This is my comparison of the Nespresso Vertuo Vs Keurig lines of single-serve coffee machines.
I own two Nespresso Vertuo Machines and three Keurig machines and spent a whole day testing these machines against each other, as well as researching other customers’ experiences of these machines online to put together this comparison.
Should I buy a Nespresso Vertuo or a Keurig machine (Quick Verdict)?
I would recommend buying a Nespresso Vertuo machine over any Keurig machine.
Nespresso Vertuo machines can make a much wider variety of coffees than a Keurig machine and, more importantly, they make better-tasting coffee than Keurig machines.
Nespresso Vertuo machines also have a much better build quality than Keurig machines.
This additional longevity goes a long way in justifying their additional cost over Keurigs.
The only circumstances that I would recommend purchasing a Keurig machine over a Nespresso Vertuo is if you know that you will only ever want to make filter coffees of 6oz – 8 oz in size.
The best quality Keurig machines will make this specific type of coffee to a similar standard as a Nespresso Vertuo at a much cheaper cost.
My Nespresso Vertuo Recommendation
As someone who has owned all the machines in the Nespresso Vertuo range, my recommendation is the Nespresso Vertuo Plus.
For more information about the differences between Nespresso Vertuo machines, please see my comparison of the Nespresso Vertuo vs Vertuo Plus and Nespresso Vertuo Plus vs Vertuo Next.
My Keurig Machine Recommendation
If you are opting for a Keurig machine over a Nespresso Vertuo machine, I’d recommend opting for the Keurig K Supreme Plus.
If you’d like to find out more about Keurig’s range of machines, please see my roundup of the best coffee makers for K cups.
Differences Between Nespresso Vertuo and Keurig Machines
There are two main ways that Nespresso Vertuo and Keurig machines differ. These are:
- A Nespresso Vertuo can make a much wider range of coffees than a Keurig machine
- Nespresso Vertuo machines brew coffee under pressure whereas Keurig machines do not.
Difference in Range of Available Coffees
Let’s first have a closer look at the different types of coffee these two lines of machine offer.
At the time of writing this, there are forty-two different coffee blends available for the Nespresso Vertuo, and these are split into six “coffee types”.
Each “coffee type” has its own preset serving size, brewing temperature, brewing time and brewing pressure.
The table below shows the different types of coffee available from the Nespresso Vertuo line of machines.
|Name||Serving size||Espresso or Filter coffee|
|Espresso||1.35 fl oz||Espresso|
|Double Espresso||2.7 fl oz||Espresso|
|Gran Lungo||5 fl oz||Espresso|
|Mug||7.8 fl oz||Filter coffee|
|Alto||14 fl oz||Filter coffee|
|Carafe||20.6 fl oz||Filter coffee|
Each pod’s “coffee type”, and therefore its brewing specifications, is noted on a barcode on the pod itself which the machine “reads” while brewing.
Keurig brews with K cups. These are plastic cups lined at the bottom with a paper filter and filled with coffee grounds.
There are over 400 types of K cups available.
These include coffee blends from well-known brands such as Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and McCafe.
Although this sounds like far more options than the Nespresso Vertuo, Keurig machines brew all K cups in the same way.
This means that all Keurig machine coffees are very similar compared to the difference that you can find between coffee from different Nespresso Vertuo pods.
You don’t get the variety in serving sizes and coffee styles that you do with Nespresso Vertuo machines.
Difference in Brewing Mechanics
The Nespresso Vertuo punctures pods with a ring of holes around the edge of the pod and one hole in the middle.
The machine rotates the pods at a very high speed (up to 7000 rpm depending on the coffee type being made) while water percolates through the pod.
This spinning increases the pressure and evenness with which water percolates through the ground coffee resulting in a better-bodied and stronger flavored coffee.
This pressure is also what allows the Nespresso Vertuo to make espresso-style drinks (something which Keurig machines cannot do).
Serving sizes, brewing times and brewing temperatures of the Nespresso Vertuo machines depend on the type of pod you are brewing.
These settings are determined by the barcode around the rim of the pod which is “read” by the software within the machine to instruct it on how to brew.
Keurig machines, on the other hand, simply hold the K cup in place and have the water flow through it.
Water enters K cups from either one or five holes at the top, depending on the type of machine (higher-end machines puncture K cups with five holes rather than one).
Water percolates through the coffee just by the force of gravity.
This is why Keurig machines cannot make espresso-style coffee, as it is brewing under pressure that gives an espresso its distinct texture and flavor.
You have to set the Keurig machine’s serving sizes and brewing settings for each coffee that you make. The K cups themselves are not “read” by the machine in any way.
Quality of Coffee
Since Keurig can only make filter coffee, we can only compare Keurig’s coffee against Nespresso Vertuo’s coffee when the latter uses filter coffee pods.
For what it’s worth, Nespresso Vertuo machines make good espresso. It does a better job of espresso coffees than filter coffees.
Therefore you should bear in mind that I’m comparing Vertuo’s less good coffees against Keurig’s (by default) best coffees.
Both machines are quite flawed in how they make filter coffee but in completely different ways.
Keurig machines’ filter coffees tend to be on the watery side.
This is due to the fact that K cups only hold enough ground coffee for a 6 oz serving size. Any larger coffee made by a Keurig machine will have too high a coffee-to-water ratio.
Keurig machines also do not brew their coffees for long enough, even when you select the “strongest” brew setting on their most high-end machine.
Nespresso Vertuo makes a strong, full-bodied filter coffee, however, it adds a layer of crema on top of it.
Crema is the layer of foam that settles on top of an espresso. It is not usually found on top of a filter coffee.
Personally, I don’t think crema works on filter coffee.
However this might not bother you, and if this is the case then you will most likely like the filter coffee it makes.
Quality of Coffee Winner: Nespresso Vertuo
The Nespresso Vertuo’s poorest worst type is still on par with the Keurig’s best coffee type. This, combined with the wide range of coffees that Nespresso Vertuo does well that Keurig does not even offer means that Nespresso wins this round.
Nespresso Vertuo machines tend to be a bit more expensive to buy outright than Keurig machines.
However, the more significant cost of these machines is the cost of keeping them filled up with Nespresso pods and K cups respectively.
We’ll now go into a bit more detail on how these “operational costs” stack up between the two machines.
Pod/K cup Expenses
As of June 2022, Nespresso pods retail from Nespresso’s website at an average of $1.20 per pod.
K cups are typically half the price of Nespresso pods, retailing at $0.60 on average on the Keurig website
If you were to make a coffee every day then you would pay an extra $219 to use a Nespresso Vertuo over a Keurig machine.
Reusable Pod/K cup Options
The cost of operating each machine can be significantly reduced by using reusable pods/K cups. But how good are the reusable options for each machine?
Nespresso does not produce its own reusable pods.
You can either buy third-party reusable pods or buy aluminium seals that can stick on the top of used Nespresso pods so they can be reused again and again.
Each option has its own drawback.
With reusable pods, many people on the Nespresso subreddit said that the pods were slightly too heavy for their Keurig machine.
This additional weight can cause the motor in your machine to deteriorate so it cannot spin pods at the correct speed. Since the reusable pods are not licenced by Nespresso, it voids your refund.
The seals do not have this problem, but you do need to use a fresh seal for each coffee that you make. This makes them quite a wasteful and environmentally unfriendly option.
Keurig produces reusable K cups (called Keurig Universal My K cup Reusable Filter),
These are actually better than standard K cups as they can hold up to 50% more ground coffee.
This means that you can make an 8 oz coffee of decent strength as opposed to just the 6 oz that the standard K cup can create.
Since reusable K cups are produced by Keurig they work very well with the Keurig machines.
Operational Cost Winner: Keurig
Keurig machines are cheaper to run than Nespresso Vertuo machines. Keurig’s reusable pod options are much better than Nespresso’s.
Build Quality and User Friendliness
I am going to split this into two parts: durability and ease of use.
The easiest way to see the difference between the build quality of the two machines is by browsing their respective subreddits: r/keurig and r/nespresso.
There are far, FAR more threads on the Keurig subreddit talking about troubleshooting leaky machines, burnt-out motors and buttons that don’t work.
You find very few troubleshooting threads like these on the Nespresso subreddit.
You can also feel the difference in build quality just by touching and holding the two machines.
Nespresso Vertuo machines have a much thicker exterior and are significantly heavier than any Keurig machine.
Keurig machines often remind me of old skool printers in how thin and plastic-y they are.
Ease of Use & Cleaning
Both lines of machine are easy to use, but the Nespresso machine is a bit more hands-off as the brewing instructions are “read” off the pods by the machines.
All you need to do is put the capsule in the machine and press brew.
All the Keurig machines I own have terrific UX considering the number of brewing options you can dial in, however, this is still more complicated than using the Nespresso machine.
Keurig machines also have a couple more components that require cleaning than Nespresso Vertuo ranges.
Both machines need to be descaled every 3-6 months depending on the hardness of your water.
Ease of Use and Cleaning Winner: Nespresso Vertuo
Both machines are very easy to use and clean, however, the Nespresso Vertuo is just that bit more of a hands-off machine to use.
Although single-serve machines, by their very nature, produce more waste than manual brewing methods, Nespresso seems to be a bit more concerned about offsetting this waste than Keurig.
Nespresso operates a system called “Ecolaboration” where they collect your used pods and recycle them at their centre. You need to arrange this pickup, so it is a bit of extra work on your end.
This is better than nothing, but there is still some environmental impact of the energy being used in transporting these pods from your house to the recycling centre.
Although K cups are made from recyclable materials. Their size and design make them non-recyclable in practice.
The recyclability of K cups is quite a complex matter, and if you want to find out more about it then I’d recommend reading this article.
One way that Keurig is more environmentally responsible than Nespresso is that they have actually bothered licensing reusable K cups.
To reuse a Nespresso pod you need to apply a new aluminium seal for each coffee that you make. That seal has to then be thrown away every time you use that pod.
Environmental Friendliness Winner: Nespresso Vertuo
Please note that neither of these types of coffee machines is an eco-conscious choice.
Final Verdict: Nespresso Vertuo trumps Keurig in Every Department Other than Cost
Nespresso Vertuo is, by quite a distance, a better line of coffee machines than Keurig.
This difference is, however, reflected in the difference in cost between running these two machines.
A Nespresso Vertuo costs, on average, $219 more to operate each year than a Keurig machine.
If you want to buy a single-serve coffee machine, and you value good quality coffee and longevity in your machine, the Nespresso Vertuo is worth this extra cost.
My recommendation for a Nespresso Vertuo machine is the Nespresso Vertuo Plus.
If you do not think the Nespresso Vertuo range is worth the money then the best Keurig machine is the Keurig K Supreme Plus.