If you’re a coffee lover but don’t need a full 12-cup pot, getting a 4-cup coffee maker is a great idea. These compact machines are perfect for small households or for those who just want a quick pick-me-up without the fuss of brewing a full pot.
You’ll cut down on your coffee costs, and stop feeling guilty for letting all that extra coffee go to waste 🙂
There are loads of such coffee machines on the market, but here are the best 4-cup coffee makers that are actually worth it in 2023.
What is a 4-Cup Coffee Maker?
A 4-cup coffee maker is really just a coffee maker that can prepare 20 ounces of coffee. So quick math, this means 1 cup is 5 liquid ounces.
Why is a “cup” only 5 oz and not 8 ounces? I have no idea, it is just the industry standard in the USA.
A 4-cup coffee maker makes 20 ounces of coffee. Period. That’s the size of a Venti at Starbucks.
Compared to a regular 12-cup coffee machine that can prepare 60 ounces of coffee per brew cycle, a 4-cup coffee maker prepares considerably less coffee.
For a big, coffee-loving household, a 12-cup coffee machine is perfect! You make coffee, it’s ready and waiting hot.
But what about a smaller household? When you use a 4-cup coffee maker the preparation of coffee becomes shorter and more cost-effective, wasting less coffee, water, and energy.
Best Small 4-Cup Coffee Makers in 2023
If you want to prepare coffee without worrying about energy bills or running down your weekly coffee supply, we’ve made your search simple with our list of the best small 4-cup coffee makers:
1. Cuisinart DCC-450BK 4-Cup Coffeemaker with Stainless-Steel Carafe
The Cuisinart DCC is a 4-cup coffee maker with a dripless pour spout and knuckle guards, making it the most compact coffee maker on this list. Its brew-pause feature system enables you to drink coffee even before you can finish the whole brewing process. It’s an energy-saving coffee machine as it shut off automatically after 30 minutes of idling.
- Carafe type: Stainless steel thermal carafe
- Wattage: 1100 watts
- Auto Shut Off Option: Yes
- Dimensions: 10.00 x 8.00 x 5.25 inches
- Weight: 3.25 lbs
- Warranty: 3 years
2. KRUPS Personal Cafe Grind KM550D50
The KRUPS Personal Cafe Grind is a 4-cup coffee maker that has the grind and brew feature. It has a powerful, built-in stainless burr grinder that allows you to grind coffee beans in 2 options: coarse ground or finely ground. Aside from its compactness, it has removable parts for easy cleaning and maintenance. Best of all, these parts are dishwasher-safe.
- Carafe type: Glass carafe
- Wattage: Heater- 650 watts, Grinder- 80 watts
- Auto Shut Off Option: No
- Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 11.6 inches
- Weight: 7.28 lbs
- Warranty: 2 years
3. Mr. Coffee 4-Cup Switch Coffee Maker
The 4-cup coffee maker by Mr. Coffee has a Grab-A-Cup auto-pause function if you want to taste your coffee beans midway even before the brewing cycle stops. You can fill the water tank without worrying about overflows as it has a dual water window that allows you to see how much water you have put in the water tank.
Mr. Coffee 4-Cup also has a stain-resistant warming plate that is easy to clean by wiping with a damp cloth, while filter baskets can be removed for quick and easy cleaning.
- Carafe type: Glass Carafe
- Wattage: 650 Watts
- Auto Shut Off Option: Yes
- Dimensions: 10.10 x 7.25 x 11.80 inches
- Weight: 7 ounces
- Warranty: 1 year limited warranty
Things to Consider When Buying a Small Coffee Maker
Buying a small coffee maker can be tempting, especially if it would come from big sales and discounts. Yet, before you dive in to purchase, there are things to consider to make sure you get the best value you deserve.
When it comes to the standard cup size of a 4 or 5-cup coffee maker, you have to understand that it doesn’t follow the 8 ounces cup size, instead, it brews coffee to be served at 5 oz per cup (which is half of your regular dose of coffee). If such serving sizes are enough to satisfy the coffee cravings of your household, then a 4 or 5-cup coffee maker is the right appliance for you. Yet, if you’re looking for a coffee maker with a bigger capacity, then you’d want to consider other coffee makers.
Coffee Maker Size
If you’ve noticed from our list of 4 and 5-cup coffee makers, most of them are compact kitchen appliances you can fit into any kitchen space. Yet, even if these coffee makers are compact, checking the overall dimension of the machine is essential. It will help you determine if your chosen coffee maker will fit snugly into your kitchen cabinets or countertops.
Likewise, check the position and location of the water tank since not all are detachable. Some coffee machines have water tanks that can be filled from the above, others are from the side. Such positioning can greatly affect the space where you will install your coffee maker.
The Carafe’s Material and Type
Some carafe comes in full thermal stainless steel, while others come in a glass carafe. You might also encounter coffee makers with carafes made from heavy-duty and BPA-free plastic. Yet, the latter is not recommended for brewing coffee because we’re dealing with super hot beverages.
If you’re the type of person who will be drinking coffee for the whole day, the thermal carafe made of stainless steel is highly recommended for it can keep your coffee warm for a few hours. Glass carafe gives you a classic look of the coffee machine, but it cannot retain heat as effectively as stainless steel carafe can do.
The Filter Type
The 4 and 5-cup coffee makers in our list use a permanent filter, paper filter, cone, and flat-bottomed filters. When you buy a coffee machine, the filter type is an important consideration to think about because it will affect the expenses you incur when you buy the best 4-cup coffee maker. Are you good about maintaining a supply of paper filters or do you prefer simplicity?
If you prefer sustainable coffee making, reusable filters are the best options as these are environmentally friendly and easy to use. One thing you have to make sure of with the reusable filters of the coffee maker you’ll be buying is that it should be dishwasher-safe for much more convenient and thorough cleaning. On the other hand, natural paper filters are what separates a drip coffee from espresso or French press and the thin, compostable paper isn’t the worst thing for the environment.
The aesthetic design of a coffee maker can affect how you enjoy coffee. It goes hand in hand with the overall functionality of the coffee machine. Most manufacturers design their espresso machine from inside to out while others start with the external features before deciding on the internal features.
In choosing a design for your coffee maker, it is best to acknowledge how you view these machines. Do you see it as an art piece? Do you treat coffee machines as a quick caffeine fixer? For a coffee drinker who gives a lot of value to matching the appliance with the interiors of the kitchen, the overall design of the coffee maker is important.
Not only that it enhances the ambiance where you prepare and drink coffee, but it also amplifies your coffee experience with your favorite beans. Thus giving you something to look forward to every morning.
Auto-Shut Off Option
The auto-shutoff option in appliances is one of the sustainable ways to conserve energy. This safety feature is a must-have in most coffee makers as it ensures that your coffee pot is safe from overheating and burning as well as overconsumption of energy that can result in high electric bills.
Ease of Cleaning
The taste of your coffee depends on how well you clean and maintain your coffee machine. Yet, cleaning your caffeine fixer does not have to be daunting. So when you shop for a 4-cup coffee maker, look for models that provide ease of cleaning. However, what kind of cleaning should I look for in a coffee machine?
- Soap and Water
- Dishwasher (for dishwasher-safe parts only)
- Monthly Vinegar Soak
- Agitate with a pipe cleaner brush (the same way you’d clean a water canteen
Durability is synonymous with quality. If a coffee machine breaks easily, it will have a great impact on the reputation of the manufacturer. It will be treated as a scam for most customers who spend their hard-earned money on the products that you sell only to get disappointed because of its mediocre materials and build.
So if you were to buy a 4-cup coffee maker, it is best to consider the materials, build, and manufacturer of the coffee machine to see if its value matches what you are willing to pay.
The lifespan of your coffee machine depends on how you clean and maintain it. When you look for a coffee machine for regular use, it is better to look for types and models that are not too expensive but are easy to maintain. Best of all, check the warranty offered by the manufacturer.
Power can indirectly affect how coffee machines prepare drinks. A single-cup coffee maker usually utilizes 200 to 400 watts to brew a cup of coffee for a few seconds. Consumer models often use 750 to 1200 watts with automatic shut-off options that activate after 30 minutes to 2 hours of idling.
On average, you’ll run about 0.83 kWh when you use a consumer model coffee machine while a full-sized drip coffee maker utilizes about 730 kWh every year. For instance, if the cost of electricity is 12 cents per kWh, your bill using a coffee machine is more or less $87 per year or $7 per month – in a drip coffee machine alone.
On the other hand, if you will be using an espresso machine, it uses 0.156 kWh per shot. When these are computed to the annual cost, it will appear more expensive than a regular drip coffee machine. Yet, you’ll find brewing coffee with an espresso maker can be worthwhile because of the coffee experience it gives.
So what do these sample quotations want to tell us? This means that when you shop for a coffee machine, it is best to consider the watt requirements to make a good coffee. Keep in mind that the computation depends on the type and model you want to buy.
Yet, if you’re trying to save or want to manage your budget well but still want to enjoy coffee, a drip filter coffee maker is a recommended choice for its least electric consumption.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The longevity of your coffee maker and the taste of your coffee depends on how you use and maintain your coffee machine. To clean your coffee maker, you can do the following steps:
Empty the brew basket with coffee grounds and rinse it with warm, soapy water. This will help you remove the oily residue of your coffee beans.
Clean the hotplate or drip tray once it cools down with a damp cloth to remove coffee stains. If there are burnt coffee stains, the best cleaning equipment is a damp sponge with a little amount of baking soda. Scrub the plate using this. For drip trays, you can clean it by rinsing the tray with warm, soapy water.
Descale your coffee maker. One concern to watch out for when cleaning your coffee maker is the possible build-up of limescale. If left unattended, it can clog your coffee machine’s water tank and tubes which can compromise the performance of your device. Another effect of undescaled coffee makers is excessive steam and increases in the brew cycle.
Programmable coffee makers have light indicators that tell you when to descale. So it shouldn’t be a problem for semi-automatic and automatic coffee makers to have a scheduled descaling program.
Clean your carafe. Carafes can be either made of glass or stainless steel, which can retain heat for its thermal features. To clean your coffee maker’s carafe, what you will need is warm, soapy water every after you brew. If there are unremovable stains, you can use a solution of two parts hot water and 1 part baking soda. Let the solution sit overnight in the carafe and rinse it thoroughly with clean water.
The Specialty Coffee Association of America recommends adding 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water. Some coffee machine manufacturers recommend a ratio of 1 tablespoon for a cup of water while others recommend 1 and a half tablespoons of coffee ground for every 1 cup of water. Yet, such ratios still depend on how flavorful and strong you like your coffee.
The best 1-cup coffee maker depends on the features that a coffee maker can provide to satisfy your coffee needs. If you fancy regular coffee with profound taste, body, and flavor, you can look for French Presses, Pour-over, Chemex, or Aeropress brewing devices. Yet, if you like drinking a variety of coffee beverages, you can always choose among the espresso machines we had reviewed before.
When you shop online, most coffee drinkers have their eyes on Ninja CE201. It’s a perfect midrange programmable coffee machine for people who are techy and not-so-techy with regard to operating coffee machines. It has a hotter brewing technology if you want hot coffee to jumpstart your day.
It can retain the freshness and flavor of your coffee for up to 4 hours with its stainless steel thermal carafe and prepare more coffee with its 60-ounce water reservoir. Best of all, you can pre-program your coffee settings for the next 24 hours in advance.
I know that finding the perfect 4-cup coffee maker can be overwhelming, but with the right knowledge, you’ll easily find the right one for you based on your needs and preferences.
Having used different coffee makers of this size, I understand the importance of having a good machine that makes just enough coffee but does not compromise on flavor. The right brewer can make all the difference in your daily coffee experience. So go ahead and give one of these 4-cup coffee makers a try—they won’t disappoint.