Habitual coffee drinkers will attest to the fact that large capacity or complexity in a coffee maker is not everything. After all, it’s the simplicity and speed that work best for certain situations, whether it’s a single household or a small dorm room. And some people simply prefer the taste of drip-style coffee and don’t need it supplied in large amounts.
Most leading coffee machine brands offer a wide range of 5-cup brewers designed for households with limited budgets, office rec rooms, student spaces, and people who prefer their coffee brewed in small batches.
List of Top 5-Cup Coffee Makers
|Photo||Product||Max. power capacity||Water reservoir capacity||Details|
|BLACK+DECKER DCM600B||650 W||25 oz||View on Amazon|
|Bonavita BV1500TS||1100 W||30 oz||View on Amazon|
|Zojirushi EC-DAC50||650 W||22.8 oz||View on Amazon|
|BUNN GRB Velocity Brew||900 W||50 oz||View on Amazon|
|KRUPS KM202850||850 W||40 oz||View on Amazon|
|Capresso 426.05||650 W||28 oz||View on Amazon|
|Mr. Coffee JWX3-RB||700 W||25 oz||View on Amazon|
|Hamilton Beach 48136||700 W||32 oz||View on Amazon|
How to Choose a Good 5-Cup Coffee Maker?
All drip coffee makers produce the same type of coffee based on the brewing process, so the size of a coffee maker doesn’t change the inherent nature of the type of brew it produces.
If you prefer to drink Americano over espresso and other more complex brews, it would make no sense for you to buy an overpriced coffee machine with pressure pumps, frothers, and other additions that simply won’t be of any use to you.
Despite their simplicity—or rather because of it—drip coffee makers can put in quite a few years of active service, so even buying a more expensive $100 model would make for a decent investment.
But every household has its own demands, so there are a few features that you could consider to figure out the exact type of 5-cup coffee maker that would work best for your kitchen.
One would think that the more powerful a coffee maker is, the better. This may be true with espresso machines, but drip coffee makers extract coffee differently and shouldn’t be held to the same parameters.
A more powerful heater will produce a faster water flow, reducing the strength of the brew since the saturation time is much shorter. So if you like strong coffee, it’s better to choose brewers with the 700-800-watt power capacity.
Glass is considered to be the best material for a coffee carafe. It effectively preserves the aroma of the coffee and has no chance of contaminating the brew with harmful impurities as some cheap plastic pots tend to do when they fail to handle hot temperatures. Glass carafes should still have protective handles made of heat-insulating material.
Stainless steel pots are also a good choice. These thermal carafes feature double-walls and heat-insulating coating to keep the coffee warm for hours after brewing.
Most 5-cup coffee makers in this price range come with their own permanent filters made to fit inside the coffee holder.
Permanent filters can be cone-shaped or flat and made of metal mesh or nylon. Some brewers use gold-tone filters coated with a layer of titanium nitride. These are designed for multiple usage and some can be washed in a dishwasher, but not everyone likes to deal with extra cleaning.
Disposable paper filters are said to be better at preserving the original coffee flavor. This and the ease of cleaning make them the most popular way of filtration, particularly with residential drip coffee makers.
The selection of paper filters is nearly endless, from more affordable to those preferred by absolute coffee connoisseurs. Popular brands include Hario, BUNN, Melitta, Keurig, and Kalita.
Review of the Best 5-Cup Coffee Makers
One of the most affordable 5-cup coffee makers on the market, the BLACK+DECKER DCM600B is functionally and financially accessible without suffering major losses in brewing quality. With its lightweight body and compact dimensions, the DCM600B saves counter space and delivers strong drip-style coffee with one simple touch of a button.
- Material: Black plastic
- Power: 650 watts
- Water reservoir capacity: 25 oz
- Dimensions: 9.75” x 7.25” x 10.75”
- Item weight: 2.45 pounds
- Warming plate keeps the coffee temperature hot for up to an hour
- Includes dishwasher-safe mesh filter
- Cord storage for easy transportation
- Plastic handle keeps you safe from scalding
Powered by a 650-watt heating element, the DCM600B finds the comfortable middle ground in terms of coffee strength and the speed of its extraction. The brewing process is controlled by one red power switch located on the right side of the carafe, so you can start or stop the cycle with a single touch.
The brewer’s dispensing system can be found at the top of the unit, consisting of a filter basket holder with a protective single-piece lid and the filter basket that goes inside the compartment. The basket is removable for easier washing and can be replaced in case of damage.
Since the 25-ounce water tank is fully-integrated, the coffee maker provides a side water window with volume markings, so you can check for water levels without looking inside the reservoir.
The fresh coffee is dispensed directly into the brewer’s matching Duralife™ glass carafe that attaches to the brewer’s keep-hot plate. The carafe holds up to 5 cups of coffee which roughly amounts to 25 ounces or 740 millilitres. Like the coffee basket, it can be replaced in case of any irreparable damage.
On the other end of the spectrum is the 5-cup Bonavita BV1500TS coffee maker that fits into the under-$100 category but just barely. As the name suggests, the One-Touch BV1500TS is designed with efficiency in mind and brews coffee almost unassisted.
- Material: Stainless steel + plastic
- Power: 1100 watts
- Water reservoir capacity: 30 oz
- Dimensions: 12.30″ x 6.20″ x 10.60″
- Item weight: 5 pounds
- Reusable basket can be replaced with disposable 4-size paper filters
- Filter basket and showerhead are dishwasher-safe
- Activated by a one-touch button
- Features automatic power off
- Pour-over-style infusion process
- Non-stainless accents are made without BPA
Largely known for the precision of their coffee machines, Bonavita takes great care in the construction of their brewing systems, and the BV1500TS is not an exception to the rule despite being a smaller version of the brand’s popular full-size brewers.
Though this 5-cup model uses an 1100-watt heating element, its power doesn’t weaken the brew strength in any way thanks to the machine’s tube delivery system and carefully measured extraction cycle.
The water is heated to the recommended temperatures of 198°-205°F which is then applied to the grounds for the duration of about 5 minutes with larger 5-cup brews. The unique design of the showerhead allows for a more even coffee extraction regardless of how many scoops you add per cycle.
In addition, the brewer’s unique pre-infusion feature allows you to use grounds produced from freshly-roasted beans. In this setting, the brewer pauses the extraction to let the coffee reach the full potential of its flavor similar to the process seen in pour-over brewers.
Bonavita’s thermal pot is made of double-walled stainless steel designed to preserve the brew temperature without the need for re-heating. To match the carafe’s 5-cup capacity, the brewer’s water tank houses about 30 ounces, though it’s recommended to not overflow it too often.
Weighing just under 5 pounds, Zojirushi’s Zutto 5-cup coffee maker makes for an ideal choice for small kitchens, single-person households, and dorm rooms.
- Material: Silver plastic
- Power: 650 watts
- Water reservoir capacity: 22.8 oz
- Dimensions: 6” x 9” x 11”
- Item weight: 4.54 pounds
- Compact size and lightweight plastic housing
- Brews fast while retaining optimal brew strength
- Keep-warm setting shuts off automatically
- Comfortable heat-repelling carafe handle
- Ergonomic design
The EC-DAC50 is equipped with a 650-watt heating element capable of producing a more balanced coffee due to the heater’s reduced input that generates enough power for fast brewing but not too much to weaken the drink.
As a classic drip-style brewer, Zutto uses a glass carafe for dispensing and storing the freshly-made coffee. The carafe holds 22.8 ounces or 675 millilitres and retains optimal coffee temperature with the keep-warm function.
The removable water tank, holding the same amount of water as the carafe, can be monitored through the water window located on the side of the brewer. The long-lasting charcoal filter is installed to ensure the water for your coffee is pure and free of harmful particles.
Another useful addition to the machine’s filtration system is the reusable basket designed for coffee grounds infusion. Its conical shape and fine mesh body keep the grounds away from the brewed drink, ensuring no loose dregs end up in the carafe.
BUNN GRB Velocity Brew
Boasting one of the most durable designs in this price range, BUNN’s GRB Velocity Brew is certain to deliver long years of reliable service even with frequent usage.
This is made possible largely due to the brewer’s sharp and minimalist construction that incorporates reliable functional elements, from the analog manual switch to the large dispenser funnel.
- Material: Black plastic
- Power: 900 watts
- Water reservoir capacity: 50 oz
- Dimensions: 14.8” x 7.1” x 13.8”
- Item weight: 8 pounds
- Makes between 20 oz and 50 oz batches of coffee
- Fast 3-minute brewing
- Simple on/off switch with backlight
- Large glass carafe prevents leakages
The long-term efficiency of GRB’s sturdy construction is further reinforced by the brewer’s large capacity. Even though this tall and narrow brewer houses a large 50-ounce reservoir, its small-batch functionality remains one of its key points.
Able to brew between 4 and 10 cups in one cycle, the GRB is an appropriate choice for small and large households alike, especially for areas with unstable power supply or workplaces with rougher conditions.
The coffee grounds are placed in a filter kept inside the funnel where they are evenly infused with optimally hot water under the multi-spray showerhead.
Extracted with steam and hot water produced by a 900-watt boiler, the coffee is then dispensed into a glass carafe that holds 50 ounces worth of liquid. The carafe also features a solid heat-resistant handle and unique anti-drip spout.
The clean lines and sleek rounded corners of the KRUPS KM202850 Simply Brew is the first thing that catches the eye but it’s far from being the only attractive point of this brewer.
Featuring an integrated easy-fill reservoir, large dishwasher-safe carafe, and various functional enhancements, Simply Brew brews fast and strong coffee in 5-cup batches capable of serving up to 8 people per cycle.
- Material: Plastic + stainless steel accents
- Power: 850 watts
- Water reservoir capacity: 40 oz
- Dimensions: 8.7” x 3.7” x 10.7”
- Item weight: 3.39 pounds
- Pause & Serve option is available to let you pour single cups of coffee
- Includes coffee scoop for easy measurement
- Dishwasher-safe components
- Light plastic body with sleek stainless steel finish
Like many other small-batch coffee makers in this range, this 5-cup KRUPS model is more on a simplistic side when it comes to the scope of user control and available functionality.
In no way is this a drawback: simplicity and accessibility means faster delivery since all you need to do is add water,, load the grounds into the permanent cone-shaped filter basket and press the power tumbler.
Simply Brew comes with a built-in water tank able to hold enough water for making 1.2 litres or 40 ounces of coffee. The convenient water window on the left side helps with monitoring water levels at any given time.
The glass carafe holds 5 cups of coffee but can be used for two consecutive 20-ounce batches. Its design also minimizes mess in your counter spaces: the firm plastic lid and narrow spout reduce dripping and prevent large leakages.
The keep-warm feature of this model is automatic, so you won’t need to turn the function on or off to keep the coffee hot after the brewing has finished.
Light and compact, Capresso 426.05 is a mini-brewer engineered with smaller areas in mind, including limited counter spaces in apartment kitchens and recreational vehicles, office rec rooms and food corners in dormitories.
- Material: Black plastic + stainless steel accents
- Power: 650 watts
- Water reservoir capacity: 28 oz
- Dimensions: 8” x 6.25” x 10”
- Item weight: 2 pounds
- Push-button controls with LCD timer
- Large carafe with ergonomic handle
- Programmable brew start + automatic warming plate shut off
- Removable gold-tone filter
The 650-watt heater powering this coffee maker makes the brewing process rather quick, producing a full carafe in 3-5 minutes.
The 5-cup glass carafe can serve a varying number of cups depending on their size, for example its capacity is enough to produce two 14-ounce travel mugs in one cycle.
To avoid leaks and drippage, the carafe connects directly to the dispenser nozzle through its brew-through lid. This way, when the coffee grounds are properly saturated under the multi-spray showerhead, the resulting brew is poured straight into the carafe.
Holding between 28 ounces and 30 ounces at the max, the integrated water reservoir has a clearly visible level indicator, so you know when it’s time to replenish the water supply.
In addition to its wide non-stick warm-up plate with automatic 2-hour shut off, the brewer includes a time-saving 24-hour delay option for programming your morning brew hours ahead.
Mr. Coffee JWX3-RB
Another lightweight small-batch option that falls just under $50, Mr. Coffee’s Advanced Brew services up to 25 ounces of drip-style coffee in one cycle and even adds a programmable delay option for automatic coffee brewing.
- Material: Black plastic + stainless steel accents
- Power: 700 watts
- Water reservoir capacity: 25 oz
- Dimensions: 9.2” x 7.1” x 11.6”
- Item weight: 3.09 pounds
- Automatic brew-pause for drip-free pouring
- Programmable timer with cycle delay
- Light construction and portable dimensions
- Washable filter, carafe, and lid
Equipped with a neat front-loading dispensing system, the Advanced Brew allows for easy cleaning, water refills, and loading of coffee grounds.
The permanent filter basket goes inside the top compartment and can be washed after every use. The coffee maker also supports disposable paper filters if you prefer to skip on regular filter cleaning.
Since the water tank is fully integrated, the machine adds a clearly visible water window to its right-side panel, allowing you to control the precise water level when you refill the reservoir between brews.
Accurate measuring of water and coffee amounts is also possible with the carafe’s measurement lines. The glass pot can fit up to five 5-ounce cups and is easy to lift thanks to its wide plastic handle.
The front control panel offers easy access to all functions, including instant brew, timer with 24-hour brew delay, power on/off, and digital clock. Moreover, the efficient Grab-A-Cup feature pauses the process automatically to let you pour a quick cup of coffee mid-brew.
The brewer’s piano black exterior finish and smart silver accents give it a more universally appealing look fitting of most contemporary kitchens.
Hamilton Beach 48136
What makes the Hamilton Beach 48136 particularly convenient is its light space-saving design with a narrow body, easy-access water tank with top lid, and swing-away coffee holder.
- Material: Black plastic
- Power: 700 watts
- Water reservoir capacity: 32 oz
- Dimensions: 8.82” x 5.94” x 10.91”
- Item weight: 1.06 pounds
- Dishwasher safe carafe with tall handle
- Washable cone-shaped filter basket
- One-button power switch with backlight
- Supports smart plugs
- Exceptionally lightweight
- Suitable for travel
The coffee holder section occupies the entire compartment between the unit’s top panel and the carafe’s lid. This design is especially useful for small under-cabinet spaces, mobile kitchens, and vacation vehicles.
By simply swinging the coffee compartment side, you get access to the large filter basket compatible with standard paper filters. The water tank holds up to 30-32 ounces at its maximum point, though to avoid overflowing it’s best to fill it to its safe 25-28 ounce mark.
Though the glass carafe has no markings, it can easily hold between 25-30 ounces of liquids. The pot connects to the dispenser nozzle and fits atop the integrated warming plate with nonstick coating.
As is customary with 5-cup brewers, the 48136 offers the automatic pause-and-serve feature but what separates it from similar budget coffee makers is the compatibility with smart plugs. Any smart plug that supports Alexa, Google Home and Siri Voice Control will work with this model.
Q & A
Generally speaking, the best 5-cup coffee makers are those considered to be more functional than other standard small-batch brewers.
So a good 5-cup coffee maker would be a model that includes a removable water tank, the ability to program the start and automatic shutdown, and even an auto shut-off warming plate. One such brewer is the Bonavita BV1500TS One-Touch coffee maker with a washable 30-ounce reservoir and heat-retaining thermal carafe in place of a warming plate.
A drip coffee maker provides one of the easiest ways to brew coffee. The actual size of a drip coffee machine doesn’t impact the core process, so a 5-cup coffee maker and 10-cup coffee maker will have near identical brewing processes.
As such, making coffee in a 5-cup coffee machine is no different than doing so in any other drip-style brewer. This type of brewer typically uses a water heater located inside the carafe platform.
When the brewing function is activated, water from the tank is fed into the heater where it turns into a mixture of hot water and steam and rises into the compartment containing the coffee filter. The steam condenses, turning into hot water, and infuses the coffee grounds as it seeps through the filter and flows down into the carafe.
Once the water reservoir is empty, the heater continues to work in the warming mode to keep the freshly-brewed coffee hot via the non-stick plate.
Both the flavor and strength of the brew depend on the speed with which the hot water passes through the filter as well as on the type of grounds you are using. Drip systems produce the best brew when paired with medium-ground coffee of any roast level.
When grounds are too coarse, the coffee comes out tasing too dense, and too-fine grounds give the coffee a bitter taste.
Drip coffee makers also don’t require too much from you: all you need to do is add the grounds into the filter basket, make sure the tank has enough water, place the carafe under the dispenser spout, and press the power button. The rest is just waiting, though it hardly takes ages—an average 5-cup coffee maker brews coffee in under 5 minutes.
A water tank of a standard 5-cup coffee maker is usually of the same volume as the carafe supplied with the unit. The overall capacity varies based on how you measure your coffee cups.
As a rule, 5-cup carafes/reservoirs are measured in 5-ounce cups, amounting to 25 ounces in total. The actual size of the carafe/reservoir tends to be slightly bigger than that, usually measuring at 28-32 ounces, depending on the model.
Some coffee makers are equipped with larger 40-ounce tanks for safety reasons to prevent overflowing issues. It’s recommended you don’t max out the reservoir even if you are confident it can take more than 25 ounces. It’s always safer to brew two 5-cup batches instead of overloading the coffee maker.
For five 4-ounce cups of coffee you will need about 20 ounces of water and 5 scoops of coffee which is a little under 2 ounces.
The amount of coffee required for the brewing cycle varies depending on the fineness of the grind and the desired strength of the drink. If you use finely-ground coffee, prepare to add more for each 5-cup batch. Fine grounds typically give a strong and flavorful brew.
If you prefer courser grounds, then be careful with how much of it you put in the filter—this type of coffee should be added in smaller amounts. This type of coffee is lighter on caffeine content and more saturated with water.
The performance of any coffee maker, including small 5-cup brewers, largely depends on proper maintenance, namely their regular and thorough cleaning.
Coffee makers should be cleaned after every 60-80 brewing cycles, depending on water hardness. Water quality is one of the most important factors that define the quality of any coffee maker’s performance.
Of course, any brewer will work best with soft water, not to mention the coffee itself will taste better. But if you live in an area with hard water, remember that your coffee maker will need to be cleaned and descaled more frequently.
What does descaling mean exactly?
The process is pretty straightforward and involves the application of special cleaning products designed to remove calcium deposits that have accumulated inside your coffee maker overtime. Expensive cleaning products can be replaced by white vinegar or citric acid.
To minimize the formation of hard water deposits, you may also try a rather expensive but effective solution of replacing filtered tap water with purified drinking water that comes in bottles and canisters.
Another functional part that requires regular cleaning is a coffee filter. Inexpensive coffee makers are typically equipped with permanent filter baskets that should be cleaned after every brewing cycle.
Cleaning a mesh filter involves the complete removal of all coffee dregs after which the filter should be rinsed with running water. Some coffee filters are dishwasher-safe, so you can simply place it on the top shelf of your dishwasher for a more thorough cleaning.
What can make the cleaning process much easier is swapping the mesh basket for paper filters. There are a few standardized sizes, but most of them are designed to work with all drip coffee makers. Paper filters can be used only once, so you simply throw it out after the brewing cycle. This tends to minimize the mess and save you from washing yet another thing in your coffee maker.
Stainless steel carafes or pots can also become discolored with time. This discoloration is typically caused by continuous and prolonged contact with coffee but it’s possible to remove it with special cleaning products such as Urnex Grindz Full Circle cleaning powder.
The service life of an average 5-cup coffee maker is about 3 years. It should go without saying that without proper maintenance even an expensive 5-cup brewer might go out of commission much earlier before its expiration date, as it were.
Regular cleaning, descaling, and the general following of manufacturer guidelines might even extend the service life of your coffee machine, provided you don’t overload it on a regular basis.
It should be kept in mind that in some cases this rule doesn’t extend to other components or accessories included with the coffee maker.
For instance, some coffee makers feature anti-drip systems which connect the dispenser nozzle directly to the carafe’s brew-through lid, so using any other drinkware to store the coffee is practically impossible. And should you irreparably damage such a decanter, there might be no choice but to replace it with the specific model from the same manufacturer.
Though most brands supply replacement decanters, the issue is with their accessibility that can considerably drop over time. If you happen to need a new carafe for an older coffee maker, chances are the manufacturer simply doesn’t produce them anymore.