These Carafe-Free Coffee Makers Will Fill Your Cup On-Demand & They're Game-Changers


There's a lot to love about drip coffee makers — the speed and convenience of which you can make a perfectly brewed cup of joe are among the benefits. The hassle of washing and maintaining a carafe, on the other hand, can be a drawback. Fortunately, the best carafe-free coffee makers enable you to dispense great-tasting java without the need for a traditional carafe.

When shopping for a carafe-free coffee maker, you'll find that there are more than a few styles to choose from, and the right one will largely depend on your own needs. On one side of the spectrum are coffee makers that allow you to brew up to 12 cups all at once. However, these coffee makers store and keep the coffee warm in an internal tank until you ready to dispense it. That makes it more convenient but possibly not quite as fresh-tasting if you tend to be the type who takes their time slowly enjoying one cup at a time.

On the other side are single-serve machines, which either use grinds or K-cup pods to craft your beverage. These are made for literally brewing one cup at a time, which means you'll never have to make more than you plan to drink. Though, keep in mind that as fresh-tasting as they are, one-time-use pods aren't quite as eco-friendly because they create more waste.

Caffeine lovers will also be happy to know, that thanks to innovation in this category, there are now machines that give you the option to use a carafe when you need it.

Keep scrolling for more info on the best carafe-free coffee makers you can buy on Amazon. I've divided them into two categories so you can easily pin point which fits your needs the most.

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The Best For Brewing Multiple Cups At Once

If you're looking to combine the convenience of an on-demand coffee maker with the large capacity of a traditional drip machine, these models with an internal tank will give you the option to brew up to 12 cups at a time.

1. The Overall Best

This Cuisinart coffee maker uses the same filter with ground coffee as traditional machines, but, after its done brewing, the hot drink is stored inside the internal tank and dispensed cup by cup. In addition to its 12-cup capacity, 1-4 cup option, and an internal heater to keep your brew warm for up to four hours, there are two other perks to consider. First, there's an easy-to-read "coffee gauge” that counts down how many cups are left, so you don’t have to guess when it’s time to brew more. And, second, this unit comes with a replaceable charcoal water filter that helps eliminate chlorine, bad tastes, and odors from tap water.

It also is programmable up to 24 hours in advance and easy to clean. With one exception (the water reservoir, which can be hand-washed), all of the rest of the removable parts (the filter basket, internal tank, and drip tray) are top-rack dishwasher safe. With all of these features, it's no surprise that this coffee maker has earned a five-star rating on Amazon from more than 2,200 reviewers.

Helpful review: "I’m a coffee aficionado and buy high quality beans and grind them so all this is important to me. My favorite feature is the coffee tank and cup dispenser and ease of use. No drips on the table and floor. The coffee tastes great. The machines that have the glass craft give the coffee a burnt taste and are messy and I’ve broken a few. Not so with this machine and with the insulated tank, coffee stays fresh longer."

2. The Best On A Budget

The Hamilton Beach 12-cup coffee maker has many of the same features as the pick above, but at a much lower price point. The internal heater will keep your coffee warm for up to four hours, so you only need to make one "pot" and then can come back for refills all morning long. In addition, the programmable features of this coffee maker allow you to set a time up to 24 hours in advance, select the brew strength (bold or regular), and opt for small batches of 1-4 cups. Bonus: there's even an iced coffee setting.

Cleaning this machine couldn't be any easier, either. There's an auto-clean reminder (for descaling), plus, the water reservoir, internal tank, and the filter basket are all removable The basket is top-rack dishwasher safe, while the other parts should be hand-washed with soapy water.

Helpful review: "The big reason I ordered this was because I was tired of dealing with coffee carafes. I liked the idea that it was a combination of 12-cup coffee maker with the convenience of a Keurig. And on that level it didn't disappoint...Keeping it clean is just a little easier than the carafe dripmakers I have owned. That is because it is much easier to clean the water reservoir than in most conventional dripmakers.”

3. The Most Splurge-Worthy

This 10-cup maker by Ninja is a fantastic multitasker— it's a premium machine, or as one Amazon fan boasts, "honestly does the job of about 4 separate machines that costs double what this does." It's capable of brewing hot and iced coffee, lattes, macchiatos, and more. It even has a built-in "fold-away" frother for whipping up airy milk and cream toppings. While it's a bit more of an investment and not as compact as traditional coffee makers, it's a true workhorse that has earned excellent ratings by Consumer Reports for its brew performance.

There's a 50-ounce glass carafe included with this model (or you can opt to upgrade to the thermal version), but the genius part is that it's totally optional. Simply adjust to the proper brew volume, and lift up the cup holder, and you can also use your own container (dispensing start at "cup" for a 9.5-ounce pour and goes up to 18-ounces for "XL multi-serve"). This pick is also a breeze to clean; it has an indicator to tell you when it's in need of a full descaling cycle, and the filter holder, water reservoir, and frother whisk are all removable and top-rack dishwasher-safe (as is the glass carafe).

Helpful review: "This is the best coffee maker I have ever had. I love the fact it can do any drink I could ever want and any size. I have told many people how great it is. I am very satisfied with this purchase. It can do a small cup, and large cup, half a pot, a full [pot], a concentrated brew almost like an espresso, iced coffee, milk frothing, and it has a delay brew feature as well that is very easy to use. It’s so nice to wake up to fresh coffee already made. The water reserve lasts a good amount of time as well! Overall fantastic product."

The Best Single-Serve

Unlike models with internal storage tanks, these on-demand coffee makers dispense your hot beverage directly into your cup of choice.

4. The Overall Best

With this classic pod-based Keurig coffee maker, you'll avoid having to use both a carafe and coffee filters. Simply drop in your favorite K-cup blend (or add grounds from the coffee of your choice to one of these reusable pods) then press start. It will dispense fresh java right into your mug in just under one minute. Beyond the standard 8-cup fill, you can also select from a smaller 6-ounce espresso-sized pour or a larger 10-ounce cup (note: the drip tray can be removed so you can easily place a travel mug underneath the spout, too).

In terms of cleaning, the 48-ounce water reservoir is completely removable and can be hand-washed with soapy water. To clean the machine itself, though, fill the water reservoir with vinegar and then hit the "descaling" button. Get it in red or black.

Helpful review: “This is what made me a fan of coffee. Perfect one-cup for when you need it instead of a pot you'll end of wasting. In the long run, you'll save money, so this is an investment.”

5. The Best On A Budget

If just one serving of coffee is all you need, or you live in a smaller apartment or dorm, this compact BLACK+DECKER coffee maker might be the perfect option. This drip machine uses ground coffee to make one 5-ounce beverage at a time. And it comes with a 15-ounce sized travel mug, as well as a permanent built-in coffee filter (no paper filters needed). Note: Several Amazon fans reported any cup under 5.5-inches tall can work under the spout.

The included mug is top-rack dishwasher-safe, and the filter compartment is removable and can be hand-washed. This coffee maker could not be simpler to use with a single button to operate it. Although it lacks the bells and whistles of fancier coffee machine for the super-low price, you likely won't find a better single-serving coffee maker.

Helpful review: "I am the only one in my house who drinks coffee so my programmable 12-cup pot was overkill. This is a nice basic one-cup machine. It makes one cup of coffee well, and if I fill it the night before, it doesn't take long to brew one cup for me on my way out the door to work."