The standard 12-cup coffee maker is great for families and offices, but it can be overkill if you’re just making coffee for one or two people. That’s why it’s worth checking out smaller size coffee makers. A 5-cup coffee maker hits the sweet spot between a single-serve coffee maker and a full-size coffee maker. A smaller coffee maker fits better on a small counter, and it’ll leave space for any other accessories like coffee grinders, kettles and airtight containers.
Even if you drink multiple cups of coffee throughout the morning and afternoon, it can still be worthwhile to go for a smaller coffee maker. The reason is that coffee simply doesn’t stay fresh for very long — if you’ve ever pulled a cup from a carafe that’s been sitting out for hours you’ve likely had the unpleasant experience of drinking coffee that tastes like burnt ash and regret.
Coffee makers with hot plates will keep your brew warm, but the hot plate basically continues cooking the coffee if you leave it there too long. That’s why even though it’s a bit more tedious, it’s usually worthwhile to make a fresh pot right before you’re planning on drinking it — and use the hot plate to keep the coffee warm for minutes, not hours. A smaller coffee maker is ideal for making multiple small batches throughout the day.
What To Know About 5-Cup Coffee Makers
Before diving into the best 5-cup coffee makers, it’s worth explaining what exactly is meant by 5, 8 or 12 cups. A “cup” on a coffee maker is neither 8 fluid ounces, as you might see on your Pyrex measuring cup, nor is it the size of the coffee mugs you likely have in your cupboard, which can vary between 11 and 16 ounces. Instead, it’s the rather random measurement of 5 fluid ounces.
Since most people don’t use dainty teacup and saucer sets to drink their morning joe, a 12-cup coffee maker is really more like five cups if you’re drinking from a 12-ounce coffee mug. That means that a 5-cup coffee maker is 25 ounces, which is a little more than two 12-ounce cups of coffee. If you like to have two cups of coffee in the morning, for example, a 5-cup coffee maker is just the right size. Or, if you’re making coffee for a long drive, a 5-cup coffee maker will be a great size for a larger travel mug.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite 5-cup coffee makers that’ll make a better brew each morning.
1. Zojirushi Zutto 5-Cup Coffee Maker
It’s not going to make the coffee taste better, but it doesn’t hurt that Zojirushi’s 5-cup coffee maker looks cool as hell. It’s also remarkably simple to use. There’s just a single on/off button for those who like simplicity. The Zojirushi excels at temperature control, ensuring a better brew that’s never burnt. The dripper is designed to more evenly saturate the grounds for better results. The Zutto has a unique design feature, too; the number 2 filter is placed in the carafe itself, rather than in the body of the machine. This helps prevent spillage.
2. KRUPS Simply Brew Drip Coffee Maker
KRUPS is a great value brand for coffee equipment that looks great and performs well. The brand may not be as well known, but it’s been around since 1846. The coffee maker has a simple yet stylish design, with a stainless steel trim. It keeps coffee hot for one hour before shutting off, and it has a simple one-button on/off switch. The pause and serve feature allows you to pull a cup as the machine is brewing (without making a giant mess).
3. Capresso 5-Cup Mini Drip Coffee Maker
If you want something basic with just a little more functionality than some of the one-button options on this list, the Capresso 5-cup coffee maker is a great option to buy. This coffee maker has an automatic mode, so you can have coffee ready to drink in the morning using the intuitive hour/minute buttons. Capresso is a premium coffee brand that’s popular for its coffee grinders, and this is an affordable option for those seeking a quality brew.
4. BLACK+DECKER 5 Cup Station Coffeemaker
Though they made their name in the power tool business, Black + Decker has become a go-to brand for basic household appliances like coffee makers. This 5-cup coffee maker is affordable and easy to use, but it has a variety of smartly-designed features. The brew basket can be used for making pour-over coffee, and the adjustable base allows you to use the coffee maker with the included carafe, a coffee mug or a travel thermos.
5. Chemex Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker
BEST MANUAL BREW
Love pour-over, but wish you could make more than one cup at a time? The Chemex is an iconic design that’s a great way to make multiple cups of coffee at once. This particular option makes six cups, so it’s comparable to many of the 5-cup coffee makers on this list. It’s made from Borosilicate glass, which resists breaking. You’ll likely want to stick with Chemex’s own coffee filters.
6. Bella 5-Cup Drip Coffeemaker
Bella’s kitchenwares are dependable and affordable, and they’re a great brand to turn to for college dorms or small apartments. This 5-cup coffee maker is a simple option for small kitchens. It has a basic on/off switch and includes a basic reusable filter.
7. Mr. Coffee 5 Cup Mini
Mr. Coffee makes tons of budget coffee makers, but the 5-Cup Mini has more features than many of the more expensive options. The simple control panel allows you to brew now or brew later, and the digital display in the middle makes it easy to set the timer. It includes a reusable coffee filter and a water filtration disc. Plus, you can pull a cup as it’s brewing.