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It’s a hot day, and you just finished a rigorous hiking trail.
You’re ready to refresh yourself with a cold drink. You open your thermos and take a big swig of lukewarm sports drink. Yuck!
I’ve had this happen to me, and it’s so frustrating! Now I don’t have to worry about this issue because I found the best hot and cold thermos brands.
Don’t waste money on a thermos that doesn’t maintain its warm or cold temperature promises.
Learn below why you need a thermos and read the top thermos picks reviews, along with essential features and answers to common questions.
Best Large Thermos
Most Eco-friendly Thermos
Best Sport Thermos
Best Travel-friendly Thermos
Why Should I get a Thermos?
Here are the reasons you need a thermos:
Keep Drinks Hot or Cold
A thermos has dual walls that are vacuum-sealed. This design forms a barrier between the inner and outer walls that prevent heat or cold from escaping.
Keeping drinks hot or cold prevents harmful bacteria from forming that can make you sick.
Drinks you prepare at home are much cheaper than the ones you purchase from stores or coffee shops.
When you can confidently fill your thermos with ice and juice in the morning and know it will be cold at lunch, you can eliminate hitting the vending machine and keep those dollars in your pocket.
Another perk is that many coffee shops give customers a small discount for bringing in their own cup.
You think those coffee cups you get at a chain or independent cafe are paper, but few know that the cup’s inner portion is lined in plastic to keep the paper from disintegrating.
Not only are these cups not recyclable, the sheer numbers of them heading daily to the landfill is shocking.
A thermos is reusable, often for years on end. Why add to the burden single-use containers put on the environment when you don’t have to?
Drinks taste best when they are at the right temperature for that beverage.
The brain isn’t ready for cold drinks to be warm or hot drinks to be cool. In fact, heat increases flavor perception because it activates your taste buds.
Hot coffee tastes stronger, while cold coffee has less bitterness, so keeping them at both ends of the spectrum using a quality thermos makes for a more tasty drink for yourself.
Another factor is that all drinks will pick up flavor from plastic, which is unpleasant and bad for your health.
Drinks out of stainless steel, glass, or ceramic containers do not transfer negative flavors, so your beverage tastes clean.
A thermos can come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, patterns, and sizes, so it’s easy to find the perfect drink companion to suit your style aesthetic.
The barrier between the two walls in a thermos keeps annoying condensation from gathering around and under the container that happens with other cups.
Another benefit of thermos insulation is that holding the drink, whether hot or cold, is comfortable on the hands.
The Best Thermos for Hot and Cold Drinks
Next are the top picks for the best thermos to hold hot and cold drinks with ratings for overall quality, volume, performance, and price.
Top Pick: Stanley Classic Vacuum
The Stanley Classic Vacuum Thermos is a top performer for generations. It’s considered the best stainless steel thermos for its ability to keep drinks at the desired temperature for up to 24 hours.
The durable 18/8 stainless bottle is leak-proof, so you never have to worry if it falls over in your car, on your desk, or in your backpack. The build of this thermos is a beast that can handle even rough treatment and keep on working.
The Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle is made with superior insulation that keeps liquids (soup, coffee, tea) hot or cold drinks cool for up to 24 hours It’s also made with BPA-free materials, keeping its contents safe to consume.
- Thick BPA-free 18/8 stainless steel materials
- Won't rust
- Lid doubles as a cup
- Holds 1.1 quarts of liquid
- Wide mouth makes it easy to dispense drinks or soups
- Can be a bit tall/large for some people
- Newer versions are not quite as perfect as older generation models
Best Large Thermos: Thermos Stainless King
The best large thermos is the Thermos Stainless King that provides a whopping 64-ounce capacity that provides enough liquids to last all day. The vacuum insulation and design keep beverages cold or hot for a full 24-hours.
The stopper twists for access, which means you don’t have to remove it to pour a drink into the handy lid. Twist it back and pop on the cap for leak-proof security.
Thermos vacuum insulation technology for maximum temperature retention, hot or cold; keeps liquids hot for 24 hours and cold for 24 hours.
- Large capacity and wide mouth for easy fills
- Stainless steel inner and outer walls for durability
- Pop-up handle and twist to open lid add convenience
- Lid doubles as a cup
- 24-hour cold or hot retention
- Slim and sleek design in black and silver looks sharp
- May be too large for some needs
- The bigger volume reduces temperature retention time over smaller units
Most Eco-friendly Thermos: EcoVessel PERK Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel
Not only is this thermos eco-friendly because it claims to last for a century, but it is also available in a huge array of colors to fit any personality.
What sets this thermos apart over the competition is the TriMax Triple Insulation that promises to keep drinks hot for eight solid hours and cold for an impressive 36 hours. The bonus of integrated tea or fruit strainer and silicone base increases the value.
EcoVessel travel infuser tumblers for women and men are crafted with heirloom durability in mind; heavy-duty construction confidently backed by a 100-year warranty. Invest in portable drinkware designed to withstand a century.
- Extremely durable, portable, and the silicone base won't mar surfaces
- Triple-wall insulation increases hot and cold temperature reliance
- Push-lock lid opens for quick sips or pours then seals tight
- Made with 18/8 food-grade stainless steel
- 16 or 20 ounce size is great for single drinks
- Strainer allows you to infuse fruit or brew tea
- The capacity may not be sufficient for some needs
- The cap lacks good insulation, which can alter internal temperatures
- Push lock opening can fail over time, causing it to leak
- You must drink straight from the thermos, no cap/cup included
Best Sport Thermos: Iron Flask Sports Water Bottle
No matter which color or size you select from the brand’s large selection, the Iron Flask Sports Thermos stands behind its claims to keep your drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours.
The sizes under 22 ounces fit perfectly in cup holders so that you can use it during your commute. Larger sizes increment up to 64 ounces. The food-grade 18/8 stainless steel build won’t rust or impart an odd taste to your drinks.
The double wall insulation makes the Iron Flask sweat-free! It keeps your drink COLD for up to 24 hours, and HOT for up to 12 hours.
- Choice of sizes for every hydration need
- Premium 18/8 stainless steel is 100% BPA free and non-toxic
- Built-in straw lid for no-mess sips or flip-lid for hot beverages
- Easy to grip without strain
- Clean design and cool color options
- Some accessory lids are plastic, not stainless steel
- Must only wash by hand to maintain insulating properties
- Sport spout and straw lids can leak if tipped over
Best Travel-friendly Thermos: Zojirushi Travel Thermos
The Zojirushi Stainless Steel Travel Mug Thermos is an excellent solution for people on the go who want a thermos that will fit easily into car cup holders and in the hand or backpack.
Stainless steel and BPA-free plastic combine to deliver superior insulating qualities in the thermos. Drinks stay hot or cold for six hours without exposure to harmful chemicals or weird tastes. The locking lid and wide-pour mouth increase ease of use.
A stainless mug is a vacuum insulated mug that is designed to drink directly from the mug.
- Leak-proof seals and safety lock on lid keep your clothing, desk, car or other belongings safe from spills
- Guaranteed to stay hot or cold for six hours
- Non-stick interior and easy-to-disassemble lid ensures proper cleaning
- Wide mouth fits full-size ice cubes
- Height fits under Keurig machines for instant fills
- Outer paint can chip off if washed to harshly
- The plastic latch on the lid is plastic, which can break
- Warranty is for insulation only, not any other issue
Buyer’s Guide: How to Buy Good Quality Thermos?
Thermos containers are becoming so trendy that they are selling them everywhere, but some only maintain a temperature for only an hour or so!
How can you ensure you aren’t wasting your money when you buy a thermos?
Follow the guidelines below that discuss the important features and how they impact your purchasing decision. Once you know what’s necessary to look for in a quality thermos, you can buy with confidence.
Consider your everyday hydration needs in terms of ounces, then look at how long you wish to keep them hot or cold.
Do you need to keep drinks cold for four or five hours during a sporting event? Do you only want to keep your coffee hot on your commute to work?
Buy a size according to your needs, eliminating waste of unused beverages and helping keep your drinks at the temperature you desire.
The diameter of the main container is also a key factor. Do you need it to fit in a cupholder or pocket? If so, measure out how wide a bottle can be and double-check it against the thermos dimensions.
Double-wall vacuum insulation is the norm for most thermos brands, but if keeping things hot or cold for longer is on your schedule, then look for brands that offer a triple-wall build.
Read the labels carefully. Some thermos insulation standards are higher for keeping drinks cold versus keeping them hot.
If in large print it says “Keeps drinks cold for 12 hours!” search for information about how long hot drinks will last, as often it is lower.
The best thermos is stainless steel that is food-grade and durable. The material stands up to abuse, which is necessary not to break the vacuum seal if you accidentally drop the thermos.
Look for 18/8 on the label for stainless quality, then check out if any parts are plastic. Plastic should be PBA-free for safety and thick to keep the thermos’s overall insulation’s integrity and avoid cracks.
Thick walls should eliminate any hot or cold to seep through to the outside, so the thermos stays comfortable in your hand and condensation doesn’t form.
It’s frustrating having to clean spills from your car when a lid doesn’t close tightly. It’s also a mess if a thermos spout allows liquid to dribble down your chin and onto your clothing when you go to take a sip.
Ensure rubber or silicone gaskets and seals are thick and pliable, with no cracks, as thermos leaks occur first with faulty seals.
Design and Other Features
A thermos is a practical gadget, but it can also be stylish. Some thermos brands offer trendsetters a rainbow of color options, so your outfits always look complete.
The shape of the thermos is also crucial. If you plan to hold and carry the thermos throughout the day, you want a slimmer design that won’t slip from your hand or cause fatigue.
A thermos with a cap that doubles as a cup is extremely convenient and lessens the need to waste paper cups throughout your day.
You can find a great thermos at a reasonable price or a lousy thermos that is very expensive. Do expect a slightly higher price tag on a thermos made with top-quality materials.
Check out ratings and reviews from real customers to determine whether or not a thermos is worth the price.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best way to clean a thermos?
The best way to clean a thermos is by hand. A long-handled brush and dish soap and water can give the interior a good scrub.
If your thermos is looking a bit off-color, add in about an inch of vinegar, a tablespoon of baking soda, and fill up the rest with boiling water. Leave for a couple of hours and wash it out well.
How can I maximize the effectiveness of a vacuum thermos?
Pre-treating your thermos’ interior amps up the heating or cooling properties, so your actual drink doesn’t have to perform this duty.
Before filling your thermos with your beverage of choice, fill it with either very hot water or ice water for five or ten minutes so the internal steel can absorb the heat or cold.
Dump out the pre-treatment, fill with your beverage, and you’re set for the day.
What can’t go in my thermos?
Any liquid prone to bacterial growth, such as dairy products or creamy soups, should not go into a thermos if you don’t plan to drink it until many hours later.
Bacteria growth causes gases to form, which expands inside the thermos causing the lid to feel “stuck” or tighter than usual. If you feel this, point the top away from your face and be careful opening the cover as the pressure buildup can pop the top faster than you expect and cause injury.
Don’t ever use dry ice to keep your thermos drinks cool either, as the chemical reaction can also cause harmful pressure buildup.
What is 18/8 stainless steel?
The 18/8 stands for 18-percent chromium and 8-percent nickel components in the stainless steel.
The materials make the steel non-reactive, which makes it food-grade. The material won’t rust or add metallic or strange flavors to your thermos beverages.
Why is copper used in some thermoses?
There isn’t any real reason to add copper to a thermos unless it’s for aesthetic reasons on the outer shell.
Copper conducts heat more than stainless steel, making it an inferior choice for any internal thermos wall if you are putting hot drinks inside. The copper will draw more heat from the liquid over stainless, cooling your drink faster.
Is using a thermos safe?
If your thermos works properly, as in keeping your drinks or liquid foods at a safe hot or cold temperature to deter bacterial growth, then yes, they are safe to use.
If you find the contents of your thermos are warming or cooling too quickly, it’s time to shop for a new one to prevent any stomach or intestinal discomfort or illness.
A thermos that works is an item everyone should own, as they are ideal in so many situations to keep your beverages at safe and refreshing temperatures.
When you shop smart, you can get the best thermos for hot and cold drinks at the right price and never be stuck with lukewarm beverages again!