The Best Food Thermos for 2023

Life is too short to waste time eating terrible food; if it's meant to be hot, keep it hot with the best food thermos you can find!

Best Food Thermos

Taking a snack or a meal with you, whether you’re driving, going to work, or sending your children to school, is always a good idea for making it through the day. And a food thermos is the ideal solution for keeping your food at the desired temperature.

Storing ready-to-eat meals at room temperature for an extended period of time encourages bacteria development. That’s why a reliable food thermos is an absolute necessity.

To help you find the right one for your wants, we’ve researched and reviewed the best food thermos for storing ready-to-eat foods or scraps, as well as treats to add to your kid’s lunch box. Let’s dive in!

 

How We Picked

  • Size and Capacity

    The size and capacity of a thermos determine what you can use it for. Most adult thermoses tend to be about 16 ounces, while those for kids are a bit smaller. More capacity means more content to relish. We chose slightly larger (but not heavier) thermoses of various sizes for better insulation.

  • Temperature Retention

    We picked double-walled thermoses because they hold heat better. Some have extra coatings to improve the insulation. We sought thermoses that can keep meals warm for at least up to five hours.

  • Weight/Portability

    Food thermoses are usually shorter and wider than drink thermoses. This enables you to pour food items such as stew into the container and then eat out of it. But no one wants to carry around a thermos that is too bulky or too heavy. We chose only compact thermoses because portable thermoses are both stylish and functional.

  • Cost-Effectiveness

    Thermoses tend to be relatively affordable. Given how often you'll be using these containers, it's worth spending a little more money on quality and durability. There may be tags or specific fittings, but they all use the same stainless steel and vacuum-sealed layout.

Our Top Picks

Best Pick

Zojirushi Steel Food Jar

Zojirushi Steel Food Jar

An easy to assemble and lightweight food thermos.

This pick will only take up a tiny space in your tote bag and it fits in most lunch packs.

Buy Now for $30.58

Zojirushi's food thermos has an elegant and fun layout and comes in a wide variety of colors, such as cream, light blue, dark brown, pink, and stainless steel. Even for tiny hands, the food jar is easy to hold and carry. Zojirushi also offers 16.9- and 25-ounce versions in case you need a larger size. It is easy to disassemble and has a wide entrance and a non-stick coating on the inside for easy cleaning.

Runner Up

MAXSO 17oz insulated Vacuum Stainless Steel Food Container

MAXSO Food Container

Cute and dependable food thermos with a collapsible spoon

This choice is the cutest out of all our picks and it combines both good looks and effectiveness.

Buy Now

This MAXSO food thermos for both adults and kids includes a foldable spoon and a rubber strap handle, so you don't have to worry about forgetting your spoon. The large opening makes filling, dispensing, and cleaning easy. The double-walled stainless steel container and the screw-on lid keep your food hot for about 12 hours and your drinks fresh and cold for up to 24 hours, respectively.

Most Cost-Effective

THERMOS Stainless Food Jar

THERMOS Stainless Food Jar

This pick is the cheapest but it does get the job done.

This is a low-cost option that comes with a folding standard-sized stainless spoon.

Buy Now for $24.99

Thanks to its extremely tight seal, the Thermos King provides the best temperature retention for both hot and cold foods. This is because of the insulation provided by the two stainless steel walls. Along with the standard-sized stainless steel foldable spoon, the lid's ability to double as a bowl is another significant benefit.

Everything We Recommend

Our Top Pick

Zojirushi Steel Food Jar

Zojirushi Steel Food Jar

An easy to assemble and lightweight food thermos.

$30.58

Buy Now

Our Runner-Up

MAXSO 17oz insulated Vacuum Stainless Steel Food Container

MAXSO Food Container

Cute and dependable food thermos with a collapsible spoon

Buy Now

Most Cost-Effective

THERMOS Stainless Food Jar

THERMOS Stainless Food Jar

This pick is the cheapest but it does get the job done.

$24.99

Buy Now

Who This Is For

The products are for anyone looking for a durable and effective container to pack their child’s lunch or take homemade dishes to the office. No matter what you put in your thermos, it will stay hot and fresh for hours. A thermos uses a double-layer vacuum insulation design that provides excellent temperature retention.

These thermos bottles are convenient and beneficial products that everyone can use in their daily life. They are also lightweight and small, making them practical and easy to carry wherever you go.

What is a food thermos?

A food thermos is a food container with a double-wall interior ideal for keeping food very hot or cold for long periods. Thermos containers have many uses and can be used by different people in different places.

Food thermoses are different from lunch boxes in terms of size and design. Lunch boxes are usually larger than food thermoses and can hold different types of side dishes. A food thermos can only take one dish at a time. Also, food thermoses are usually round in shape, unlike lunch boxes that are box-like.

Your choice of a food thermos depends on the type of food you intend to carry. If you are a mother with children, a thermos can help you store food and drink for your children. In addition, it is stylish and easy to carry, and it is a nice thing that it fits in any environment.

Are They Safe?

It’s safe to use a food thermos to store food for up to 6 hours if you buy the right thermos. However, be sure to cook food to a safe temperature or reheat it to a piping hot temperature to lower the chances of going bad. If your thermos didn’t keep your food warm or cold, don’t eat it. Harmful bacteria may have already started to grow, and it’s not safe to reheat. It’s best to throw it away and get a new thermos.

How Do They Work?

A food thermos is a double-walled container, with a vacuum in between. Rather than encompassing some kind of heating element to keep hot things warm, thermos jars are built to keep things warm by not permitting heat to escape or come in.

The vacuum between the walls of the food thermos prevents heat transfer to the cold contents of the thermos. Today’s thermoses are considerably more sturdily built than their predecessors. The first thermoses had metal exteriors and glass interior walls.

Modern thermoses have a layer of plastic that reduces heat transfer. Some thermos also contains a layer of Styrofoam that further reduces heat transfer. With a food thermos, your stew should still be hot and your soda should be cold even after a few hours!

 

Why You Should Trust Us

There are hundreds of options for food thermoses online that claim to retain up to 22 hours of warmth or throw in words like ‘lifelong heat retention’ But don’t let the bland jargon and marketing jargon distract you. Safety, reliability, and durability are the most important factors to consider. These are the characteristics that will make these thermoses one that you will feel safe packing your meals every day.

Due to the variety in brands, heat retention, capabilities, design, and price of these food thermoses, we have conducted in-depth research to choose quality, stylishly designed, healthful, and reasonably priced food thermoses just for you!

 

How We Picked

A good thermos should make your life easier and not make your life miserable.

Safety

Safety is at the core of what a good food thermos should offer, as these products are designed to maintain the temperature of food. When filled in the morning, the ideal thermos jar should be able to keep food at a safe and stable temperature until lunch.

Portability

Given that they are meant for travel, reliability and stability during transportation are key. We opted for thermoses that don’t leak as we need them to withstand jerky subway rides and up and down stairs movements. Is it safe to take the school bus or go to the picnic with this thermos jar in your lunch box? A leaky container can easily spoil your day and your car seat.

Easy to clean

No one likes bulky thermos so we looked for something easy to carry and handle. We also paid particular attention to the ease of disassembling and assembling each thermos container. Is it dishwasher-safe? If not, is it easy to wash your hands? Are there too many nooks and crannies for leftovers to hide in?

Size and capacity

The size of a thermos varies greatly depending on its intended use. Most adult thermoses weigh about 16 ounces, and children’s thermos is slightly smaller. A large capacity means you can enjoy more content. It also means it carries more weight, but only if you fill it up so we selected thermoses that offer different sizes which you can choose from.

Price vs. quality

Thermoses tend to be relatively affordable, and you can usually find durable ones for less. They are mostly free to buy, but given how often you’ll be using these containers, it’s worth spending a little more money for quality and durability.

There may be tags or specific fittings, but they all use the same stainless steel and vacuum-sealed layout so we have selected food thermoses that are durable and also offer great performance that befits their costs.

 

Our Picks For You

Top Pick - Zojirushi Steel Food Jar

Top Pick

Zojirushi Steel Food Jar

Zojirushi Steel Food Jar

An easy to assemble and lightweight food thermos.

This pick will only take up a tiny space in your tote bag and it fits in most lunch packs.

Buy Now for $30.58

Who It's For

If you are looking for a compact and tough food thermos, you're in luck. This food jar fits in our trendy thermos selection and doesn't take up too much space in your bag or pack. It also promises not to break even when shaken or transposed.

Why It's Great

Zojirushi's stainless steel food thermos features vacuum insulation to retain food and drink temperatures for hours. A tight-fitting lid with a gasket fastens the lid to maximize heat retention and minimize leakage. It offers excellent portability for easy handling and carriage.

This 12-ounce thermos can conserve tomato steam above a food-safe temperature of 140°F for six hours when lowered from 193°F to 144°F.

Potential Flaw/s

We love that Zojirushi's multi-piece lids are easy to clean, but we recently read some Amazon reviews pointing out that they're a little tricky to put back on. Rubber seals are difficult to assemble, and remnants are difficult to track through narrow corridors. Also, unlike some other large food thermoses, the Zojirushi lid doesn't act as a mug, so you have to eat directly from the jar, but this doesn't affect performance.

Other Features

Zojirushi's lid has a distinctive layout because it cannot be used as a mug. It has a grip indentation and vents to ease internal pressure and make the lid easier to loosen.

This will save you from having a hard time removing the lid and spilling hot stew on your hands. We also love the heat retention power of this Japanese-brand travel thermos.

The 18/8 stainless steel vacuum-insulated jar is designed to prevent rust, tarnish, stains, and leaks, and it comes with a 5-year warranty on heat retention. The wide opening allows you to eat any size dish; we also found that the surface is less greasy compared to the other thermoses we selected. The lid has many parts, such as the rubber gasket, but it can all be taken apart for a thorough clean, and it can be disassembled into four parts so you can thoroughly clean the gaps.

We liked it better than the one-piece lid found on most of our other thermos selections. Zojirushi recommends hand-washing their thermoses, but they can also withstand a rinse cycle in the dishwasher without denting.

We also like that it comes in different colors, such as aqua blue, dark brown, cream, and stainless steel. In addition, Zojirushi's heat retention has a 5-year limited warranty.

Runner-Up - MAXSO Food Container

Runner-Up

MAXSO 17oz insulated Vacuum Stainless Steel Food Container

MAXSO Food Container

Cute and dependable food thermos with a collapsible spoon

This choice is the cutest out of all our picks and it combines both good looks and effectiveness.

Buy Now

Who It's For

If you are looking for a food thermos that has great capacity and also offers effective heat retention, then this MAXSO Food Thermos is for you. The MAXSO Vacuum Food Thermos is undeniably cute, and not only does it look great, but it is also extremely durable and effective.

Why It's Great

The good looks, ease of use, and relatively low price also earn it good points. The built-in handle makes this thermos effortless to grab and carry out the door even when your hands are occupied. It also includes a collapsible spoon and a cover that doubles as a bowl. It also has a bowl-like shape with rounded sides, making it extremely captivating.

Potential Flaw/s

Although everything about this food thermos is almost perfect, there are still some downsides, but they are not deal breakers. The inner cover or lid is made of plastic, so it's a hassle to wipe off any oil stains, and if the lid is not thoroughly cleaned, it can become discolored over time. However, this may not be a problem with the regular use of effective detergents for cleaning,

Other Features

You can confidently pack this portable and leak-proof food thermos in your lunch bag without worrying about leaks. The MAXSO thermos keeps hot foods hot for up to 12 hours and cold foods fresh for up to 24 hours with its vacuum insulation technology, so you can carry your homemade food anywhere.

Stainless steel, silicone, and BPA-free, safe plastic are used inside and out, making this healthy food storage jar safe to use. MAXSO ranks second in terms of heat retention. It was close to the top in terms of refrigerated storage but fell below food safety standards if stored for too long. If you want to use it for chilled dishes, please use it together with a cooling agent.

Users testified that there was no visible damage to the insulating coating or lid, even after several drops to the ground. While it is not dishwasher safe, the interior is easy to reach, and the opening is wide enough for your hand, so hand washing this thermos is easy. Another remarkable thing about this stunning food thermos is the giveaway price.

Most Cost-Effective - THERMOS Stainless Food Jar

Most Cost-Effective

THERMOS Stainless Food Jar

THERMOS Stainless Food Jar

This pick is the cheapest but it does get the job done.

This is a low-cost option that comes with a folding standard-sized stainless spoon.

Buy Now for $24.99

Who It's For

If you don't have access to a microwave or you don't like the taste of reheated food, you'll need an insulated thermos to keep your food at the right temperature.

Why It's Great

With its ability to keep food hot or cold for hours, the 16-ounce food jar is more than just an insulated container; it features a lid that doubles as a bowl for added functionality and a collapsible stainless steel spoon. We love these extras because they not only make them easier to use than traditional disposable plastic spoons and bowls, but they are also much more environmentally friendly.

The Thermos Stainless King Food Jar guarantees nine hours of hot and 14 hours of cold retention. The container has two stainless steel walls with a very thin layer of space between them. This vacuum hinders the heat from penetrating or leaving the container, ensuring that the food remains at the proper temperature.

When it comes to cleaning, there are no harsh nooks and crannies to hamper cleaning. The rotating stopper that holds the spoon is a solid piece with a removable rubber ring that won't conceal old food. This thermos is top-rack dishwasher safe, but hand washing is recommended.

Potential Flaw/s

The Thermos Stainless King Food Jar received a lot of accolades for being effective, but there is still a downside to it, even though it doesn't affect its performance.

We noticed that some large thermoses have large plastic grips on the sides with metal links attached, but this one doesn't. But it's not a big deal as the body of this food jar is contoured to accommodate most average to wide hands nicely.

Other Features

The 16-ounce capacity of the jar is perfect for lunch-sized portions of piping hot spaghetti, refreshing gazpacho, meatballs, or whatever else you like. Plus, the 3.7 x 3.7 x 5.5-inch container doesn't add bulk to your handbag or lunch pack. The stainless steel lid is sleek and impressive but prone to smears and fingerprints.

The Stainless King Food Jar is extremely durable; the sturdy stainless steel jar can withstand being bumped in the back seat of your car or rattling around in your backpack during your subway commute. Again, you do not need to worry about leaks, as it also has a BPA-free plastic gasket to ensure a tight, leak-proof seal. The thermos is available in four colors: red, silver, black, and midnight blue.

Thermos' product listing says it's safe to wash the Stainless King on the top rack of the dishwasher, but the company says hand washing is preferred because there are parts like the lids, spoon, gasket, and glass that need to be separated, and hot water and harsh detergents can damage the exterior of the container. Fortunately, the thermos has a very wide opening, so cleaning it by hand isn't too bad.

It's easy to put a sponge or cleaning stick inside, and the lid and gasket just pop apart. While hand-washing can be a hassle for some, we think it's no big deal for office workers who are accustomed to washing dishes in a communal sink. Over 93% of Amazon reviewers have rated this product 4 stars or higher.

Almost Made The Cut - Stanley Adventure Vacuum Food Jar

Almost Made The Cut

Stanley Classic Legendary Vacuum Insulated Food Jar 18 oz

Stanley Adventure Vacuum Food Jar

Portable picnic set

With integrated steel spork and double-wall vacuum insulation for excellent temperature retention.

Buy Now for $29.99

Who It's For

When you don't have easy access to a fully functional kitchen, this food thermos is a desirable option for road trips and camping trips.

Why It's Great

Stanley is a heritage brand that has been creating solid camping kits for decades. The Stanley Adventure Food Jar was the top performer in every category. It keeps soups above 160F for over two hours and bounces off bricks with just a few scratches.

Pack this jar in a cool box with an ice pack for cold storage safety. This food jar popped out of its pack with an endless list of features. The Stanley food jar is essentially a compact, dishwasher-safe picnic set. It includes a spork, a lid that doubles as a bowl, and a strap for easy handling.

Potential Flaw/s

The only drawback of the Stanley food thermos is the design of the spork holder. The sporks are attached to the exterior of the glass. Although practical, this arrangement does not seem very hygienic.

Other Features

Whether you need to retain the heat of your oatmeal or chill your pasta salad, this spacious food storage container is what you need. It also comes with spokes for outdoor dining. Best of all, the stopper has a hidden compartment to keep your seeds, nuts, and granola from getting soggy.

The Stanley Adventure 18-ounce Food Jar is vacuum-insulated to keep food hot or cold for up to six hours. The wide mouth makes it perfect for soup or chili. The insulated lid doubles as a 12-ounce bowl, and it features a full-size spork. The stopper also has a place to dry and store the hangers. Made from rust-free, BPA-free 18/8 stainless steel, it is leakproof and fully retractable. Stanley Adventure food thermos is dishwasher safe and offers a lifetime warranty.

Care and Maintenance

To maximize a food thermos performance, preheat it before use. Fill it with boiling water and let it sit for about 5 minutes before draining and refilling it with any food you want to put inside.

How to clean

The stainless steel thermos is quite easy to clean. It won’t pick up food odors or colors, so you can care for it like any other dirty container and clean it with soap and water.

All of our picks are top-rack dishwasher safe, but we suggest you hand wash to maintain a beautiful finish as dishwashers can damage vacuum seals. Accessories such as inner lids and folding spokes may also require additional hand washing to remove accumulated grimes.

To wash your food thermos, start by removing all the leftovers such as crushed grapes, smeared peanut butter, and other noticeable crumbs and streaks. To eliminate most bacteria and molds, wash your thermos with soap and water before and after use. Using microfiber cloths instead of regular washcloths can also help fight bacteria. If you’ve washed your thermos well and it still doesn’t smell fresh or it has an offensive odor, soak it with baking soda and let it stay overnight.

Avoid bleach or chlorines in the cleaning process

Do not use bleach or cleaning agents containing chlorines on the thermos to avoid chemical residues and odors from leaching into your meals.

How long do food thermoses retain heat/cool?

Food should normally be kept warm in a thermos for up to 5 hours depending on the model. Even a small thermos can be conserved at room temperature for up to 15 minutes. In general, the larger the thermos container, the longer it will keep your food warm.

Replacing rubber suction ring on the lid if broken

To replace the rubber suction ring on the lid, extract the gasket from the lid by pressing two fingers on each side of the gasket. Once removed, replace it with a new one. Make sure the opening is facing up the lid when reinserting. A stainless steel thermos lasts an average of 10-12 years before needing replacement. This is because stainless steel thermos containers are generally durable, do not deteriorate, and are stain-resistant. They can take a beating and show no signs of wear quickly.

How long do food thermoses last?

However, some factors can affect the life of a thermos. Consideration should be given to the quality of the steel and other materials used in the container, how often it is used, and how it is cared for. Nevertheless, high-quality stainless steel thermoses usually last longer than others.