The best kids' Thermos
If your child gets bored taking the same old sandwiches to school every day, consider buying a kids' Thermos. This expands your child's lunch horizons greatly, as you can send warm soups, stews, and pasta dishes in the winter, and ice cold drinks or chilled salads during the warmer months.
Keep reading to get the lowdown on the best kids' Thermoses. We've listed a range of features and considerations for selecting kids' Thermoses, as well as some recommendations at the end. Our favorite option is the LunchBots Thermal Food Container, which can keep food hot for up to six hours.
Considerations when choosing kids' Thermoses
Flask vs. jar
There are two main types of kids' Thermoses on the market: flasks and food jars. Flasks are best for packing either hot or cold drinks. They can also hold liquid foods, such as soup, and usually have lids that double as cups to drink from.
Food jars are often smaller than flasks and have wider mouths, making them easier to eat from. You can pack any type of food in a jar-style Thermos, but they're usually most successful at retaining the temperature of "wet" foods that have some type of liquid element, such as a sauce or dressing.
Kids' Thermoses tend to have smaller capacities than adult Thermoses, both to suit smaller appetites and to more easily fit into a lunchbox or bag. Most can hold somewhere between 8 and 14 ounces of food or drink, though you may occasionally find slightly larger or smaller options.
It's important to know how long your chosen Thermos keeps its contents either hot or cold. Most manufacturers list these specifications. Thermoses can usually keep hot food or drink warm for between 4 and 8 hours and keep cold food or drink chilled for between 6 and 12 hours.
We still aren't sure what the risks of BPA leaching into food are, but it probably isn't good. Choose a kids' Thermos with a BPA-free interior.
In addition to plain options, many kids' Thermoses have designs that appeal to kids, often featuring popular kids' TV or movie characters.
Some kids' Thermoses include forks, spoons, or sporks, so your child has an appropriate utensil to eat with. Of course, you can simply pack utensils from home, so this shouldn't be a dealbreaker.
The majority of kids' Thermoses cost somewhere between $10 and $30, depending on the size and its heat-retention properties.
Q. Are kids' Thermoses dishwasher-safe?
A. Not all kids' Thermoses are dishwasher-safe, but many are, which makes cleanup far easier. If the Thermos has any lingering odors, you can fill it with a solution of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar and leave it to soak for a few hours before emptying it and washing it as normal.
Q. Can you make a Thermos more efficient at retaining the temperature of its contents?
A. If you want to keep food or drink hotter for longer, add boiling or extremely hot water to the Thermos, leave it for a minute or two, then empty it before adding hot food or drink; this creates a pre-warmed interior to help the contents stay warm. If you want to keep the contents of a Thermos cold for longer, follow the same steps using ice water instead of boiling water, or add the contents in advance and refrigerate the Thermos for at least a few hours before sending it off with your child.
Kids' Thermoses we recommend
Best of the best: LunchBots' Thermal Food Container
Our take: Thanks to its triple insulation, this container can keep its contents hot for 6 hours or cold for 12 hours.
What we like: Made entirely from stainless steel inside. Holds 12 ounces. Textured lid is easy to open and leakproof. Perfect portion size for kids.
What we dislike: On the pricey side.
Best bang for your buck: Thermos' Funtainer Food Jar
Our take: This compact food jar is just the right size for kids, plus it's available in a range of designs that appeal to kids, including Frozen, Minecraft, and Pokémon.
What we like: Keeps contents hot for 5 hours and cold for 7 hours. Wide mouth. Stainless steel interior. Stay-cool exterior.
What we dislike: Some users report issues with gasket ring falling out.
Our take: With adorable animal designs, these food containers are ideal for little kids up to kindergarten or first grade.
What we like: BPA-free. Easy open for toddlers. Comes with bonus spork and built-in utensil holder.
What we dislike: Cute design chips off over time even when washed by hand.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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