Keurig K-express vs K-slim | Perfect home coffee maker is…

By Barath
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Keurig K-Express vs K-Slim

This is our review of Keurig K-express vs K-slim.

Unsure about finding a cheap coffee maker for everyday home use? K-express is all in all, a budget coffee maker that beats most of the recent Keurig entry-level coffee machines, while K-slim’s new Multi-stream technology is supposed to give a better-tasting coffee every time.

I spent 12 hours researching the best coffee maker between the new K-express and K-slim and have compiled this guide.

The key difference between K-express and K-Slim are

  • K-express comes with a strength control option to make better-tasting coffee. K-Slim has the new Multi-stream technology, that soaks the coffee grounds longer for better aroma and taste.
  • K-express allows back-to-back brewing and can brew 12 oz coffee well under a minute. Because of the multistream needle, K-slim takes over 90 seconds to brew the same 12 oz and also allows back-to-back brewing.
  • K-express has a 42 oz removable water reservoir, which is easy to clean and maintain. K-slim has a bigger 46 oz removable reservoir.

Short on time, go for Keurig K-express as it is well under $80 and makes as good coffee as K-Slim all the time. It is very useful if you are a frequent traveler and can work as an everyday home coffee maker.

If you are still not convinced, read along for a more detailed review of the two budget coffee makers.

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-Slim

Water Reservoir – 46 oz (1.36L)

Size – 12.14’’ H, 4.76’’ W, 15.2’’ D

Multistream Technology

Brew Sizes – 8, 10, 12 Oz

Detachable reservoir + Filter

Pod detection technology

High Altitude setting allowed

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-Slim: Keurig K-slim is an upgrade to the K-mini series that features a basic coffee maker targeting the entry segment. K-slim has a better thermal system, 5 needle Multi-stream technology that soaks the coffee grounds better, and can brew a single-serve at a time. This means, it cannot brew back to back and takes roughly 2 minutes to brew a cup of coffee. The slim width makes it suitable for home (or) office use and is unsuitable for travelers.

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Design and Look

When it comes to design, the Keurig K-express is wider by a few cm but is shorter compared to K-slim. Both the coffee makers look sleek and do not have the plastic feel that you find in cheap coffee makers.

Though K-slim is priced higher than K-express because of the new ‘Multi-stream’ technology, K-express is better looking overall but with no other color option.

Color options

K-express has only 1 color option, Black, and K-slim has 4 color options.

I could only find 3 color options on Amazon for K-slim, while I find the Matte gray sometimes in the Keurig store.

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-Slim.

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. Even with a larger water reservoir in K-slim (which can hold up to 1.36L), it takes considerable time to brew a cup of coffee.

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 two 12 oz coffee back to back in less than 2 minutes.

K-slim can hold up to 46 oz on the water reservoir. The reservoir is removable, but can only brew four 8 oz coffee back to back. There is no point is filling the water up to 46 oz as reaching the back of the machine to fill is quite cumbersome.

Both coffee makers allow using a water filter at the bottom of the reservoir.

The tank at the back of the K-slim makes it deeper and doesn’t fit on most of the kitchen countertops. It either sticks out in the front or needs to be put horizontally, occupying a lot more space.

I did not find a lot of benefit for the bigger reservoir of K-slim as a few milli-liter of water capacity doesn’t make any difference.

WINNER - K-express

Mug capacity

Keurig K-express is built with the frequent traveler in mind, while K-Slim 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-Slim has a removable 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)

Compared to K-express, K-slim can fit a mug up to 7 inches with the drip tray attached. This is a standard height in most of the coffee makers and the standard travel mugs fit comfortably.

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

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


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.

This supports both the K-express single needle technology and the K-slim multistream technology needles. Can be very handy if you are trying out different coffee makers before landing on one.

However, keep an eye on some of the knock-off filters, they don’t fit properly with both models and often have problems with properly shutting the lid.

Control Panel

Keurig K-express vs K-Slim control panel
Source: HomeCoffeeWizard

K-express has a control panel on the front, that includes brew buttons, strength control, and indicator lights. This is quite useful especially if you are at an office setup.

I personally like the buttons at the top like K-slim does, but K-express controls are quite comfortable as well.

The strength control option 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.

K-slim has the new ‘Multistream technology’. This includes a 5 needle head, that is able to soak the coffee grounds within the capsule evenly when compared to a single needle puncture.

Note that K-express ‘Strength control’ works similarly, where it takes a longer time to brew by soaking the coffee grounds for a more extended period before sputtering through the nozzle.

Keurig K-express vs K-Slim needle difference

The only difference then is the 5-needle puncture, which is supposed to provide better aroma and flavor. I personally think, without the creme layer, which cannot usually form with lower-temperature brewers like Keurig, the multistream is not very useful.

However, some people do taste a noticeable difference in flavor with multistream.

Both K-express and K-Slim 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-Slim: Out of 10 brews, 8 had a temperature above 175F, while others were still warm. Even though there are some complaints about the temperature of the coffee not being hot enough, note that entry-level keurigs don’t have a thermal unit capable of heating water beyond 180 F consistently.

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-Slim is that they brew back to back. But K-express with a smaller reservoir and better thermal system makes a 12 Oz coffee in 50 seconds while K-Slim takes well over a minute and a half for a 12 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-Slim is not very silent. It produces sound upwards of 70 db and takes up a longer time to heat the water in the first brew after turning it on. The overall brewing experience with K-slim is smooth and does not have complex controls.

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


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.

K-express has 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]

Cleaning K-Slim is tiresome because it requires cleaning the tank with a cloth and cannot run water from the tap. You have to be careful not to spill water into the back of the machine where the electrical unit sits.

Descaling both K-express and K-slim is similar where you press the 8 Oz and 10 Oz (for K-express) and 8 Oz + 12 Oz (for K-slim) 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]

K-express has a descale indicator light that turns on when put into descale mode, while K-slim also has a button LED that turns on when descale mode is entered.

Intuitive enough to understand the simple settings make both K-express and K-slim land in a tie.

WINNER - Both K-express & K-Slim

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-Slim if you are not worried about traveling frequently and want a compact keurig on your countertop. The new multistream technology promises to deliver better-tasting and aromatic coffee. If you don’t mind paying a higher price to test this our for yourself, go for K-Slim!

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