I just tested the best small drip coffee maker – and it's surprisingly stylish too

I've tested a range of filter coffee options and it turns out that the best small drip coffee maker is beautiful, sleek, and smart too

A stainless steel Zwilling drip coffee maker on a wooden countertop with a cappuccino, and a vase of dried flowers
(Image credit: Zwilling)

A good, small drip coffee maker is a rare find. Traditionally, with filter coffee makers, bigger is better. However, if you're short on space or you only need single-servings of filter coffee, a compact option could be a lifesaver. 

Recently, I re-tested one of the machines in our buying guide for the best drip coffee makers. It was removed from our list because it's small and there isn't a huge appetite for drip coffee makers which have limited capacities. However, I didn't want this model to get lost in the chasm of drip coffee maker reviews out there on the internet, because it is really good.

The Zwilling Enfinigy is accidentally small. It's designed to look sleek and smart, but that means that it's also ended up as a small, streamlined model. There's a smooth, central, digital control button to help navigate the basic, but thorough filter coffee functions. The Zwilling can bloom coffee before brewing, is capable of making a single-serve, and can still cater to crowds when the occasion requires it. 

The best small drip coffee maker

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Best small drip coffee maker

Sleek and stylish, this is compact without compromise


Capacity: 12 cups (50.7 oz)
Dimensions: 13.7 x 12.8 x 6.02
Weight: 5.73 lbs
Materials: stainless steel and glass
Warranty: 1 year

Reasons to buy

Programmable timer
'Blooms' coffee
Generous capacity
Compact footprint
Sleek design

Reasons to avoid

Hotplate only stays on for 30 minutes
Fixed water tank
Controls take a little learning
Buy it if

✅ You have a smaller kitchen: this compact coffee maker should clear low cabinets.
✅ You consider style as well as substance: this coffee maker is sleek and chic.
✅ You're shopping for a smart machine: this coffee maker comes with an auto-start setting.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're keen to brew now and drink later: the hot plate only stays warm for 30 minutes.
❌ You want to make frothy coffee: you'll have to purchase the Zwilling milk frother separately.
❌ You're on a budget: this is one of the more expensive coffee makers on the market.

The bottom line

🔎 Zwilling Enfinigy Coffee Maker combines prettiness with practicality to create a small appliance you'd be proud to display.

Most drip coffee makers are designed with practicality, rather than prettiness, in mind. That's why the Zwilling Enfinigy Drip Coffee Maker is such a breath of fresh air. Featuring a unique ridged water tank and a streamlined backlit display, this cute and compact machine could elevate any kitchen. 

In spite of its small footprint, this coffee maker can brew up to 12 cups of coffee, as well as single-servings. Whether you choose to batch brew or not, the coffee quality stays consistently delicious. The only thing you need to account for is that the Zwilling brews as much water as you put in the reservoir. Only fill it with what you want, otherwise, you'll end up over-brewing coffee. It's also worth noting that the reservoir is fixed, so you have to fill it from a water pitcher, which is a little frustrating.

The Zwilling also comes with a corrosion-resistant stainless steel boiler, as well as a wide shower head for even coffee moistening during blooming. If you're new to brewing, you might not be familiar with the concept of 'blooming'. It's simpler than it sounds. Blooming is what happens when carbon dioxide combines with coffee grounds. When you allow your beans to bloom, you can enhance the flavors and aromas of your cup. 

I'm a big fan of this coffee maker, but I spotted a few design flaws. The icons, whilst simple, take some learning to make sense of them. Once you've consulted the instruction manual a few times, you'll be fine, but it's worth noting. Also, the so-called 'hot plate' only stays warm for 30 minutes after brewing. If you like to sip the same carafe all day long, you'll have to keep re-brewing. This is primarily so that you're drinking fresh coffee at its fullest flavors, but it's a very short time period for the hot plate to work. 

My final gripe is with the water reservoir. I didn't like the idea of a fill-as-you-use tank, but could adjust to it. However, the tank itself is fixed in the machine, which makes filling it up and cleaning it a lot of extra effort. This can be enough to put some people off, although, if you're short on space, it's a compromise worth making.

You can find more detail in my Zwilling Enfinigy Drip Coffee Maker review.

An alternative option

OXO 8 Cup Drip Coffee Maker on the countertop by the OXO grinder

(Image credit: Macy's)

Whilst I could gush about the Zwilling all day long, if you can make room for a few more inches of coffee maker in your home, you can get better quality coffee from the OXO. 

Even though the OXO is bigger, it actually has a smaller capacity than the Zwilling. The controls are more basic too, but there's a real beauty in the OXO's simplicity. It makes consistently delicious coffee (the best on test) and it can brew it quickly too. We didn't mind about the footprint, or slightly less appealing aesthetic, because this makes coffee too good to overlook. It's at the top of our best drip coffee makers buying guide and, in spite of some hot competition, has remained unbeaten for a long time. 

It's in the same price bracket as the Zwilling, although at some retailers it's about $50 more. However, we think it's worth the extra squeeze. Again, we can't stress the quality both of this coffee maker and of the coffee it makes. It meets the standards of the SCA's Golden Cup and is a favorite amongst all of our expert testers.

All the places in which we could criticise the OXO, we would also criticise the Zwilling. The water tank isn't removable and it's not programmable. This means that neither are particularly easy to clean. The only difference is that the Zwilling can pre-brew coffee for you when you wake up in the morning, whereas the OXO cannot. 

The best filter coffee maker on test, even if it's not that pretty


Capacity: 8 cups (40 fl oz)
Dimensions: 13.5 x 10.5 x 7"
Weight: 8.6 lbs
Materials: Stainless steel
Warranty: 2 years

Reasons to buy

Brew a single cup or a full carafe
Meets SCA Golden Cup Standard requirements

Reasons to avoid

Tricky to clean
Not programmable
Buy it if

✅ You want to make uncomplicated coffee: the OXO is easy to use and makes a great brew.
✅ You own a lot of stainless steel kitchen appliances: this metallic coffee maker should blend right in.
✅ You're on a budget: this is one of the more affordable coffee makers on the market. 

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want something quick and easy to clean: it's hard to reach down inside the non-removable water tank.
❌ You're shopping for a smart machine: there's no auto-start function or pre-set brewing modes.
❌ You want to brew a lot of coffee at once: this coffee maker has a limited 40-oz. capacity. 

The bottom line

🔎 OXO Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker includes everything you need in a coffee maker, from super-fine filters to capacious brew baskets, and gets rid of everything you don't. 

Our favorite drip coffee maker also works for small spaces. The OXO is smaller than most drip coffee makers, but it sets a high bar. This makes gold-standard coffee, as is certified by the Speciality Coffee Association. In other words, you're guaranteed a consistently smooth, rich cup of filter coffee when you brew with the OXO, whether you've opted for a quick single-serving or a full carafe.

We tried this out in a few different spots on the countertop and were pleased to find that it can squeeze into small spaces, narrow nooks, and under low wall cupboards. It's designed with functionality in mind, so we have seen much more beautiful filter coffee makers, but we have also seen less attractive options too.

This is at the top spot in our buying guide, so you'll be surprised to hear that it's not even close to being the most technical. It has some BetterBrew technology, which lets you adjust temperature and brew cycles, but you can't schedule your coffee to be made for you, nor can you use an app or voice commands.

When it comes to cleaning, the water tank is fixed. You'll have to take more care over maintenance and, when you re-fill the OXO, you'll need a kettle or pitcher on hand. This gets irritating over time, trust me.

You can find more detail in our OXO 8-Cup Coffee Maker review.

Head to head

The verdict

Zwilling drip coffee maker in black on the countertop

(Image credit: Zwilling)

You can't go wrong with either coffee maker. If you're really squeezed for space, you'll enjoy using the Zwilling. The beauty of it really isn't surface deep: it brews delicious coffee, has more settings (including the pre-brew setting), and is smaller and cheaper than my alternative suggestion, the OXO. 

If you can spare a few more inches in your kitchen, I can't overstate how good the OXO is. It's well-built, simple to use, and brews seriously delicious filter coffee. Either way, you're in safe hands.

How we tested these drip coffee makers

At Homes & Gardens, we are diligent in the way we test drip coffee makers. We have a team of expert product testers, which includes a trained barista, and they are always researching the drip coffee maker market. When anything new, innovative, or interesting comes into the market, we know about it. We check its credentials and then, if we think it’s a fit for you, we call it in.

Once we have one of these coffee makers secured, our team will take it to the test kitchen, which is our special space for coffee make tests. We’ll put every drip coffee maker we get through a series of standardised tests, brewing single-servings and full carafes of coffee. For every coffee maker we test, we use freshly ground coffee. For these, we'd recommend OXO's grinder (available at Walmart), because it's affordable, delivers consistent grounds, and will help enhance your coffee flavors endlessly.

We always make sure check all the filter coffee maker features: how long a hot plate works for, how quickly a machine brews, and what temperature it reaches. If a machine has a keep hot plate, we taste test the coffee at the end of its slow warming. Some machines burn the coffee, or they make it taste stale and sour. Others keep it close to perfect, so this is important to know. 

More and more machines boast specialist functions, such as blooming, pre-brewing for specific times, and different depths of coffee strength and flavors. Any claims that a company makes get tested by us and put in a section for ‘special features’ which is how you can tell whether these features are genuinely good or a bit of a gimmick.

We’ll also make notes on what it’s like to set up a machine, as well as clean it, maintain it, and store it. Sometimes, drip coffee makers are too tall to clear wall cupboards, which can be a deal breaker. For me, a fixed reservoir is another important feature to know about. If you can detach the water tank, it’s easier to fill and clean. If it’s fixed, it’s just plain irritating. 

Whether it’s praise, criticism, or quirks for the filter coffee maker, we make sure to keep you informed on all of our findings. That way, if you choose to make an investment, you know that they’ll be no surprises when one of these arrives on your doorstep. 

If you’re interested in finding out more, you can visit our dedicated page for how we test coffee makers

Laura Honey
eCommerce Editor

Laura is our eCommerce editor. As a fully qualified barista, she's our expert in all things coffee and has tested over thirty of the best coffee makers on the market. She has also interviewed Q-Graders and world-leading experts in the coffee industry, so has an intimate knowledge of all things coffee. Before joining Homes & Gardens, she studied English at Oxford University. Whilst studying, she trained as a master perfumer and worked in the luxury fragrance industry for five years. Her collection of home fragrance is extensive and she's met and interviewed five of the world's finest perfumers (also known as 'noses'). As a result of this expansive fragrance knowledge, she always puts quality and style over quantity and fads. Laura looks for products which have been designed simply and with thoughtful finishes.