Invented at the end of the 19th century and originally known as a vacuum flask, the thermos would quickly become ubiquitous in every blue collar household. That’s because it was used to hold coffee or other beverages for workers as they head off to work. It allowed these workers to keep their beverages hot and also allowed them to take a little piece of home with them to work every day.
While there was a time when the popularity of these products waned, they have stepped back into the spotlight and have become as popular as ever. That’s because they are not only useful for keeping coffee or tea warm in worker’s lunchboxes but can be used to keep a variety of other food products warm including soup, meatballs, oatmeal, pasta and even pizza. And it’s this usefulness that prompted us to discover the top ten models currently available.
Best Thermoses – Top List
10Stansport 12-Gauge Shot Gun Shell Bottle
Although this product looks like a 12-gauge shotgun shell and may be written off as a novelty item by some people, it’s actually a working thermos that’s designed to keep drinks hot or cold for up to 24-hours at a time. It has a 25-ounce capacity, which is enough to hold three cups of hot coffee or soup, and it has a BPA-free one-touch stopper that’s easy to reseal. This product has a wide base that makes it extremely stable and is made with double wall 18-8 stainless steel. The end of this product serves as a cup so that beverages can be served just about anywhere.
9Water Vault Vacuum Insulated Steel Bottle
Designed to keep beverages hot for anywhere from 24 to 36-hours, this steel bottle seems ideal for anyone who needs to be able to take coffee or tea with them. This product is made using an 18-8 stainless steel inner and outer wall and uses an innovation known as copper thermo-technology to keep heat from leaving or entering the bottle via thermal radiation. Not only is the main body of this product insulated, but it’s insulated even down to its threads. This product is leak-proof, durable and capable of being taken just about anywhere. And to top it all off, it comes in a variety of different sizes and colors.
8The Coldest Water Bottle Insulated Bottle
The Coldest Water Bottle is designed to keep beverages cold for up to 36-hours, so it can actually be thought of as a reverse thermos. It’s made of high-quality 18-8 stainless steel, is vacuum-sealed and has double wall construction. This product’s design not only allows it to keep beverages ice cold, however. It’s also designed to fit in the majority of cup holders, whether they’re located on a float, on a bike or in a car. And if it’s dropped in a body of water such as a swimming pool or the ocean, it’s designed to float. This makes it a good product that comes in a variety of exciting colors.
7Healthy Human Double Walled Stein Flask
This Healthy Human Thermos is designed to keep beverages cold for up to 24-hours, hot for up to 12-hours and piping hot for up to 6-hours. It’s BPA-free and is made using 18-8 stainless steel for durability. It uses a high-quality copper-coated insulation and double wall vacuum installation that allows it perform its job at keep beverages hot or cold extremely well. It’s also 100% leak-proof and has a carrying handle, so it’s convenient to take on the run. It’s available in a variety of sizes including 16, 21, 32 and 40-ounce sizes; and can be bought in one of a number of different colors including pure black, wood stock, Hawaiian pink and ocean tide.
6Thermos Stainless King 16-Ounce Jar
While its 16-ounce size may limit its ability to carry more than one or two cups of coffee, the real beauty of this product is that it’s really good for transporting food. It can be used to carry a variety of different foods including fruit salads, soups, and pasta. This insulated food jar can keep liquids cold for up to 9-hours and them hot for up to 7-hours and will remain sweat-proof and cool to the touch all during that time. It comes with an insulated lid that doubles as a serving bowl and comes with a folding spoon. All of which makes this product useful for taking on hunting or fishing trips or while hiking.
5Thermos Brand Insulated 18-Ounce Bottle
This durable stainless-steel 18-ounce hydration bottle is designed to be leak-free, and it keeps beverages cold for up to 12-hours. It has a virtually unbreakable design and is durable to be used on the trail while camping or during fishing trips. This product has double wall vacuum insulation, like a conventional thermos, that allows it to lock in temperatures and preserve its contents freshness and flavor. And it’s designed in such a way that condensation won’t form on the outside of this unit, unlike other comparable water bottles. Other features found on this product include a button-activated lid and a flip-top lid.
4Rino Cups Keepa 30-Ounce Tumbler
Manufactured to be durable enough for a lifetime of use, the Rino Keepa 30-ounce tumbler is made from kitchen-grade 18-8 stainless steel and a heavy-duty crack-proof lid. It can keep beverages or soups hot for 8-hours or cold for up to 24-hours thanks to its innovative double wall vacuum insulation. This product has a slip base that makes it easy to hold and pour and has a sweat-free design. It’s also very stylish looking and comes in one of twelve different colors including chocolate brown, matte blue, yellow or green. Other features which this product has includes a large mouth opening and rounded corners.
3HvDrink Insulated Vacuum Water Bottle
Available in sizes which range from 21-ounces all the way to 50-ounces, there’s a HvDrink insulated water bottle for just about everyone. These thermoses are made using 18-8 food-grade stainless steel and will keep beverages cold for 24-hours or hot for up to 12-hours. Its durable construction allows it to be used just about anywhere, and it comes in a variety of colors which will suit just about anyone’s style. This product’s simple yet modern design just doesn’t look great, however, because it’s also very functional. This makes this a great product to take hiking or camping, to take on a sailboat or for family road trips.
2Thermo Tank 17-Ounce Insulated Steel Water Bottle
This product is not only designed to keep beverages cold but to keep them cold for up to 36-hours. It accomplishes this task by uses a double-wall construction integrated with vacuum insulation as well as a layer of copper insulation. This makes it great for keeping cold beverages cold even on hot summer days. However, this thermos isn’t just good at keeping cold beverages cold. It can also be used to keep a cup of coffee hot all throughout a work day or up to 12-hours. And it has an outer layer that keeps the outside cool to the touch and doesn’t allow sweat condensation to form.
1Thermo Tank Stainless Steel 25-Ounce Bottle
This 25-ounce water bottle has an innovative design that keeps hot beverages hot for up to 12-hours and cold beverages cold up to 36-hours. It does this with a stainless-steel double wall construction that contains two layers of insulation. It has a vacuum-insulation layer and also a copper insulation layer. This unique design not only allows it to keep beverages hot or cold, however. It also makes this bottle extremely durable. This product also has a slim design that makes it easy to take on the go. And since it comes in a variety of single colors including sunrise orange, deep teal and slate, there’s a color made to fit just about any lifestyle.
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Thermos Food Safety Tips
According to the CDC, one out of every six Americans gets sick from eating contaminated foods or beverages. Most of these cases are preventable though if people would just take a few moments to handle their food safely and adhere to some basic sanitation guidelines. And this is an area where a thermos can prove quite handy because it can be used to keep foods or beverages at a stable temperature.
However, that doesn’t mean the user shouldn’t do their due diligence first. When packing food or beverages in a thermos for a day at the park or to take to work, the user should first pay attention to basic food preparation and storage guidelines, follow the instruction from the company that makes the thermos and know what foods can and can’t be stored in a thermos. With that in mind, we’ve included some basic guidelines to get the user started.
Buy a Safe Thermos
While most of the name brand thermoses are BPA and phthalates-free, it never hurts to check, especially when buying an off-brand thermos. Consumers should check that the thermos conforms to Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) guidelines, or the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).
Read the Thermos Instructions
While I technically covered this subject in the paragraph before the last section, it’s an important enough point that I feel like it needs repeating. Before using any thermos, it’s important to read and understand all of the instructions that came with it. The instructions will tell the user how to prepare the thermos for first-time use, how it should be cleaned and sometimes, it will even tell the user what kinds of foods can be stored in it.
Check the Thermos Rating
Another thing to pay attention to is how long a particular thermos can keep a particular food or beverage hot. Some models can only keep an item hot for 6-hours, while others may keep food hot for 12-hours or longer. The consumer also should realize that hot and cold temperatures may differ on the same thermos. For example, a thermos might keep an item hot for 8-hours but will keep an item cold for 24-hours, or vice-versa. The user should never try to store food or beverages longer than the manufacturer recommends.
Hand Wash the Thermos
Sure, most thermoses which are manufactured today can be washed in a dishwasher, but I feel that hand washing does a better job at removing food residue in the thermos. That’s because some dishwasher solutions contain bleaches which can pit stainless-steel and give bacteria a hiding place. Hand washing the thermos will also extend the life of the product for this very same reason.
Make Sure All Surfaces are Clean
It’s also important that not only is the thermos clean but that anything that touches the thermos is clean. This includes the cutting board where the food may be prepared and the user’s hands. All cooking utensils should also be clean, and fruits and vegetables should be rinsed under running water before they’re packed.
Pack Foods According to Temperature
An important consideration for anyone using a thermos for packing their food during the day is to ensure they pack according to the temperature of the food. And that’s just a fancy way of saying that hot foods should be packed hot and cold foods should be packed cold. If a particular food item is intended to be a hot food, then make sure that it’s at least 165-degrees Fahrenheit when it’s packed. If the food is intended to be a cold food item, then make sure it’s 39-degrees or colder when it’s packed. That ensures that the foods are kept out of the food danger zone, a temperature range where bacteria can multiply rapidly. The danger zone is between 40-degrees and 140-degrees.
Priming the Thermos
A trick that can be used to make the thermos even more effective in keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold is priming the thermos. This is done by preheating or pre-cooling the thermos. A person can do this by simply storing hot or cold water in the thermos for a few minutes. After this time has passed, the hot or cold water is then dumped out, and food or beverages can then be added to the thermos. This preheating or cooling is a great way to get the most of the thermos.
Store Foods with Liquids
Unless the thermos is going to only be used for storing foods for extremely short periods of time, then foods that don’t contain liquids as a base shouldn’t be stored in it. That’s because thermoses are designed to work with liquids and not with solid foods. Solids stored in a thermos won’t be safe to eat in a couple of hours, so if the user needs to store their lunch longer than that, then they should choose the appropriate thermos safe food items. These liquid-based food items include soups, stews, and beverages. That doesn’t mean the thermos can never be used for solid food items, it just means they shouldn’t be stored for longer than 2-hours at a time.
Pack Before Leaving the Home
Obviously, if the user packs the item right before they head out the door, then it will remain hot or colder longer. I’ve seen people pack their food items and then leave the thermos on the counter for an hour, and that’s extra time the thermos could have kept the item cold outside the home. If food is packed right before leaving, it gives the user that extra buffer where they know they’ll food remain temperature stable.
Be Careful Packing Foods for Children
If the thermos is being used to pack food for a child’s lunch, then it’s very important that it won’t be so hot that it will burn the child when they open it. While it’s important to keep the food at a safe temperature, it shouldn’t be so hot that it can scald the child.
Foods To Place in a Thermos
Below are just some of the items that can be placed in a thermos easily and conveniently:
- Ramen Noodles
- Pulled Pork
- Hot Chocolate
- Scrambled Eggs