There are plenty of reasons to consider a small coffee maker. From limited counter space to having a small household with only a couple of coffee drinkers opting for a compact and simple coffee maker has its perks.
These machines may be small in size but don’t count them out for making a delicious cup of coffee.
They don’t take long to brew and you won’t find yourself wasting coffee and dumping it out like we’re all guilty of doing.
Check out our picks for the best 4 cup coffee makers and look at the buying guide to see if a small coffee maker is the right option for you.
Exactly How Much Is 4 Cups?
Before we really dive in let’s get one thing straight. One cup equals 8 ounces, right? Nope, not when it comes to coffee makers.
When you’re talking cups and coffee machines the standard cup size is most often 5 ounces. So just slightly over half of the “normal” cup size.
We wanted to mention that before diving into the reviews so that we’re all on the same page.
Because coffee makers cup sizes are smaller than the standard 8 ounces we’re all used to we’ve included reviews for the best 4 cup coffee makers and the best 5 cup coffee makers.
There’s very little, if any difference to the size of the actual machines and both brew the right amount for a household of two or anyone who likes to drink more than one cup.
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Quick Glance: Our Top 3 Picks For The Best 4 Cup Coffee Makers
Best 4 Cup Coffee Maker Reviews
Cuisinart 4 Cup Coffee Maker (DCC-450BK)
The Cuisinart DCC-450BK 4 cup coffee maker is our personal fav because it’s durable and offers some advanced features that bring added convenience to every brew session.
The stainless steel thermal carafe really stands out because the majority of 4 cup coffee makers come with a glass carafe. Stainless steel not only does a better job of keeping your brew warm, it’s also not nearly as fragile as glass.
As an added bonus the carafe features a dripless pour spout and knuckle guard.
Now for the features – brew pause for those mornings you just can’t wait for your cup. 30 minute automatic shutoff eliminates any worry or second guessing yourself if you run out the door and aren’t sure if you turned your coffeemaker off.
The ON indicator light is a nice touch too. Sounds simple, and it is yet so many coffee makers don’t have one and it’s pretty annoying when you can’t tell if the machine is still on.
The Cuisinart 4 cup coffee maker brews a full pot in under 5 minutes and at 10 x 8 x 5.25 inches it’s ultra compact.
This is one of the best 4 cup coffee makers on the market. From it’s capability to brew a delicious cup of coffee, stainless steel carafe to keep it warm, and its features it checks all the boxes.
Mr. Coffee Simple Brew Coffee Maker
The Mr. Coffee Simple Brew Coffee Maker is well suited for anyone looking for a straightforward small coffee maker with a budget friendly price.
This Mr. Coffee machine features an on/off indicator light, no guesswork as to whether or not it’s still on. You will have to remember to turn it off though as there’s no automatic shutoff.
The dual water windows give you full visibility when filling and eliminates mess from overflows. We especially like the removable filter basket, it’s easy to fill and clean.
A dishwasher glass carafe is also easy to clean, just be careful when using it because like most glass carafes it’s fragile. Although it’s rated dishwasher safe we find handwashing glass carafes is best and extends their useful life.
The brew pause feature comes in handy when you need to grab a cup before the pot has finished brewing.
At 10.10 x 7.25 x 11.80 inches the Mr. Coffee Simple Brew doesn’t require much space and it weighs slightly under 3 pounds making it easy to move or store if needed.
This machine lives up to its name – it’s simple. It doesn’t have a lot of features but it delivers a no fuss brewing experience, makes up to 4 cups of coffee, and it can be purchased for a great price.
Gevi 4 Cup Drip Coffee Maker With Auto Shut Off
The Gevi 4 Cup Drip Coffee Maker is a bit of a step up from the Mr. Coffee Simple Brew yet it’s still a straightforward and extremely easy to use machine.
The Gevi not only looks sleek, its design has a lot of functionality. We especially like the front access brew basket. It swivels out vs. being a top load basket and that can come in really handy depending on where you want to store your coffee maker.
It has a lighted on and off switch so you’ll never have to guess whether your machine is on and it also features auto shut off. If you forget to turn it off, no worries, after an hour it will turn off on its own.
You can pour a cup mid cycle without making a mess. The auto pause feature allows for 30 seconds of paused brewing without any spills to give you time to pour your first cup.
Alternatively if you want a 4 cup coffee maker that can also keep your coffee warm after brewing has finished the Gevi delivers. It has a one hour keep warm function as well.
This machine also has boil-dry protection. Once the water tank is empty and the temperature exceeds the rated temperature it will automatically stop brewing. Great not only for safety but also for the machine’s longevity.
The removable filter basket and reusable filter are both dishwasher safe making cleanup quick and easy. Be careful with the glass carafe, we recommend washing it by hand.
Between its straightforward brewing process, features, and price point this Gevi machine earns its keep and is one of the best 4 cup coffee makers on the market.
Sowtech 4 Cup Espresso Maker
For something a little outside of the box but, still 4 cups and compact allow us to introduce you to the Sowtech 4 Cup Espresso Maker.
Espresso makers typically take up a lot of real estate but not this one. It measures 10.63 x 7.68 x 13.78 inches and weighs a little over 5 pounds.
It’s easy to use with a single control knob. It offers 3.5 bars of pressure and can brew 1-4 cups of espresso. To brew 4 cups it takes slightly over 5 minutes.
We found the milk frothing arm works great but, you do need to have a milk frothing pitcher that’s deep enough to avoid splashes.
If you’re looking for silky smooth espresso we have to warn you that the spout is wide and because of that, you get a little bit of a head with this machine (keep in mind the very affordable price point). If that’s a turnoff we recommend you opt to upgrade to an automatic espresso maker.
Cleanup is a breeze, the drip tray is removable and the filter easily detaches for washing.
Americano, cappuccino, and latte lovers take note. This is one of the most versatile and affordable small espresso makers on the market.
Best 5 Cup Coffee Maker Reviews
Bonavita 5 Cup One Touch Coffee Maker(BV1500TS)
One touch brewing, optimal brewing temperature, and brews Golden Cup Standard coffee.
The Bonavita 5 Cup One Touch Coffee Maker is at the top of its class.
We wanted to include some 5 cup options in our best 4 cup coffee makers round up because the machines really don’t vary all that much in size and they’re great if you want the capability to brew just a bit more coffee.
It doesn’t get much easier than one touch brewing. The Bonavita BV1500TS has an 1100 watt heater and maintains the optimal brewing temperature of 198°- 205°F.
It also has a wide showerhead that evenly distributes water over your coffee grounds. This promotes even extraction along with the flat bottomed filter basket to ensure even saturation.
All roads lead to the ideal flavor profile and strength with the Bonavita 5 Cup One Touch Coffee Maker.
You can brew a full 5 cup carafe in about 6 minutes and the thermal stainless steel carafe does an excellent job of keeping your coffee piping hot.
This coffee maker also features auto shut off which if for nothing else is good for peace of mind when you’re busy and running out the door.
The BV1500TS measures 12.30 x 6.20 x 10.60 inches.
The only negative we found is you have to fill the water tank from the top of the machine and when opened the lid needs more clearance than the standard 18” under cabinet space.
It only weighs 5 pounds so it’s easy to move but it’s still worth noting that clearance can be a minor inconvenience depending on how much under cabinet space you have.
Clean up is user friendly; the carafe lid, filter basket, and showerhead are all dishwasher safe.
This is one of the more expensive small coffee makers we share but it’s built with quality parts, delivers an exceptional brew, and comes with a 2 year warranty so we have no problem giving it our vote. You won’t be disappointed.
Black + Decker 5 Cup Coffee Maker (CM0700BZ)
If budget and function are your main priorities the Black + Decker CM0700BZ will appeal to you.
This coffee maker can brew up to 5 cups and it’s still compact at 7.25 x 8.20 x 10.75 pounds and weighs under 2lbs.
It features an on/off switch, a Duralife glass carafe that’s engineered for comfortable handling and drip free pouring and sneak-a-cup – i.e. brew pause. The keep hot carafe plate will keep your coffee hot for up to an hour.
The permanent grounds filter removes the need to keep paper filters on hand and the water window is easy to view so you won’t have any problems with overfilling and making a mess.
If you prefer your coffee on the stronger side give disposable filters a try. We found during our taste test when comparing a paper filter vs. the permanent filter it comes with that the paper filter yielded stronger coffee.
Both the carafe lid and filter basket are removable and dishwasher safe making daily cleaning quick and simple.
This is the best 5 cup coffee maker for anyone not looking to spend much and who also doesn’t need auto shutoff. That’s one of the features it lacks but, for the price we really can’t knock it too much for that.
The Black + Decker 5 Cup Coffee Maker comes with a 2 year warranty.
Zojirushi Zutto 5 Cup Drip Coffee Maker (EC-DAC50)
The Zojirushi Zutto EC-DAC50 is one of the higher end coffee makers in our best small coffee makers list. If you have a flexible budget we highly recommend looking at what it has to offer.
In addition to being a drip coffee machine vs. a brewer it has a couple of unique features that set it apart from the other coffee makers we tested.
The Zutto’s filter cone sits inside the glass carafe. This keeps the machine compact and the cone shape ensures water drips evenly over your grounds which delivers more flavor in your cup.
The Zutto also has a removable water reservoir and a charcoal water filter with a 2 year life span. The charcoal filter does an excellent job of removing impurities from tap water and ultimately enhances the flavor of your brew.
The Zojirushi EC-DAC50 doesn’t have brew pause or auto shut off but it does feature an automatic keep warm function.
Measuring 6 x 9 x 11 inches and weighing about 4.69 pounds, you can enjoy 5 cups without having to give up much more space than the best 4 cup coffee makers require.
As long as you don’t mind spending a bit more, the Zojirushi Zutto is a great option if you want a coffee maker with a sleek appearance and a filter to purify the water you use.
KRUPS Simply Brew 5 Cup Compact Coffee Maker
The KRUPS Simply Brew has a modern look with a premium stainless steel finish. Its compact design is perfect for one to two people.
Brewing with the KRUPS Simply Brew is as you can probably guess, simple!
It has a straightforward on/off button, a keep warm function, and comes with a permanent filter and coffee scoop.
The transparent window makes filling the water reservoir easy and prevents you from overfilling.
The glass carafe has a no drip spout that keeps coffee in your cup and off your counter but, as with all glass carafes you’ll want to be gentle with it.
The Simply Brew also features pause and serve for those times that you just can’t wait to grab a cup.
This KRUPS coffee maker measures 8.7 x 3.7 x 10.7 inches and weighs 4.39 pounds.
It’s easy to clean, wait for the machine to cool, dispose of the grounds, give it a quick wipe down and then handwash the glass carafe and permanent filter if you opt to use it instead of paper filters.
Buying Guide: Things To Consider When Buying A Small Coffee Maker
Size Of The Machine
One of the pros of having a 4 cup coffee maker, or even 5 cup is their compact size.
If space is at a premium in your kitchen or home be sure to take measurements before purchasing a small drip coffee maker.
The height is especially important if you plan on storing it on the counter under your cabinets.
Another consideration to take into account is whether the water reservoir is filled from the top or the side. Depending on what space you plan on keeping your coffee maker you might find one to be more convenient than the other.
You definitely don’t want to have to move your coffee maker each time you use it or worse pack and unpack it so a little research ahead of your purchase will be sure to save you a headache down the road.
For most of us, time is a hot commodity in the morning. Considering how much (or how little) time you have to wait for your coffee is an important part of selecting the right coffee maker.
There are machines on the market that are able to heat up in under a minute and produce a freshly brewed cup in about the same amount of time where others are going to take in the 5 to 6 minute range to brew a full carafe.
There’s nothing wrong with a slower brewing speed, one could even argue it results in a better cup of coffee. It all just comes down to your lifestyle and what you do and don’t have time for.
If you have very little time and even less patience we recommend opting for a coffee maker that has a programmable brew time feature.
Set that baby up before you go to bed and rest easy knowing that when you wake up your morning cuppa will be waiting!
We believe there are certain things that every coffee machine should get right and 4 cup coffee makers are no exception.
Temperature matters … we’ll say it again for the people in the back, temperature really really matters.
Ideally you want a coffee maker that consistently brews between 195-200℉.
Anything lower than that and you’re looking at a weak brew that lacks flavor and higher than that you’re going to have burnt coffee that tastes like it’s been sitting on a hot plate for days.
Temperature is a big factor that separates an average coffee maker from an excellent one.
All of the picks in our best 4 cup coffee makers list brew a hot cup of coffee but, if a piping hot cup – like really really hot is a must every time you’ll want to pay special attention to watts and the heating mechanism.
The type of carafe and warming plate will also be important if you need your coffee to stay hot for sometime after it’s brewed. More on that later.
Remember above when we mentioned a programmable timer? The ability to set your coffee machine up the night before and wake up to a hot cup of coffee is something to consider if your mornings are chaotic.
Yes, it will impact the quality of your coffee to a certain extent because your beans won’t be freshly ground but, even the biggest coffee snobs have crazy mornings where they just simply don’t have time to wait for their favorite brew.
A solution that allows you to enjoy freshly ground beans but not have to wait for a pot to brew is brew pause.
Coffee makers with brew pause provide the luxury of grabbing your first cup mid brew, without making a mess, and then by the time you finish the rest of the pot will be finished.
Auto shut off is also a feature that you’ll often see 4 cup coffee makers have. It’s nice for peace of mind and added safety.
The best 4 cup coffee maker designs are focused on a simple brewing process and because of that will have somewhat limited features and programmability.
If you’re looking for more customization options for your brew you’ll want to consider a larger machine.
Type Of Carafe
The type of carafe your coffee maker has will impact how long your coffee stays hot.
The majority of small coffee makers have a glass carafe that sits on top of a warming plate on the machine.
The upside to glass is you’re able to see how much coffee you have left and it’s easy to clean. The downside however, is it won’t keep your coffee hot for long and it’s fragile.
You’ll have to rely on a warming plate when you have a glass carafe if you want your coffee hot for an hour or two.
It’s worth noting that the added heat from the warming plate will impact the taste of your coffee if it’s left there for more than about an hour.
Another option is a thermal carafe which will most frequently be made of stainless steel. This type of carafe will keep your coffee hot for longer than a glass carafe with no need for a warming plate. The downside is you can’t see how much coffee you have left.
A heavy duty plastic carafe is something you may also come across and while they’re durable we can’t say it’s something we can get behind if you’re looking for the best 4 cup coffee maker.
It will definitely be the cheapest option and it’s durable but, it can also mean impacting the flavor of your coffee.
Type Of Filter
The most common filters are reusable paper or disposable mesh.
Reusable filters are great because you won’t have to worry about having replacement filters on hand and they’re far more environmentally friendly than disposable filters.
If the coffee maker you have your eye on is compatible with a reusable filter you’ll want to verify if it comes with the machine or if it’s sold separately and make sure it’s easy to clean.
It’s also a good idea to make note of where the filter basket is located on the coffee maker. No one wants to struggle to put a filter in or fill it with grounds. If it looks like a hassle that’s probably not going to be the best option for you.
The best 4 cup coffee makers not only need to be convenient to use, they also need to be easy to clean.
Removable components such as the filter basket, permanent filter or carafe are always a good indication that cleaning is going to be relatively quick and painless.
Bonus points for the machine if any of the removable components are also dishwasher safe.
Although it won’t need to be cleaned daily like a carafe or filter basket it’s still a good idea to clean your water tank regularly too.
Have a general idea of what cleaning requirements a machine has and then decide if it will fit well with your daily routine.
If it sounds like too much work to clean, odds are you aren’t going to be happy using it everyday so it’s an important factor to consider.
If you plan to use your coffee maker daily you’re likely going to need to perform monthly(ish) maintenance in the form of descaling.
That’s just a fancy way of saying you need to get rid of the minerals that have built up from water running through the machine. Most small coffee makers (and all in our list) don’t come with an auto-descaling button.
Be sure to read the owner’s manual to learn the best way to maintain your machine.
There’s nothing worse than a coffee maker dying a few months after you buy it so it’s important to understand what maintenance it requires to keep on brewing!
Still not positive which is the best 4 cup coffee maker for your needs? Here’s a quick round up!
If you want a compact and versatile machine with a stainless steel carafe we recommend the Cuisinart 4 cup DCC-450BK. You’ll love the brew pause feature and dripless pour spout.
For a sleek machine that can brew a bit more coffee at the optimal temperature go for the Bonavita 5 Cup One Touch Coffee Maker BV1500TS. It meets the Golden Cup Standard and brews a seriously delicious cup of coffee.