Thermal lunch containers – Ratings & Informative Guide
If you don’t have time to go through all the material our team has prepared and you are here just for a tip for a competent product, then know that after going through scores of reviews of thermal lunch containers we’ve found that the Zojirushi SW-FBE75XA might just as well be one of the best thermal containers for lunch currently available for sale. It’s highly appreciated by customers and expert reviewers alike for its outstanding insulation properties, with a capability of keeping food hot (not warm, hot) in excess of 8 hours. It also comes with some useful accessories, like a tote bag and a spoon that is meant to fit its 25-ounce size, which will come in handy for those who wish to eat straight out of the container. If this item isn’t available, or you are particularly concerned with keeping the food as fresh as possible, then the Thermos Foogo will make a great alternative.
These are the aspects worth focusing on when looking for a thermal lunch container
Finding a good thermal lunch container might not be as straightforward as it might seem at first sight. Like with any quality food storage box, there are the usual factors to weigh in, such as size, but thermal insulation capabilities and antiseptic properties should also weigh in on the decision.
Deciding on the size
This is the factor where customer preference matters the most, as you of course know best how much food you will eat during a lunch break, at a picnic or on a trip. What we should mention, however, is that thermal containers tend to be a little bit bulkier than non-insulated ones of similar capacity, since most of them use double steel walls.
The extra bulk added by the walls will tend to decrease relative to capacity as the volume of the whole thing increases, so, for example a 10-ounce thermal container will be significantly bigger than an equivalent lunch salad container, while the difference will be barely noticeable on a 30-ounce model.
Modern containers commonly use double steel walls with a vacuum space between them to keep your food cold or hot for as long as possible. The best thermal lunch container can conserve heat for a period in excess of 8 hours and keep it cool for significantly longer than that, up to a day.
A good way to maximize these figures is to heat up or cool down the unit respectively before placing the food inside. This can be done with either boiling or near-freezing water and it’s particularly useful for picnics and long distance travel.
Stainless steel is not as effective at preventing bacteria from forming on its surface as porcelain or glass is, and not all steels are created equal in this regard.
Most manufacturers take great care to make their materials as sanitary as possible, and you might wish to take note of how bacteria-safe each product is before purchase, especially if its intended use involves potentially sensitive people, like people with stomach issues and small children.
Another thing to pay mind to is the plastic used for the lid. This must be in line with all the safety regulations currently operating in the US, and particularly important, certified as BPA-free.
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The material used is also well regarded for its sanitary properties, and will prevent bacteria from forming inside the stainless steel walls. It is however recommended to rinse it after each use, and this might very well be enough to clean it adequately, together with a few scrubs from a bottle brush if needed.
Another thing that adds to its convenience is the fact that it already comes with an appropriately sized spoon. Many people find it difficult to eat straight from the jar, as cutlery that is long enough and appropriately shaped for the task is not exactly easy to find.
There’s also a tote bag included in the package, which can fit this food container together with the thermal mug from the same manufacturer. The capacity of the jar itself is found to be good enough to accommodate a heavy eater, taking in 3 cups of food in volume.
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True enough, the study that proves this was financed by Thermos itself, but it was conducted at an Ivy league university lab (Cornell) which has a name to uphold itself. This makes the Foogo particularly good at holding milk fresh for a considerable amount of time, which greatly adds to its function as a children’s or toddler’s lunch container.
With only around a cup in capacity, the product we’ve looked at seems to be intended specifically for this purpose, and the fact that it can also hold food items cool for over 7 hours further recommends it as such.
The amount of time it can keep its contents warm, namely 5 hours, might not be all that impressive when compared with the Zojirushi, but keep in mind that this is a significantly smaller item, and the laws of physics dictate that heat retention drops exponentially with volume.
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Tiger Corporation MCL-A038
It does have a wide mouth, with thin edges which make it easy to drink from, and at around 12 oz in capacity it is easy to find a spoon to use it with among your cutlery. It is reported to hold a cup of soup warm for at least 6 hours and milk or other beverages cold for roughly the same amount of time.
Typically for something that comes from Japan, its design is friendly and pretty to look at, with 3 pastel colors to choose between, mint blue, cream pink and chocolate brown. It is also friendly to your schedule, since it can be easily cleaned by hand, without the use of a bottle scrub. However, it is not rated dishwasher safe and due to the metal construction it has no business in the microwave.
Like most other products of its type, the interior is coated in an anti-stain layer, that also works to repel odors.
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