What We Like
Shows time since last brew
Heavy on features (considering low price)
What We Don't Like
Plastic elements break easily
No heating coil; relies on thermal carafe
Plastic taste lingers for first several pots
According to a 2018 study conducted by the National Coffee Association, 64 percent of Americans drink at least one cup of coffee each morning. That means a majority of people use a coffee maker, either at home or at work, with regularity. A great cup of coffee can start your day off on the right foot, but a cup of burnt or tasteless joe? That’s guaranteed to sour your mood. As avid coffee drinkers, we jumped at the chance to review the Black+Decker 12-Cup Thermal Coffeemaker to see if it was just what our kitchen was missing. Read on for our assessment of the appliance’s performance, design, features, and more.
Setup Process: Won’t cause any headaches
This coffee maker scores major points when it comes to set up. All features are incredibly easy to use, including more “advanced” ones, like choosing your brew strength or setting the time. The accompanying instruction manual is well-written and easy to follow, though the average user could probably figure out all the features without even cracking the booklet’s cover.
When following the instructions, you’ll see that you need to run the coffee maker twice with just water to clean it out before your first use. Despite doing this, we found our first few pots had a distinctly plastic taste. It wasn’t until the fourth full pot that it had fully gone away, so you may want to run it a few extra times before judging the taste.
Performance: Good enough for most people
The performance of Black+Decker’s Thermal Coffeemaker can be summed up in one sentence: It’s fine for the price. It’s not the best we’ve ever used and it has a slightly slow brew time of about 10 minutes, but it’s good enough for our (and probably most casual coffee drinkers’) needs.
We tested the coffee maker with Starbucks’ Veranda Blend coffee as we frequently use it and know what it’s supposed to taste like. We found the resulting pot was comparable in taste to that of our current coffeemaker (a cheaper Black+Decker model) though when we selected the moderate brew strength, it was definitely more robust than our older appliance.
The performance of Black+Decker’s Thermal Coffeemaker can be summed up in one sentence: It’s fine for the price.
We think the average coffee drinker would find the quality indistinguishable from other models, though true coffee aficionados may find that artisan and “third-wave” coffees still taste best coming from a pour-over or French press. No matter what coffee you’re using, make sure you clean your coffee maker regularly to maintain the quality; dirty machines will make poor coffee.
The accompanying carafe won’t keep coffee as hot as a unit with a built-in heating coil, but it does keep it hot enough for a reasonable length of time. We made coffee around 9:30 AM and by 1:30 PM it was still quite hot, so you can say goodbye to microwaving your coffee an hour after it was made.
It’s worth noting that we did have some issues with the quality of the parts. When unpacking the carafe, we accidentally dropped it from a height of 2 feet and the plastic top chipped in two places. It doesn't impact the performance of the coffee maker, but it’s easy to imagine it could if the chips were on the spout or locking mechanism. A good coffee maker is estimated to last 6 to 10 years, but you’d have to be careful with this one to get that long of a lifespan.
Design: A basic design that should match most kitchens
The design of the Black+Decker 12-Cup Thermal Coffeemaker is pretty basic. It pairs a black plastic base with a metal carafe and metal face. The appliance has a fairly standard look and won’t stand out when parked on most kitchen counters, which we’d consider a good thing.
Though it makes 12 cups, the unit has a rather small footprint, taking up less than a 7 x 9-inch square on our countertop.
The coffee maker is pretty straightforward in terms of operational design, too. Black+Decker’s 12-cup model requires a basket-shaped filter and water is poured into the rear reservoir, where it subsequently funnels through the coffee grounds and collects in the large carafe. The front of the machine has just seven buttons which are clearly labeled with selections like Auto, Strong, and 1-4 Cup. Though it makes 12 cups, the unit has a rather small footprint, taking up less than a 7 x 9-inch square on our countertop.
Features: High-end features at an accessible price point
Black+Decker has snuck several high-end features—which are normally reserved for more expensive models—into their 12-cup thermal unit. We’re pretty impatient when it comes to waiting for a full pot to brew, so we really enjoyed the Sneak-A-Cup feature. It allows you to pause the brewing process (by lifting the carafe) and pour yourself a cup before the entire pot is done. It’s a great feature for those who take a to-go cup on their morning commute—especially if you frequently forget to use your auto-brew setting.
We made coffee around 9:30 AM and by 1:30 PM it was still quite hot, so you can say goodbye to microwaving your coffee an hour after it was made.
Two other noteworthy features include the “brew strength” setting, which allows you to opt for stronger coffee, and the “time since last brew” feature, which displays how long it’s been since a fresh pot was made. The latter is particularly helpful in offices or in households where one coffee drinker wakes up earlier than others.
In addition to these standout features, Black+Decker’s Thermal Coffeemaker also has most “standard” features, including a clock, a setting for making four cups or less, and an auto brew setting so you can wake up to fresh coffee.
Price: Definitely won’t break the bank
The Black+Decker 12-Cup Thermal Coffeemaker gets major kudos for its price. Though it’s listed with an MSRP of $70, you can usually find it at online retailers for less than $50. That gives the model a leg up on coffee makers with comparable features, as they’re often more expensive.
While it’s not the most affordable model from Black+Decker, it is the brand’s least expensive unit with stainless steel. The company makes a few coffee makers that retail for roughly $35, but these models lack the features and settings we really like, such as brew strength.
Competition: Fancier options are out there
As any coffee aficionado knows, all coffee makers are not created equal. Someone who likes a good ol’ cup of joe probably doesn’t need a full coffee shop set-up, whereas someone who lives or dies by tumeric lattes likely needs something with additional bells and whistles.
If you buy whole beans but don’t have a grinder, you’ll need a coffee maker with a built-in grinder. Black+Decker makes the 12-Cup Mill & Brew Coffeemaker, priced around $80, for just this purpose. Other than the addition of grinding, it’s pretty comparable to the brand’s 12-Cup Thermal Coffeemaker, though it does include a warming plate to keep coffee hot, rather than just an insulated carafe.
For a truly high-end coffee-brewing experience, consider the Zojirushi EC-YGC120 Fresh Brew Plus 12-Cup Coffee Maker. We’ve tested several products from this brand, including travel mugs, and have found their offerings to be high quality and worth the splurge. This $150 model gives you the option of brewing hot or iced coffee, so you can skip the lengthy step of having to cool your coffee down in the fridge before drinking. When you do make hot coffee, it also has multiple hot plate settings—low, medium, and high—you can keep your coffee at your preferred temperature.
A good choice for casual coffee drinkers.
If you’re looking for a basic coffee maker that’s reliable and easy to use, you can’t go wrong with Black+Decker’s model. While it’s not the most durable and doesn’t have any super high-end features, what it does have far outperforms its modest price point.
- Product Name 12-Cup Thermal Coffeemaker
- Product Brand Black+Decker
- MPN CM2035B
- Price $69.99
- Weight 4 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 9.5 x 8 x 13 in.
- Material Plastic and stainless steel
- Warranty 2-year limited