If you enjoy filling your coffee cup again and again throughout the morning, you need a thermal carafe that can keep your supply hot for hours. When you own the best thermal carafe coffee maker, you can brew your coffee directly into a heat-retaining pot. Then, you can return to your thermal coffee carafe to fill your mug with steaming hot coffee again and again.
All About Thermal Carafes
Also known as an insulated carafe, the goal of a thermal carafe is to hold your coffee at a deliciously hot temperature for hours. Thermal coffeepots are typically made of stainless steel. The most effective ones use two layers of steel, and between the two layers lies an air-free vacuum that works to insulate the contents of the carafe. These coffeepots also have snug lids to help hold in the heat.
Thermal vs. Glass Carafes
Many coffee machines rely on glass carafes, but thermal carafes are gaining in popularity. When deciding which type of coffee maker to buy, consider the differences between the two pot styles.
- Allows you to see the contents of the pot.
- Lightweight construction
- May be dishwasher-safe
- Doesn’t insulate coffee
- Keeps coffee warm with a hotplate, which can lead to a burnt taste
- Fragile construction
- Keeps the coffee hot with relying on a hotplate
- Allows you to move the pot off of the coffee maker without worrying that the contents will cool down too quickly
- Won’t shatter if dropped
- Can’t see the contents of the container
- Requires hand-washing
The 10 Best Thermal Carafe Coffee Machines
1. Best for Coffee Connoisseurs: Breville BDC450 Precision Brewer Coffee Maker
When you want precise brewing control, turn to this Breville coffee machine, with which you can tweak and adjust a number of brew settings, including the temperature of the water, how quickly it flows and how long it blooms the grounds. You can also rely on the maker’s various presets, including the Gold Cup mode.
Both a flat-bottom and a cone-shaped basket are included, and you can make cold-brew or iced coffee in addition to hot coffee. Finally, you can brew just one cup at a time or fill the thermal carafe with 60 ounces of steaming coffee.
2. Best for a Crowd: Cuisinart DCC-3400 Stainless Steel Thermal Coffeemaker
The Cuisinart coffee machine’s thermal carafe can fit 12 cups of coffee, so it makes a large enough batch to keep you going all morning or to share with your coworkers. Fortunately, if you can’t wait for a full 12 ounces to brew, a pause button lets you interrupt the process for filling your cup.
With this machine, you can make regular-strength coffee, or you can select the bold setting for a stronger flavor. The machine can be programmed up to 24 hours in advance, and a signal alerts you when your coffee is ready.
3. Best for Programmability: OXO On Barista Brain 9 Cup Coffee Maker
For those who want coffee waiting for them as soon as they wake up, the OXO machine is the one for the job. With the turn of a single dial, you can set the digital controls to select both how much coffee you want to make – between two and nine cups – and when you want it to brew. You can program the unit up to 24 hours in advance.
To help you achieve maximum flavor from your coffee grounds, a rainmaker showerhead wets the grounds. There’s a short bloom time at the start of the brewing process.
4. Best Easy-to-pour Thermal Unit: Zojirushi EC-YSC100 Fresh Brew Plus
This Zojirushi machine can produce up to 10 cups of coffee at a time, and it’s easy to pour it from the thermal carafe into your mug. A push-button mechanism on the side of the handle opens the spout to make the pouring process smooth and mess-free.
You can preset the machine to brew up to 24 hours in advance. The amount of water in the removable tankdetermines how many cups of water will brew at a time. Both the water tank and the filter basket come off for washing, and the unit has an automatic cleaning cycle.
5. Best Basic Thermal Brewer: Bonavita Connoisseur 8-Cup One-Touch Coffee Maker
Not everyone is looking for bells and whistles in a coffee maker. If you simply want to brew a basic pot of coffee and have it stay hot for hours, this Bonavita unit can do that for you. With its hanging basket and showerhead design, it can brew up to eight cups of coffee at a time. To get started, all you have to do is flip a single switch.
It takes about six minutes to brew a full pot of coffee with this machine. When the coffee is ready, the machine signals you with a beep.
6. Best for Making Lattes: Ninja Coffee Bar Auto-iQ Programmable Coffee Maker
For those who want the coffeehouse experience at home, this Ninja coffee maker is the best option. Not only can you brew regular-strength, strong or iced coffee with it, but the unit also has an attached frother with which you can prepare milk for lattes and other fancy drinks. With six different size settings, you can make just a single cup of coffee or fill the thermal carafe with 10 cups of coffee.
Digital controls allow you to select your various brew settings. These buttons also allow you to preprogram the unit for automatic brewing.
7. Best for Small Kitchens: BLACK+DECKER SpaceMaker 8-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker
If you’re short on counter space, consider this BLACK+DECKER device that mounts under your cabinets instead. The thermal carafe, which can hold eight cups of coffee, hangs down from the unit. If you need to fill your cup before the brew cycle has ended, you can temporarily pause the device.
LED indicators show you the power status and whether the coffee has been brewed within the last 20 minutes. The water reservoir slides out so you can hold it under your faucet for filling. An indicator window lets you know how much water remains in the reservoir.
8. Best Thermal French Press: Secura Stainless Steel French Press Coffee Maker
Not every thermal coffee maker is an electric unit. This thermal French press offers a manual method of making coffee and keeping it hot. Although all the parts that you see are made of stainless steel, the handle and the knob stay cool, even when the carafe is filled with piping hot coffee.
To keep your coffee free of particles, the Secura French press offers three layers of filtration. Like the rest of the unit, the filters are made of stainless steel. The filtration assembly comes apart so you can wash the components thoroughly.
9. Best for Travel Mugs: Hamilton Beach Coffee Maker 45237R Stay or Go
Does each person in your house prefer a different type of coffee? This Hamilton Beach device allows you to brew two different varieties of grounds into two different travel mugs at the same time. Two mugs are included with the set. A special small-batch setting optimizes the flavor when you’re brewing into travel mugs.
If you’re staying in, you can opt to brew one variety of coffee into the 10-cup thermal carafe instead. The unit is programmable, so you can set it for your coffee to be ready when you get up in the morning.
10. Best for Grinding Beans: Capresso 465 CoffeeTeam TS 10-Cup Digital Coffeemaker
For those who value the taste of fresh-ground coffee, the Capresso coffee machine has a built-in grinder. The burr grinder prepares the beans for brewing at the beginning of each cycle. The hopper holds enough beans to make a full 20 cups of coffee, and there are five different grind settings. Of course, you can also use this machine with pre-ground coffee.
The thermal carafe can hold up to 10 cups of coffee, but you can also make as few as two cups at a time. A built-in water filter helps to reduce impurities for a crisp, clean cup of coffee.
Preheating the Carafe
Some coffee experts recommend that you preheat the carafe before filling it with coffee. This step can help your coffee stay hot for even longer.
To preheat your carafe, follow these simple steps:
- Measure out enough water to fill your carafe.
- Heat the water to nearly boiling.
- Pour the hot water into the coffeepot.
- Let the hot water sit in the carafe for 30 seconds to one minute.
- Pour out the water.
- Brew coffee into the carafe as usual.
Here’s to Hot Coffee!
Which of these coffee makers is the best for you? Each of these top 10 models features a thermal pot for stay-warm convenience, so consider the machines’ extra features in order to decide which is right for you. When you select the best thermal carafe coffee maker for your home or office, you can enjoy the convenience of making a single pot of coffee that will remain hot for hours.