This Coffee Maker Has 14,000 Great Reviews on Amazon—And It Keeps My Coffee Warm for Hours
The high-performance thermal carafe and some handy advanced features give this coffee maker our seal of approval.
Single-cup brewing systems and espresso makers have been rising in popularity for the last decade, but 41 percent of Americans still use a drip coffee maker to get their morning fix. Even after narrowing down the field to just drip coffee makers, the number of options on the market today is overwhelming. Some models feature advanced functionality, including features like a built-in grinder or smart connectivity, while others can make cold brew. Black and Decker coffee makers come in a variety of options, including the Black+Decker 12-Cup Thermal Coffee Maker, which is a budget model that has some advanced features as well as an insulated thermal carafe.
Traditional coffee makers use one of two methods to keep coffee hot: thermal carafes or hot plate–style warmers. Generally speaking, most affordable coffee makers feature glass carafes with hot plates, while thermal carafes are typically associated with higher price points. I knew I wanted to avoid the burnt taste that hot plates can create, which is why I decided on a thermal carafe. The Black+Decker 12-Cup Thermal Coffee Maker is uniquely positioned on the market because it features a thermal carafe yet maintains a low price point. I’ve tested this coffee maker in my own home for the past six months to see how it performs on a day-to-day basis. This review is based on my experience and reflects my viewpoint on why this model would make an excellent pick for many households.
Verdict: With an insulated thermal carafe and a range of valuable features, this budget-friendly machine kept my coffee warm for hours.
- Insulated thermal carafe
- Sneak-a-Cup feature
- Brew strength selector
- Intuitive user interface
- Displays time elapsed since coffee brewed
- Flimsy plastic components
- Fixed water reservoir
- Long brew time
- Requires paper filters
What’s So Great About the Black+Decker Thermal Coffee Maker?
The Black and Decker coffee maker offers a number of features that users expect to find on a standard drip coffee maker:
- 24-hour programmability allows me to prepare the water and grounds the night before.
- Auto shutoff is a useful safety feature to ensure the machine isn’t accidentally left on for hours.
- The 1 to 4 cups feature allows me to make a smaller pot of coffee with the same balanced flavor.
This model also boasts a few advanced features that aren’t typically found on a budget coffee maker:
- The Sneak-a-Cup feature pauses the brewing process by simply picking up the carafe—a handy option for when I am rushing in the morning and don’t have time to wait until the brew cycle is complete. Do note that, like most drip coffee makers, the first half of the brew cycle typically produces more robust coffee, which means waiting for the brewing to complete provides a more balanced flavor.
- A brew-strength selector offers options for strong, bold, or regular coffee, customizing each pot to best suit the coffee type.
- A showerhead-style water dispensing system ensures the water evenly saturates coffee grounds for ideal extraction, resulting in well-balanced flavor in every pot.
How Easy is the Black & Decker 12-Cup Thermal Coffee Maker to Use?
One significant advantage of the Black & Decker 12-Cup Thermal Coffee Maker is its compact design. Its small footprint of just 7 inches by 9 inches—despite producing 12 cups of coffee—makes it an excellent choice for kitchens with limited counter space.
The user interface is well crafted and highly intuitive to use. For example, changing the time after a power outage or during daylight saving time simply requires me to press the hour and minute buttons with no additional steps. The LCD display indicates how much time has passed since the coffee was brewed, so I always know exactly how fresh it is.
Unfortunately, the Black & Decker coffee maker doesn’t feature a permanent filter; however, disposable basket-shaped paper filters are available. While this makes daily cleanup a bit simpler, it increases costs over time and produces unnecessary waste.
Some higher-end models allow for the water reservoir to detach for an easy fill-up from the faucet, while basic coffee makers require you to fill the carafe—or another vessel—with water and pour it into the reservoir. This model is the latter: The water reservoir is not removable, making it more of a hassle to fill.
Another downside of this model is the plastic construction. While the machine boasts a sleek and modern appearance with stainless steel accents, the body is primarily made from lightweight plastic, giving it, what I felt, was a somewhat flimsy feel. While none of the components on my model have cracked or broken, it doesn’t feel like they’re made to last. The carafe, on the other hand, feels sturdy and durable.
What Is the Setup and Cleanup Process Like?
Setting up the Black and Decker coffee maker takes just a few minutes. The instruction manual is concise and clearly written, though I did not feel the need to read it completely because the setup is so easy. The manual recommends running two water cycles through the machine before brewing coffee—standard for new drip coffee makers.
The carafe features an easy-pour spout to avoid spills and a wide mouth that makes it easy to wash thoroughly with soap and water. The removable filter basket is conveniently top-rack dishwasher safe, which makes cleaning it a breeze. As an added bonus, this model also displays a notification when it’s time to run a descaling cycle with a mixture of water and vinegar to eliminate any mineral deposits.
How Long Does The Thermal Coffee Maker Keep Coffee Hot?
The Black & Decker coffee maker’s primary selling point is its double-walled, vacuum-sealed thermal carafe. While preferences vary in terms of the ideal serving temperature for coffee, most sources recommend temperatures in the range of 130 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Based on my tests, the coffee measured 168 degrees immediately after the conclusion of the brew cycle. After 1 hour, the temperature of my coffee had dropped to 150 degrees, which is to be expected. After 2 hours, my coffee measured 147 degrees. Even 7 hours after being brewed, my coffee maintained a temperature of 135 degrees, which is hot enough for most people to enjoy without microwaving it.
One downside is that this machine has a relatively long brew time at about 10 minutes. While a nonissue when I set up my coffee the night before to brew at the perfect time, it can be annoying when I am anxiously waiting for the brew cycle to finish before I rush out the door. Luckily, in those moments, I can take advantage of the Sneak-a-Cup brew pausing feature.
What Other Features Are Available On This Coffee Maker?
The Black & Decker 12-Cup Thermal Coffee Maker has a list price of $69.99, but it’s typically available for around $50 from a variety of online retailers (such as Amazon and The Home Depot). This approximate cost places it in the middle price range for a drip coffee maker. While there are certainly more affordable 12-cup coffee makers, they will most likely feature a glass carafe with a warming plate, which might impart a burnt taste starting 20 minutes or so after you’ve brewed the coffee.
Considering its thermal carafe and range of advanced features, this model provides a great bang for the buck. In fact, many models with similar features and specifications to the Black & Decker 12-Cup Thermal Coffee Maker are twice the price.
Is the Black+Decker Coffee Maker Right for You?
The Black & Decker 12-Cup Thermal Coffee Maker is an excellent pick if you’re looking for a budget-friendly drip coffee maker with a thermal carafe. While glass carafes are sufficient for users who drink their coffee within 20 minutes of brewing, thermal carafes are the ideal choice for those who like to enjoy several cups throughout the day. Due to its 12-cup capacity, this model is suitable for households with multiple coffee drinkers or those who entertain frequently. The coffee maker’s small footprint paired with a high capacity make it an ideal model for office kitchens and homes with limited counter space.
Skip this model, however, if a quick brew time is a top priority or if you’ll be put off by the lightweight plastic components. It’s also not the best choice for those looking to minimize waste due to the lack of a permanent filter, though eco-conscious users could always opt for biodegradable compostable filters.