Keurig K-express vs K-express essentials (Best no-nonsense coffee maker)

By Barath
Last Updated:
K-express vs K-express essentials

This is our review of Keurig K-express vs k-express essentials. If you are confused about the two variants available on Walmart and keurig stores, follow this guide.

When I bought the K-express on Amazon, I spent over 12 hours researching all the different coffee makers. The Keurig model variants are confusing, especially the ‘essential’ variant that is available only on Walmart and Amazon.

If you are in a hurry, K-express is superior to K-express Essentials in the entry coffee maker segment, even better than K-mini and K-mini Plus. The larger water reservoir, strength control option, and updated thermal unit mean consistently fine coffee.

Both Keurig K-express and Essentials cost under $80 but vary a lot in terms of design and usability. Frequent travelers prefer K-express, but if you can find yourself discounted K-express essentials for everyday coffee use, go for it.

Read Also: Keurig K-express vs K-mini

Why is Keurig-essentials available only on Walmart and Amazon?

K-express Essentials is an entry-level coffee maker available on Amazon and Walmart and not in the official store. If you can grab yourself a discounted keurig express-essentials, go for it. Otherwise, order the K-express from Amazon (or) Keurig’s official store.

I think Walmart offers very good budget-friendly products and since these are from official Keurig partners, you can trust it.

However, they offer small brew sizes only and no strength control while being priced around $60 (I sometimes find it on Walmart for much cheaper). You can pay an additional 20$ and get a much sturdier K-express from the Keurig store or Amazon.

Update 1: The K-express are on discount most of the year on Amazon, and is often priced cheaper than the official keurig store. Check it out right now.

Quick glance

Keurig K-Express

Water Reservoir – 42 Oz (1.254 L)

Size – 12.6” H x 5.1” W x 12.8” D

Controls – Strength

Brew Sizes – 8, 10, 12 Oz

Detachable reservoir + carbon filter

Pod detection restricts non-keurig

High Altitude setting

Keurig K-Express Essentials

Water Reservoir – 36 Oz (1.06 L)

Size – 11.3” H x 6.5” W x 12.2” D

Controls – No controls

Brew Sizes6, 8, 10 Oz

Detachable reservoir + Filter

Pod detection technology

No High Altitude setting

K-express: Keurig’s entry-level, newly updated thermal unit model. K-Express measures less than 5″ wide (just like the K-Mini and K-Slim) with 8-12 oz brew sizes, Strength Control, and a 7.4″ cup clearance. For entry-level keurig, this is the best compared to K-mini and K-express-essentials (K25).

K-express Essentials: This is a Walmart/Amazon-only model, launched to battle the cheap, entry-level coffee maker segment. You are looking at an Amazon Basic Coffee maker but with the “Keurig” brand on it. Offers 3 brew sizes, 36 Oz water reservoir, and no strength control.

Design and Look

When it comes to design, the keurig K-express has a wider look while the K-express Essentials is lesser in height. Surprisingly, K-express weighs lesser than K-express essentials even with the larger water reservoir. For frequent travelers, this makes it easy to pack K-express.

Color options

K-express has only 1 color option, Black, and K-express Essentials on the other hand has 4 different color options.

I could only find 3 color options on Amazon for K-express essentials, while I find the Matte gray sometimes at Walmart.

If you are not in it for the color and want a value-for-money coffee maker, then K-express will be my choice.

Check the various color options for K-express-essentials.

Tank capacity

The primary purpose of the water reservoir is not to hold a lot of water, but rather to assist back-to-back brewing.

K-express can hold enough water for 4-6 coffees back to back. The thermal unit also allows for this, by not taking a lot of time to cool down after brewing. In fact, you can brew your coffee in under a minute.

After trying it for some time, I feel confident brewing 3 12 Oz back to back in less than 2 minutes.

K-express-essentials can hold only 36 oz on the water reservoir. The thermal unit is not updated and thus you can make 2 10 Oz brews in under 2 minutes. Having gotten used to 12 Oz cup sizes with K-express, 10 Oz feels a lot less on the same cup.

WINNER - K-express

Mug capacity

Keurig K-express is built with the frequent traveler in mind, while K-express is for everyday home use. However, at the end of the day, you want coffee that can fill your mug! The height of the machine affects the mug size.

K-express has a non-removable bottom, you can remove the drip tray and the maximum height of the machine allows travel mug up to a 7.4-inch travel mug. This fits a 12 Oz (350 ml) coffee easily in all standard-height travel mugs.

The non-removal bottom can be quite difficult at times to clean, I find it annoying to keep dabbing the bottom with a cloth to remove any residual water over it.

K-express essentials however come with a removal drip tray. This means you don’t have to worry about height in theory! Put your keurig on top of a box and fill any size travel mug (16 or 24Oz)

With the drip tray attached, you can reach a travel mug up to 7 inches with the Keurig K-essentials.

Unfortunately, both these keurigs are not designed to fit a carafe.

Looking for a compatible, cool travel mug for your K-express and K-express essentials? Consider the Yeti shot shambler

WINNER - K-express

Compatible K-cups

When it comes to the K-cup options, both these models don’t accept a non-keurig capsule. But, no worries the options are not limited.

Both the machines support the standard K-cup pods (There are over 100 varieties to choose from) and support the reusable My-Cup Coffee filter. Buying the reusable K-cup filter is the better choice if you want to save on the coffee pods. Some of the knock-off filters don’t fit properly with both the models and often have problems with properly shutting the lid.

Control Panel

keurig k-express vs k-express essentials control panel
K-express vs K-express essentials control panel

Both K-express and K-express essentials have the same control panel settings. 3 Brew buttons and a power button with clean and descale warning lights.

K-express additionally has the strength control option which lets you brew a strong coffee by increasing the duration of the brew [2]. Sometimes you are unsure if the machine is on, because of the auto-off setting, and the indicator lights come in handy.

Note that, with K-express, I personally noted a strong coffee on some K-cups, while others tasted roughly the same. Technically, you cannot increase the caffeine content magically, the brewing technique increases the boldness of coffee, delivering a punch.

Both K-express and K-express essentials have auto temperature control, which deals with how hot your water gets before it starts dripping from the nozzle. K-express however comes with an updated thermal unit, delivering hotter coffee all the time.

K-express: Out of 10 brews, 8 had a temperature between 165-170F, while the other two were warm.

K-express essentials: Out of 10 brews, 6 had a temperature above 165F, while others were lukewarm. There are some complaints online about K25 making lukewarm coffee frequently.

Both coffee makers have a high-altitude setting which is helpful if you want to brew above 1500 feet from sea level. Press and hold the POWER button and 10 oz button for 3 seconds till the 12 oz button starts to illuminate.

They also have the auto turn-off feature in common, the machine turns off 5 minutes after the last brew automatically to conserve electricity.

K-express comes with better core controls and a superior thermal unit and makes better coffee overall.

WINNER - K-express

Brew Time and Machine Noise (Usability)

What I really like about both K-express and K-express Essentials is that they brew coffee back to back. But K-express with a larger reservoir and better thermal system makes a 12 Oz coffee in 50 seconds while K-express Essentials takes well over a minute for 10 Oz coffee.

K-express is eerily silent when it runs, compared to the other models where you can hear the K-cup spinning. You seem to lose the sound even if you are in the same room. You are left wondering if the machine even runs.

K-express Essentials is not very silent and often takes up a longer time to heat the water in the first brew after turning it on. This is quite annoying when you want to quickly fill the travel mug with coffee before you leave out the door.

Both machines have a no-nonsense simple approach for first-time users, but for everyday coffee, K-express is simply superior.

Purely on the usability, K-express is again my choice.

WINNER - K-express

Cleaning and Maintenance

Cleaning any Keurig is simple. You run the hot water through and it should be done. You are advised to clean after brewing hot cocoa, tea, or other strong-flavored coffee. This is important because the nozzle will have a residual amount of the previous brew still present.

To turn on the cleaning mode, fill the reservoir with water, and have no K-cup on the holder. Press the 8 Oz button to run hot water through.

Both K-express and Essentials have a removable tank and a water filter support that makes it easy to clean. I clean the tank once every 2 weeks, and the removable tank on the side comes in handy. Cleaning the needle is also easy, as you can detach it in 2 simple motions. [3]

Press the 8 Oz and 10 Oz buttons to put your machine in descaling mode, and add the descaling solution to finish the process. Periodic descaling improves the longevity of the machine. [4]

Both the coffee makers have LED buttons for brew sizes and descale+add water indicator lights.

WINNER - Both K-express & K-express essentials

Best Overall – What should you buy?

K-express is for everyday use and frequent travelers. You get the benefit and comfort of a longer brew with additional strength control to make strong brews. To make it super easy, remove the water reservoir and pack it separately.

Choose K-express Essentials if you can find it at a steal and don’t mind a smaller water tank. K-express Essential’s no-nonsense brewing is handy and is comparable to K-express in all aspects, but cannot be easy to pack if you are a frequent traveler.

Barath is a coffee lover, who has been brewing his coffee at home for several years. He talks about coffee tasting, brewing guides and much more in home coffee wizard. Follow barath on X (twitter) @diputsC