In a rush? Our top choice is the Cuisinart DCC-450BK Coffee Maker.
Nowadays, coffee makers come in many different sizes.
If you’re the only coffee drinker in the family, a 4 cup machine will suit all your needs. It makes enough coffee for a refill, but not so much that you feel like you’re wasting grounds.
As a bonus, it doesn’t take up much space on the counter.
But trying to find the best 4 cup coffee maker can be a difficult task.
To help you make the cut, I’ll show you the most important features to look for, as well as some models that are worth considering.
So let’s jump straight in.
Best 4 Cup Coffee Maker: Our Top 5 Choices
- Cuisinart DCC-450BK Coffee Maker (Overall Best 4 Cup Coffee Maker)
- Brentwood TS-213BL 4-Cup Coffee Maker (Best Retro-Style Coffee Maker)
- Gevi 4-Cup Coffee Maker (Best For Small Spaces)
- Aigostar 4 Cup Drip Coffee Maker (Fastest Coffee Maker)
- Imusa 4 Cup Epic Electric Espresso/Cappuccino Maker (Best Espresso Maker)
Cuisinart DCC-450BK Coffeemaker
The Cuisinart DCC 450BK is a durable small coffee maker with a sleek design that will surely stand out on your counter.
This is mainly due to its well made stainless steel carafe that comes with a dripless pour spout and a knuckle guard. It really takes pouring coffee to another level.
Thanks to the auto pause feature, you can pour yourself coffee even while it’s brewing. This is especially useful when you’re in a rush and don’t want to wait for the carafe to fill up all the way.
The Cuisinart DCC 450BK coffeemaker features a LED indicator that shows when it’s on. But if you accidentally forget to shut it down when you’re done making coffee, don’t worry. After 30 minutes of idleness, this machine turns itself off.
Even though this coffee machine lacks programmable functions, it has pretty much everything you need for a nice cup of coffee in the morning. It’s sturdy, reliable and very simple to use.
- A 30-minute auto shut down function will turn the machine off in case you’ve forgotten to
- It features a stainless steel carafe that keeps coffee hot for a long time
- The dripless pour spout and knuckle guard allow you to pour your coffee mess-free
- Its sleek design will look good in any kitchen
- It comes with a 3-year warranty on defects in materials and workmanship
- The filter basket can become jammed if not inserted carefully
Brentwood TS-213BL 4 Cup Coffee Maker
The first thing that catches your eye about this model is its color. This beautiful light shade of blue gives this Brentwood coffee maker a fun, retro vibe.
But unlike most vintage-style kitchen appliances you can find today, this one comes with a very affordable price tag.
The carafe is made of tempered glass and has a plastic handle. It features a measuring scale, so you can be precise when pouring coffee.
And the best thing about the carafe – it’s dishwasher safe.
This coffee maker comes with a reusable filter, so you don’t have to worry about having paper filters stocked at home. You can, however, use them both if you prefer.
You also get a tiny little coffee ground scooper for easy loading.
This model doesn’t have an automatic turn off feature, so you have to do it yourself. But while it’s on, it doesn’t allow your hot coffee to cool down, as the hot plate starts doing its job as soon as your coffee drops in temperature.
- For the price it’s sold art, this coffee maker is quite a steal
- It comes with a sturdy, tempered glass coffee carafe with a measuring scale
- With such a small footprint, it’s suitable for even the smallest kitchens
- It comes with a designated ground coffee scooper
- The filter basket is somewhat difficult to clean
Gevi 4 Cup Coffee Maker
This coffee maker sports a somewhat modern design, thanks to its stainless steel finish. It’s a rather compact machine that fits well into any kitchen – no matter how small.
If you’re looking for a coffee maker for your RV, then this is a good choice.
And not just because of its footprint size. Unlike most other models on the market, this one doesn’t have a top loading basket. Instead, it swivels out from the side, which is ideal for really tiny spaces like RV kitchens.
The carafe is made of borosilicate glass. That’s a material that can withstand really high temperatures without breaking. I’m talking 300°F high.
The plastic lid and handle are BPA-free, so you can safely put it in the dishwasher without worrying it’ll leach out compounds when hot water hits it.
Thanks to the LED on/off indicator, you’ll always know if the coffee maker is running. But even if you leave the house without turning it off, no need to worry. After 2 hours of keeping coffee warm, the appliance will automatically shut down.
- The non-stick hot plate keeps your coffee warm for up to 2 hours
- It turns off automatically after 2 hours of idleness
- The detachable filter, funnel and coffee pot can all be washed in the dishwasher
- Boil-dry protection activates when there’s your water tank is empty to protect your appliance from damage
- Some customers have reported having a hard time reaching customer service
Aigostar 4 Cup Drip Coffee Maker
If you’re looking for a fast yet affordable coffee brewer, this one by Aigostar is worth checking out.
With 600W of power, this appliance is quite a beast. And what’s even better is it does its job very quietly.
This coffee maker only takes a few minutes to fill the carafe with hot coffee. But if you can’t wait another minute to grab your first morning cup, you can take the carafe off at any point during the coffee brewing process. Thanks to the anti-drip design, you don’t have to worry about messy spills.
The product comes with a removable filter basket and reusable filter, both of them safe for cleaning in the dishwasher. The same goes for the carafe, which is made of explosion-proof glass and a BPA-free plastic handle.
Like most 4 cup coffee makers on the market, this one also has an on/off switch. Once brewing is over, the non-stick hot plate will keep your coffee warm for another 35 minutes, after which it automatically turns off.
- It’s compact and lightweight, making it great for small spaces
- The explosion-proof glass carafe has an easy-grip handle for simple pouring
- With 600W, this appliance makes a full carafe of coffee in just a few minutes
- Comes with a 2-year manufacturer warranty
- Comes with a very short cord
Imusa 4 Cup Epic Electric Espresso/Cappuccino Maker
This stylish little machine from Imusa isn’t just any 4 cup coffee maker. It’s a 4 cup at-home espresso maker.
But get this:
It doesn’t just do espresso. It has a milk frother as well, so you can make cappuccinos, lattes, macchiatos, and all your favorite coffee drinks like a real barista.
With a little bit of practice, you’ll be able to make cafe quality coffee from the comfort of your own kitchen in no time.
Considering it lets you do all that, the price couldn’t be more reasonable.
Even though it’s pricier than most 4 cup coffee makers we’ve looked at, it’s sort of in another category since it makes an entirely different type of coffee. After all, larger espresso machines cost a small fortune, while drip coffee makers aren’t ever as expensive.
One more cool thing about this coffee maker is that it comes in 2 colors – red and black. It has a retro feel about it, and it would complement any space beautifully.
- It can be used to make espressos, lattes, cappuccinos and more
- Features a milk frother that you can use to make steamed milk foam
- Comes in 2 stylish colors that you can choose from to suit your kitchen
- Very reasonably priced for an espresso maker
- Requires a voltage converter for use in countries outside the US
4 Cup Coffee Maker Buying Guide
While most 4 cup coffee makers are pretty similar, there are some features you should always consider when buying one.
- Brewing speed
- Brewing temperature
- The filter
- The carafe
- Extra features
- Design and size
- Ease of maintenance
Let’s go over each of them in more detail.
Let’s be real – who wants to wait forever for a simple cup of coffee?
In the fast paced world we live in, every minute counts. That’s why a good, fast brewing speed is one of the main features to look for in a coffee maker.
Generally, 4 cup coffee makers take around 5 minutes to fill up the carafe.
It’s unlikely you’ll find a faster machine, but you can bet there are those that take way more time to make the same amount of coffee. So keep that in mind when looking for the perfect appliance.
When shopping for a coffee machine, brewing temperature is one of the most important features to pay attention to.
Ideally, you want to find a model that brews coffee at a temperature ranging from 195 to 205°F.
Why this range?
Brewing coffee at temperatures any higher than that will result in a burnt coffee taste. On the other hand, temperatures lower than 195°F simply aren’t enough to extract all the flavors and aromas.
Since we’re on the subject of temperature, let’s talk about warming plates. They’re technically a heating element coiled in wire that keeps your coffee warm for some time after it’s brewed.
But you don’t want them to do that for too long.
Because it can cause your coffee to taste burnt. That’s why it’s always better to find a model with an auto-off feature.
When it comes to filters, there are two options available – reusable or disposable filters.
Disposable filters are usually made of paper. They’re cheap and you can find them in supermarkets, and even gas stations. But their main disadvantage is obviously the fact that they’re disposable. Over time, they create a lot of waste.
Luckily, nowadays you can find biodegradable and compostable filters. Still, they can be a lot of fuss to use.
If you find that to be the case, there’s an alternative.
Most models on this list feature a reusable coffee filter. They’re made of different materials, such as canvas or steel, and designed to last a long time. Some are dishwasher-safe, which saves you the hassle of cleaning it manually.
Coffee maker carafes are usually either made of glass or stainless steel.
Both of these materials have their pros and cons.
Stainless steel is sturdy and easy to clean. But, its main advantage lies in its heat retaining ability. A thermal carafe made of stainless steel will keep your coffee warm for a long time, so you don’t have to worry about your refills going cold. After all, once it’s gone cold – that’s it. If you try to reheat your coffee, you’ll end up with a bitter mess.
To be frank, a glass carafe looks really cool and luxurious. You can see how much coffee you have left at all times. On the other hand, it’s fragile and won’t keep your coffee warm for too long.
Which one is better?
In terms of quality, stainless steel beats glass any day.
But there’s something so appealing about the way a glass carafe looks.
Generally, 4 cup coffee makers aren’t designed with a bunch of complicated features.
But, there are a few simple features that could really step up your coffee making game.
The first one would be the timer.
Want to be awakened by the smell of fresh coffee?
You need a timer.
This allows you to set the exact time you want your coffee to be ready. That way, you can have your coffee ready in the morning without having to wake up earlier.
Auto-pause is another cool feature to have. It allows you to get a cup of coffee while it’s still in the brewing process. You can just remove the carafe and pour yourself some without worrying about coffee getting spilled on the appliance and the counter.
Auto-switch is also worth mentioning. As a very forgetful person, I must say it’s great not having to worry about whether I have turned off an appliance or not before heading out of the house.
This feature also saves you some energy, which is a nice little plus.
When it comes to material, coffee makers are usually made of either plastic, steel or glass. In some cases, they might be made of a combination of these materials.
Plastic is the lowest quality material of the three, but that also makes it cheaper. Just make sure it’s BPA-free, which means it doesn’t release toxins when heated.
Steel is obviously the most durable option. Plus, steel coffee makers always look luxurious, regardless of their price tag.
Obviously, you won’t find a coffee maker made entirely of glass, but some parts can be. Glass is more aesthetic than practical, at least in comparison to steel.
Design And Size
Size is obviously the most important characteristic when it comes to design.
Sure, your coffee maker might look good, but if it can’t fit on your counter, what does it matter?
You’ll have to take it out of storage every time you want a cup of coffee, and then put it back.
Considering that 4 cup coffee makers only brew 20 ounces of coffee at a time, they’re generally pretty small. Still, when you have a small kitchen, every inch matters.
Washing coffee maker components can be quite a tedious task. To make your job a bit easier, you should look for coffee makers with removable parts, especially those that are dishwasher safe.
The carafe, as well as a filter basket or removable filter should be washed after each use.
If you’re using a coffee maker practically every day, you should perform routine upkeep once a month. I’m talking about descaling, which is basically removing water mineral buildup.
Depending on how hard the water is in your neighborhood, you might even have to do it more often.
Before you go and buy a new appliance, here are a few other things you should know.
How Much Coffee Should I Use For 4 Cups?
As a rule of thumb, the cup to tablespoon ratio should be 1:1.
This means that one cup of your favorite morning drink is made of one scoop of ground coffee.
In this case, a cup is roughly 6 ounces of water.
How Much Coffee Does A 4 Cup Coffee Maker Brew At Once?
The term 4 cup is a bit misleading.
Standard 4 cup coffee makers come with a 20-ounce carafe, meaning a cup is 5 ounces.
That’s rather small, considering that a classic travel mug is 16 ounces. Therefore, a 4 cup machine is suitable for one or two people to drink coffee at the same time.
How Can I Descale A Coffee Maker?
Every couple of months, you should descale your coffee machine.
Here is the step-by-step guide:
- Fill the carafe with a 1:1 ratio of white vinegar and water cleansing solution
- Pour it into the water reservoir, up to the capacity level
- Start the appliance
- In case there’s a lot of scale buildup, stop the brewing process when it’s halfway through and leave it like that for an hour, then start it again
- Let the brew cycle finish
- Dispose of the solution and rinse the carafe
- Fill the coffee maker with water and redo the brewing cycle a few times, until the vinegar smell dissipates
The Final Verdict
Most 4 cup coffee makers come with similar features, size and price tags.
But one that definitely stands out is the Cuisinart DCC-450BK coffee maker.
It’s sturdy, good-looking, has all the important features and brews amazing quality coffee.
What’s there not to like?
If that model is not your cup of tea (or coffee in this case), any other model from this guide will definitely be a good choice.