Whether it’s for school, work, a picnic or a hike, there are many reasons why we need – and want – to prepare a meal and keep it either hot or cold for an extended period of time. Sometimes we reach for ice packs and an insulated bag, but that can be cumbersome and inconvenient, and doesn’t help with keeping food hot. Instead, a food thermos can be the best way to keep food at the temperature you desire, all in an easy-to-carry container.
Food thermoses come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit different needs. Large capacity ones are good for big appetites, and smaller, easy-to-open models are ideal for kids. Some food thermoses keep one item hot or cold, while others are multi-leveled and allow you to separate foods that need to stay at different temperatures.
With so much choice, you will be able to find something to please every member of your family.
We feature six food thermos containers you can buy online. Read on to see the one that you like best.
Top Pick Large Capacity: SSAWcasa Thermos Wide Mouth
You love the idea of a food thermos; after all, you have a thermos for your coffee and an insulated water bottle to keep your water cold. One thing you don’t have is something large enough to keep the food your partner takes to his construction job the right temperature until he is ready to eat. If you are looking for a large capacity food thermos with different compartments to keep some foods hot and others cold, then this model may be for you.
We recommend this wide-mouth double-walled insulated thermos that will keep food hot and cold for up to eight hours. What makes this food thermos unique from others is it has three separate compartments separated by an inner grid. So you could have hot soup in the bottom compartment, stew with rice or pasta in the second layer and dessert or cheese and crackers in the top level.
Other features include a premium BPA-free, phthalate and lead-free 304 stainless steel interior and exterior for long-term durability and health; a wide mouth for easy filling, eating out of and cleaning; and a comfortable, thick handle, which makes it easy to carry.
- Large capacity
- Three separate compartments to store different foods
- Keeps food warm or cold for up to eight hours
- Lid can be used as a bowl
- May be too large for some needs
- Not spill-proof and should be kept upright. Contents may leak if thermos falls on its side or upside down
- Does not come with a portable utensil
- Not recommended for the dishwasher
Top Pick Best Basic: Thermos Stainless King 16 Ounce Food Jar with Folding Spoon
Carrying around a thermos filled with ready-to-eat homemade food is one of the best ways to make sure you have a hearty meal available when you’re hungry. Ease of use and durability is key, since you tend to be hard on your tools and accessories. If you’re looking for a quality, durable and rugged food thermos to keep your food hot or cold the way you like it, then consider this model by Thermos.
Thermos’s vacuum insulation technology and durable stainless steel interior and exterior gives you maximum temperature retention by virtually eliminating any temperature changes within the food container by creating an airless space between two stainless steel walls. Whatever your needs, this thermos food container keeps liquids hot for seven hours, and cold for nine hours.
The contoured body shape of this food thermos makes it easy to grip, and the wide mouth opening is easy to fill, eat from and clean. The lid serves a dual purpose by also functioning as a serving bowl and the double-walled insulation keeps the body of the thermos cool to the touch with hot items and condensation-free with cold items. Other features include leak-proof construction when completely closed and an integrated full-sized folding stainless steel spoon.
- 16 ounces
- Easy grip, contoured body
- Double-walled insulation
- Leak proof
- Integrated folding stainless steel spoon
- Top rack dishwasher safe
- Does not have a carry handle
Top Pick Easy-to-Open: Energify Vacuum Insulated Food Thermos
You like the idea of a food thermos, but the ones you have had in the past have been too difficult for your kids to open, especially when the heat creates a vacuum, increasing the difficulty of opening the top. And now you find that with mild arthritis in your hands, opening the lid is becoming more of a challenge. If you are looking for an easy-to-open food thermos, then this product may be for you.
We recommend the Energify food thermos because it has an air-pressure release button on the lid so it’s easy to open. All you have to do is press the button a few times and voila, the lid can be opened. This food thermos is still airtight, with vacuum insulation technology that keeps food hot for up to 12 hours and cold for up to 24 hours.
Made with an 18/8 304-grade stainless steel exterior and a stainless steel interior that won’t sweat, stain or retain odors, other features include a special compartment for a foldable spoon and a convenient loop to make it easy to carry or clip to a backpack. The lid can be used as a bowl, so you can enjoy your meal anywhere, and to avoid spills and burns, the container has a non-slip base.
It also comes with a velvet drawstring carry case, product manual with thorough instructions on cleaning and care, and an eBook with convenient meal suggestions that are perfect for the food thermos container.
- Leak proof
- Easy to open lid with air-pressure release button
- Non-slip base
- Not recommended for the dishwasher
Top Pick Best Versatile: MAXSO Vacuum Insulated Food Jar
You’re always on the lookout for a bargain, even when it comes to providing your kids with the right food thermos. If you can get two for almost the same price as one, then you’re a happy camper. If you need some insulated containers of different sizes to help keep your kids’ meals hot until they are ready to eat, then this versatile food thermos duo may be for you.
We recommend this two-thermos food jar set that includes a 17-ounce and a 24-ounce food thermos. This is so convenient, especially if you have kids with different appetites. Many food thermoses are not as effective in retaining heat if the container is only half full. With two sizes to choose from, you can prepare the right amount of food for each container for optimum effectiveness.
Features of these handy food thermoses include an 18/8 stainless steel foldable spoon, an air pressure release button, a leak proof airtight sealing lid, a durable 18/8 stainless steel polished easy clean body and an anti-skid pad. These containers are also BPA and BPS-free, leak proof, will not rust, sweat or retain or transfer flavors.
- Air-pressure release design
- Sweat-proof and leak-proof
- Two food thermoses of different sizes
- Silicone loop handle
- Only includes one spoon
Top Pick Best Compact: Blue Ele Leakproof Vacuum Insulated Thermos
There may be a lot of food thermoses on the market, but you are discovering that many of them are too large for your needs. When it comes to packing a hot meal to take to work, you prefer something light and simple like soup or pasta and sauce. With no microwave at the office, you need something to keep your meal hot until lunchtime. If you are looking for a leak-proof food thermos that is compact and durable, then this may be the product for you.
This 13.5-ounce food container uses double-wall insulation for effective temperature control. BPA-free, it’s crafted with a safety certificate approved, rust-proof 316 stainless steel exterior and a premium ceramic interior coating, so your food never comes into contact with plastic. This food container keeps food warm for up to 12 hours and chilled for up to 24 hours.
Other features include a handy foldable spoon that slides easily into a silicone strap, innovative steam vents to safely open the container when filled with hot food, a wide mouth for easy filling and eating, and an easily twist-off lid with a colorful grip strip that is perfect for kids and anyone with limited grip strength.
- Compact size
- Interior ceramic coating
- Double-wall insulation
- Keeps food warm up to 12 hours and food cold up to 24 hours
- Small size holds less food
Things to look out for:
Consider these things when looking for a food thermos so you will choose one that best suits your needs:
Size: There’s no use getting a large capacity food thermos if you have a small appetite. Most food thermoses work best when filled at least three-quarters full, so putting small amounts into a large container may affect its ability to keep your food hot. Luckily, there are many sizes available, from smaller ones for children to large capacity sizes for anyone with a hearty appetite.
Functionality: The purpose of getting a food thermos is to keep your hot food hot for as long as possible. Check to make sure the one you choose has double-insulated walls for greater heat and cold retention. Most brands will mention how long their product keeps foods hot or cold. As well, you want something that is easy to use, so make sure the lid is easy to remove, especially when choosing a food thermos for kids or anyone with trouble gripping.