Alex has never been professionally involved into the world of coffee, however he knows much more than any average barista. Being an avid coffee lover, Alex is constantly searching for new tips, tools, and techniques to make his morning cup of java even more perfect.
Mary has been dealing with coffee almost all her life long: in her teenage years, she worked as a barista in a number of well-known coffeehouses, later developing her knowledge and skills while studying at the university as well. Several years after graduation, she managed to open her own small coffee bar.
Last updated: June 11, 2021
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Four cup coffee makers have the perfect size for small kitchens or homes if there are only one or two coffee drinkers. They’re also ideal if you’re looking for a convenient way to brew your own coffee in the office.
We spent 64 hours researching the market and found more than 37 models of the 4 cup coffee makers. In this guide, we are naming the Cuisinart DCC-450BK as the best 4-cup coffee maker. We loved the brew-pause and auto shut-off functions as well as the compact size of the unit. We also included seven other popular products to help you find out which one is the best for you.
To put together these reviews, we considered some important features. These coffee makers come in several colors, so they can fit in just about any kitchen decor. If you’re short on countertop space or looking for a coffee maker for your desk, check out the dimensions to make the right pick. Carafe material plays a big role because glass carafes are a little easier to clean, whereas stainless steel carafes can keep your coffee warm longer. Moreover, we took into account different functions of these machines that can put your mind at ease. We looked at the warranty information so you know how long you’re covered if something goes wrong. To create this article, we examined the manufacturer’s information, expert opinions, and reviews from customers. You can check the table to compare our picks side-by-side, followed by in-detail reviews of each product. Finally, our buying guide tells you everything you need to know to find the best 4-cup coffee maker.
Our editor’s pick is the Cuisinart DCC-450BK. The sleek, compact design ofn this Cuisinart coffee maker is perfect for a small household or your office. It’s available in both black and red so you can add a pop of color to your kitchen if you prefer.
Stepped marks inside the reservoir show you just much water to add for two, three, or four cups. To brew coffee, use your favorite ground coffee and #2 cone-shaped filters. The stainless steel carafe features a knuckle guard for safety and dripless pour spout to avoid messes.
The brew-pause function is perfect when you need a cup and just can’t wait for the whole pot to brew. There’s also a 30-minute automatic shut-off and indicator light, so it keeps your coffee warm if you want a second cup, and you don’t have to worry about whether you left it on when you leave the house.
Some users felt that the 30-minute automatic shut-off was a little too short. There were also some reports that the stainless steel carafe could be difficult to clean.
Why is it special?
Compact size perfect for small spaces
Can brew 2, 3, or 4 cups of coffee
Stainless-steel carafe with knuckle guard and dripless pour spout
If you take your coffee seriously, check out the Bonavita BV1500TS. It was specially designed to brew better-tasting coffee faster. It makes five cups of coffee in about six minutes using standard #4 cone-shaped filters.
An optional pre-infusion mode mimics pour-over brewing, saturating freshly ground beans and allowing them to degas before brewing. It also includes a showerhead specifically created to distribute water over the grounds evenly, and an enhanced heater to extract perfect flavor from small batches.
One of the best things about this unit is that it’s so easy to clean. The carafe lid, filter basket, and showerhead are all dishwasher safe. The carafe itself is made of durable stainless steel, and all plastic is BPA-free.
A lot of customers stated that it had the poor design of the carafe. To prevent a messy pour, you have to screw on the lid every time. There’s no brew-pause feature, and some users felt that the coffee was a bit bitter though that was not everyone’s experience.
The Mr. Coffee DRX5-RB is a straightforward, easy-to-use coffee maker that’s created for convenience. It uses a simple glass carafe, small cupcake four-cup filters, and works with any ground coffee.
Each side features a water window so you can see how much water you put into the reservoir from either side, avoiding overflows. If you can’t wait for the whole pot to brew, the Grab-A-Cup Auto Pause stops the process so you can pour a cup and automatically continues once the carafe is back in place.
The filter basket is removable for easy clean-up, and the warming plate is stain-resistant and can be wiped clean. Next, there’s a simple light indicator, which lets you know whether it’s off or on. This unit is operated with one button, and the price is very budget-friendly.
The downside is that there is no automatic shut-off, though the indicator light is meant to remind you to turn it off manually. Although people like the carafe, some comments indicate that it tends to drip.
The Zojirushi EC-DAC50 has a compact design but doesn’t fall short on the ability to make a great cup of coffee. This coffee maker brews up to five cups at a time using your favorite ground coffee and #2 cone filters.
A lot of things about this design make it stand out. The coffee filters fit inside the decanter, so it takes up as little space as possible. This coffee maker has a removable water reservoir that’s easy to fill and clean and comes with a replaceable charcoal water filter that lasts for around two years with regular use.
This coffee maker has a keep-warm feature. If you need a second cup in the morning, it’s still hot and waiting for you. A measuring spoon is included to help you use just the right amount of ground coffee.
Users were a little disappointed that this coffee maker doesn’t have an automatic shut-off. Some people also commented that they wished the water filter could be taken out, but it’s an integral part of the brewing system.
One of the most technologically advanced coffee makers we found in our research is the Braun KF6050WH. It comes with a reusable gold-tone filter and a built-in water filter and is designed to use optimal brewing time and water temperature for better-tasting coffee.
While this is technically a 12-cup coffee maker, you can set it to brew one to four cups. It has an easy to use control panel with a digital clock and 24-hour timer so you can set it to brew whenever you want. It has an automatic shut-off for safety. The brew-pause feature is convenient when you don’t have time to wait for the whole pot to brew, and the carafe was created to limit air exposure to keep coffee fresh.
This machine has a self-cleaning function and even alerts you when it’s time to descale the brewer and has a smaller footprint than you’d expect from a 12-cup coffee maker.
Some people commented that the display screen could be difficult to read. Another issue was that the water gauge is not that accurate, so you may have to use the carafe to measure the right amount of water.
For those of you who have a taste for something other than drip coffee, there’s the Capresso 4-Cup Espresso & Cappuccino Machine. With this machine, you can brew four espressos at the same time.
If you’ve never made cappuccino, don’t worry. This machine is very user-friendly. Switching the settings from brewing to steaming can be done with the simple selector. You can even choose how strong you want your coffee to be. The built-in safety valve and boiler cap prevent steam from escaping, and the frother has an adjustable output so you can steam milk for lattes and cappuccinos.
This is a great choice for people who have been thinking about investing in an espresso machine. It’s affordable, small enough to fit on any kitchen counter, and weighs only 6.2 pounds, so it’s easy to store. The glass carafe and drip tray are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning, and a drip-free spout provides clean pours.
Unfortunately, some users weren’t happy with the performance of the frother. They said that it was not easy to froth the milk correctly.
What stands out?
Makes up to four espressos at the same time
Easy to use
Safety valve and boiler cap to prevent steam from escaping
Next up is the Kenmore 80509, a great design with just the right amount of extras. The included metal filter is reusable, so you don’t have to worry about paper filters, and you get better-tasting coffee because they allow getting more natural oils through, enhancing the flavor.
This coffee maker features a 24-hour programmable timer that’s perfect for waking up to a freshly brewed pot of coffee. You can make up to five cups at once, and the pause and serve function lets you fill up your cup before the whole pot is ready.
A two-hour automatic shut-off keeps the pot warm for your second cup and puts your mind at ease because you don’t have to worry about whether or not you remembered to turn the coffee maker off before you left the house.
Some people commented that the pause and serve feature resulted in some drips And, although it doesn’t beep, it can be quite loud when it’s brewing, which may deter you from using it in an office environment.
The Mr. Coffee JWX9-RB has a stainless-steel carafe that was designed to retain the freshness of the coffee and cord storage to keep your countertop nice and neat. It makes up to five cups of coffee using regular, standard-sized paper filters, which are really easy to find.
This machine has a water window on each side so you can see how much water is in the reservoir no matter where you place it on your counter. The filter baskets pull out for easy cleaning and filling. When it’s time to brew your coffee, you can use the brew-strength selector to choose a lighter cup of coffee or something rich and bold. There’s an off/on indicator light as well as the one-hour shut-off function.
However, some people felt this coffee maker was a little too slow at making coffee. Other people wished that the one-hour shut-off was a bit longer.
Overall, it is a nice and convenient appliance to make very strong coffee.
Why are we impressed?
Dual water windows for easy measuring
Removable filter basket
What negatives must you be aware of?
Slow brewing process
Some people felt that 1-hour shut-off function was too short
Things to Consider
Four cup coffee makers are perfect for small spaces. They tend to have a compact size, but that doesn’t mean they skimp on the taste of your beverage or on some useful features. Choosing the best 4 cup coffee maker is easy if you know what to look for, which is why we put together this handy buying guide.
Choosing the best 4 cup coffee maker
There are a few key features to consider when choosing the best 4 cup coffee maker for you. Before you decide, think about what it is you’re looking for when it comes to your coffee maker, so you have some idea going in. The best choice for you is the one that meets your needs. Let’s take a closer look at some of the main features.
The design doesn’t necessarily affect the way the coffee tastes, but it’s a very important thing to consider nonetheless. Most of our choices come in somewhat neutral color palettes that include colors like black, white, and silver (though the Cuisinart DCC-450BK is available in red if you crave a pop of color).
There are a few different styles to choose from, depending on your taste. Some 4 cup coffee makers have a very sleek, modern look, while others just look like smaller versions of traditional machines.
If you want to match your coffee machine to your kitchen decor, there are plenty of styles to choose from, including the Kenmore 80509. This astonishing coffee maker would match almost any kitchen.
You should always consider the dimensions of the coffee maker you choose, but this is especially important if you don’t have a lot of counter space. Some of these machines have small footprints while others, like the Braun KF6050WH, are a little larger. However, the size also affects the capacity of the water tank and carafe, and this model has plenty of it.
In addition to how much counter space the coffee makers takes up, you also have to consider the height.
If you plan to place it underneath a kitchen cabinet, make sure you will be able to open the top of the reservoir. If not, you’ll have to move the whole coffee maker out from under the cabinets every time you want to brew a cup of coffee.
Ease of use
There are a handful of things to think about if ease of use is high on your priority list.
Programmable timers are a great feature. You can set everything up the night to begin brewing in the morning, so you have a hot cup of coffee waiting for you when you get out of bed.
Consider how many cups of coffee you need to brew. We included a 12-cup coffee maker with a 1-4 cup setting in case you ever wanted to make a larger pot of coffee. A lot of our picks, like the Bonavita BV1500TS, can make up to five cups.
When it comes to the carafe, they’re either made of glass or steel. Each material has its pros and cons. Glass carafes are easier to clean, but don’t keep your coffee warm for very long once removed from heat. They’re somewhat plain-looking.
On the other hand, stainless steel carafes are usually better at holding the temperature and look a little more reliable and sleek. Nevertheless, they are a bit more difficult to clean.
When it comes to filters, there are a few things to consider. Some of these coffee makers, like the Mr. Coffee DRX5-RB, use small paper filters while others are large enough to use standard-sized ones.
Make sure you find out the type of paper filters your coffee maker requires. There are multiple sizes and two different shapes available, so it’s important to pick the right one.
Metal filters are reusable, which is convenient because you don’t have to worry about buying new paper filters at all. Some people think metal filters create better-tasting coffee because the more natural oils can get through it. Others feel that a metal filter creates a bitter taste. This is all personal preference. No matter which you like more, there are multiple options to choose from in our review.
Warranty coverage is always important, especially when you’re talking about a product that has electrical parts and goes into your kitchen. These coffee makers are all covered under warranty, though the period varies depending on the one you choose. All of them range between one and three years.
Make sure you check whether it is or isn’t covered with the warranty, so you know what to expect if something breaks.
The most important safety function you can get with one of these coffee makers it an auto-off switch. They actually serve two different functions. First, they keep your coffee warm for a time after it’s done brewing so, if you want another cup of coffee, you don’t have to wait again for it.
The second purpose of an auto shut-off feature is obvious: it makes sure the power turns off. That means you don’t have to worry about whether or not you remembered to turn your coffee maker off before work or heading out. You can rest assured that it will turn itself off, so you don’t come home to the smell of burnt coffee and a ruined carafe.
There are some great extra features to think about, too. One of the most convenient is a brew-pause feature. This allows you to remove the pot from the coffee maker to pour yourself a cup before the coffee maker finished brewing the whole pot. Maybe this sounds like a little thing, but if you’re running late or just cannot wait another minute for your coffee, it comes in really handy.
It’s important to look for BPA-free materials. Research suggests that BPA, or bisphenol A, can seep into food and drink and lead to significant health problems. BPA-free coffee makers eliminate this risk.
Finally, if you want to make something a little fancy, look for a coffee maker with a milk frother. We recommend you to check the Capresso 4-Cup Espresso & Cappuccino Machine. The integrated milk frother it the key to making cappuccinos and lattes.
These coffee machines range between $23 and $85. That’s a pretty noticeable price difference. It’s important to realize that all of our picks make great coffee, but some have fewer bells and whistles than others. So, what can you expect for those prices?
At the low end of the range is the Mr. Coffee DRX5-RB. This is a simple machine that’s easy to clean, can be set on a timer, and features Grab-A-Cup auto-pause. It’s not hard to use at all, just fill the water reservoir, add a filter, measure your coffee grounds, and push the on button.
On the high end of the price range is the Braun KF6050WH, and for a good reason. This programmable coffee maker brews great drip coffee, while the carafe is perfectly sealed to make the drink more flavorful. This really takes your at-home coffee drinking to the next level. Moreover, it has brew-pause and self-cleaning functions. It is convenient to use because of the reusable gold-tone filter. Automatic shut-off adds extra safety and keeps the carafe warm for a few hours so you can have another cup of hot coffee after a while.
It varies from one coffee maker to another. On average, though, it takes around five minutes or so. The water drips on the ground coffee, and then it goes all the way down into the carafe. Some coffee makers will allow you to adjust the brewing settings like temperature or strength. This will also affect how much time it takes to make a cup of coffee. If you don’t want to wait, there are some programmable units in our review. You can set a timer to enjoy a cup of fresh coffee in the morning as soon as you wake up.
Make sure you clean the carafe after every use, whether by hand or by placing it into the dishwasher. Wipe the coffee maker clean and empty the used grounds from the filter basket. Next, if you have a reusable filter, just wash it. If you choose a coffee maker with a self-cleaning function, this process is a little easier. The coffee maker may even let you know when it’s time to clean by monitoring internal water scaling.
Yes, as long as your coffee maker has a brew-pause feature. This stops the coffee from dripping into the carafe while you pour yourself a cup and restarts once the carafe is in place. You don’t even need to press the buttons to change the settings because the process is automatic. This is a very convenient feature since you don’t have to wait until the whole brewing process is over.
Our editor’s pick is the Cuisinart DCC-450BK. It has a sleek, compact design that makes one, two, or four cups of coffee and is equipped with a brew-pause feature and 30-minute automatic shut-off. The stainless-steel carafe with knuckle guard and dripless pour spout is also included.
Next up is the Bonavita BV1500TS. It makes five cups of coffee in only six minutes. The optional pre-infusion mode mimics pour-over brewing, and a showerhead distributes water evenly over the grounds for enhanced flavor in small batches. The lid, filter basket, and showerhead are all dishwasher safe, so the clean-up is easy.
Our budget pick is the Mr. Coffee DRX5-RB. This good compact machine has a very simple design with dual water windows, Grab-A-Cup auto-pause, and removable filter basket for fast cleaning.
We hope that the information in this article was useful for you, so you can make the right decision and get the best 4 cup coffee maker!