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Tom’s Guide
Tom’s Guide
Madeleine Streets

Nespresso vs. Keurig: Which coffee machine will save you the most money?

Two coffee machines from Nespresso and Keurig side-by-side in a split image.

The best coffee makers have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering quality coffee at home with the touch of a button. The two leaders in this space, Nespresso and Keurig, are both high performers but offer slightly different benefits: whereas the best Keurig coffee makers focus on drink versatility and a flexible price range, Nespresso is more committed to quality coffee than an extensive range of products. Both machines will save you money compared to buying your coffee out at a café, but which is truly the more cost effective option?

When evaluating the overall costs of owning a coffee pod machine, you’ll need to look at a few factors. Not only do you need to pay for the machine itself, but you’ll also need to pay for coffee pods on a regular basis. You may also want to take into account the cost of the electricity that powers the unit, especially if you’re making multiple cups a day. 

Finally, it’s helpful to consider the “value” of the unit, although this may be subjective. A machine that offers more versatility in drink selection or brews a more high-quality cup of coffee may balance out a slightly higher price — or it may not be worth it.

So how does Nespresso compare to Keurig? We crunched the numbers.

The upfront costs

(Image credit: Nespresso)

There are several models available by each brand of coffee machine, so there is some degree of flexibility here. Nespresso has a slightly smaller product range, with every machine priced at over $100, although its cheapest unit (the Vertuo Pop+) is occasionally on sale for $99.00. There are several machines in the $100-200 range and these all include the option to bundle an Aero3 Milk Frother for an additional $50. 

For coffee lovers who want to invest in Nespresso’s higher end products, the brand also has advanced machines that go up to $849.00 for the Creatista Pro. In general, the bulk of its Vertuo products lie between $129-$250. All of these machines work exclusively with Nespresso coffee pods.

Keurig has a wide variety of coffee machines, with several options under $100. The brand also has frequent discounts across its product range, so you can often find the K-Mini Single Serve Coffee Maker and the K-Express Single Serve Coffee Maker for as low as $59.99-$69.99. On the highest end of the product range, the Keurig K155 OfficePRO Premier Brewing System (designed for business use) sells for $294.95, while the K-Duo Plus Single Serve & Carafe Coffee Maker is $229.00 at full price. In general, most products fall between $80-$150.

Overall, while there is considerable overlap in price across the mid-range options, Nespresso units definitely skew more expensive than the Keurig range. Keurig products are also more frequently on sale, which enables greater savings.

The ongoing coffee costs

(Image credit: Keurig)

Both brands require specific coffee pods for use in their machines, but there are considerable differences between the two.

Keurig sells its pods (K-cups) in boxes of 12, 24, 72 and 96, with cheaper pricing for 24+ counts. Subscriptions enable further discounts and they often have sales on their products, with classic coffee flavors dropping to under 50 cents per pod. In addition to its own brand of beverage flavors, Keurig has partnered with several famous coffee brands, such as Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, to produce signature flavors in K-cup form, although these tend to be priced a little higher. As each K-cup produces one cup of coffee, drinking a daily cup of Keurig-brewed coffee will cost you roughly $17.50 over the month, without discounts.

Nespresso makes two kinds of pods: Vertuo and Original, each only compatible with that accompanying line of machines. This can make purchasing coffee pods a bit more complex as you have to verify you have the correct pods for your machine. While the Vertuo line of products is generally priced lower than the Original line, the Vertuo coffee pods are more expensive at $1+ per pod. Original pods are frequently under $1 per pod, but never as low as Keurig’s prices. Buying a 100-pack of Original pods will still amount to $24.60 per month in daily coffees. 

Therefore, a Keurig will be more cost-effective when it comes to coffee-pod purchasing than a Nespresso machine.

Energy usage

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

When it comes to energy usage, coffee made from a Nespresso or Keurig requires more energy than a cup of drip or French press coffee. However, the amount used per cup is quite negligible, as long as the machine is then turned off after use. 

Keurig’s tend to use 1500W when at peak power of brewing coffee. This drops to 200-400W when kept on but not in direct use, so homebrewers would be wise to switch off the machine once it’s finished working. Some of Nespresso’s units can use up to 1500W as well, but others are slightly more economical: the popular Nespresso VertuoNext caps out at 1260W per use, making it slightly more energy-efficient (and therefore cost-efficient) than the Keurig models. Nespresso also offers an energy saving mode on many of its models, which helps to lower overall energy consumption and therefore increase savings on electricity.

Overall, Nespresso is more cost efficient when it comes to energy usage.

Additional features and versatility 

(Image credit: Pexels)

Different machines produce different kinds of coffee and may even make even other beverages, such as hot chocolate or tea. If you can make a hundred cups of coffee that are cheap but not to your taste, you’ll likely find yourself visiting a café more often and spending more overall than if you’d invested in a machine you like better. That’s why, although the features themselves don’t save money, they can contribute to the overall value of the product.

Higher-end Keurig coffee machines are designed to support the brewing of coffee, tea and hot cocoa, as well as iced and specialty beverages. Machines at the lower end of the price range lose this functionality and focus on producing single-serve coffee. The machines are a bit more simplistic than Nespresso with how they brew the coffee, with many customers arguing that the quality and complexity of Nespresso’s drinks are higher.

Nespresso machines use centrifusion brewing to make a range of high-quality coffee drinks, including espresso and double espresso. The Original line only makes espresso, while the Vertuo line makes regular coffee and espresso drinks; neither has the capacity for iced drinks or tea. They also feature an automatic pod detection system, which enables the machine to tailor its brewing technique to best suit the type and style of coffee selected. For premium quality coffee, Nespresso is the better producer — however it doesn’t have the versatility of Keurig.

Nespresso vs Keurig — which wins?

(Image credit: Keurig)

It’s clear that Nespresso costs more in daily use than Keurig. From the upfront cost of the machine to the purchase price of the coffee pods, you are likely to spend a bit more on Nespresso products and this could add up significantly over time, especially if you’re a heavy coffee drinker. 

The Keurig is also able to make a greater range of drinks than the Nespresso, so if you’re looking for a versatile, all-round machine that performs decently at a lot of things, then the Keurig is going to be better value for money.

However, Nespresso is broadly recognized as having higher quality coffee than is found in K-cups. If you are a coffee purist who doesn’t want to compromise on the taste of your at-home brew, then the Nespresso is more likely to keep you from running out to the local coffee shop — and is still much cheaper than buying a coffee out. 

If you prioritize coffee quality over beverage flexibility, then you might find greater value in the slightly more expensive Nespresso.

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