Ah, the 4-Cup coffee maker: perfect for those who need more than just one cup of coffee to get that caffeine kick, and for those who enjoy sharing their cup of liquid gold with family, friends or co-workers. More convenient than the single coffee maker, not as big as a percolator where you have to throw away half of the brew because nobody drank it.
You don’t have on yet, you say? Let’s change that!
So, if you’re ready to add one of these babies to your kitchen equipment: here are best the best 4-cup coffee makers in 2021.
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1. Our Top Pick – Cuisinart DCC 450BK 4-Cup Coffee Maker
The best coffee maker you can buy in 2021? The Cuisinart DCC 450BK. With a stainless steel carafe and a weight of just over three pounds, this coffee maker won’t take up your counter space or be a burden to move.
And the best part? It’s under $50!
Some other features of this coffee maker are:
- The brew pause button allows users to pour a cup of coffee before the brew is complete
- Energy-saving 30-minute automatic shutoff
- Dripless pour spout and knuckle guard
The 450BK is user-friendly and risk-free—if you tend to be on the clumsy side, you can drop the stainless steel carafe without worrying about the pot breaking.
Most reviewers agree that this is a terrific coffee maker for smaller homes and families, but there are a few drawbacks, although arbitrary.
- This maker only comes in two colors, a downside for anyone looking for a brighter, more decor-like piece.
- The carafe is not thermal, so it won’t keep your coffee hot all day long.
Other than that, this coffee maker has 5-star ratings across the board, and we agree. If you want a delicious cup of coffee (or three) in the morning, this is the best on the market.
More Top Picks for the Best 4-Cup Coffee Makers
2. Mr. Coffee Simple 4-Cup Maker – Best for No-Frills Coffee
Are you in need of a coffee maker that’s simple and makes good coffee? The Mr.Coffee Simple 4-Cup Maker is for you!
While this coffee maker isn’t super fancy, it has ergonomic features and no complex buttons, so you get your most delicious cup every time.
The body of the machine is plastic, and it comes with a classic glass carafe.
A few more features of this coffee maker are:
- Dual clear water chambers—no more spills!
- Under $40
- The warming plate is stain resistant and easy to wash
The Simple maker is best for coffee drinkers that appreciate the tried-and-true coffee pot method, although anyone can use this machine.
The only con to this coffee machine is that its plastic—the Mr. Coffee machine is not as durable as a steel coffee maker and can break more easily with continued use.
3. Capresso 303.01 4-Cup Cappuccino and Espresso Machine – Best for Future Baristas
If the typical cup of coffee isn’t your preferred choice and you’d rather have a foamy cappuccino, the Capresso 303.01 is the coffee maker for you.
We love this maker for those looking to learn how to make designs in their coffee and get creative with their daily cups.
Don’t let the machine scare you—it’s surprisingly easy to use! All you have to do is push a few buttons and have your milk set aside for frothing.
Additional aspects of the Capresso machine:
- Safety boiler cap keeps hot steam in the machine
- Frother has adjustable steam output options
- Produces lattes in under five minutes
This machine does have a bit of a learning curve if you’ve never used a milk frother or espresso machine. If you’re interested in learning the more artisanal methods of coffee brewing, the Capresso 303.01 is the best 4-cup coffee maker.
The Capresso coffee maker is quite a bit less expensive and less bulky than what’s otherwise available and lets you make a creamy espresso drink any time, anywhere.
Its learning curve is the only drawback of the machine. The instruction manual does say getting the hang of the milk frother can take practice, so be patient!
4. Zojirushi Zutto 5-Cup Drip Coffee Maker – Best for Those Wanting a Little Extra
Okay, so this Zojirushi Coffee Maker isn’t a 4-cup brewer technically, but this machine is still great!
If you find yourself wanting an extra cup later in the day, this coffee maker has you covered. The carafe is glass and substantial in size but has a cone shape, so it doesn’t take too much space from your counter.
What makes this coffee maker unique is its charcoal water filter. The filter can last up to two years with regular use and eliminates unwanted material from your water to ensure the perfect cup.
The decanter in this machine is also inside the carafe, making it compact and providing a more robust brew.
Other main elements of the Zutto:
- Auto-warm keeps your coffee hot
- The compact size makes it practical for office and home use
- The pour-over method makes better-tasting coffee
Cons of the Zutto:
- Finer coffee grounds are necessary for a better brew
- Plastic makes it less durable than some other options
Overall, reviewers love this coffee maker. People that have previously owned a complex and expensive coffee machine say that this is a terrific choice for home brewing.
5. Brentwood Coffee Maker – Best for Coffee Lovers on a Budget
Yes, you can find a decent coffee maker on a budget, and you can find one under $20!
The Brentwood coffee maker is similar to the Mr. Coffee machine in that it’s classic and easy to use. There are no frills here!
That said, it still comes with a warming plate and a reusable filter—you won’t be roughing it.
Brentwood is tiny, so if you have a small kitchen, it won’t be cumbersome.
Things to note about this coffee maker:
- Includes a reusable scooper so you can adjust the coffee strength
- Eco-friendly mesh filter
- The glass carafe is the traditional shape for easy pouring
The reviews for the Brentwood coffee maker are very divisive. Some people swear by this machine, while others complain of a strange smell coming from the maker upon first use.
Also, this machine is budget-friendly; it’s one of the cheapest on the market. For it’s the best 4-cup coffee maker at its price point. But, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for—and in this case, it’s a decent coffee maker at a minimal price.
Despite its shortcomings, the Brentwood coffee maker stands at a solid 4.3 stars out of 5! Give it a try if you’re looking to save your wallet some stress.
6. Hamilton Beach Switch Coffee Maker – Best for Frequent Users of Alexa or Siri
Millions of people have smart-home technology, and there’s no reason that that can’t carry over to your coffee maker!
The Hamilton Beach Switch coffee maker has compatibility with smart-home plugs so you can customize when you want your brew.
Since it’s small and has a smart-plug feature, this coffee maker is well-loved by college students needing a good strong cup.
One of the best features of this machine, though, is that the carafe is dishwasher-safe. If handwashing is your least favorite chore, the Switch should be your choice. That means no more handwashing coffee grounds out of the bottom of the pot.
Another great option that this maker has is its auto-pause function. If you remove the carafe, the coffee maker automatically stops pouring, so you never have to wait for your cup of coffee.
There are some cons to the Switch, though:
- Small size is best suited for two people
- Some customers have had their carafes leak coffee under the machine
The consensus is that the Switch is a powerful little coffee maker, and most buyers rave about its quick brewing capabilities.
The Switch is one of our top picks because of the smart-plug compatibility that gives it a higher level of customization.
7. Gevi Coffee Maker – Best for Planners and Early Risers
Being on a scheduled daily routine works for some people, and that starts with their morning coffee.
The Gevi machine lets you program when you want your brew made, up to 24 hours in advance. This coffee maker also has:
- A warming plate that keeps coffee hot for two hours
- Permanent water filter to save money and the planet
- 12-cup glass carafe gives you more bang for your buck
Further features are an overheating protection system, two-hour automatic shutoff, and an LCD screen for easy programming.
The Gevi Coffee Maker is arguably the most aesthetically pleasing to look at out of the coffee makers on this list. It looks professional and polished and won’t look cheap on your counter.
Finding a con for this machine was pretty challenging, as most people seem to love it. The most common complaint is that the water flow tends to be too fast or slow, making the coffee weaker or way too strong.
If you’re still wondering what’s the best 4-cup coffee maker for you to purchase, don’t worry—we’ve rounded up frequently asked questions to help you make an informed purchase.
How Many Tablespoons of Coffee Do I Use for a 4-Cup Coffee Maker?
Buying a 4-cup coffee maker will make your bags of coffee last way longer than the typical size coffee machine.
Since it only makes four cups, there is less risk of wasting expensive coffee grounds or over-saturating the coffee beans.
The recommended amount for a 4-cup coffee maker is about four scoops (3-4 tablespoons) of coffee.
How Do I Brew Better Tasting Coffee From My 4-Cup Maker?
Remember that water matters. Even in a smaller coffee maker, you should use filtered, purified water to avoid calcium deposits and other minerals found in tap water. These minerals can also make your coffee maker wear out faster.
Make sure the beans are in the proper grind. A 4-cup coffee maker works best with medium-ground coffee beans.
A cone-shaped filter, like the Zojirushi, needs a medium-fine grind to produce the best-tasting coffee.
What Should I Look for in My 4-Cup Coffee Maker?
Yes, buying a new coffee maker can seem intimidating, but there are three main components that you need to check out before purchasing.
Keep in mind that these options vary depending on what you’re looking for in a coffee maker.
The higher the temperature, the stronger and better the brew. However, with a 4-cup coffee maker, finding a high-temp machine can mean longer brewing times. Most coffee drinkers believe that the wait is worth it, though.
Having a high brew temperature also:
- Puts more caffeine in your coffee due to solubility
- Produces more flavorful coffee—which is relevant if you buy expensive flavored blends
The recommended temperature for an optimal brewing process is anywhere from 195 to 205 degrees.
Use caution when water that hot is involved, as scalding or burns are possible. Most coffee makers are made to meet the temperature standard and do not exceed 205 degrees.
If you’re making cold brew, you don’t want to use hot water. You don’t even have to use a coffee maker—you can just put coffee grounds in a glass jar and let it steep overnight, and voila! Your cold brew is ready.
Nothing is worse than rushing in the morning and realizing you’ve forgotten to make coffee.
Fortunately, the coffee makers on this list are both quick and can often be programmed to brew at whatever time you choose.
Most coffee makers can give you your cup in about five minutes, but some of the coffee makers on this list have even shorter brewing cycles, such as:
- Cuisinart 450BK is ready in as soon as three minutes
- Hamilton Beach Switch can make two cups in as little as two minutes
Other brewers, like the Gevi and the Zojirushi, take up to six minutes. But, similar to a higher temperature as the best choice for a good cup of coffee, the longer it takes to brew, the better.
If you’re constantly rushing in the morning, though, we recommend getting a coffee maker that brews in under five minutes. The higher temperature but quick brewing time can balance out to a great mug of coffee.
Stainless Steel, Glass, or Plastic
Next up is the material of your coffee maker. Material is impactful because it can affect almost every aspect of your brew. Below are the pros and cons of each material.
The best 4-cup coffee makers come with a stainless steel, thermal carafe. It looks streamlined, doesn’t stain, and is impossible to break. Other positives are:
- Keeps coffee warmer, longer
- Doesn’t affect the flavor
- Stainless steel lasts much longer than the other materials
Stainless steel carafes may be more expensive than the other materials, but it ends up being worth it in the long run. The most obvious downside is that they can be a pain to clean, as they can’t usually go in a dishwasher.
Traditional and classic, glass is the original coffee pot material. Glass carafes are still popular today and do have some benefits:
- Easy to see how much coffee you have left
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Cheaper than stainless steel
The issue with glass carafes is that they break easily. Use caution, and you’ll be fine, but be sure to keep kids away from it to avoid injury.
They also stain more than other materials, so you have to clean them frequently. Most of them can go in the dishwasher.
By far the cheapest option, plastic is another common coffee maker material. Cost is what makes plastic carafes appealing, along with:
- The material doesn’t shatter like glass
- Lightweight for easy moving
Plastic is definitely the least eco-friendly, and sometimes cheap plastic can cause health problems (and even contain carcinogens). If you’re environmentally conscious, plastic is not the best choice for you regarding a coffee maker.
Most plastic coffee makers are safe, but there is a possibility of the plastic affecting the flavor of your coffee. People that complain about this on plastic machines usually say it tastes bitter and like chemicals.
Coffee drinkers are meticulous about their coffee, and everything boils down to the coffee maker used.
Our pick for the best 4-cup coffee maker in 2021 is the Cuisinart 450BK because of its durability, look, and cost.
The stainless steel carafe keeps coffee hot and is shatter-proof. Since it takes up minimal space, you’ll have plenty of room on your kitchen counter or in your office.
No matter the level of coffee expert you are, the Cuisinart 450BK will give you your perfect daily cup.