Keurig vs Ninja: How Do They Compare and Which One Should You Get?

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keurig vs ninja

This is a heavyweight bout between two very sophisticated coffee makers. You may already be familiar with Keurigs and its single-pod technology, but Keurig has stepped up with the K-Elite. 

If you have never heard of Ninja before, you’re in for a treat. Ninja has been making coffee makers for much longer than Keurig and sticks to traditional brewing systems to produce an array of coffee drinks. 

Researching these two machines made my mouth water from brewing so much delicious coffee. I stayed awake longer than I should have, but it was well worth it to get to the bottom of all the features that these machines offer. 

If you’re already a devoted coffee drinker who wants more than just a drip machine that you would find in an office breakroom, check out these two for a barista-level cup of coffee. 

An Overview

There’s a lot to unpack here so to get a better understanding of how each machine works. Let’s take a look at each company from a wider angle. They both make great coffee machines but appeal to different kinds of coffee drinkers. 

Keurigs are built for speed. All their machines are focused on delivering one cup of coffee fast. This is great for those on a tight schedule who need their coffee readily available. Speed is excellent to have, but it does come at some costs. 

Ninjas are built for variety. You have complete control over how you brew, so no matter what mood you’re in, you’ll be able to create the perfect cup of joe with these coffee makers. If you like to curl up on the couch with a specialty cup of coffee while reading your favorite book, then a Ninja coffee bar is what you’re looking for. 

Highlights at a Glance

Keurig

Great for fast cups of coffee

Hundreds of flavor pods available 

Very easy to use

Ninja

Wide range of brewing options

Makes a whole pot

Use your own coffee grinds

Our Top Picks For Each Brand

Since there are so many machines to choose from, we narrowed it down to just two. These coffee makers showcase the best that each company has to offer. They aren’t the top of the line, but they check all the boxes that coffee lovers look for. 

Keurig K-Elite

On the upper end of Keurig’s line is the K-Elite. This is everything Keurig stands for in a single-serve coffee machine. It uses only coffee pods and produces rich coffee quickly.

One of the key differences separating this machine from other Keurigs is its variety of brew sizes. This has five different sizes to choose from instead of the usual three. This range of choices is great for larger households. 

A massive 75-ounce removable water reservoir is also great for less frequent top-ups. This will easily get you through the workweek. 

Keurig also wants you to have this for a long time. They have installed a calcium indicator informing you when to clean your machine. While this is great to keep your coffee tasting great, it also protects the insides of your machine and keeps it looking just as good as the outside. 

This system keeps it relatively simple as well. You won’t find a fancy touchscreen like on other Keurigs. There is some control over your brewing capabilities, but ultimately this machine specializes in basic coffees made fast. 

Pros

Fast brewing in less than 2 minutes

Choose from 5 different brewing sizes

Massive 75-ounce water tank

Automated cleaning reminder

Cons

Only brews one cup at a time

Only compatible with Keurig K-cup coffee pod options


Ninja Coffee Bar

The first thing to note with the Ninja Coffee System is that it comes with and can brew a whole pot of coffee. This is sometimes enough to tip the scales in favor of the Ninja coffee bar since it can also brew a single serving of coffee. 

Choice is the true advantage that Ninja has over Keurig. There are four different brew styles; classic, rich, iced, and specialty

The classic is as close to regular coffee as you can get. This is the best selection for those in a hurry and who love black coffee. The rich setting is a half step up from classic and is perfect for coffee lovers who like to enjoy their coffee with milk but still want some good coffee flavor. 

The ice setting is hard to find. This brews ground coffee at a temperature that makes it perfect for pouring over ice right away. Anyone who lives in warmer climates will make great use of this brew button. 

Lastly, the specialty setting allows you to whip up a delicious latte or cappuccino. It has a built-in milk frother so that you can produce specialty coffee drinks right in your own kitchen. 

Pros

Brew a whole pot of coffee at once

Use your own ground coffee

Wide variety of brewing capabilities

Advanced frothing capabilities

Makes authentic lattes and cappuccinos

Cons

Larger than Keurigs

Only 50-ounce removable water container 


Feature Comparison Details

Here is an in-depth look at each capability these non-traditional coffee makers possess. 

 Keurig K-EliteNinja Coffee Bar  
Weight 6.6 pounds9.24 pounds 
Height12.7 inches 15.04 inches
Width 9.9 inches8.75 inches
Brew Size4-12 ounces10-50 ounces
Brew SpeedLess than 2 minutesMore than 2 minutes
Strong Button FeatureYesYes
Water ReservoirUp to 75 ouncesUp to 50 ounces
Removable Water ReservoirYesYes
Display Minimal buttons designed for simplicityVarious options more akin to commercial settings 
Auto-Off FeatureYesYes
Pod UsageYesNo

Stand-Out Features

The Ninja coffee bar may have the edge in this category based on the variety of beverages you can produce. Having an automatic milk frother really opens up your choices and adds a touch of the coffee shop to any household. You never know when you’ll be in the mood for barista-style lattes. 

The unique features of the Keurig are limited, but the biggest difference is the speed. To brew one cup of coffee with a Keurig means you’ll be standing there for a maximum of 120 seconds from start to finish. This is incredible and a breakthrough in brewing coffee. 

The Keurig also has an indicator letting you know when it’s time to descale your machine. This is great for maintaining the best-tasting coffee and keeping your machine in tip-top condition.

Winner: Ninja

Settings & Controls

The settings are more plentiful on the Ninja Coffee Bar. Being able to brew an entire pot of coffee or an iced coffee all in with the same machine is incredible. While the Keurig does have a strong brew option, it’s not as complex as the all-in-one coffee maker that Ninja has produced. 

However, if you want simplicity in controls for those weary-eyed early mornings, then a Keurig is the runaway choice. Many people love the idea of hot coffee at the push of a button, and the pods make this machine easier to use than a calculator

Winner: Draw

Brewing

For coffee brewing speed, the Keurig wins hands-down. But the Ninja coffee bar doesn’t take much longer and has many more brewing options to choose from. You can easily use your favorite coffee grounds and produce multiple different kinds of specialty coffee drinks. 

Brewing differences can also be found in the sizes available. Keurig focuses on one cup but with different sizes. The Ninja coffee bar can brew similar one-cup sizes and a full or half carafe. This is great for weekend mornings when everyone wants a cup of coffee at the same time. 

Winner: Draw

Water Reservoirs

This is a major difference between these two coffee brewing machines. Ironically, the one that brews one cup at a time has the larger water reservoirs. The Keurig outshines the Ninja coffee bar by a lot with its 75-ounce tank that will make many more cups than the 50-ounce reservoir with the Ninja. 

Both are removable for easy cleaning, but you’ll be filling your Ninja a lot more, especially if you’re brewing carafes. 

The Ninja water tank is visible though, so you always know where you stand and won’t risk running it dry by accident. Not that I have ever done that before…

Winner: Keurig

Design

For design, the Keurig looks cooler. I know this is subjective, but in this modern age of technology and clean design lines, the Keurig looks ahead of its time without being gimmicky. The Ninja coffee bar looks like it belongs behind the counter of a retro San Francisco coffee shop and is being operated by a snobby twenty-something with a mustache and a denim apron. 

Despite that, it does present itself as a little more versatile when it comes to fitting in with household decor. A Keurig looks like it was made for the office break room rather than a family’s breakfast nook. 

In both cases, the design has no effect on the level of coffee they both produce, and that’s the important part. 

Winner: Keurig

Ease of Use

This category has a clear winner, and again it’s the Keurig. There are minimal buttons on the Keurig K-Elite, which Keurig is known for. While you can get more elaborate controls on other Keurigs, this one combines a nice blend of options with ease of use.

The Ninja will take some time to get used to. Having the options is nice, but don’t lose the instruction booklet. Most will need it to navigate all that the Ninja has to offer.

Once you do get used to it, the controls are very straightforward. If you get this machine for the latte aspect, then you’ll be making lattes with no problem by the third one. It’s definitely not brain surgery, but my brain doesn’t work so well in the morning, especially before having a coffee. I don’t particularly appreciate fiddling with a bunch of buttons and switches. 

Winner: Keurig

Value For Money

This all depends on how vital the single-cup coffee feature is to you. While the Ninja does this, it’s just not as fast. The money is worth it for you to get the Keurig for speed and convenience. However, if you have a bit of extra time in the morning and like to experiment with your beverages, then the Ninja is a better deal. 

It does everything the Keurig does but at a cheaper price point

Winner: Ninja

Reviews

Customers seem to agree with the overall breakdown of these two machines. One is for speed and convenience, and one is for more brewing options with flavor and size. 

JSH on Amazon wrote this about the Keurig K-Elite; 

“Quality seems to be much higher than on our old machine. It just feels more solid, the base is actually made of metal on the K-Elite. It’s smooth operating and just feels solid.”

Durability has been a problem for Keurig in the past, but when you opt for one of their top models in the K-Elite, you get your money’s worth. 

People seem to love the frother option available on the Ninja. Sometimes when a premium attachment is included, it’s a cheaper version. That’s not the case with the Ninja Coffee bar, which is confirmed by Rubicon10’s review; 

“This is my second Ninja coffee maker. I have been using one of the older models for a few years now after dumping my Keurig. It has served me well, but I decided to try this newer model because of the attached frother. My old one came with a glass with a manual frother, which worked well, but the attached one is much easier. Overall, it still makes great coffee.”

Winner: Draw

Verdict

It’s hard to pick one that is better because they serve two different purposes and are both made with high-quality materials and extreme attention to detail. 

I would choose the Ninja Coffee bar for two reasons; 

1) It can brew different types of coffee. My weekend coffee preferences are different from my weekday preferences; this machine can accommodate both. 

2) It can brew a pot of coffee easily. This is great when entertaining or you have a large family. Or on days when one cup just isn’t enough. 

The speed and ease of a single pod brewer shouldn’t be overlooked and will suit many people’s lifestyles. But who doesn’t want to have all the capabilities of a Starbucks right in their own kitchen?

Related Read: Keurig 1.0 vs 2.0

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Author
Clint's skills as a barista have made it easy for him to transition into writing about coffee. With so much personal experience and passion, he is able to shed light on all aspects of coffee to ensure you can enjoy this delicious beverage as much as he does.

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