Keurig Vs Ninja (Pods Or No Pods For The Best Brew?)

Trying to choose between a Keurig and Ninja? It's a tough call. They're both in a similar price bracket, making coffee-shop-quality coffee possible at home.

I’ve made coffee with both for years, and I’m very familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of both brewers.

In this guide, I’ll share my experience and explain the similarities and differences between the two machines. I’ll also tell you which makes the best coffee and explain why.

So keep reading, and I’ll help you decide whether you’re better off looking for Keurig or Ninja machines to give you the perfect brew.

Stand-Out Features

Ninja Coffee Bars are best for coffee lovers who want to brew different styles of coffee. They brew using coffee grounds, like traditional coffee makers.

Ninjas are incredibly versatile, with different settings and brewing options that allow you to make specialty coffee drinks.

Keurig coffee makers are perfect for coffee enthusiasts looking for a user-friendly design.

These are pod brewers that use their signature Keurig K cups. They make brewing coffee effortless and convenient.

Key Feature



Coffee used

Ground coffee

K cups

Brew size

6 sizes, including a full carafe

Single-serve brewer

Brew styles

6 specialty brew types

2: classic and strong

Brew speed

6-8 minutes per half carafe

Under 30 seconds per cup

Ease of use

Slightly more complicated

Very easy to use

Additional features

Lots, including built-in milk frother, auto-shutoff, warming plate, and programmable timer

Limited depending on model

Which Offers The Best Value For Money?

For this section, I looked at each coffee maker's upfront cost, running costs, and longevity.

Ninja brewers cost $80-$250, depending on which Ninja coffee bar you choose. The Ninja Dual and Ninja Specialty coffee makers are the most expensive models.

Keurig machines are cheaper and cost $50-$200, depending on the model. The Keurig K Select and Keurig K Café are two of the most expensive Keurig machines.

Ninjas have low running costs because you can use any ground coffee for brewing.

Keurigs have high running costs because they rely on Keurig K cups. K cups cost $0.40-$0.90 per pod, but some can cost a lot more.

If you have 3 coffees a day, that can translate to over $400 a year just on K cups.

Ninja coffee makers are reasonably well made but won't last as long as other coffee makers. You'll get about 1-2 years before it needs to be replaced.

Keurig machines are well made and should last 3-5 years if properly maintained.

Winner - Ninja Coffee Bar

Ninja coffee makers offer better value for money in the long run.

They have a higher upfront cost and aren't as durable as Keurig single-serve coffee makers, but using your own coffee is cheaper than coffee pods in the long run.[1]

What Do The Reviews Say?

To be as unbiased as possible, I looked into Ninja and Keurig coffee maker reviews to see what people thought.

Ninja coffee makers are generally rated highly, with over 80% of people giving them a 4 or 5-star rating.

  • "Looks stylish"
  • "It's a big upgrade to a standard coffee maker."
  • "A really comprehensive coffee maker - great for milky coffees"
  • "Great replacement for expensive to run single pod brewers"
  • "Breaks quickly - only lasted a year."
  • "Not SCA certified."[2]
  • "Hot plate won't stay hot."
  • "I found the buttons and controls complicated."

Keurigs are also rated highly, with 85% of people giving them 4 or 5-star ratings.

  • "High-quality pod brewer - the longest-lasting coffee machine I've used."
  • "Really user-friendly."
  • "Gives you a fresh cup of coffee instantly, whenever you feel like it."
  • "Low maintenance, easy to use, and clean."
  • "Lots of variety with thousands of K cups to choose from."
  • "K cups make coffee very expensive."
  •  "It can only make single cups, not batches."
  • "Big negative environmental impact" (even the inventor regrets this)[3]
  • "Only good for 'regular' coffee. Can't make specialty drinks or teas."

Winner - Keurig brewer

On balance, Keurig brewers get more positive feedback and have fewer customer complaints than Ninjas.

The design and quality keep them running effectively for longer, and users seem happy to pay the higher running costs for convenience.

How Do They Actually Brew?

Ninja coffee makers brew coffee by pouring hot water over coffee grounds. The brewing process is similar to drip coffee but quicker.

The Ninja coffee bar pours hot water over the ground coffee, past the water filter, and into your cup or carafe.

This quicker extraction time gives you less bitter-tasting coffee.

Every Ninja coffee bar uses an Auto IQ system that automatically selects the right amount of hot water, helping to optimize the flavor and give you a flavorsome brew.

The Ninja Dual Brew allows you to use ground coffee or coffee pods. The Ninja pod adapter even allows you to use K-cup coffee pods.

Keurig coffee makers brew in a similar way to Ninja coffee makers. It's like accelerated drip coffee but uses K cups instead of coffee grounds.

Again, this quicker extraction gives you a fresher, cleaner, and lighter brew.

The Keurig brewer makes holes in the top and bottom of the K cup. Hot water is poured into the K cup, over the coffee grounds, through a paper filter, and into your cup.

Winner - Tie

There's no real difference in the brewing process of a Ninja coffee bar vs Keurig. You get slightly more control with a Ninja, but both coffee makers brew high-quality coffee.

What Drinks Can You Make?

Your Ninja coffee bar lets you create 6 different styles of coffee:

  • Classic brew - a balanced regular coffee
  • Rich brew - a stronger brew
  • Iced brew - for iced coffee drinks
  • Specialty brew - a 4-ounce coffee concentrate similar to an espresso. Perfect for lattes, cappuccinos, or other espresso-based drinks.
  • Cafe forte - a rich, lively, complex, and full-bodied coffee
  • Cold brew - a smooth and rich cold brew (available on the Hot and Cold brewed Ninja coffee bar system)

You can also use any coffee grounds in your Ninja Coffee bar to customize your brew and make tea (either using tea bags or loose leaves).

Your Ninja coffee bar also lets you choose from 6 different brew sizes:

  • Single-cup - 9.5oz
  • XL cup - 11.5oz
  • Travel mug - 14oz
  • XL multi-serve cup - 18oz
  • Half carafe - 30oz
  • Full carafe - 44oz

Keurig coffee makers generally only have two brew options:

  • Classic brew
  • Strong brew (a more concentrated shot of coffee)

However, Keurigs can be loaded with any compatible K cups, and there are thousands of K cup options with different flavors and roast levels.

You can also use Keurig coffee makers to make hot chocolate, iced coffee, or specialty drinks - you just need to buy specific K cups.

You can choose from the following Keurig brew sizes:

  • 4oz
  • 6oz
  • 8oz
  • 10oz
  • 12oz

Winner - Ninja Coffee Bar

When it comes to the drink selection of a Ninja Coffee Bar vs Keurig coffee maker, Ninja wins hands down.

You can select the coffee grounds and brewing style and change the brew size to meet your needs.

Keurig K cups offer a lot of variety, but they can't beat the versatility of a Ninja.

ninja coffee bar coffee maker

How Easy Are They To Use?

Keurig coffee machines couldn't be any simpler. Fill the reservoir, load the K cup, and press 'brew.' You can get quality coffee in under 30 seconds and throw away the pod when you're done.

Ninja Coffee Bars take more manual effort. You have to load the coffee grounds into the filter, fill the reservoir, adjust to the right brewing style, and then select your brew size.

A Ninja coffee bar can be intimidating at first because it has a few different buttons on the front. It isn't rocket science, but it can take a few uses to figure it out.

Winner - Keurig brewer

When it comes to the simplicity of a Ninja Coffee Bar vs Keurig machine, Keurig machines are the clear winner. A Keurig single-cup coffee maker is perfect for inexperienced brewers.

Which Machine Is Designed Better?

Both Keurigs and Ninjas have a sleek design that fits most homes.

Keurig coffee makers are small and unobtrusive. They don't take up much counter space and won't take over your kitchen.

The controls are designed to be simple, too, with a touch screen to control the operation.

Ninja coffee makers are slightly larger on account of the glass carafe. However, the larger water reservoir can be positioned at the back or side of the brewer to take up less space in your kitchen.

The milk frother also folds down when not in use to make the overall footprint smaller.

The Ninja also uses a touchscreen display but has a few different buttons on the front. It isn't the most straightforward coffee maker, but it's fairly easy to get to grips with.

Winner - Keurig brewer

Keurigs are more compact and simpler to use than Ninjas. They have an intuitive design and offer great coffee at the push of a button.

How Much Control Do You Have Over The Settings?

A Ninja Coffee Bar gives you a lot of control over the brewing process. You select the strength, brew style, temperature, and brew size.

The AutoIQ system supports you, but you're definitely in control.

It also has programmable features, like a timer, so you can set your machine to brew when it's best for you.

Keurig machines use pod-based brewing. This is designed to make coffee convenient and simple and takes a lot of the control out of your hands.

You only have two brew styles and a few different sizes to choose from. Some Keurigs have programmable settings too, but it's not standard on every model.

Winner - Ninja Coffee Bar

The Ninja coffee maker gives you the ability to brew coffee your way. Making coffee with a Keurig machine is effortless, but you don’t get as much control over the settings.

How Easy Are They To Clean and Maintain?

Keurigs are low-maintenance machines. The disposable K cups remove the need for coffee grounds, and everything is managed by your machine.

You only need to clean your Keurig once a week, and they have dishwasher-safe parts. You will need to descale your Keurig every 3-4 months.

Ninja coffee bars need more maintenance, cleaning, and upkeep. The brewing process is more hands-on and can create more mess.

There are more individual components to clean, and you have to empty the grounds after every use.

You also have to descale the Ninja every 3-4 months to remove any limescale. The 'Clean' button will light up when it needs to be descaled.

Winner - Keurig brewer

The Keurig and Ninja coffee makers are fairly easy to clean and maintain, but if you want a very low-maintenance brewer, I recommend a Keurig.

Changing Keurig Water Filter

How Much Water Does Each Machine Hold?

A Ninja coffee bar removable water reservoir can hold up to 60oz of water. That’s enough for about 10 cups of coffee (or a full glass carafe).

On average, a Keurig single-serve coffee machine will hold 50-60oz of water in the reservoir.

However, Keurig models have different-sized reservoirs, and the capacity can vary from 12oz to 110oz.

The Keurig K Mini has the smallest reservoir at 12oz, and the Keurig K2500 coffee machine has the largest water reservoir at 110oz.

Winner - Tie

Both Keurigs and Ninjas have large enough water reservoirs for brewing hot coffee of all different sizes.

It is handy that a Ninja can make a whole pot of coffee at once, but Keurigs have a large enough reservoir and brew fast enough that you can still make several cups in minutes.

What To Expect From A Keurig Coffee Maker?

Keurigs are the King of single-serve coffee makers. With a Keurig, you’ll get a high-quality, easy-to-use coffee maker that makes consistent coffee.

They offer a convenient way to make coffee-shop quality coffee at home. You can choose from a wide range of K cups, and it only takes 30 seconds to make a brew.

There’s no prep or cleanup required. Keurigs are low maintenance and easy to keep running smoothly for years.

The downside? You can only make a single cup of coffee at a time, and you get less control over the process. Plus, K cups can be expensive.

Keurig coffee makers are best for those who:

  • Want high-quality, simple coffee that's consistent every time.
  • Want a simple and convenient brew. It’s great for those with a busy morning routine.
  • Want to make individual servings of coffee at a time.

What To Expect From A Ninja Coffee Maker?

A Ninja gives you a classic coffee maker with all the modern twists. You load it with ground coffee, but unlike a regular drip coffee maker, you have multiple brewing options and sizes.

It's a versatile brewer that caters to a wide variety of coffee drinkers. It gives you full control of the process when brewing coffee and lets you create specialty drinks to suit all tastes.

The downside? It's more complicated than other coffee makers, with more buttons and options to get used to. It's also not in the budget brewer category and will cost more.

Ninja coffee makers are best for those who:

  • Want versatility. A Ninja offers much more choice and versatility in your coffees, with specialty brewing options.
  • Want different coffee beverages. The different brew styles and built-in milk frother allow you to brew barista-style lattes (or an iced latte), cappuccinos, and other coffee shop classics.
  • Want to brew in larger batches and have good coffee throughout the day.
  • Want to use ground coffee. A Ninja lets you save money and be more environmentally friendly by using your own grounds instead of pods.

Our Top Ninja & Keurig Picks (The Ultimate Showdown)

Ninja Dual Brew Vs Keurig Duo

The Keurig Duo and Ninja Dual Brew are remarkably similar. They let you brew using K cups or ground coffee and can be used to make a single cup of coffee or full carafe brewing.

Both coffee makers have a large, 60oz water reservoir that lets you brew in large batches.

They have LCD screens and programmable options, including a timer so you can have fresh coffee waiting for you. The Keurig Duo also has a smart-start feature that lets you brew in seconds.

They both offer an impressive combination of pod and non-pod coffee machines. However, the Keurig Duo doesn’t have the same versatility as the Ninja Dual coffee maker.

The Ninja offers 6 different brewing options, including an iced coffee option. The Keurig Duo has a variety of brew sizes but only has a standard or 'stronger' brew option to choose from.

The Ninja Dual Brew is my favorite because it gives you more options.

The Keurig Duo allows you to make single servings or a pot of coffee, but it just doesn’t have the same range of brewing options.

Ninja Dual Brew Pro Vs Keurig K Supreme Plus

The Ninja Dual Brew and Keurig K Supreme Plus are the top-of-the-range models for both brands.

They both give you a wide variety of sizes to choose from (the Keurig has 5 different single-cup sizes, whereas the Ninja has 6 sizes and a whole carafe).

They also have a sleek design and look great on your kitchen counter.

Ninja Dual Brew Pro coffee makers are more versatile and have features for brewing different coffee options.

It also has an independent hot water system that lets you brew tea or other hot beverage options on demand.

The Keurig K Supreme still has some versatility, with 3 different temperatures and more brew sizes than any other Keurig model - but fewer than the Dual Brew Pro.

It also allows you to brew hot, cold, or strong coffee.

However, the K Cupreme Plus has a bigger water reservoir (78oz) that lets you brew up to 12 cups of coffee back to back.

This fast brewing and large capacity makes up for the fact it doesn't have a carafe option.

The K Supreme Plus is the better coffee maker for me.

It has more versatility than any other single-serve coffee maker, and the massive reservoir means you can brew loads of coffee very quickly.

You do get more brewing options with the Ninja, but it doesn't beat the combination of speed, simplicity, and quality the Supreme Plus offers.

Ninja Dual Brew Pro Vs Keurig K Supreme Plus

Keurig K-Café Special Edition Vs Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker

The Keurig K-Cafe Special Edition and the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker both create specialty beverages.

They are both great at creating lattes, cappuccinos, or other coffee shop favorites that everyone enjoys.

Both machines brew in different sizes (the Keurig has 4 cup sizes, whereas the Ninja has 6) and can create a concentrated shot of coffee that makes the perfect base.

Both coffee makers have a built-in frother too, but one of the key differences is that the Keurig heats the milk while it froths, whereas the Ninja just froths.

That makes the Keurig brewer better at creating frothy milk for hot or cold coffee.

The main difference between these machines is that the Keurig only works with K cups and creates a single serving at a time, whereas the Ninja uses coffee grounds and can brew in batches.

However, you usually brew specialty drinks one at a time, so using K cups isn't particularly limiting.

In fact, you can get some amazing specialty K cups that can help you make the perfect cup of specialty coffee.

The other difference is that the Ninja is a lot bigger. It's to be expected because it has a large carafe holder, but it will take up more space on your counter.

It’s very close between these two machines, but the Keurig comes out on top. The Keurig is better for single cups of specialty drinks because it heats the frothy milk.

This makes lattes, cappuccinos, and other specialty coffees more authentic.

Keurig K-Elite Vs Ninja CM401 Coffee Bar

The Keurig K-Elite and Ninja CM401 Coffee makers both have a sleek design. They don’t take up much room in your kitchen and brew great coffee.

Both coffee makers come with a range of programmable settings to choose from. The Keurig has 5 different sizes and can create hot & cold coffees.

You can also control the temperature and use the ‘auto-on’ feature to brew coffee automatically at a specific time.

The Ninja CM401 Coffee Bar has 6 different sizes and 4 different brew styles. There’s also a programmable timer and a hot plate to keep the metal coffee pots hot.

Both machines also have LCD touch screens to make controlling the brew simple. There are two key differences; brewing style and speed.

The Ninja CM401 uses coffee grounds, whereas the Keurig uses K cups to make a single cup of coffee each time (though you can change the size).

You get a lot of variety with both, but the Ninja makes coffee more cheaply.

The Ninja CM401 takes a few minutes to make a cup of coffee and over 10 minutes to fill the carafe. The Keurig is much faster and takes under 30 seconds to brew a delicious coffee.

The K-Elite is best for those who want an effortless cup of coffee, fast. The fast brew time and big reservoir mean it can make up to 12 cups of coffee in just a few minutes.

The Ninja CM401 Coffee Bar is best for those wanting a more versatile machine to create specialty coffees. It takes longer but gives you more choice.

Keurig K-Elite Vs Ninja CM401 Coffee Bar

Related Keurig Vs Ninja Coffee Maker Questions

Does Ninja use Nespresso pods?

The Ninja Espresso & Coffee Barista System is compatible with Nespresso pods, but other Ninja Coffee Makers are not.

How long will a Ninja coffee maker last?

A Ninja coffee maker will last 1-2 years if properly cleaned and maintained.

How long does Keurig last?

A Keurig coffee maker will last 3-5 years if properly cleaned and maintained.

Can I make espresso with a Ninja?

Ninja machines can't brew authentic espresso but can make a 'specialty brew' - a concentrated coffee that tastes like espresso. Some models can also have a 'cafe forte' strong brew function that makes rich coffee similar to espresso.

Can I make espresso with a Keurig?

No, a Keurig can’t make authentic espresso, but you can use specific espresso K-cup pods.[4] These use a dark roast to make a bold, concentrated single-serve coffee similar to a regular espresso.

Why is my Ninja coffee maker making weak coffee?

If your Ninja machine is making weak coffee, it's usually because:

  • You’re not using enough coffee grounds.
  • You’re using the wrong grind size (try a medium grind size for a strong brew).
  • The machine isn’t clean so the water reaching the grounds isn’t hot enough.
Why is Keurig coffee so weak?

If your single-serve Keurig coffee maker is making weak coffee, it's usually because:

  • The brew size is too big. Try sizing down for a more concentrated brew.
  • The K cup pod is too weak. Try a different brand, like Death Wish Coffee.
  • Your machine isn’t clean. This prevents water from being heated to the right level to maximize your brew.

So, Which One Should You Buy?

Keurig and Ninja coffee makers are both high-performing machines, but they’re designed for different coffee drinkers.

Ninjas are the most versatile coffee makers I have ever used, and I recommend them to those who love variety.

Keurigs are the most user-friendly brewers, and I recommend them to those who value convenience and consistency.

There's no clear winner for Ninja coffee bar vs Keurig coffee makers; it all comes down to how you want your coffee!



Kayla Stavridis

Kayla Stavridis

Kayla Stavridis is the Head of Marketing here at Barista HQ. While keeping up-to-date on the latest trends in coffee, you can find her sipping a cold brew with just a touch of milk on the beach in the afternoon and a Corona with lime in the evening. She is passionate about keeping you informed about what’s new in coffee.

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