Best 4 Cup Coffee Makers of 2020 – Review and Buyers Guide!
4 Cups coffee makers are the middle size between a single cup model and 6 to 10 cup models. They can brew more coffee than the former but less than the biggest coffee makers on the market.
Unless you are single or are the only one drinking coffee in your house, you will need a larger coffee maker that is capable of brewing at least 4 cups of coffee.
A very large maker will be bulky and more pricey than you actually need. Big families or for commercial uses will benefit by a 10 cups coffee maker, but outside of those needs, most people will require a 4 cup coffee maker.
They will not consume as much energy as the larger models while being capable of brewing, in a single batch, enough coffee for all. Instead of having to refill a small coffee maker to make a second brew because the first was not sufficient. Plus, it is usually smaller than other makers meant for large families, saving you countertop space.
For couples, small families, and friend groups, we have selected the best 4-5 cups coffee makers on the market.
Mr. Coffee 4-Cup Switch Coffee Maker
A compact, sleek and light coffee maker with a timer. Mr. Coffee 4-Cup may be the right 4 cup coffee maker for you if you’re looking for a simple yet efficient brewer!
It has a setting that can pause the brew. The carafe is dishwasher safe and the entire maker is easy to clean. It’s not a workhorse nor one of the most featureful, but it’s easy to use and not expensive. It is perfect for a small family to have coffee in the morning thanks to its included timer.
Bonavita 5-Cup One-Touch Coffee Maker
Coffee experts will recognize the Bonavita brand as quality-focused and being able to produce nearly barista-levels of coffee. It has a few features intended to brew more flavorful coffee, like a showerhead that provides better coffee extraction and pre-infusion.
It also uses a thermal carafe instead of a pot warmer, which helps to keep the coffee warm but not burning it. It’s a tad bulkier than the other 4 cup coffee makers on this list, but it may be well worth the lost space in the kitchen for a more flavorful cup of coffee.
Cuisinart DCC-450BK 4-Cup Coffeemaker
Sporting a stainless steel carafe to have your coffee warm for a long time, the Cuisinart DCC-450BK is a 4 cup coffee maker that is geared towards those looking for a simple and compact coffee brewer.
It has a pause function, an excellent feature for a manual pre-infusion of the coffee, and a 30 minute automatic shut off feature. It is indeed a compact model, great for portability and space-challenged kitchens.
Capresso 303.01 4-Cup Espresso and Cappuccino Machine
The Capresso 303.01 is way more than a 4 cup coffee maker. It is also able to brew espresso and cappuccino, thanks to its included frother for milk.
This model has a true portafilter, like an espresso machine, and can produce anything from a tiny espresso to a full 4 cups of black coffee. One of the most versatile models of coffee makers on the market, it is also quite compact and portable, for a great, multi-purpose, machine.
Zojirushi Zutto 5-Cup Drip Coffeemaker
The Zutto is rated at 5 cups of coffee, so it is ideal for those who may need a little more coffee than the standard 4 cups models. It includes a water charcoal-based filter, to have soft water, which not only helps in reducing the limescale that will inevitably accumulate in the brewer but also produces better-tasting coffee. Even with the charcoal-based filter it is still advised to descale the coffee maker.
It has an automatic keep-warm function and is very compact. All these features come at a cost, as the Zojirushi EC-DAC50 Zutto isn’t the cheapest on this small coffee maker list.
Mr. Coffee Advanced Brew 5 Cup Programmable Coffee Maker
Another version, slightly bigger, from Mr. Coffee, this 5 cups rated model has a keep-warm function, a 24-hour timer, and a stainless steel carafe!
Definitely a sturdy coffee maker, the whole build quality is top-level! Even though it doesn’t add to the importance of brewing, it’s nearly full black color makes it aesthetically attractive. For those looking for a durable and 5 cup instead of 4 cup coffee maker, this model may be ideal.
All these coffee makers come with a filter, which is where actually the coffee extraction takes place. Most have a flat or conical filter, which makes a slight advantage for better brewing as the coffee is ideally better distributed.
The water should go through the ground coffee in a more uniform way, avoiding issues like over or under-extraction of the coffee. Most models have paper filters while others a permanent one, usually made of a fine wire mesh.
The latter will save you money as you won’t have to buy many paper filters but will require a regular cleaning routine.
Paper filters create more waste but are the preferred way to brew drip coffee by experts as the solid particles of coffee that end up in the mug will be less, and the taste will be more gentle yet flavorful.
All the coffee makers on this list have a carafe, which is generally made either of tempered glass or stainless steel. The latter helps in keeping the coffee warm as the metal absorbs a lot of heat, but may lead to a slightly burnt coffee if drank after hours from the brew.
Tempered glass carafes don’t suffer from this problem but need more energy from the coffee maker to keep the coffee warm for long periods of time. Usually, a pot warmer is implemented for this task.
Usage and Maintenance
Speaking of energy and waste, most 4 cup coffee makers have to be regularly cleaned. Ideally after each use. Limescale can be an issue over time, and a descaling solution (an acid-based industrial or homemade liquid) needs to be used to remove the limescale build up from the carafe and coffee maker’s interiors to have it work as good as new.
Any coffee maker is quite easy to operate. Nearly all have at most 1-2 buttons, one to select the coffee strength and another to start brewing coffee. Some models can pause the brewing, which helps if you want a custom-sized amount of coffee.
Not many coffee makers have a specific design that is modern-looking and pleasant to look at. Considering that such machines need to be used every day and stay visible in your kitchen all the time, take into consideration how much you like the appearance of the model of your choice.
It is reasonable to go for a model that fits well your taste and the environment it will be used in.
As we have seen in the short reviews of each model, most have similar features: a timer, a way to keep the coffee warm for hours, a pause button, a permanent or paper filter, a carafe and different levels of easiness to clean.
A timer is useful to have your coffee ready every morning at a specific hour as a self-cleaning unit will save you lots of time. Take into consideration how much energy these coffee makers need to operate and self-clean, as it may be quite a lot and make a huge difference in the monthly energy bill.
The faster brewing time a model has, the more energy it takes, generally speaking. Besides these pitfalls, all these 4 cup coffee makers are reliable, efficient, and modern machines that will last you quite a while!