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.

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24 Comments

  1. Dear Stanley Distributor,

    hi, my name is Iwan Barata and my home at Indonesia.
    I was tried to searching on the Internet related to found a reliable, durable, and high quality of hot water thermos best quality and long term for use. I was read it about your product if this product is very sturdy material
    as you know that I really want to buy couple of unit Stanley thermos brand but I confused how to get it because i was in Indonesia, meanwhile Stanley Thermos can only be purchased abroad.
    how about the payment?, meanwhile I have no credit card to pay by online. usually if I bought something via online, I ask first to the trusted genuine distributor online in my country to send me their account number so I can transfer for payment via ATM then they send the unit that I bought from them or trusted genuine distributor to my home address
    just let me know if I any authorized distributor for hot water thermos brand Stanley in Indonesia and how do I get their address.

    many thanks for your help and email replies

    with Warm Regards,
    Iwan Barata

  2. I have two old Aladdin Stanley A-944B bottles that are about 40 years old. I didn’t buy either one. I inherited one from my best friend when he died of cancer in 1974, and one from my dad. Both still work great. My buddy was a truck driver for years out of Tennessee, so his may have been 10 years old when I got it. Since all the blue collar jobs have gone away, I have seen plenty of the old bottles in 2nd hand stores. They may be scuffed and dented, but that’s the place to put your money.

    BTW, the US made bottles always had a high percentage (~5%)of defectives. If if didn’t work you just returned it and the next one would. It sounds like the Chinese have reversed the numbers and have ~95% defectives. Welding up a stainless steel vacuum bottle was never easy.

  3. I got an A 1978 Aladdin Stanley thermos no. A-944c 32 Oz made in usa. from a friend for free, I was incredibly impressed with the quality and capabilities. 12+ hrs and still piping hot without preheating. May consider sale for approx. 65-75$. If not I’ll be more than happy to keep such a high quality product.

  4. I have read a ton of reviews on this site and other sites and frankly I am baffled at how much people seems to hate the new Stanley models. I have been using Stanley bottles for years; I have the old USA ones and the new China-made ones. The only one I ever had a problem with was one of the Tennessee-made ones I had that lost vaccuum and was promptly replaced with a new one under warranty. Sure, the new ones are made in China, and that’s sad for US manufacturing. But those China-made bottles work as well or better than the old ones. My coffee that I make at 7 AM is still steaming hot when I pour out the extra the next morning…whether the bottle is a new one or the old USA-made ones. One thing I prefer on the new ones is the cap. The old green pour-through cap can be kind of a mess, but the new bigger cap that you just loosen and pour is superior. Plus, the larger mouth of the new bottles is much easier to pour my hot coffee into. Overall I am a fan of these Stanley thermoses…well-made, and really not much more expensive than they were 30 years ago.

  5. Oh my seems like many people have complaints but i love the stanley products i have an 8oz flask a newer stanley thermos and a new stanley locking mug all work amazing. I purchased them from a store called Eddie Bauer and all are wonderful seeing as the store is an outdoors man/ womans style store, i expected great things and wasnt let down , thanks Eddie and Stanley i can now enjoy my tea and coffee for hours without having to re-heat!

  6. I purchased my first Stanley 1.9ltr thermos back in 2000. Like many other contributors to this site, I had problems with it retaining heat for any longer than 4 hours. I only use the thermos a couple of times a year so was horrified when failed. I contacted the Stanley agent here in Australia and had it replaced under warranty. Since then I have had 4 replaced with the same problem. I am about to contact them again to replace yet another one.
    I guess I should give up and buy a different brand, but it is the principle of the matter. The product comes with a liftime guarantee! Hopefully one day I may get a replacement that lives up to the reputation of the original Stanley that my Dad had.

  7. I contacted Stanley at 1-800-251-4535 three times about getting my 89 thermos replaced because it no longer keeps anything hot. As soon as I mentioned using (1st call) dish soap, (2nd call)1tsp bleach w/1qt water and (3rd call)a soft bottle brush w/hot water to clean it they (all three) said I voided the warranty by using unauthorized cleaning materials. When I asked what an “authorized” cleaning method was none of them would give an answer. I also emailed them 4 times and never received an answer. It seems obvious they are dodging honoring warranties. I won’t recommend nor spend a cent on another stanley product. Another example of an old reputable american company going down the drain by going chinese.

  8. Same problems as everyone else. Coffee cold in a couple of hours. I thought I had a defective thermos but apparently not. Just poor quality. Not like the old Thermos use to be. Lost receipt so I’ll have to chock this one up to experience. Never buy Thermos brand again.

  9. I have an old stanley N944 from early 70’s it still works great! In those days they did not come with handles so I bought one of those strap on handles to carry it. Well the handle finally broke and now I cannot find the handles anywhere. I find plenty of bottles with the handles online but not just the handle. Any help finding just the handle would be appreciated.

  10. Junk! Absolute and complete junk! Stanley should be ashamed of what they have done to the quality of their product. I won’t get into my feelings about companies that hurt the US economy by sending their manufacturing to China. The bottom line is that quality is decreased anytime production is sent to China by any company and Stanley is just more proof. After 20+ years of loyal fantastic service our thermos lid finally gave up and no longer vacuum sealed properly and things would not stay hot. I contacted Stanley to replace the lid and was told that because of new design they had to send me a whole new thermos. I sadly placed me loyal companion in the recycling bin and awaited the arrival of my new thermos. As others stated when I received it I noticed it was substantially lighter. After the first time using it I realized what a mistake I had made throwing away my old one. Even filling the new one with hot water first does not help. After only 2 hrs the contents are luke warm at best. Stanley you have lost a once loyal customer.

  11. FYI, if you wrap a small cotton towel (like a kitchen oven handle type towel) around the outside of your thermos (does not have to cover the top) you should get an extra 5-8 hours out of it, easily. This works with cheap thermos type coffee pots, taking them from 1 hour to 8 hours (that I’ve seen). Don’t actually do this with cheap pots tho. I think the plastic they use in them isn’t really safe as advertised. The water tastes funny after keeping them hot for long hours!

  12. This thermos is a joke. We primed it with boiling water and within half an hour our hot drink was luke warm. Do not buy a Stanley thermos.

  13. The new Stanley Thermos is a waste of time, Lasted a week. Very disapointed when I found out that Stanley is no longer a American brand.

  14. I think I may know what is going on with the heat loss. My “classic” Stanley vacuum bottle has a rubber gasket at the bottom of the plastic stopper. When these vacuum bottles begin to let off too much heat it is most likely because they need a new rubber gasket. That part would be a few pennies, at most, and Stanley ought to make them readily available.

    Think about it: If the metal construction of the flask hasn’t cracked the only place for the heat to escape is through the plastic stopper. From a public relations point of view, Stanley should offer replacement gaskets/stoppers as opposed to sending out entirely new products. It’s one thing to have a part wear out — people expect that with other “consumables” on the market (printer inks, etc.). It’s a poorer impression, on the other hand, for the manufacturer to respond to complaints of heat loss by sending out an entirely new product. Sending out a new flask implies that the entire product was faulty when in reality it is likely a case of wear-and-tear to the gasket (I would suspect gasket failure first, and the inner lid or “stopper” second).

    In comparing my recently purchased Stanley vacuum bottle to an older product of this type (a Thermos of over 20 years), the difference I see is that the older Thermos did not have an “O” ring to complete the seal. Another change is that many of the best thermoses in years past were glass lined. Glass liners present a safety hazard when they break, and more products of this type that are glass-lined probably break in shipping to the store, too. To spare the inconvenience these modern vacuum flasks don’t keep things quite as hot for as long as the older glass-lined variety did — but they break less, too.

    I want the ability to buy products that are US-made as much as anybody else, but I think that in making these “thermoses” with rubber gaskets that can wear out, the company stands to make more money. Why? Because instead of having your trusty flask last for 20+ years, the presence of wear-and-tear parts in the newer vacuum bottle designs boosts the sale of replacements. Selling more replacement vacuum bottles, meanwhile, means more business not just for Stanley but for Stanley’s competitors, too. You might say it is a sort of collusion. By in large, after all, they are all using flawed “thermos” designs and/or manufacturing in China!

    It’s paradoxical but telling that in years past a simpler design reduced the odds of vacuum (heat) loss over time. The only reason I can think of to “fix” a design that was not broke to begin with is to increase sales volume for the vacuum bottle industry as a whole. Stanley, Thermos and others know that if their product fails to keep your coffee, tea or soup hot you will either chalk it up to a fluke, or you will replace it. It is the rare customer who puts two-and-two together and exercises the warranty enough to find that the product design inherently flawed. These companies are willing to take that gamble all the time. And yet they underestimate the power of the Internet to let the proverbial cat out of the bag.

    The Chinese will manufacture to whatever tolerance levels the customer wants. If the product is bad, it’s because the shareholders are putting pressure on the company to increase sales volume and they can’t exactly sell us more new “thermoses” if the old one’s keep taking a licking and still doing their job. American companies, under pressure from shareholders, want old, trusted name brands to carry product sales and for customers to blame China when the product fails. All too often, however, the design is flawed and therefore lends itself to “planned obsolescence”.

    While it is true that Stanley products carry a lifetime warranty, it is probably a minority of customers who jump through the warranty hurdles whereas the rest simply go out and buy a new flask. Stanley, meanwhile, doesn’t have to worry too much because they know their competitors are using the same flawed designs for the same reasons they are. What the customer doesn’t know, meanwhile, is that turning to a different brand in the same product category rarely solves the problem because they’re all selling designs that work similarly and are themselves Chinese-made. So rather than blaming China, scratch the surface of any product quality/performance problem and you will find shareholders who are pushing for more and more profit. After all, whether you are Stanley or the THERMOS brand, you can’t sell a new product to someone who already has a perfectly good 20-year-old flask at home. Cheapening products are not a function of Chinese manufacturing but a shareholder-driven pursuit of higher sales volume. The faster your product breaks, the faster you replace it. It’s that simple.

    Having said all that, to those of you who have vacuum bottles that are losing heat at a ridiculous rate, try seeing if you can get the manufacturer to replace just the rubber gasket vs. the entire bottle. At most, you might need a new stopper to re-establish the seal. It should not be necessary for Stanley to replace your entire “thermos” when the source of the problem is wear to the gasket and/or stopper.

    • I had a Chinese 1.1qt Stanley that wouldn’t keep things warm like most of your other posters. It’s not the stopper or o-ring. The whole bottle gets hot. I called Stanley & they said it shouldn’t get hot & sent me a new one. I haven’t tried that one & may just sell it.

    • THe stopper is exactly what I was thinking was the problem on mine. At the time not knowing there was a lifetime warranty I purchased the same model and tried an experiment and put the old stopper on the new bottle and the new. no matter how many times I switched the stoppers the old bottle seems to be the problem so I called Stanley up and they’re sending me a new one out as we speak..

    • So you think it’s those “greedy old American shareholders” are pressuring the company to manufacture junk so they can line their pockets with cash? I am a shareholder in numerous. companies. and I have no desire to see the companies I own stock in rob people in order to enrich myself…and I don’t believe I’m alone. As we can see from comments here, the Stanley name is losing value with every defective item sold and, in the longrun, that just doesn’t make the company more valuable. Don’t blame the shareholders for these problems, blame the top executives. If the shareholders have any blame, it’s from not causing a “stink” when their companies’ value is being eroded for a short term bump in profits so a few execs can earn some obscene bonuses and then bail out…to the expense of those “shareholders” you like to blame. Americans have always liked to build quality products, but the recent economic and political climate is unfriendly to business and has made it harder to compete. CEO’s get scared and run to cheaper manufacturing for the solution when maybe they need to look to their customers instead. Hey, tell them the truth and explain WHY prices must increase if they want quality and I think most would opt for quality.

  15. Stanley Thermos,
    Wow, what a surprise. This is my first purchase of a Stanley product. At first, I thought I was buying a true, American – made item as it’s displayed on the sticker: ” STANLEY since 1913.” It wasn’t until this product failed to provide a safe means of maintaining my coffee free from contaminates from the inner surface as it started to peel away and mix with my drink. When I looked inside, I noticed what was happening to the interior layer of the thermos. That’s when I started reading the bottom info which is engraved on the bottom of the bottle: “Made in china-s patent pending hand wash only Built for life.” Really,now I wonder if my life has been placed at risk from this product because I don’t know what was used in China to manufacture this product, which used to be an American product.
    P.S. I should have noticed it wasn’t made here based on how cheap the label looked.

  16. Dear Sirs,
    why did you ship your manufacturing to China? Quality is gone I have a Stanley thermos that is about 15 years old. It works wonderfully, which is why I purchased another one. A Two quart but I dropped it and as a result it quit keeping things cold. It had to have lost its vacuum seal. then I noticed it was made ion china. this is just another example of lousy workmanship, I have reactivated its use. I will use it until It dies its owm death.

  17. have had a Stanley thermos for the past 7 years quite keeping my coffee hot after less than 1 hour e-mailed Stanley thermos explained my problem and was asked for my shipping info and told that a replacement was on it’s way at no cost ,and no questions asked THANK YOU Stanley Thermos a loyal user.

  18. I got the 1.1 qt model several years ago and it has never functioned like the old Thermos we used for years. I thought I was getting something better and we gave the old glass thermos away. Here is the study I did on this one yesterday, before it goes to the garbage bin.

  19. Sorry, did not get the study in which shows that the Stanley lost17 degrees F. in 3 hrs despite being in an ambient temp of 72-74 degrees. And this was starting at a prewarmed 122 degrees F. At 6 hours it would have probably been another 10 degrees lower. A terrible product.

  20. Wow! I thought I would share my experience and opinion of the newer Stanley Thermos, but it seems many others share it! I have one that is over 30 years old that still looks and works great! I received a wide-mouth one for soups and it is horrible! What happened to craftsmanship and manufacturer pride! :(

    • I have a Thermos Sportsman 40 stainless which claims to keep hot or cold for 24 hours. I always pre heat or cool before use, but only lasts 2 to 3 hours. It is stated that this is a vacuum seal between the double wall, but there is a seam in the wall which I think leaks air which fills the vacuum rendering it pretty useless. I know the insulation is bad because the whole thermos feels warm with hot liquids in it showing the heat is escaping through the side walls.

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