Getting the best 4 cup coffee maker can be surprisingly tricky. That’s because these sit between the extremely popular options of single cup coffee makers and full pot (10-12 cup) coffee makers.
While their footing in market popularity may be uncertain, these coffee makers do have their uses. I guess it’s a bit like the Goldilocks zone where the single-cup is too small and a full pot is too large. So let’s take a look at the best small coffee makers you can buy and what they offer. Perhaps we’ll also learn a bit about the fortunes of these machines!
Top Compact Coffee Makers To Consider For 4 Cups
- Mr. Coffee 4-Cup Switch Coffee Maker
- Bonavita 5-Cup One-Touch Coffee Maker BV1500TS
- Zojirushi EC-DAC50 Zutto 5-Cup Drip Coffeemaker
- KRUPS Simply Brew Compact Filter Drip Coffee Maker
- Gevi 5 Cup Coffee Maker
- Ninja Programmable Brewer CE251
- Cuisinart Stainless Steel Thermal Coffeemaker
Editor’s Choice: Mr. Coffee 4-Cup Switch Coffee Maker
One of the more reliable and well-known names in the world of coffee makers, Mr. Coffee often gets things right. Mr. Coffee 4-Cup Switch Coffee Maker is not a fancy machine with a range of features. It’s a reasonably priced coffee maker that gets the job done. The machine is fairly well-built, and features like auto-pause during brewing make its use more convenient.
Top 4 Cup Coffee Maker Reviews
1. Mr. Coffee 4-Cup Switch Coffee Maker
Mr. Coffee 4-Cup Switch Coffee Maker is our top choice for this category. It gets this position for being reliable and carrying an attractive price tag.
When I say “reliable”, I mean it will brew coffee like we expect from a Mr. Coffee machine. But, as it is with a lot of customer appliances, *they don’t make ‘em like they used to.* Don’t expect this to be a coffee maker that will last years. It doesn’t quite fare well with durability. Given its price point, that is pretty much expected, though not necessarily wanted.
Add coffee, fill up the built-in water reservoir, and flick the switch. Your coffee maker is all set. Helpful markings on the reservoir let you know the water volume for the cups you’re brewing. The carafe has similar markings.
You can also use the markings on the reservoir to brew the preferred number of cups, rather than a full pot.
There’s also an auto-pause function that stops the coffee drip for a few seconds if the carafe is removed while brewing. That way, if you want a quick cup of coffee, you can quickly pour it rather than waiting for the carafe to be full. The hot plate can keep the carafe contents hot for an hour or so, which is fairly sufficient for a coffee maker of this size.
- Attractive pricing
- Auto-pause for pouring a cup before the carafe is filled
- Fairly reliable coffee brewing
- Questionable durability
2. Bonavita 5-Cup One-Touch Coffee Maker BV1500TS
This coffee maker brews amazing coffee – very likely the best in this category. Bonavita 5-Cup One-Touch Coffee Maker BV1500TS is not explicitly an SCAA-recommended coffee maker. However, it seemingly handles most of the coffee brewing requirements for the recommendation. It is built quite like the Bonavita BV1902DW 8-Cup One-Touch Coffee Maker, which does have the SCA seal of approval.
Bonavita 5 cup coffee maker keeps its brewing temperature within the SCA-recommended range of 195°-205°F. That’s the best temperature for brewing a strong and flavorful cup of coffee. The machine does falter a bit as it starts to brew, but it’s not a huge problem.
A pre-infusion mode in the machine will let your coffee grounds degass or bloom for a better tasting brew. It takes about 6 minutes to brew a full 5 cup carafe. You could use the helpful markings on the reservoir to brew fewer cups that suit your needs.
Bonavita 5-Cup One-Touch Coffee Maker BV1500TS has single-touch operation and auto shut-off to save electricity. Since it uses a thermal carafe, there is no hot plate on this particular model.
Considering the features, this looks like an amazing pick – and it is. However, it also has some problems with durability and construction quality in general. The thermal carafe leaves much to be desired. If you choose to empty the carafe, you’re very likely to end up with a spill.
- Makes excellent coffee
- Pre-infusion allows coffee blooming and degassing
- Great looks
- Construction quality is below average (especially considering the price)
- The thermal carafe is poorly designed
3. Zojirushi EC-DAC50 Zutto 5-Cup Drip Coffeemaker
Zojirushi EC-DAC50 Zutto 5-Cup Drip Coffeemaker forms a lovely balance between price and quality. The brand has been around for a long time and has a reputation of quality appliances. The build quality here isn’t something to swoon over either, but it is dependable enough. You could reasonably expect this coffee maker to last a few years.
The coffee maker has a concealed removable water reservoir. Being removable makes refills easier and the concealed part lets the coffee maker have a clean look. However, the latter does add a bit of extra work.
With a power rating of 650 Watts, this is a bit slower than the Bonavita coffee maker. Though to its credit, the Zojirushi EC-DAC50 Zutto does manage to get reliably close to the recommended brewing temperature. It also does an okay job of holding the temperature once brewing starts.
A hot plate and automatic keep-warm function let the coffee in the carafe stay hot for a reasonably long time. There is no auto-pause function, so you’ll have to wait for the full carafe to brew before you get your cuppa.
- Good build quality
- Makes great coffee
- Relatively easy to use
- Getting replacement components (like the carafe) can be a bit tedious
- Flawed carafe design often leads to spills
4. KRUPS Simply Brew Compact Filter Drip Coffee Maker
A well-known name provides an easy introduction to this coffee maker. And it does justice to expectations by brewing excellent coffee. KRUPS Simply Brew Compact Filter Drip Coffee Maker is a five cup coffee maker that can brew 25 oz coffee.
The brewing is somewhat slow, but that’s not a big problem. You can always utilize the auto-pause function on this coffee maker to pour yourself a quick cup of coffee before it completes brewing the full carafe.
Convenient markings on the reservoir let you know the amount of water being added so you can adjust the volume to your liking. The reservoir isn’t removable but remains conveniently accessible.
As you start brewing, the automatic keep warm function kicks in. The hot plate will keep your coffee at the right temperature for a long time.
What I don’t like about this coffee maker is the placement of the switch. It’s located all the way at the back of the machine and can be out of sight. That’s a problem if you have more items on the counter and end up accidentally hitting the switch. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that there’s no auto-off. If you forget to switch it off, the coffee maker can get damaged, to say the least.
- Good looks and design
- Auto-pause function makes it possible to pour a cup before brewing is complete
- Includes dishwasher safe carafe, permanent coffee filter, and coffee spoon
- No auto-off
- Inconvenient location of switch
5. Gevi 5 Cup Coffee Maker
Gevi 5 Cup Coffee Maker is a machine with good usability. The reservoir holds about 23 oz water, so I’m not sure what metric they’re using to call it a 5-cup coffee maker. Well, I can guess it’s the good old oversell, but that’s exactly that – a guess.
Honestly, they don’t need overselling; this is a pretty good coffee maker. It brews good coffee and manages extraction temperature just fine. The hot plate kicks into action and keeps the coffee reasonably hot. There’s also an auto-pause (drip-stop) function that makes it possible to get a quick cuppa without waiting for the carafe to fill itself.
Gevi 5 Cup Coffee Maker also includes an auto-off function and shuts off after 40 minutes of last brew. The only downside here is the build quality. This machine looks fragile. Even the included reusable coffee filter looks like it’ll give way under the weight of the coffee grounds!
- Convenient usability
- Auto-pause function enables pouring a quick cup of coffee before the carafe is filled
- Auto shut-off
- Build quality could be better
6. Ninja Programmable Brewer CE251
This isn’t strictly a four cup coffee maker. However, it represents an excellent trend where larger coffee makers make it possible to brew smaller quantities. Ninja Programmable Brewer CE251 is a 12-cup coffee maker that comes with a dedicated option to brew a small batch (up to 4 cups).
It’s an excellent combination of the usability and features of four cup and large, 12 cup coffee makers. Basically, you get to enjoy the features and possibilities available for larger machines that aren’t as easily available even in the best small drip coffee maker.
Ninja Programmable Brewer CE251 offers brew strength options to customize coffee brewing. Available options are “classic” and “rich.” The advanced boiler heats the water to the right temperature so you get a piping hot cup of coffee.
A “stay warm” option keeps the hot plate in action for up to 3 hours to ensure coffee stays at the right temperature. Additionally, the “delay brew” feature lets you program a time to brew coffee automatically.
- Excellent build quality
- Programmable coffee maker
- Auto shut-off
- Large 12 cup coffee maker also includes options to brew small batch (up to 4 cups)
- Relatively larger counter footprint (compared to similar products)
- Carafe lid often gets stuck
7. Cuisinart Stainless Steel Thermal Coffeemaker
Cuisinart Stainless Steel Thermal Coffeemaker is another 12-cup machine with excellent coffee-brewing credentials. The machine is simple to use and offers features and options that are useful.
There are two brew strength options available, viz. regular and bold. You can set up the timer and use programmable features of this coffee maker to brew coffee at a preset time.
Since this coffee maker has a thermal carafe, there is no heating plate. Although glass carafe models with hot plate are also available. This coffee maker is available in several colors, so you get more options where aesthetics are concerned.
An easy option is available to brew smaller batches. The 1-4 cups button enables users to brew a quick and simple batch of up to four cups of coffee. Other features include auto off, auto on, and cleaning.
- Programmable coffee maker
- Auto shut-off and auto-on
- Can brew 12 cups or shift to smaller batch of 1-4 cups
- Questionable longevity
- Build quality can feel flimsy
Key Points To Buying A Compact Coffee Maker
Being Fast And Easy Is The Key
Since we’re brewing a small quantity, it is only natural that we expect the coffee maker to be relatively quick. Of course, it won’t be serving coffee in a few seconds like some single-serve options, but a few minutes is a reasonable expectation.
Small coffee makers that take too long to heat water and brew coffee are likely to get the brew either sour or bitter.
Similarly, ease of operation is important. Quick, single button operation is the most common approach here, which makes the best sense. There’s little benefit to fiddling around with numerous options when trying to brew a quick cuppa.
Maintaining A Constant Brewing Temperature
The recommended brewing temperature for coffee is 195-205 °F. However, it can be difficult for most coffee makers to hit and maintain this temperature throughout brewing. It’s okay if your machine falters a bit, but it should not have wild swings of temperature. That just leads to inconsistent brewing and poor-tasting coffee.
Counter Space And Weight
We don’t expect our compact coffee maker to be a space hog on the counter. As we see in the 4 cup coffee maker reviews here, most of them fit the description just fine. However, before you buy one, consider the dimensions.
Some of these require more counter space, but don’t go much high. Many don’t take much counter space but can require more height. Before you buy, see what coffee maker will fit into your kitchen space.
Weight is another factor. Of course, you aren’t going to be carrying around this machine, but you might have to slide it on the counter often. A needlessly heavier machine can be troublesome in this regard.
The Compact Coffee Machine That Wins The Round
If you’re not fond of a large pot of coffee, getting the best 4 cup coffee maker should be a reasonable choice. The best small drip coffee maker is reasonably compact, doesn’t go overboard with brewing, and can make excellent coffee.
Our top choice here is the Mr. Coffee 4-Cup Switch Coffee Maker. If you want another option, take a look at the Zojirushi EC-DAC50 Zutto 5-Cup Drip Coffeemaker. The list above has more options and detailed reviews of more coffee makers.