Quick Coffee Fix: Is the Keurig K-Compact Coffee Maker Worth it?
I fancy myself a coffee snob, so find out what happened when I tested the Keurig K-Compact single-serve coffee maker.
It’s hard to beat the heady aroma of freshly ground coffee beans. In the past few years, however, I’ve gone through three grind-and-brew coffee machines, and frankly, I was tired of the replacement expense. I used to think I wouldn’t enjoy the taste of pod-brewed coffee—after all, who knows how long the coffee has been sitting in those little pods—but it’s actually quite good. And now, after testing the Keurig K-Compact coffee maker, I have a new appreciation for pod-brewed java.
The Keurig K-Compact is all about convenience. It brews a steaming-hot cup of coffee in under 2 minutes, and it’s designed to fit on a small shelf or countertop without taking up too much real estate. It won’t replace a high-end grind-and-brew coffee maker or an espresso machine, and it won’t create a foamy latte. But anyone looking for fast brewing in a space-saving design might find the Keurig K-Compact the ideal small coffee maker. Keep reading to find out what I liked—and didn’t like—about this single-serve coffee machine.
The Keurig K-Compact Coffee Maker: At a Glance
- Fast-brewing, compact coffee maker that delivers a piping-hot cup of joe
- The K-Compact Keurig coffee maker is user-friendly—no complex functions
- Suitable for use with Keurig and non-Keurig-brand K-cups and pods
- No bells and whistles—and no brew-strength option
- Water reservoir is on the small side—may need frequent refilling
- No temperature selection button—but coffee is quite hot
Get the Keurig K-Compact coffee maker at:
What is the Keurig K-Compact coffee maker?
This bright-colored coffee maker (I tested the trendy turquoise model) is a study in efficiency. The Keurig K-Compact measures 15.1 inches high, 14.5 inches from front to back, and just 11.8 inches from side to side, making it well suited to keeping on a small countertop in the kitchen or even on a desktop in a home office. It comes with a 36-ounce water reservoir, sufficient for brewing four 8-ounce cups of coffee before needing a refill.
The Keurig K-Compact doesn’t boast a lot of fancy features. I could choose from one of three beverage sizes—6, 8, or 10 ounces—but I couldn’t select brew strength or coffee temperature. Fortunately, the K-Compact produces a steaming cup of coffee, and I like my coffee very hot, so I was pleased. The cup size I selected affected the taste of the coffee, however. I preferred the 8-ounce size, which is the exact size of a 1-cup liquid measuring cup. Brew strength is a personal preference, though, so by choosing the serving size, users have some control over taste—the smaller the serving, the stronger the brew.
How quickly does the Keurig K-Compact brew a cup of coffee?
What the Keurig K-Compact lacks in size, it makes up for in speed. Brewing a cup is simple: As with other Keurig coffee makers I’ve used, all I had to do was press the On button, lift the handle to open the top, and place a K-cup in the pod holder. Pushing the handle back down pierces the top and bottom of the K-cup and signals the machine to start brewing.
After selecting a serving size, the coffee machine gets busy. It took under 1.5 minutes to brew a small 6-ounce serving, about 15 seconds longer for an 8-ounce cup, and another 15 seconds to brew a 10-ounce serving. Even when brewing the large size, the machine took just under 2 minutes from start to finish. In my experience, that’s pretty quick, giving me just enough time to pop a slice of bread in the toaster and dig through the fridge to find some jelly.
Does this Keurig coffee maker accept non-Keurig-brand coffee pods?
Yes, and not only does the K-Compact accept non-Keurig-brand pods, but I didn’t notice any difference in the brewing time or quality when using them. This is important because another Keurig I own—the Keurig K-Supreme Coffee Maker—tends to leak hot water around the edges of non-Keurig pods because they don’t seal snugly in the machine. Leaked water dilutes the strength of the coffee, so I was pleased that the K-Compact accepted all the non-Keurig pods I tested without leaks.
In addition to various brands of coffee pods, I tested cocoa pods, hot tea pods, and iced coffee pods. The K-Compact made quick work of producing my beverages in all cases. Note: Although I tested iced coffee K-cup pods, that doesn’t mean this single-serve coffee maker has a cold-brew option—it doesn’t. The coffee that comes out is every bit as hot, but the trick is to fill a large tumbler with ice to cool it quickly. The drip tray at the bottom can be removed to fit a tall mug or tumbler under the spout.
What’s the difference between the Keurig K-Compact and other Keurig coffee makers?
The Keurig name has become synonymous with single-serve coffee makers, and the company produces dozens of models for home and business use. The Keurig K-Compact is the third Keurig coffee maker I’ve owned and the smallest.
When compared to the K-Supreme, it’s much faster when brewing. The K-Supreme takes a good 3 to 4 minutes to brew a single cup, but it has a side water reservoir that is easy to access and offers a selection of brewing strengths. Since there are three morning coffee drinkers in my family, the K-Supreme is handier because we don’t have to refill the reservoir as often.
The only other model I’ve used is the K-Select, which also has a larger water reservoir and was nearly as quick to brew as the K-Compact. Refilling the reservoir, however, was awkward as the design has a sloped lid that kept sliding off. Plus, my K-Select lasted only a couple of months before it decided to stop brewing. Yep, I guess I am pretty hard on coffee makers! Based on other coffee maker reviews, I’m confident that the K-Compact is one of the brand’s top performers in the category of small-size coffee makers.
The K-Compact now lives on a shelf in my office—next to my printer—where I can quickly brew a cup of coffee without needing to go downstairs to the kitchen. Very convenient.
How complicated is it to clean and maintain the Keurig K-Compact?
All coffee makers last longer and are simpler to maintain if filled with distilled or filtered water. I filled the reservoir of the K-Compact with water from our reverse osmosis (RO) unit because our municipal water is hard and contains a high level of minerals that tend to make beverages cloudy.
Even if you use filtered water, regular maintenance will be necessary to keep the Keurig coffee maker in top shape. The other two Keurig coffee makers I mentioned have lights indicating when the machine needs descaling. The necessary process of descaling clears out hard-water deposits in the device that slow the brewing process. The K-Compact doesn’t have a descaling light, but if you notice it’s not brewing as quickly, it’s time to descale.
Keurig makes descaling pods for removing hard-water deposits, but I’ve had good luck running diluted white vinegar through my coffee makers. I put 1 cup of vinegar in the reservoir, fill it the rest of the way with water, and then run the solution through the coffee maker. Afterward, I run a reservoir of clean water through to ensure all traces of vinegar are gone.
The K-Compact water reservoir is removable, and it’s easy to wash it by hand in soapy water and then let it air dry. The drip tray can be washed in the top rack of the dishwasher.
Is this compact Keurig coffee maker worth the price?
As of this writing, the Keurig K-Compact coffee maker sells for $139 on Amazon and is on sale for $109.49 on Overstock. For me, this compact coffee maker is worth the price because I can have a cup of coffee quickly whenever I want one. It’s small enough to fit comfortably in my home office but not so small that I have to fill the reservoir whenever I want a cup.
From what I’ve seen (and paid) for both cheap and costly coffee makers, I think the K-Compact is worth the price, and definitely among the best affordable coffee makers. I especially like how hot the coffee is.
The notable downside to any pod-type coffee maker is a slight loss of flavor over freshly ground coffee beans. This can’t be helped, but I’ve found that by checking expiration dates on the coffee-pod boxes, I can pick the freshest ones and get the best flavor. The K-Compact isn’t going to produce barista-quality coffee, but it’s among the best Keurig models I’ve had the pleasure of testing.
Where to Buy the Keurig K-Compact coffee maker
Get the Keurig K-Compact coffee maker at:
Meet the Tester
Glenda Taylor is a product tester and writer specializing in the construction, remodeling, and real estate industry. She and her husband own a general contracting company, and Taylor is experienced in both residential and commercial building applications. She tests a wide range of power tools as well as other home improvement, household, and lawn-and-garden products.