Thermal carafe vs glass carafe – 7 important factors to consider

What do you use to make your coffee? If you plan to try out something new, why not try out either the thermal or glass carafe. They will not let you down. A carafe is a unique flask or elongated vessel used to serve wine, water, coffee, or juice in a restaurant. They are essential in retaining the taste of the coffee and its hotness. Let me compare the two so that you can know which one can work best for you.

Tip: If you want to skip reading and jump straight to the pros and cons, you can click here.

Comparing the thermal carafe and glass carafe

1. Structure

The thermal ones are double-walled with a flask-like structure. Most models have their double walls made of stainless steel. In contrast, few of them have other materials, such as powder-coated aluminum. The vacuum between the two walls helps prevent heat loss through convection and reduces heat transfer through conduction. This impressive structure is what makes them keep liquids hot for long. No more worries about the coffee getting cold while waiting for others to come for breakfast!

Glass carafes also have a unique design like thermal ones. However, in the case of thermal ones, the material helps to retain the heat. For glass pitchers, for the coffee to remain hot, you will need to put on top of a hotplate. These mostly have wooden or plastic handles that are bad conductors of heat. Thus, you can easily carry it at ease.

2. Better coffee – The most important factor!

The thermal flasks work on their own. Their beautiful structures make them retain the hotness, freshness, and good taste of the coffee. It also doesn’t get a burnt taste even when it stays for long. This burnt taste is because the material used doesn’t react, as it happens in plastic.

On the other hand, glass flasks tend to lose heat quickly. Hence, you will need to reheat to make the coffee hot again. Frequent reheating makes the coffee to lose its freshness and get a bland, stale taste. Just like the thermal ones, they also don’t react to the liquid material.

3. Retaining heat – the primary purpose of getting one!

The carafes constructed out of thermal materials tend to retain heat better than the glass ones due to double walls. The shiny surface also reflects the heat, thus maintaining it. Hence, the vacuum insulation keeps the coffee hot for an extended period.

The material used to make glass is usually the durable type. However, you cannot compare that kind of material with the one used to make the thermal decanters. Thus, heat-retaining differs. Glass ones miss out on the insulation part. Hence, it does not keep the coffee hot for long.

Related: Checkout our top rated thermal carafe coffee makers !

4. Fragility

Thermal carafes do not break easily due to the durable materials used while making them. These are the likes of aluminum and steel that are hard to break. It is, therefore, suitable for commercial or home use. Pick your choice!

Glass carafes tend to be more fragile than thermal ones. If you happen to drop it on the floor accidentally, it might crack it or even end up breaking it. Nevertheless, the glass ones are not preferred for commercial or office usage since they are fragile and need frequent replacements. To avoid this, it makes sense to skip the glass material altogether.

5. Price

Price is an important aspect when you are going to make a buying decision. It’s pretty apparent the glass ones are less expensive than the thermal ones, and they tend to last longer.

thermal vs glass carafe comparison

6. Aesthetic nature

Thermal carafes are also appealing and look marvelous. However, you cannot compare it with the fantastic look of the glass ones! If you want to purchase the perfect one, make sure to get the one made from a sufficient material. They tend to have standard designs and thus not as unique. Also, they are opaque; therefore, you can’t easily see the coffee level at ease. You will need to hold it to know the amount of the left.

Glass carafes have a pleasing, aesthetic, traditional look that many people are familiar with and might have used. Trust me; you will be amazed by the site of coffee dripping due to its transparent nature. This transparent body also aids in monitoring the level of coffee in the carafe. You can feel the robust aroma of coffee when it drips from the ground of the pot. It’s a smell or essence that you will never get tired of; it will amaze you every time!

7. Portability and maintenance

The making of thermal carafes involves heavy material usage, which makes it hard to move around. However, it is ideal to use on your dining table because of how it retains heat, so you won’t have to reheat over and over again. Also, it takes more effort when trying to clean a thermal one due to the advanced structure. For example, you will notice that the coffee gets trapped between the double walls, which can be tricky to clean.

The glass decanters are much easier to carry around since they consist of light, durable glass material. They are also easy to clean due to their transparent nature, making it easy to see any dirt. However, it would be best if you were careful to prevent it from falling over. The glass ones are dishwasher friendly and don’t easily stain, making them last longer.

A quick recap of all the pros and cons for the thermal ones, in case if you did not read the entire article!

The good and the bad for thermal carafes


  • The coffee stays fresh with its aroma intact.
  • The insulated environment slows down the exchange of heat with the environment.
  • It is preferred for both – domestic as well as commercial usage.
  • They look marvellous, can be found in various types of colours as well.
  • Capable of keeping the coffee hot for several hours, depends on the material and build quality as well.
  • Easy to pour spout in several cases.
  • They have been constructed using durable materials and are not easy to break.


  • They can get expensive as compared to other materials.
  • They are bulky, so handling and cleaning them can be difficult at times.
  • They are not dishwasher friendly, so you will have to wash it with your bare hands.
an image of pouring beverage from decanter

Pros and cons for the glass carafes!


  • They look stylish and are transparent in nature.
  • The amount of beverage left is clearly visible through the sidewall.
  • They are light in weight and easy to serve.
  • Most of these are dishwasher friendly, so they are easy to maintain and clean.


  • They cannot keep the coffee hot for several hours like in case of thermal ones.
  • They are fragile, can break easily if you drop it on the ground.
  • Aroma cannot be preserved for long time.

Final thoughts – which one should you consider?

It all depends on your taste and the material you desire. If your main objective is to keep coffee hot for an extended period, then the thermal carafe may be the best option. On the other hand, if you want to have stylish apparatus and show it off, then the glass ones are your best bet. You should also consider the number of cups of coffee you have every day before shopping.

It would be best to have a personal debate with your creative mind while weighing your preferences with the advantages and disadvantages of the two carafes. A consideration of your budget should also be in the picture. The durability of the build is one of the most crucial factors before you make a buying decision. If there are kids at your home, then getting a durable one is a must. Either way, even if you plan on using it in your coffee shop or office, it does make sense to get one that will last longer and doesn’t need replacement soon.

What are the other options available?

Some of the popular options include the ones like Zojirushi Fresh brew plus and the OXO On barista. Keeping aside the names, (which are unique in their own way), these are popular options that you can consider. Our top rated thermal coffee maker, the Technivorm Moccamaster includes the option of both the types of carafes viz the glass and thermal one.

Make your choice wisely! All the best in your next shopping venture.

About Arianna Koss

Hi there! My name is Arianna Koss. Some of my friends call me a coffee freak, but I admire coffee and it’s my passion. I love to have lattes and espressos, and even worked as Barista for 3 years! I have created this blog to share the recipes and tricks that I have used to make the great cup of joe. Don’t forget to subscribe so that you do not miss out on any updates!

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