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Is it Cheaper To Have a Keurig or a Standard Coffee Maker?

Italian coffee capsules.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Coffee is the lifeblood of millions if not billions of people globally. That’s why the coffee industry as a whole is valued at over $100B. However, most of us who are contributing to those profits, are not benefiting from them. So, we need to know the best ways to save money on our coffee habits.

You might be wondering if it’s cheaper to have a Keurig or a standard drip coffee maker. The answer to that question is not a simple “yes” or “no” answer. There are dozens of different factors to consider regarding the overall cost of your daily cup of coffee.

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How Much Coffee Do You Drink?

First and foremost, the amount of coffee you drink daily will be critical in determining the best and cheapest way to drink coffee. Obviously, the more coffee you drink, the more you’re going to spend annually. For the sake of this post, let’s say you’re a heavy coffee drinker, meaning you drink three or more cups of coffee a day. The next question you must ask yourself is, are you trying to mess around with coffee beans to produce coffee grounds?

Do You Prefer Convenience or Price?

Ultimately, the most significant benefit of owning a Keurig is the convenience of brewing a hot cup of coffee from a pre-measured pod in seconds. Suppose this is an essential feature for you. In that case, this is the most costly part of owning a Keurig coffee machine or even a K-Cup compatible machine. You can normally find a budget Keurig coffee machine deal for a great price.

Keurig: When it comes to K-Cup prices, based on prices on Amazon, K-Cups can range anywhere from 40 cents per pod for budget coffee to $1.24 per pod for the fancy stuff. On average most cups fall in the 60-cent-per-pod range. If you’re a heavy coffee drinker and drink 3-4 cups of coffee a day, that’s $657 to $876 on K-cups per year.

Coffee Maker: If we look at ground coffee, a 12-ounce bag of coffee based on 3-4 cups a day should last around 10-14 days. That means 24 bags of coffee a year. The prices of a 12-ounce bag can vary widely depending on the blend and origin. Using an average price of $12 per bag, that’s around $288 annually on coffee. Comparatively to K-Cups, that’s a pretty hefty savings.

What Are Your Preferred Brewing Methods?

So maybe at those prices, K-cups may be off the table for you. That still doesn’t mean that a Keurig isn’t the right machine for you. Keurig has a reusable single serve insert for coffee grounds. This means a bit more dumping and scooping of grounds, but it will save you a lot of money in the long run. Keurig also makes great carafe-style coffee makers. Whether you prefer single-cup, or carafe brewers, or a combination of both will determine the coffee maker options available to you.

Are You a Coffee Snob?

Wiener Dog with Coffee.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Now that we’ve determined that buying and grinding your own coffee is the cheaper route, you have to ask yourself one last question. Do you consider yourself a coffee snob? If you do, you’re probably willing to drop more money on coffee and a highly-rated combination coffee maker with many fancy features. If this applies to you, whether you buy a Keurig or a regular coffee maker, you’re looking at spending $100 to $200 regardless of brand.

On the other hand, if “coffee is coffee” to you, some basic yet highly rated coffee makers are out there for under $30.

The Bottom Line

After asking all the right questions, we’ve determined that when it comes to the machine itself, owning a regular coffee machine is no cheaper or more expensive than a Keurig. The true cost lies in the K-cups and will translate into more money regardless of how much coffee you drink. When you buy pods, you’re paying extra for convenience. If that’s important to you, there’s nothing wrong with spending the extra money.

However, if that’s the route you choose, we don’t recommend trying to save a few extra bucks up front on a knock-off coffee maker that’s K-cup compatible. In the end, the money saved isn’t worth the unreliability.

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Steven Johnson
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Steven Johnson is a chef-turned-content strategist. He now helps companies attract and retain more customers through content…
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