Here is my comparison of the Keurig K Mini and the Keurig K Mini Plus, the two smallest single-serve coffee makers that Keurig makes.
I own the Keurig Mini Plus and spent four hours researching the Keurig Mini by watching product demonstration videos, reading customer reviews and speaking with Keurig’s own customer support team.
As of May 2022, on the Keurig website, the Mini Plus costs $40 more than the Mini (prices can vary depending on where you buy your machine).
Let’s have a look at whether the Mini Plus can justify its extra cost over the Mini.
Keurig Mini vs Mini Plus: Which One Should You Buy?
I would recommend buying the Keurig Mini Plus over the Keurig Mini. The “strong” button on the Plus does make a noticeable difference to the strength of your K cup coffee and that alone justifies the additional cost. Furthermore, the Plus’s removable reservoir makes the reservoir easier to clean and less prone to technical issues.
The Keurig K Mini Plus has three features over the Mini. They are:
- The addition of a “strong” button allows you to brew stronger K-cup coffee.
- A removable reservoir
- A pod container that attaches to the front of the machine
You can find out more about these features in my Keurig Mini Plus review. Other than these three features, the two machines are virtually identical.
There is nothing between the two coffee makers in terms of aesthetics and compactness (they both fare very well in this regard) so if that is your main concern than you might want to save your money and purchase the Mini.
|Attribute||Keurig K Mini||Keurig K Mini Plus|
|Dimensions (Height x Width x Depth)||12.10 inches x 4.50 inches x 11.30 inches||12.10 inches x 4.50 inches x 11.30 inches|
|Maximum Lid up Height||16.80 inches||16.80 inches|
|Serving sizes available||6-12 oz (depending on water in reservoir)||6-12 oz (depending on water in reservoir)|
|Reservoir size||12 oz||12 oz|
What are the Key Differences Between the Keurig K Mini and Mini Plus?
As mentioned above, the Keurig Plus has three additional features compared to the Mini. I’ll now explore each of these in a bit more depth and explain how they affect the overall performance of the coffee maker.
The Addition of a Strong Button
The “strong” button increases the amount of time that the Keurig K Mini Plus brews coffee for. This results in a coffee that has a richer flavor and a fuller body.
The Keurig Mini brews K cup coffee for about 50 seconds, the Mini Plus also brews coffee for this length of time when the “strong” button is not pressed.
The “strong” button on the Mini Plus increases this brewing time to around 70 seconds. The Mini Plus without the “strong” button switched on brews coffee for 50 seconds, just like the Mini.
I tested out the “strong” button on my Mini Plus by doing a blind tasting comparing K cups brewed with and without the strong button switched on.
In these tests, I found that the “strong” button did noticeably improve the flavor of coffees brewed at 6 oz and 8 oz servings, but that differences in flavor were less noticeable at 10 oz and 12 oz servings.
Therefore you are most likely to benefit from the Mini Plus’s “strong” button if you prefer to drink K cup coffee of 6 oz – 8 oz in volume.
Regardless of serving size, I always brew with the strong button on and think that this alone justifies the additional cost of the Mini Plus over the Mini.
A Removable Reservoir
The reservoir on the Keurig K Mini is fixed onto the top of the machine. The reservoir on the Keurig K Mini Plus also sits on top of the machine but can be removed.
Personally, I don’t like removing the reservoir to fill it with water. This is because the reservoir is wide and not very deep, meaning that it is hard to carry when full without spilling water.
It is, however, very useful to remove the reservoir when you clean it.
Grime builds up in the corners of the reservoir and these should be scrubbed every few weeks. This is awkward to do with the reservoir fixed to the top of the machine as you need to either pull the machine to the front of your counter or bend over it as you scrub.
Removing the reservoir means you can wash it directly in the sink, which makes things a lot easier.
All in all, I’d say that although the removable reservoir alone does not justify the additional cost of the Mini Plus, it is a nice touch and does rectify one of the weaker points of the Mini, namely that it is difficult to clean.
Removable Pod Holder
The pod holder is designed so that when it sits in the machine it does not add to its footprint. This makes the Keurig K Mini Plus even more space-friendly than the Mini as you can hold your K cups and machine together without any additional footprint.
The pod holder can hold up to nine standard-sized K cups.
Personally, I don’t use the pod holder with my K Plus at home. This is because I use my machine daily and therefore nine K cups won’t get me very far. The effort of refilling the pod holder every nine coffees just is not worth it.
If you were to keep the Mini Plus at your office desk or in a bedroom (it makes a great addition to a guest room, in my opinion) then the pod holder can be a nice space-saving addition.
Different Available Colors
One of the most popular features of the Keurig Mini was that it was available in six different colors.
The Mini Plus is also available in six different colors, and these vary somewhat from the colors available for the Mini.
You can find the colors that the Mini and Mini Plus are available in below.
Available Colors for the Keurig K Mini
Available colors for the Keurig K Mini Plus
What do the Keurig K Mini and K Mini Plus Have in Common?
Now we have looked at how these two coffee makers differ, let’s go through what they have in common.
Both machines just brew whatever water you put in their reservoir. Both reservoirs hold up to 12 oz of water.
The manuals of both machines say that the minimum sized coffee you can make is 6 oz, and both reservoirs have a minimum line of 6 oz. In reality, you can make coffees smaller than this, down to about 2 oz. Anything less than this and the water will not cover the reservoir’s valve and drain properly.
Both machines can take standard size K cups and My K Cup Universal Reusable K cups.
The latter of these is necessary to make decent-strength coffees of over 8 oz. The ability to take reusable K cups will also make your coffee habit cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
Size and Appearance
Both machines have the exact same dimensions: 12.10 inches in height x 4.50 inches in width x 11.30 inches in length.
They are the smallest Keurig coffee makers available on the market.
Although both machines are slim and have a small footprint compared to other, similar coffee makers, they are only around half an inch to an inch shorter than other Keurig machines.
This means that if you have limited vertical clearance between your countertop and cabinets, the Mini and Mini Plus still may not be a great fit for you.
The maximum lid-up height of both machines is 16.80 inches. If you are not sure if you have enough countertop clearance then it’s worth getting the measuring tape out to find out for sure.
With the K Mini, you want to leave at least 4 inches of clearance space between the top of your machines and any cabinets above it so you have room to fill up its reservoir.
The K Mini Plus’s removable reservoir means that you can probably still use it comfortably with slightly less clearance space.
Ease of Use and Cleaning Requirements
Both machines are very simple to use, just fill up your reservoir with the amount of water you want in your coffee and press brew.
With the Keurig K Mini Plus, you have the additional option of pressing the strong button before you brew.
The measurement markings on the reservoir on both machines are difficult to read, so I would recommend measuring out the water you want before you put it in the reservoir.
Both machines require the exact same cleaning and maintenance which I’ve described in more detail in my Keurig K Mini review. Here is a quick summary of what needs to be cleaned on both the Keurig K Mini and Mini Plus:
- Drip tray needs to be removed, emptied and rinsed with warm soapy water (the manual says they are not dishwasher safe)
- K cup holder needs to be removed and washed with warm soapy water.
- Crevices in the K cup holder and its two needles need to be deep cleaned with something thin, solid and sharp. A straightened out paperclip usually works here
- The reservoir and its valve need to be cleaned of any grime. Putting Mini Plus’s removable reservoir in the dishwasher does this well, with the Mini this is significantly more difficult.
Known Technical Issues
Both machines use the same technology to heat and pump water. They, therefore, suffer from the same types of technical issues around their poorly manufactured pump. This includes:
Pumping less water over time: Many reviewers on Amazon report that both the Mini and Mini Plus gradually pump less water when they brew. Some users report having to brew four times or more to get an 8 oz coffee.
The machine buzzes because water gets stuck in its pipes: Both machines often fail to expel all the water that it pumps in. This causes the machine to emit a constant buzzing noise, even when turned off. You can fix this by turning the machine on and holding down the brew button for ten seconds to force it to expel any liquid from its internal pipes.
It’s worth mentioning that debris getting stuck in the reservoir’s valve will put undue pressure on a machine’s pump. Therefore the Mini Plus’s removable, easier-to-clean reservoir should theoretically reduce the amount of technical issues that you have with it. I have no evidence that this is actually the case, but it seems to make sense.
Alternative Products to the Keurig K Mini and Mini Plus
There are two products that I’d recommend as being comparable to the Keurig Mini series, but which are better suited for certain circumstances. They are:
The Keurig K Supreme
This is best suited for people that have a slightly larger amount of countertop space (the machine is the same depth as the Mini/Mini Plus but is two inches wider) and a slightly larger budget.
The Keurig K Supreme justifies its larger size and additional cost by offering these additional advantages:
- Multistream Technology: The K Supreme pierces K cups with five needles rather than one. This allows for the coffee grounds to be much more thoroughly immersed in water leading to a more flavorful coffee. You can combine this with the machine’s strong button for an even more flavorful drink.
- A 66 oz removable reservoir: The K Supreme has a removable 66 oz reservoir with a handle. This reservoir is much better designed than the K Mini’s/Mini Plus’s allowing you to easily fill it without spilling/
- Better-made heating element and pump: The electrical components of the Supreme are simply better made than the Mini/Mini Plus. This means that coffee is made faster, the coffee maker is quieter, and it suffers less from technical issues.
The technical durability of the product means that it will in many cases offer better value for money than the Mini or Mini Plus.
Mixpresso Single Serve Coffee Maker
The Mixpresso single-serve coffee maker is the best off-brand compact K-cup coffee maker. It’s therefore the best option if you think Keurig machines are too expensive but still want a small K-cup coffee maker.
The two best things about the Mixpresso Single Serve Coffee Maker are its tiny size (it’s even smaller than the Mini/Mini Plus) and its relatively long brewing time means the coffee it makes is comparable to the Mini Plus on strong mode.
Customer reviews on Amazon say that the machine is not the most durable, but given that it is significantly cheaper than any Keurig machine, I still think it offers decent value for money.
In my opinion, the Keurig K Mini Plus offers better value for money than the Mini. The main reason for this is that the Mini Plus’s “strong” button allows it to make a noticeably better coffee.
If you are just looking for a compact, easy-to-use Keurig machine for as low a price as possible than the Mini is still a solid option. You can find out more about the Keurig K Mini in my Keurig K Mini review.