The Best Thermos For Kids Lunch (Popular Picks For 2024)

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Hunting for the best thermos for kids lunch? 

Here is a large collection of thermos containers, thermos bottles and insulated bento boxes perfect for packing a kid hot food and a home-cooked meal.

Picking the best thermos for kids lunch can be a daunting task.

Head to Amazon and you’ll quickly realize that there are so many food thermoses to pick from.

You’ll be faced with so many shapes, different sizes, different colors, materials and price points that it can feel overwhelming to make the right choice for your child.

If you’re not careful you can end up underwhelmed with a bunch of inappropriately sized thermoses that will only sit collecting dust in your kitchen.

In this post we’ve done the homework and rounded up the best thermos for kids lunch.

We’ve considered the important stuff like capacity, quality and heat retention when selecting the best kids thermos!

​Our goal is to help you find the best thermos for kids lunch that is both affordable and will last the whole school year.

Continue reading to find out which thermoses and insulated water bottles we suggest for packing kids lunches!

But, before we get to the best thermoses let’s discuss a few important things you’ll want to consider before making a choice

What is the best thermos for kids lunch?

what to consider when searching for the best thermos for kids lunch

Here are a few thing you’ll want to consider when picking the best thermos for kids lunch.

Kids thermoses come in a variety of sizes, shapes and materials and ultimately picking a good thermos for your child’s needs comes down to finding an insulated container that works best for you. 

Here are the most important factors we suggest you keep in mind before picking a new thermos for your child.

Capacity

Figuring out the right thermos capacity you need depends completely on your kiddos age and appetite.

If you’ve got older children or a kid with a healthy appetite you many want to opt for a larger capacity thermos that holds more food.

And, for younger children with smaller appetites consider a smaller kid’s thermos that holds fewer ounces of food so as not to loose heat.

Keep in mind that the goal of a thermos is maximum temperature retention.

For best results and to keep lunches hot your insulated food jar needs to be almost entirely full with food that contains some liquid like soup, chili or stew. 

Filling a thermos completely prevents heat loss by reducing air gaps that cool the food inside the container.

So, buying a larger thermos to accommodate a growing appetite isn’t recommended since it compromises the vacuum insulated technology. 

So, we always suggest you start with a small container and replace as your child’s appetite increases. 

Material

Always do you homework and make sure that any thermos you are considering is made with high quality food safe materials like stainless steel. 

Beyond this we highly suggest confirming that all plastic components are BPA free. 

All the kids’ thermoses that make our list of best thermos for kids lunch are BPA free and made of high quality food safe materials.

Ease of Use

Easy access is another critical consideration when shopping for the best thermos for kids lunch. 

Some insulated food containers or thermoses that hold food come with screw tops or flip tops depending on the style. 

While older kids may have no problem unscrewing a tight fitting thermos lid, little hands and younger kids might fare better with pop tops since they may need a helping hand to unscrew a thermos.

So, we’ve included thermoses with a variety of lids in our list of best thermos for kids lunch.

Easy Cleaning

The  best thermos for kids lunch will also be relatively easy to keep clean.

Consider how many nooks and crannies your thermos has and whether you can keep it clean after repeatedly packing a child’s lunch.

Most thermoses are top rack dishwasher safe. But, we prefer hand washing with cold water and a mild detergent like Dawn Dish soap to keep the thermos in good condition.

Dishwashing with extremely hot water can fade the color of the thermos with regular use.

In any case, it’s always a good idea to read the cleaning instructions that come with your thermos so as not to damage it will likely get daily use.

Heat or Cold Retention

When picking the perfect thermos it’s important to decide if you’re looking to keep foods both hot and cold. 

Most thermos food jar type containers are able to keep warm food hot for a certain number of hours as well as cold food cool without adding ice packs.

So, if you are planning to pack warm and cold foods in your kid’s lunch box you’ll want to consider a thermos that can keep food both hot or cold until lunch time.

Lunch Bag

We always suggest buying your thermos or food flask before committing to a lunch box.

Depending on the size of the thermos you pick you may find that a standard kids lunch bag is too small.

If you already have a lunch box then check the measurements and size of your thermos before purchasing to make sure your new thermos will fit comfortably in school bag or lunch box. 

We suggest picking a lunch bag design that is roomy and can fit a thermos in addition to a variety of different snacks.

The best Thermos For Kids Lunch

Maison Huis Food Jar

best thermos for kids lunch

This Maison Huis stainless steel food jar is our top performer for especially young kids.

The BPA free plastic lid is leak free and easy to twist by small hands thanks to a large plastic handle.

This 7-ounce thermos can hold a small quantity of cold or hot food making it a great option for sending hot school lunches like soups, pasta, stews and sloppy joe or cold foods like yogurt parfaits and smoothie bowls.

This small size thermal jar makes our list of best thermos for kids lunch because of its compact size and accessible price point.

Price & Features:

Wide mouth, 8 oz capacity for hot/cold food
Screw top & leak proof lid
BPA free
Price under 20$
see this thermos on Amazon

Joopetalk Food Flask

best thermos for kids lunch

The Joopetalk Food Flask is a large thermal food jar that keeps hot foods hot for up to 12 hours and cold foods cool for up to 24.

This robust wide opening thermos also comes with a convenient foldable spoon making it a convenient choice.

Due to it’s size this thermal jar is best suited for older kids, tweens, teens and even adults.

At under $25 this thermos makes our list as a best thermos for kids lunch due to its quality and affordability.

Price & Features:

Large 17oz food storage capacity
Uses double-wall vacuum insulation to keep foods hot or cold
Keeps food at the right temperature for up to 24 hours
Price: under $25
see this thermos on Amazon

Thermos Funtainer Food Jar

best thermos for kids lunch

This classic Funtainer Food Jar by Thermos is a long time front runner in kids’ thermoses.

It continuously ranks as one of the best food thermos options for elementary aged children.

The simple design makes popping open the thermos a breeze for even the smallest children.

So, it’s a great choice for daycare, preschool and elementary aged kids. 

A generous 10oz capacity means you can pack a variety of different hot lunch ideas for your child.

The vacuum insulation technology keep hot foods hot for up to 5 hours and cold food cold for up to 7.

It also comes in a variety of fun colors and patterns making it a great choice for girls and boys.

This Thermos Funtainer Food Jar makes our list of best thermos for kids lunch because of its unique design and ease of use.

Price & Features:

Push button lid open
10 oz capacity for cold or hot food
Easy clean and top rack dishwasher safe
Price: Under $20
see this thermos on Amazon

Omie Box

best thermos for kids lunch

This revolutionary bento style square shape thermal lunch box design is perfect for anyone looking to reduce the number of containers they send to school.

This all in one design is perfect for both hot and cold lunch combos.

It’s versatility is why it makes our list of best thermos for kids lunch.

This combo lunch box contains two temperature zones allowing you to send a nutritious lunch that comprises of both hot food and room temperature sides in the same container.

Pop out the thermal insert to transform your Omie Box into a standard bento box. 

Price & Features:

The best lunch boxes for an all an one packed lunch approach
8.5 oz removable thermal insert with spin top lid
Easy clean with water and mild detergent
Price: Under $45
see this thermos on Amazon

Hydro Flask Insulated Food Jar

best thermos for kids lunch

This Insulated Food Jar from Hydro Flask made our list of best thermos for kids lunch because of it’s leak proof technology.

This thermos is perfect for keeping hot lunches hot.

It is also guaranteed not to leak and make a mess in your child’s lunch bag or back pack.

​We love that this thermos holds a solid amount of food making it a great choice for older kids who’ve got bigger appetites.

You can plan to pack anything from hot soups to oven baked chicken nuggets in this convenient double wall insulated food jar.

Hydro flask also makes this thermal food jar in a variety of fun colors making it easy to find a thermos in the right color for any child.  

Price & Features:

Holds up to 12 oz of hot or cold food
BPA-Free and toxin-Free
Dishwasher safe
Price: Under $35
see this thermos on Amazon

MINCOCO Insulated Food Jar

best thermos for kids lunch

This Insulated Food Jar from Mincoco makes our list of best thermos for kids lunch because it’s adorable, practical and fairly priced.

With a 17 oz capacity for food, this Insulated food jar goes a long way when packing a child’s lunch and keeping food at a safe temperature.

Whether you’re using it to send hot pasta, soup, stew or leftovers this large sized thermos can grow with your child and their appetite. 

Plus, it’s absolutely adorable making it a fun choice for kids of all ages.

It comes in both green and blue making it a great choice for boys or girls.

Price & Features:

Holds up to 17 oz of hot or cold food
Wide mouth makes filling and cleaning easy
Keeps food hot for 9 hours and cold up to 14 hours
Price: Under $30
see this thermos on Amazon

Foogo Insulated Food Jar

best thermos for kids lunch

This 10 oz Foogo Insulated Food Jar by Thermos is a great choice for kids because of its heat retention and compact size.

It’s wide opening makes this thermal food jar simple to fill, eat from and clean.

The Foogo food jar is a great way to pack healthy and nutritious hot or cold meals for kids to enjoy at school.

​It makes our list of best thermos for kids lunch because of its practical design and affordable price point.

Price & Features:

Compact 10 oz capacity for hot or cold food
Wide lid for easy filling, eating and cleaning
Comes in a variety of different colors and themes
Price: Under $15
see this thermos on Amazon

Yeti Rambler Jr

the best thermos for kids lunch

We love love love the Yeti Rambler Jr and had to include it in this list of best thermos for kids lunch. 

​The Yeti Rambler Jr is a compact, double vacuum insulated water bottle that is robust enough to keep up with rough and tumble kids.

​This reusable water bottle is amazing at keeping water extremely cold throughout the day.

It is also easy to keep clean and can easily tough an entire school year because of it’s robust design.

It’s durability and efficiency is why we had to add it to our list of best thermos for kids lunch.

Price & Features:

12 oz cold water capacity with folding straw cap
Robust design that is dent and peel proof
Comes in a variety fun colors
Price: Under $30
see this thermos on Amazon

Before You Go

We hope you found this list of best thermos for kids lunch ideas helpful in making a choice for a thermal food jar or thermos for your child.

In creating this list we considered size, capacity and price point to bring you only the very best in kids’ thermoses.

From small capacity thermoses perfect for really small kids to large capacity thermal food jars for kiddos with bigger appetites we found the best packed lunch food thermoses that should last you an entire school season.

Perfect for sending hot or cold nutritious lunches to school or on road trips, these best thermos for kids lunch are a great choice worth considering.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I use to keep my kids lunch warm?

Keeping your kids school lunch warm is easy with any of these best thermos for kids lunch we highlighted above. 

Any of our picks for a Thermos, keep food hot or cold for a specific amount of time. 

In general any brand of Thermos or insulated food jar with double-wall vacuum insulation will do a good job of keeping food either hot or cold. 

Variations in how long an insulated food jar can keep foods hot or cold varies from brand to brand so read each Thermoses’ specifications carefully. 

In addition, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to help keep your thermos foods either hot or cold longer.

See the next questions for our favorite ways to pack kids school lunches in a thermos.

How do you pack a kids lunch in a thermos?

Packing a kids lunch in a thermos is a great way to send a nutritious hot or cold home cooked meal to school.

​On their own, most thermoses do a pretty good job of keeping foods hot or cold depending on what you’re packing. But, depending on when your child will be consuming their meal even the best thermos for kids lunch will start losing heat.

For example, if your child will be hanging on to a thermos of hot food until after school, there’s a slim chance it will still be hot by the end of the day.

​But, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to keep food hotter for longer.

Here is what we suggest:

​For Hot Food – Pour boiling water into your thermos, tighten the lid and let it sit for approximately 15 minutes before emptying and filling with piping HOT food. Doing this heats the thermos and helps it retain even more heat.

For Cold Food – Fill your thermos with ice cubes or cold ice water before placing it in the freezer for up to 15 minutes. Chilling your thermal food jar before filling it with COLD food will help it remain cooler for longer periods of time.

Which thermos keeps food the warmest for the longest period of time?

Each of the best thermos for kids lunch that we included in our list above offer solid heat retention. 

Although heat retention is very important considering capacity, size and material should also factor in to making a choice for the best thermos for kids lunch.

If the thermos will be used exclusively for a packed hot school lunch then largely most kids only need 3-4 hours of heat retention.

But, if we are talking about a thermos that can remain the warmest for the longest period of time we highly suggest the Joopetalk 17oz Thermal Lunch Jar. It’s advertised to have up to 12 hours of heat retention which is far longer than most other brands.

Otherwise you can always opt for a classic Thermos Stainless King Food Jar which is also extremely efficient. We did not include this in our list of best thermos for kids lunch because it’s generally geared to adults.

How do you clean a food thermos?

​Cleaning any of these best thermos for kids lunch is quick and easy. 

We prefer soaking our thermos and its components in warm soapy water and then gently scrubbing away any food residue that’s stuck on the inside.

Our detergent of choice is Dawn Dish Soap. It’s gentle enough not to dull or fade the thermos but effective enough to get a thermos squeaky clean.

Doing this prevents the thermos from warping, changing colors or becoming dull.

With that in mind, most of the best thermos for kids lunch we included above are top rack dishwasher safe. 

How do you remove funky smells from a thermos?

If your child’s thermos has a developed a funky odor you can use a couple of household products to get rid of the smell for good. 

We suggest placing warm water in your thermos and adding 1 tbsp of vinegar and 1 tbsp of baking soda. 

Let the solution soak for at least 30 minutes before rinsing well and washing with warm water and a gentle detergent.

Why does my food get cold in a thermos?

There are a couple of reasons why food will get cold in a thermos. Even if you purchase the best thermos for kids lunch there is still a chance that food will get cold if you don’t use your thermos correctly. 

​First, not all foods are suitable for keeping warm in a thermos. For a food to stay warm in a thermos it needs to contain some liquid. 

So, foods like soups, stews, chili’s, Sloppy Joe’s or pasta are a great choice because they contain enough liquid to promote heat retention.

Beyond this, it’s important to warm your thermos using hot water before filling it with HOT food. We suggest filling your thermos with boiling hot water for up to 15 minutes before adding HOT food.

This process heats up your thermos so that it can be extra efficient at keeping food hot throughout the day.

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