Keurig K50 vs K55 [Differences in 2 versions of K-Classic Coffee Maker]

Keurig is undoubtedly one of the top coffee machine brands on the market. This is partly a result of 200+ flavors of beverages which can be brewed on Keurig machines. Basically, if you’re a coffee aficionado, a Keurig coffee maker will do you good. The ultimate question is, which model do you choose?

With over 50 models of coffee machines under the Keurig brand, you’re spoilt for choice. However, the sheer numbers can easily make shopping a nightmare. If you don’t know where to start, your shopping experience can be quite unpleasant, confusing, and distressing. This is where guides like this one come in handy.

Our goal is to simplify your shopping experience. As such, we will profile two of the most popular Keurig models on the market i.e. the K50 and K55. We shall pit these machines head-to-head and simplify your decision making by comparing and contrasting them. In the end, you will have no problem choosing which one is best for you. Let’s start off with a general overview of the two Keurig coffee machines.

 

 

Keurig K50 vs K55 – The Overview

 

The Keurig K50 and K55 are both entry-level coffee machines. This means that they’re on the lower end of the price spectrum. This also means that with any of these products, you will get a great coffee machine ( because that is what Keurigs are all about ) and not much else. The glitz and glamor found in high-end machines is absent in both the K50 and K55.

 

The two models are actually strikingly similar in appearance. In fact, if someone placed a Keurig K55 and K50 next to each other, you may not tell easily tell them apart at first glance. Only a close examination will reveal certain subtle differences in appearance. This striking resemblance is what makes some people claim that the K50 and K55 are actually the same machine under different brand names.

The reason for the similarity is that the K50 and K55 are related. The K50 was the first to hit the market. Despite its good reception, customers started raising complaints about performance glitches (more on this shortly). The K55 was released to resolve the complaints made about the K50. Some cynics point out that the Keurig simply rebranded the K50 as K55 to sell more coffee makers. This view ignores some significant differences between the two. Let’s check these out – starting with the aesthetics.

 

Keurig K50 vs K55 – The differences

 

The Look and Build

At first glance, the K50 and K55 look very much alike. They both sport the cool, classy look which is associated with Keurig machines. If you’re someone who wants their coffee machine to look quite elegant, either of these machines will do for you. 

However, as is often said, appearances can be deceptive. A close inspection of the two machines indicates a slight difference in size and weight. The K50 is slightly smaller – with dimensions of 9.8 x 13 x 13.3 inches to the K55’s 10.1 x 13.2 x 13.3 inches. According to Keurig’s official documentation, the K55 is bigger because it contains more advanced features compared to its predecessor.

The weight difference may give credence to Keurig’s claims. The K55 weighs 12 pounds almost twice the 7.6 pounds weight of the K50. For a user, the difference in size and weight means that the K50 is the more compact of the two. As such, if you are starved of space on your counter, the K50 might seem like the better option. Even then, the size difference is minuscule.

In this aesthetics aspect, the most significant difference between the K50 and K55 is in the color options available. The K50 is available in only one color (black). The K55 is available in three colors: black, white and red (Keurig lists the color as rhubarb). Therefore, if your color preference is red or white, then the K50 may not do for you. You will have to choose the K55 which is available in those colors.

The Brew 

The brewing technology used in the K50 and K55 is similar. Each has a K-Cup holder where the pod is placed. To brew the coffee, the pod is punctured from the top and bottom – and heated water is pumped through it. This mixing of the coffee with the heated water is what produces the coffee. Both models use the pressure-based brewing system used in Keurig machines. The only difference is that – unlike higher-end Keurig coffee machines – both the K50 and K55 have no pressure controls.

The two machines belong to the beloved Keurig 1.0 product line. This product line is preferred because the coffee machines can use all kinds of pods. Both pods from Keurig-licensed beverage producers and those from third-parties can brew in Keurig 1.0 machines. This means that you can enjoy over 200 beverage flavors on a K50 or K55.

The brewing capacity of the two machines is virtually identical. Both the K50 and K55 come with water reservoirs of 48oz in size. Each of them also comes with 3 pre-set brewing sizes i.e. 6, 8, and 8 ounces. The temperature of tea brewed by both machines averages around 89C. Neither machine has temperature control (unlike higher-end Keurig models). You, therefore, are unable to adjust the brewing temperature.

Despite the similarities, the K50 and K55 differ in terms of brewing time, water filtration, and actual quality of coffee produced.

In terms of brewing time, the K55 is slightly faster. On average, both machines take 4-5 minutes to warm up and boil heat the water. However, once the machine is warmed up, the K55 averages 1 minute to produce a cup of coffee. The K50 averages 1.5 minutes. Not much of a difference there.

The coffee produced by the K55 is slightly smoother and tastier. This is because it employs a charcoal-based water filter. This removes any impurities ensuring that only the purest water is mixed with the tea. The K50 has no charcoal water filter and some users have complained that the coffee brew sometimes has a plastic taste to it. 

Strength and Reliability

The K50 and K55 are constructed from the same material as most Keurig machines i.e. reinforced plastic. In terms of strength and durability, there’s no difference. The machines will mostly last the same. Generally speaking, the longevity of a coffee machine is dependent on its usage and maintenance.

The difference between the two models is reliability. The K50 is well-known for breaking down unexpectedly. Most users have complained about this. In fact, the frequent break-down is one of the major reasons why the K55 was introduced. And whatever caused the break-downs in the K50 was fixed in its successor. The K55 does not suffer breakdowns in the manner that the K50 does.

Nevertheless, the K50’s breakdowns are, in most cases, not permanent. They seem to arise from design or engineering flaws within the machine. As such, they can be fixed with simple hacks. Ingenious users have figured out how to fix K50s. Even then, the breakdowns can be an inconvenience especially when you don’t have the time to begin tinkering around with your coffee machine. 

Cleaning and Maintenance

The K50 and K55 both have a detachable design which simplifies cleaning. The main parts of the two machine can be detached and cleaned separately. These include the water reservoir, drip tray, and K-Cup holder. Each of these main components can be further taken apart. For instance, the water reservoir lid, body, and water purifier are detachable from each other.

Keurig provides a detailed guide for taking apart and re-assembling the removable parts of both machines. For instance, the K-Cup holder can be separated into the funnel, entrance needle, and exit needle. There are clear step-by-step instructions for cleaning each component. All these are included in the K-Classic User Guide which is for both K50 and K55. You can find the guide here.

Generally speaking, both the K50 and K55 are relatively easy to clean and maintain. This is mostly because Keurig provides detailed instructions on how to clean and maintain the machines.

It also provides some troubleshooting tips for situations when the machines don’t work as expected. You can view a sample of the instructional manual for the K55 using the link above. Each machine comes with a printed version of the manual.

The difference between K50 and K55 as regards to maintenance is descaling. In simple words, descaling is a process for cleaning the interior of the coffee machine. The presence of minerals in water can lead to a buildup of calcium deposits (aka scale) on the internal parts of the brewer. Although scale is non-toxic to the human body, its build-up can compromise the performance of the coffee maker. To prevent this, the scale has to be regularly flushed out – in a process known as descaling.

Keurig recommends descaling the machines every 3 to 6 months depending on the usage. The difference between keurig K50 and K55 is that the latter comes with auto-descaling detection functionality. This alerts you when the machine needs descaling and therefore makes the K55 much easier to maintain.

You can descale the K50 as well. However, you will have to figure out on your own when the machine needs descaling. This means you have to track when descaling was done, which mean more hassle when compared to the K55.

Usability

The Keurig K50 and K55 were both designed with one goal in mind – to make a delicious cup of coffee with minimal hustle. You are simply supposed to press a button and voila – coffee’s ready. And both coffee machines deliver in this spectacularly well. 

For instance, neither coffee maker has the bells and whistles of higher-end machines (i.e. LED displays, temperature controls, and pressure controls). This eliminates the need to fiddle with settings. This actually means that you cannot screw up your settings. Many a coffee lover has messed up their cup of Joe by pressing the wrong settings. Do you know how annoying this can be? Well, with the K50 and K55 – you’re saved from such pet peeves.

With both machines, you can make a cup of coffee with just 5 simple steps:

  1. plug the machine into a power source,
  2. add water into the reservoir
  3. insert the pod into the K-Cup holder,
  4. press the power button. The machine warm water in about 4 minutes and a light will indicate when it is ready to brew coffee.
  5. Place a right-sized cup onto the Drip Tray Plate and select quantity from the brew buttons. Your cup of coffee will be brewed in 1 to 1.5 minutes.

The K50 and K55 both have button-panels to simplify operation. The buttons are accompanied by intuitive lighting systems to guide you when operating the machine. Both models also have an Auto-Off button which can automatically shut down the machine 2 hours after the last brew. This enables you to conserve energy and protect your machine.

The only difference in usability is that the K55 comes with “Quiet Brew tech”. This is supposed to reduce the noise levels emitted by the machine. This makes the K55 marginally quieter than the K50. Even then the noise levels are still too high for some people. 

 

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Keurig K50 vs K55 – The Verdict

In a nutshell, the K50 and K55 are both great entry-level coffee machines. They are cool, cute and classy-looking. Both machines can guarantee you a cup of coffee at the touch of a button. You can enjoy a selection of over 200 flavors of beverages which can be brewed on these machines. Above all, the K50 and K55 are both relatively easy to operate, maintain and clean. Basically, either can be a great purchase.

The ultimate question is: which should you buy? Who wins the battle of the Keurigs? Well, let’s look at the different metrics considered above.

In terms of aesthetics, the K55 wins – courtesy of being available in more colors than the K50.

In terms of brew quality, the K55 wins – there are no customer reports of plastic-scented coffee as is with the K50. 

In terms of reliability, the K55 wins – there are no reports of frequent break-downs as is the case with the K50.

In terms of cleaning and maintenance, the K55 wins – thanks to its descaling functionality.

In terms of usability, the K55 wins (albeit marginally) due to the inbuilt Quiet Brew Tech. 

Basically, the K55 beats the K50 hands down. If the Keurig K50 vs K55 is a boxing match, the K55 would score a first-round knock-out.

The biggest endorsement of the K55 is from buyers. The K55 is currently the Number 1 bestseller in “Single Serve Brewers” on Amazon. It claimed this spot despite entering the market much later.

Therefore, if you’re looking to choose between K50 and K55, there’s only one logical choice. That is the Keurig K55.

Keurig K55Keurig K55

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