For the get-up-and-go crowd, drip coffee is a lifesaver. Multiple cups of coffee can be brewed fast for a quick caffeine fix during your morning routine. Unfortunately, you may not have time to drink the whole pot.
This is where 4 cup coffee makers come in handy. They’re the right size to get your morning java buzz on while not taking up too much kitchen counter space.
From compact to programmable, here are the best 4 cup coffee makers available on the market at a price that won’t break the bank. I’ve also thrown in a buying guide to help you find the best option for your kitchen.
Best Overall: Cuisinart DCC-450BK 4-Cup Coffee Maker
If you prefer stainless steel over glass, consider the Cuisinart DCC-450BK 4-Cup Coffee Maker. The Cuisinart DCC-450BK features a stainless steel thermal carafe. This allows for better insulation and durability.
The carafe isn’t the only thing this coffee machine has going for it. The Cuisinart DCC-450BK features an on indicator light and a 30-minute auto-shutoff just in case you’re too groggy to notice.
While I love the auto-shutoff, I wish it gave me more time. Mornings can be quite hectic and I may not finish the pot before it shuts off. Simple and reliable, at a great price give the Cuisinart the top spot.
- Durable stainless steel carafe with dripless spout
- Auto shut-off feature
- Auto pause
- 30-minute automatic shutoff could be longer
Best Budget Option: Brentwood 4-Cup Coffee Maker
If you don’t care about fancy features, the Brentwood 4-Cup Coffee Maker may be right for you. That and an easy-to-use streamlined design.
Skipping all the frills, the Brentwood 4-Cup Coffee Maker can pump out 4 cups of piping hot, delicious coffee at the push of a button. This coffee maker includes a helpful water level window to avoid overfilling the reservoir.
The Brentwood Coffee Maker also includes a glass carafe and a coffee warmer. That way the pot stays hot while you’re sipping on your first cup.
At such an inexpensive price, you can’t expect equal quality. However, this machine will give you a quick caffeine fix for a fraction of the price.
- Includes a heating plate
- Other options offer better quality
- No programmable features
Best Value: Gevi 4-Cup Coffee Maker
If you do want more features than the Brentwood 4-Cup Coffee Maker has to offer, take a look at the Gevi 4-Cup Coffee Maker. This compact machine includes some thoughtful functions with a compact, modern design.
One feature I highly appreciate is the 120-minute auto-shutoff. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve headed out and anxiously wondered all day that I left the coffee pot on.
I also dig the brew-pause function. This means I can grab a cup while the pot finishes brewing. All without making a giant mess.
The one drawback I noticed has to do with the size. While this is great for counter space, it’s not so great for cleaning. Trying to wash all the nooks and crannies can be difficult.
Apart from that, all the features paired with an affordable price make this a valuable buy.
- Sleek design
- Reusable filter included
- Auto-off function
- Brew-pause function
- Harder to clean than some models
- No programmable settings
Best Streamlined Design: Mr. Coffee Simple Brew Coffee Maker DR5-RB
Looking for a simple, streamlined 4 cup coffee maker? Look no further than the Mr. Coffee Simple Brew Coffee Maker DR5-RB. From loading to brewing, using the Mr. Coffee Simple Brew is a breeze.
This coffee maker features a classic simple design with a single on/off switch for easy operation. When on, the button lights up green.
The water tank has a window with easy-to-read fill lines while the removable filter basket is easy to load. Like the Mr. Coffee Programmable Coffee Maker, this option also includes the grab-a-cup auto-pause.
The one aspect I don’t like about this option is the price. It’s more expensive than some of the other options that offer the same functionality. In the end, what you’re paying for is the Mr. Coffee quality.
- Simple operation
- Hot plate included
- Carafe isn’t insulated
- Pricer than other options
Best Space-Saving Design: Aigostar 4 Cup Drip Coffee Maker
Sophisticated and compact, the Aigostar 4 Cup Drip Coffee Maker is sized just right. The space-saving design fits well in smaller and larger kitchens alike.
The single-button operation takes all the fuss out of the brewing process. Meanwhile, the warming plate will keep your pot of coffee hot for up to 35 minutes.
The high-quality glass carafe has a solid handle for a firm grip. Which, according to the manufacturer, is made from explosion-proof glass. Still, I wouldn’t clean this hot carafe under cold water.
Speaking of cleaning, the Aigostar Drip Coffee Maker comes with a reusable, removable filter. Come cleaning time, this will be a much-appreciated feature.
And the drawbacks? This is not a premium coffee maker so don’t expect premium quality.
- Space-saving design
- Reusable filter
- Easy to operate
- Keep-warm function
- Not as durable as some options
Best French Press: Bodum Kenya 4-Cup French Press
If you swear by a good French press, I recommend the Bodum Kenya 4-Cup French Press. Ditching the paper filter, the Bodum Kenya uses a three-piece mesh filter to separate grounds from the coffee.
The borosilicate glass is heat-resistant while the plastic frame adds a minor degree of protection. Meanwhile, all components are dishwasher safe.
One of the notable features of the Bodum Kenya French Press is a fast brew time. According to the manufacturer, you can have your fresh coffee ready in about 4 minutes.
The downside is there is no warmer or double insulation to keep your coffee hot. There’s also a learning curve to dialing in the right ratio of water to grounds.
However, if you love sipping on a quality cup of French press coffee, this may be the option for you.
- Heat-resistant glass
- Attractive aesthetics
- Fast brew time
- Coffee press isn’t insulated
- Water to grounds ratio learning curve
Best Espresso Option: Capresso 303.01 4-Cup Espresso and Cappuccino Machine
Do you prefer the bold flavor of espresso to coffee? The Capresso 303.01 4-Cup Espresso and Cappuccino Machine may be your morning ticket.
This espresso machine not only brews up to 4 cups of coffee, but it also comes with a built-in swivel milk frother. Select your desired strength then pull a shot. You can have a frothy latte or cappuccino whipped up in about 5 minutes.
Of course, if you’re a true espresso connoisseur you may want to consider a more premium option. The Capresso 303.01 is best for those who prefer quantity over nuanced coffee intricacies.
- Brews large batch espresso
- Built-in swivel wand
- Not a professional quality
- Doesn’t include a milk pitcher
Best Pour Over Option: Hario V60 Ceramic Coffee Maker
Pour-over coffee enthusiasts can appreciate the full-bodied results of the Hario V60 Ceramic Coffee Maker. Manufactured in Japan, this ceramic coffee dripper is designed to maximize the flavor profile of your coffee beans.
Unlike some pour-over models, the Hario V60 features a single hole for brewing. This requires slower pouring to get the best results.
The ceramic dripper helps to retain heat better than other materials. This means you’ll get a piping hot cup. However, precision takes practice. Like other pour-over coffee makers, you’ll need to dial in your technique to get your cup just right.
- Offers more control over flavor
- Learning curve
- Carafe not included
Related: Check out our other coffee related articles.
Manual vs Automatic Coffee Makers
Automatic coffee makers make life easier. Load the water and the grounds, then hit a button. It’s as simple as that.
Some 4 cup automatic machines may come with more functions such as programmable brewing and adjustable strength. Others may feature thermal carafes or built-in warming plates to keep your coffee hot.
Manual machines are more nuanced. They offer more control over the flavor and quality of your cup. They’re also easier to dismantle and clean.
One aspect to note with manual machines is they take more time to dial in brew strength according to your taste. Although, they do present a classic aesthetic while taking limited counter space in the kitchen.
How much coffee do you need to get going in the morning? What about your roommates or significant other?
A 4 cup coffee machine is a good size for the coffee-loving couple. It’s also a good size for when work entails burning the midnight oil.
For a house full of coffee lovers, a 4 cup coffee maker won’t cut it. If that’s the case for you, look for a coffee machine with a bigger pot.
Brewing speed should match your lifestyle. If you don’t have time to waste, you’ll want a coffee maker that pumps out your java sooner rather than later.
Most 4 cup coffee makers will brew a full pot in less than 10 minutes. Some claim to take less than 5 minutes.
If you simply can’t wait, look for an option with a grab-a-cup function like the Cuisinart DCC-450BK 4-Cup Coffee Maker. This will let you sneak a cup before the pot is fully brewed.
Coffee makers use two types of filters. The first is a filter basket. This requires the addition of a paper filter.
Disposable paper filters make cleanup easier, but they produce more waste. They can also infuse some unwanted flavors into your cup of coffee which isn’t ideal.
The other type is a reusable filter. These include a mesh filter that can be washed between use, no paper required.
The majority of 4 cup coffee makers include a glass carafe. The perk you get with glass is you can easily tell when the coffee is done the brewing process and when you need to rebrew. Another advantage is you know when it’s time to clean a dirty pot.
What I don’t like about glass carafes is that they’re hot to the touch. If you’re accident-prone like me, this is a big disadvantage. Another drawback is they aren’t insulated and fail at keeping your coffee warm.
To get around this, most manufacturers will include a warm feature of some sort. However, I find the warming plate burns the coffee if left to sit too long.
Are you completely unable to function before your first cup of coffee? If you said yes, then the programmable function is designed for you.
This feature lets you set a specific brew time so you can wake up and have your coffee waiting. That is, as long as you can remember to fill the pot with grounds, water, and set the time.
For some, the auto-Off feature is a godsend. For others, it’s a curse.
Auto-Off is meant to give coffee drinkers some peace of mind that their coffee pot won’t be on all day. How long until that shutoff time will vary by model.
Cleaning the coffee maker is one of my least favorite tasks. However, it’s a necessity. Dirty coffee makers can impart unwanted flavors into your favorite grind.
To make the cleaning process easier, look for a 4-cup coffeemaker that uses removable filters or dishwasher-safe components. For instance, all the components of the Bodum Kenya 4-Cup French Press are dishwasher-safe.
You’ll also want to examine the design. Some machines make it hard to clean out the water reservoir – yes, this needs cleaning too. Knowing what you’re getting into beforehand can save you some frustration down the road.
Part of being a coffee maker owner means proper maintenance. This means descaling.
Over time, coffee makers build up minerals. To keep your machine working properly you’ll need to remove those minerals by descaling your machine.
How often is a matter of how hard your water is, how often you brew, and the machine itself. Realistically, you’ll want to descale once or twice a year.
It all adds up if you want to maintain a good coffee taste.
Bulky appliances are a nightmare in small kitchens. This is why I dig 4 cup coffee makers.
The majority of 4 cup coffee makers feature compact designs. The tradeoff is obviously how much quantity you get in a single brew. However, if the 4 cup capacity works for you, then you can save a significant amount of space for other kitchen appliances.
Which is the Best 4 Cup Coffee Maker For You?
Compact and efficient, 4 cup coffee makers are an affordable option for the coffee lover in need of a caffeine fix. From pour-over to programmable, these types of coffee makers offer a range of styles and functions. Each one is designed to suit a variety of lifestyles.
Take the Bodum Kenya 4-Cup French Press for instance. This is a dishwasher-safe French press. Then there’s the favorite, the Cuisinart DCC-450BK 4-Cup Coffee Maker. This coffee maker checks all the boxes and at a steal of a price. I highly recommend this option to any coffee lover who wants affordability with functionality.