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Cuisinart SS-15 vs SS-20: Which One Should You Get?

Cuisinart SS-15 vs SS-20

Are you unsure whether the Cuisinart SS-15 or SS-20 is right for you? Or are you confused about what the difference between them is?

Our goal in this guide is to help you answer those questions. We’ll clarify what the similarities and differences are by putting the Cuisinart SS-15 vs SS-20.

We’ll discuss these topics:

  • Features shared by the SS-15 and SS-20
  • Which features are unique to either one
  • Guidance on how to pick one

Quick Summary

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Cuisinart SS-15

Cuisinart SS-20


Cuisinart Single Serve + 12 Cup Coffee Maker, Offers 3-Sizes: 6-Ounces, 8-Ounces and 10-Ounces, Stainless Steel, SS-15P1

Cuisinart SS-20P1 Coffee Center 10-Cup Thermal Coffeemaker and Single-Serve Brewer, Stainless Steel

Single-Serve Brewing



Carafe Brewing






Coffee Grounds



Cup Sizes

6, 8, & 10 ounces

6, 8, & 10 ounces

Carafe Sizes

12 cups

10 cups 

Carafe Construction



Adjustable Heating Plate Temperature



Ideal Uses




Designed to make up to 12 cups at once in its carafe, the Cuisinart SS-15 is built to serve a crowd. Get the SS-15 if you’re going to need to brew batches of coffee often.

The thermal carafe on the SS-20 is built to keep 10 cups of coffee warmer for even longer. This is the perfect coffee maker for you if you like to brew pots for yourself to enjoy over the course of a morning.


Single-Serve or Carafe

If you’ve got several people to provide coffee for at once, you’ll require a coffee maker that can brew carafes.

However, you also won’t always need enough coffee to serve a group. Hence, it’s sometimes best to be able to make smaller portions, too.

The SS-15 and SS-20 can give you the best of both worlds with their single-serve and carafe brewing. Combining these functions into one machine also keeps you from having to buy two separate coffee makers.

Simply put, you can get cups brewed specifically to your taste, or brew a batch for everyone. You have the power to choose.

K-Cups or Coffee Grounds

Usually, any machine that can be used by both beginners and experts is a well-designed machine.

That’s what the SS-15 and the SS-20 bring to you: ease of use, with advanced options for the experts.

In this case, you can use K-Cups if you’re not very familiar with coffee makers. Just choose a K-Cup pod from their hundreds of flavors and types, put it in your coffee maker, and let SS-15 or SS-20 make your cup.

Conversely, those with specific tastes or more know-how can use their own coffee grounds. When you use your own coffee grounds, the options are truly endless.

Removable Drip Tray

Even the drip trays on these coffee makers are built to support different functions.

Firstly, when you leave them in, they work to catch any spills or drips from the brewer. This obviously saves you time you would otherwise spend cleaning up sticky coffee splatters.

Secondly, the drip trays on the SS-15 and SS-20 can be taken off completely. That makes it possible to empty and clean them from anywhere, further reducing your risk of spills.

Thirdly, when you remove the drip trays, the brewers can fit travel mugs beneath them. As a result, you can take any drink you make wherever you go.

To sum it up, you get portability and painless maintenance with these removable drip trays.

Coffee Strength Settings

Have you ever had a coffee that tasted too weak or watery for you?

With the SS-15 or SS-20, each drink is even easier to personalize to your own specific preferences. If you enjoy a particularly strong cup, you can use the Bold button to produce a more intense flavor.

Those who just want to savor a regular beverage can leave the Bold setting off.

In any event, everyone is able to get precisely what they want.

Single-Serve Drink Sizes

On top of being able to make either cups or carafes, the SS-15 and SS-20 come with three different cup sizes: 6, 8, and 10-ounce.

Coupled with the brew strength function, these cup sizes allow you to further customize a beverage. You’ll get exactly the right size whenever you want it, rather than having to make too much or too little.

As a result, you’ll see the amount you toss out afterwards decline. No more too-large cups getting dumped down the drain because you they were too much.

Energy Save Mode

Everyone can agree that the lower electricity bills are, the better.

For this reason, the SS-15 and SS-20 were created with environmentally friendly energy save modes. After 30 minutes of idling, the lights on them will dim, preserving energy.

It’s worth nothing that this feature does not turn off the coffee makers entirely. To reactivate the lights, simply push any button and they’ll come back on.

Outside of that, if you want to turn the coffee makers completely off, you’ll just need to flip their power switch.

Ready Tone

No matter how hectic your day is, you won’t be able to forget any coffee you’ve brewed on these machines.

Once they’re finished brewing, they’ll both make five beeps to notify you.

Not only does this keep you from forgetting your coffee, but it means you won’t need to wait around your coffee maker or check on it repeatedly to see if it’s done. You’ll be notified with the beeps when it’s ready, so you can focus on whatever else you need to do meanwhile.


Carafe Size

While both coffee makers are capable of brewing carafes, the amount the carafes on either one can hold is different.

With the SS-20, you can make up to 10 cups simultaneously. It’s a pretty generous amount of coffee, and will allow you serve a large group of people, or to enjoy it yourself for hours.

In contrast, the SS-15’s carafe can hold up to 12 cups. While not necessarily a huge amount more, you may save time on refills in the long run if you brew carafes often on the SS-15.

Cuisinart SS-20 Thermal Carafe

Heating plates under the carafes on both of these coffee makers will help keep your pots warm, but the SS-20 has a bit of an edge in this regard.

It comes with a thermal carafe that’s specially designed to keep coffee warmer longer. Consequently, with the thermal carafe and heating plate combined, you’ll be able to enjoy each batch you make for an even greater amount of time.

You’ll really enjoy the thermal carafe if you’ll frequently make batches to enjoy by yourself. You won’t need to rush to finish the carafe before it cools.

Cuisinart SS-15 Adjustable Heater Plate Temperature

One problem with heater plates is that they can burn your coffee. On top of that, you also don’t often have control over the temperature at which they keep your drink.

The SS-15 changed that with its adjustable heater plate temperature. You can choose to keep your carafe at low, medium, or high settings.

Using this range of temperature options, you can prevent your coffee from being burnt by long hours spent on a too-hot heating plate.

Alternatively, you can just use it to keep your batch at your preferred temperature.

Which one should you pick?

Picking the right coffee maker for your home depends on your unique circumstances. The decision is a bit more difficult when you look at coffee makers like the Cuisinart SS-15 and SS-20, which are more alike than they are different.

The majority of the differences between them are centered around their carafe functions. Because of this, your decision will depend largely on what you’re going to brew whole pots for.

Able to hold up to 12 cups of coffee, the SS-15’s carafe is slightly better-suited for serving family or friends. You won’t need to refill it as often.

An adjustable heater plate will also help keep the coffee you serve at the ideal temperature rather than burning it. If the group you’re serving isn’t large enough to go through the carafe quickly, this feature may be key.

But what if you’re the type of person who likes to brew a pot just for yourself or one other person, and then enjoy it over the course of the morning?

Then you’ll get a lot of mileage out of the SS-20’s thermal carafe. If you don’t plan to drink pots quickly, the carafe’s design will help you enjoy warmer coffee for a longer time.

Our suggestion is this:

Get the SS-15 if you’re going to need to brew pots of coffee for several people often. Its 12-cup carafe will support crowds of people who need a quick cup of java.

But choose the SS-20 if you’re planning on mainly making pots to savor by yourself or with only a few people over time. The thermal carafe will keep your coffee warm for as long as possible.

You can dig a little deeper into the SS-15 and SS-20 here:

Looking for a coffee maker to use in an office? Check out our list of some of the best coffee makers for small offices here.

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