Best Thermoses of 2018

Linda Thomson ·
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We spent 40 hours researching and evaluating thermoses and insulated flasks, and our favorite is the Thermos 16 Ounce Stainless Steel Commuter Bottle. This well-designed and durable thermos costs a bit more than a few of the other models we examined, but its high-quality insulation can keep cold liquids cool for 12 hours and hot liquids warm for eight hours. The lid stays tightly closed, and you can open it easily with a push button. This thermos is easy to hold, doesn’t drip or leak, and can be cleaned in the dishwasher so you don’t have to fumble with bottle brushes and hand washing. 

Best Overall
Thermos 16 Ounce Stainless Steel Commuter Bottle
The Thermos 16 Ounce Stainless Steel Commuter Bottle holds 16 ounces, and it keeps cold liquids cool for 12 hours and hot liquids warm for 8 hours. You also can drink directly from it.
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Best Budget
Asobu Imperial Beverage Cup
The attractive and budget-friendly Asobu Imperial Beverage Cup looks good, holds 10 ounces, is made of insulated stainless steel and gives you double-walled insulation to keep drinks warm or cool for hours.
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Best for Food and Beverages
Zojirushi Stainless Steel Food Jar
The Zojirushi Stainless Steel Food Jar keeps food and beverages warm or cool for up to six hours, is dishwasher safe and has a wide mouth so it’s easy to get food out of.
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Best Overall
The Thermos 16 Ounce Stainless Steel Commuter Bottle is a sturdy, well-made thermos that can keep your coffee, tea or soup toasty warm for 8 hours, and your water or lemonade nicely cool for a welcome 12 hours.
Unlike some thermoses, this does not leak since it locks firmly shut, and you can open this thermos by simply pushing a button. The inside and outside both are made of stainless steel, and the vacuum technology keeps temperatures where they should be. The exterior is tough enough to go with you through the day, and it will look good despite the occasional ding that inevitably happens during everyday use. Along with that, the outside remains cool to the touch, so hot coffee won’t make it unbearable to handle. You also won’t encounter condensation on the outside, which means you are less likely to grab a slippery, wet thermos when you need a cool drink on a hot day. This thermos holds 16 ounces, which for most people is big enough to keep them nicely hydrated. This 16-ounce bottle is light enough to carry around easily and fits into backpacks and most car cup holders. You don’t get a separate cup with this purchase. However, the easy-pour shape of the thermos opening means fewer spills. Cleaning is a breeze since you can simply put this in the dishwasher.
  • It keeps beverages hot or cold for many hours.
  • This thermos is sturdy.
  • It fits most car cupholders.
  • At 16 ounces, it doesn’t hold enough fluid for a full day.
  • It doesn’t come with a cup of its own.
  • There is no handle.
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Best Budget
The reasonably priced and compact Asobu Imperial Beverage Cup is, in fact, an attractive brushed metal insulated cup that is made of insulated stainless steel. It is built with a double-wall vacuum so it keeps hot drinks nicely warm for hours.
Besides the attractive silver stainless steel exterior, it also comes in red, blue, a teal-like green and a brown shade termed “coffee.” Since this thermos cup holds 10 ounces, this is not the thermos for a full day of hiking, which would require a considerable amount of fluid to stay well-hydrated. However, it works like a charm for taking just the right amount of hot coffee or cold orange juice to work or school. You also get a BPA-free plastic lid, which is reassuring for anyone worried about any possible ill effects from the chemical. The middle of the lid slides back to open a hole letting you drink from it easily without having your beverage spill all over you. This thermos has a ribbed gasket around the edge of the mouth, and you need to avoid pushing the lid back too far. Unfortunately, the gasket is not fully leak proof, so you need to keep this device upright to avoid fluid seeping out.
  • It keeps hot drinks hot for hours.
  • You can wash this in the dishwasher.
  • It is reasonably priced.
  • It holds only 10 ounces.
  • The outside can become slippery.
  • You must keep it upright to avoid leaking.
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Best for Food and Beverages
If you like to take a hot lunch to work but don’t have a microwave, the Zojirushi Stainless Steel Food Jar could be a great choice.
With its wide-neck design, you can put all kinds of foods inside and they will stay warm for as long as six hours, and it’s easy to scoop or spoon food out when you want to eat. You can use this stainless steel food jar to carry beverages, either hot or cold, as well as chilled foods, and it can hold 25 ounces. This is handy for such things as warm baby foods, stews or soups, oatmeal and more. This thermos boasts a double-walled stainless steel construction, and the inside features an electro-polished stainless steel finish that helps prevent stains. However, when it comes to foods with powerful smells or colors, you’re advised to use a plastic bag of some kind to protect the interior. The manufacturer also warns against putting raw or cold dairy products inside. Instead, you should probably cook them thoroughly first, then cool them, before attempting to place and keep them in the Zojirushi. This helpful thermos does have a couple of drawbacks: It can’t be cleaned in the dishwasher and it doesn’t work well with carbonated drinks or fruit juices. The Zojirushi is designed with a threaded gasket seal at the top so the lid fits tightly, but it is not totally airtight. You’d be wise to keep this upright to avoid any leaking.
  • It works for food as well as drinks.
  • This stainless steel thermos is well insulated.
  • You get a wide-neck opening, which is helpful for foods.
  • You must put a food-safe bag inside for strong-smelling foods.
  • It is not dishwasher safe.
  • This thermos needs to stay upright to prevent leaking.
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Best for Communters
This vacuum flask is a great thermos to take along with you. Its base has a diameter of only 3 inches, which is perfect for fitting nicely into your car or stroller cup holder, and it still holds a decent 25 ounces of liquid.
That’s as much as two water bottles, a medium soft drink or a Starbucks Venti Cold. The double-insulated, BPA-free sides keep your iced tea or water cold for 48 hours or your coffee hot for 24 hours. The Isosteel thermos’s cap doubles as a handy cup, and it includes a quick-stop cap to keep spills at bay. You can remove the cap entirely and drink straight from the container. One setback of the Isosteel Vacuum Flask is you must hand wash it each time since no part of this thermos is dishwasher safe. Also, when empty, this thermos weighs 18 ounces, so when full it can get a bit burdensome to carry after a while.
  • Holds 25 ounces of liquid
  • Heavy when full
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Best for School Lunches
The Reduce is compact, only 12 ounces, with rubber grips wrapped around it, perfect for little hands to hold on to while eating from it, and it has rubber grips at the bottom so it won’t slip or wiggle while you’re holding it.
This insulated thermos keeps foods, like rice, soup and pasta, hot for six hours, which is great for school lunches. And because it seals tightly with a leak-proof lid, the Reduce Vacuum Food Jar can bump and bounce around inside a backpack without spilling. Plus, it’s BPA free and made with recycled materials, so it’s ideal for health-conscious and environmentally friendly users, too. The only negative part of this food thermos is, except for the lid, it’s not dishwasher safe, which means it must be hand washed.
  • BPA free
  • Not dishwasher safe
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Why Trust Us? 

Top Ten Reviews has been researching and investigating home products since 2010, and for the past three years we have invested 120 hours in examining thermoses. We looked for the widest variety of thermoses and insulated food/beverage containers we could find since there are so many on the market, and casting our net wide meant a broader and more all-encompassing selection for you.

We examined different characteristics such as wide-mouths, pour spouts that you can drink from directly like water bottles, different sizes and capacities, durability, and different types of lids. We also considered cost since that can be a determining factor for many consumers.

How We Researched
We spent 40 hours evaluating thermoses – reading customer reviews as well as articles and blogs by fitness enthusiasts, students and parents. We also read a variety of review websites to see which manufacturers typically produce the best-quality thermoses, then narrowed our focus onto thermoses that meet our standards for temperature, capacity, durability and other worthwhile features.

How much does a decent thermos cost?

Because there are so many kinds of thermoses and food jars available, there isn’t a clear-cut answer to how much one costs. However, if you’re on a budget, you can expect to spend between $15 and $40 for a decent thermos that is well insulated, holds a good amount of liquid and includes a leak-proof lid. Most thermoses in this price range also come with a warranty to cover major manufacturing defects.

Things to Look for in a Thermos 

Whether you are toting icy water to hydrate you after a long workout or bringing warm baby food with you to keep a hungry child happy, having a quality thermos can make or break your outing. Different thermos models have different characteristics, so you’ll need to choose the one that works best for your situation.

Construction & Insulation

Construction and insulation can profoundly affect temperature retention and durability. There are plastic and pressed tin models on the market, but better- quality thermoses give you a double-walled stainless steel construction. This provides strength, scratch resistance, shatterproofing and corrosion resistance. Stainless steel is also able to withstand the pressure of vacuum insulation. This type of insulation maintains temperature with airless space between the two walls of the thermos. This prevents heat or cold leaching into or out of the interior, which means a flask with good quality vacuum insulation holds heat or cold for longer intervals than one with foam insulation.

The capacity of a thermos dictates how many people can stay hydrated and for how long. With capacities ranging from 4 ounces to 1 gallon, you should choose the size of your flask based on its most likely use. If, for example, you need a thermos for hiking, family picnics or other all-day or overnight activities, you’ll no doubt need one with a substantial capacity. For your own hydration during a workout or a hot drink on the daily commute, a single-serve travel mug or travel tumbler that holds between 4 and 16 ounces probably would work better.

If you're looking for a thermos that's easy to carry while you run or work out, consider one that comes with a carry strap, clips to your belt or has a contoured body for a comfortable grip. For drinks while driving, opt for a slimline travel mug that fits into a vehicle cup holder. When you require a large-capacity flask, look for one with a carry handle, strap or case. For storing in a backpack or lunchbox or to carry over rough terrain, the flask needs to be airtight so it doesn't leak.