Nespresso vs Keurig: What You Should Know Before Buying (2024)

Mike C
Written By Mike C

I've been writing about coffee and espresso machines for 3 years. My goal is to provide you with helpful content that you can trust based on my own personal experiences, information from manufacturers, and tips and tricks I've gathered from other coffee and espresso machine users.

I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Nespresso vs Keurig: What You Should Know Before Buying (2024)

Nespresso vs Keurig
Nespresso and Keurig

In the US, there are two brands of single serve coffee machines you can choose between: Nespresso vs Keurig. If you want to start saving money by making more coffee at home and you want a way to do that easily, I know that one of these brands will be perfect for you. However, to decide which one is better for you, you need to know the key differences between them.

The #1 Question When Deciding Nespresso vs Keurig: How Do You Like Your Coffee?

This is the most important question you need to answer as you are shopping for a Nespresso vs a Keurig. That’s because Nespresso and Keurig make different types of coffee. This is the key difference to know to make sure you are not upset with your brewer.

nespresso vs keurig based on what coffee you like to drink

A Regular Cup Of Coffee (Hot or Iced)

When you go to a coffee shop, do you order a “medium coffee” a ” french vanilla coffee” or an “iced coffee”? If so, you’ll be able to make all of those with a Keurig. Keurigs are really easy to use, but they can only make a regular American cup of coffee. There are both flavored and unflavored pods. You can brew in a range of single cup sizes with most models, from 6 oz to 12 oz. Keurig brewers CANNOT make espresso.

Espresso, Lattes, Cappuccinos, etc.

On the other hand, there are some Nespresso machines (known as the “Original Line”) that can only make espresso. Espresso is a concentrated coffee brewed under high pressure and typically served in small shots. The standard size is 1.35 oz. Original Nespresso models can also prepare a 3.7 oz lungo. Espresso is the only type of coffee that can be used to make an americano and certain drinks with milk. If your favorite drink is a cappuccino, latte (pumpkin spice or otherwise), macchiato, or flat white, then you will need an original Nespresso model with its 19-bar pressure brewing system. You’ll need a milk frother to make these drinks too.

nespresso cappuccino
Nespresso Cappuccino
nespresso latte macchiato
Nespresso Latte Macchiato

Both Regular Coffee & Espresso Drinks

What if you like both regular American coffee and an espresso-based drink every now and then? Do you need to get both Nespresso and Keurig? Nope! That’s where Nespresso’s new product line comes in. Powered by centrifusion technology and a pod barcode reader, the Vertuoline is easy to use to brew both espresso pods and 8 oz coffee pods. You’ll want a milk frother too.

Don’t be fooled by Keurig “espresso roast” pods or Keurig machines like the K-Latte or the Keurig K-Cafe. Keurig machines cannot make espresso to use in lattes because they don’t use a high pressure brewing method. The best Keurig can do is to try to replicate the taste of espresso. With Nespresso, you get the real thing.

Nespresso vs Keurig Machine Price

Advantage for coffee drinkers: Keurig
Advantage for espresso drinkers: Nespresso Vertuo

Keurig coffee makers are more affordable vs Nespresso machines. You can usually find a basic, no frills model like the K-Mini or K-Express for around $80. If you want a more advanced one, you can get one for $100 to $200.

Nespresso Vertuo machines that brew both coffee and espresso are a bit more expensive vs Keurig. The retail price for Vertuo models is around $180 to $210, though you can sometimes find some models on sale for as low as $130.

There is a much bigger range in price for Nespresso Original espresso machines. That’s because there are some higher end models that have more advanced features. These include built-in milk frothing and usually an extra year of warranty coverage. These high-end machines, like the Creatista or Lattissima models, can sell for $400 to $600. However, there are are a few more affordable Original models with basic functionality you need to just brew a high quality espresso. This includes the Essenza Mini and the Pixie. You can probably find one between $150 and $200.

Nespresso vs Keurig Coffee Selection

Advantage for coffee drinkers: Keurig
Advantage for espresso drinkers: Nespresso Original

For coffee only drinkers, Keurig will have many more coffee pods to choose from. There are over 200 K-cups to try, including popular coffee brands like Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and The Original Donut Shop. Plus, you can get a lot of other non-coffee K-cups from Keurig, including tea and hot cocoa. There are no tea or cocoa pods for Nespresso, though you can use the machine to make hot water.

Your coffee options will be more limited with the Nespresso Vertuoline. Nespresso currently only makes 15 different Vertuo coffee pods. There are also a few made by Starbucks, the only official Nespresso partner. Because Nespresso holds a patent on the Vertuo pod design, you won’t find pods from any other brands until around 2030.

If you prefer espresso drinks, you’ll find more variety with Nespresso Original vs the Vertuo models. There are 38 different espresso pods for Original models. There is a wide range of both intensity levels and caffeine levels to pick from. Plus, you can find Original compatible Nespresso capsules from many other brands, including Starbucks, Peet’s Coffee, Cafe Bustelo and more. There are only 14 espresso pods for Nespresso Vertuo.

Coffee Price

Advantage for coffee drinkers: Keurig
Advantage for espresso drinkers: Nespresso Vertuo

Keurig K-Cups can range quite a bit on price. You can usually find them for anywhere from 50 to 85 cents per cup pod. In comparison, Nespresso Vertuo coffee pods currently cost at least $1.25 each. Keurig even makes reusable pods that you can fill with your own coffee grinds for more savings.

Keurig K-Cup
Keurig K Cup

As of March 2024, you can get a single serve espresso pod for the Nespresso Original line for as low as 80 cents. For the Vertuoline, there are double espresso pods for $1.15. If you tend to make larger espresso-based drinks, it is cheaper to use one Vertuo double espresso pod than two single Original pods.

No matter whether you buy a Keurig or Nespresso, you’ll never want to use a Nespresso pod or K-cup more than once. If you do, you’ll end up with coffee that tastes bitter or burnt.

Coffee Size

Advantage for coffee drinkers: Keurig
Advantage for espresso drinkers: Nespresso Vertuo

Most Keurig coffee makers can brew at least three different cup sizes. All machines can brew an 8 oz or 10 oz cup, usually along with either 6 oz or 12 oz. Some newer models can even brew 4 oz or 2 oz shots. They all use the same size K cup. All that changes is the amount of water used and the brew time. If you want to enjoy bigger cups of coffee every now and then, Keurig is a good choice for you.

Nespresso Vertuo Pods
Nespresso Vertuo Pods

If you get a Nespresso Vertuo, there are 7.77 oz Vertuo coffee pods. If you want a larger coffee, then for now you will have to brew two pods. The Vertuo Next, Vertuo Pop and the new Vertuo Creatista have two exclusive larger pod sizes. If you get one of these two machines, you can brew 12 oz alto coffee pods or 18 oz pour-over style carafe pods.

Never brew the same pod twice as it will make your coffee taste bitter and bad. Unlike the Nespresso Original line, Vertuoline models also have double espresso pods in addition to the single ones.

Coffee Pod Availability

Advantage for coffee drinkers: Keurig
Advantage for espresso drinkers: Nespresso Original

You can find a wide selection of Keurig K-cups at your local grocery store, Walmart and Target. There are even more to choose from on and Amazon. Plus, you can get a My K-Cup reusable filter and use your favorite ground coffee.

To buy official Nespresso pods in store, you have to visit a boutique. Otherwise, you can shop online at, Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond and other retailers. You’ll only find Starbucks Nespresso pods at your grocery store, Walmart and Target. There might also be some store brand version of Original capsules. There won’t be any others for Vertuo.

Coffee Pod Allergens

Advantage: Nespresso

If you have any dietary restrictions, you’ll like that Nespresso pods don’t include lactose or other allergens. That’s a big difference between Nespresso vs Keurig. Keurig says that some flavored coffee and other types of pods can contain a long list of artificial ingredients, like propylene glycol and caramel color.

Nespresso vs Keurig Environmental Impact

Advantage for coffee drinkers: Keurig
Advantage for espresso drinkers: Nespresso Original or Vertuo

Since the end of 2020, all Keurig K-cups are recyclable. Look for the recyclable label on the pod box. They are made of #5 plastic that is accepted in most (but not all) curbside recycling programs across North America (check your local guidelines). Peel off the lid and throw it away. Then empty the coffee grinds in the trash or compost and place the plastic Keurig pod in the recycling bin. Keurig is rolling out an easy-peel lid that will make this process really simple.

nespresso pods in recycling bag
nespresso pods in recycling bag

Nespresso pods are made of aluminum. Unless you live in New York City, you won’t be able to put used Nespresso pods in your recycling bin. However, Nespresso does have its own recycling program. You can bring your used pods back to any boutique or send them to by mail. In the US, the company pays for this postage.

If the environmental impact is a concern for you, then you may be interested to know that Nespresso has trying to shift away from aluminum. As of Spring 2023, Nespresso is piloting paper-based capsules in France and Switzerland. It is still to be determined if and when these will launch in other countries.

Nespresso vs Keurig Machine Maintenance

No brand advantage

Whether you get a Nespresso or a Keurig, regular cleaning is needed to keep it working at its best. For Nespresso, you’ll want to run basic daily and weekly cleaning in addition to descaling every three months or so. Keurig machines will need regular needle cleaning plus water filter changes and descaling. Descaling removes mineral buildup that can impact your coffee taste and temperature.

dirty keurig pod chamber that needs cleaning
The Keurig brew chamber and needles must be kept clean

With so many single serve coffee makers to choose from, how do you know which one is best for you? Here is what I would pick.

For Coffee Only Drinkers

We love our iced coffees here in the US. That’s why I like one of the new Keurig machines that can make both hot and iced coffee. The best Keurig hot and iced coffee makers are the K-Supreme, the K-Elite and the K-Slim+ICED.

Keurig K-Slim
Keurig K Slim

For Espresso Only Drinkers (Budget Pick)

A family member has the Essenza Mini with the frother. I get to use that when I visit them. It makes the same quality espresso or lungo as the more premium Original Nespresso machines. The limitation is that it doesn’t have a built in milk frother. That isn’t a problem if you like to drink your espresso or lungo black, with a splash of cold milk or americano style. However, If you want to drink a latte or cappuccino you will need to get a frother like the Nespresso Aeroccino 3 or 4.

nespresso essenza mini
Nespresso Essenza Mini

The small footprint of the Essenza Mini makes it a great choice if you are tight on counter space. However, it also means that it will require a bit more time for regular maintenance. The water tank is quite small (only 20 oz) and the used capsule container only holds six pods. See my related posts for an in-depth review of the Essenza Mini.

For Espresso Only Drinkers (Upgrade Pick)

I’ve been a delighted owner of the Breville Nespresso Creatista Plus since May of 2021. Before getting the Creatista, I would often go to coffee shops when I wanted something more indulgent than what I could make at home with the very basic drip coffee maker. Now I can easily make milk-based espresso drinks at home by just pressing a few buttons.

nespresso creatista plus by breville
Nespresso Creatista Plus

The range of drinks you can prepare with the Creatista Plus with the push of some buttons is what makes this machine so special. There are 7 drinks to choose from: Flat White, Cappuccino, Latte, Latte Macchiato, Espresso, Lungo and Ristretto.

Milk frothing and steaming functionality is built directly into the machine. No separate accessories like the Aeroccino are needed to make milk-based drinks. Just use the stainless steel milk jug that comes in the box to quickly and easily prep the milk.

The Creatista Plus is definitely one of the most beautiful Nespresso machines. My model is the brushed stainless steel finish. You may be able to find it in other colors at retailers like Williams-Sonoma, including Sea Salt White, Black Truffle, and Damson Blue.

See my related posts for an in-depth review of the Creatista Plus. If you really want to splurge, you can even consider the newer Creatista Pro, which has a color touchscreen.

You can also see my detailed review of which Nespresso machines are best.

For Coffee & Espresso Drinkers

nespresso vertuo plus
Nespresso Vertuo Plus

The Vertuo Plus is the only Nespresso model that has a motorized lid that will open and close by itself with the gentle push on the lever.  It also is the only Vertuo model to have a moveable water reservoir. You can move it behind the machine, to the side or at a 45 degree angle. The water tank holds 40 oz, which means you won’t have to refill it too often. The used capsule container can hold up to 10 coffee pods. I usually empty mine just once a week.

In addition to the standard model, there is the Nespresso Vertuo Plus Deluxe. This is great choice if you want a coffee maker that has it all: chrome accents, faster startup speed, less frequent maintenance, and an adjustable water tank.

A Warning About The Vertuo Next

Nespresso machine leaking
Coffee leaking from Vertuo Next

The best advice I can give you when shopping for a Nespresso Vertuoline is to stay away from the Vertuo Next! You might think it is the best one because it is the new and has the most features. While that may be true, a quick scan of Nespresso user groups on Reddit and Facebook will reveal that owners of the Next have A LOT of trouble. Vertuo Next problems include leaks, machine errors, etc. Stick With the Vertuo Plus!

2 thoughts on “Nespresso vs Keurig: What You Should Know Before Buying (2024)”

  1. Your web site will not send messages !!! I have a question, but nothing happens when I click “Send”.
    This is my question.: Hello, how do I tell if my Nespresso order contains decaf or full caffeine? I want only full caffeine! Where on the box will it state decaf? I never want decaf!! I purchase the 50-variety pack from Amazon.

    • Hi there – If you have an Original line machine, there will be a red dot at the bottom of the decaf pods. If you have a Vertuoline machine, there will be a red ring around the pod near the barcode.


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