Keurig Express vs. Mini: Battle of the Single-Serve Coffee Makers

Published: 11/10/22 •  13 min read

The humble single-serve coffee maker is the cornerstone of any ‘sad-coffee maker for one’ apartment countertop. We know that having a one-cup coffee maker is a rite of passage for any bachelor or bachelorette pad, but if you’re just moving into a new space that wants to try the single-serve coffee makers, you may be spoiled for choice.

Keurig coffee makers are infamous and are often the go-to for those choosing their first coffee makers. Whether you’re buying for yourself or sharing the space with tea drinkers and are the only sane soul in the house that drinks coffee, a Keurig single-serve coffee maker will set you up for life with its one-cup servings. As coffee makers go, they’re pretty chic and sleek too.

To help you out, we’ll narrow down your single-serve coffee maker choices to the Keurig K Mini or the Keurig K Express. There are others out there, but these are two of the best for those who love to brew one cup at a time.

To start, here is a quick comparison chart pitting two machines: the Keurig K Express vs. the Keurig Mini, two machines that are two of our favorite entry-level Keurigs.

We’ll break down the key features of each, give you an overall summary and then take you through the detailed breakdown of each maker, finishing with our overall verdict.

ConsiderationKeurig ExpressKeurig Mini
Strong Brew:YesNo
Travel Mug Fit Size:7.4 Inches7 Inches
Auto Shut Off:NoYes
Water Reservoir Size:62oz8oz
Cup Size Brew Options:8oz, 10oz, 12oz6oz to 12oz
Cost:Around $79Around $49

The Keurig K Express At A Glance



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The Keurig K Express coffee maker is among Keurig’s premium coffee makers. This sleek, slender design with a 42oz removable water reservoir and drip tray allows for back-to-back brewing and easy machine cleaning. The Keurig K Express works with many different brands of k cups, whether proprietary or not, allowing you to have your favorite coffee pods, regardless of the brand.

The Keurig K Express also has a small countertop footprint, taking up less countertop space than other types of coffee makers, though is not as small as the Keurig K Mini or the Keurig K Mini Plus. The last thing you want is your coffee machine getting in the way of your day-to-day kitchen functions!

For those who need more of a kick in the morning to get them going, Keurig’s K Express provides a “STRONG” button, which slightly elongates your brewing time but increases the strength of your coffee. If you don’t want to use the strong button, you can see what other coffee brands make k cups that offer the strength that you’re looking for.

The Keurig K Express can also accommodate three different sizes of cups: 8oz, 10oz, and 12oz – all options are displayed on the control panel, with options for each brew size. And its back-to-back brewing feature means that you can use reusable k cups rather than throwing out one k cup and replacing it all the time. Buying reusable k cups also saves you money!



Keurig K Mini: At A Glance



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The incredibly small, lightweight coffee maker is a great option for those with minimal counter space who are seeking a coffee maker that does it all: tea, hot cocoa, or your favorite ground coffee. The Keurig Mini is the perfect coffee maker for run-and-gun students or even those who are traveling – you can fit your K Mini into a suitcase!

The Keurig K Mini Plus is the newest Keurig machine, serving as a child of the K Mini, with an upgraded 30% plastic construction and the addition of a strong button, making a delicious cup, boldly, with the use of one k cup, while keeping all the familiar features that make the K Mini such a great option!

If you’re looking to brew coffee on a budget, then the K Mini, or K Mini Plus, is the budget and size-friendly option in the Keurig lineup.



Keurig K Express vs. K Mini (Side By Side Comparison)

Having taken you through the brief tour of the Keurig K Express and the K Mini, pitting two of Keurig’s best coffee makers against each other, let’s break them down in more detail:

Color & Design

The Keurig K Mini and K Express share similar design features, minus their color option. The Keurig K Express is, unfortunately, only available in black. Meanwhile, the Keurig K Mini is available in Matte Black, Cardinal Red, Evening Teal, Studio Grey, Dusty Rose, and Matte White.

The biggest design separation between the K Express and the K Mini is that the K Mini takes up far less countertop space, being less than 5 inches wide, and is considerably lighter than the Keurig Express, meaning that it’s far more portable.

The Keurig K Express also features a ‘strong’ coffee button, whereas the Keurig Mini has a much simpler, cleaner design.

Taste of Coffee

One of the great things about Keurig machines is that the taste of coffee largely depends on what k cups you put in them! Coffee grounds are coffee grounds, regardless of whether they’re a k cup that’s made by Keurig or your own favorite ground coffee.

The ‘strong’ button function on the Keurig K Express allows you to use the same k cup to make multiple cups of coffee. Whereas the K Mini and K Mini Plus allow you to use a reusable k cup, as they both come with a reusable coffee filter. Allowing you to save money on buying a k cup for each cup of coffee.

Water Reservoir

One of the main benefits of using the Keurig K Express is that it has a 42oz (or roughly three cups of coffee) water reservoir, meaning that you won’t have to refill the reservoir constantly between cups.

The K Mini and the K Mini Plus, on the other hand, can only accommodate a single cup at a time, so you’ll have to refill their water reservoir with each brew – which can become a pain in a hurry.

When buying single-serve k-cup coffee machines, you’ll want to find Keurig machines that allow you to refill the reservoir the least amount of times per cup of coffee – this will save you money on your water bill and make everything last for that one extra cup.

Water Heat-Up Time

Generally speaking, there isn’t too much difference between the Express VS K Mini when it comes to heating water – though the Express features the ‘strong’ button, allowing for slower brew times and stronger coffee for a one-and-done, regular, basic cuppa Joe, the K Mini has the faster heat up time overall.

Cleaning & Maintenance

In general, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of regularly cleaning your coffee maker. But let’s break down the two different machines and their cleaning needs.

The K Express will generally require deeper cleaning than your K Mini, as there are larger moving parts. Though, the K Mini will likely need to be cleaned more often – the same is true of the K Mini Plus – as they can only make so much coffee per cycle.

Both the K Express and the K Mini (and the K Mini Plus) can all be cleaned using Keurig’s own brewer cleaning solution. Although, if you’ve misplaced your brewer cleaning solution or have run out, you can make your cleaning solution using equal parts vinegar and water and run that solution through your system with the appropriately sized mug to catch the gunk and grime that’s built up.

Simply pour the Keurig cleaning solution, or your own homemade one, into your water reservoir till it is full and then run a rinse cycle, do this two or three times or until the water/vinegar mix runs clear.

We recommend doing this once every three to six months with the K Express and once every month or two weeks with K Mini and K Mini Plus – particularly if you’re using them daily.

You should also ensure that your k cup is properly disposed of after each use. Sometimes, k cup packaging can be recycled. You just leave your k cup to dry on the countertop, then scoop the coffee inside into your compost bin and recycle the plastic cup.

Cup Sizes

These two different coffee machines can both accept up to 12oz coffee cups, whether that is travel mugs or regular mugs, they’ll both do it. The K Express will take 8, 10, and 12oz cups, whereas the Keurig K Mini will take 6 – 12oz cups.

The Keurig K Express (and its upscale cousin, the K Express Essentials) both come with a removable drip tray to allow for a 7″ travel mug or a 6″ travel mug if the reusable tray isn’t removed.

Reusable K Cups?

This is where the rubber meets the road for some caffeinators out there. The Keurig K Mini does come with a reusable coffee filter that allows you to use reusable k cups. This saves you money on coffee and water – although the single-cup water reservoir loses the K Mini points as well, who’s keeping score?

Unfortunately, the K Express doesn’t come with a reusable coffee filter, meaning you’ll have to use more k cups over time.


Luckily for novice Keurig fans out there, both of these coffee machines are simple and easy to use – one or two-touch stuff, allowing you to create delicious coffee without having to put in a huge amount of effort or RTFM.

Given that you’ll be constantly changing the water tank in the K Mini, you could say that the K Express is more usable, as it doesn’t require this – with its 42oz reservoir.

Although, the reusable k cups and the reusable coffee filter that are integrated with the K Mini somewhat make up for the lack of water reservoir volume.


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Now we come down to the moment of truth for so many: How much do they cost?!

Well, the Keurig Express is more expensive than the Keurig Mini for obvious reasons – one is more expensive to produce and has more ‘features’ than the other. But really, they’re intended for different purposes and different single-serve-loving audiences.

The K Express will set you back $80.00 USD. Its bigger brother, the K Express Essentials, is a modest $65.00 USD.

The Keurig K Mini will set you back $50.00 USD. So, it’s cheaper, but as with most things, you get what you pay for. Consider this in making your decision.


Essentially, these two products brew fairly similarly in their most basic modes. The coffee from both will taste roughly the same. The devil is in the details with the Express vs. K Mini regarding brewing. The Keurig K Express allows you to brew using the ‘Strong’ button. This elongates your brew time but makes stronger coffee in the process.

The K Mini’s answer to the question of stronger coffee is, unfortunately, that you’ll need to use more coffee pods.

The Final Verdict

Both of these coffee makers are fantastic. They’re both suitable for single-living apartment dwellers who have one cup of coffee in the morning, and then they’re set for the day (who are these people, and how do we find them?).

However, the Keurig K Express vs. K Mini battle is all about which maker is better! Well, if you’re looking for a single-cup coffee maker that doesn’t break the bank and is made from recycled materials, then both the K Mini and the K Mini Plus are great options. As long as you don’t mind going through k cups like they’re going out of fashion and running your tap so often, you’ll wear your tap handles out. But, for the price, they’re hard to beat for single-serve coffee makers.

If you can splurge a little more, then the K Express or the K Express Essentials is probably your best option. The removable reservoir and drip tray, the maintenance alert after 250 brews, and the ability to brew 8 cups of coffee without having to refill the reservoir or at least three cups of 12oz means that you’ll save money on water and coffee at the same time.

Our final verdict is that if you’re really strapped for cash, but need a small, portable coffee maker that fits on your bachelor apartment countertop, then go with the Keurig K Mini. But, if you’re looking for something that’ll save you money in the long-term, and is overall a better investment, then K Express wins the day.

Hans Mast

Hans loves coffee and loves teaching about coffee