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The Best 4-Cup Coffee Makers

March 28, 2016
Product Comparisons, Shopping
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Based on 11,518 analyzed reviews

Table of contents

NerdWallet’s scoring of the best four-cup coffee makers is based on our analysis of the opinions of experts and shoppers like you.

There are many things to consider when choosing a coffee maker. Do you need a single-serve brewer or one that makes 12 cups? Do you like your coffee strong, weak or in between?

Helping you make a decision is where we come in. We analyzed the most popular coffee makers on the market to help you purchase the right one for you.

To narrow the field, we looked at expert opinions from review sites such as The Sweethome, CNET and Good Housekeeping. We then analyzed user reviews to get opinions on each coffee maker’s high and low points.

We recognize that consumers look for different qualities in coffee makers, so we created scores based on user observations on a handful of different features, including ease of use, coffee quality and cleaning.

Our analysis

Our final coffee maker scores run from a low of 1 to a high of 10. Here’s how we came up with the numbers:

Overall score: This score shows reviewers’ overall satisfaction with the coffee maker as a whole across 11 criteria, including ease of use, coffee quality, coffee maker design, size and durability.

Coffee quality: This score, which factors into the overall score, reflects reviewers’ satisfaction with the quality of coffee the maker produces. This includes coffee taste, temperature and brewing.

Ease of use: This score, which also factors into the overall score, indicates reviewers’ satisfaction with how easy the maker is to use. This includes aspects such as cleaning, setup, design and features.

These coffee makers are our top picks, ranked in order of overall score.

The coffee makers

1. Keurig K450 Brewing System

The programmable Keurig K450 Brewing System features a color touch display that allows you to customize not only how many cups you want but how strong you’d like the brew to be. It also comes with Keurig 2.0 Brewing Technology, which reads the lid of each K-Cup so you get a perfect cup every time. (This model is still widely available for purchase, but has been discontinued and replaced by model K475.)

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
7.07 7.8 5.5

Buyers Like

  • Quick and easy to use
  • Brews delicious coffee

Buyers Dislike

  • Incompatible with some K-Cups
  • Clogs often
  • Coffee comes out lukewarm

2. Cuisinart DCC-450BK 4 Cup

The compact Cuisinart DCC-450BK 4 Cup coffee maker features brew pause, so you don’t have to wait for the entire pot to brew before pouring a cup. Its stainless steel carafe has a dripless pour spout that’s supposed to make pouring neat and easy, though users complained that pouring was messy.

Overall score Coffee quality Ease of use
7.04 7.9 4.7

Buyers Like

  • Makes great-tasting, hot coffee
  • Works fast; easy to clean
  • 30-minute automatic shutoff

Buyers Dislike

  • Messy when brewing and pouring
  • Water reservoir is awkward to fill
  • Carafe is not thermal, so coffee cools quickly

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Top image via iStock.