The K55 is better known as the K-Classic coffee maker. It’s the newest of the 2 models and it has a price tag to match… but is it really worth the price difference? Have Keurig duplicated the K50 (which originally had no glorified title) and polished it up, or are it’s “new” features genuinely different?
Overall, the Coffee Dorks team has tested, reviewed and rated nearly all Keurig machines. This quailed us not only to drink endless cups of coffee but also to compare these 2 models and write up this guide. Giving you the chance to easily compare the Olsen twins of the coffee machine world.
Keurig K50 VS Keurig K55 Comparison Chart
The first thing I should point out is that the brew speed in our table above is for that first cup of coffee in the morning, from the point you turn it on to the point you have a full cup of coffee. Your second or third cup once either machine has warmed up will bring you closer to the 1-minute mark.
The K55 was nearly right on 1 minute, while the K50 was nearer 1 to 1.5 minutes – not a huge difference.
Both models are designed to be quick, simple and effective. There’s no LCD screen, just buttons on both, and your entire process for making a cup of coffee is the same. Brew temperature for both is 89°C.
When we come to filters, we start seeing a difference. The older K50 has simple mesh reusable filters – these are not great quality and you will need to replace them sooner rather than later.
The K55 has activated charcoal filters, which create a more supreme and smooth coffee. Whether these charcoal filters are worth the extra $$ you pay, well, that’s up to you.
Both machines will auto-switch off and are lacking any kind of timer.
This was a tricky one. In the end, we had to do some blind testing. The results weren’t great. Both tasted almost identical… probably because both machines are K-Cup compatible and so the flavor was the same.
You can use the K-Cups and cheap non-official K-Cups in both machines but neither can use K-Carafe or K-Cups 2.0.
The taste isn’t bad in either– with such a wide range of pods from Keurig, you’re going to find something you like. Some Coffee Dorks thought that the K55 brewed a slightly stronger coffee, but personally, I couldn’t discern a difference.
Cleaning & Maintenance
The official Keurig user guide for the K55 is called the K-Classic User Guide… and it’s for both the K55 and K50, which doesn’t help clarify the differences. Thanks a lot, Keurig.
Cleaning and maintenance of these machines is pretty much identical. Remove the drip tray and reservoir regularly to clean them, then run through the descaling program (basically, run chemicals through it a few times then run through the water until sparkly clean). The K55 has auto-descaling, while the K50 doesn’t. This is no big deal if you have the K50, it’s exactly the same processes as brewing a coffee but with descaling solution instead.
There’s also guidance in the User Guide for cleaning the pod holder, exit needle, entrance needle and funnel.
Cleaning is a very simple process and as these coffee machines are nearly all identical, if you need to replace a piece inside the machine, finding that part is not difficult (try eBay). The K50 is more prone to breaking down than the K55, if you compare customer reviews.
It’s at the bottom of our comparison list but it’s still important.
The K50 is a little heavier, but their dimensions are pretty much identical. They are medium-sized brewers, they will fit comfortably on your worktop and they’re mostly made of plastic. They’re not bulky – if we could describe their looks in one word, it would be “standard”.
Both come in black or “rhubarb” red. The red just looks cheap – the matte black is a bit more gourmet, but on closer inspection, it’s quite apparent that it’s not made of high-quality materials.
The buttons on both are nice – instead of using a budget LCD screen, they’ve ditched the screen altogether. The buttons light up, so they’re easy to press in the dark if you’ve snuck downstairs for a quick coffee and they don’t feel cheap to press.
|Keurig K50||Keurig K55|
When it comes to taste and performance (arguably the 2 most important things in a coffee machine), the difference is almost impossible to determine. In fact, we did a blind test and only a few Coffee Dorks could pick out which was better. The real difference between these machines is the maintenance and aesthetics.
The K55 looks better and lasts longer.
It seems that Keurig have taken a leaf from Apple’s book. Their newer model is almost exactly the same with a price increase that’s hard to justify when you take a closer look at the real differences.
Coffee Dorks Prefer
Overall, we agreed that if we had to buy one of these coffee brewers for personal use it would probably be the newer K55. What tilted the scales was the track record – the K55 feels sturdier. It’s going to last longer. Although the changes between the models are minimal, Keurig has clearly put more effort into quality and efficiency checks for the K55.
If you’re like us, you’re after quality and a handy little machine that can keep up with you every single day, go for the K55. If budget is a concern for you, don’t feel ashamed about going for the K50. It’s really not that different and you’ll be getting nearly all of the same features as the K55 anyway.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.