This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer for more information.
A fresh cup of coffee is one of the first things that bring a smile to your face each morning.
Getting that perfectly brewed cup starts with having the perfect machine. That old coffee pot that’s wasting space in your kitchen might not be doing it for you.
You might want to consider ditching your standard 10 cup machine for a more efficient 4 cup coffee maker.
The best 4 cup coffee maker may be small, but it will offer mighty benefits. Ready to find out if the smaller pot is right for you? Let’s get brewin’!
- Best 4 cup coffee maker with a grinder – Krups KM55
- Best with a glass carafe – Zojirushi
- Best with a steel thermal carafe – Cuisinart DCC
- Easiest to program – Mr. Coffee simple brew
- Smallest machine – Black and Decker
- Most affordable – Holstein Housewares
- Best Breville 4 cup coffee machine – Breville precision brewer
The Best 4 Cup Coffee Makers
I’m going to include a mix of 4 and 5 cup options into the list.
All of the factors that go into buying a 4 cup coffee maker don’t change when you’re; looking at a 5 cup option.
Some of the 5 cup machines are so well made it would be wrong not to include them.
When you close the top, you have to push down; if you don’t, it will leak a little. Not a deal-breaker by any means, you will have to convey this to anyone who may use it without knowing.
Dimensions – 10.00 x 8.00 x 5.25 inches
|Model Name||Cuisinart DCC 450-bcc|
|Color options||Black, and red|
- A little expensive
- The top of the carafe can become loose
Dimensions – 6 x 9 x 11 inches
- The narrow top to the carafe makes it a bit hard to clean.
- Due to the spout on the carafe, you have to pour a bit slower to make sure you don’t spill a little bit.
Dimensions – 10.10 x 7.25 x 11.80 inches
|Material||Plastic with a glass carafe|
|Capacity||4 Cubic Feet|
- The glass the carafe is made out of is a little thinner than I like
Dimensions – 8 x 6.25 x 10 inches
|Model Name||5-Cup Mini Drip Coffee Maker|
|Material||Stainless Steel, Polyprop|
|Color||Black and Stainless Steel|
|Capacity||1 Cubic Inches|
- The lid to the carafe doesn’t like to stay open since it opens to a vertical position then falls back down.
- the spout isn’t the best and you have to get used to the right angle to pour without spilling
Dimensions – 8.7 x 3.7 x 10.7 inches
|Model Name||Simply Brew Compact|
- Doesn’t allow you to pause the brewing process to get a cup before it’s done
Dimensions – 9.65 x 7.10 x 10.63 inches
|Model Name||Cup Programmable|
- If it weren’t for the price, this would’ve been my first choice
Dimensions – 9.00 x 6.30 x 11.60 inches
|Model Name||KM550D50 Personal Café Grind Drip Coffee Maker|
|Material||Stainless Steel, Plastic|
- The carafe can break easily
- The grins have a tendency to stay in the filter making a mess
Dimensions – 7.25 x 8.2 x 10.75 inches
|Item Weight||1.79 Pounds|
- If it’s under a cabinet, you’ll have to move it to fill it up with water
- Can’t use replaceable filters with it
Dimensions – 8.00 x 6.00 x 9.76 inches
|Color||Teal, red, and aqua|
- The spout to the carafe is poorly designed and allows coffee to spill out
Dimensions – 11.88″ H x 5.70″ W x 10.27″ D
|Color||Black – 5 Cup|
Benefits Of Using A 4-cup Coffee Maker Over A Larger Machine
It may seem silly to downsize your coffee pot, especially if your morning cup is what gets you going, but there are some excellent benefits to this smaller machine.
Brew For Two – A 4 cup coffee maker makes about 20 ounces of coffee. This is just about the perfect amount for two people.
So if you live in a smaller household and don’t have time to portion out the exact amount of coffee, this smaller pot can make sure you each get a full cup without any waste.
Simple to Store – Packing away a big, clumsy coffee maker can be a real pain. Not only can it be cumbersome to move around, but it also takes up storage space you could be using for other items.
The smaller 4 cup coffee maker is easy to move in and out of cabinets and won’t take up too much space.
Takes up Less Counter Space – If you’d rather keep your coffee pot out for quick, easy access then a smaller machine is probably the better option.
A large coffee pot can take up a lot of space. Opt for the 4 cup coffee maker and you’ll have more counter space for prepping meals.
Waste Less – It’s easy to throw on a big pot in a rush rather than measure out the exact amount of coffee you’ll need for the morning.
Having a coffee pot that makes smaller, precise portions means you won’t be constantly pouring extra coffee down the sink.
Brews Quicker – The smaller amount of coffee and water means your cup will be ready faster. This is great for days when you snooze a few too many times and need to get out the door quickly.
What to Ask Yourself Before Buying a 4 Cup Coffee Maker
Before going out and buying a new coffee maker, let’s be sure this is the right choice. Here are some things to consider before buying any old coffee maker.
What are the brew speed and power
If you tend to rush out the door often or you’re one of those “don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee” type of people, then speed and power is important.
Coffee makers can vary in speed quite a bit.
The fastest pots out there can brew a hot cup of coffee in about one minute. Others can take their sweet time.
If mornings are not your thing, look for a pot that can brew your cup in no time, or even a pot that can be programmed to brew at a specific time.
If you like to have your coffee brewing while you tend to other morning duties, speed shouldn’t be too much of a deal-breaker for you.
Does it have an auto shut off
Sometimes we find ourselves racing out the door to make it to work or an event on time. Sometimes this happens more often than not. When we are in a rush, we tend to be more forgetful.
Maybe you’re one of those people who constantly fret over whether the door was locked or the garage was closed, or the coffee maker was turned off.
Worrying about your coffee pot can easily be solved with an auto shut off. Lots of coffee makers have this feature these days, and it can save you some stress.
Even if you work from home or typically store your coffee pot away after use, it’s always a good idea to have back up for days that you are too busy to think about pressing the off button.
Does it have a brew strength selector
A brew strength selector allows you to further perfect your morning cup of joe. Some mornings are rougher than others, and some mornings you need a little more oomph.
Being able to choose your coffee’s strength can help you customize your brew to fit your day to day needs.
Or maybe you live with someone who has drastically different coffee preferences than you. This doesn’t mean you need different machines, just one that you can customize!
How expensive is it
Coffee makers can be very affordable or quite expensive and anywhere in between. Brewing coffee is not rocket science, and you can get a great cup of coffee without breaking the bank.
Or, if you are a coffee connoisseur and want to invest in a fancier pot, there are plenty of options for that too. Think about the key features you want your pot to have and go from there.
Is there a water filter
Running clean water through your coffee maker can keep it cleaner for longer. Having a built-in water filter with your coffee maker can ensure you are getting a quality cup with less mineral build-up in your machine.
Can you pause the brew
Patience is a virtue…that some of us lack. Sometimes we need that cup of coffee now. Like, right now. Instead of waiting for your pot to finish, some machines have the option to pause the brew.
This means you can pour yourself a hot cup before the whole pot is finished. No time is wasted!
Is there an anti-drip carafe
An anti-drip carafe can save you the hassle of cleaning up drips and spills. That’s one more step we can avoid when rushing out the door.
Finding a coffee maker with an anti-drip carafe is a must-have. You can also keep your carafe from dripping by adding a little beeswax across the pouring lip.
The wax will help catch any stray droplets and keep them off your counters.
Is it programmable
Are any of us not in a rush in the morning? Sure, you could find the quickest coffee-brewing machine on the market.
But why do that when your coffee could already be finished and ready for sipping as soon as you wake up?
Finding a programmable coffee maker can ensure your coffee is ready to go at the exact time you need it.
Does the design match your style
Coffee pot companies have made their machines more stylish over the years. Good coffee shouldn’t come at the expense of good style. There are loads of options out there to choose from.
Take your time and have some fun finding a pot to match your perfectly designed kitchen.
Is it easy to clean
A coffee pot typically gets daily use, which means it can get dirty pretty quickly. No one wants to spend a bunch of time cleaning their coffee pot on the regular.
Finding a coffee pot that’s easy to clean is a high priority.
Is it user friendly
Let’s be real, a coffee pot is a machine; with buttons, and knobs, and all kinds of different parts. Some of us don’t do great with figuring out all these fancy-schmancy buttons.
Make sure your coffee pot is user friendly since our brains don’t often work too well first thing in the morning.
Does it fit your needs
A lot of people have different needs when it comes to them preparing and serving there coffee.
If you really like a strong espresso in the morning then you will probably find a machine that takes ESE coffee pods more useful, or if you have a large family you may need to make 6 or more cups a morning and need a 10 to 12 cup coffee maker.
If you live by yourself or with your significant other then a 4 cup coffee maker is perfect for you.
How to Use Your 4 Cup Coffee Maker
You may be convinced that the 4 cup coffee maker is just right! Now, how do you actually use one?
Utilizing your 4 cup coffee maker won’t be too difficult but there are some best practices. Here are some tips to get your perfect cup of coffee.
What Kind of Water Should You Use
It’s always a good idea to use filtered water when brewing. Normal tap water from your sink has a lot of extra minerals that can build up over time and dirty your pot.
If you go too long without cleaning it, it can cause your coffee maker to work incorrectly, or not work at all.
Using tap water won’t ruin your pot, it just means you’ll probably have to clean it more often. You can find a coffee maker with a built-in water filter.
What Type of Grounds are Best
If you’re wondering what type of grounds are best to use, medium-fine grinds are best. Most store-bought coffee grounds will work just fine in most machines, including a 4 cup coffee maker.
If you’re grinding your own, an even grind will give you the best cup of coffee.
What Is The Best Temperature For Brewing Coffee
You’ll also want to make sure you get your temperature correct. If it’s too hot, your coffee might taste burnt. Too cool, and your coffee won’t brew right.
According to the National Coffee Association, the recommended temperature for the perfect cup of coffee is between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit.
Achieving this temperature shouldn’t be a problem. Most coffee makers use about 800 watts to brew four cups of coffee.
How Much Coffee Should I Use for a 4 Cup Coffee Maker
The recommended amount of coffee for a 4 cup coffee maker is about 8 tablespoons. This is also up to personal preference.
If you don’t like your coffee too strong, try a smaller amount. If you’re looking for more of a bold cup, try adding a little more. Play around with the amount until it tastes just right!
What is the Average Brew Time for a 4 Cup Coffee Maker
As stated above, brew time is important! Although they can vary quite a bit, the average brew time for most 4 cup coffee makers is between 1-3 minutes.
This will be determined by how much power and watts the machine uses; the more power, the faster you will get your coffee cup.
What Material Is The Carafe Made Out Of
Different coffee makers use different materials for their parts. The carafe can be glass, steel, or plastic.
Glass does well keeping the heat in, but it can be pretty hot to the touch and break easily if you aren’t careful.
Plastic carafes won’t break as easily but they aren’t the best quality and won’t keep heat in for long. Steel carafes are very durable and do a great job keeping the heat in.
What Heating Element Does It Use
Some carafes are thermal, which means they will keep your coffee hotter for longer. This is great if you tend to go back for multiple cups throughout the morning.
If you are hosting and want to bring the pot out to the dining room table, you won’t have to worry about it becoming cold.
There’s also the option of having a warming plate for your pot.
To get your coffee hot in the first place, most coffee makers use a coiled wire heating element. This wire gets hot when electricity runs through it.
The heating element heats the water when brewing and keeps it warm through the warming plate when finished.
How Many Watts Does A 4 Cup coffee maker Use
Coffee makers use on average 750 to 1200 watts. You’re single cup and 4 cup coffee makers are going to be on the low end with your 10 to 12 cup coffee makers using the most.
The majority of your electricity is being to heat the coils and heating plate.
Tips To Make The Perfect Cup Of Coffee
Even though coffee consists of only 2 ingredients, you can take steps to make a better cup of joe.
- You need to make sure you have the correct water ratio to coffee and use 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 oz of water. If you’re not sure, add more coffee beans, this will only give you a richer flavor. If you add more water, you will end up with watery, weak coffee.
- Always use a grinder for a fresher, richer tasting coffee. With a drip coffee maker, you want to use a medium-coarse grind so that it doesn’t;t clog the filter and give you the best grind for brewing.
- You want to use filtered water, and some coffee makers will have a filter in the reservoir. If it doesn’t, you’ll want to use filtered water to cut down on the amount of scaling and lime that will build up, causing your machine not to work properly.
- Drink it right away; the longer coffee sits out, the more bitter the flavor becomes due to oxidation and from being heated for too long.
Tips For Cleaning Your 4 Cup Coffee Maker
If you’re still reading this article, coffee is probably very important to you. If your machine isn’t working right, it can surely ruin your entire day.
Keeping your coffee maker clean is crucial to a well-working machine and a guaranteed cup of joe every morning.
Be sure to clean all of the removable parts after every use. A quick rinse and suds can go a long way when making sure your pot is up to par each day.
About once a month you should do a more thorough clean.
Vinegar and water is the go-to method for coffee-pot cleaning. To clean your machine with vinegar, you’ll start with one cup of water and one cup of vinegar.
Pour the solution into your carafe and run your machine through a regular brew cycle. If your machine has a “clean cycle”, choose this option.
Once the brew is finished, fill the carafe with clean water and run it through another cycle.
It may need a couple more cycles to get the vinegar smell out, but once it smells fresh, your job is done. Your next cup of coffee will taste amazing.
You can also get similar results with lemon juice and water. Pour a half-cup of water combined with a half-cup of lemon juice into your carafe and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
This allows the acidity of the lemon juice to break down any mineral or oil build-up. Run the cycle, then fill the carafe with fresh water for another brew rinse.
If your carafe doesn’t seem to want to get clean, try adding a little bit of water, dish soap, and some rice.
Swish this mixture around your carafe to scrub off any cacked on grime or residue. Rinse out the soap, and your carafe will look sparkling clean!
Trouble Shooting FAQ’s
As much as we strive for perfection, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. What happens when your coffee pot isn’t giving you the best results?
Most issues can be solved with a little care and cleaning.
- If your coffee maker is brewing slowly, there might be a clog somewhere in the brewing process. Cleaning your pot as suggested above will probably solve the problem. Minerals, oils, and grime can build up after each use. If you aren’t cleaning your pot regularly, this can easily cause some clogging.
- Maybe you brew your cup of coffee one day and it suddenly tastes bad. There could be a few different reasons why this might happen. Your grind might be too fine, which means your coffee is being extracted from the bean too soon. This can cause a really bitter taste.
- Your coffee grounds may not be fresh anymore, which will definitely give you a yucky cup. The temperature of your pot could be too high, which causes your coffee to taste burnt or bitter. Or maybe, again, your machine is just dirty. Giving your machine a good clean is the best solution for most coffee problems.
Coffee is crucial for starting your day off on the right foot. Why wouldn’t you want to have a perfectly brewed cup every morning?
Whether you’re looking for more space, less waste, or the quickest cup of joe, a 4 cup coffee maker can make your coffee dreams come true.
With so many varieties of machines out there, you’ll be sure to find yourself the ideal coffee maker with everything you could want or need.