Stanley Thermos Review

Stanley Thermos

UPDATE: Please read the update and the readers’ comments below. It seems the newer Stanley thermos does not hold up like the one in this review. Since moving their production over to China there seems to be a significant drop in quality.

Old Review:

After being disappointed with other brands of thermoses in the past, I really wasn’t expecting that much from the Stanley Thermos. I heard that they were tough, but I figured it was probably just a marketing gimmick. Boy, was I wrong!

I abuse pretty much all of my gear. From driving off with cameras on my back bumper to dropping gear down the side of a mountain, it was nice to finally have a product that could stand up to my abuse. I was really impressed with the strength of everything from the thermos handle to the handy little cup cap.

I brought a couple of Stanley Thermoses out to Sedona over the weekend, and after using them around the campground I am now a loyal fan! I was so impressed with them that I will be bringing them on all our future trips.

Why We Liked the Classic Stanley Thermos:

  1. Very tough – They stood up to all sorts of falls and even a few tumbles downs some rocks. I can see why people say that these things last a lifetime. The Classic Stanley Thermos stood up to pretty much any abuse that we could throw at it.
  2. Kept everything we put in them very hot. In fact, I filled the thermos up with boiling water at around 9pm and at 8am the next morning it was still hot enough to steep some tea. (The thermos was left out on a table in temperatures around 50 degrees)
  3. Very convenient. It was nice to have Hot water waiting in the morning without having to start the fire.
  4. The Lid is tough and doubles as a drinking cup.
  5. It was nice to see a company that still cares about quality. I have tried many cheap knock-off Thermoses in the past and I will tell you that none of them compared to the Stanley. We highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking about adding thermoses to their camping gear. This is one product that you will not have to worry about replacing anytime soon.

Looking for a Stanley Thermos?

Update: We have had a number or people write in with their own reviews which you can see below. The thermos we reviewed was from a couple of years ago and worked great for us.  We will be reviewing this year’s model very soon and if we find that the new thermos does not reflect our review we will re-post our new findings. You can find more Gear Reviews in our Survival Gear Section and our Hiking Gear Section.

83 Comments

  1. i had a thermos and it wouldnt stay hot over 3 hrs. so they sent me a new one and its doing the same thing. 3 hrs. and coffee gets cold. is there something im doing wrong

    • Evidently, nothing has changed since this review! Bought this one for my husband yesterday. We were replacing a Stanley from about 10-12 years ago, which still works great, by the way! It just looks completely beat up, because it has been! The bottom is off, it’s dented and rusty but it still keeps things hot!
      You really can tell the quality is completely different when you first pick it up! The old Stanley feels weighty and substantial! The new one feels like a tin can! Needless to say, my husband texted me at 9:00am today and asked me to take the old one out of the recycling bin, because his coffee was cold! That was only 3 hrs.! I want to know if there are any made in the USA anymore? Sorry Stanley!…you’ve lost our business!

      • I agree totally. We had our old “Aladdin” Stanley thermos for at least 25 yrs. and when I decided to go buy a new one, I could tell the difference immediately. It felt so flimsy and cheaply made. I decided my old one is still good enough and I’m taking that Chinese piece of junk back. I noticed the brand “Thermos” looked and felt more heavy duty, so I might consider that one. Why can’t we get quality products anymore. So disappointing. I figured I’d have the new Stanley for another 25 yrs. Not gonna happen.

        • We have a thermos that is over 40 years old. It’s one of the original greyish/greenish colored ones. Hubby wanted a new one because ours was so beat up looking. He bought one of the new ones, and took it back to WalMart 2 days later because it did not keep coffee hot.
          To this day, our coffee is still hot all day long. He has painted the outside a couple of times, but it still looks good and works; even with it’s dents and pings.

          • I gave up on Stanley after several failures / replacements in or about 2011. I went over to Thermos, which are equally as bad. We have two – in total, in around 5 years, we’ll have gone through 10 once the latest replacement arrives.

          • Sorry sir but I’m gonna have to disagree with you. My Thermos brand King 40 oz is absolutely amazing! 190 degree coffee will still be around 140 degrees 24 hours later. Mine works even better than advertised. I can’t speak for all Thermos products, but this one definitely deserves a 9.5 out of 10.

        • I have an old Stanley thermos that for years would not keep coffee hot beyond just 2 hours. Broke down & bought The Work Series Thermos & Hubby loves it! Plus, it holds more. Fills it up at 6 am & usually done by 11:00 & it’s still piping hot! Three cheers for Thermos brand

          • It is a common misconception that old USA Stanleys were all wonderful.
            I’ve had my share of duds(2) from them over the years. An ’82 green and a ’94 (I believe)black. Still have them, lol. Used the cups and stoppers in other thermoses. They’d get hot on the outside when you poured boiling water in them. Both were mint.
            I have a 1.1QT China model now. Gotta say, it keeps coffee hot right along side my older working USA models, of which I have about 7 now.
            I was shocked. I figured maybe 6 hours or so, just because all the negative press I’ve read.
            Nope. Mine at least, works really well.
            1 caveat, mine came directly from Stanley. I bet they test those models a little more strictly than the ones they send to Xmarts.
            Maybe Im wrong, but that’s the gamble I took.

      • I agree. Bought 2 of them because I knew the name and thought is would keep hot things hot. I heated the interior with scalding hot water and put in coffee. Roughtly 3 hours later the coffee was warm. Called customer service to complain and they sent me a new one. Unfortunately the same thing happened. My feeling is that there really is no vacuum between the double walls, and they won’t even think about fixing the problem until both their reputation and sales are at the point of no return.

        • The same thing happened to me.
          Replaced my old one because it had a few dents and a broken lid and bought the Stanley because of the brand name and recommendations. I fill it at breakfast and he damn thing is cold by 1000am. Pre heating it doesn’t seem to help either.
          Not happy.

      • Stanley used to have the best thermos. I have a few old ones that I’ve had. I look for the older ones that were made in the USA. All of the new ones I’ve had are junk. They are cold within hours. That’s what happens when you make a quality product and send production overseas to a sweatshop.

        • I was talking to a guy who tests these and he said it’s not that it’s made in China, it’s that the government rules for manufacturing have changed. OLD Stanley thermoses used to have GLASS liners and be packed with CHARCOAL in the double walls. Those two things together created GREAT insulation that kept things scalding hot for days. But the new ones have to have stainless steel liners and can’t have charcoal in them (not “food safe” enough or something) so it’s just air in between the two walls and the heat can escape much more quickly. Since it’s a government thing you will have the same problem with ANY BRAND of thermos on the market.

          • I have 4 stanley bottles, two made in USA both made in 96 and they work great! However the two I have that are made in China actually keep my coffee hotter than the USA ones by at least 8 hours. That being said they are lighter and don’t feel as durable as the older ones,luckily mine don’t get much abuse which works for great for me. Maybe I was lucky enough to get two good ones on a fluke.Might be a quality control issue, one thing for sure is that Stanley has the best warranty in the business and will replace until you get a good one, which in reality is not good enough,they all should be of the same quality. In all I am still a satisfied customer for now. I do like the wide mouth on the new one as they pour without sloshing and easier to put ice in. Sadly everything is being made cheaper these days and regulations forced them to stop using the charvac design. I have no doubts that my old USA bottles will still be here and working for my grandkids to use, not sure about the China made ones, only time will tell!!

          • Stanley has always been stainless steel not glass I have one that is so old it used a cork stopper it still works

      • Go to walmart in the camping section. They sell the classic Stanley’s that keep everything hot or cold. The one I brought keeps ice in it over 2 days. And if I decide to drink coffee in the winter time. It stays hot all day long. You simply have to know where to look.

    • I have used these flask’s for years BUT not any more four year ago I returned 5 flasks back to Stanley ( Aust) they replaced them all three times in the one year great but the product is no longer any good they are lucky to last a month. I will never buy one again. Note the other models appear to be just as bad. If anyone could help me please do.

      Thanks Tim

      • Did they require you to submit a receipt for the warranty? I bought a used 1.1 qt. Made-In-USA bottle on ebay, and it doesn’t work. It keeps coffee hot for a couple of hours tops. I decided to try out the “Lifetime Warranty” but Stanley said the warranty only covers the original purchaser. They say they require a receipt but I can’t beleive that all of the people who had their bottles replaced had their receipts. Even one post admitted they weren’t the original owner. I was honest upfront to let them know I was not the original owner and I think they’re just asking me for something they know I don’t have. Thanks for any help.

          • Reading comments on the inability of the Stanley to not keep liquid hot. My experience has been the opposite . I boil water and put in thermos for 5 minutes and empty. Then I put my hot beverage in. I work on the waterfront and my beverage or soup stays HOT for up to 9 to 11 hours before the first pour.However, if you continue to pour your beverage over a period of time the liquid will become warm. The only problem is that the thermos is not American made!

          • Did you buy one of the newer ones or is this an old model? I’m trying to decide whether or not to get one for my fiance. He’s a driller and works in some harsh conditions. I want him to be able to have hot soup at work. Any thoughts?

        • Never admit to anything when claiming a waranteed item – always say it was a gift and within the warrantee period and just now used for the very first time. It’s unfortunate that one must resort to such tactics, but it works better than being upfront. At least this has been my experience with such instances.

      • I agree with you Tim. I bought my Stanley flask in South Africa having seen that they were widely used by Safari and Tour Companies there. It worke well for about a year and now it barely keeps things warm for more than a few hours. Apart from returning the product is there any other way it can be fixed?

    • The best thermos are the old #N944 Stanley Super Vac thermos from the 1950s; you can buy them on ebay all the time; it has the cork; the #N943 is OK; the newer 1960s or 1970s or newer Stanleys are also junk; the old #N944 is not breakable; the cork really helps insulate the contents; we tested a #N944 to even the #N943 ; after 8 hours the #N944 was 20 deg warmer; after 22 hours, it was 40 degs warmer ; we’ve used it in 10 deg weather all day outside and for better than 20 hours it is too hot to drink from!

        • “Thermos” is a brand name.
          “thermos” has become a term to describe flasks in the style of Thermos, Stanley, etc., much the way we here in the States the following:
          “coke” in the south covers many sodas
          “xerox” in years past came to mean copy.
          No doubt, some of the terms you use daily make others react the way you do.
          Cheers!

      • I got a new Stanley Cold after 3 hours.
        Reverted to my old one probably 6 years old.
        I cant take it back Lost receipt.
        My how your standards have slipped

    • whenever you are preparing a thermos try filling it with boiling hot water first and let it sit for about a half hour then dump i out and put your coffee in then it should stay hot alot longer

    • I just bought a new Stanley and I’m here to say IT’s Not your Daddy’s Thermos. I own 4 older Stanley bottles all work well. New guy in Elk camp needed another bottle. Well he thought we didn’t like him after the second day. Complained we keep giving him cold coffee . The new Stanley would barely make it to noon and just be warm, not hot. A Big Disappointment on a cold mountain side.
      I should have listen to the people on this site before I bought this new made in China piece of poop!

    • I have an old 24oz big mouth thermos that after years of great service the seal on the bottom of the plug has deteriorated and leaks so bought a new one last year. The new one doesn’t keep my food hot for more than an hour. They no longer make the #19 plug so can’t buy a new plug but it still keeps my food hotter than my new one. Am going to be looking for another thermos to replace my stanley. Will not buy the new stanley thermos a waste of money

      • 2520GMTRI2
        Work Series™ Beverage Bottle
        Thermos™ vacuum insulation technology for maximum temperature retention, hot or cold
        Durable stainless steel interior and exterior
        Cool to the touch with hot liquids, sweat-proof with cold
        Large 40 ounce capacity
        Durable stainless steel cup
        Specifications
        Capacity: 1.2 L
        Dimensions: 4.3″ W x 4.3″ D x 14.5″
        24 hours hot-24 hours cold
        $32.99

    • They’re only as good as the flimsy o ring on stopper. I paid $49 for the thermos and they want $9 for a .50 piece of rubber. I’m done with Stanley.

    • I have had only the best results. There are rules however:
      If you leave your Stanley out in the bitter cold weather, obviously it will not stay boiling hot for 24 hours. If you leave the pour spout cracked all day, it will not stay hot. The less liquid in the Stanley, the less heat retention and the faster it will cool.

      But I usually sip one cup per hour at work and there are about 8 cups in the Stanley and the last one is usually about 100-120º. Which is normal.

      I love my ‘modern’ Stanley and its been beat up and still going strong after 5 years.

    • I purchased a new Stanly, took it on a diving trip. I filled it with boiling water before I filled it with hot chocolate. 4 hours later it was luke warm. Stanly sent me a new one, that one failed , they sent another, that failed too. I have the third one that I am going to try this week end. If it fails I am not going to have one
      I will stop at the local marina and have a hot chocolate and pitch this China crap.

    • Preheat (or pre-cool depending on your drink). I have 2 that were made down the road from me here in Nashville, and it says to put hot or cold water in them for 30 minutes before hand. Hot water for coffee, and cold water with some ice in it for cold drinks.

    • Before you fill it with your hot beverage, fill it with boiling water, put the lid on loosely and let it sit for 5 minutes. Pour out the water and directly poor in the beverage. I do this when I make hot tea every morning at about 10am. In the evening when I clean the kitchen around 9pm, I pour out any tea that’s left and it’s always still hot.

    • No matter if it USA made it made in China they work the same. Most likely yourcoffee is getting cold as I’m assuming you are pouring it into a cold Stanley. Always precharge it with hot water as when you pour your coffee in the inner walls are already heated up and won’t take away from the heat of your fresh brewed coffee. This trick was passed down from my grandfather and I’ve found it has kept my coffee warm up to10 hours.

    • This is not a Stanley or China issue. No insulated bottle is like the old Stanleys were. The ones that worked great had a vacuum glass liner with additional charcoal outer insulation. The Government stepped in and put an end to that. No more vacuum glass lining and no more impure charcoal insulation. You can blame the government for the demise in Thermos bottle performance. None are as good as they used to be.

  2. Dennis, I don’t think you did anything wrong. For the past eight years the Stanley bottles have been made in China and not the USA. When they were still made in the USA by Aladdin Stanley they had a layer of charcoal in between the two layers of stainless steel and they were heavier. The Chinese made bottles are lighter because they don’t have the charcoal layer and I don’t think the stainless steel is as thick. Sure, Stanley-PMI says that the bottles are made to the same rigid standards as before but I’m not convinced.

    • I couldn’t find my old Stanley thermos from about ten years ago, so I bought a new one (same shape, size, and model number, but black instead of green). I had the same experience. Two to three hours max for keeping coffee hot with the new one. I then found the old one and it stayed hot for 6-8 hours. I thought the new one was defective or built wrong, so I cut it in half to see what was in it. Still charcoal like the old ones. Not sure what is different, but definitely disappointed with the newer Stanley thermoses.

    • Last year, I bought my husband and my brother the mug that looks like the bottom of the thermos. It won’t keep the coffee warm for over 3 hours. I’ve written to the company over the span of four months and finally got an answer that they would not exchange them – my tough, basically. I am incredibly sorry I bought them, thinking they would do the same as my 30 year old thermos. Very disappointing. The company is going to go broke if they keep this up. China just doesn’t make them the same as the originals.

      • I have a 25 year old 1.1 quart classic and a 20 year old 2 quart…both work great. I also own 5 year old (China)16 oz and 24 oz food classics..which work fine…as far as China goes..that in itself should not be a problem. These type of goods are manufactured in a highly mechanized way..like a Chevy,Toyota or Kia. The Stanley Thermos still has a black powder between the inner and outer layer…look on YouTube for a 2qt. being sawed in half. The newer lighter weight models should work as well as far as temperature goes, but not for abuse and durability, but the Classics are still made. There are many of you quick to dismiss every thing made in China as “cheap trash /junk” but that is just China bashing…the same could be said for many US manufactured products.

        • Jeff, I have had the same problems – and I’m not China bashing. I had an older one for years and it worked great but I lost it. I have purchased 4 new ones in the last few years, and had 3 of them replaced. My last one lasted about 1 month – I give up.

          I purchased a Thermos brand bottle and it works great; Stanley better improve their quality or they will be out of business – their old reputation will not carry them for long.

          • The problem isn’t where it’s made. The company gives the maker company spec.’s to follow. They’ve taken a great product and turned it into a piece of junk for profit. If you took a 25-30 yr old Stanley and a new one and checked Wall Thickness it’s probably half as thick. With the number of people in the world, you can sell crap and run a company 10 to 20 yrs. quality is long gone, now its quantity.

      • These items are Mugs and the description on them says it will only keep hot for 1 hour. They are designed for Camping and they are perfect for use when in the garden when a drink will go cold in a normal mug or “cardboard” one

    • Is it possible to drill a hole in between the layers and add charcoal then weld a patch or plug it? I’m disgusted with my stanley thermoses! I have an older one out in the garage it is the bigger one but thinking of bringing it in and cleaning up for use. Nothing worse than luke warm coffee after 3 hrs. Send our jobs over seas and quality goes out the window. Greedy mistake by stanley IMHO

  3. I believe the thermos weighs to much for back packing or hauling anywhere on foot! Car Camping yes or if your traveling with a mule!…Hey I really like your blog keep up the good work. I think it’s one of the best out there well put together!

  4. I too have purchased 3 stanley thermos and had one replaced by the company. I thought I was doing something wrong, but I’m having the same problem as every else seems to. I don’t mind paying a low price for China junk, but these thermos were over $25 each. Now I’m paying high quality prices for China garbage.

  5. I had the same problem with it keeping things hot for olny a few hours,then my freind told me to get rid of the stopper that has the holes for pouring and replace it with the old solid type that you have to remove to pour the coffee,and I did and now it keeps hot for 8-10 hours,also remember to pre-heat and the more times you open it the colder it gets.

  6. I lost my old Stanley Thermos which was made in the 1970’s and worked great, it is buried somewhere in the road I was building. We picked up a new Thermos at Walmart in Okotoks Alberta, $29.99. I was thinking it was way lighter than my old one but its a Stanley so I went ahead and bought it. The next morning I poured hot coffee into the thermos as I have been doing for many many years and when I went to have my first cup 2 hrs later it was only warm. What the heck is up with that. I decided to try to warm up the thermos that night and poured boiling hot water into it over night and in the morning it was cold. I am not impressed, yes it was made in China and yes its a piece of junk. I will never recommend a new Stanley Thermos to anyone again. $30 down the drain and because I live in a isolated area I can’t even buy a real thermos which as far as I’m concerned will be anything but a stanley when I do get back to a city.

  7. Got my stanley in 1985 (great product). Called stanley to replace the old one cause something is rattling on the bottom of the thermos. The thermos still works fantastic keep my coffee hot for more than 3 hrs.

    Called stanley, they replace the thermos. The new thermos is a piece of junk. It’s is about half the weight of the old one. It only keeps my coffee hot approx 2-3 hrs. It is no where built to the same specs (material too) as the older stanley’s.

    Recommend consumers don’t spend your money on the new stanley thermos.

  8. I couldn,t say it any better……Jerry Deschamps posting on August 31st is right on……it’s a piece of junk. I also had one back in the day……it did keep my coffee hot. With the new Stanley you’re lucky if it’s warm after about 3 hours…..don’t waste your money.

  9. My husband is a coal miner who takes a thermos of coffee to work with him. He noticed after a few hours, his coffee was barely warm. We had an old Aladdin thermos that we saved “just in case”; put hot coffee in and 24 hours later still hot. At the same time, added hot coffee to the newer thermos, not even warm. Definitely a difference in the US made version and even if a little more expensive to purchase, would gladly pay for quality.

  10. I have a Stanley thermos that I bought new in 1992 and it still works great. I don’t like the pour through stoppers though because they always seem to leak, even the new replacements.

    For those of you that want the old “made in the USA” ones, go on eBay and they have tons of them. I just bought another one made in 1989 and its in mint condition.

    Does anyone have a source for the old solid #11 stoppers.?

    • My father had stanley thermos’ when I was a growing up in the 50’s. They were great. I have several that were made in the 70’s and 80’s that I bought on ebay. Many people sell them. Have also seen stoppers, and caps listed as well. These work great. I have one wide mouth that will keep soup hot up to 6 hrs. The prices are usually right also, you only have to watch what u are buying and ask the seller questions if you need info. Anything before 1990 should be good.

  11. I bought a Stanley Bolt thermos about 2 months ago. It worked great up until about about a week ago. I followed the care and cleaning instructions to the letter. And my coffee only stays hot for a couple of hours. I thought that I had done something wrong, but it appears that I have not. Although I will add that I did drop it once, it fell all of two feet onto a concrete floor. They are supposed to be tougher that that I thought. I ordered a new stopper from Stanley ($12.00) to see if it takes care of the problem. I will post again when I get and test it. Thanks to everyone here for your input into this.

  12. I purchased a 12 oz wide mouth food thermos about a year ago. Worked great for a couple months then my soup was at best warm after 3 hours. The tag on the thermos says ‘hot for 12 hours’. Took it back to Target and got an exchange. That one worked great for a couple months and then soup room temp after about 3 hours. Target will not replace. I am EXTREMELY dissapointed with what I thought was an excellent brand and expensive thermos!! I see I am not alone!!

  13. I bought a stanley thermos from Walmart & they won’t give me another one or refund my money. It will not keep my coffee hot –only a few hours. I turkey hunt & i end up with cold coffee in 3 hours—what is wrong? I am very upset about this problem. What should I do? I got to have my hot coffee when i go & hunt them wild TURKEY’S. Please help me stanley company. Alton Obrian

  14. Hmmm, guess I am not alone. I have the same model (stamped 20-00077 on bottom – made in China). I have had it for over a year now, and it seemed to work fine for the about a year – kept liquids hot for 12 hrs — but now it is ineffective, going from steaming hot to cold in 6 hours. Not impressed, and by the sounds of it, I am stuck with a heavy water bottle now, despite the ‘Lifetime Warranty’ logo I see on their website beside the product. What the heck does the warranty mean???

  15. I recieved my new thermos from Stanley, and I am pleased to report that it works great. I strongly recommend that if you have a Stanley thermos that doesn’t work properly to e-mail them at their website. They responded to mine within 24 hours of me sending it. They sent me a brand new thermos and did not require that I send my old one back.

  16. I absolutely hate this thermos. In the summer it did pretty good at keeping my coffee hot but now that the weather has gotten cold it is only lukewarm after 2 hours and I work inside, I am sure that if I worked outside it would be ice cold after 2 hours. I will never buy another Stanley thermos. I had a thermos I bought at Dollar General 10 years ago for $5 and it would keep coffee hot all day and would still be useing it but I dropped it and it broke. I won’t give Stanley another $30.

  17. I will never buy another Stanley thermos again, or while it’s made in china.
    I like the Stanley website talking about the blue collar toughness of this thermos.

    and from the review here it is china made a classic thermos into junk, just like I thought.

    I would have paid 10 more dollars for the old american standard that made this thermos great again in the USA!

  18. You have taken a classic Stanley thermos and turned it into
    classic junk. My old Stanley 1980’s kept me in hot coffee
    all day at work. My new China junk model gives me my first cup hot, and its all down hill from that point on.
    Can’t believe that I paid $30 for this worthless Chinese
    wonder, never again Stanley until you come back to Brentwood,
    TN where american quality was built in.

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