The Best Thermoses, According to Our Test Kitchen
Whether you're planning a picnic on a hot July day or you're sitting around the campfire on a chilly fall night, keeping your drinks and food at the right temperature can be tricky. There are plenty of thermoses on the market to keep your coffee hot or your beer cold, but some are better than others. Here's our list of the best thermoses for any occasion.
What to Look for When Buying a Thermos
If you're looking for a thermos, you probably need your food or beverage to be either cold or hot for an extended period. That means your container needs to have some sort of temperature retention—typically, if a bottle is designed for either one, the product will be labeled with hot and cold limits by hours. All of the thermoses we tested come with serious insulation, which helps maintain the temperature, so you can enjoy the contents of the thermos for hours.
This is our list of the best thermoses to make it easier for you to pick one.
Read on for details on what makes these thermoses the best, as well as the thermoses that deserve an honorable mention.
Best Overall Thermos
Stanley Master Unbreakable
A Stanley thermos is something you've probably seen before—Stanley has been crafting quality portable bottles for more than 100 years. The Master Unbreakable Thermal bottle is a Stanley classic vacuum bottle and does exactly what it's designed to do: keep your beverage the same temperature throughout the day as it was when you poured it, no matter what the weather is outside. It has a stainless-steel interior and comes with two caps: the inner cap seals the contents inside but can be transitioned into a spout, so you can pour a beverage without too much liquid escaping. Beyond the vacuum insulation technology, the other cap adds an extra layer of insulation to keep your beverage hot or cold and also doubles as an insulated cup. This bottle is made of durable stainless steel and is designed to get beat up without being damaged, making it a great outdoor adventure companion.
Buy it: Amazon, $49
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Whether you use the Avana Beckridge for hot coffee to take to work or you want to fill it up with ice water for your yoga class, this elegant bottle keeps the hot liquids hot and the cold liquids cold for extended periods. It comes with a removable straw built into the curved lip of the thermos instead of the lid for easy sipping. The lid is a highlight—it has a retractable handle to make carrying convenient, but it also won't get in the way if you need to tuck it into a bag. The one great thing the product description doesn't list is the silicone ring on the bottom of the bottle that acts as a coaster—it prevents slipping and reduces the risk of damage to any surfaces you might set your bottle on. (As a bonus, profits from every Avana bottle sold helps support clean water projects in developing countries.)
Buy it: Target, $40
The Takeya Traveler is great for adults and kids alike. It holds just the right amount of cold or hot liquid and it's not too heavy to carry on a walk or take to school. The lid comes with a ring that pops out for easy carrying, and this thermos fits nicely in a car cup holder. It also does a great job of keeping a hot beverage hot or a cold drink cold—you can even put cold milk in it in the morning and still have cold milk at lunchtime.
Buy it: Takeya, $30
Best Large-Capacity Thermos
Yeti Rambler Half-Gallon Jug
There are too many good things about the Yeti Rambler Half-Gallon Jug to count. First, the cold retention is remarkable: if you fill it with ice water at the beginning of the day and leave it in a hot car, at the end of the day you'll still have solid ice cubes, thanks to the double-wall vacuum insulation. The lid is key to keeping your beverage cold or hot—it has a large insulated screw top with a vacuum seal and handle, so it turns into a jug that you can ladle hot cider or soup from. The lid also comes with a smaller screw cap so you can pour smaller amounts of water or other beverages. If you're concerned about losing such a small cap, don't worry—it's magnetized so you can pop it on top of the larger lid while you pour so you don't misplace it.
Buy it: Yeti, $100
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CamelBak Carry Cap
CamelBak's Carry Cap 64-ounce insulated bottle is designed to transport water or other beverages for one person or to share. If you need to carry the bottle, the cap is comfortable in the hand. While you can drink out of this bottle directly, it's better to pour into a second vessel for drinking. It can keep liquids hot for 30 hours and if you pour in cold liquid, it will stay chilled for 45 hours.
Buy it: CamelBak, $50
Klean Kanteen Insulated TKWide 64-oz. with Loop Cap
This is a great bottle for throwing in the back of the car to take from one destination to another, rather than carrying on a hike or camping trip. It will keep your beverage the temperature it needs to be, whether you're serving hot cider at a fall bonfire or doling out ice water for a hot day at the beach.
Buy it: Klean Kanteen, $60
Best Thermos for Food
Stanley Legendary Food Jar with Spork
The packable, leakproof food jar is another gem from Stanley. No matter what temperature you need your food to be, its food thermoses will keep your hot food hot or your cold food cold for up to seven hours. Whether you're packing a hot casserole to take with you skiing, or you want to take ice cream on a Fourth of July picnic, your food will be the same when you unpack it as it was when you packed it. Bonus: If you have trouble keeping track of utensils, the spork is conveniently mounted on the side of the canister.
Buy it: Williams Sonoma, $25
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Hydro Flask Insulated Food Jars
Most thermal bottles struggle to keep solid food at the right temperature, so Hydro Flask designed an insulated food jar that could. If you don't have access to a microwave at work or school, these containers allow you to pack a hot meal in the morning that will still be hot at lunchtime. The heat doesn't leak out, which means liquid doesn't either, and the wide mouth makes eating from it easy. (If you're looking for other items, read more about why we love Hydro Flask's insulated bowls.)
Buy it: Hydro Flask, $40
Best Insulated Tumblers
CamelBak Horizon Tumbler
Once you have a hot cup of coffee in a CamelBak insulated mug, you might have a hard time going back to regular mugs. Even without a lid (though you might need it if you're taking your drink to go), your coffee will stay hot, sip after sip. It works well for cold drinks, too—beer stays cold and you don't have to worry about watered-down soda when you pour it over ice in these tumblers. CamelBak tumblers also have a silicone bottom that acts as a coaster. Bonus tip: If you serve ice cream in these cups, you can take your time—the tumbler keeps the ice cream cold enough that it won't melt as you're eating it.
Buy it: CamelBak, $20
You might also consider:
Klean Kanteen Insulated Tumbler
Klean Kanteen's insulated tumblers make taking your favorite beverage anywhere easier. Homemade frozen drinks can go with you to the pool, in the car and more. Plus, you can take your time sipping it through the silicone straw and leakproof lid. These tumblers will keep hot beverages hot for four hours and cold beverages cold for 20 hours.
Buy it: Klean Kanteen, $25