Cuisinart SS-5 Review
Rated by Jennifer
In this review I’m doing it again with yet another compact size single-serve brewer that is a big hit with those of you seeking a smaller device that you can keep at the ready in your domicile or take along with you other places. If the idea of having a smaller version of the SS-700 appeals to you, read on..No bells and whistles, just good, hot coffee, or tea, or whatever you fancy, including hot water for other purposes.
Although the Cuisinart SS-5 seemed to have less than ideal ratings, I do manage to shed some light on a few things to look out for before you buy.
What's on this page?
On the Amazon sales page the dimensions listed read: 10″ by 12.8″ by 14″ and a weight of 7 pounds, which I went to double check. A consumer in the Q and A section verified her unit’s dimensions as “7” depth, 7″ length, and 12.5″ in height.
The manufacturer’s site gives a different set of figures: 10.7″ (l) by 7.25″ (w) by 12.0″ (h) and 8 lbs. Since this coffee maker has a square shape I expected that the length and width measurements would be pretty much close together – like the aforementioned consumer said.
The removable drip tray has about 2″ of extension past the unit.
Determining clearance was tricky, as it did state that it supports the height of most travel mugs. Needing more clarity, I sought out an answer from the Q & A section and a consumer told me that the clearance is 6.25″ when the drip tray is in place and 7″ when it is removed. I have 2 travel tumblers at home and they are 6.25″ in height with the lids removed. Which is pretty standard – so if you’re looking for a coffeemaker with “to-go” tumbler accessibility, this is a choice to consider.
The Cuisinart unit itself includes a drip tray, reservoir, water filter assembly, start guide and a 3-Year Limited Warranty.
The Cuisinart SS-5 comes in two color choices: Brushed Metal and White. Personally, I don’t know how it got a name like “brushed metal” because the front part of both colors has the metal appearance but the accent colors are respectively black and white when looked at from a side view.
It has a 40 oz water reservoir, which is considered a nice mid-range size.
6, 8, and 10 oz brew sizes
An Auto-Off feature that kicks on automatically after 30 minutes of inactivity
A removable drip tray that is top-rack dishwasher safe
A water filter assembly
A filter cup inside the K-cup chamber that can be easily removed and replaced
Buttons and Controls
The buttons are located on the front control panel with the power button at the top and the three brew size choices below. underneath them is an “Add Water” indicator light The buttons are blue when illuminated and all of them light up right away when the power button is turned on. When you make a size selection the other two size buttons will go out.
The included reservoir holds 40 oz and has a nice slim rectangle shape. It fits into the rear of the unit and is more visible from a side view, and gives the Cuisinart SS-5 its compact appearance. The lid opens for easy pouring or you can easily remove it and refill it from your chosen source.
The included carbon filter holder segues into the right side of the reservoir inside after you’ve fitted the carbon cartridge.
Ease of Use
After the initial priming, you’re looking at a basic plug-and-play operation here. The water filter looks easy to inserr even though I heard one consumer mention that it doesn’t stay put well. The K-cup chamber has a lip-like slight protrusion with which to open it and insert a K-cup. You can also use refillable K-cups and the included assembly is removable for easy cleaning. Pretty much just putting a mug under there and selecting your brew size of choice.
One thing I really like that’s worth mentioning is the fact that if you are trying to adjust for a bigger cup is that all you have to do is hit the brew size button twice (example – for 12 oz, hit the 6 oz button two times). The lack of ability to program I think you can make up for with this ability.
Cuisinart SS-5 Compatible Accessories
- Sekmet Replacement Charcoal Water Filters For Cuisinart Coffee Makers, 6 and 12 pack
- Geesta Replacement Charcoal Water Filters
- Everyday DCCF-12 Replacement Charcoal Water Filters
- Cuisinart SS-RFC HomeBarista Reusable Filter Cup
- Solofill K3 Refillable K-Cup
Cuisinart SS-5 Consumer Reviews and Ratings
When I looked at its average score at the time of writing, it seemed to be below what is normally considered a “keeper” (at least 4.0) So I went digging deeper to find out what was pushing that score down a little. The negative comments fell into one of these three categories:
1). Water leaking problems, 2) Splatters happening while dispensing, 3) Coffee temp wasn’t hot enough.
Obviously no. 1 raises a red flag, and from what I could gather a few consumers ended up having to make a swap early in the game for a new brewer, and others made the discovery that their unit’s reservoir was not fitted securely, and secondly, one person claimed that an overfill of his/her own doing caused the leakage.
Splatters when dispensing: When I viewed a demo video, the demonstrator was using a standard size mug and if there’s one thing you notice when pouring something with four or five inches above -it seems to splash more than when the spout is closer to the object being filled. I found myself thinking this might not have been the case with the use of a travel cup or mug that’s a little bit taller overall?
Now since only a few reviews made a mention of the coffee temp not being adequate, this one is another subjective piece of criteria, because different people have different ideas of what “hot” should be in terms of coffee. Since the Cuisinart SS-5 does not have an option to let you move up or down on the temp in a range (such as that of some of the Keurigs will let you do) this one is up for debate. The default factory temp as stated by the manufacturer is 187-192 degrees F. That’s a pretty normal range.
Interestingly enough, I felt that the overall score for this coffeemaker on Best Buy was much higher and I saw very few performance complaints. I can only wonder what that is about as the user base wasn’t that different.
The positive comments about the Cuisinart SS-5 ranged from “works fast” “nice modern design” “easy set up” “coffee temp just right””quiet” “able to use any kind of K-cups” and “space saving” All that seemed legit in my book.
I don’t mean to make light of an issue such as that of water leakages, but a few things did cross my mind after all was said and done. First, the reservoir does have to be inserted into its place securely – you need to hear a “click” going in to be sure. Also you can minimize the need to move the reservoir just by raising the lid and pouring water through with a pitcher or similar container. And certainly be sure not to overfill!
- Quiet operation
- Attractive design
- Smaller electronic footprint
- Easy setup
- Accepts all brands of K-Cups and no DRM technology to worry about
- Accommodates mugs and travel cups easily
- Has Auto-Off function
- 3 year Warranty
- Potential of leaks could happen if the reservoir is not securely inserted
- Water filter a little tricky to get to stay in place correctly
- Does not have programmable options
- Lacks brew strength control
- Tendency to splatter if you’re using a shorter cup
I think the price overall is reasonable and pretty justified; at the time of writing it looked like the black/brushed metal version had the lowest price on Amazon.
You won’t find yourself having to pay for a lot of upkeep extras other than the filter cartridges. If you’re used to using a water filtration system like the Brita pitcher you may not be concerned with the water filter and cartridges at all.
On the topic of the cartridges, if you’re looking at a package of 12, you’ll get a much better deal getting them on Amazon over the manufacturer’s site. Regardless of Cuisinart or Keurig, water filter cartridges are usually priced competitively whether bulk rates are 6, 12 or greater.
The HomeBarista cup that is compatible is going for the same price on Amazon and the manufacturer’s site.and its price is pretty comparable to the many other brands of reusable filter cups in the same quantity.
My Final Thoughts on the Cuisinart SS-5
A good choice to consider if you’re seeking a coffee maker with none of the bells and whistles, worry-free operation, and grab-and-go function. If you can get past that little bugaboo of making sure you insert and replace the reservoir correctly, this is a good model to consider.