coffee machine that will last you a long time.
Keurig has discontinued the production of the K50 as of the writing of this paragraph, and is out of stock in Keurig’s official store. A cheap unit in circulation or a second-hand option could prove to be cheaper but K55 might make more sense given its proven to be more reliable.