In an ideal world, we would all be able to wake up late, take our time getting ready, and leisurely enjoy a cup of coffee before we start our day. Unfortunately, today’s fast-paced world doesn’t work that way, as we feel the crunch of having more to do, with less hours in a day to do them. People have resorted to bringing their cup of morning joe on the go with them, with coffee travel mugs becoming an increasingly popular and convenient way to get their caffeine fix while remaining productive.
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So what is the best thermos for keeping coffee hot? Don’t they basically all do the same thing? Due to the many options to choose from, it can be confusing to sift through the differences between them. This article will highlight the things you need to know when shopping for a coffee thermos.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Thermos for Coffee
While there are plenty of portable drink tumblers on the market, there are certain features you should be aware of to make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck. You should keep in mind the following:
Tumbler sizes vary between manufacturers, so you need to figure out where and how you will be using it and go from there. 12 oz. bottles are the best size to fit under your home brewing system as well as most car cup holders, which is important for people who brew their coffee at home and then head out to the office. Other available sizes are 16, 20, 24, and 30 ounces. Depending of how these are designed, they can have a tapered, slimmer base to fit cup holders, but you should read the fine print to make sure this is the case.
You should only get a bottle that is eco-friendly and non-toxic. The last thing you want is to invest in a model that leaches harmful plastics and metals, poisoning your drink and consequently, your body. Most tumblers will use BPA-free plastic lids, and 18/8 304 food grade stainless steel interiors to ensure you won’t be ingesting anything harmful other than copious amounts of caffeine or beer.
One of the main functions of portable travel bottles is to keep your hot drinks hot, and your cold drinks cold for long periods of time. Most bottles achieve this fairly well, using vacuum sealed stainless steel layers. The seal removes the layer of air between the metals, which eliminates heat transfer (or heat escaping), and minimizes the temperature change inside the bottle. Due to the elimination of heat transfer, the outside temperature of the bottle won’t increase and burn your hand when using it for hot drinks, and conversely, your warm hand won’t heat up cold drinks you are using the bottle for.
This might sound like an odd feature to keep an eye on but many people are incredibly particular about the lid openings they drink out of. The majority of bottles will use an airtight lid with a slider opening that delivers the liquid goodness to your lips. Some models will offer multiple lids (sometimes included, sometimes purchased separately) with straw designs or wide mouth designs. There are also lids that use a flip style cap system that locks in place for superior protection against leaks, while others offer 360 degree delivery just by opening a twist valve. Whatever design you decide to go with, make sure you always open the lid first before taking a sip, as doing things in the reverse order can leave a big mess on your face and shirt.
The average price of a travel thermos is around $20, with some budget models starting at $12, and high-end, feature-heavy models at $30. With any of these prices, they are extremely affordable and can fit most anyone’s budget.
Best Coffee Thermos Reviews
Stanley Classic Legendary Bottle 20 oz. Review
Leakproof, packable, and capable of fitting Stanley’s Classic Lunch Box lid, this Stanley coffee thermos holds 20 ounces of liquid, and is lined with double-walled vacuum insulation to ensure your drinks stay hot. With dimensions of 11.42 x 3.11 inches, and weighing a light 1.25 lbs., the Classic Legendary Bottle is crafted from 18/8 rustproof stainless steel, is BPA-free, and the insulated lid conveniently doubles as a cup. For the clumsier consumer, you can rest assured it will withstand and drops and dents in it’s body, giving it a durable and long-lasting performance. Capable of keeping your drinks hot for upwards of 20 hours, your cold drinks for a full day, and iced liquids for 4 days, it will perform well whether you are in the car, on the train, at the office, or the gym. A versatile little guy that is dishwasher safe for convenient and quick cleaning, it also comes with a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects.
- Lightweight and Rustproof Stainless Steel
- BPA-free With Double-Walled Insulation
- Comes With Lifetime Warranty
- Can Lose Heat Over Time
Contigo AUTOSEAL West Loop Stainless Steel Travel Mug 16 oz Review
Available in multiple colors to fit every lifestyle, this stainless steel travel mug from Contigo holds 16 ounces of liquid that can be taken anywhere you go. Equipped with their Autoseal technology that keeps it leak and spill proof, the bottle stays sealed tight between sips using a spring-loaded lid. When you want to take a drink, a button on the lid must be depressed to open it and you can then tilt it to your mouth (tilting before opening the lid will result in a face full of drink). When you are not using it, there is a lock button for added security to avoid accidents. Vacuum insulated to keep hot drinks for 5 hours, and cold drinks for 12 hours, it fits most car cup holders, and the lid is top rack dishwasher safe. NOTE: The unpainted stainless steel model is the only bottle that is dishwasher safe, with the color versions to be cleaned as per the instruction manual. Also, clean and rinse the entire travel mug before first use to eliminate your beverages being tainted by the materials its made of.
- Autoseal Technology With Button and Lock Mechanism Avoids Spills and Leaks
- Keeps Drinks Hot for 5 Hours, Cold for 12 Hours
- Available in Multiple Colors
- Prone to Mold
- Paint on Color Model Can Flake Off
Thermos Stainless King 40 oz Review
With a full stainless steel construction, and a fold-flat handle for easy carrying, this large 40 ounce bottle from Thermos stands 12.1 x 3.7 inches, weighs 1 lb., and will feel bulletproof in your hand. Double-walled to provide a full day’s worth of maximum insulation, it keeps hot drinks hot, and cold drinks cold for an impressive 24 hours. The body of this thermos is temperature regulated and eliminates fluctuations, meaning cold drinks won’t produce condensation, and hot drinks won’t heat it up and burn your hand. The stainless steel lid doubles as a cup, and the twist and pour lid locks into place when not in use, working with rubber gaskets to eliminate any leaks and spills from happening. Available for purchase in multiple colors, Thermos recommends washing the bottle as soon as possible after every use to eliminate any smells from being fused into it, and pre-chilling or pre-heating the bottle (with cold or hot water) for a few minutes will give you maximum usage time for your drinks.
- Large 40 Ounce Stainless Steel Thermos
- 24 Hours Worth of Insulation for Hot and Cold Drinks
- Multiple Color Options
- Inside Prone to Rust and Flaking Over Time
Hydro Flask Travel Coffee Flask Review
Giving you 24 hours of cold drinks, and 6 hours of hot, the Hydro Flask is a popular model that is affordable and available in different colors. Scratch-resistant with a slip-free grip, you have multiple size options to choose from in 12, 16, and 20 oz. models, with the 12 oz. version fitting most home brewing systems. Made from non-toxic BPA-free and phthalate-free food-grade stainless steel, there is zero flavor transfer, and the Tempshield double-wall insulation makes it a sweat-proof unit. The flip lid reduces spills (although Hydro Flask is adamant it is not leak proof), and the bottle also gives you the option to swap out the lid for a wide straw, or wide flex cap – both of which are sold separately. A lifetime warranty allows you to purchase this flask knowing that if there is a manufacturing defect, Hydro Flask will stand behind their product.
- Double-Walled Insulation for 24 Hour Cold Drinks and 6 Hour Hot Drinks
- Selection of Lids To Choose From That Can Be Purchased Separately
- Available in Multiple Sizes and Colors
- Lifetime Warranty
- Not Leakproof
- Poor Lid Design
You may as well check out our detailed comparison between Thermoflask and Hydroflask.
YETI Rambler 20 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tumbler w/MagSlider Lid Review
Holding 16 ounces of liquid with the lid on, and 20 ounces if filled right to the rim, the Yeti Rambler is a popular, best-selling tumbler that is available in multiple colors. Measuring 6.875 x 3.5 x 2.75 inches, it fits most standard size cup holders, and employs Yeti’s magnetic slide-style lid to lock and open the top whenever you need a sip. Crafted with 18/8 stainless steel which provides superior resistance to corrosion, it is BPA-free to keep your genetic makeup intact, and also safe to clean in the dishwasher. The dracut exterior is extra durable: shatter-resistant, won’t crack, peel, or fade, and it also provides an excellent grip. The double walled vacuum insulation keeps the drinks hot or cold for prolonged amounts of time, while simultaneously keeping the exterior room temperature.
- Best-Selling Tumbler With User Friendly Dimensions
- 18/8 Stainless Steel For Resistance to Corrosion
- BPA-Free With Durable Exterior
- Not Leakproof
Zojirushi SM-KHE48BA Stainless Steel Mug Review
Available in 12 or 16 ounce versions, Zojirushi’s Stainless Steel Mug is constructed out of 18/8 high-quality stainless steel, and is fully BPA-free. Double-walled vacuum insulation ensure that heat is locked into the mug for prolonged periods of time, and Zojirushi multiple color options allow everyone to choose a color that suits their lifestyle. The lid has some excellent features on it that cater to drinking and leak-proofing. The flip style lid opens with the push of a button, while a wide opening allows for big swigs, and a lock keeps it firmly closed, working with triple gaskets to keep you drink in the tumbler at all times. Full removal of the lid provides a large opening for tossing in ice cubes easily. Cleaning this mug is best done by hand if you want the paint to stay on, and the lid full disassembles so you can clean all the nooks and crannies.
- High-Quality Stainless Steel
- Lockable Flip Style Lid to Reduce Spills and Leaks
- Available in Multiple Sizes and Colors
- Not Dishwasher Safe
SUNWILL 20oz Tumbler with Lid, Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Double Wall Travel Tumbler Review
Well-designed and able to fit most car cup holders, this travel tumbler from Sunwill is priced well, and gets the job done. Durably constructed with 18/8 304 food-grade stainless steel, it is rust-proof, lead-free, and unbreakable. Holding 20 ounces of drink, it has a BPA-free lid that slides open, providing a eco-friendly and splash proof top for 6 hours of hot drinks, and a full day’s worth of cold drinks. The double-wall vacuum technology makes sure there is no temperature transfer with this cup. Translation: heat from hot drinks won’t escape and increase the outside mug temperature (avoiding scalding your hand), and your normal hand temperature won’t warm up the drinks you want to keep cool. Sweat-proof to eliminate condensation issues, and easily to hold, this is a long-lasting option that comes with a lifetime warranty for years of delicious bevvies.
- Well-Priced 20 oz. Double Walled Travel Tumbler
- Eco Friendly BPA Free Lid
- Food-Grade Stainless Steel Construction
- Lifetime Warranty
- Multiple Color Options
- Subpar Lid Design
Juro TM000305 20 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tumbler with Lids and Straw Review
At 7 tall x 3 inches wide, this 20 oz. tumbler is sleek, lightweight, and appeals to the budget-savvy consumer. Hot drinks stay hot for up to 6 hours, while cool drinks can stay that way for 24 hours due to its double-walled insulated design. The cup comes with two separate lids you can choose between, a slider and a flip up style, and Juro also includes a stainless steel straw for easy drinking, and a pipe cleaner for the straw. Made with an anti-sweat design, it’s extremely lightweight, and is eco-friendly, BPA-free so the plastic lid and stainless steel mug are safe from toxins. Removal of the lid allows for easy filling with liquids and ice cubes, and Juro offers a lifetime warranty on their product for piece of mind shopping.
- Budget Priced
- Holds 20 oz.
- 6 Hours of Hot Drinks, 24 Hours of Cold Drinks
- Double Walled Insulation
- Includes 2 Lids, Straw, Pipe Cleaner
- BPA-free Construction
- Lifetime Warranty
- Straw Not Full Length of Mug
CamelBak Hot Cap Travel Mug, Insulated Stainless Steel 12oz Review
The defining feature of this travel mug from CamelBak is the hot cap, which provides a 360 degree drinking system to sip your favorite beverages by twisting open the top valve to let the liquid flow. This makes it extremely convenient for quick open and close, as well as 100% leakproof, sealing up nice and tight for zero spillage. With multiple colors to choose from, there will be a mug for everyone, and the double-walled vacuum insulation design keeps your liquid hot for up to 6 hours, and cold for 24. This insulation also works to eliminate heat transfer, which means the bottle won’t sweat and slip out of your hands when you pick it up. Although the mug must be cleaned by hand, you can dissemble the cap and toss it in the dishwasher for a quick clean every day or two, and it also comes in 12 and 20 ounce size, with the 12 oz. model being best for car cup holders.
- Double Walled Insulation
- Drinks Stay Hot for 6 Hours, Cold for 24 Hours
- 360 Degree Leakproof Cap
- Cap is Dishwasher Safe
- Available in 12 and 24 oz. Sizes
- Multiple Color Options to Choose From
- Bottle Must Be Washed by Hand
BEAST 20oz Tumbler Insulated Stainless Steel Coffee Cup Review
The Beast from Greens Steel certainly lives up to its name in both 20 and 30 oz. models, with a ton of features that not only enhances the cup, but your experience using it as well. Fully dishwasher safe for cleaning, this mug include the lid, tumbler, two reusable and unbreakable stainless steel straws (one wide, one angled), as well as a pipe cleaner for the straws. The splash-proof airtight slide lid is made from a non-toxic, BPA-free, tritan plastic and won’t shatter if you accidentally drop it. Similarly eco-friendly, the 18/8 304 food grade stainless steel electro-polished interior keep your drinks safe from leaching, while maintaining their desired temperature for hours on end using double-walled vacuum insulation, which is copper lined for maximum performance. The no-sweat side effect of this high-performance insulation means you get a superior grip while never having to worry about water rings staining your table. Designed with a tapered base, both bottle sizes will fit most cup holders, and the powered outer coating gives a high-quality finish to eliminate dust and scratches from damaging your cup. With a lifetime warranty, this makes it one of the most attractive models on the market today.
- 20 and 30oz. Sizes Available in Multiple Colors
- Includes Wide and Angled Stainless Steel Straws
- Eco-Friendly Tritan Plastic Lid and Stainless Steel Interior
- Powered Outer Coating for Protection Against Dust and Scratches
- Double Wall Insulation with Copper Lining
- Lifetime Warranty
- Not 100% Leakproof
Bwilkon Smart Vacuum Flask Stainless Steel Water Bottle 15oz Thermos Review
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Using an LCD touch screen which digitally reads the liquid temperature inside the tumbler so you know when it is safe to drink, this bottle uses a lithium ion battery (not chargeable), and stands 9 x 2.5 inches, with a 15 ounce capacity. Using a mix of non-toxic 304 stainless steel with food-grade PP plastic provides a non-toxic environment for your drinks at any temperature. With its vacuum insulated tumbler design, the body is waterproof, dust-proof, won’t sweat when you have cold drinks in it, or overheat when filled with hot drinks. The bottom is covered in a non-slip rubber material to give it a sturdy base that helps to combat knocking it over, and a leakproof lid ensures everything outside the bottle stays dry. Safe for a variety of liquids (coffee, milk, water, beer), it also comes with a detachable tea strainer that can be used for steeping while on your way to the office.
- Includes Touch Screen Temperature Display
- Well-Insulated with Temperature Regulated Body
- Anti-Slip Rubber Base
- Temperature Measured At Top of Bottle
How to clean your thermos?
Cleaning your thermos should always be done via manufacturer recommendation. While a lot of lids are top-rack, dishwasher safe, the majority of bottles should be washed by hand with soap and warm water and rinsed with hot water after every use, as dishwashers use scalding hot temperatures and abrasive detergents that can ruin the exterior finish of the bottle. If you notice the bottle starting to smell, adding a touch of vinegar to the soap and warm water solution will help to eliminate any mold that may be forming or flavors that have locked into the stainless steel interior.
Plastic thermos vs. stainless steel: Which is better?
You want to get a travel tumbler that has a stainless steel interior. While plastic ones can work well for a bit, they will break down over time and begin leaking gas through the wall and into your drink. 18/8 304 food-grade stainless steel is your best bet as they are corrosion resistant, unbreakable, and keep drinks at their ideal temperature due to the bottle’s double walled vacuum sealed insulation.
Should my coffee have a metal taste to it?
No it shouldn’t. This is rarely due to a food-grade stainless steel interior (although not out of the realm of possibility). It is recommended to always give your new bottle a good cleaning before first use, to eliminate any factory flavors that might be unleashed. Coffee can sometimes taste metallic due to extra minerals in the water such as calcium and magnesium. If this is the case, using bottled/filtered water when you are home brewing is your best plan of action.
What is the warranty on a thermos?
This depends on the manufacturer. Some offer a couple of years, while the larger, more reputable brands offer lifetime warranties against manufacturing defects. NOTE: Warranties will not cover normal wear and tear use or misuse.
What is the safety rating of a thermos?
While there is no number from 1 to 10 to indicate how safe a coffee thermos is, the safest ones to use are those that are phthalate-free, BPA-free, lead-free, and use 18/8 304 food-grade stainless steel.
Although all this information can be daunting to take in all at once, you should now have a better idea of what is available and what kind of travel mug will not only keep your coffee hot, but also keep you alert and happy for hours on end.