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There’s nothing more frustrating than getting out of bed, turning on your Keurig, and watching as it fails to brew a cup of coffee. I can’t deal with that kind of crisis before I get my cup of joe!
No coffee maker lasts forever, but we certainly don’t want to buy one with an overly short lifespan. In this article, I’ll look at how long Keurigs last, how that compares to the lifespans of other coffee makers, why they break, and what you can do to keep your Keurig alive for as long as possible.
So, How Long Do Keurigs Last?
Most Keurig coffee makers seem to last about five to six years. Some users, moreover, have reported their machines lasting over 10 years. I’ll discuss some tips later in this article for getting your machine past that 10-year mark.
Which Keurig lasts the longest?
Most Keurig models have a similar average lifespan, but some do have a slight edge. Basically, finding the coffer maker comes down to picking a machine with the best build quality, the easiest maintenance, and the fewest potential points of failure.
The K-Elite and others in that line are very durable and long-lasting. Any of them are likely to last for several years, especially if they are properly cleaned and maintained.
A lot of the smallest Keurig coffee makers don’t have removable water reservoirs, making the cleaning process much more difficult. If you want something smaller than the standard Keurig models, consider the K-Supreme, which has a removable reservoir and has shown itself to be very reliable.
Why do Keurigs stop working?
There are four main reasons why any coffee maker fails: user error, defects, poor maintenance, and normal wear and tear.
User error and damage
We’ve all spilled water on electronics or dropped a fragile device before. That’s one type of user error, but it’s far from the only way things can go wrong.
Keurig water reservoirs are made just to hold water, but people have tried everything from introducing additives into the water to replacing the water with milk. This is bad for drip coffee machines, but it’s far worse here because of how Keurigs work. They pressurize the water inside the machine, and that extra pressure doesn’t play nicely with most liquids, often resulting in residue inside the machine or busted pipes.
Manufacturing defects are a major concern with most automatic coffee makers. There’s nothing more annoying than having your coffee maker start leaking or fail to turn on after just a few weeks of use.
Fortunately, Keurig offers a one-year limited warranty on all of their brewers. As long as you don’t do anything crazy like put milk in the water reservoir, they seem to be pretty good about honoring that warranty. Sometimes, that means sending you replacement parts, but other times they’ll just replace your whole Keurig coffee maker.
I’ll cover this one in more detail below, but you need to maintain your Keurig. That includes cleaning, descaling, and not leaving water or dirty pods sitting in it for too long.
Normal wear and tear
If you maintain your Keurig machine properly, avoid banging it around, and maintain it properly, it will still die eventually.
Nothing lasts forever. Wires fray, plastics break down, and electronics sometimes just die. If you’re lucky, this is how your Keurig will go. It may take 10 years or more than 20, but all machines eventually succumb to the power of entropy.
What’s the Longest Lasting Coffee Maker?
Manual coffee makers almost always last longer than automatic ones. Since they don’t have any electronics, you can typically replace the parts that do break on them.
The AeroPress is an excellent example of a durable, long-lasting manual coffee maker. The main parts of the machine easily last 5–10 years. The rubber seal on the plunger does tend to break after 2–3 years, but you can get that replaced for just $4. The rest of the machine, if properly maintained, will last almost indefinitely.
If you want a long-lasting automatic coffee machine, Keurigs is surprisingly good, but they aren’t the best. The two brands that consistently receive the highest marks for reliability are Bonavita and Technivorm.
Extending the Life of Your Keurig
The better you maintain your Keurig, the longer it will last. That means regular cleaning and descaling, of course, but there are a few other steps you can take as well.
Use filtered water
Tap water has all kinds of minerals and other gunk in it. Your Keurig will last longer if you use filtered or distilled water, and your coffee will taste better, too.
After each use
There’s not much you need to worry about on a day-to-day basis with a Keurig. That’s one of the nice things about a pod coffee maker. Just clean up any spills, and you are good to go.
Flush the machine as needed
If you are using any of the sugary k-cups like hot chocolate, it doesn’t hurt to flush the machine afterward to get rid of any residue. It’s a simple process, though, just remove the pod, put a mug under the machine, and hit start (without a k-cup).
Even if you only use regular coffee pods, you should be flushing the machine at least 1–2 times a month. It only takes a minute.
When you are traveling
Don’t leave pods or water sitting in your machine for more than a day or so. If you plan to travel or you won’t be using the machine for a few days, remove the old pods and empty the water reservoir. This avoids any concerns about mold, mildew, or standing water. It also stops the evaporating water from leaving behind mineral deposits that would require more frequent descaling.
How to clean a Keurig
The removable parts of a Keurig should be cleaned every 1–2 weeks, and there’s no harm in cleaning them more frequently. The process is very fast and easy. These steps will work for most Keurigs, but not every machine will have all of these removable parts.
- Unplug your Keurig.
- Remove the water reservoir, lid, drip tray, and k-cup holder.
- Wipe down the exterior of the machine with a wet sponge.
- Clean the drip tray and k-cup with warm, soapy water then rinse them thoroughly.
- Remove the water filter and wipe the reservoir and lid with a damp, soapy cloth.
- Rinse the reservoir and lid thoroughly and let everything air dry.
- Replace the parts and plug the machine back in.
How to descale a Keurig
No matter how careful you are, minerals will build up in your machine. If you use hard tap water, you may need to descale as often as every 2–3 weeks, but most people can get away with descaling once a month.
For most coffee makers, I recommend just using a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water. You can do that with your Keurig, but the company claims that it can degrade the internal parts over time. They offer a descaling solution, but it’s more expensive than vinegar. If you want to maximize the lifespan of your machine, use the descaling solution, but I definitely understand users wanting to opt for the cheaper vinegar option.
Either way, here are the basic steps.
- Fill the water reservoir to the fill line with either descaling solution (diluted as specified on the container) or a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water.
- Place a mug on the tray, and make sure there is no k-cup in the machine.
- Start a normal brew cycle.
- Dispose of the liquid in the mug and repeat step 3 until the add water indicator light turns on.
- Let the machine rest for 30 minutes
- Empty the water reservoir and rinse it thoroughly.
- Fill the reservoir to the max line with water (preferably filtered) and run at least 12 cycles through to clean out any vinegar residue.
Can you use apple cider vinegar to clean a Keurig?
If you don’t have white vinegar, you can use other types of vinegar to clean a Keurig. However, they will have a stronger flavor than white vinegar. If you use a flavorful vinegar like apple cider vinegar to clean your Keurig, you’ll need to run even more cycles of water through afterward. Otherwise, your next cup of coffee is not going to be enjoyable.
Enjoy It While It Lasts
If you care for your Keurig, it may well last over 10 years. More likely, though, you’ll be looking to replace it in 5–6 years. That’s not a bad lifespan for a coffee maker, and it gives you a chance to experience the latest upgrades.
When you compare the Keurig Elite vs Select, you can see what a few years of Keurig upgrades can do. Since the early days, they’ve introduced upgrades like the Keurig strong button and multi-stream technology that have vastly improved the quality of Keurig coffee. Alongside that, they’ve introduced espresso k-cups, stronger k-cups, and some of the other best coffee k-cups, and upgrading to a newer machine lets you get the most out of those.
So cherish your Keurig while it lasts, but you may as well take this time to get excited for all the new features your next Keurig (or Ninja or Nespresso) will bring!