If there’s one thing that can put a damper on your day, it’s cold coffee. More to the point, it’s previously hot coffee that’s turned lukewarm sitting inside your coffee thermos. The best coffee thermos should keep your java hot for as long as you need it. However, not all products are created equal.
Fortunately, I know which ones will deliver – and I’m ready to share. So, if you’re in the market for a thermos that’ll keep your drinks hot, keep reading to learn everything you need to know.
Best Coffee Thermos Overview
Here’s a quick rundown of the coffee thermoses we’ll be looking at today:
Includes a serving cup
Wide lid opening
Stays hot for up to 24 hours
Includes a serving cup
Completely leak proof
Powder coat prevents sweating
Pro grade stainless steel
No sweat design
Easy carrying strap
Triple vacuum insulated
Lid doubles as a serving cup
Keeps coffee hot up to 12 hours
Durable stainless steel
Easy to clean
LED temperature display
Tough stainless steel
Keeps coffee hot for 12 hours
How Does a Coffee Thermos Work?
We all know that a good coffee thermos equals a hot drink. Still, how does it actually work? Well, at its core, a thermos is a container that uses double wall insulation. There are two layers to the bottle, but since the air gets sucked out from between the walls during construction, you’re left with a vacuum.
And no, not the kind of vacuum you’re used to using on the carpet. We’re talking about a vacuum that traps the heat from your coffee and prevents it from escaping. Plus, if you’ve filled your thermos with a cold drink, the insulated cup functions the same way by keeping the cold air trapped. So, that iced coffee you put in your thermos is just as likely to stay cold as your hot coffee is to stay piping hot.
Given its unique design, a thermos tends to retain much more efficiently than a regular insulated mugs.
What Size Coffee Thermos Is Best?
Coffee thermoses come in all sorts of sizes, ranging from 10 ounce (295.7 milliliter) cups to those in excess of 64 ounces (1.9 liters). That said, 16 ounces (473.2 milliliters) tends to be the standard size for a thermos.
So, which size is the right one? In reality, the size of your coffee thermos has no impact on how well it retains hot and cold drinks, so the “best” size is really just what works for you.
Are you someone who’s used to sipping on the same cup of coffee all day or looking for something that’ll work for kid sized drinks? In the latter case, a 12 ounce (354.9 milliliter) thermos may be more than adequate. Plus, it’s more likely to fit in most car cup holders.
For those of you that need a little more of a pick me up, something larger may be more fitting. That way, you’ll have plenty of java juice to get you through the day. What’s more, you won’t have to worry about adding more ice or using a microwave to keep your cup of joe at the right temperature.
What Materials Make the Best Coffee Thermos?
Even though all thermoses use double wall insulation, they still need to be made from the right materials to be long lasting. In the past, thermoses used stainless steel exteriors with glass interior walls. Unfortunately, this created a durability problem. Despite the metal exterior, the glass was still prone to breaking if you dropped the thermos.
The good news is that many manufacturers have moved away from the glass model. Modern thermoses use a combination of stainless steel and plastic, or just several layers of plastic or stainless steel. These thermoses still retain heat well and they’re less likely to crack if they hit the floor.
Another great material for keeping coffee hot is styrofoam, so it’s a common addition to a lot of plastic thermoses. There’s even less heat transfer with styrofoam, so you can count on this material to keep your coffee piping hot.
What Features Are Important in A Coffee Thermos?
I’ve talked about which materials make the best coffee thermos, but there are plenty of other important features to consider too:
- Type of lid: While it’s not uncommon for a stainless steel mug to use a sliding lid, others use flip lids and screw on lids. A flip lid will help prevent spills but a screw on lid won’t fall off as easily and tends to be more durable. If the cup falls, it’s less likely that a screw lid will pop off your thermos travel mug.
- Ease of Cleaning: Nothing makes your insulated thermos harder to use than if it’s impossible to clean. It’ll be more difficult to remove stains or nasty smells if you’re not able to fit your hand past the opening.
- Lead-free Materials: Ending up at the doctor’s office because of lead poisoning won’t be fun for anyone, especially if your insulated thermos is the culprit. That’s why I think it’s crucial that any thermos you decide to go with uses lead free and BPA free plastic.
- Portability: When you’re on the go, you’ll want your coffee thermos to go with you. Still, for that to happen it needs to be portable. It’s hard to transport your thermos if it won’t fit into your car cup holders or the handle is uncomfortable to hold. The best coffee thermos should include features like an ergonomic handle and a body that’s slim enough to fit into cup holders.
The 8 Best Coffee Thermoses
Enough chit chat – let’s get down to business and talk about what you came here for: finding the best coffee thermos for you or the coffee snob in your life.
Stanley Classic Vacuum Insulated Thermos Buy Now on Amazon
Coffee lovers and tea drinkers might not want to miss hearing about the Stanley Classic Vacuum Insulated Thermos. This awesome thermos keeps drinks hot or cold for an impressive 24 hours, so you don’t have to worry about your freshly brewed coffee getting all tepid and sad.
The Stanley Classic holds up to 48 ounces (1.4 liters), making it the largest thermos on my list. In my opinion, the Stanley Classic’s $41.50 price tag represents seriously good value for money.
Thanks to its rust proof stainless steel, you won’t have to worry about this thermos denting or breaking in a hurry. What’s more, the Stanley’s large capacity, durable exterior and integrated serving cup earn it the title of Best Overall thermos for coffee.
- Extremely durable
- Large capacity
- Includes a serving cup
Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug Buy Now on Amazon
The Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug might not seem like much, but there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. That vacuum insulated stainless steel holds the ticket for great heat retention and durability.
While this thermos does use a flip lid, there’s a safety lock to prevent accidental opening, which is the major defect when it comes to flip lids. So, you won’t have to worry about accidental leaks or too much heat escaping.
Despite having an opening that’s wide enough to fit your hand inside for cleaning, the design of this Zojirushi mug is ridiculously simple. However, the Zojirushi is more than effective and only costs $25.99. The compact design is comfortable and portable, and there’s no bulky handle to prevent this from fitting inside your car cup holder.
- Safety lock
- Wide lid opening
- Compact design
Thermos Stainless King Vacuum Insulated Bottle Buy Now on Amazon
Do you need a coffee thermos that’s going to last for that 12 or 14 hour shift you’ve got to pull? Or maybe you’re headed into the woods to go camping for a couple of days. In that case, you need something that’s going to keep the ice cubes floating in your cold brew.
There’s no need to look any further than the Thermos Stainless King Vacuum-Insulated Bottle, which holds an impressive 40 ounces (1.2 liters) and costs just $31.99.
Will it fit comfortably in your car cup holders? Probably not, but sometimes you need something that’s got a little bit more capacity.
That vacuum insulation technology works wonders here, since you’ll be able to keep your drinks hot or cold up to 24 hours. And, to make things even easier, there’s a built in serving cup. That means you can pour out as much coffee as you’re ready to drink each time.
Speaking of pouring out coffee, let’s talk about the twist and pour stopper. There are leak proof thermoses and then there are completely leak proof thermoses. Suffice to say, this one falls into the latter category.
While the handle makes this thermos convenient to carry, the exterior stays to cool to the touch no matter how hot your coffee is. Plus, it won’t sweat with iced coffee. When you’re done, just pop this bottle in the dishwasher and you’re all set.
- Stays hot for up to 24 hours
- Includes a serving cup
- Completely leak proof
- Not very lightweight
- Exterior isn’t scratch proof
Hydro Flask Stainless Steel Reusable Bottle Buy Now on Amazon
Despite its name, the Hydro Flask Stainless Steel Reusable Bottle excels at holding hot or iced coffee – and that’s basically the same thing as water, right?
Although it’s just $27.64 on Amazon,the Hydro Flask features TempShield technology and double wall insulation. That means this baby is going to keep those beverages hot as long as you need it to.
Like any Hydro Flask bottle, this thermos includes a proprietary powder coat, which ensures your bottle doesn’t get too hot or sweat from cold beverages. After all, just because you’re sweating on that hike doesn’t mean your thermos needs to.
There may not be a handle on the side of this bottle, but it does include a carrying strap on top of the screw on lid. You’ll be able to fit your thermos into that cup holder without any issues but you’ll still get the benefit of convenient portability.
Oh, and the cherry on top here? Hydro Flask always includes a lifetime warranty for manufacturing defects. Now that’s what I call good service!
- Powder coat prevents sweating
- Pro grade stainless steel
- Lifetime warranty
- Dents easily when dropped
YETI Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Rambler Buy Now on Amazon
One household name that gets thrown around a lot in the world of insulated mugs, travel bottles and coffee thermoses is YETI. The brand has a solid reputation for making durable products that excel in keeping hot beverages … well, hot.
The YETI Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Rambler is no exception. While it might be a little more expensive than most of the other thermoses on this list, the stainless steel vacuum insulation is certainly worth the $49.99 price tag.
There’s plenty to appreciate about this thermos. For starters, there’s that durable stainless steel we all know and love, plus a no-sweat design. The YETI’s screw on lid includes a small carrying handle, which ius a thoughtful feature. I mean, given how wide this thermos is, that TripleHaul cap certainly makes it much easier to lug around when you’re on the go.
The YETI Rambler holds around 36 ounces (1.1 liters), so you can definitely count on this classic thermos to get you through that long shift or weekend hike.
- No sweat design
- Easy carrying strap
- Completely leakproof
- Lid has to be removed to drink
Fijoo Stainless Steel Coffee Thermos Buy Now on Amazon
Why pair stainless steel with plastic or glass when you can just pair it with more stainless steel? That’s exactly what the Fijoo Stainless Steel Coffee Thermos does. Plus, at just $21.97, this is an awesome option for those on a budget.
The Fijoo’s slim design makes it easy to carry, although it does lack the convenient strap or handle that you’ll find on some other options.
The vacuum flask really comes in handy here, and you can count on this bottle to keep your drink hot for up to 12 hours (and 24 hours if you’re trying to keep your drinks warm or cold).
This vacuum bottle is even triple vacuum insulated, which is more than you can say for a lot of coffee thermoses.
Not only is the lid completely leakproof, if you’re only looking to enjoy a little bit of your hot drink at a time, it doubles as a serving cup.
- Triple vacuum insulated
- Lid doubles as a serving cup
- Keeps coffee hot up to 12 hours
Stanley Classic Trigger Action Travel Thermos Buy Now on Amazon
For just $24.97, there’s a lot to love about the Stanley Classic Trigger Action Travel Thermos, starting with its leak resistant cap.
The thermos uses a combination of a screw on and trigger action lid. While the top securely screws on to the rest of the thermos, you only have to press down to open the mouthpiece. How’s that for convenient?
You don’t have to worry about the 18/8 stainless steel double walled vacuum insulation breaking easily either. This thermos can certainly take a beating if it needs to and it’s completely BPA free.
The real kicker here is just how long the Stanley will keep your coffee hot for. Take a guess – is it 3 hours? 4 hours? Nope! You can count on this thermos to keep your coffee hot for up to 7 hours, cold for 10, and even iced up to 30 hours.
Personally, I don’t know why you’d want to drink the same coffee for 30 hours. But hey, you’ve at least got the option if you want it.
- Durable stainless steel
- Easy to clean
- Leakproof design
TLINNA Vacuum Insulated Coffee and Tea Thermos Buy Now on Amazon
Ever wanted to know how hot your coffee is before you take a swig? It’d be a handy feature and would save a lot of us from a burned tongue (or just cringing at the taste of old lukewarm coffee). Fortunately, that’s one of the biggest perks of the TLINNA Vacuum Insulated Coffee and Tea Thermos.
There’s an LED display on top of this thermos, as well as a temperature sensor. In short, you only need to press the top of your thermos to get a read on how hot your coffee is. While that display may be battery operated, it’s meant to work for more than three years with regular use.
The 18/8 stainless steel interior of this cup means you won’t have to worry about corrosion or rust (or dealing with that icky metal taste you can get with stainless steel mugs).
You can count on this thermos to keep your coffee hot for up to 12 hours, and there’s an even a bottle brush included to ensure easy cleaning. Best of all, the TLINNA thermos costs an entirely reasonable $29.99 on Amazon.
- LED temperature display
- Tough stainless steel
- Keeps coffee hot for 12 hours
- Battery can't be replaced
- LED screen subject to moisture buildup
How Do You Take Care of A Coffee Thermos?
While keeping your coffee thermos in tip top shape does require some maintenance, it’s definitely easier than trying to take care of a pet or a child. That said, the best coffee thermos will eventually feel like part of the family!
Ideally, you’ll want to clean your thermos after every single use. Nothing spoils fresh coffee like old coffee residue or stains left in the cup. Depending on the thermos, the manufacturer may tell you it’s dishwasher safe. However, I always recommend hand washing with hot water and a little mild detergent.
Even the best coffee thermos can develop a funky smell. Fortunately, the best solution is using a couple of things you’ve likely got in your kitchen: baking soda and vinegar. Sprinkle some baking soda into the bottom of the cup, add a little bit of vinegar and shake well.
Once you’ve shaken it up, you can add some hot water until the thermos is full, then let it sit for around 10 minutes. Don’t be alarmed if you see some frothing or fizzling – that’s just science at work.
Once you’ve let it sit, you can use a bottle brush to scrub the thermos and then rinse it thoroughly with warm water.
Verdict: the Best Coffee Thermos
Whether you need it to hold hot drinks, iced tea or your favorite cold brew, the best coffee thermos will always be your trusted companion. Endless options can make the shopping process feel overwhelming, but rest easy. Why give yourself a headache when I’ve already done the heavy lifting for you?
I stand by all my choices for the best coffee thermos, and I’ll bet there’s one that’s ideal for your needs. All that’s left to say is “you’re welcome!”
I hope you’ve enjoyed my guide to the best coffee thermos. Is there a coffee thermos you think should be on my list? As always, I look forward to your comments!
Best Coffee Thermos FAQ
To get the smell out of a coffee thermos, use a mixture of baking soda, vinegar and hot water. Then, allow this to sit in the thermos for 10 minutes, then rinse fully.
The most universal way to clean a coffee thermos is by using a mild dish detergent and either a scrubby or bottle brush.
When it’s empty, you can store a coffee thermos in your cupboard with the rest of your mugs. As long as you’re not leaving your thermos out in the rain or bad weather, you shouldn’t have to worry about rust.
You may sometimes hear the terms travel mug and thermos used interchangeably, but they’re actually quite different. Travel mugs may have some insulation, but they aren’t designed for the same kind of heat retention as a thermos. Thermoses use double wall insulation and a vacuum to ensure better heat retention but travel mugs often don’t.
Maybe you found an old Zojirushi thermos in your cabinet and you’re wondering if it’s safe to use? Just like any cup, a vacuum bottle won’t “go bad,” although it may not be as durable or retain heat as well as a new one.