Every day, it seems like coffee makers are getting bigger and bigger. The truth is that most of us don’t need a giant coffeemaker, but the manufacturers know they can charge more for bigger models.
If you’re like most of us and have no need for a large, expensive coffee maker, then you should love our list of reviews of the best 4-cup coffee makers on the market today. We cover the good and the bad so that you can find a model with features you love and will be able to avoid any with flaws that you’ll hate.
We’ve also included a buyer’s guide, so you can have help thinking through the buying experience, even if you’ve never owned a coffee maker before.
Disclaimer: we have included 5-cup coffee makers below as we still deem them relevant, as the difference between a 4-cup and a 5-cup coffee maker is so minor.
|Elite Cuisine EHC-2022 Maxi-Matic 4 Cup Coffee Maker|
|Bonavita One-Touch Coffee Maker BV1500TS||5 lbs||4.50/5|
|Mr. Coffee Simple Brew 4-Cup Coffee Maker|
(Best for the Money)
|BLACK+DECKER DCM600B||3 lbs||4.20/5|
|Cuisinart DCC-450BK 4-Cup Coffeemaker||3 lbs||4.00/5|
The Elite Cuisine EHC-2022 Maxi-Matic 4 Cup Coffee Maker is the best overall choice for people looking for a small coffee maker for home use. This model comes with a dishwasher-safe carafe, which makes cleanup fast and easy. It also comes with a pause and serve feature, so you can fill your cup without, and then return the carafe to the hotplate without the machine dripping all over the place. Also included is a washable filter, so you won’t have to keep a steady stock of paper filters on hand.
This model also includes a semi-transparent water reservoir. That makes it easy to fill this coffee maker to the appropriate level, even if you aren’t using the carafe for the job. And, filling it properly will prevent the machine from spilling water during the brew cycle. Our only gripe about this model is that it doesn’t have the part quality needed to last forever. It’s inexpensive enough that replacing it every few years is reasonable, but it’s not a model you’re going to have around forever. Still, if you’re looking for a good cup of coffee, you will be happy with this model’s performance.
The Bonavita One-Touch Coffee Maker BV1500TS comes with precise temperature control that coffee aficionados will love. It ensures that the water is held between 195- and 205-degrees Fahrenheit so that you get a cup with the full flavor from the beans. It also comes with a pre-infusion mode which helps you get the most from your coffee. The high-quality stainless-steel carafe looks great and can keep your coffee warm for some time after you make it. It’s also easy to clean, especially since the carafe’s lid, filter basket, and showerhead are all dishwasher-safe.
What ultimately keeps this model out of first place is its lack of a heating plate. While the thermal carafe wouldn’t work well with one anyway, most people find that it’s not up to the task of keeping their beverage warm for hours at a time. If you’re using this machine, you’re probably not trying to make more than two cups of coffee, but if you’re looking to get a second cup from the same brew later in the day, you won’t like this machine’s performance. Still, if you’re looking for a nice coffee maker for a cup or two, then this could be a good fit. All in all, this is definitely one of the best 5-cup coffee makers on the market right now.
Mr. Coffee is a brand that’s been around for decades, and the reason is that they make products that work. The Mr. Coffee Simple Brew 4-Cup Coffee Maker is another great model that’s part of this trend. It comes with pause and serve, so you can pull the carafe out to pour yourself a cup before the brew ends without spilling coffee everywhere. This model also comes with a dual water window, so you can see how much water you’ve poured, no matter the position of the machine relative to you. It also comes with a stain-resistant warming plate which is easy to clean, so that you don’t have to spend a lot of time cleaning.
You can also get this model for just a fraction of the price that you’d have to pay to the top models on our list. That’s something that everyone can appreciate and makes this model the best overall value for the money. Our only gripe is that the coffee it makes is a tad on the cool side. However, if you don’t want a scalding cup of coffee and want to save a lot of money on your next purchase, you’ll love this machine.
Sometimes you just want a no-frills coffeemaker that just makes coffee. If you’re looking for a simple experience like that, then you’ll probably like the BLACK+DECKER DCM600B which has just one toggle, an on-off switch. That means there’s no complicated programming or excessive features to deal with. It also comes with a water window, so you can always keep easy tabs on your water level and ensure that you’re filling the machine correctly. Plus, the warming plate is non-stick and easy to clean, so you can always leave it in tip-top shape.
Unfortunately, this model doesn’t make the strongest coffee on the market. If you like a rich, flavorful brew, then you’ll probably be unhappy with this model’s coffee. It also runs on the slow side, which is strange for a model that makes weak coffee, since that’s usually a result of running the water through too quickly. That speaks to some serious design flaws that ultimately limit what this coffee machine is capable of. This will be the right model for you if you don’t need super-flavorful coffee and want a simple experience, but if you want all the bells and whistles, you’ll need to upgrade.
The Cuisinart DCC-450BK 4-Cup Coffeemaker is another commonly-bought model by those who are looking for a small coffeemaker. This model comes with pause and serve functionality. That means you can remove the carafe during the brewing process, pour a cup for yourself, and the machine will pause while the carafe is out to avoid spilling on the heating plate. This model also comes with a 30-minute automatic shutoff, so you’ll never have to worry about the heating function burning your coffee, though you will probably need to reheat it if you wait for your next cup.
This model also comes with a drip-free carafe, though you have to use it thoughtfully to achieve that result. On the downside, this model is prone to filter basket jams, which makes it difficult to remove and clean, but can also lead the coffee maker to back up and spill water everywhere. What ultimately lowers this model to last place is its relatively short longevity. Most people get about three years out of it. If you’re looking for better value, you have some options at this price point. While most people are decently satisfied with this model, you can do better for the price.
We hope that our reviews have already led you to a 4-cup coffee maker that fits your needs at a great price. If you’re looking to learn more about coffee makers before you buy, be sure to check out this buyer’s guide. We’ve packed it full of great information about coffee makers, so that you can decide like a pro would, even if you’ve never owned one of these great products before. We’ve also included some ways to get a great deal, so if you’re a value shopper, you’ll want to read through this guide.
While all the models on our list are 4-cup coffee makers, they do vary in size and shape. It’s not always easy to tell from the picture alone if you’re buying a model which will fit perfectly in your kitchen, or one that will be too large, so it’s a good idea to take measurements and consult the product’s listed dimensions before you buy.
You’ll want to pay extra attention the height, as some models will have a narrow base, but be so tall that you wouldn’t be able to easily open them under the height of standard cabinets.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that a “4-cup” coffee maker really only makes two cups of coffee by most Americans’ standards. It’s not misleading advertising so much as it is that there’s no universally accepted standard for what a cup is. Just keep that in mind. If you really want a full four cups of coffee, you may need to upgrade to an eight-cup model.
The carafe is another area in which most models differ greatly. Some models in this size come with a thermal carafe. These are usually double-walled, vacuum-sealed carafes, which means they should, in theory, be able to keep coffee hot for hours. Consequently, that means that the coffee maker won’t have a hot plate. Even if it, it wouldn’t work, since the carafe is closer to a thermos in design at that point.
More traditional carafes are single-walled and can be used with a hot plate. With both kinds of carafes, you should be looking at how easy they are to clean, and how much they drip when poured. Some models naturally resist dripping, and others do a good job in this area when used specifically according to their directions. In both cases, you should find them lightweight, since they don’t have to be massive and heavy to accommodate this relatively small amount of coffee.
One of the biggest points of pain when it comes to four-cup coffee makers and coffee makers, in general, is how easy it is to clean them. Some models come with removable filter baskets, which can make cleaning them out quick and easy. Just throw away the paper filter, or wash off the reusable filter, and you’re good to go. Other models don’t have easily-removable parts, and that can make cleanup trickier, as you have to bring the water to the coffee maker to clean it.
Some models also come with non-stick, easy-to-clean hot plates, which will save you a lot of time in the long run.
Plus, it’s always nice to invest in a model that is easy to use when it comes to operation and programming. The nice thing about small coffee makers is that you can find models that just require you to turn them on, or a full suite of brewing options if that’s more your thing. Neither approach is right, but it does allow you to have the option of getting the model which best suits you.
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Many people try to get the best value for their money by buying the most or least expensive models they can find. While this sometimes works out, it’s more often a recipe for disaster. If you want to get a model you end up disliking, focusing solely on price can be a great way to accomplish that.
Instead, it’s a good idea to figure out what your needs are, and then to determine what features on a coffee maker address those needs. Then, make a list of all coffee makers which meet those requirements. After that, you can sort them by price, and then choose the cheapest model. It has all the features you need at the lowest price. That means there aren’t a lot of extra features you won’t end up using, and that you’re getting the best overall value for your money since it has the features you need at the lowest possible price.
The Elite Cuisine EHC-2022 Maxi-Matic 4 Cup Coffee Maker is our favorite 4-cup coffee maker due to its dishwasher-safe carafe, pause and serve feature and its semi-transparent water reservoir. The Bonavita One-Touch Coffee Maker BV1500TS comes with precise temperature control, a pre-infusion mode, and a stainless-steel carafe, though its lack of a heating plate lowers it to second place. The Mr. Coffee Simple Brew 4-Cup Coffee Maker has dual water windows, the pause and serve features, and a stain-resistant warming plate, making it a model that anyone can like. Since you can get it for a low price, it provides the best overall value for the money on our list. The BLACK+DECKER DCM600B has a water window and simple operation, but its slow brewing and relatively weak coffee drop it to fourth place on our list. In last place is the Cuisinart DCC-450BK 4-Cup Coffeemaker which does have pause and serve and a drip-free carafe, but it suffers from filter basket jams and poor longevity.
We hope that our buyer’s guide and reviews have helped you gain a deeper understanding of 4-cup coffeemakers and have led you to the model which is right for your kitchen.
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