In the last 20 years, Keurig has come to dominate the market for home brewing systems in North America.
If you still don’t have one in your home and you’re thinking of joining the movement, you might be comparing Keurig K50 vs K200.
Here, we’ve got all the answers for you!
What made Keurig so successful?
Before we take a look at the two machines in question, let’s take a step back and consider how Keurig conquered America – and why you might want to buy one.
Before Keurig arrived on the scene, most American homes probably brewed their coffee using a method that had been around since the 1970s – using an electric drip coffee machine (1).
The same machines were also found in offices up and down the country, but the problem with these coffee makers was that once the coffee was brewed, it would sit in the pot stewing all morning and becoming bitter and undrinkable.
Bad coffee was probably as much a feature of American offices as the coffee machines themselves!
The original Keurig machines were the solution. By using disposable pods, workers could brew their own cup of fresh coffee whenever they wanted it – and at a stroke, bad office coffee was banished to the dustbin of history (unless, of course, your boss was too mean to install a Keurig).
Such was the popularity of this novel way of making coffee that a home version was soon launched and Keurig began its conquest of the home brewing market.
The advantages of using a Keurig brewer are clear. Using pods to brew coffee – Keurig pods are known as “K-Cups” – is the ultimate in ease and convenience. All you need to do is choose the pod you want, pop it in the machine and hit “brew” – the machine does all the rest.
This means there is no grinding of beans, measuring the coffee, boiling the water or even cleaning up after. It simply couldn’t be easier.
Coffee brewed in this way is always as fresh as possible, and coffee stored in pods remains in optimum condition for much longer than regular grinds or beans.
How about the downsides?
Coffee in pods is more expensive than traditional coffee – it can work out at two or three times the price per cup.
Then there is the fact that you are obliged to buy coffee sold in pods compatible with your machine, somewhat limiting your choice.
Finally, what happens to all those pods? They are not recyclable, and with Keurig’s success, each year, literally billions of plastic K-Cups end up in landfill sites – so using a Keurig is not at all an ecological choice.
- Super-easy to use, pop in the pod, hit “brew” and wait for your coffee
- No human error in the brewing process, every cup is perfect
- No cleaning up after
- Wide range of compatible pods
- Fresh cup every time
- Coffee keeps fresh for much longer than traditional beans or ground coffee
- Pods are more expensive than regular coffee
- Pods limit your choice to what is compatible with your machine
- K-Cups contribute considerably to plastic pollution
What’s the deal with Keurig 2.0?
After the initial success of their original machines, Keurig had a problem. Once their patent expired, other companies were free to begin making unlicensed pods that were compatible with Keurig machines – and these new pods began to eat into Keurig’s market share and profit (3).
The company’s response was the launch of the Keurig 2.0 range with lots of extra features – the K200 belongs to this range.
One of the biggest improvements on the new machines was the introduction of K-Mug and K-Carafe pods which allowed users to make larger quantities of coffee in mug and carafe sizes respectively.
Other developments included touchscreen displays, a high-altitude mode for brewing at up to 6,000ft above sea level and, on some models, a programmable timer.
However, they also came with a less welcome new feature – a DRM device which prevented the use of pods made by other companies. Keurig 2.0 machines will only work with official Keurig 2.0 K-Cup, K-Mug and K-Carafe pods. This was how Keurig planned to claw back their lost market share.
Unsurprisingly, there was a backlash. Loyal customers were annoyed that Keurig was trying to dictate which coffee they could and couldn’t buy.
In an attempt to appease these disgruntled customers, Keurig launched a reusable K-Cup pod that works with the 2.0 range, allowing users more freedom to choose their own coffee.
However, Keurig 2.0 models still only accept Keurig 2.0 pods (unless you hack the machine – check out this video to see how).
Pros of the 2.0 range
- Can be used to make mugs or carafes of coffee
- Offers the ability to brew coffee in up to 10 different sizes
- Includes touchscreen displays
- Allows users to customize coffee strength
- Some models include programmable timers
- Some models also include adjustable temperature controls
Cons of the 2.0 range
- DRM device prevents use of non-official pods
Introducing the Keurig K50
The classic Keurig K50 belongs to the original range of brewing machines. It weighs 7.6lbs, measures 13” x 9.8” x 13.3” and includes a 48oz reservoir (large enough to make about 5-6 cups of coffee).
Since it belongs to the original line and not the second-generation 2.0 range, it can only make single cups of coffee – it is not possible to make mugs or carafes of coffee with this machine. The K50 offers the possibility of brewing in three sizes, 6oz, 8oz and 10oz.
The unit is controlled by buttons (not a touchscreen display, as with 2.0 models) and has an auto-off feature to save energy when the machine is not in use. The machine also has a descaling reminder to help with maintenance and an indicator that reminds you to refill the water reservoir.
The main advantage the K50 has over the K200 (or any other 2.0 model) is that fact that it does not have a DRM device. This means it is compatible with all official K-Cups from Keurig or the company’s partners, as well as any other unofficial “rebel” K-Cups made by other companies.
This is a solid machine with few frills that does the job it was designed for very well – after all, this machine and other similar versions were what brought such great success to the Keurig brand in the first place.
Check out this video review to see it for yourself.
- Compact and light
- Stylish design
- Makes coffee in three different sizes
- No DRM device to limit the choice of pods
- Auto-off feature
- Descaling reminder
- Water fill reminder
- Easy-to-use button operation
- Not able to make mugs or carafes and not compatible with K-Mug or K-Carafe pods
- Lacking in features compared with more modern versions
- Design now looks a little dated
Introducing the Keurig K200
The Keurig K200 is part of the second generation 2.0 line and, as such, includes some of the extra features associated with that range as described above. It weighs 7.5lbs and has dimensions of 9” x 15” x 13.7”. At 40oz, the reservoir is slightly smaller than that of the K50.
The K200 is fully compatible with K-Mug and K-Carafe pods, allowing you to brew coffee in 10 different sizes ranging from a 4oz cup to a 30oz carafe. The carafe itself is not included and must be purchased separately. The drip tray is removable to accommodate larger mugs.
As with all 2.0 models, the K200 includes the high-altitude brewing mode and strength control feature.
The black and white touchscreen control is easy to use, so even the most technophobic coffee-lover will be able to master the operation of this brewer.
On the downside, being a 2.0 machine, the K200 includes the DRM device that prevents you from using rebel K-Cups without hacking the machine.
The K200 is considered an entry-level Keurig and so lacks many of the features of the more advanced models such as programmable timer, temperature control, and color touchscreen display.
This is a superior machine to the K50 in all ways with the exception of the DRM device. This would be a good choice for those looking for a simple pod-based brewer who doesn’t need the frills of the higher-end models.
Check out this official video presenting the K200 range.
- K-Mug and K-Carafe compatible
- Can brew 10 different sizes of drink
- Intuitive touchscreen display
- High-altitude setting
- Stylish modern design
- Adjustable strength control
- DRM device prevents you from using rebel K-Cups (unless you hack it)
- 40oz reservoir may be a little small for some people
- Lacks some of the features of more advanced models
Keurig K50 vs K200 - Our verdict
The K200 is superior in almost every way to the K50, which is now starting to look a little dated.
The only advantage of the K50 is that it accepts rebel K-Cups, but since there are simple hacks to resolve this issue if you really want to drink coffee from other brands, we recommend you opt for the K200.
Related Post: Keurig K200 vs K250 – What's the difference?
Two simple but solid brewers
There are many coffee brewers available on the market and choosing the right one can be complicated.
We hope our guide to these two simple but solid brewers have helped you understand the difference between the Keurig K50 vs K200 so you can make the right decision for you.
Do you own one of these machines? Which do you prefer? Which do you think is the better option? If you have anything to add, please leave us a comment since we always love to hear from our readers – and if you enjoyed our article, please don’t forget to share!
My name is Kathy Gallo, Editor of Ag Ferrari, a Coffee buff. The guide you find here is designed exactly for you, and it is our hope that you find it not only interesting but also actionable.