Where is the Water Filter on a Keurig? (Plus Secret Hacks)

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On this site, we consistently advocate using a water filter with your coffee maker, especially if you are not using filtered water. Nobody likes contaminated coffee. This liquid gold has a unique aroma and taste that is easily ruined by the contaminants in unfiltered water.

Additionally, your coffee maker is likely to last longer if you consistently use a water filter that removes the chemical residues in the water. The residues are known to gradually degrade the water lines in the brewer.

Keurig coffee makers come in different shapes and sizes. They are either single-serve or dual brewers. Most Keurigs can use a replaceable water filter.

Having looked at some of the benefits of using a water filter in a Keurig coffee machine, let’s look at how to find the water filter on a Keurig. We also look at the different types of Keurig water filter starter kits and secret hacks to determine which filter kit fits your Keurig.

Where is the Water Filter on a Keurig Coffee Maker?

The water filter on a Keurig is located inside the water tank. The Keurig water filter goes inside the pocket on the bottom end of an upright plastic handle in the water reservoir. Depending on your Keurig model, the plastic handle is either short or long.

To access the water filter in a Keurig brewer, simply pull the plastic holder straight up and then press the two tabs at the bottom as you pull the handle away to remove the bottom cover. The bottom cover should easily slide out but if it’s too tight, press the tabs and wiggle as you pull the two parts apart.

Some Keurig models such as the Keurig K-Duo special edition do not come with a water filter but you can purchase it separately. So, do not be spooked if you can not find a water filter with your new Keurig coffee maker.

You may want to double-check the packing slip to confirm the accessories that come with the Keurig, especially for online purchases.

What Do Keurig Water Filters Do?

A Keurig water filter traps and removes debris, chlorine residues, odors, and tastes from unfiltered water. This happens in the water tank so that only filtered water goes through the water lines all the way to the K-cup or ground coffee to make a clean brew.

Without the water filter, your coffee may become fusty and taste like chlorine. Moreover, the particles in unfiltered water are likely to get trapped inside the water lines and affect the water flow.

The chemicals and chlorine residues are also likely to gradually degrade the plastic lines of your Keurig and potentially cause leaking over time.

What is a Keurig Water Filter Starter Kit?

The Keurig water filter starter kit contains a plastic handle or holder and at least one charcoal filter. The plastic handle has a pocket with a cover at the bottom and a calendar dial at the top where you can set the next date to change the carbon filter.

There are two types of Keurig water filter starter kits:

  • The Keurig rear reservoir water filter starter kit. It has a short handle plastic holder that is compatible with Keurig machines that use a rear water tank
  • The Keurig side reservoir water filter starter kit. It has a long handle plastic holder that is compatible with Keurig coffee makers that have a side water tank

Evidently, the difference between the rear and the side reservoir water filters is the size of the plastic holder. The carbon filter has one size so it fits perfectly in both short and tall plastic holders.

Key Tips To Buying Keurig Water Filters

To avoid buying a Keurig water filter starter kit that can not fit in your brewer

  • Identify the positioning (rear or side) of the water tank on your Keurig. If it is a multipositional tank like the K-Duo Plus, consider it a side water tank
  • Check the height of your water tank. Water tanks that are below 8.0 inches tall will use a short handle starter kit and vice versa

After determining the positioning of the tank and its height, buy a short handle water filter starter kit if the tank is to the rear of the brewer and/or is below eight inches tall.

The rear reservoir water filter below is compatible with the Keurig K35, K250, K200, K-Duo Essentials, K-Duo Special Edition, and the K-Latte.

All Keurig water filter handles have a replacement dial or circular timer at the top where you can set a reminder for the date when you are supposed to replace the old filter with a new filter.

Keurig rear reservoir water filter

If the tank is to the side of the coffee maker and/or it’s more than eight inches tall, buy a tall handle water filter starter kit.

The Keurig side reservoir water filter starter kit below is compatible with the Keurig K-Duo Plus, K-Cafe, K-Select, K-Elite, K-Supreme, and K-Classic. Other 2.0 brewers that can use this kit include K350, K400, K425, K450, K475, K500, K525, K550, and K575.

Keurig side reservoir water filter
Keurig tall handle water filter starter kit

Alternatively, check whether the model of your Keurig is listed as compatible with the tall or short handle starter kit that you want to buy.

However, sometimes there are errors in such listings and some Keurigs, especially older models may be erroneously listed or omitted. Therefore, you may want to apply the tips we have detailed above as they are more accurate.

Can You Buy Keurig Water Filters Without the Plastic Holder?

Yes, you can buy charcoal water filter cartridges for Keurig without the holder if you already have a compatible holder for your brewer. You only need to buy the full starter kit if it was not included with your Keurig coffee maker or if you want to replace the filter assembly.

However, bear in mind that some of the smallest coffee makers from Keurig such as the K-Mini series can not fit a filter holder due to the small size of the reservoir.

For the best results, you should change the small charcoal filter in your Keurig every two months or after 60 brew cycles otherwise, you risk problems such as off tastes and molds. See the guide to disinfecting a moldy coffee maker and how to prevent such problems.

The K&J charcoal water filters below fit in both the tall and short Keurig plastic holders and they are fairly priced for a pack of 12 filters that will last about a year

Final Thoughts About Where the Water Filter on a Keurig is Located

The charcoal water filter is at the bottom of the upright plastic holder in the Keurig water tank. To access the filter you have to pull the clear plastic filter handle out of the water and then open the cover at the bottom.

There are two types of Keurig water filters;

  • the rear reservoir water filter that is compatible with Keurigs with short water tanks or water tanks that are positioned to the rear of the brewer
  • the side reservoir water filter that is compatible with Keurigs with tall or side water tanks

Regardless of the water filter unit that you are using (rear or side reservoir), Keurig water filter cartridges will fit perfectly.

An old water filter that is not replaced regularly will eventually ruin the quality of the coffee that a coffee maker brews. To avoid forgetting when the used filter is due for replacement, set a water filter reminder on the circular dial on the filter handle. The dial is easy to see during tank refills with fresh water.

FAQs About Keurig Water Filter

Do All Keurigs Have a Water Filter?

No, the Keurig Rivo and most small Keurig coffee makers such as the Keurig K-Mini Plus and the K-Mini do not use a water filter. Use filtered tap water or bottled water in these coffee makers for the best cup of coffee.


Patrick is first a coffee lover and then a trained barista. His bucket list includes sky diving and sipping on Java in the Himalayas.

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