Keurig K50 vs. K55 Review: Which One Brews the Tastiest Coffee?

Can't decide between Keurig K50 and Keurig K55? We compared them for you.
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Last updated: September 15, 2021
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Can't decide between Keurig K50 and Keurig K55? We compared them for you.
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If you are shopping for a high-performance but still affordable Keurig coffee machine, you might be wondering what the difference is between the Keurig K50 vs K55. Both are glossy, attractive top-of-the-line single-serve models that have great customer reviews.

Obviously, the K50, also known as the Keurig Red, is the earlier model and the K55 is the latter in this Keurig series devoted to efficiency and convenience. Both are single-cup espresso machines that work by piercing both ends of a coffee K-cup and pouring boiling water through a built-in filter into a cup. At first glance, it seems that the biggest difference is that one comes in black and the other four other colors as the two models are almost identical in appearance. However, our Keurig K50 vs. K55 comparison reveals that there are many more differences between the two coffee makers than it first seems.

Quick Navigation Chart

Keurig K50 Keurig K55
Dimensions (in.) 9.8 x 13 x 13.3 10.1 x 13.2 x 13.3
Weight 7.6 lbs 11.9 lbs
Brewing size 6oz, 8oz,10 oz 6oz, 8oz,10 oz
Display options Buttons Buttons
Water reservoir 48 oz. 48 oz.
Variety of colors Black, Rhubarb (red) Black, Rhubarb (red), Brushed Silver, Oasis (light blue)
Easy to use Extremely Extremely
Additional features Removable drip tray

1-year warranty
1 minute 30 second brew time

Removable drip tray

1-year warranty
1 minute brew time

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The Keurig K50 is a compact, light, single-serve espresso machine with a bit of portability because of its 7-pound weight. It is outfitted with backlit push-button technology that casts a blue light at night on your kitchen counter, drawing all eyes to it. It has a slender, transparent 48 oz. The water reservoir at the right side allows you to make a least six cups of coffee before removing and refilling it. It comes in both a “batman” black color and a beautiful Rhubarb (a rich ruby red color). The easy-to-use interface features light prompts indicating Power, Auto-Off, Descale, and Add water as well as backlit buttons with One shot, Double shot, and Tall options. It has an auto-off function that turns it off after two hours of use and a beveled removable drip tray with a rounded base that can fit a 7” tall travel mug. This espresso machine also has a lower brewing temperature, so your cup of coffee cools off fast. It takes about sixty seconds for it to brew a cup of coffee, which is one of the fastest in the instant coffee brewing machine business.

Pros:

  • light-weight and portable
  • large 48-ounce reservoir
  • auto-off function
  • uses any brand of K-Сups

Cons:

  • only comes in two colors (red and black)
  • no brewing temperature control
  • plastic filter may off-gas odor
  • noisy

Keurig K55

The Keurig K55 is the new and improved evolution of the K50, a compact single-serve espresso machine with the same push-button technology. It is two inches taller than the K50 and has a slightly but slimmer 48 oz. The water reservoir on the right side allows you to make at least six cups of coffee before removing and refilling it. It has a sleek B-shape that comes in Black, Rhubarb Brushed Silver, and a light blue color called Oasis. The simple-to-use interface features light prompts indicating Power, Auto-off, Descale, and Add water. The buttons on the Keurig are polished and inset than on its predecessor the K50. Choices for brewing include: One shot, Double shot, and Tall options. It has an auto-off function that turns it off after two hours of use and a removable drip tray to accommodate a 7.1” tall travel mug. This is an efficient machine that can brew you a single-shot espresso coffee in less than thirty seconds. 

If you like a piping hot cup of people, keep in mind that this one may not be for you as it has a lower brewing temperature.

The benefit of this is that you do not have to wait for your coffee to cool down before drinking it.

Pros:

  • large 48-ounce reservoir
  • auto-off function
  • uses any brand of K-cups
  • charcoal filter basket

Cons:

  • no brewing temperature control
  • needs a lot of counter space

Keurig K50 vs. Keurig K55: the Difference

K-Cup Compatibility

The great thing about the Keurig K50 and K55 is that they belong to the Keurig 1.0 product line. That means that many different coffee brands have K-Сups that are compatible with the machine, including Van Houtte, Tim Horton’s, McCafe, Barista Prima Coffeehouse, Costa Rica Fair Trade Coffee, Timothy’s, Starbucks Green Mountain, Donut House, Folgers, and Laura Secord.

Unfortunately, K-Cups only recently began to be offered recyclable; after becoming so popular, they were causing significant environmental pollution Trusted Source How Bad Are K-Cups for the Environment? - The Atlantic Last year K-Cups accounted for most of Keurig Green Mountain’s $4.7 billion in revenue—more than five times what the company made five years prior. www.theatlantic.com . The good news is that many of these companies are now offering recyclable K-Cups, including Van Houtte and Barista Pria Coffeehouse, 

Suppose you are concerned about how Fair Trade in the coffee industry Trusted Source How fair is it? | The Economist Market constraints limit how “fair” trade can be | Free exchange www.economist.com affects the environment, Van Houtte is offering Costa Rica Fair Trade Coffee Recyclables and Swiss Water Decaf Fair Trade Organic Coffee Recyclables.

You can also brew teas in a K-Cup from companies such as Bigelow, Tetley and hot chocolate from companies such as Laura Secord and Tim Horton’s. Both the Keurig K50 and the Keurig K55 accept over 200 different types of beverages, so just about any hot beverage you want can be at your fingertips within a minute or two.

Cup Sizes

If you want a strong cup of coffee, hacks exist that can help you brew a strong cup of coffee with the K55. The Keurig K50 and the K55 brew multiple K-Cup pod sizes 6oz, 8oz, and 10oz. On either the K50 or K55 machine, you can run a single shot of espresso twice through in the same larger copy to make a stronger tall-sized coffee that resembles an Americano.

In case you enjoy unusual coffee types, here’s one of them. We’ve made a guide on how to make Keurig iced coffee incredibly tasty and fresh.

Auto Shut-off

Keurig K50 vs. K55 Review: Which One Brews the Tastiest Coffee?

Auto-off function is available on both of the models, so it turns off your coffee maker after it has been idle for 2 hours, helping to save energy.

The Keurig K55 and the K50 feature an auto shut-off that shuts down the unit two hours after the last brewing cycle. This helps to save energy and saves the Keurig machine from overheating and causing a fire. There is no auto-turn on or timer function in the K50 series.

Cleaning and Maintenance 

The cleaning and caring of both the K55 and the K50 are incredibly easy. You clean the water reservoir by detaching it from the unit, rinsing it with a bit of dish soap and water, and then rinsing it with hot water and letting it air dry.  You can do the same with the drip tray and the K-Cup holder. It is probably not good to put these parts in the dishwasher as they may deform if exposed to repeated showers of hot water.

Keurig recommends a descaling of the K50 or K55 appliance every three months. With the Keurig 50, you might have to note in your calendar when it is time to descale with an auto-descaling detection feature so that every time the machine needs descaling. The K55 has the smarts to alert you via a small backlit button on the interface that it is time to clean the machine. Nevertheless, your taste buds can always be your guide to when it is time to descale your coffee machine, as without the demineralization and decontamination of the interior, the beverages you are making can taste badly. Both models are descaled in the same way. Trusted Source 4 Ways to Descale a Keurig - wikiHow Over time, Keurigs can develop lime scale that affects the machine’s performance and the taste of the coffee it brews. Fortunately, it’s easy to descale a Keurig using a cleaning solution or a few simple household ingredients. Remove any… www.wikihow.com  

The cup holder is removed along with the reservoir. Turn off the automatic shut-off setting that both models have. You can fill the reservoir with the recommended Keurig descaling solution (used according to directions), or you can use one part straight, undiluted vinegar to one part water. Place a 10-ounce mug on the drip tray and then brew a cup of hot water. The vinegar or Keurig descaling solution will flow through the machine and remove any limescale build-up. Then remove any vinegar residue from inside the machine by brewing hot water through it. Brew as many cups of hot water as you need to eliminate the vinegar smell.

Now you might understand a lot about caring of Keurig coffee brewers, but it’s also essential to know how to drain them to improve their work.  

Reliability

Our research for this Keurig K50 vs. K55 review reveals that the K55 is an improved model that breaks down less than the Keurig K50. The K50 is vulnerable to air bubbles, but the remedy is to actually pick up the machine, shake it, and then press brew to run water through it. This is why it is a good thing that it only weighs 7 lbs.

The Keurig K50 also takes a longer time to warm up than the newer K55 model, and if the machine is not given about 5 minutes to warm up may not brew the minute you press the button. Although much more efficient, the Keurig 55 is famous for tripping GFCI/AFCI breakers that are often found in newer houses.

Both models are prone to clogging at the point of the spout. A hack that you can use to fix this is to poke it inside with a paper clip.

Both models can also break down while brewing if your water reservoir is not placed properly on the magnetic clip that holds it in place. If this happens with either the K50 or K55, try repositioning it on the magnetic holder. 

Both models have also been known to leak water while brewing. This is often the result of a plastic gasket that is not placed quite right. Adjust it, so it creates a solid seal with the incoming water supply.

Neither machine works that well with soft water. Soft water casts extra grounds into the cup. The solution here is to uses bottled water to brew your morning coffee.

Both of these models sometimes fail when you press the power button, which is a common complaint with the entire Keurig line. The solution is to either plug it in and then unplug it or use another power outlet.

If the coffee you are making tastes a bit weak, both the Keurig K50 and the K55 work better with non-recyclable K-pods than recyclable ones.

In the end, you might have to resign yourself to the fact that these machines are made of plastic parts, which means they are not likely to last very long.

Speed

Both models take one and a half minutes to brew a shot of coffee, but if you are just making a quick single shot, the K55 only takes one minute to brew.

Price

The K50 is an older model that is going out of stock soon, so you can get it at a lower price, especially if you manage to nab a used Keurig K50 online. The K55 has a distinguishing feature that makes it about twice the price of the K55, and that is the fact that it has charcoal, as opposed to a plastic filter. The charcoal filter on the K55 helps create a richer cup, a more natural cup of coffee, whereas the plastic filter may lend your java a more plastic taste. The plastic taste of the water is especially noticeable when making a cup of K-Cup tea with the machine as the water tends to pick up the molecules of the polymer plastic. Depending on how fussy you are, you may or may not notice this.

Dimensions and Weight

Keurig K50 vs. K55 Review: Which One Brews the Tastiest Coffee?

K50’s 9.8 x 13 x 13.3 in. and K55’s 10.1 x 13.2 x 13.3 in. dimensions allow them to fit even into a tiny kitchen.

K50 is slightly smaller in size i.e; 9.8 x 13 x 13.3 in. as compared to K55’s dimensions 10.1 x 13.2 x 13.3 in. Both of these models are quite compact and tuck nicely anywhere you like, but the 11.9 lbs. Keurig55 is much heavier than the K50 that weighs only 7.6 lbs. This makes the K50 ideal for taking on the road, stowing on a trailer, or putting to use in a college dorm room.

Aesthetics

These models are incredibly similar, with a tall clear conical reservoir on the right site, a central spout, and an integrated display panel on the top. Both are very sleek and have a slender, designer look, with the Keurig K55 having a slightly more enhanced V shape that makes it look about the same size as the Keurig K50 even though it is bigger. The K50 is also two inches shorter than the K55, which has a different type of filter, and without this height difference, it might be hard to tell the two Keurig coffee maker models apart.

As these are coffee makers designed for novices who like to leave the machine and make several cups over the hours, there are not many bells and whistles on displays. The interface is very simple on both machines. Both machines also look a great deal more complicated than they actually are. The inset display lights with their blue glow also give them a professional look, even though they do not have that many professional features such as temperature or pressure controls.

Which One to Choose? 

The Keurig K55 is a clear winner when making a tastier cup of coffee, thanks to its unique charcoal filter that makes a pure, rich, and natural-tasting brew. The best cup of coffee to be had among all of the functions on both machines is the 6 oz. cup of coffee brewed by the K55. Taste has been a concern with the K50, thanks to the plastic filter in the unit. Another issue is frequent clogging of the spout in the K50, which spills grounds into the cup and affecting it.

If you are sensitive to noise, you want to choose the K55 over the K50, which has Quiet Brew Technology. The Keurig K50 is much ruder to wake up to in the morning with its loud steaming and dripping sounds.

Final Thoughts

If you feel that you have good taste in coffee, then it is a good idea for you to pick the Keurig K55 as the charcoal filter does not interfere with the taste of the coffee in the same way that a plastic one does. Furthermore, the charcoal filter contains fewer estrogens than artificial plastic and, therefore Trusted Source Is Plastic a Carcinogen? Although no proof exists that plastic is a carcinogen or cancer-causing agent, it’s probably best to avoid microwaving food in plastic containers. www.verywellhealth.com For overall efficiency, the helpful Descaling Alert feature, and the wisdom of choosing the newest, latest model over the older one, the K55 should be your choice. If obtaining a quality espresso machine at discounted and lower prices is a consideration in comparing the Keurig K50 vs. the Keurig K55, then the K50 might be for you.  

References

1.
How Bad Are K-Cups for the Environment? - The Atlantic
Last year K-Cups accounted for most of Keurig Green Mountain’s $4.7 billion in revenue—more than five times what the company made five years prior.
2.
How fair is it? | The Economist
Market constraints limit how “fair” trade can be | Free exchange
3.
4 Ways to Descale a Keurig - wikiHow
Over time, Keurigs can develop lime scale that affects the machine’s performance and the taste of the coffee it brews. Fortunately, it’s easy to descale a Keurig using a cleaning solution or a few simple household ingredients. Remove any…
4.
Is Plastic a Carcinogen?
Although no proof exists that plastic is a carcinogen or cancer-causing agent, it’s probably best to avoid microwaving food in plastic containers.
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