A thermal carafe coffee maker is the best choice for keeping freshly brewed coffee hot over a longer period of time. Most insulated carafes are capable of keeping it hot throughout the day, and you’ll save money on electricity because you don’t have to keep a warming plate on anymore.
This type of coffee maker is a great pick for those who like to make a large batch of coffee in the morning, but it also works great if you’re entertaining guests or want to bring your coffee with you outside.
Our top pick is the Cuisinart DCC-3400 Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker, a buyer’s favorite that performs extremely well and keeps your coffee hot for a good amount of time. For more options, check the list below for our top picks in each category.
Best overall: Cuisinart DCC-3400 Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker
The Cuisinart DCC-3400 Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker has thousands of positive reviews, and it’s no mystery to us. It makes great coffee, has great features, and is easy to use.
Pros: 12-cup capacity, makes great coffee, adjustable taste (bold, regular, or 1-4 cups), sleek design, backlit digital display, very easy to use, available in multiple color options.
Cons: Thermal carafe is a bit bulky, making it hard to pour the last cup of coffee without splashing. Filling the water tank can be difficult.
The Cuisinart DCC-3400 Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker is extremely popular, and we believe it’s the best option overall. It features a beautiful, sleek design with a control panel on top, as well as a few useful settings that will alter the coffee taste to your liking. Try the “Bold” setting for a stronger coffee, or go with the “1-4 Cups” setting to get an optimal brewing cycle for a smaller batch.
Besides offering adjustable taste options, you can also delay the brewing process for up to 24 hours. That means you can have coffee ready to serve when you get up in the morning, saving you time on a busy morning.
Although we appreciate the stylish and functional design, it has one disadvantage that we’ve noticed with many coffee makers: the water level indicator is located on the side and is barely visible unless you turn the coffee maker and look right at it. It isn’t a big issue, but slightly annoying if you like to measure the water correctly when brewing a fresh batch of coffee.
Another caveat is the design of the thermal carafe. It’s quite bulky and has an edge around the opening, which means that you’ll have to almost turn it upside down in order to get all the coffee out.
Best on a budget: BLACK+DECKER CM2035B 12-Cup Thermal Coffee Maker
With a modern design and great features, the BLACK+DECKER CM2035B is a great choice for those seeking an affordable thermal carafe coffee maker.
Pros: Great overall value, makes up to 12 cups at a time, three different taste options (regular, strong, 1-4 cups), small footprint on counter, great coffee taste, easy to clean, quiet brewing operation.
Cons: Some parts appear a bit fragile, capacity of carafe is bigger than the water tank, so if you fill it up completely you’ll either overflow the water tank or have to empty the remaining water from the carafe afterwards. Relatively slow brewing process.
If you’re seeking an affordable thermal carafe coffee maker, the BLACK+DECKER CM2035B will most likely leave you positively surprised. First and foremost, it makes great coffee with a proper taste, and although it’s a very cheap coffee maker you still get a few additional adjustment options.
Choose between a regular brew, a strong brew, or a 1-4 cup brew, all adjusting the brewing process to suit your liking.
The thermal carafe works surprisingly well too, and we appreciate the fact that its opening is wide enough for easy cleaning on the inside. Surprisingly this isn’t a normal feature on all thermal carafes, which is why we wanted to highlight it.
Apart from the advantages of this coffee maker, there are a few disadvantages too, mainly regarding the low price and the overall build quality. Although it isn’t necessarily an issue, we thought some of the moving parts seem a bit fragile, such as the lid and the control panel. We saw a few reviews mentioning the fact that text wears off the buttons over time, but again, this doesn’t affect the overall performance of this otherwise great thermal carafe coffee maker.
Best splurge: Technivorm Moccamaster 79112 KBT Coffee Brewer
Technivorm Moccamaster 79112 KBT, Polished Silver
If you want a premium, fast, and reliable thermal carafe coffee maker, the handmade Technivorm Moccamaster 79112 KBT is our favorite pick.
Pros: Handmade in the Netherlands, quiet operation, fast 4-6 minutes brewing process, extremely reliable, beautiful design, thermal carafe is well built, spare parts available.
Cons: Brew basket is a little cumbersome to set up, no permanent filter included, pouring spout of carafe is quite wide, design is somewhat old-fashioned.
There’s a reason why Moccamaster coffee makers have been around since the early 1960’s. They’re well made, durable, and make consistently great tasting coffee. Not only does the coffee taste great, it’s also brewed quickly and quietly, abiding by the requirements set by the Specialty Coffee Association.
First and foremost, we really like the design of the Technivorm Moccamaster 79112 KBT coffee maker. It comes with a durable stainless steel thermal cafe that slides right into place with no effort, and most parts are made from metal with a few parts made from black, durable plastic.
Secondly, Moccamaster coffee makers are manufactured on their own factory in the Netherlands, where real people assemble them by hand till this day. This doesn’t just ensure that all coffee makers are properly assembled, but Technivorm as a company also meets strict requirements to working conditions, environmental impact from their production lines, and more.
Based on our own experiences with Moccamaster, it makes coffee fast without too much noise. We haven’t noticed any loud gurgling noises which is otherwise common with most coffee makers, and you can adjust the strength of your coffee by simply pushing a lever on the side of the brewing basket.
One thing we found a bit cumbersome with the Moccamaster coffee maker, is the design of the brewing basket itself. First of all you’ll have to remove the basket and place it on the counter while adding a filter and ground coffee, but because of the design it tips over easily. What we usually do is taking the lid and placing it upside down to create a secure base for the filter basket, but it’s just an annoying extra step that wouldn’t be necessary if the brewing basket could swing out instead.
Another thing worth noting is the thermal carafe doesn’t have an actual pouring spout, but instead has a rounded opening. You’ll have to pour your coffee slowly, to avoid spillage.
Best programmable: Cuisinart CHW-14 Coffee Plus 10-Cup Thermal Coffee Maker
Cuisinart CHW-14 Coffee Plus
If you like options and versatility, the Cuisinart CHW-14 Coffee Plus should be your first choice. Besides brewing a great coffee, it also has a hot water dispenser on the side.
Pros: Has a separate hot water dispenser, thermal carafe works great, programmable with a delayed start up to 24 hours, multiple options for strength, optional “ready” tone when making coffee.
Cons: Design is somewhat old school, relatively larger footprint on your countertop than other coffee makers, water level marker is in a convenient location, hot water tank only holds up to 56 ounces of water.
The Cuisinart CHW-14 Coffee Plus is not only a great thermal carafe coffee maker, but also a hot water dispenser that will keep you covered for all your hot beverage needs. With two separate water tanks and heating systems you can make coffee and dispense hot water at the same time, fulfilling all your family’s needs without a water kettle on the side.
It makes a great, piping hot cup of coffee directly into the thermal carafe, and the hot water dispenser fits both small and large mugs.
One thing we appreciate besides the delayed start feature, is the strength option. You can either choose a regular brew or a small 1-4 cup brew, whereas the 1-4 cup brew adjusts the water flow to ensure the coffee tastes great although you make a smaller batch.
Although we generally like this thermal carafe coffee maker and the idea of having a hot water dispenser on the site, we dislike the overall design of it. It seems a bit outdated although it works really well, but the display for example is quite small and can be hard to read for some people.
The hot water dispenser holds only 56 ounces of water, meaning it has to be filled ever so often if you’re a frequent user, so in this case it might be easier to just boil your water in a kettle or a small pot on your stovetop.
Although the design is somewhat old fashioned, it works extremely well and overall the coffee maker seems quite durable.
Best compact: Bonavita BV1900TS 8-Cup One-Touch Thermal Coffee Maker
Bonavita BV1900TS, Stainless Steel
If you’re looking for a compact, no-fuss thermal carafe coffee maker, the Bonavita BV1900TS 8-Cup Coffee Maker is a great choice.
Pros: Small footprint – measures only 12.4″ x 6.8″, optional pre-infusion mode, great thermal carafe with an efficient pouring spout, very simple operation, transparent water tank.
Cons: Filter basket sits right on top of the thermal carafe, no strength adjustment options, a bit difficult to figure out of pre-infusion mode is on or off.
If you like hot coffee yet don’t like the large footprint of a regular-sized coffee maker, the Bonavita BV1900TS 8-Cup One-Touch Coffee Maker is a solid choice. Aside from a housing made from stainless steel, it has some plastic parts that are all BPA-free.
With this thermal carafe coffee maker you can make a total of 8 cups of coffee, and we think it makes great tasting coffee that caters to most people. Not too strong, yet not too weak either – which is a good thing, because you can’t adjust the strength with machine.
Another great feature is the transparent water tank with an easily readable water level indicator on the side, enabling you to always keep track of how much water is left.
It also comes with the option to either activating or deactivating the pre-infusion mode, but we prefer to keep it activated to ensure a better and more wholesome taste of our coffee. Pre-infusion, sometimes also referred to as blooming, is an automatic feature in almost any coffee maker. It wets the coffee grounds evenly and let them soak for a while, before starting the actual brewing process. By doing so, you ensure that most grounds are packed into a uniform matter with less chance of water channeling through to the bottom of the filter basket.
We found the pre-infusion mode a bit cumbersome to activate and deactivate, because it requires that you hold the power-button down for a few seconds until the light blinks once. However, there’s no way of telling whether it’s turned off or on.
Another small disadvantage, which isn’t really a big deal, is the fact that the filter basket sits directly on top of the thermal carafe. Once the coffee is done brewing, you’ll have to either empty the filter basket and rinse it off immediately, or place it by the side on a bowl to avoid spillage onto the countertop.
Best single serve: BLACK+DECKER CM618 Thermal Mug Coffee Maker
If you’re the only one drinking coffee yet still want it freshly brewed without too much work, the BLACK+DECKER CM618 is a proper single serve coffee maker.
Pros: Very affordable, very small footprint on your countertop, thermal travel mug is included, compatible with soft pods for an easier brewing process, removable filter basket included, 16-ounce thermal mug included.
Cons: Might drip a few more drops after you remove the travel mug, and there’s no drip tray. Not compatible with K-Cup pods, coffee might be a little colder than other coffee makers.
If you’re the only one in the house who drinks coffee yet still want freshly brewed drip coffee, the BLACK+DECKER CM618 is your best option. With the travel mug included you can make hot coffee quickly and keep it hot for a long time, and if you have a long drive ahead of you, simply apply the lid on top of the mug and take it with you. As simple as that.
While this thermal carafe coffee maker doesn’t support K-Cup pods, it does however support soft pods. These are OK for a quick cup of coffee without the mess, but it might lack the rich and bold taste of a regular cup of drip coffee.
Also worth reading: The Best Single Serve Coffee Maker Without Pods
Another thing worth mentioning is that you might see a few drops dripping from the filter basket after you remove the thermal mug, and since there’s no drip tray you’ll either have to place a bowl underneath it or wait 5-10 minutes for it to stop dripping before you pull the mug out.
All in all you’ll get a proper alternative to a large thermal carafe coffee maker, and for a single serving this is a great option.
Best with grinder: Capresso 465 CoffeeTeam TS 10-Cup Digital Coffee Maker
Capresso 465 CoffeeTeam TS
Built-in grinder, programmable timer, and a thermal carafe. The Capresso 465 CoffeeTeam TS makes great coffee from your beans of choice, and keeps it hot afterwards.
Pros: Easy to clean and maintain, built-in grinder has its own separate compartment where steam can’t get into the grinding mechanism, burr grinder is efficient and quiet, programmable timer, adjustable coffee strength.
Cons: Water level indicator is hidden in a rear corner, control panel is a little confusing, grinder doesn’t work well with oily beans, the whole bean compartment is relatively small, display is very bright, which for some people might be inconvenient.
The Capresso 465 CoffeeTeam TS 10-Cup Digital Coffee Maker features a conical burr grinder, which is the best option for a proper, uniform grind. It also comes with a stainless steel thermal carafe, and the filter basket swings out for easy cleaning. The filter is a permanent goldtone filter, so there’s no need to purchase expensive paper filters.
What we also appreciate about this thermal carafe coffee maker, is the fact that you can adjust the strength of your coffee. That means you can get a milder coffee or a stronger coffee, depending on your personal taste.
You can also choose to deactivate the grinder if you want to use pre-ground beans, which is a neat feature if you want to make different types of coffee with different beans.
One trade-off with this design is the thermal carafe is quite bulky. You’ll have to turn it upside down to get out the last cup of coffee, with the risk of splashing it all over the table. We’re also slightly bothered by the nearly invisible water level indicator located in the rear corner, and oily beans might clog up the grinder often if you’re not making sure it’s clean and inspected from time to time.
Despite a few flaws, we still wholeheartedly believe that this thermal carafe coffee maker is your best choice if you like the idea of having a built-in grinder for your freshly roasted coffee beans.
Best for large quantities: BUNN CSB3T Speed Brew Platinum Thermal Coffee Maker
BUNN CSB3T Speed Brew Platinum
Designed and assembled in USA, the BUNN CSB3T Speed Brew Platinum Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker is a solid, durable, and extremely fast coffee maker.
Pros: Brews 10 cups of coffee in just 4 minutes, durable build quality, assembled in USA, great thermal carafe with a practical pouring spout, very easy to use, doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.
Cons: Some materials seem a bit cheaper than on older models, water is kept hot all the time, using more electricity than other coffee makers. It’s relatively larger than other coffee makers of the same capacity.
If you want an honest, durable and simplistic coffee maker, the BUNN CSB3T Speed Brew Platinum is a great choice. It is designed and assembled at BUNN’s own plants in USA, so you know it’s quality.
BUNN generally has a good track record and has a large range of industrial coffee makers for restaurants or cafeterias, and we believe it stands out as a witness of a proper, durable quality with a long lifespan.
One particular thing we like about this thermal carafe coffee maker, is the ability to brew a full 10 cups of coffee in just four minutes. This is possible because the water in the tank is kept warm all time, ready to pour over the coffee grounds as soon as it’s activated.
Unfortunately, the water tank is also its weakness because it isn’t possible to switch it off unless you turn off the coffee maker completely. If you forget it, the water will just sit and keep warm until next time you decide to make coffee. For an office environment this is a great feature because you can save time and still get great coffee, but at home there might be better alternatives,
For fast brewing of large quantities, the BUNN CSB3T Speed Brew Platinum is still a number one pick for us.
5 things to consider before buying a thermal carafe coffee maker
If you’re wondering how to keep your coffee hot for the entirety of the day, thermal carafe coffee makers are one of the best options you have.
It’s always a good idea to learn about a product, before buying it. And not just one product, but all features you can get for a specific product.
When choosing a thermal carafe coffee maker, there are a few features that are worth considering before making your final choice.
Here’s what we always consider ourselves, before buying a new thermal carafe coffee maker:
The capacity indicates how many cups of coffee you can make on a single brewing cycle. One cup is around 4 fl.oz., but of course it depends on how big your cups are (and how thirsty you are…)
We’d recommend you to get a coffee maker with capacity for AT LEAST 50 fl.oz., which will give you somewhere between 10 and 12 cups of fresh coffee at a time.
From personal experience, we know there’s nothing more off-putting than having to do more than one brewing cycle each time you have a couple of friends over for a cup of coffee.
You can get all kinds of features, and some thermal carafe coffee makers have a control that looks like something from a Sci-Fi movie with lots of buttons, switches, a display, and more.
Our recommendation is to get a coffee maker with as few features as possible. Why, you may ask? Because for each feature there’s a small learning curve, and you may end up wasting your time and money on features you end up never using.
While some features like self-cleaning, 1-4 cup settings, and ready-alert tones are nice to have, we’d advice you to consider whether they are must-haves or not.
There are large gaps between the most expensive models and the cheapest ones.
While we generally don’t recommend to get the cheapest products possible, we don’t recommend you to get the most expensive one either.
Choose the one that suits your budget, but always choose build quality over additional features. At the end of the day, the features don’t matter if the coffee maker ends up breaking after just one year.
Built-in grinder (or not)?
Built-in grinders are great for those who like their beans freshly ground for each brewing cycle.
Have in mind, that a grinder is quite noisy when it’s running, so if you’re bothered by loud noise in the mornings, this may not be the best option for you.
If grinding your own beans is important for you, check out these compact burr coffee grinders instead.
Timer (or no timer)?
A timer is a great feature for those who want their coffee to be ready in a busy morning, without having to spend 10-15 minutes making it.
With a timer you can prepare everything the night before, and the coffee maker will automatically start brewing at the time you’ve set it to.