Keurig Vs Standard Coffee Makers: Which Is More Affordable?

For many, coffee is more than a morning beverage — it's a way of life and a daily essential. And for some of us, an afternoon drink too. We love it for its taste, the routine of it, and the energy boost. But when costs are skyrocketing and we're all pinching pennies wherever possible, DIY coffee instead of that $7 coffee shop latte is a way to save serious dough. To do so, there are a host of at-home coffee makers in two major categories: Standard coffee makers and the ever-popular Keurig. 

While both have their pros and cons, if being economical is your main motivating factor, the two are not created equal. At-home coffee makers all require regular purchases of beans, the cost of the machine itself, and maintenance. And while the Keurig is convenient, those single-serve K-cups add up in a big way. 

Matthew Woodburn-Simmonds, founder of Home Coffee Expert, coffee expert, and ex-barista, points out "each K-cup can be between $0.40 [and] $1.25 and only makes [one] cup of coffee. A 12oz bag of coffee can range from $6 [to] $10, but if cost is your main concern then you're looking at $0.20 [to] $0.30 per cup or even less from a standard coffee maker."  Take the bit of extra effort to brew a pot the old-school way and save — potentially dramatically.

Replacement pods and machinery add up

Even if you compare the cheapest pods to the priciest grounds, you're likely looking at a more expensive route by choosing the Keurig. Another factor to consider is the machines themselves. Costing from around $50 to nearly $300, the Keurig machine itself isn't too different from what you might pay for a standard coffee maker — which can range from $20 to hundreds. But a Keurig has an average lifespan of only 3 to 5 years. Compared to a traditional coffee maker, which when taken care of can last for a decade plus, the cost of replacing the machinery can add up to additional hundreds over a handful of years.

Keurig extras can stack up too — like recommended cleaning pods and descaler solutions. Ultimately, says Woodburn-Simmonds, "A standard coffee maker is much cheaper than a single-serve machine like a Keurig in the long run. Keurigs can save you time, effort, and mess. But they will cost more money."

Of course, everyone's coffee-making and drinking habits vary. To some, the convenience and time saved by popping in a K-Cup for an instant cup of coffee may win out. Looking to meet in the middle? If you already have a Keurig, simply purchase a reusable K-cup filter that can be filled with grounds. Not only will this result in big savings, but it's also a far more eco-friendly route than use-and-toss pods.