The 10 Best Thermoses

Updated October 06, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

10 Best Thermoses
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
Keep your drinks hot or cold for hours, even when you are at the beach, on the road, or at a picnic, with one of these insulated thermoses. We've included models with kid-friendly and adult-oriented designs, and capacities ranging from 12 ounces all the way up to 2 liters. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best thermose on Amazon.

10. Thermos FOOGO

The Thermos FOOGO holds 10 ounces of liquid, and is made from a durable stainless steel that inhibits bacteria growth on the inside or outside. It is also safe for use on the top rack of your dishwasher for convenient cleaning.
  • features interchangeable parts
  • ideal for children 18 months and up
  • occasional leaking issues
Brand Thermos
Model BS535PK003
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

9. Life Vacuum Cup

The Life Vacuum Cup is a high quality choice that is backed by the full faith of the company. It comes in five distinct colors, and the company offers a free replacement if the coat is damaged in any way within the first three months of use.
  • fits in most car cup holders
  • uses extra strong paint adhesive
  • a little too small
Brand FGN
Model pending
Weight 9.6 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Thermos Funtainer

The Thermos Funtainer is ideal for elementary school-aged kids. It comes in a ton of different styles ranging from Hello Kitty and Frozen to Batman and the Incredible Hulk, so you should have no trouble finding your kid's favorite.
  • 12 oz size fits in backpacks
  • integrated pop-up straw
  • not for use with hot liquids
Brand Thermos
Model F4016HK6
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. Thermos FBB500SS4

The Thermos FBB500SS4 easily withstands the demands of everyday use. It holds up against hard bumps or drops without denting, resists most scratches, and features a convenient twist and pour stopper that makes serving simple.
  • built-in stainless steel cup
  • light and compact design
  • gasket imparts a rubbery taste
Brand Thermos
Model FBB500SS4
Weight 12.8 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Corkcicle Canteen

The Corkcicle Canteen has a stylish design and is the perfect travel, beach, or picnic companion. It's vacuum sealed and triple walled to prevent any exterior condensation, and it keeps drinks cold for up to 25 hours. A wide mouth opening allows for ice cubes.
  • beverages stay hot up to 12 hours
  • available in four sizes
  • lid is too fragile
Brand Corkcicle
Model 2001BC
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Zojirushi SJ-SHE10 Tuff

The Zojirushi SJ-SHE10 Tuff bottle has a convenient carrying strap, so it can double as a sports bottle. Plus its extra wide mouth easily accommodates larger food items, if you wish to bring a hot meal along with you on your journeys.
  • one-touch pour stopper
  • has a collapsible handle
  • cup capacity is too small
Brand Zojirushi
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. Thermos King Food Jar

The Thermos King Food Jar is designed with the hungry traveler in mind. It features an extra-wide design in its body and its mouth, and it comes with a telescoping stainless steel spoon for devouring whatever contents you use it to keep hot.
  • large lid becomes a serving bowl
  • up to 9 hours of heat retention
  • exterior scratches easily
Brand Thermos
Model SK3000MBTRI4
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. Stanley Classic

The Stanley Classic has the traditional design you remember from childhood with a screw-on top that doubles as a drinking cup or small soup bowl. It comes in multiple size options ranging from 16 ounces to 2 quarts. Its leakproof design makes it perfect for traveling.
  • can hold ice for 120 hours
  • insulated lid will not burn hands
  • backed by a lifetime warranty
Brand Stanley
Model 10-01254-033
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Nissan 2465TRI6

The Nissan 2465TRI6 is a great value choice that features a full stainless steel interior and exterior, so you never have to worry about harmful chemicals leeching into your beverage. It has a flip-top lid for easy use while driving.
  • button activated to prevent spills
  • won't leave rings on tables
  • additional clasp for secure travel
Brand Nissan
Model 2465TRI6
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Thermos King

The Thermos King is a large, 2-liter option that uses vacuum insulation technology to retain hot or cold contents at their ideal temperature for up to 24 hours. It comes in a matte black or midnight blue color, as well as a simple stainless steel.
  • features a twist-and-pour stopper
  • made out of durable stainless steel
  • exterior stays cool
Brand Thermos
Model SK2020MBTRI4
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

Keep Your Molecules Shaking

I remember the first time I encountered a thermos. I was in the parking lot of Six Flags Great Adventure in southern New Jersey, on a trip to the park with my best friend's family. We sat on lawn chairs they'd packed into the vehicle, and my buddy's mom brought out this thing that looked like a fat little pitcher, except it had an upside down mug on top of it.

When she opened it, steam poured out along with the vexing aroma of cooked hot dogs. This was the fatter type of thermos that's ideal for transporting food, and it contained a dozen dogs she's cooked just that morning.

It would be another 20 years before I discovered the principals and technology that allowed those dogs to stay so hot all morning. For the longest time I figured it had something to do with the seal at the top of the container, that it somehow kept the heat in all by itself. Little did I know that there was a miracle of science happening in the chubby little food bottle.

Let's start at the beginning, though. How did the hot dogs get hot in the first place? Well, when an energy transfer causes the molecules in a given substance to become excited, they move at an accelerated pace, heating them up. Both the dogs and the water in which they were boiled took the energy transferred into them from the flame on the stove and their molecules went bonkers.

Then, my buddy's mom put them inside the thermos, which works on a very simple rule of thermodynamics: a vacuum is the best insulator. That's because heat energy can't transverse a vacuum since there are no molecules therein for the energy to excite. Infrared radiation can make the jump across a vacuum, however, which is why your thermos still feels a little warm to the touch, and is one of two reasons why your thermos eventually loses heat.

It is true that a few years ago, a handful of scientists designed a thermos with a vacuum that included a lining of very finely tuned photonic crystals, and that that prototype also blocked the infrared radiation from escaping, essentially doubling the prototype's insulating power. The only problem there is that each thermos made with photonic crystals would be prohibitively expensive.

An Honest Evaluation

There are a lot of industries out there that seem to thrive on inflating the statistics and capabilities of their products. Thermoses, somehow, have avoided this pitfall of cut-throat capitalism. Every thermos I've ever owned has kept its contents hot or cold for as long as–and often longer than–the company claimed it would.

What that means for you is that you have three simple variables to consider when moving along our list. First among them is that preservation time. You'll notice that its easier for a thermos to keep a substance cold for longer periods of time than it can keep them hot, and that's pretty normal. Whatever the claims, you ought to be able to take them at face value, so reach for something that can keep your food or drinks where you want them for as long as you might need.

Secondly, you want to consider capacity. There's not much reason to keep only a morning's worth of coffee hot if you're going to need energy all day. I lived out of the biggest thermos on this list at a job up in Alaska for a whole summer, filling it up with black gold each morning and drinking it down, hot and delicious, throughout the day.

Finally, there's style to consider. If you're getting a thermos as a gift for the gruff construction worker in the family, the Hello Kitty themed container might not be his first choice. It would suit your young niece a lot better than the industrial Stanley models, though.

One last note: be careful with your thermos. The majority of thermal vacuums rely on glass or ceramics for their walls, and a tough drop can crack the material, causing a steep decrease in preservation times.

How Do You Dewar?

In the late 1800s, a Scottish scientists named James Dewar created a partial vacuum between two brass chambers to insulate palladium in an attempt to determine the element's natural heat. In doing so, he invented the first vacuum flask, which gained tremendous popularity in the scientific community.

By 1904, a pair of German glass blowers took Dewar's idea, which he never bothered to patent, and commercialized its design, creating a consumer-friendly product that anyone could use to keep food and drinks hot or cold. They were the first purveyors of the vacuum flask to use the term Thermos in regarding and marketing the item.

For a time, the thermos was an integral part of the American child's lunchbox, sharing a themed design with the one printed on the outside of the box. They became important parts of synergistic marketing methods employed by the entertainment industry in the 1980s and 1990s. There was a brief dip in interest in the thermos, but as the generation of children who grew up with the devices in their daily lunch kits has kids of its own, use of the thermos is back on the rise.

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Last updated on October 06, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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