Whether you’re packing for a hike, preparing a go-to lunch, or getting your kids ready on a cold winter day, a great thermos is a must to keep your foods hot so that all of you can enjoy coffee or a soup while driving or camping. We’ve sifted through a great deal of chaff online to find the best thermos options for your family. In this review, we’ll learn a little bit about how this technology works and take a good look at the TOP-8 best food thermos on the market that would appeal to anyone!
What You Will Learn from This Guide:
- What is a thermos and how it works?
- Search criteria: what to look for when shopping
- TOP-8 Best food thermos
- Best options for kids
Thermos invention goes back to 1892 when Sir James Dewar put one flask within the other and joined them at the neck. He found that the gap between the flasks created a near-vacuum which substantially reduced the heat transfer. The technology didn’t see the mass production up until the mid 20th century when it was sold to the Thermos company, which started to produce the vacuum flasks for home use. Eventually, other companies joined in and expanded the technology by using various materials, adopting different sizes, and shapes.
But what’s a thermos exactly? The thermos is a container that keeps liquid hot or cold over an extended period of time. It uses thermal insulation to prevent the transfer of thermal energy. The best insulator is essentially a vacuum because there’s no air to transfer heat. Thus, a thermos is, in its essence, a double-walled container with the vacuum between its walls that’s created during the construction process. The modern technologically advanced thermoses also use other layers to ensure there’s no transfer of thermal energy, like Styrofoam, additional layers of plastic, etc.
Now that we know how a thermos works, let’s see what you have to look for when buying one.
Besides the form factor and the thermos design, you have to make sure the thermos is of the right size. You obviously have to consider when and where you intend to use it, so you won’t end up with a huge container for seeping coffee while driving or a tiny flask on a cold night while camping. The most popular sizes are 10, 12, 16, and 24 oz.
The cost would be the most important factor if you’re on a tight budget, and also the least – if you don’t mind spending more. On average, a good thermos will cost you somewhat around $30.
One of the most important factors to consider is how long your beverage will stay hot. Heat retention time can vary from 4-5 hours to as long as 12-13 hours. It’s a no-brainer that you would want a longer time for camping. The thermos is usually better at retaining cold temperatures, and while heat is maintained for 12 hours at most, you can expect a cold beverage to stay cool for even longer than that (usually +2 hours).
And while plastic will greatly reduce the cost of your thermos, it also doesn’t retain heat very well. If heat retention is your greatest concern, then go for stainless steel, because it is more durable and better at inhibiting thermal energy.
Now, let’s look at the TOP-8 Best Food Thermos that are available on the market in 2018. We’ll cover the best options with the longest heat retention times, with spoons, handles, and microwavable containers. We’ll also review the two best school options that your kids will love. Anyway, hop on to discover the amazing world of thermos containers!
Stanley Classic Vacuum Insulated Soup Thermos – up to 12 hours (17 and 24 oz)
Stanley is a huge brand that’s been in the business for more than a century. The Stanley Classic Vacuum Jar featured in this guide is made of 18/8 stainless steel naturally BPA-free. The container is also leak proof. It’s available in two sizes for your convenience, namely 17 and 24 oz. The vacuum insulation will keep your beverages hot or cold for at least 12 hours. The wide mouth of the container might be an ideal option if you like to drink soups or chili.
An overwhelming number of consumers were more than satisfied with the container, some even saying that Stanley was the one which did the job as expected. Those who left negative comments said that they received a dented product, which was obviously damaged during transportation. However, it didn’t affect how the product performed, was just a little unpleasant nuisance. There’s a lifetime warranty for this product, in case you wonder, which makes it practically risk-free.
Stanley Classic Vacuum: Check the current price
Thermos Funtainer Bottle – up to 12 hours, with a straw (12 oz)
This is a classic thermos from the Thermos company that needs no flowery introduction. Although it’s smaller than its previously described counterpart, being only 12 oz, it does its job perfectly well at keeping things hot or cold for 12 hours in a row. It’s also made of durable stainless steel. The product also comes with a straw that makes it very convenient to sip hot coffee or tea while on the go or driving.
Customers are pleased with the product and its performance, many of them used the soup thermos for babies and older kids. Those who were left unimpressed often complained that the thermos leaked.
Thermos Funtainer Bottle: Check the current price
Thermos Stainless King Food Jar – 7-10 hours, with a folding spoon (16 oz)
This is yet another bestseller from Thermos that’s made of stainless steel. Unlike the smaller version above, this one has a large mouth which is easy to fill and clean and might be an ideal option for soups. It also comes with a foldable stainless steel spoon, which adds even more convenience and usability to the product. Hot liquids will stay hot for 7 hours, cold – for 9.
Consumers who tested the thermos praised the sturdiness of the container, its durability, and were generally pleased with having a spoon. Detractors said the performance of this item was far from perfect and left a great deal to be desired with hot beverages not staying hot enough for the time claimed by the manufacturer.
Thermos Stainless King: Check the current price
Thermos Food Jar – 4-6 hours, with a microwaveable container (12 oz)
This Thermos jar, however small, comes with a special Tritan copolyester inner liner that is microwave and dishwasher safe, so in case your food is not hot enough, you can always microwave it in the container. Just like any other thermos items we’ve covered, this one is no exception, it’s made of stainless steel that’s super durable and easy to clean. Wide mouth ensures your mac and cheese will fit it perfectly! The hot food will stay hot for 4 hours, and cold – for 6.
However, customers were not as enthusiastic and cheerful about this item, as they were for previously reviewed options, often complaining about its performance and a poor design. So if you’re primarily concerned about heat retention properties, then we suggest you look into other Thermos containers.
Thermos with a microwaveable container: Check the current price
Thermos Dual Compartment Food Jar – 5-7 hours, with compartments, (16 and 20 oz.)
This item from Thermos has two compartments, one (16 oz) is made of a traditional stainless steel that’s pertinent to all Thermos products, and another one (20 oz) is BPA-free Eastman Tritan top. Each container comes with a locking stopper that prevents leakage and aims to retain temperature. Hot things will stay hot for 5 hours, cold for 7. The thermos comes with an integrated carrying handle for maximum portability.
Customers were generally satisfied with the product, and those who complained, said while the compartments idea was fabulous, the design was flawed and needed improvement. Others said the lids were very hard to twist off and on, making it somewhat unusable for kids.
Thermos Dual Compartment: Check the current price
Simple Modern Provision Food Jar – 7-9 hours, with a handle lid (12, 16, or 24 oz)
The Simple Modern thermos looks really sleek and hightechish. It’s available in an array of outlandish colors if you want to liven up your accessories a bit. You can also purchase 12, 16, or 24 oz containers. This beast will keep your food hot for 7 hours, and cold for 9. It’s wide-mouthed and comes with a handle lid for portability. It’s 18/8 stainless steel which is BPA free.
Testers left wonderful comments about the item, often praising its design, performance, and usability. There were a few, however, who were not just as pleased, complaining about the fragility of the plastic lead and overall flimsy construction.
Simple Modern Provision with a handle lid: Check the current price
Thermos Funtainer Food Jar Batman 7-9 hours (10 oz)
In case your little one is a Batman fan, then this thermos is a must! In the run-up to Christmas holidays, this is a wonderful gift idea. The item’s also made of stainless steel for maximum durability and will keep your kid’s lunch hot for 7 hours straight. People really loved the product leaving comments like it was a “lifesaver for school lunches”, “winner of unofficial tests”, and ‘kids loved it”. Those who didn’t share the enthusiasm complained about the leakage, receiving a defective product, and the product’s overall high-maintenance.
Thermos Funtainer Batman: Check the current price
THERMOS FOOGO Food Jar 7-9 hours (10 oz)
Another Thermos item that would serve its purpose wonderfully is this Foogoo food jar. It’s also stainless steel BPA free, keeps food hot for 7 hours, and comes with an ergonomically-designed lid with a rubber grip for easy handling. The base is scratch resistant and non-slip. Might be a perfect option for toddlers. Overall, a consumer response is positive with people saying that you “couldn’t go wrong with this product”. Others complained about inconsistent quality that varied by the batch.
THERMOS FOOGO: Check the current price
Is thermos food jar BPA free?
All options we covered in this guide are BPA free.
Is thermos food container dishwasher safe?
Most of them are. All the options described above are dishwasher safe. However, manufacturers often recommend handwashing items prior to putting them in a dishwasher.
Can you microwave thermos container?
There’s only one option which we’ve covered that can be safely microwaved: Thermos Food Jar – with a microwaveable container (12 oz)
How to use soup thermos?
Open the lid, pour the liquid of your choice and seal the lid tightly. For specific instructions, read the manufacturer's instruction manual that comes with a particular thermos.
How to clean food thermos?
Most of them are dishwasher safe. However, it’s best to handwash them to prevent mold from growing in-between the container’s parts.
Are thermos funtainers leak proof?
Yes, they are. If you think, however, that your funtainer leaks, then you obviously received a faulty product and need to return it.
How long does a soup stay hot in a thermos container?
Depends on a particular thermos: from 5 to 12 hours.
How to keep thermos food hot?
Your food will already stay hot in a thermos, there’s no secret way you can make it even hotter.
What food to put in a thermos?
You can put any type of food in a thermos. If your container has a wide mouth, then you can safely use it for soups, chili, pasta, anything with a sauce or some liquid, really. If the opening is small, then use it for beverages.
Will food go bad in a thermos?
The manufacturers do not recommend leaving food in a thermos for more than 24 hours.
Tips for using a thermos
- Use foods that have some liquid in it, like sauce. Thus, it will stay hot for more hours than just food with no liquid at all.
- Once you open your thermos, consume the food immediately and throw any food not eaten to prevent harmful bacteria from growing.
- Before using a thermos, clean it thoroughly, then fill it with boiling water (if you want the thermos to stay hot) or with an ice-cold water (if you want it to stay cold).
- Fill your container with hot/cold food items just before living home
- Help kids to open a thermos, especially with hot beverages to avoid burns.
Comparative chart of Thermos Food Containers
Stanley Classic Vacuum Insulated
|17, 24 oz |
up to 12 hours
18/8 stainless steel
Thermos Funtainer Bottle
|up to 12 hours |
array of colors
with a straw
Thermos Stainless King
|7-10 hours, |
with a folding spoon
Thermos with a microwaveable container
|12 oz |
Thermos Dual Compartment
|with compartments, |
16, 20 oz.
Simple Modern Provision
|with a handle lid |
12, 16, or 24 oz containers
18/8 stainless steel which
Thermos Funtainer Batman
|10 oz |
|10 oz |
lid with a rubber grip
Hopefully, the reviews above provided you with a good starting point in your search for a perfect thermos. With this guide, you may now feel confident that you’ll choose only the best items for you and your loved ones. With rapid advances in technology, we’re pretty sure more great products are to come! So, I guess, see you back in 2019 or 2020!