Finding the best 4 cup coffee maker is easy-breezy, because you, my friend, landed on the right page, at the right time!
Are you in the market for a new coffee maker, but not sure which one or what features to look for?
Fret not! This article will answer all your burning questions and help you choose the best 4 cup coffee maker for your needs, without breaking the bank.
Best Overall & Editor's Choice
The Braun BrewSense coffee machine offers a modern and elegant design with a small footprint - it should look great in most kitchens.
This machine, even though it has a 12-cup capacity, lets you choose between a one to a four-cup setting. This means you won’t have to worry about wasting coffee.
It has a pause function so that you can have a cup of coffee before the rest of the pot has brewed, even though the carafe prevents oxygen from getting into the coffee so it keeps it fresher for longer.
This coffee maker has a 24-hour programmable timer which is a bonus if you want your morning cup of coffee ready for you as soon as you walk into the kitchen. However, grinding coffee the night before means it won’t be as fresh. But if you are happy enough with this, then this drip coffee maker could suit you.
This drip coffee machine comes with a hot plate to keep your coffee hot, should you snooze that alarm more than you planned for the night before. However, it has a glass carafe. It's good since you can see how much coffee has been dispensed, but it's fragile and does not keep your coffee as hot.
This programmable coffee maker is unique in that it has a gold-tone filter instead of paper which may give a better flavor as the oils reach the cup instead of being absorbed by the paper in the filter basket.
Plus it has a charcoal water filter which optimizes the flavor. It also includes an auto shut off function and a cleaning feature.
This machine also comes with a 3 year warranty. This very generous warranty should help easy any concerns should this machine break down.
All these features and more helped us choose this four cup coffee maker as the best overall and our Top Choice among the remaining coffee makers.
This coffee maker is highly thought of in the coffee industry and amongst coffee drinkers. It is an aesthetically pleasing stainless steel five cup coffee maker and as its name suggests, it’s done with a touch of a button.
This is a smaller coffee maker than the BV1900 series, which is great because you can now make coffee in small batches without the wastage.
It is very powerful with a 1,100 Watt heater that is able to accurately maintain the brewing temperature to optimal levels, that is between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
This machine is also quick, taking around six minutes for brewing coffee, and it has a pre-infusion showerhead to disperse water for optimal coffee extraction which makes for optimal coffee flavor.
This machine makes great coffee, but there is steep learning curve. You may need to adjust your grinder to a coarser setting to avoid overly strong coffee.
Cleaning is also easy with this machine - the carafe lid, showerhead and filter basket are dishwasher safe.
The carafe is not, but it's made of durable stainless steel which is great for keeping your coffee warm for longer.
This machine also has an auto off function, for forgetful people like me. However, it is not programmable.
Another drawback is its price - it's slightly expensive. However, this machine is backed-up with a 2 year warranty which is above the industry average.
Best Coffee & Quality
Coffee aficionados will like this one...
Although the Moccamaster KBT is a large drip coffee maker, we have included it in this list because the recommended minimum brew volume is 4 4-oz cups (or more like 2 North American cups), and because, more significantly, it makes amazing coffee.
You see, this is one of the few drip coffee machines that is certified to brew to the standards of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) and the European Coffee Brewing Center (ECBC).
These certifications are awarded after thourough testing, which is a testament to the engineering of this machine.
For example, the basket's conical shape has been engineered to maximize the flavor extraction of coffee while this machine's unique copper heating element ensures the temperature keeps between 196°F - 205°F. It can even adapt to high altitude brewing - as you know, the boiling point of water drops with altitude.
The Moccamaster KBT is also a quick machine - it can prepare a full 40-oz carafe (10 European cups) of hot coffee in as little as 4 to 6 minutes.
And if you're not ready before the brew is completed, don't fret! The double-walled stainless steel thermal carafe can keep your coffee's temperature an taste relatively intact for up to 1 hour.
We keep on raving about this coffee maker, but nothing is perfect. The first thing you may notice is that this machine is expensive! Plus, for that price, it does not have any programmability or customization!
The Moccamaster KBT is expensive because of its engineering, high quality sustainable materials, and because it's handmade!
This translates to an unheard of 5 year warranty! This is how confident Technivorm Moccamaster are about this machine!
Have you had enough of those tired and boring drip coffee maker designs? But you don't want to break the bank to get a cool design?
Then this retro drip coffee maker is for you! Finally, someone has made drip coffee maker that has a cool design and an even cooler price!
This 4-cup coffee maker comes in 4 beautiful colors: matcha green, apricot orange, arabica black and red. Each of these feature a large and prominent golden power button and knob, which looks great and gives a retro look to this machine.
This coffee machine does more that sit pretty. It also has a functional design with its water gauge and anti-drip valve.
With its spread head, this 4-cup coffee maker distributes hot water evenly to optimize the coffee extraction. It also allows you to intuitively change the brew strength. The brew strength is changed by moving the knob to either the mild, medium or strong settings.
This machine is on the slower side of things when it comes to brewing. Depending on the brew strength, you coffee will take 6 to 11 minutes to be ready.
It comes with a reusable basket filter to reduce waste and costs, and a warming plate to keep your coffee warm. The 25 oz carafe is made of glass, which is a con in our eyes. Stainless steel ones last longer and keep your coffee warm longer.
This good value drip coffee maker is a no fuss machine that easily and reliable brews up to give cups of coffee.
Although hopefully, you’re not going to be drinking all five cups of coffee yourself. If you are, then we need to have a chat, so contact me as soon as you’re done with your second cup of coffee!
What makes this coffee maker different from other coffee machines on this list is its small size and simplicity. It's operated by a single button, it automatically keeps your coffee warm, and there is a gauge so you can easily check how much water is left in the removable water thank.
This coffee maker comes with a charcoal water filter, which is the best way to filter water since it doesn’t carry any other flavors when mixed with fresh coffee grounds. Zojirushi claims the water filter lasts a couple of years, and it comes with a replacement so you’re not shelling out money too soon for another one.
The cone shaped filter ensures water goes through evenly for a tasty coffee experience.
However, as we have alluded this is a very simple coffee maker. So you won't be able to program it or adjust the brew strength. It also comes with a glass carafe, which is fragile and does not keep your coffee hot for as long.
This machine comes with a 1 year warranty which is the industry standard.
This brand might be the most popular on the market today, and this 4 cup programmable coffee maker, in particular, is one of the best from this brand.
It has a 24-hour programmable setting so you can prep your coffee from the night before, as well as a 1-hour auto shut off function for those who need it.
Like some of the other 4 cup coffee makers, this one has a 30 second brew and pause function that allows you to serve yourself a cup of coffee before the brewing process is complete, without hindering the overall coffee taste.
This little coffee maker comes in two versions: one with a stainless steel carafe, and the other with a glass carafe.
We recommend getting the stainless steel one because it keeps your coffee warm and fresh for longer. Plus, if you drop it, it won't break.
Best for Small Spaces
This is one of the best small coffee makers out there given its affordable price.
This 4 cup coffee maker makes your coffee with a dripless pour spout. It has the brew pause feature to have a cup of coffee before the rest of the pot has brewed and the knuckle guard protects you from burning yourself when holding the carafe.
This drip coffee maker doesn’t have a timer, but it has an auto shut off function and it is compact with a sturdy stainless steel carafe.
Unlike some of the other coffee makers with stainless steel carafes, the carafe for this small coffee maker is not a thermal carafe, which pretty much defeats its purpose, except for us clumsy people who would like drop a glass carafe.
Luckily, among 4 cup coffee makers, this is a good drip coffee maker with a drip free spout that makes up for the thermal carafe downfall.
This coffee maker has a removable filter basket making it easy to clean and dishwasher safe, it looks sleek in all black (also available in white) and it won’t take up a lot of space in your kitchen as it is also a small coffee maker.
There is a viewing pane in the water container making it convenient to know how much is left, and there are measurement markings to accurately fill it based on how many cups of coffee you plan on making.
This small coffee machine has a Duralife glass carafe which is sturdier than other coffee makers with a glass carafe and it has an easy grip handle for comfortable pouring. It also comes with a non-stick carafe plate to keep your coffee hot.
Best with Built-in Grinder
This KAPAS coffee maker with grinder has a unique design. This compact coffee maker is square shaped (well, almost) and the carafe goes in the middle of it!
This design looks great on any kitchen, but it's also functional. For example, there is a water level viewing window so you can see how full the water tank is.
The main highlight of this coffeemaker is its integrated burr grinder. It's a simple grinder without any adjustable grind levels but it allows you to have the freshest possible coffee without the need of getting a separate grinder.
If you want to use pre-ground coffee, no problem. This drip machine can do it.
It has 3 adjustable coffee strength settings which is helpful to customize your coffee to your tastes. It has a warming plate to keep your copy hot and fresh for as long as possible.
However, its carafe is made of glass without an option for a superior stainless steel one.
Something to keep in mind is the types of coffee beans you use. Stick with light to medium roasts, as darker roasts are oily and can potentially clog your machine.
4-cup drip coffee makers are perfect for a small family, or a bunch of roommates, or even when you have guests and family over. They are quick and easy to make, plus they please most people’s taste buds! Plain coffee at its best!
Plus, these compact coffee makers fit almost anywhere. We know how important saving counter space can be if you live in a condo in a large urban center...
The best part is that some of these coffee makers have timers, so you can set them to brew coffee automatically for a certain time.
Now imagine this: your alarm goes off and the first thing you notice is the freshly brewed coffee coming from your kitchen. No need to prepare the coffee maker to brew, or sit there and wait for the brewing process to be done, like a morning zombie. Just wake up and sip away your fresh cup of joe till you’re fully awake.
Some of the best 4 cup coffee makers are small and compact, so they’re perfect for small spaces with limited counter space and are easy to put away when they’re not being used.
Just make sure you use good quality coffee beans to ensure this formula works:
The Best Coffee Beans + The Best 4 Cup Coffee Maker = The Best Cup of Coffee!
The material of the coffee carafe is important and definitely worth knowing the pros and cons for each type, to help you decide on the best coffee maker for your needs.
Most stainless steel carafes will be thermal which means your freshly brewed coffee will stay warm for longer. The seal, on these carafes, prevents oxygen from getting in and quickly turning your coffee stale. The downside is that they can be heavy, and you can’t see how much is left in the pot.
A glass carafe is the most popular. It looks nice, it is easy to clean, and you can see how much leftover coffee there is, so you don’t have to panic if you go for seconds and can only fill half your cup! The downside is that they’re fragile and won’t keep your coffee warm for too long.
Then there are plastic carafes, which are less fragile than glass carafes, but won’t keep your coffee warm for long and just look cheap.
The National Coffee Association USA defines the best temperature for brewing coffee to be between 195° to 205° Fahrenheit (91° to 96° Celcius). Any higher than that and it could leave your coffee tasting burnt and bitter. Any lower and you won’t get the optimal extraction of flavors from the coffee (1).
This is one of the most important things when choosing the best 4 cup coffee maker, so make sure to check the machine has the correct range of temperatures listed above.
Your machine doesn’t have to have a timer, but you may want it for convenience. Many machines come with an automatic start option to do this.
If you hate prepping your coffee in the mornings or you know you’re going to have a tight schedule, you can prep and set your 4 cup coffee maker to brew automatically at a certain time.
This option is great for those with a busy schedule, but you want to keep in mind that the coffee flavor won’t be optimal since you have to grind your coffee beans the night before and place them in the coffee filter to prep the machine.
So you have to choose between convenience and optimal coffee flavor and freshness.
You may also want to look for machines with an automatic shut off feature if you’re safety conscious or always in a hurry and forgetful. This way, while you’re driving to work, you don’t have to second guess yourself and worry for the rest of the day whether you remembered to shut the coffee machine off or not.
Use filtered or bottled water so no other flavors impact your coffee. Use high-quality coffee beans for the best flavor. Usually, arabica beans are better but more expensive.
It’s best not to do this as coffee beans are best when they are freshly ground. Lots of brands will have the roast date on the package and it is best to ground just before you are about to make your coffee.
Preferably use coffee beans instead of already ground coffee. The Chefman Grind and Brew Coffee Maker & Grinder, listed above, has an integrated grinder but for all the rest you will need to purchase a separate grinder.
It can be therapeutic to grind your own beans and this way you grind them to your liking.
We recommended a coffee to water ratio of 55 grams per 1 liter of water. This works out to about two tablespoons of coffee per six ounces of water. However, how much coffee you use is down to personal taste and once you experiment with it then you will have it down to a fine art. Read this article for the best coffee to water ratio and the golden coffee cup standard.
These machines tend to have the most plastic in them and so are generally the worst for the environment. However, pod machines are more wasteful.
If you choose a machine which is free of BPA plastic like the Cuisinart model, then it will be environmentally friendly.
When you choose a glass or stainless-steel option then it is generally safer as there are no chemicals which are present in plastic.
The best grind for this type of coffee maker is medium to coarse, a bit finer than French press coffee. Check our drip coffee vs French Press post to learn more!
Owning the best 4 cup coffee maker is essential for those rushed mornings or family gatherings, because it’s convenient and a crowd pleaser!
The smell of coffee in the morning from one of these machines might encourage you to get out of bed earlier without breaking the bank.
Whichever machine you choose, you’ll have to simply press a button and let it do the hard work for you. Happy Brewing!