Keurig K-Duo VS K-Duo Plus VS K-Duo Essentials

By | November 9, 2019

In 2019 Keurig introduced a number of new styles to their line of coffee brewers. The new Mini and Mini Plus came out as well as the new K-Cafe machines which directly compete with Nespresso if you ask me.

The K-Duo machines however are the most appealing to me because I always teeter back and forth brewing single cups of k-cup coffee and making full pots of coffee depending on the circumstances of the day.

To completely summarize the K-Duo, K-Duo Essentials, and the K-Duo Plus I can say that these are the best dual brew coffee makers made to date in my opinion and certainly the best ever made by Keurig.

A while back Keurig released a machine that would brew a small carafe using a special k-carafe pod but that never got to be very popular.

These machines however are fundamentally different.

The K-Duo machines actually let you brew K-cup singles just as you would expect and have grown to love over the years but they also let you brew full carafes with your own ground coffee just the way a traditional drip coffee maker does.

Game changer is probably to strong of a term but this certainly is a huge selling point for me and I’m sure it will be a big draw for countless others.

With the release of three different K-Duo machines however you would be hard-pressed to not ask what the difference is between each of the dual brew Keurig machines.

I can answer that for you succinctly.

Contrary to the norm these days on the internet I can review each of these units from actual personal experience. I bought all three and own all three. I have even brewed hundreds of k-cups in the machines collectively so I know a few things that aren’t apparent from the various sales pages found online.

For one I can say that the stated water reservoir is not 60oz as advertised!

On each machine I was able to pour 73-ounces of water into the reservoir before hitting the max-line. Then after brewing the first cup of coffee a full 11-ounces is pulled into an internal water holding tank/reservoir for heating. This secondary chamber can’t easily be drained either.

Basically, all three of these machines can hold 11-ounces internally and an additional 73-ounces in the removable water tank. The only caveat is that you can’t use all 84-ounces of water without refilling the reservoir well before it’s empty.

When the water gets down to just above the “Minimum” line there is still approximately 25-ounces of water left in the removable reservoir in addition to the extra 10-11oz of water still inside the machine in the internal heating tank and tubing.

Once the machine gets to the “Minimum” line it won’t cycle a new cup of coffee of any size effectively resulting in a real reservoir size of only 48-ounces because the machine isn’t ever actually emptied all the way.

Weird I know, but this is how many Keurig machines have operated for years.

So if the reservoirs are basically the same on each of these machines then what are the actual differences between them all?

The main differences are as follows:

  • The K-Duo Essentials is significantly cheaper than the regular K-Duo but the Essentials model is only for sale at Walmart and Walmart.com.
  • The K-Duo and the K-Duo Plus allow you to program a brew cycle on a timer up to 24 hours in advance just like a regular programmable drip coffee maker does. The Essentials model however doesn’t include this feature.
  • The K-Duo and Duo Plus machines offer 6, 8, 10, and 12-cup sizes on the carafe side and 6, 8, 10, and 12oz sizes on the k-cup side. The Essentials machine however doesn’t offer the 6-ounce K-cup size or the 6-cup carafe size.
  • Each machine also accommodates different heights of mugs. The cheaper K-Duo Essentials allows for a maximum mug height of 6.2 inches with the drip tray inserted. The regular K-Duo model allows 6.5 inches of clearance under the spout with the drip tray inserted. Lastly the K-Duo Plus offers 7.25 inches of space for cups and travel mugs with the drip tray inserted.
  • Both the K-Duo and K-Duo Plus offer a “Strong Brew” option whereas the K-Duo Essentials does not.
  • Only the K-Duo Plus offers the unique multi-position water reservoir that can be set up to the machines left, right, or back side.
  • The K-Duo Plus is also the only one designed as a slim machine where the carafe and single-serve functions pour from the same spout. In short the K-Duo and the Duo Essentials are side-by-side dual brew coffee makers while the Duo Plus is not.
  • The K-Duo and Essentials models come with a glass carafe and a hot plate like a traditional drip coffee maker. The Duo Plus does not use a hot plate but rather comes with a stainless steel thermal carafe.

Basically if you want to pay less and don’t care about the strong brew option or lack of small cup or carafe size support then the K-Duo Essentials is easily your best option.

If you need the Strong Brew button and want to make either 6-ounce cups of coffee or 6-cup carafes but don’t care about the glass carafe or the flexible water reservoir placement then the plain-Jane K-Duo will do just fine.

For me I feel that the extra price for the K-Duo Plus was well worth it!

Yes the cost was higher but it wasn’t obscene and I LOVE the fact that the Duo Plus has a handle on the side of the water reservoir and that I can place that reservoir on the side of the machine that is most convenient for my counter.

I also can easily operate this entire machine with it located under my cabinets.

I also hate hot plates, they burn coffee way too easily and the thermal carafe means I don’t need one when brewing a full pot of coffee.

If you are wanting a good side-by-side machine then the Duo Plus won’t be best but I imagine most people want their coffee machines to take up less space and this one delivers on that front too.

For pricing the K-Duo and K-Duo Plus are sold just about everywhere among many different retailers. You can see current pricing for the Duo on Amazon here and the Duo Plus on Amazon here.

If you are still considering the basic K-Duo Essentials then you can only get that at Walmart. If you buy from Walmart’s website they will ship it to you or allow you to pick it up in the store the same day most of the time, so that’s a plus. You can see pricing for the K-Duo Essentials on Walmart here.