The 5 Best Coffee Thermoses of 2020
Investing in a good thermos can make life a lot easier. Of course, thermoses are essential for those who enjoy camping or want to keep enjoying good coffee while traveling, but that’s not all they’re good for. This article will help you find the best coffee thermos for your use!
Let’s first go over some of the key things you should be looking for to find the insulated thermos for coffee, made just the way you like it. We will then finish with a handy review roundup of the 5 best thermoses for coffee, so you can skip the legwork.
Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle
This reliable thermos is our top pick since it comes in a variety of sizes (20-oz to 2.5 quarts) depending on your needs, and can keep your coffee hot for up to 24 hours. Its stainless steel vacuum insulation combines durability with great heat retention.
Whether you are a busy commuter or an outdoor person, they’ve got something suitable for any use.
Why Should I Get A Thermos?
A good thermos can give you an easier start to the day. You just make your coffee in a rush and then sip it on the go.
Gone are the days when you had to scald your mouth on a boiling cup of coffee, or worse, throw it in the sink because there was no time to enjoy it. And of course, a good, leak-proof thermos is essential when camping.
Regardless of features, the best thermos is the one that’s just right for your coffee-drinking habits.
A poorly constructed one will struggle to keep your coffee at the right temperature, or worse, risk leaking everywhere in your bag. Besides camping, you can take your thermos with you to work, school, picnics, afternoon walks, parties (perhaps with a dash of liqueur), dates (cute to share if you have an extra mug, and you can impress with your delicious coffee), absolutely anywhere.
The qualities to look for also depend on how and where you are going to use it. There are a lot of different thermoses on the market, so it can be daunting to choose The One. Luckily for you, we’ve put together a review round-up to help you on this quest.
How To choose The best Thermos for coffee
First, you need to ask yourself what type of thermos is the most appropriate for your personal use.
Is the thermos going to be used only by yourself, or are you looking to share it with camping partners or a date? How much coffee do you usually brew and consume?
If you’re looking for a shareable thermos, or you tend to drink a whole pot of coffee over the day, you should be going for one with a large capacity. It will be heavier and take up more space in your bag, but you can be sure you have enough coffee to keep you going.
If you prefer to keep it small and light, you should go for one of the smaller options. If you’re constantly on the move, perhaps a thermos that can fit in car cup holders (or even a travel mug) will be the right choice for you.
Insulation Is Key
Insulation determines how long the thermos can maintain temperature, for either hot or cold drinks. The insulation’s effectiveness is determined by how the thermos is constructed (1). The best thermoses are made with double-wall stainless steel and are vacuum insulated.
In contrast, some cheap thermoses are made with materials like tin or even plastic, which just cannot compete in the insulation department. While cheap thermoses can be fine for commuting and other short-term use, they’ll struggle to retain temperature for more than a couple of hours: (2)
To build a good thermos, what you want to do is reduce [these three] heat transfer phenomena as much as possible… plastic in the foam is not a very good heat conductor.
This is what really differentiates cheaper thermoses from higher-end ones; you definitely want to keep your coffee hot. So if you’re looking for a thermos for overnight use, you will probably have to invest a bit more.
Design And Other Features
While size and insulation are some of the most important things (2), there are also other features to look out for. The design of a thermos can have a huge impact on the ease of use. Everyone values different things, so there is no single right answer here – just think about what you most appreciate in product design.
Here are some things to look out for:
- Is the lid or cap easy to open and close?
- Does it have a serving cup?
- How fast is it to clean from the inside?
- Does it have a handle or straps?
The 5 Best Thermoses (for coffee)
Now you know exactly what to look for when you want to find the perfect insulated coffee holder. There’s a lot of choice on the market, so we’ve narrowed it down to 5 – these are the cream of the crop.
While reading, keep asking yourself the questions we went over before. None of these would be a bad choice, but we have identified the absolute best of the best.
||Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle||
||Thermos Stainless King||
||Zojirushi Stainless Steel Travel Mug||
||Hydro Flask Wide Mouth||
Things we liked
- Holds two liters of coffee
- Keeps coffee hot for up to 24 hours
- Has a built-in cup
- Handle makes it easier to manage
Things we didn’t like
- Not the right choice if you’re looking for something more portable
- Must be cleaned thoroughly after each use
The Thermos brand is a classic, producing reliable insulated bottles for over a century. They pioneered the double wall vacuum method of heat retention, and use a stainless steel vacuum construction to prevent breakage. They do have some tough competition now, but their products are still worth buying when you want a trusty, spill-proof thermos to keep drinks hot or cold.
This vacuum-insulated bottle made from stainless steel holds a whopping 68 ounces (2 liters) of coffee. It keeps its promise of maintaining temperature for up to 24 hours. A retractable handle makes it easier to carry and pour although it’s not the most portable bottle on this list. Its twist-and-pour stopper means you don’t have to remove the stopper to pour a steaming cup. It also features a stainless steel mug for easy drinking, but you’ll want to take some extra cups if you intend to share the bounty with fellow coffee lovers.
The Thermos vacuum insulation bottle is the right choice if you’re looking for high-volume, heavy-duty, extended use.
Things we liked
- Triple insulation keeps coffee hot for hours
- Push button lid for easy drinking access
- EcoVessel donates part of its profit to environmental nonprofits
Things we didn’t like
- Not as stylish and sleek as other thermoses
- Lid sometimes bumps against nose or chin when drinking
The EcoVessel Perk might look like a hybrid between a gym bottle and a flask, but in reality, this stainless steel thermos does its job well. The EcoVessel company has an activist stance, stating that the company was founded to fight the overuse of plastic water bottles (3). They donate part of their profits to environmental nonprofits.
The Perk is made with 18/8 stainless steel with no fillers or liners, which makes the bottle 100% recyclable. It promises to keep your coffee hot for 8 hours and cold for 36 hours (but doesn’t quite get there). It comes with a push-button lid facilitating use with one hand when driving or walking, or whatever it is you do while enjoying your coffee. The button has an integrated lock to minimize leakage. It also features a removable strainer, which can be useful if you have ice in your beverage.
The Perk might not be as well insulated as some of the other thermoses on this list, but we like it for its eco-friendly nature. Read our review to find out more about the Eco Vessel Perk coffee thermos.
Things we liked
- High-class stainless steel insulation, suitable for harsh conditions
- Keeps coffee hot for 24 hours and iced for 120 hours
- Variety of sizes
- Dishwasher safe
- Lifetime guarantee
Things we didn’t like
- Larger models are big and unwieldy
- Dated design
- Available in only 3 colors
The Stanley Classic is a reliable thermos from a brand that has been around since 1913. These thermoses come in a range of sizes from 20 ounces to 2.5 quarts, so you can pick the one that bests suits your coffee mileage.
As Jethro Andal writes on Futurism: (1)
You don’t want to drink something that is hot on the first gulp and gets colder and colder until the last one.
Stanley is branding its thermoses as a more “hardcore” option suitable for things like climbing mountains or sailing on the high seas. The Stanley Classic has a lifetime guarantee and promises to keep your coffee hot for 24 hours and iced for 120 hours. While the larger sizes are better suited for adventuring than commuting, they are a little unwieldy to carry around despite the handles.
If you’re unsure about whether the Stanley Classic Legendary is the right coffee thermos for you, we hope our in-depth review will help you out.
Things we liked
- Sleek design and a variety of colors to choose from
- The flip lid makes it easy to drink your coffee on the go
- Easier to clean than most other travel mugs
Things we didn’t like
- More expensive than its competitors
- Doesn’t seem very durable
The Zojirushi stainless steel travel mug is, despite its name, closer in design to a regular thermos than a mug. This is good thing because travel mugs tend to suck when it comes to performance. But the insulation offered by the Zojirushi mug is spectacular.
It is made of BPA-free plastic and stainless steel and has a 5-year warranty on heat retention.
The Zojirushi thermos is available in 12, 16, and 20-oz sizes, making it a comfortable for carrying around every day. The travel thermos has been well thought out in the cleaning department, too. The stopper can be disassembled for easier cleaning, and the interior has a non-stick lining. You might still need a brush to deep clean it, but at least it’s easier than with many other travel mugs.
This Zojirushi travel mug would have taken top spot in this list, if the Stanley thermos hadn’t beaten it in the durability department.
Read our Zojirushi Travel Mug review to learn more about its amazing features.
The Hydro Flask Coffee Flask features stainless steel, double-wall, vacuum-insulated construction (which they call Tempshield). It also comes with a phthalate and BPA-free plastic lid that’s compatible with their Wide Mouth series of accessories – the Flex Cap, Flip-Lid, and Wide Mouth Straw Lid.
The coffee flask comes with a Hydro Flip lid, but there’s a selection of other caps that offer a range of convenience features, like the Straw Lid or the Flex Cap, both of which are compatible with the coffee flask. Either way, the Hydro Flask will keep its contents hot till you reach your destination.
It’s available in 12-oz, 16-oz, and 20-oz sizes, which neatly line up with popular coffee vendors if you absolutely positively have to pick up a refill on the road.
Because the Hydro Flask uses double-wall construction, the outside never feels hot to the touch (nor does it gain a layer of condensation if you fill it with a cold drink). It’s rated to keep your coffee hot for six hours or your iced beverage cold for 24, but in the real world, it doesn’t perform as well.
If you are fine with a few hours of hot coffee, read our Hydro Flask review to find out why we recommend this thermos.
THE VERDICT: What’s The Best Insulated Thermos Of 2020?
So there’s a lot of choice when it comes to keeping your coffee piping hot (or icy cold). Choosing a thermos is like choosing a travel partner. You want someone who does not annoy you all the time and can be trusted.
As a reliable all-rounder, the Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle is the winner of this roundup. It comes in a range of sizes and can be trusted to retain heat for extended periods, making it suitable for both commuter and outdoorsy use.
Although the Stanley is the overall winner, the Zojirushi is a head above its competition for lighter thermoses. If you’re a commuter or a Sunday picknicker, you might appreciate its portability and ease of cleaning.
You can get the smell out of your coffee thermos using a bit of vinegar and hot water. After pouring an inch or two of vinegar into the thermos, fill it up with hot (tap) water. Put the lid back on the carafe and give it good shake. Let the mixture rest in the thermos for about 30 minutes, then empty it back out. You can let the vinegar air dry outside or in the house.
No! You cannot use bleach to clean a stainless steel thermos. Bleaching agents can be highly hazardous to thermal flasks and should be avoided at all costs. Check the cleaning instructions of your thermos as some thermoses are dishwasher-safe. If not, you can use a combination of vinegar, baking soda and hot water to get rid of any stains or odors in your thermal flask. Here’s how to clean your coffee thermos properly.
The best thermos to keep your coffee hot is the Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle. The thermos’ stainless steel vacuum insulation keeps your coffee hot for up to 24 hours. It’s reliable and scores high for durability and heat retention. But, depending on your coffee-drinking habits and personal use there are other great models out there that’ll meet your expectations.
Coffee should be served at around 180–185°F, according to the recommendations of the National Coffee Association of the USA. Other experts, however, suggest that serving coffee at such high (almost brewing) temperature undermines the full expression of subtle flavors inherent in a good cup of coffee. They will argue that, to taste the coffee’s qualities, such as sweetness and acidity, it must be served at lower temperatures of around 120–140°F.
- Andal, J. (2019, January 09). How a Thermos Works – Physics of Heat Transfer. Retrieved June 17, 2019, from https://futurism.com/physics-thermos-heat-transfer
- Brain, M. (2000, April 01). How Thermoses (Vacuum Flasks) Work. Retrieved June 17, 2019, from https://home.howstuffworks.com/thermos4.htm
- Colorado Based Wholesale & Retail Insulated Bottles For Every Lifestyle. (n.d.). Retrieved June 17, 2019, from https://www.ecovessel.com/pages/our-story