Best carafe

Kitchen

The pots used to brew coffee in filter coffee makers are often called carafes, even though they’re carafe pots and not true carafes.

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Which carafes are best?

Carafe is a term that describes a range of vessels, including thermal coffee carafes, water carafes and wine carafes. The best carafe for you will vary depending on what you want to use it for and what type of carafe you have in mind. 

In addition to deciding on the type of carafe you want, more features to consider, such as capacity and ease of cleaning. If you’re looking for a quality wine carafe, the Riedel Cabernet Decanter is the best choice. 

What to know before you buy a carafe

Type of carafe

There are several types of carafes available, each of which serves a different purpose. You may already know which type of carafe you require, but if not, this is the first thing you should decide. 

  • Water carafes are basic glass carafes used to serve water and other cold drinks. They look like large glass bottles, but instead of having narrow mouths like bottles do, they have large flared lips to make them quicker and easier to pour from without spilling. 
  • Wine carafes are similar to water carafes but hold wine. They have the same flared lip but often have a wider base to improve aeration. Some are designed with a particular variety of wines in mind, but it’s fine to branch out and use them for different types of wine.
  • Thermal carafes are insulated like travel mugs but with a larger capacity. They’re primarily used for coffee and other hot drinks, keeping them warm for roughly 12 hours, but they can also keep cold drinks cool all day. They’re different from other carafes as they’re more like jugs or pitchers than bottles and don’t always have that classic curved lip, so some purists don’t think of them as carafes at all. 

Capacity

The capacity of a carafe can range from a petit 25 ounces to a whopping 75 ounces, but most fall somewhere around the middle of these two extremes. Consider how much you’ll generally need your carafe to hold. For example, if you’re buying a wine carafe and you want it to hold a single bottle, look for an option of around 30 ounces, as it will fit a standard bottle with some breathing room. Only you know the right capacity to meet your needs.  

What to look for in a quality carafe

Shape

The classic carafe shape is similar to a bottle with a flared rim for pouring. While water and wine carafes fit this basic shape, some wine carafes are slightly more ornate, with angled designs or bulbous bases. 

Ease of cleaning

Consider whether your chosen carafe is dishwasher safe and how important this is to you. Some people don’t mind washing some dishes by hand, but a carafe that can’t go in the dishwasher can be a dealbreaker. 

Fridge door compatible 

When choosing a water carafe, you may want one that fits in your fridge door compartment for easy storage. 

How much you can expect to spend on a carafe

Depending on the type and quality, you can spend anywhere from $10 for a basic glass cold drinks carafe to $500 for a high-end crystal wine carafe. 

Carafe FAQ

What’s the difference between a wine carafe and a decanter? 

A. Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, the difference between a wine carafe and a decanter is that a decanter has a stopper while a carafe does not. If you spot a wine vessel with a flared lip that doesn’t have a stopper, that’s a carafe, even if it’s labeled as a decanter. 

What’s the difference between a pitcher and a carafe? 

A. When it comes down to vessels used to hold water or other cold drinks, you might be wondering the difference between a pitcher and a carafe. A pitcher is essentially a jug and has a handle and some kind of spout, while a carafe is more like a bottle with a flared lip to make it easier to pour. Carafes usually have smaller capacities and are smaller in size than pitchers. Paired with the fact that they look more elegant with pitchers, they are an excellent container to hold water at the dinner table so diners can serve themselves. 

What are the best carafes to buy?

Top carafe

Riedel Cabernet Decanter

Riedel Cabernet Decanter

What you need to know: This is a classic wine carafe, designed for cabernet but can be used for any wine. 

What you’ll love: This high-quality carafe is made from fine crystal, so it’s delicate in appearance yet as strong as glass. It holds a standard bottle of wine with a little room to breathe. It’s elegant and looks great on a dinner table. 

What you should consider: As it’s made from porous crystal, it’s not dishwasher-safe, so handwashing is your only option. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top carafe for the money

Hiware Glass Drip-Free Carafe

Hiware Glass Drip-Free Carafe

What you need to know: This is an affordable carafe for water or soft drinks made from durable borosilicate glass. 

What you’ll love: The large 50-ounce capacity makes this carafe ideal for big households or dinner parties. It features a lid with a floating cover so that it automatically pours when you tilt the carafe. The large-hold filter keeps ice and fruit inside the carafe when you pour. 

What you should consider: The narrow neck makes it hard to dry inside after cleaning. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Cresimo Stainless Steel Thermal Coffee Carafe 

Cresimo Stainless Steel Thermal Coffee Carafe 

What you need to know: This thermal carafe keeps coffee and other hot drinks warm for up to 12 hours. 

What you’ll love: As well as keeping hot drinks warm, you can use this carafe to insulate cold drinks and keep them cool for up to 24 hours. It has a 68-ounce capacity, so it’s big enough to serve a crowd. The large mouth opening makes cleaning easier.

What you should consider: Not everyone considers thermal carafes true carafes. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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