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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22 Comments

  1. When did stanley become such crap using my new thermos it wouldn’t hold fresh out of the pot hot coffee for 5 hrs in 85 degree heat tried it 3 more times pouring boiling water in it first letting it stand 10 mins 5 hrs all I could get I threw in the dumpster at the job site stanley lost another customer p.s. stanley has big balls to for doubling the price on crap

  2. I have a quart size Stanley Sportsmaster Outing Kit. It has a vinyl carrying case. Brand new, never used. Box says 1976 Aladdin industries Inc. Nashville Tennessee. Will sell for $50 plus shipping.

  3. I bought a replacement in the form of a Nissan Thermos for about $25 (1L) off ebay. I love it and will put it up against any of the older Stanleys. 160+ degrees F even after 10 hours (using my 190 degree French Press coffee).

  4. I bought a stannley 1.8ltr for fishing, first time i used it it was tepid after 3 hrs , bought off flea blag ,have just e mailed the UK company [Stannley] will let you know the reply, oh and i did a test in the kitchen and noticed when boiling water was in the outside of flask gets warm [not good]

  5. Very dissapointed when I bought the thermos took it home and noticed on the bottom ” MADE IN CHINA”.
    I took it right back to the store for my money back.

  6. How can such a good product go to hell. I have wanted a Stanley flask for over 30 years and when I finally got one it performed beautifully for the first half dozen times I used it then would not keep the water hot for more than a few hours. I saw the made in China label when I got home and was worried but allowed myself to believe that Stanley would have ensured that the quality would be to the reputed Stanley standard. There is a quality problem and it is only a matter of time before you loose your business.

  7. Hi, everyone,

    I once had an insider relationship with Stanley, and utilizing that, I literally just got off the phone with a higher up(6-9-14) speaking in regards to their failing quality.

    I will preface by stating that despite the fact that there are more important issues to allocate time to, it angers me when consumers are taken advantage of by a company that misrepresents its products via the milking of a prior reputation.

    Here’s the sad truth. In 2010 Stanley stopped putting charcoal into their products as an insulator. This has resulted in an inferior product that they refuse to acknowledge.

    Their reasoning is that they “discovered” that by increasing the thickness of the steel (which he claims they have done) and using a double-wall (empty space)cavity, that it provides a superior product -according to their testing.

    I suggested that he look at the countless complaints all over the internet from real consumers, offering real world testing (at their own expense, by the way!) that all resulted with the same inferior results.

    His reply: “We produce so much product, that a few complaints are insignificant because there’ll always be a few defective ones. Furthermore sales are up 60% this year over last.”

    I pressed further, trying to convince him that this is more than a “few”, and that maybe sales are up because new consumers are unaware of the quality difference. I explained that perhaps these new consumers of their product just simply think that’s the way it’s always been.

    His reply: “Probably.” I’m glad he at least acknowledged some reasonable logic. But next, he attempted to pacify me by resorting to the old insane liberal excuse (yes, I’m saying it’s insane) that “charcoal was bad for the environment -and the consumer if it got out.”

    Wait a minute. So now he’s saying that for 100+ years they thought that the charcoal lining could be breached and be a hazard to the consumer?! Golly, maybe they should’ve stopped with the evil charcoal from the get go, or at least put a warning on their product. I wonder why they didn’t… Oh, that’s right -the bottom line.

    That’s really what this is all about, my friends, the bottom line -and it should be.

    Companies should make a profit, no doubt. However, as I stated previously, not at the expense of an unsuspecting consumer, and not by using old testimonial from their product before their cost-cutting change.

    What it really boils down to is this:

    If you recall a few years ago, this “double wall” craze started and now a multitude of stores want you to pay $7.99 for a plastic cup. Well it doesn’t work. Period. That’s why home builders put insulation in the cavity between the walls of your home.

    “Double Wall” is just a marketing gimmick. It may keep things a little cooler or a little warmer for a little longer than single, but that’s it, and Stanley knows it.

    But if Stanley can save millions by producing an inferior product to unsuspecting consumers that rely on slick, pseudo-wholesome marketing and outdated testimonials -they’ll do it. At least for a while.

    This higher up indicated to me that they have no plans whatsoever of returning to the scary charcoal.

    In the long run; however, I predict that smart business will prevail after profits drop sharply.

    Then again, perhaps consumers will become accustomed to paying premium prices for their inferior product. We do it all the time -houses, electronics, refrigerators, clothes washers etc.

    In closing, don’t fret. If the latter scenario comes to fruition over the next couple of years, I will make the smart business decision and produce a new thermal bottle as a new brand from my company. We will utilize that dastardly charcoal, and it will be made in America.

    • I like your solution. I was thinking the same way but I’m no longer in that position. I left the comment, two or three below yours, re: degengerate thieves.

  8. >>a new brand from my company

    Please post the “future” brand or company name so I can get one when it is available. From the posts that I’m reading, new customers are simply lowering expectations about what is “hot”. Hot/Cold used to be a degree value necessary keep something at a food-safe temperature for X number of hours (ex 140F). Being new to thermoses…it looks like 9hrs WAS the gold standard…then 8…now 3.

    Also posting this on your other thread.

  9. Though not made in America (I haven’t found a thermal bottle that is), both the Nissan bottles mentioned way up above, and the even-better Zojirushi that I personally use are made in Japan and legitimately do keep things temperature stable for a seemingly endless period of time. My coffee is still uncomfortable to drink straight from the mug by the end of the day as it was when I brewed it at 6:30. With that being said, my very old (and still effective) Stanley 944 very prominently displays instructions for use with hot or cold liquids on the bottom, and both it and the Zojirushi are very dependent on pre-filling with appropriately hot/cold water before use–if you bring your mug in from the car where its spent the night and then fill it with hot coffee, don’t be surprised that a lot of that thermal energy gets wasted in overcoming all the cold that’s worked its way into the mug…

    On the double-wall controversy, I’m pretty sure that Zojirushi doesn’t have any supplemental insulation in play other than a double wall design, and if it does, it is extremely light–ie. not charcoal. Unlike literature from some companies, the data sheet from Zojirushi undersells heat retention (at least based on my experience). I’ve left hot coffee in the car overnight in the deep mountain winter and hiked out in the morning to find it still pleasantly hot.

  10. The company is now run by degenerate thieves. The “Lifetime” warrantee doesn’t mean spit. When I called to tell them that the SECOND of the two Stanley thermos bottles that I purchased approx. 30 yrs. ago had begun to leak, the girl started asking a bunch of wierd questions, which were NOT asked, when they replaced the FIRST bottle that failed. Sure enough, she gave me the b.s. story that ‘they don’t recommend that I use bleach with hot water to clean the interior of their #18 STAINLESS STEEL bottle.’ What an outright crock of dog excrement!! Meanwhile, I have a #18 Stainless Steel kitchen sink that’s been installed for over twenty years and had gallons of straight bleach sitting in it, in addition to having been scrubbed innumerable times with scouring powders (with bleach in them)… and the sink STILL doesn’t leak… nor do its rubber gaskets. … What we have here, folks, is a company that has forfeited its honor… a company that is cashing in on the good name it once deserved… but NO LONGER DOES.

    IT’S MY RECOMMENDATION THAT YOU BUY ABSOLUTELY NOTHING FROM THE THIEVING BASTARDS AND THEIR CO-CONSPIRATOR EMPLOYEES AT STANLEY OF CHINA… (NO LONGER MADE IN AMERICA)

    • strange, i bought a 2013 2L flask for £10(stayed hot for 10hrs) a boxed 1994 2L for £12(instant handwarmer) a Bolt 1L for £1(instant handwarmer) sent them all back to stanley(freepost) and they sent £95 of new flasks back the only difference was i got a classic 1L instead of a bolt since then i got a 1978 flask in a vintage leatherette carrier(only wanted the carrier) and that stayed warm for 4 hrs so sent it back and recieved a new classic…….viva la stanley.

  11. NEVER BUY A THERMOS WITH THE SUPPOSED ”CONVENIENT” CUTOUT IN THE LID AS ITS THE FUCKING DETAIL THAT SCREW UP EVERYTHING. THE ONE LITRE WAS BOUGHT YEARS AGO TO KEEP TEA HOT.BUT IT WAS TEPID AFTER ONLY TWO HOURS. AND THE WORST IS COMING-I WAS HORRIFIED TO FIND PLENTY OF ANTS AROUND THE RIM.SO IF I POUR MORE TEA, THEY’LL GET IN MY CUP AND I’LL DRINK IT.YUK! THIS IS DUE TO THE SHITTY CUTOUT IN THE LID.EVEN WHEN IT’S TIGHTLY CLOSED, YOU CAN POUR TEA THROUGH THE ROTTEN DISGUSTING CUTOUT. NOW I KNOW THAT THE ANTS ARE HERE BECAUSE YOUR THERMOS IS A BIT OPEN EVEN WHEN ITS TIGHTLY CLOSED.RIDICULOUSLY STUPID! IT’S ALSO THE MAIN REASON OF THE POOR HEAT RETENTION.WHOEVER DESIGN THIS IS A SON OF A BITCH.NEVER BUY ANY FLASK WITH THIS CRAPPY LID.SHAME ON YOU, THERMOS! I’VE SINCE GOT A FU SHENG FLASK-IT KEEPS TEA HOT FOR AT LEAST SIX HOURS, WATER SCORCHING HOT FOR TEN HOURS.FOR ONLY $7.5.

  12. I bought a Stanley food flask (24oz, 700ml) new about a week ago. I tested it at home with a frying thermometer. With 95 degrees Celsius boiled water, after 7 hours, it was at 82 degrees Celsius. After 13 and a half hours it was at 65 degrees Celsius. The bottle is rated at 15 hours, and given that the food danger zone is 2 hours at below 60 degrees Celsius, it seems to live up to its promise. Also the local distributor in South Africa says that they had a bad batch of bottles from 2010-2012, and the quality problem is apparently sorted out. Here you just mail them your bottle through the post, and they will replace/fix it.

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  14. I bought my first Stanley thermos back in the early ’70s and had it for years, it went everywhere with me when I traveled. Kept my coffee hot for hours. When we moved I couldn’t find it so decided to purchase another…it was a lot lighter than my older one. Then found out it didn’t work very well, thinking it was defective, went back to the store, replaced it with another…still didn’t keep my coffee hot for more than 3 hours. Then I figured it out – the insulation is not as thick in the newer ones as the older ones. New American policy, pay more and get less for your money. Too bad for Stanley lost my business and I will never, ever buy another nor will I recommend them. It is sad that they diminished their own product.

  15. While on holiday in Australia (I live in South Africa)my daughter gave me a Stanley flask for Xmas. 2 years later I go on a fishing trip, go to pour a cup of coffee and it is cold. As I have had Stanley flasks before that lasted forever this was a big disappointment. how can I have this replaced

  16. My thermos after 3 years don’t keep my coffee hot its almost cold after a few hours and its not even cold houtside.its no quality anymore

  17. I purchased one (so sad to see the old Aladdin is gone)and was worried if the new lightweight version would do the job. it was good the first year, the second year it was a piece of junk in mint condition. It could not hold heat.

    I did a bit of research and there is a phone number at the bottom of the thermos, dial it (1-800-251-4335) they ask you for the serial number, if it has not already been claimed by someone else, they will ask for your shipping address and send you a new replacement free of charge, you don’t even have to send in the old one. They do ask you to put an X under the old one with a permanent marker to remind you or anyone else that it has been claimed.

    So if they will replace mine every time it stops working, I cannot complain. I do agree with those who say that you can’t drive a CAT over the new one and have it still working whereas the original Aladdin I know its been done.

    Good to see everyone’s thoughts, I will update if I have to replace mine again.

  18. I bought a 2 quart and heat it with boiling water. Then discover there is so much heat loss and transfer of heat to outer surface that you can get burned on the outside of the thermos.
    I have emailed the company. We will see what they do about it. I purchased 6 months ago thinking that I would use the thermos when the weather got cold. We just got our first cold rainy weather in California this year. Thermos failed miserably.

  19. OKAY! I read about the first 40 or 50 posts and I agree with all of you! The new thermos’s are CRAP! So my question is: WHAT CAN WE BUY NOW THAT WORKS???? because it ain’t a Stanley anymore!
    Thanks :)

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