Best Thermos 2020 – Reviews and Top Picks

Have you noticed how many people are now drinking coffee in the morning from their personal insulated bottles instead of paper cups? Or sipping ice-cold water on top of the mountain you’ve just been climbing for the last few days. The answer is – annoyingly a lot! 

I know, I know, buying a thermos might seem like a handful, I’ve been there. But it’s not only environmentally friendly but also a very beneficial thing to have. Your drinks stay at the original temperature, it’s easy to drink from, to refill, and it saves you a few bucks on drinks every day. Yet, how does one find the best thermos? Fear not; it’s not as tricky as you think. Here I present you with the list of the best thermoses, followed up with the advice on how to choose the right thermos for you and what you should pay attention to. Hope it helps!

  • Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle
  • Rating:
  • Volume: 25oz
  • Body Material: 18/8 Stainless Steel
  • Insulation time: Hot – up to 32 hours; ice – 160 hours
  • Lid Type: Insulated Screw Cap
  • Thermos Stainless King
  • Rating:
  • Volume: 40oz
  • Body Material: Double wall stainless steel
  • Insulation time: Hot – up to 24 hours; ice – 24 hours
  • Lid Type: Screw cap
  • Hydro Flask Travel Coffee Flask
  • Rating:
  • Volume: 12-20oz
  • Body Material: 18/8 Food-Grade Stainless Steel
  • Insulation time: Hot – up to 4 hours; ice – 24 hours
  • Lid Type: Hydro flip cap
Name
Volume:
Body Material:
Insulation time:
Lid Type:
Price
Name
Volume:
Body Material:
Insulation time:
Lid Type:
Price
№1
25oz
18/8 Stainless Steel
Hot – up to 32 hours; ice – 160 hours
Insulated Screw Cap
№2
40oz
Double wall stainless steel
Hot – up to 24 hours; ice – 24 hours
Screw cap
№3
12-20oz
18/8 Food-Grade Stainless Steel
Hot – up to 6 hours; ice – 24 hours
Hydro flip cap
№4
18oz
18/8 Food-grade Stainless Steel
Hot – up to 4 hours; ice – 24 hours
Triple Haul Cap
№5
20oz
Stainless Steel
Hot – up to 6 hours; ice – 24 hours
Flip-open lid
№6
20oz
Stainless Steel
Hot – up to 7 hours; ice – 18 hours
Auto Seal lid
№7
18oz
18/8 food-grade stainless steel
Hot – up to 12 hours; ice – 24 hours
Flex cap
№8
16oz
Food-grade 18/8 Stainless Steel
Hot – up to 6 hours; ice – 6 hours
Flip-open lid
№9
16oz
18/8 double wall Stainless steel
Hot – up to 6 hours; ice – 24 hours
Push Button lid
№10
16/20oz
18/8 food-grade premium Stainless Steel
Hot – up to 8 hours; ice – 36 hours
Push Button Lid

The legendary Stanley produces one of the most reliable thermoses on the market, including their trademark and campers favorite Classic Vacuum Bottle. The body is made from infrangible 18/8 stainless steel (free from BPA), equipped with an insulated lid, and almost entirely leak-proof. The bottle comes in various sizes and is suitable for everything from hot water, tea to coffee, and soups. Hands down, the best-insulated thermos out there.

Volume:
25oz
Body Material:
18/8 Stainless Steel
Insulation time:
Hot – up to 32 hours; ice – 160 hours
Lid Type:
Insulated Screw Cap
PROS
  • Ideal for camping
  • Insulation time
  • BPA free body material
  • Great insulation
  • Durability
  • Comes with a cup
Cons
  • Quality control issues (leaking, poor insulation, cap)

“Stainless King” – the signature Thermos collection, most suitable for hot drinks. The bottle features a double stainless-steel body, vacuum insulation technology, with 24-hour insulation time (both hot & cold), as well as a screw cap with twist & pour stopper. It also comes with a cup and a comfortable carrying handle. Overall, an excellent thermos option for long trips where the volume and insulation are of top importance.

Volume:
40oz
Body Material:
Double wall stainless steel
Insulation time:
Hot – up to 24 hours; ice – 24 hours
Lid Type:
Screw cap
PROS
  • Twist/pour stopper
  • Vacuum insulation
  • Carrying handle 
  • Budget friendly
  • Comes with a cup
Cons
  • Rusting

If you are looking for a travel mug for your coffee in the morning, there can’t be a better choice than Hydro Flask. Portable, colorful coffee flasks come in three sizes, fitting the coffee takeaway sizes in every coffee shop. The body features durable and chemical-free 18/8 stainless steel and Hydro Flip cap, which can easily be changed to any other cap in the Hydro Arsenal. The coffee itself stays hot for several hours.

Volume:
12-20oz
Body Material:
18/8 Food-Grade Stainless Steel
Insulation time:
Hot – up to 6 hours; ice – 24 hours
Lid Type:
Hydro flip cap
PROS
  • Portable
  • Colorful palette
  • Compatible with multiple caps types
  • TempShield insulation
  • Suitable for the majority of coffee brewing systems
Cons
  • Leaking cap
  • Not suitable for camping

The YETI Rambler Family is pretty vast (it even includes a wine glass!), but the 18oz bottle is one of the most popular options. As with every other YETI, this bottle is produced with bulletproof stainless steel, utilizes double-wall vacuum insulation to maintain the temperature of the drinks, and is topped with a Triple Haul Cap.

Volume:
18oz
Body Material:
18/8 Food-grade Stainless Steel
Insulation time:
Hot – up to 4 hours; ice – 24 hours
Lid Type:
Triple Haul Cap
PROS
  • Durability
  • Absolutely no leaking
  • Triple Haul Cap
  • Colorful palette
Cons
  • Little insulation

A dinosaur on the market – Japanese Zojirushi – is widely known for its quality kitchen equipment, small electrics, and of course, vacuum bottles. Thus, Zojirushi SM-SA60-BA is a compact, reliable, highly insulated thermos, which is easy to carry around and to drink from. The body features vacuum insulation, which is improved by an aluminum/copper layer, on the inner side of the stainless-steel overlay. All of the materials used are chemical-free.

Volume:
20oz
Body Material:
Stainless Steel
Insulation time:
Hot – up to 6 hours; ice – 24 hours
Lid Type:
Flip-open lid
PROS
  • Insulation
  • Compact design
  • Flip-open with disassembling function
  • Wide bottleneck
Cons
  • Not too durable

You got it right, it’s a stainless-steel bottle that uses Autoseal technology for the lids, what could be simpler! Yet, Contigo provides impeccable anti-leaking properties, ideal for those living in an urban jungle. To make it even safer, the bottle features a button lock to prevent unintended openings. It is also equipped with THERMALOCK vacuum insulation, which is responsible for temperature consistency.

Volume:
20oz
Body Material:
Stainless Steel
Insulation time:
Hot – up to 7 hours; ice – 18 hours
Lid Type:
Auto Seal lid
PROS
  • Autoseal technology
  • Classy design
  • Insulation
  • Portable
Cons
  • Rusting and colour loss

Another bottle from Hydro is one of the most popular and higher quality insulated bottles out there. This colorful bottle is made from 18/8 food-grade stainless steel and comes with TempShield vacuum insulation. The surface is covered with a powder coat for easy griping.

Volume:
18oz
Body Material:
18/8 food-grade stainless steel
Insulation time:
Hot – up to 12 hours; ice – 24 hours
Lid Type:
Flex cap
PROS
  • Great insulation
  • Resistant to bacteria and odors
  • Portable
Cons
  • Fragile cap

Zojirushi SM-KHE48AG is a representative of compact insulated bottles, suitable for day to day tasks. Its vacuum insulated stainless-steel body stores 16oz and fits every backpack and most bags. The mug comes with a SlickSteel layer on the inside, wide bottle neck and reinforced flip-open cap with safety lock and deconstruction features.

Volume:
16oz
Body Material:
Food-grade 18/8 Stainless Steel
Insulation time:
Hot – up to 6 hours; ice – 6 hours
Lid Type:
Flip-open lid
PROS
  • Compact size with maximized volume
  • Improved lid safety
  • Wide neck
  • Insulation
Cons
  • Possibility of damages to the coating
  • On the pricey side

If you need an absolute bulletproof insulated mug, the best-insulated thermos you can ever find is the traditional Stanley Classic Vacuum mug. It looks a bit like a military-made model, or the one that your grandpa – the hunter used to use, but it does what it’s supposed to. Traditional vacuum insulated design, thermal lid, and classic materials (stainless still), are responsible for keeping the desired temperature of the liquid inside.

Volume:
16oz
Body Material:
18/8 double wall Stainless steel
Insulation time:
Hot – up to 6 hours; ice – 24 hours
Lid Type:
Push Button lid
PROS
  • Durability
  • Insulation
  • Absolute leak-proof
  • Lid with disassembling feature
Cons
  • Tight lid

Reliable EcoVessel PERK bottle design might look a bit straightforward. Still, it is constructed with chemical-free materials and TripMax Triple insulation, which prolongs the consistency of cold temperature for up to 36 hours. The bottle comes with a removable strainer basket for fruits and herbs. The push-button lid is equipped with a lock to make sure the bottle stays closed.

Volume:
16/20oz
Body Material:
18/8 food-grade premium Stainless Steel
Insulation time:
Hot – up to 8 hours; ice – 36 hours
Lid Type:
Push Button Lid
PROS
  • TriMax Technology
  • Ideal for cold drinks
  • Repels odor 
  • Strainer basket
Cons
  • Leaking

Choosing the Perfect Thermos for Your Beverages – Buyers Guide

Here is some useful info on choosing the perfect thermos.

Check the Materials

The staple of the best thermos is the material used to produce the bottle. As you’ve probably noticed, every thermos, bottle, and mug on the list utilized the stainless steel – which is a universal material to use. Yet, there is a couple of versions that are better than others, so look out for these two: double wall or food-grade.

Double-wall stainless steel prolongs the time the beverage actually stays hot. The best examples are the Thermos Stainless King and Stanley Classic One Hand Vacuum Mug. For example, the first one flawlessly keeps drinks hot for the whole day! Food-grade steel, however, eliminates the aftertastes of previous drinks, and any funky odor that comes with them. Both the Hydro thermos, Yeti Rambler are able to do that.

Another important point is to make sure the materials are chemical-free. Usually, the chemicals that might be used are Bisphenol (BPA) and phthalate. Considering you’ll be using this bottle pretty often; you definitely don’t want to drink chemicals on a daily basis.

Choose the Proper Size

Thermoses come in so many different sizes from compact 12/16oz to fit your daily cup of coffee like Hydro Coffee Flask and Zojirushi SM-KHE48AG; or 40oz beasts like the Thermos Stainless King. So, the choice here is entirely up to you! Choose smaller sizes if you are looking for portability, and go big if you need a thermos to take for camping, picnics or festivals.

Pick Proper Insulation

No matter how good the bottle’s material is, it could all be useless if it provides no insulation. Vacuum insulated bottles, in general, have higher insulation properties and are completely air-tight. Make sure that the lid is leak-proof and doesn’t let through the air, as it will surely cool down liquid faster.

The higher insulation, the longer drinks keep their original temperature. Temperature insulation time is usually higher in the large thermoses like Thermos Stainless King. Still, some compact versions (I’m talking about Zojirushi SM-SA60-BA here) show some impressive insulation as well.

One last thing – the best way to test thermos insulation is by yourself, as some bottles come with manufacturing flaws! Pour boiling liquid into the bottle and leave it for several hours – if it’s not hot, return it right away!

Fancy a Cool Design?

The design of the bottle is a pretty personal thing, as well. There are a bunch of cosmetic and functionality features that may convince you to choose one bottle over the other. The simplest one is how the bottle looks! I personally think that the design of Hydro bottles (Coffee Flask & Water Bottle) is the winner here. As for functionalities, pay attention to the design of the lid, lid locks, and coating.

If you need a portable thermos, you should probably prioritize thermoses with flip-open lids and buttons for easy drinking and operation (you don’t want to spill hot coffee on you after all). When choosing the button, check if there is additional security like auto locks, which prevent the lid opening at the most inconvenient moments. And lastly, non-stick or powder coating allows for a comfortable grip and assure you that the bottle won’t slip out of your hand.

Is it Suitable for Daily Use?

Another critical thing is how easy it is to use the thermos. Imagine in what situations you’d want to use the thermos in (pouring your morning coffee, going out camping, taking it to the office or to play football) and choose which one would be most appropriate. If you live in the city and want to use the bottle for your coffee while commuting to work, maybe select the best coffee thermos Hydro Coffee flask.

For avid campers and hikers, YETI Rambler and Stanley Classic Vacuum Mug could be best. And if you are planning picnics, outdoor activities or staying in a camp for days, the most spacious options. When choosing large bottles, make sure you can drink from it quickly, like in the case of the Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle – the best thermos with a cup.

Special Features

In addition to all of the basic features like body material, insulation technology, coating, and lid design, some bottles come with special goodies. Some come with a cup (Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle); others have additional lids so you can tweak the bottle to your liking (Hydro bottles), and others even have a strainer basket (EcoVessel PERK). Of course, you can simply choose the basic and bulletproof option, but who doesn’t want some extra perks, right?

FAQ

Can you clean a thermos with bleach?

You can, but it is not recommended. Bleach if a very strong chemical, so there is a high chance you can damage the stainless steel on the inside. It’s safer to use dish liquid, baking soda, vinegar, and robust brushes.

What is the best thermos to keep coffee hot?

The ones with double-wall stainless steel and vacuum insulation. A couple of good options are the Hydro Flask Travel Coffee Flask, Zojirushi SM-KHE48AG, or the Contigo Autoseal.

What is the best way to clean a thermos?

Handwash! Even if the thermos is advertised as dishwasher safe, it’s always better to clean it with your hands. If there are some persistent stains, add some vinegar with baking soda, leave it overnight, and voila, the bottle will be spotless.

How can I maximize the effectiveness of a vacuum thermos?

If you want to keep the hot liquid hot longer, it’s always a good idea to preheat the bottle by pouring in some hot water and leaving it for a few minutes before pouring the drink of choice. Same works for cold drinks. Cool down the bottle in the fridge or freezer and pour away.

What can’t go in my thermos?

It’s not the best idea to add any liquid foods (like yogurt, smoothies etc.) as they usually have a pretty strong taste, which could add some unpleasant odor and aftertaste.

Why is copper used in some thermoses?

Copper is used in the inner lining and can accelerate the temperature insulation time.

Conclusion

There you have it! The best thermoses for every situation, activity, and even lifestyle. Despite the differences between them, there are some universal features you should keep in mind when choosing your bottle: body material, insulation time, leak-proof, and intended use. If the bottle checks all the boxes – you are set! But, if you want to make this task even easier, go with these recommendations: Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle – as the most reliable and universal option; Hydro Flask Travel Coffee Flask – as this flask fits most brewing systems (and I’m simply a coffee addict); or the Thermos Stainless Kings – for one beast of a thermos.

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Comments (2)
By:
Damion Tabbaa

It’s really a nice and helpful piece of info. I am glad that you just shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

    By:
    Chris Hayes
    To:
    Damion Tabbaa

    Thank you so much! Appreciate it!

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