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When it comes to simplicity, it’s hard to beat a pod-based coffee machine. Ask 100 people to name the first pod coffee maker that comes to mind, and 99 of them will give the same answer: Keurig.
Long before the Keurig Elite vs Select debate, Keurig launched their first consumer product against competitors like Sara Lee and Proctor & Gamble, and I think we all know how that ended. Sara Lee may know their way around a frozen dessert, but Keurig easily squashed all competitors to dominate the pod coffee maker market.
The company has come a long way since then, introducing several new Keurig models with all kinds of bells and whistles. All Keurigs work similarly, but there are some key differences worth discussing. In this article, we’ll be looking at two of the most popular options: the Keurig Elite and Keurig Select.
Keurig Elite Pros and Cons
- Larger 72-oz water tank
- Can make iced coffee
- Has temperature control option
- Adds 4 oz cup size
- Programmable auto-on feature
- More Expensive
- Slightly larger size
Keurig Select Pros and Cons
- Slightly smaller size
- More color options
- Smaller 52-oz water tank
- No iced coffee option
- No temperature control option
- No 4 oz cup size
- No programmable auto-on feature
What’s the Difference Between Keurig Elite and Select?
The Keurig K-Elite and Keurig K-select are both in Keurig’s main line of single-serve home coffee makers, along with the Keurig K-Classic. As such, they have more in common with each other than with Keurig’s specialty coffee line (K-Cafe) or dual carafe/single-serve line (K-Duo).
But there are some important distinctions. The K-Elite adds a 4 oz cup size to the 6 oz, 8 oz, 10 oz, and 12 oz options offered with the K-Select. As I’ll discuss in the next section, the K-Elite adds an iced coffee option that is more novel than it sounds.
The temperature control option on the K-Elite would be more useful if it covered a wider range. Unfortunately, you can only go from 187 to 192 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideally, a cup of coffee should be brewed somewhere between 195 and 205 degrees. Again, we’ll get to the real importance of this in a moment.
The auto-on feature is a nice addition to the K-Elite, but its importance is partially negated by the short brew time. More importantly than the minute you save is, of course, the smell. Who doesn’t want the option to wake up to the smell of fresh-brewed coffee?
Both the K-Elite and K-Select have larger water reservoirs than their predecessor, the K-Classic. The 72-oz water tank capacity on the K-Elite can brew an impressive 12 6-oz cups (or 9 8-oz cups) before needing to be refilled. The K-Select’s 52-oz tank can produce enough hot water for 8 6-oz cups (or 6 8-oz cups). This extra bit of convenience adds up if you use your coffee maker as often as I do.
If counter space is at a premium, the size difference could tip the balance in the K-Select’s favor. The K-Select is 12.5″ H x 9.2″ W x 11.6″ D whereas the K-Elite is slightly larger at 13.1” H x 9.9” W x 12.7” D. I don’t think that will matter to most of you, but I’ve definitely had an apartment or two where every last inch mattered.
What Type of Coffee Do Keurig Elite and Select Make?
Both machines use the standard Keurig k-cup pods, including Keurig branded and non-branded options. There are lots of options within these cups, including flavored coffees, dark roast, and much more. Both can also be used with refillable pods.
Both have a strong coffee option, which I would call a must given how weak Keurig coffee is otherwise. Basically, this setting slows the brewing process down to get more of that caffeine goodness into your drink.
I said I’d mention more about the iced coffee option on the K-Elite, and here we are. It seems like you could just put ice in your mug to turn any coffee into iced coffee, right? The problem is that the melting ice will quickly dilute your coffee, leaving you with brown water. Since Keurig coffee is already pretty weak, that doesn’t end well. The iced coffee option brews a stronger coffee, counteracting the dilution from the ice.
So far, that sounds like something you could do with either machine, but do remember that temperature control range I mentioned? Well, those few degrees can make a difference for iced drinks, and the iced option will brew at the coldest temperature available. In other words, iced is really just a shortcut for low-temperature and strong.
How Easy Are Keurig Elite and Select to Use and Clean?
As with most pod machines, Keurig Elite and Keurig Select are incredibly easy to use. You simply need to add a pod, close the lid, insert a mug, hit a button, and wait for your chosen coffee to appear.
Cleaning is also easy with Keurig machines. On a daily basis, you can just wipe it down and make sure the drip tray isn’t full. You will need to descale either model every 3-6 months, preferably with a descaling solution like that offered by Keurig. You can use vinegar instead, but that may eat away at the internal workings, decreasing the lifespan of your Keurig.
How Much Do Keurig Elite and Select Cost?
The Keurig Select costs $130, whereas the Keurig Elite is $170. Those prices still put both squarely in the price range of other simplicity-driven machines including many of Nespresso’s pos-based machines and the Ninja coffee systems.
You’ll also want to take into account the price of the pods. Non-branded pods will save you money over the branded pods, but you may still be paying $0.35–0.50 per k-cup on the low end. Refillable pods will save you quite a bit of money, but you do lose some convenience that way.
Additional Features with Keurig Elite vs Select
Although they don’t fit a carafe, both the K-Elite and the K-Select can fit most travel mugs. Both also have an auto-off feature to save energy.
As I briefly mentioned above, both Keurigs have impressively fast brewing times, often under a minute from hot water.
Keurig Elite vs Select: Which One Is Better?
Do you care about iced coffee? Does the thought of making a few more trips to the sink to refill a water tank fill you with dread? Or would you rather pocket the $40 price difference? Sure, there are a few other differences that I’ve discussed above, but those are the biggest ones.
You might have noticed that I didn’t mention anything about specialty coffee drinks, espressos, and the like. You won’t find those with either of these machines. For those, I recommend looking into the Keurig K-Cafe, Nespresso’s line of machines, or the Ninja coffee systems.