The Best 4 Cup Coffee Maker In 2020
As much as you love yourself a good cup of coffee, you probably have periods in your life where it becomes a functional drink more than a miracle that comes from amazing farming, roasting, and brewing.
If you are willing to concede that not all your cups of coffee will be perfect, but you want to maximize speed and reliability in one easy to clean machine, then you might want to look into selecting the best 4 cup coffee maker for you!
If you’re in a hurry, here’s our top pick:
Alternatives At A Glance
4 cup coffee maker reviews
I’ve gone ahead and reviewed some coffee machines you can easily access in case you’re in the market for a compact and fast brewer.
Below you will see specs, highlights, pros, cons, and an overall rating for each drip-maker. Keep in mind that these are ratings for DRIP machines compared against each other, and not anything else.
Remember to stick to your principles as you go through the list, and remember WHY you’re doing this in the first place: Speed? Durability? Aesthetics? All of the above? One of the above because of budget constraints? We hope you figure these out some more as you go through this article.
At the end of the day, you choose what’s best for you, your space, your budget, and your coffee needs.
With a 20 oz capacity while being compact and lightweight this ones a winner! Luckily the Black + Decker also offers the ability to sneak a cup mid-brew!
- Sneak a cup mid brew
- Ergonomic design
- Permanent coffee filter included
- No auto switch off functionality
The build quality and overall look immediately stand out with this simple coffee maker. It promises very little but delivers on every single promise it makes.
Black and Decker is an established brand with many REPEAT customers loyal to company. And no wonder, this machine delivers a great cup with added functionality to make your life easy.
Want a cup mid brew? Sure! The Black and Decker can be paused mid brew so you can get your fix. Need a coffee maker for your RV? This little beauty is slim and compact, perfect for your RV!
This could be a great option if you simply want speed and reliability sitting comfortably (and nicely) in your space. In my opinion, it’s the sleekest 4 cup coffee maker (well 5 but who’s counting) on this list!
Mr Coffee is a brand that has been around for quite a while, so there’s a high chance that you’ve come across one of their many coffee makers. This is Mr Coffee’s solution to basic and (sometimes urgent) coffee needs.
- Super budget-friendly
- Simple, attractive, space-saving design
- Great customer feedback
- Easy to use and maintain
- Color availability can be an issue
Even if you have basic needs for your coffee maker, drip machines need to be, first and foremost, reliable.
Similar to the previous option above, what’s good about this line of coffee maker is that it has many LOYAL, and REPEAT customers.
Upon checking the reviews, a high number of people say that it’s the BEST at its level. And I agree wholeheartedly. If you happen to come across the white variant, it requires more wiping down and cleaning, but it is easy on the eyes!
If you want the freshest cup, this one is for you. It grinds fresh beans on demand and keeps your brew warm for 30 minutes.
- Grinds and brew functionality
- Makes a stronger brew
- 30 minute keep warm
- Pouring mid-brew cycle is possible
- Carafe spout subject to leakage
- Durability concerns over the switch button
Krups is another brand that you’ve probably seen around as well. They’re readily available almost anywhere. The Cafe Grind is one of their coffee maker lines that’s in high demand. Why? Because it produces fresh cups of java on demand!
With an ability to grind fresh beans, its the most premium dip coffee makers I’ve reviewed. But hey, it’s worth the investment!
The modern design will work well for specific setups, but it will depend on preference like the capabilities of the machine. What sets this machine apart from the others? It’s built to last given and delivers a fresh cup every time. You can thank its powerful inbuilt stainless steel burr grinder for doing a great job!
Most coffee makers with the same footprint don’t have the capabilities of this drip coffee machine, which is why this could work well in a small office set-up.
- Programmable coffee brew timer
- Auto-shut-off after 2 hours standby
- Comes with a reusable filter
- Drip-free glass carafe
- Long term concerns over build quality
- Glass carafe is subject to easy breakage
You can go out to lunch and come back ready to pour-and-caffeinate, or you can quickly pour yourself a serving before you jump into your next meeting in the middle of a brew cycle.
It has a classic design with a drip-free glass carafe to keep the area around it safe from spills, and a drip-stop feature in case you need a sip ASAP. All in all, handy features to have on your desk or counter space
Amazon has upper their private label game with this one. It’s budget friendly and has some of the features from the more expensive models on this list.
- Affordable, basic, coffee maker
- Well reviewed
- Space-saving size
- Filter basket fit has to be put in PERFECTLY to prevent leaks
If you have budget restrictions and prefer to save counter space, this is the drip coffee maker for you. It’s basic, but it does the job you ask of it.
Your mind won’t get blown away with the coffee you get, and it won’t last forever, but if you need the job done now, then this is your choice.
While the carafe is glass and NOT dishwasher safe, it’s still nicely labeled to measure the cups of coffee that are ready to pick you up.
Even if you have basic needs for your coffee maker, drip machines need to be, first and foremost, reliable. This is Mr Coffee’s solution to basic and (sometimes urgent) coffee needs.
- Program brew time
- Auto-shutoff feature
- Auto-pause brew feature
- Easy to clean
- Build quality isn’t the best
- Does not come with a reusable filter
Similar to our Krups pick, what’s good about this line of coffee maker is that it has many LOYAL, and REPEAT customers. Upon checking the reviews, a high number of people say that it’s the BEST at its price point. And I agree wholeheartedly.
If you happen to come across the white variant, it requires more wiping down and cleaning, but it is easy on the eyes!
This one’s a special addition to the list, it might be an 8 cup brewer but it’s functional. If you’re willing to overlook that it’s going to make you drink more cups than you probably need, it’s a winner!
- Built to produce near-SCA-quality coffee
- Thermal carafe instead of a glass one with a heating plate
- Pre-infusion function
- Some reported durability issues (depending on maintenance or factory defects)
- Capacity is greater than the usual small-serve coffee makers
Alright, alright. I said “stick to your principles” and yet here we are in a 4 cup coffee maker review with a medium-sized coffee machine.
Hear us out. Aside from being a popular choice, this brewer makes a mean cup based on the parameters that it advertises to brew with. It’s these little details that set machines apart at this range!
It operates ALMOST within SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) parameters, has a durable carafe, and is the most reliable in this tier of coffee makers in terms of producing a quality cup.
If you aren’t too particular with a small carafe capacity, this is a great first choice.
A Buyers Guide to the best 4 cup coffee maker
In case you’re still on the fence about choosing the right one for you (at this tier of coffee makers, by now you may have noticed that the capabilities of each one may all seem similar) you can find a few more things to consider below. But first, check out the video below to see my top reccomended pick in action!
glass vs thermal carafe
So you’ve decided that you only need a 4-cup coffee maker capacity.
Your next consideration is: HOW do you want those 1-4 cups of coffee to sit?
In a glass carafe, you can see the actual amount of cups that are left so you can plan your brewing schedule accordingly. This, however, usually comes with a heating plate. And while the current machines have auto-off capabilities, you have to consider the extra amount of extraction that takes place when the container sits on a heating element.
As for a thermal container, it insulates the coffee to slow down the cooling of the cup. This is much better for taste.
Also, thermal containers tend to be more shock-resistant than their glass counterparts. In the interest of longevity, this is a valid consideration.
do you need a timer or auto brew?
This is hugely dependent on your brew schedule and how it fits into your lifestyle.
Are you here because you barely have time to shower in the morning, much less slow brew a cup of coffee at some point in your day? Are you here because you need to have that post-lunch picker-upper waiting for you on your desk at work, at exactly 1 PM?
Are prepping beans, measuring water, and flicking a switch no problem to you?
The best coffee maker for you, in our opinion, should allow you to work around all that AND look good in your space.
ease of operation
If you only ask for a simple type of coffee, your X cup coffee maker should be just as simple to operate.
Does it have a simple on and off switch? Are the buttons responsive? Is the screen display well-lit? Or does the coffee robot find a way to alert you when your drink is ready?
Part of the coffee makers’ smooth operation is how efficient the transfer of liquid to the carafe is. Does it have to be perfectly aligned to work? Is there a high amount of spillage? Does the taste of the material bleed into your drink?
Suitable materials shouldn’t affect the taste of your coffee.
This smoothly leads us to the next consideration.
is it easy to clean?
If it takes your 4 cup coffee maker 5 minutes to make coffee, but it takes you 15 minutes to disassemble the filter basket, rinse, and reassemble, then you lose the advantage that you set out to have in the first place.
Examine if the coffee sticks to the walls of the carafe, and inspect if it’s made of a material that’s easy enough to clean with hot water.
The same thing goes with the filter basket. Is it easy to spot and rinse off leftover grounds or oils?
It’s best to consider this aspect know because it contributes greatly to how long your drip maker will last.
As with any type of hot or cold cup coffee makers we discuss, we always try to remind consumers to check if there are service centers nearby, as a preventive measure.
You never know when you’ll need an extra carafe when your coffee consumption increases, but not to a level where a machine upgrade (12 cup coffee makers, anyone?) is in order. So just an extra container could suffice.
When it comes to selecting the best 4 cup coffee maker out there for your fast coffee needs, you can get lost in all the brands and similar functions.
For my drip coffee machine considerations and priorities, I would recommend the Black + Decker. It’s reliable and does the job well, what else do you need?
Still, if you want something a little more advanced check out the Krups 5-cup coffee model, especially as it with a quality burr grinder. All you need is your favorite beans and some mineral water!
I love the design, the ease of use, and the tiny footprint in the corner of a kitchen or office. It also looks really easy to maintain!
A special shout out goes to the Bonavita Connoisseur, because I rarely sacrifice quality when it comes to my morning cup of coffee. But hey, it’s not a 5 cup brewer!
I hope this article has helped you arrive at a choice you can be sure of as well for your coffee needs. Remember your principles and priorities because the rest is workflow and timing.
Barista and coffee writer
Miguel Papa is a coffee fanatic with a passion for brewing. During the weekdays, you can find him experimenting with different drinks while he works as a barista. Otherwise, he’s likely writing here for Sip Coffee or enjoying the outdoors.