I work a construction job where my office usually consists of the cab of my truck, which means my lunch stays out in the truck, in the cold. And when I say cold, I’m not talking about California ‘cold’, I’m talking about water bottle freezing cold (I lived in San Diego for eight years, I can make that joke). The main problem is trying to find good containers to keep food hot for lunch. I use a cooler which works great in the summer, not so much in the winter. It does a much better job at keeping things cold than warm.
After trying a few other creative solutions and failing, I am realizing that I just need to buy better containers to keep my food hot until lunch, even in the coldest weather out in my truck. So how do I keep lunch hot for hours without totally thrashing my bank account?
In the effort of researching how to keep lunch hot for hours, I have run across five top contender’s that all do a fantastic job of keeping my lunch hot for hours.
Zojirushi Ms. Bento Stainless-Steel Vacuum Lunch Jar
Zojirushi makes fantastic lunch containers and none better than the Ms. and Mr. Bento product lines. This stainless lunch jar is the perfect solution for those looking for a complete lunch container that will not only provide multiple courses but keep your lunch hot for hours (pictured above). This comes with a parent jar that houses 3 smaller food bowls designed to keep items hot or cold. Each of the bowls are microwavable. They measure 11.2 oz. (side bowl), 10.5 oz. (main bowl) and 6.8 oz. (soup bowl) respectively. These bowls are also BPA free.
The parent jar is vacuum insulated and easy to clean. There is a five year warranty for the vacuum insulation. This unit also comes with a bag for the parent jar and a forked spoon. Everything you would need to enjoy a lunch on the go!
- BPA Free
- Five year warranty on the vacuum insulation
- 3 bowls, 1 parent jar, carrying case and a forged spoon
- Stainless steel construction
- Food stays hot up to six hours (some reports)
- Compact and not too heavy
- While it’s nice to have several bowls and pieces to store food in, can be a headache to clean
- Main dish bowl could be a bit bigger
- Perfect size for a child, may be a bit small for an adult lunch
Thermos 10 Ounce Funtainer Food Jar **
A smaller lunch jar, this 10 ounce vacuum insulated stainless steel miracle maker does a good job of keeping a food item hot or cold for many hours. Up to seven hours to keep items cool or five hours to keep an item hot. It is designed with a wide mouth which makes it easy to eat out of and clean. It is recommended to clean by hand. If all this was not enough there are several different amazing design choices to choose from. This jar’s construction is BPA free and comes with a 5 year limited warranty. While not big enough for sandwiches, it is perfect for soups, salads and smaller left overs (think lasagna type meals).
Thermos has set a reputation for producing high quality food containers and this continues that reputation. Currently one of the highest rated food jars right now (4.5 stars with over 1,800 customer reviews). This is not an all in one lunch storage solution, but is a great companion to your lunch box.
- LOTS of different styles to choose from
- Perfect addition for your lunch box
- One of the highest rated food jars on our list
- Double walled stainless Steel construction
- Vacuum insulated
- BPA free
- Five year limited warranty
- Not recommended for the dishwasher
- Only 10 oz. of space
- Is NOT microwavable
Thermos Stainless Steel King Food
Another Thermos titan, this stainless still jar would be the bigger daddy to its 10 ounce counterpart reviewed above. 24 ounces of space should satisfy most adult lunch appetites, if you are interested in eating only one thing and that one thing is more liquid than solid, which makes this the best soup type container on our list. Unlike normal thermoses, this comes with a very large mouth which makes eating from it simple.
This jar comes in two different colors, midnight blue or matte black. It uses a vacuum insulation technology that helps keep your lunches either hot or cold for hours. It’s rated to keep liquids hot up to 9 hours. It’s currently holding a 4.5 star rating with over 900 reviews.
- 24 ounces of space
- Keep liquids hot up to 9 hours. Other food types may vary
- Stainless steel construction
- Wide mouth, easy to clean and eat from
- BPA Free
- Lid also becomes a bowl
- Lots of space, but can only store one food item type
- Not microwavable
- Some complaints about the sealing ring breaking. Its located where the top is screwed on to the body.
Hango Insulated Lunch Box Cooler Bag
If you are looking more for a great lunch box/bag to keep your containers in and warm, this is a great solution. It is designed with a thermal insulation system made of high density polyester. You get TWO bags for the price of one. The smaller lunch bag measures in at about 5 inches by 7.5 inches, the larger bag is 6 inches by 10 inches and is capable of holding a six pack of sodas or a large meal. The smaller bag is better suited for smaller meals like sandwiches or smaller plastic containers.
This insulated bag comes in two different colors, black or pink. It’s rated fairly well at 4.5 stars with about 669 reviews. Overall a great bag for lunches or a picnic.
- Comes with a 100% money back guarantee
- Lifetime warranty
- Great customer support
- It can keep your lunch warm for a while, but the lining is somewhat thin and is suited better for cold storage.
- Does not come with a carrying strap
- Some concerns over the bag quality, but with a lifetime warranty this should not be a top issue.
HotLogic Mini Personal Portable Oven
Here is an out of the box solution to keep your lunch warm. It’s still a container, but also a portable oven. This cool little device blew my nerd socks off, what an amazing idea!! Its designed to either cook or keep your food warm. There is a flat bottom heater that fits inside of the insulated back that can be plugged in. It can be plugged in to your cars aux electric socket (using an inverter) or a plug in at work. It is built with an aluminum lining that helps keep the heat in between transferring it from your house to the car to your work place.
I have an outside job where my lunch stays either in my car or the office trailer. This is a perfect solution for me and I can just keep this plugged in and my lunch is always warm and ready to eat.
It was a bit smaller than the picture let on, but still able to store a decent sized lunch. The beauty of this device is that you can plug it in a little before your lunch to start warming it up, cook it or just keep it plugged in through the morning to keep your lunch warm. It currently comes in three different colors and is very easy to use. Plug and Play!
- 5 Star Rated!
- Energy efficient design
- UL CSA certified
- Safely warms your meal
- Good sealing system so your coworkers do not smell your lunch as it cooks/warms
- Bag could be a little bigger. Great one person lunch bag
- Need a power outlet to take full advantage
- The keyword ‘Oven’ is a little misleading, as it best heats up ‘pre-cooked’ meals
These are some of the best containers to keep food hot for lunch that we could find on the market. Even if you don’t work a construction job, ensuring that you have a hot lunch on a cold day can make all the difference, even if you work in a cold office. You could opt for the microwave, but who likes the rubbery texture that comes from nuking your food (well, I do actually kind of like that, but that’s not the point of this article!)?