There a fundamental culinary truth that bridges all human differences: everybody wants their food to be hot. But if you want your food to be hot when you’re far away from home, then you’re going to need an insulated food container.
Like a thermos, an insulated food container is meant to control the temperature of contents without using any electricity or reheating. They’re great for taking food into the great outdoors, or for bringing a healthy, cheap meal to work. Most insulated food containers work by forming a vacuum seal, but some are simply lined with insulating material.
Insulated food containers come in many shapes and sizes. Some are like lunch boxes, and some are exclusively for soup. One food container may be great for feeding hot (or cold) food to a large group of ravenous children, while another food container may be perfect for sneaking a cheap meal to work. Really, the variety of insulated food containers can be a little daunting. That’s why we’ve taken the time to find the best-insulated food containers for everybody’s unique needs.
Thermos Stainless King 16 oz Food Jar ($22)
Classic designs tend to work really well. If you need some proof, then just take a moment to look at the Thermos food jar. It’s a great, old-fashioned container that can keep food hot for at least 7 hours. It’s also relatively large, easy to clean, spill-proof, and very affordable. What else is there to say? Do I need to mention that it comes with a fold-able spoon? What’s better than a fold-able spoon, huh?
Sorry if I’m getting a little heated, it’s just that this food jar resonates with my soul. But this isn’t the be-all end-all food jar, there are a lot of other options that may better suit your needs. For example, you might need to bring more than one type of food to work at a time. You’ll run into a lot of trouble trying to fit two different entrees in this food jar. Also, you can’t microwave this particular food jar, which can be a deal-breaker to people who have unique or inconsistent schedules.
Thermos 12 oz Microwavable Food Jar ($25)
Usually, you’ll use an insulated food container in situations where you can’t reheat your food. If you’ve found yourself taking a late lunch, or occasionally needing to microwave the food that you’ve brought from home, then you should take a look at the Thermos microwaveable food jar. It’s basically a microwavable plastic jar that locks inside of an insulated thermos body. Obviously, the stainless steel Thermos body isn’t microwavable.
This Thermos can keep your food hot for 4 hours, or cold for 6 hours. While that should be long enough to make it through the first part of your shift, the ability to microwave your Thermos container adds an amount of flexibility that other food jars don’t have. This microwavable jar is also convenient for heating up leftovers before going to work or doing outdoor activities, or for making instant noodles and other foods while away from home.
OSPARD Stackable 43 oz Bento Box ($18)
If you’re looking for an insulated container that can replace you or a child’s lunch box, then you should consider the OSPARD stackable bento box. It’s a lunch box made from 3 cylindrical containers that screw into one another. Each of the containers is a different size, and one is specifically made to handle soups and other sloppy foods. The OSPARD forms a vacuum seal when it’s fully screwed together, so you don’t have to worry about any layers leaking.
This container is cute, stylish, and a great replacement for a traditional lunchbox, but it doesn’t keep food hot forever. The OSPARD box only keeps foods hot for up to 4 hours, which isn’t a long enough time to make it through everybody’s day. But you could always pair it with an insulated carrying bag, which will keep your food warm for a couple hours longer.
Zojirushi Mr Bento Lunch Jar ($36)
The Zojirushi bento lunch jar is a powerhouse of insulated food containers. It’s expensive, it’s not very flashy, and it can keep food hot or cold for up to 6 hours. The Zojirushi is, essentially, an insulated container that contains 4 microwavable containers. These separate containers can be used to hold solid or liquid food without any chance of leakage, or any loss in freshness. Plus, each container has an insulated lid, which means that two different dishes wont affect each other’s temperatures.
While this may seem like an exciting lunch box, you should consider your needs first. Do you want to drop $35 on a jack-of-all-trades, or do you want to spend a more reasonable amount on something that’s really good at keeping a single dish warm, like the Thermos King?
Stanley Adventure 3 Quart Vacuum Crock ($42)
Sometimes you need to feed a lot of people. That’s just life. But how are you going to feed a lot of people when you’re outside, or far away from any kitchen? Well, you could use a Stanley Adventure Vacuum Crock. It’s a straightforward device that keeps 3 quarts of food hot for up to 12 hours. And since this crock creates a vacuum seal, you don’t have to worry about your food getting weird or mushy. That makes it great for hot beans, BBQ, rice, or anything else that’s steaming hot. Speaking of steam, the Stanley crock has some serious clamps, in case your bean-steam creatures a lot of pressure. But don’t fret, the clamps are quite strong, and the Stanley even has a pressure relief valve for when things get too steamy.
This Stanley crock is also great for keeping food cold. It can keep food cold for up to 16 hours, which means that you can finally bring 3 quarts of ice cream on your road trip, or you can bring a bunch of ice cubes to a family gathering.