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For many people, the day doesn’t start without that cup of piping hot coffee, so it’s essential to have a quality coffee maker to help you jump-start your day. Even though there are so many ways to get your caffeine fix at home, the best 4-cup coffee makers are just the right size for small to medium-sized families and make it very easy to brew just the right amount of coffee without anything going to waste. If you don’t need a large coffee maker, an automatic espresso machine, or one of those machines that only brew one cup at a time, a 4-cup coffee maker is an ideal solution.
Nevertheless, choosing the type of coffee maker for your mornings is only a small part of the job. You also need to consider a lot of features when deciding on the actual model, ranging from the taste of the coffee, how easy it is to use and clean the machine to additional features such as programmable setting or auto shut-off function. The good news is that we spent days researching the best 4-cup coffee makers out there, so you can easily purchase the one that best fits your needs. We tested dozens of models and read hundreds of reviews from both professionals and regular users before we chose five of the best coffee makers out there.
Below you will find a table that compares the five selected models, followed by comprehensive reviews for each of them. A buying guide is available at the end, so you can make an informed choice and buy the best 4-cup coffee maker for your mornings.
More features: 12-cup coffee maker with 4-cup option, 60-oz. removable water reservoir, 24-hour programmable delay brew, strength selection, mid-brew pause, auto-shut off after 2 hours
Our editor’s choice is the Ninja CE20, a stylish coffee maker with a 60-oz. removable reservoir. Even though this is not technically a 4-cup coffee maker, it has a Small Batch button that allows you to brew four cups or less. One of the main reasons this appliance made it to our top is the existence of the Thermal Flavor Extraction technology, which guarantees that every batch of coffee is never bitter and always flavorful.
What most users raved about when it comes to the Ninja CE20 is the multitude of features and settings available. The Mid-Brew pause button allows you to pour yourself a cup before the batch is complete, while the auto-shut off function kicks in after two hours so you don’t have to worry about leaving the coffee maker on when you leave the house. Moreover, the 24-hour programmable delay brew means that you can wake up to hot coffee every morning. The precision temp warming plate keeps your favorite hot for up to four hours, and the flavor straw design of the carafe circulates the liquid to make sure all cups of coffee are just as flavorful and hot as when you brew them.
The 12-cup removable water reservoir is very easy to handle and lets you fill it at the sink for extra convenience. The glass carafe is sturdy and has a dishwasher safe design, which makes cleanup easy. Many users also mentioned how stylish the black and stainless-steel finish looks in the kitchen.
More features: Grab-A-Cup Auto Pause, dual water window, power ON/OFF indicator lights, Lift & Clean Filter Basket
A compact coffee maker that is programmable up to 24 hours ahead, the Mr. Coffee Simple Brew helps you save space, being ideal for small- and average-sized kitchens. Due to its design, the coffee maker can be stored on the counter at all times without taking too much space. The glass carafe is easy to clean, and users liked that the appliance used standards paper coffee filters, so you don’t have to worry about sourcing them.
The Mr. Coffee Simple Brew has a pause brew function, which means that you can fill up a cup before the entire carafe is finished. Users raved about the great coffee taste you can obtain with this coffee maker, which comes at a fraction of the price when compared to models that offer the same quality. The carafe is dishwasher safe for extra easy care, and users mention that the reservoir drains entirely.
Many reviewers mentioned that the coffee that you can make with this machine never tastes poorly brewed or too watery, and you shouldn’t expect to find coffee chunks in the brew, as you may experience with poor-quality models. It takes approximately five minutes to brew a full carafe, which makes the Mr. Coffee Simple Brew a good choice for those without too much time in the morning. And thanks to the programmable feature, you can set everything up in the evening and wake up to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.
More features: 30-minute automatic shutoff and convenient ON indicator light, brew-pause feature
The Cuisinart DCC-450BK is a good option for those who are looking for a smaller coffeemaker that doesn’t take up much space on the counter. Feeling very solid and sporting a sleek design, this coffee maker looks great in any kind of kitchen, be it with a traditional or contemporary décor. Users mentioned that the coffee is very good, unlike what you may expect from such a tiny machine. While the Cuisinart DCC-450BK is not programmable, it has a 30-minute automatic shut-off and convenient ON indicator light.
The coffee maker uses standard paper filters that you can buy in all major supermarkets. Unlike most of the models available on the market, this coffee maker sports a stainless-steel carafe, which means that there is no danger of breaking it. The dripless pour spout makes it easy to pour code, and the carafe is dishwasher safe.
If you are one of those people who likes to sneak in a cup mid-cycle, the Brew Pause function of this coffee maker allows you to do just that before resuming the brewing process. According to reviewers who used the Cuisinart DCC-450BK, it takes about six minutes to brew four cups of coffee, which is about the same you get with more expensive models. While some users have mentioned that the coffee maker may be a bit noisy during use, others raved about the benefits of having a shatter-proof carafe and the fact that the coffee remains hot for longer than that made in glass carafes.
What we liked:
Very hot coffee
Automatic shut-off function
What could be better:
The coffee doesn’t drain if the top is not pushed down completely
More features: built-in-the-wall design, connected directly to your water supply and automatically fills with water, timer and clock
Featuring a built-in-the-wall construction, this coffee maker is quite different from any of the other models we reviewed. Because you can install it into the wall, you can reclaim our counter space, which makes the appliance an excellent choice for small kitchens. You can connect the coffee maker directly to a water supply just like you would do with an ice maker, so you don’t have to fill it up every time you want a brew. All you need to do is pour the coffee grounds and let the machine do the rest.
This 4-cup coffee maker has a timer and a clock, so you can program it to wake you up or simply to make coffee at a specific time of the day. The stylish, contemporary design of the appliance makes it perfect for all kitchen decors as well as offices. Thanks to its built-in design, you don’t have to worry about ever spilling any water. The thermal carafe means that you don’t need a hot plate, so the machine is very energy-efficient.
Users liked the adjustable cup selector that allows you to decide how much coffee you want to brew, ranging from a single mug to a full carafe. They also mentioned the convenience of having a pause-n-brew sensor that makes it safe to remove the carafe while brewing to pour yourself a mug.
More features: automatic carafe warmer, pause and serve option
This very affordable coffee drip machine is our budget choice because it manages to offer high-quality brews at a price that many users consider a steal. Featuring a classic, slim design, the Elite Cuisine EHC-2022 Maxi-Matic can make up to four cups of coffee in approximately five minutes. Users liked the semi-transparent water reservoir that has a water indicator level, so you can easily see if you have to refill the machine.
Even though the Elite Cuisine EHC-2022 Maxi-Matic comes with a washable built-in filter, many users mentioned that it works perfectly well with standard paper filters as well. The removable filter basket is easy to take out and clean in the sink or in the dishwasher. Moreover, users liked that the water tank is easy to access and fill.
This little coffee maker sports a hot plate that keeps your coffee warm for an hour after the brewing is complete. Even though it doesn’t have an auto shut-off function, this coffee maker has a power indictor light so that you know when it is in use. The pause-n-serve function is an unexpected feature on a budget coffee maker, and it allows you to pause the brewing to have a cup, and then continue the brewing cycle once the glass carafe is back in its place. Users liked that the coffee is hot and that it only has one switch for no-fuss use.
What we liked:
Water level indicator
Works with a washable filter or paper filters
What could be better:
No auto shut-off function
Things to Consider
Having a good coffee maker in your kitchen is essential for those mornings when you don’t want to swing by the local coffee shop, or for when you’re tired of living on instant coffee. But very often coffee makers are too large for a small family, and this is where four cup coffee makers come to the rescue. Below you will find all the information you need to make an informed purchase and enjoy freshly brewed hot coffee every morning.
Advantages of having a grind and brew coffee maker
Most people agree that the best route to an amazing cup of coffee is to grind your own coffee beans right before you use them for a brew. With a grind and brew coffee maker, you can enjoy the taste of freshly ground coffee without spending extra time grinding your beans manually. Besides the increased convenience of bean to cup brews, these machines offer you greater control over your finished cup because they come with different settings for coarser or finer grinds.
Features to consider while choosing a coffee maker
Just like in the case of any other kitchen appliance, there are multiple features to consider when choosing a 4-cup coffee maker. Below is a quick summary of the most important of them.
Coffee maker type
Most 4-cup coffee makers are of the drip type that stand alone on the counter, but you can also find built-in-the-wall models such as the Brew Express BE-104R-223A. The choice depends on the amount of available space you have on your counter as well as your preferences regarding filling the container with water. With built-in-the-wall models, you don’t have to fill the water container every day because the appliance is connected to the water supply at all times.
The power of a coffee maker has a great influence over the amount of electricity it consumes. Most models will use around 300 to 600 watts for brewing four cups of coffee, but some models such as the Brew Express BE-104R-223A may consume up to 1400 watts. With an energy-efficient coffeemaker, you can save energy and money, but you should keep in mind that some models such as those with a built-in-grinder need more power to operate at full capacity.
The size of the coffee maker is important for small and medium-sized kitchens. most of the models that are designed to brew only four cups at a time are compact enough to fit even in a cluttered kitchen.
Maintenance and ease of cleaning
If you want a coffeemaker that it is easy to maintain, look for a model that has a dishwasher-safe carafe. Moreover, make sure that the water container is easy to clean and that the filter is dishwasher safe.
Controls and ease of use
Some of the controls that you should have in mind when buying a four-cup coffeemaker include a timer that allows you to program the machine to start at a later time, such as in the morning before you wake up. This can be of great help on hectic mornings. brew-strength control is available on some models, which means that you can slow down the water flow for producing a stronger brew.
A pause and serve feature is also very handy because you can pour yourself a cup before the brewing cycle is actually finished.
Most of the coffee makers available on the market with a one-year warranty, but you can also find models that with an extended two-year warranty, such as the Mr. Coffee Simple Brew.
How to take care of your coffee maker?
By maintaining your coffee maker regularly, you can be sure you keep it in good working condition and that your coffee is always fresh and has the same flavor every day. Try to clean the inside of the machine every month with a water and vinegar cleaning solution or dishwashing liquid. Alternatively, you can use specialized cleaning solutions for your machine. If the carafe is dishwasher safe, ensure the after every use or at least a couple of times a week.
Finally, make sure that you address any limescale issues by using specific products that eliminate deposits on your coffee machine.
Tips on making the perfect cup of coffee
To obtain a perfect cup of coffee every time, try to use whole beans that you grind yourself. Make sure that the beans you use are stored away from light, moisture, and heat. Do not overlook flavored beans as well, vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut coffee
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will add unique, sweet notes to your java. To obtain a flavorful cup of coffee every time, you need to make sure that the water is filtered or you may want to use spring water instead.
A 4-cup coffeemaker is different because only use a small amount of coffee so that you don’t waste any energy or ground coffee. Some regular coffee makers have a small batch function that allows you to only brew four cups instead of 12 to save time and energy.
Most of the drip coffee makers available on the market come with their own reusable filter, but you can also choose to replace it with standard paper filters that are readily available in supermarkets and that save you time because you don’t have to clean the filter after each use.
An easy way to clean your coffee maker is to mix equal parts water and vinegar and then run a brewing cycle. For most models, the carafe is dishwasher safe, and in some cases, you can also clean the reusable filter and basket in the dishwasher as well.
Most coffee makers have a glass carafe, but you can also find thermal carafes that are double-walled containers made of stainless steel. The latter have a battle between the two walls to minimize heat transfer and keep the coffee piping hot for hours. This is similar to the concept of a thermos or travel mug. While thermal models keep the freshness of the coffee intact and remain hot for a longer period of time, they are often heavy, and, unlike in the case of glass models, you cannot see how much is left in the pot. On the other hand, glass carafes can be easily broken but are cheaper than thermal models.
The ideal temperature for brewing a perfect cup of coffee is between 195- and 205-degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, you can obtain a balanced cup of coffee and consistent results every time.
Finding the perfect 4-cup coffee maker for your family can be difficult because there are many factors to take into account before making a decision. From the style of carafe you want to the number and kind of controls, you need to consider your preferences as well as your personal use. Our top choice that would work well in just about any kitchen is the Ninja CE201, a coffee maker that comes with all the bells and whistles to satisfy even the most pretentious coffee drinker. However, if you are looking for a compact model, the Mr. Coffee Simple Brew is one of the best choices out there. Finally, for those who prefer a coffee maker with a stainless-steel carafe, the Cuisinart DCC-450BK can be the perfect addition to their kitchen. No matter the type of maker you choose, make sure you use quality beans to enjoy a cup full of flavor every morning.
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