Glass Vs Thermal Carafe – Which Works Better?

Are you buying a new coffee maker? Or maybe you need to replace the carafe of your current one? Knowing what you'll be purchasing is a good practice for consumers.

Two of the most popular carafes you can find are the glass and thermal carafe. How do these two differ, and which one suits your needs?

In this article, we will discuss the differences between glass vs thermal carafe, and we'll also have a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of these two containers.

Before we dive into the similarities and differences of these materials, we will first explain what a coffee carafe is.

This will give you a better understanding of its use, allowing you to decide which is best for your coffee-drinking habits.

A coffee carafe is the pot or pitcher that comes with your drip coffee maker to hold the brewed coffee. This usually comes with a handle to make it easier to pour the hot coffee into your cup.

It also comes with a lid to keep the coffee warm, a pouring spout that makes it easy for you to transfer your coffee, and cup measure markings to easily check how much coffee is left for you to consume.

Many drip coffee makers already come with a carafe. But if you think it’s not meeting your needs, you can easily swap it out with a replacement carafe.

Now that you know the purpose of coffee carafes, let’s now dig in and see how thermal vs. glass carafe differs:

Coffee Carafe for Brewing


One of the most important characteristics a coffee carafe should have is the capacity to retain heat. The best way to ensure this is by pre-heating your carafe.

But do you need to pre-heat both thermal and glass carafes to keep your coffee hot?

With thermal carafes, we recommend you pre-heat it with boiling water before you brew your coffee. Just keep the hot water in it for at least a minute before emptying it.

While this isn't an important step, it helps keep your thermal carafe from sucking the heat out of your drink fast since it's made with cold metal.

Although there's a downside with the thermal carafe's metal material, it's the same material that allows this type of carafe to retain heat even without using an external heat source like a hot plate.

In addition, some thermal carafes have a double-wall design, which lets heat stay for hours, thanks to its insulating properties.

Glass carafes don't offer heat retention and aren't double-walled. This means that keeping coffee hot in this type of container requires a direct heat source.

That's why many coffee machines with a glass carafe also have a hot plate, so the coffee stays hot.

This glass container also doesn't require pre-heating as glass doesn't suck out the heat from the hot coffee.

So, depending on your needs, both types of carafe can keep coffee hot for a long period. Glass carafes require heating plates, while thermal carafes need to be pre-heated before brewing coffee.

You just need to choose which works for you.


Another significant difference between the two is the way you clean them.

It’s not usually the first thing that comes to mind when you buy a coffee maker or carafe, but this factor will affect your coffee habits. But how so?

Well, preparing your coffee doesn't only stop after you brew it. Once you've finished your cup, you also need to clean them.

If you're used to chucking in your dishes in the dishwasher, you need something that is dishwasher-safe.

Between the two carafes, only the glass version can be used in a dishwasher. Most thermal carafes, if not all, require manual cleaning.

This doesn't mean that you can't manually clean a glass carafe--you still can.


If you're on the hunt for a new machine or new coffee carafe, the most critical question you should ask is where you intend to use it.

For those who live alone or if you only make coffee at home, a glass carafe would suffice. Not only will it fulfill all your coffee needs, but it will also save you some cash.

However, if you live in a household of coffee drinkers, it's best to get a thermal carafe.

This also works for those who make a large pot of coffee and leave it for hours since the double-walled container can keep your coffee hot for a longer period.

Apart from retaining heat, thermal coffee carafes also don't alter the taste of your coffee, even if it's been sitting in the container for hours.

Glass counterparts that use a warming plate to keep coffee hot often make the coffee taste bitter and burnt, especially when left sitting for an extended period.

A thermal carafe with double-walled stainless steel is the best choice for corporate settings that require fresh coffee all day long.

The carafe itself can provide high-level insulation, so there's no need for a heating plate. Because of this, the coffee won't have a burnt taste, even if it's been in the pot for hours.

Brand Availability

The brand of your carafe can also play a critical part in its quality. Of course, many people prefer to buy one from a popular brand like a Technivorm Moccamaster.

On top of that, if you're replacing an old carafe, you want one compatible with your current coffee machine.

Thankfully, both thermal and glass carafes come in various brands, allowing you to choose which one you prefer the most.


Do you still need to decide which one to get between thermal vs. glass carafes? Their price may help you decide quickly.

If you have the budget and it fits everything you need to serve coffee, thermal carafes are an excellent choice.

Yes, they are expensive. However, they are reliable, with some that can keep your coffee at an optimal temperature for up to seven hours.

For those who are on a budget, a glass carafe is perfect. The only drawback you need to know is this type is more likely to break easily.

If you're not too careful, you might end up buying multiple glass carafes as replacements. If it happens, this can cost as much as a thermal coffee carafe in the long run.

Overview Of Glass Carafes (What They Are Used For)

A glass carafe is a type of container that is used to serve different kinds of beverages like coffee and water.

As its name implies, it's made with glass, which is heat resistant, but some types are made with different materials such as ceramics or plastic.

It is also made with different types of glass, such as borosilicate glass, which doesn't break easily compared to other types.[1]

This type of carafe comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, with others even decorated with ornate designs or engravings. Below are some of the pros and cons when using this type of carafe:

Glass Carafes


  • Visually pleasing: If you value aesthetics, you’ll never go wrong with glass carafes. The glass material allows you to see how much coffee is remaining in the carafe, so you know if it’s time to brew another round.

    This is also the reason why different brewing devices like a French press and a manual pour-over use this material. Glass also offers a traditional look. That’s why many drip coffee makers come with this type of carafe, which blends well in a home or office setting.
  • Doesn’t alter the flavor profile of coffee: Glass is a non-reactive material that won't leave a metallic taste, unlike other materials.
  • Can be easily cleaned: Glass carafes are dishwasher-safe. This means you can just leave it in your dishwasher after every use.
  • Can make cold brew: Since it can be used without hot plates, you can use the carafe to make cold brew. All you need to do is put coffee grounds and water,  let it brew, and cool fully.


  • Can't keep coffee warm on its own: To keep coffee at its optimal temperature, you need a heating plate when using a glass carafe.
  • Breaks easily: Since it's made of glass, it tends to break more easily than the thermal one. You need to be extra careful when handling it unless you're a ninja with great reflexes when you accidentally knock it over.

Best Glassed Lined Coffee Carafe - Fellow Mighty

If you're only making coffee for yourself, this glass carafe should be on your shopping list. Its sleek design can complement any kitchen interior without being too loud or distracting.

You can use it with any pour-over dripper or brew your favorite tea in it. Our favorite part?

It's a strong and durable heat-resistant decanter that's made with 2 mm borosilicate glass that can keep your coffee warm for longer than your regular glass carafe. It also doesn't break as easily.

Overview Of Thermal Carafes (What Does It Do)

A thermal carafe is a type of container made with double-walled stainless steel, rolled steel, and other materials.

The walls have vacuum seals between them, and only a few specific spots touch each other.

This minimizes heat transfer allowing this type of container to maintain the temperature of the liquids it's holding--whether hot or cold.

While they come in various sizes and styles, most thermal carafes share the same basic design. Now, let's see the pros and cons of this type of carafe:

Thermal Coffee Carafe


  • Heat stays long: This is the most important benefit of thermal carafes. If you need something that can hold your coffee for long, coffee carafes that have a thermal feature are the ones you need.
  • No burnt taste: Since thermal carafes keep your coffee warm through their insulation, you don't need to put the container on a hot plate. Exposure to continuous heat can make your coffee develop a burnt taste, and with thermal carafes, you won't have to experience this.


  • Expensive: This type of carafe is a bit pricey since they’re made with high-quality materials.
  • Not dishwasher-safe: You need to manually clean your carafe.
  • Not aesthetically pleasing: Most thermal carafes look the same, and their design isn't that visually appealing.

Best Thermal Carafe - Heritage66 Stainless Steel

If you want a carafe that can keep your coffee fresh and warm, this is a thermal carafe for you.

Unlike regular thermal carafes, the Heritage66 uses a triple-wall vacuum insulation technology, which can keep your beverage for up to 12 hours.

It is also made with high-quality stainless steel that’s corrosion-resistance, preserving the flavor and freshness of your coffee.

Frequently Asked Coffee Carafe Questions

How do you best avoid heat loss with glass coffee carafes?

We highly recommend using a heating plate to keep your glass carafe warm. Just remember not to keep it heating for long as it will leave a burnt taste in your coffee.

Do coffee carafes crack?

Yes, it can crack, especially glass carafe. Friction and force from continued use can cause this, but accidentally knocking it over is the major cause of cracks.

Are coffee carafes interchangeable?

It depends on the brand and model of your coffee machine.

Can you put a thermal carafe on a hot plate?

Some thermal carafes come with a hot plate, but are only used when brewing coffee.

Conclusion - What To Use?

Now that you know the difference between glass and thermal carafes, you are now equipped to decide which one is best for your needs.

If you can splurge, a thermal carafe is an excellent investment. However, if you're only brewing coffee for yourself, a glass carafe is enough.



Kim Fernandez


Kim Fernandez
Kim offers a unique perspective on coffee culture and trends. Kim's writing is personal and experiential, providing readers with firsthand advice on the latest in coffee. Beyond her writing, Kim is an avid explorer of new coffee trends and spots, always seeking to share the most genuine advice and latest trends. True to her love for coffee, you'll often find her in a café, immersed in a book with a freshly brewed cup of joe.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... A freshly brewed cup of joe

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