Drinky Coffee Logo

Best 4 Cup Coffee Maker

See how we review products

Last updated: December 15, 2023

Quick answer: The best 4-cup coffee maker is the Oxo 9 Cup Coffee Maker

This is my roundup of the best 4-cup coffee makers.

I own a 4-cup coffee maker, namely the Breville Precision Brewer, and spent a whole day researching people’s experiences of these machines online to put together this roundup.

Before we begin, I should just say that any drip coffee maker that can make four cups of coffee well (meaning that it is not at the very upper or lower end of what the machine can brew) will be considered here. 

This is therefore not just going to be a roundup of coffee makers that can only brew four cups at a time, or whose maximum brewing capacity is four cups (these are often called “4 cup coffee makers” however).

Let’s get started.

Top Picks

Best Overall: Oxo 9-Cup Coffee Maker

Cheapest I Can Recommend: Mr Coffee 2129512 5-Cup

Best Possible Coffee: Ratio 6

Best For Limited Countertop Space: Bonavita 5-Cup Coffee Maker

Best Overall: Oxo Brew 9 Cup Coffee Maker

Best Overall
Oxo Brew 9 Cup Coffee Maker
The Oxo Brew 9 Cup offers the best balance between high brewing quality and affordability of all 4-cup coffee makers.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Quality of Coffee

The Oxo Brew 9 Cup makes very good drip coffee. Blind tastings indicated that it makes the second-best coffee of all drip coffee makers, behind only Ratio 6.

The Oxo Brew 9 Cup is SCAA certified, meaning that it brews according to the ideal coffee brewing guidelines for temperature and coffee-to-water ratio as set by the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

What this means is that Oxo Brew can make coffee pretty much as well as any drip coffee maker. 

While there may be some machines that make slightly better coffee than the Oxo Brew, these differences will be very marginal and probably not worth spending any extra money for.

For what it’s worth, barista and YouTube coffee expert James Hoffmann tested five SCAA-certified drip coffee makers and found that the Oxo Brew 9 Cup made the second-best coffee out of these. Only Ratio 6 made better coffee, in his opinion.

Quality of Coffee Rating: 9/10

Design and Build Quality

The Oxo Brew 9 Cup has a high build quality. The only part of the machine that feels cheap is its brew button.

The Oxo Brew 9 Cup has a high internal build quality. Its heating and brewing system is SCAA certification compliant. You simply cannot achieve this if you cut corners on your internal components.

The Oxo’s high internal build quality means that it makes excellent coffee and will do so throughout the life of the machine.

Its external build quality is very high as well.

The machine has one of the best carafes out of all drip coffee makers. It retains heat well and is not prone to leaking and spluttering when you pour (this is actually quite rare among carafes).

The only part of the machine that feels cheap and flimsy is its brew button. I haven’t seen many complaints about this button breaking, however.

Design and Build Quality: 8/10

Value For Money

The Oxo Brew offers excellent value for money. It is cheaper than many inferior coffee makers.

The Oxo Brew 9 Cup is one of the highest-quality coffee makers around, yet it is not even among the top five most expensive of these types of machines.

I think that this is because Oxo is a newer entrant into coffee maker manufacturing. You, therefore, don’t have to pay any “brand tax” with this machine.

This makes Oxo deliver excellent value for money.

Value For Money Rating: 9/10

Pros & Cons

Oxo Brew 9-Cup Coffee Maker Pros

Excellent value for money.

Makes better coffee than most coffee makers.

Its carafe does not spill when you pour.

It can make consitsently good coffee no matter what volume of coffee you make.

Oxo Brew 9-Cup Coffee Maker Cons

Its brew button feels a bit cheap (this is nitpicking)

Best Overall
Oxo Brew 9 Cup Coffee Maker
The Oxo Brew 9 Cup offers the best balance between high brewing quality and affordability of all 4-cup coffee makers.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Cheapest I can Recommend: Mr. Coffee 5-Cup Coffee Maker

Cheapest I Can Recommend
Mr. Coffee 5 Cup Coffee Maker
$31.16

The Mr Coffee 5 Cup Coffee Maker’s durability and reliability make it the best of the cheap 4-cup coffee makers out there.

Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/02/2024 09:42 pm GMT

Quality of Coffee

The Mr Coffee is not SCAA certified so it cannot make as good quality coffee as the other, more premium machines featured here. Its users still swear that its coffee is better than that made from other affordable 4-cup coffee makers.

The Mr Coffee 5 Cup Coffee Maker is not SCAA certified because it does not brew your coffee at the ideal brewing temperature of 195-205 Fahrenheit. This does put a ceiling on the quality of coffee that it can make.

The Mr Coffee is, however, often recommended by people on r/coffee as a good beginner drip coffee machine because its coffee quality is higher than other entry-level machines. You can find a thread talking about this here.

The opinion that Mr Coffee coffee makers make better coffee than other cheap machines seems to be pretty ubiquitous across Reddit, which makes me think that there must be some truth to it.

Quality of Coffee Rating: 6/10

Design and Build Quality

The Mr Coffee is a very durable machine that lasts its users decades. Although it was not built to produce the best possible coffee, it was definitely built to last.

Mr Coffee’s lack of SCAA certification indicates that its internal brewing mechanism (in particular its heating mechanism) isn’t of the highest quality. It will therefore not be able to keep your water at the ideal brewing temperature throughout the entirety of making your coffee.

The machine seems to be built to maximize durability over performance.

I see lots of users of this machine online claiming that it has lasted them well over 10 years without deteriorating (example of this on Reddit). This suggests a high build quality that makes for a very reliable machine. 

Considering how little the Mr Coffee costs compared to other 4-cup coffee makers, you cannot ask for much more than this.

Design and Build Quality Rating: 7/10

Value For Money

The Mr Coffee is very reliable for such an inexpensive machine. This means that it delivers excellent value for money.

The Mr Coffee is far, far cheaper than other machines featured here. 

Its longevity and durability alone mean that it will provide excellent value for money for someone getting into making coffee at home.

Value For Money Rating: 10/10

Pros & Cons

Mr Coffee 2129525 5 Cup Coffee Maker Pros

It offers excellent value for money.

Very reliable and durable. Users report having the machine for over 15 years without it deteriorating.

It is very compact and therefore suitable for those with counters without much space. It would be a good machine to have on your office desk.

Mr Coffee 2129525 5 Cup Coffee Maker Cons

Does not make as good coffee as SCAA certified machines.

Cheapest I Can Recommend
Mr. Coffee 5 Cup Coffee Maker
$31.16

The Mr Coffee 5 Cup Coffee Maker’s durability and reliability make it the best of the cheap 4-cup coffee makers out there.

Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/02/2024 09:42 pm GMT

Best Possible Coffee: Ratio 6

Best for Coffee Quality
Ratio Six
$339.00
The Ratio 6 makes the best coffee of all 4-cup coffee makers. If you value making excellent coffee above everything else then this is the machine for you.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/02/2024 09:05 pm GMT

Quality of Coffee

Ratio 6 makes the best coffee of all 4-cup coffee makers.

In his taste testing of all SCAA-certified coffee makers, James Hoffmann said that Ratio 6 made the best-tasting coffee of all the machines tested.

This superior coffee is likely down to the fact that it has the most insulated brew basket of all 4 cup coffee makers. This keeps the coffee and brewing water at the highest possible temperature during brewing, resulting in better extraction.

Admittedly, Hoffmann said that the differences in coffee quality between the SCAA-certified drip coffee makers were marginal, but if you really want the best quality coffee possible then Ratio 6 is the machine to go for.

Quality of Coffee Rating: 10/10

Design and Build Quality

The Ratio 6 has an excellent brewing mechanism, however, the incorrect markings on its water tank are a major design flaw.

The Ratio 6 has the best internal build of all 4-cup coffee makers. The main differentiator between the Ratio 6 and other top-end coffee makers is that the Ratio 6’s shower head gets more even coverage of your ground coffee bed than other brewers.

This is what allows Ratio 6 to make the best coffee out of all drip coffee makers.

Ratio 6 does have one major design flaw, however.

This is because the measurements on its water tank are inaccurate.

You, therefore, need to measure out your brewing water in a separate measuring jug to achieve an accurate brew ratio with the Ratio 6. This is required to use the machine to its full potential and make a better coffee than you can with other machines.

Such a large design flaw is disappointing considering the cost of the machine.

Design and Build Quality: 7/10

Value For Money

Ratio 6 does not offer the best value for money unless you really care about coffee quality above all else.

Ratio 6 is the most expensive machine on this list and tries to justify this cost by making marginally higher quality coffee than other machines.

Personally, I do not think this marginal increase in coffee quality justifies this machine’s additional cost. 

I actually think the machine’s incorrect measurements make it deliver quite poor value for money (you’d expect better from such an expensive machine).

Value For Money Rating: 5/10

Pros & Cons

Ratio 6 Pros

Makes the best coffee of all 5-cup coffee makers

Uses very little plastic in its exterior

It’s a good-looking machine

Ratio 6 Cons

Its water tank has incorrect measurements on it

Best for Coffee Quality
Ratio Six
$339.00
The Ratio 6 makes the best coffee of all 4-cup coffee makers. If you value making excellent coffee above everything else then this is the machine for you.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/02/2024 09:05 pm GMT

Best for Limited Countertop Space: Bonavita 5 Cup

Best for Limited Countertop Space
Bonavita 5 Cup Drip Coffee Maker
$149.99
The Bonavita 5 Cup is the least expensive SCAA-certified 5-cup coffee maker. It lacks some of the external build quality of other machines but still brews excellent coffee.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/02/2024 08:00 pm GMT

Quality of Coffee

The Bonavita 5 Cup makes a good drip coffee due to its excellent heating system. Although its coffee is slightly worse than the Oxo Brew and the Ratio 6, these differences are marginal.

The Bonavita 5 Cup makes excellent coffee. It brews consistently at the ideal brewing temperature, and this is evidenced by the fact that it is SCAA-certified.

Its shower head doesn’t quite get the coverage of more expensive machines like the Oxo Brew and Ratio 6 meaning that its coffee quality is not quite as high as these two machines.

Still, these differences in quality are so marginal that the average coffee drinker probably won’t notice them

Quality of Coffee Rating: 8/10

Design and Build Quality

The Bonavita 5 Cup has an excellent internal build quality, but its external build leaves a fair bit to be desired.

The Bonavita 5 Cup is SCAA-certified. You do not get SCAA certified unless you have a high-quality internal brewing mechanism (especially a heating mechanism). 

This means that corners have not been cut with regard to how it makes coffee.

Its external build is a different story. 

A lot of the machine’s exterior has been made out of plastic. This just gives it a cheap look and feel.

Its carafe is also quite poor. It is very hard to pour out without its spout dripping. This means that you’ll likely have to give your counter a wipe after every coffee that you make.

To be fair to Bonavita, at least this relatively cheap external build is reflected in its lower price tag compared to the Oxo Brew and Ratio 6.

Design and Build Quality Rating: 6/10

Value For Money

The Bonavita offers excellent value for money being the cheapest SCAA certified 5 cup coffee maker on the market.

Its value for money is second only to the Oxo. Although the Oxo is slightly more expensive than the Bonavita, it justifies this additional cost in its higher exterior build quality.

Value For Money Rating: 9/10

Pros & Cons

Bonavita 5-Cup Pros

Very affordable for such a good quality coffee maker.

Makes better coffee than most coffee makers.

Compact – very suitable for people with limited countertop space.

Bonavita 5-Cup Cons

Cannot make more than 5 cups of coffee in one go.

Its carafe tends to spill coffee when you pour from it.

Best for Limited Countertop Space
Bonavita 5 Cup Drip Coffee Maker
$149.99
The Bonavita 5 Cup is the least expensive SCAA-certified 5-cup coffee maker. It lacks some of the external build quality of other machines but still brews excellent coffee.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/02/2024 08:00 pm GMT

What to Look For When Buying a 4-Cup Coffee Maker?

Here are the features that determine whether a 4-cup coffee maker is good enough. 

Try to investigate whether a coffee maker delivers on these features when deciding which one of these machines to buy.

Heating Mechanism

You want your coffee maker to heat your brewing water to between 195 – 205 Fahrenheit and have it remain at this temperature throughout the entire brewing process.

The ideal brewing temperature for drip coffee is between 195 – 205 Fahrenheit, according to the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

While most coffee makers can reach this temperature by the end of the brewing process, only higher-end machines can maintain this temperature from the start to the end of brewing.

Machines that cannot maintain this temperature throughout brewing will brew the majority of your coffee below this ideal temperature.

Brewing temperature makes such a big difference to the taste of your coffee that I think you should always look for a machine that can maintain this temperature throughout the entire brew.

Only machines that maintain this temperature throughout brewing are eligible for certification from the SCAA. You can find a list of these machines here.

The table below whether the machines featured in this article keep your water at the ideal brewing temperature throughout brewing.

Machine nameDoes it keep the ideal brewing temperature throughout brewing?Is it SCAA Certified?
Oxo Brew 9 Cup Coffee MakerYesYes
Mr Coffee 2129525 5 CupNoNo
Ratio 6YesYes
Bonavita 5 Cup Coffee MakerYesYes

Bloom Functionality

You want a machine that automatically pre-infuses (“blooms”) your coffee before brewing as this results in a more complexly flavored final coffee.

Preinfusing or “blooming” your coffee with a small amount of near-boiling water does two things to improve your final coffee:

  • The blooming makes your ground coffee release carbon dioxide within it. This needs to happen before any flavorful compounds are extracted from the coffee. Blooming, therefore, means the ground coffee is ready to extract from the start of the brewing process, rather than 30 seconds into it.
  • Wetting the ground causes them to stick together and become more compact. This makes it harder for your brewing water to pass through the ground coffee bed. This increases the direct contact time between your ground coffee and brewing water, resulting in greater extraction.

You, therefore, want a machine that “blooms” your coffee as part of its brewing process.

The table below shows which of the machines featured in this article have an automatic bloom functionality:

Machine nameDoes it have a bloom functionality?
Oxo Brew 9 Cup Coffee MakerYes
Mr Coffee 2129525 5 CupNo
Ratio 6Yes
Bonavita 5 Cup Coffee MakerYes

Carafe Quality

You want a coffee maker with a thermal carafe that has a spout which allows it to pour out coffee in one steady stream without spilling or spluttering.

There are two main factors that affect how nice a coffee maker’s carafe is to use:

  • Whether it is a glass or thermal carafe.
  • Whether a carafe’s spout can pour out coffee without spilling

Glass vs Thermal Carafe

Thermal carafes are better than glass carafes for a couple of reasons:

  • Thermal carafes allow you to take your pot of coffee away from the machine and for it to stay at a drinking temperature for several hours.
  • Glass carafes have to sit on a hotplate to keep your coffee warm. These hotplates have a tendency to cook coffee at the bottom of your carafe. This can make your coffee become more bitter the longer it sits in your carafe.

The only advantage of a glass carafe over a thermal one is that glass carafes rarely splutter as you pour the coffee out of them. However, as I’ll explain in the next section, there are some thermal carafes that also do not splutter as you pour.

Spluttery Spouts

I’m amazed by the number of carafes that are unable to pour out your coffee in a smooth, steady stream. 

Instead, many of these carafes splutter as you pour, making it nearly enough impossible to pour a coffee into your cup without spilling some of the drink. 

This can make your coffee maker really frustrating to use as you have to wipe spilt coffee every after each pour.

Spluttery spouts are a particularly prevalent problem among thermal carafes.

The table below shows whether the machines featured in this article have a glass or thermal carafe, and which of the machines have carafes that can pour without spilling:

Glass or thermal carafe?Can you pour from its carafe without spilling?
Oxo Brew 9 Cup Coffee MakerThermalYes
Mr Coffee 2129525 5 CupGlassYes
Ratio 6ThermalYes
Bonavita 5 CupThermalNo

Clear Accurate Measurements on the Water Tank

You want a coffee maker to have a water tank with measurements that are both accurate and clear to read.

Almost all 4-cup coffee makers brew with all the water in their water tank. 

You, therefore, need to measure out your brewing water every time you make a coffee with these machines.

You, therefore, want a water tank with measurements that are:

  • Clear to read
  • Accurate (you’ll be surprised how often they are not accurate)

The table below shows whether the machines featured in this article have water tanks with clear and accurate measurements:

Easy-to-read measurements on water tankAccurate measurements on water tank
Oxo Brew 9 Cup Coffee MakerYesYes
Mr Coffee 2129525 5 CupYesNo
Ratio 6YesNo
Bonavita 5 CupYesYes

Auto On Feature

Auto-on is not essential for a coffee maker, but it is a nice bonus and a feature that I use a lot with my machine.

An auto-on functionality means that you can programme your machine to brew at a certain time in the future.

This allows you to do things like load up your machine before you go to bed and have coffee ready when you get up. (The machine needs to be left on to do this)

Although auto-on is not an essential feature on a drip coffee maker, I use it a lot more than I expected when I bought my machine.

The table below shows whether the machines featured in this article have auto-on or not:

Machine nameDoes it have auto-on functionality?
Oxo Brew 9 Cup Coffee MakerYes
Mr Coffee 2129525 5 CupNo
Ratio 6No
Bonavita 5 Cup Coffee MakerNo

Final Verdict

The best 4-cup coffee maker is the Oxo Brew 9 Cup Coffee maker. This machine is an excellent all-rounder and is cheaper than many inferior machines.

Best Overall
Oxo Brew 9 Cup Coffee Maker
The Oxo Brew 9 Cup offers the best balance between high brewing quality and affordability of all 4-cup coffee makers.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Related Articles