7 best food flasks 2024 UK, tested for hot meals at work or camping trips

7 best food flasks 2024 UK, tested for hot meals at work or camping trips

GOING on hikes or camping means you don’t have access to easy places to heat your food, so we rounded up 6 of the best food flasks that are sure to keep your food warm.

We’ve tested the best food flasks that will keep your food warm – or cold – for hours without you having to worry about spillages.

What to look for in an insulated food flask

One of the first things to consider when choosing the best food flask for you is the size.

For kids, there are smaller capacity ones of around 300ml. These don’t weigh as much, will fit into lunch boxes, and, as kids generally eat less, nothing is going to waste.

You can also get larger ones of over 800ml, which might suit one very hungry person or a lighter lunch for two.

Next, think about how long you would need to keep your food warm. Look for ones that will retain heat for at least six hours.


The ones that will keep your food warm for longer will generally cost more, but they can also be more versatile.

You can also get flasks that come with foldable cutlery, which will be handy if you’re travelling.

Finally, think about how easy it is to clean. Some flasks are dishwasher safe, but it’s almost always better to wash them by hand. For this reason, a flask with a wider opening is generally better.

We tested some of the most popular brands around – here’s our verdict.

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Best food flasks at a glance

Stanley Classic Legendary Food Jar

Stanley Classic Legendary Food Jar
Stanley Classic Legendary Food JarCredit: Harriet Flock
  • Stanley Classic Legendary Food Jar + Spork 0.4L, £42.99 – buy here

Pros: Comes with spork, tight seal, keeps warm for 5+ hours

Cons: On the small side, Expensive

Rating: 4/5

Stanley is now well known for its viral Quencher cups, but the brand has been around for years. Creating long-lasting and strong bottles, food storage, camping cookware and more, you’d be right to expect big things from Stanley.

We tried the Stanley Classic Legendary Food Jar + Spork 0.4L, hoping to improve lunch breaks, namely by spending less time queueing for the microwave.

At first glance, we were surprised by the size of the Food Jar, as it didn’t look as big as hoped when it arrived. We tested with pasta, and our portion of food had to be split over two to avoid squishing it in.

We were concerned whether it would even keep the pasta warm until lunch, but to our surprise, it did and after packing it up at 9 am, it was still warm at 1 pm.

These lunch pots keep food warmer when there is more liquid (which makes sense considering the insulated walls to keep food warm and cold), so pasta was a hard test. We then tested it with hot water to simulate soup, and it was pleasantly hot.

The size is also better suited to less chunkier items, such as soup and liquids (it would be perfect for porridge).

We were also impressed with the seal which had no spillage. Plus, it came with a spork that is easily attached to the jar and keeps everything together.

The bad news? It’s a bit pricey for us, but it’s top quality.

Review by Harriet Flook

Material: Stainless steel, Capacity: 400ml, Hours cold: 7, Hours hot: 7.

Thermos Stainless King food flask

Thermos Stainless King food flask
Thermos Stainless King food flaskCredit: via Dunelm
  • Thermos Stainless King food flask, £18.75 from Amazon – buy here

Pros: affordable, warm food kept for 9 hours and cold for 14 hours

Cons: difficult cleanup

Rating: 4.5/5

Thermos is the most well-known brand for making insulated flasks, so they’ve got it down to fine art.

We tried the 470ml version, which is just the right size for one person.

It’s lightweight and compact, with insulated walls that are designed to keep your food hot for 9 hours or cold for 14.

You get an outer lid that can double as a cup, while the inner lid is sealed for waterproofing and insulation. The inner lid also holds a foldable spoon, so you have everything you need to take it on the go.

This food flask is one of the most affordable around for its size and we especially loved how weightless it is. It also did a great job of keeping our food warm for the full 9 hours.

The only downside we could find was that the opening was a bit more tapered compared to some of the other options, which meant cleaning up wasn’t as straightforward.

Material: Stainless steel, Capacity: 470ml, Hours cold: 14, Hours hot: 9.


SHO insulated food flask

SHO insulated food flask
SHO insulated food flaskCredit: via Amazon
  • SHO insulated food flask, £19.99 from Amazon – buy here

Pros: large capacities, contains a spoon, 10 hours hot, 20 cold, wide colour range

Cons: none

Rating: 5/5

At 530ml, the SHO insulated food flask was one of the bigger ones we tried, but you can get an even bigger 800ml version.

The jar has an outer twist-to-tighten lid and an inner screw-top lid.

You get a foldable spoon with this food flask, which is stored on top of the inner lid. The inner lid also features a secret compartment just below the spoon, which can be used for storing salt and pepper if needed.

On the outside, you have a handy carry strap, so it’s easy to pick it up and take it with you.

The SHO promises to keep your food hot for 10 hours or cool for 20, and it lived up to its promise for us. For hot food, it was noticeably cooler after 10 hours but still hot enough to eat without reheating.

What we particularly liked about this one was the range of colours it’s available in, meaning it’s easy to get a shade you like.

Material: Stainless Steel, Capacity: 800ml, Hours cold: 20, Hours hot: 10.

Contigo food jar

Contigo food jar
Contigo food jarCredit: Contigo
  • Contigo food jar, £18.09 from Amazon – buy here

Pros: 7 hours warm, easy wash-up,

Cons: on the smaller side, No cutlery, easy transportation

Rating: 3.5 / 5

This Contigo food jar is designed for kids and comes with a fun ocean-themed pattern.

The design is fairly simple, with a sealed screw-top lid and a cylindrical base. The lid features grip grooves, which help smaller hands to open the jar.

It’s on the smaller side, though, with a capacity of just 300ml, so depending on how hungry your kids are, it might just be part of a meal rather than the whole thing.

There’s no cutlery included either, so you’ll have to remember to pack some.

In testing, we found that the jar lived up to its promise of keeping our food hot for six hours and cold for up to seven.

Its compact size means it’s really easy to fit into lunch bags, and we don’t have to worry about spillages.

It was also easy to wash up, although the base isn’t dishwasher safe.

Material: Stainless steel, Capacity: 300ml, Hours cold: 7, Hours hot: 6.

Zwilling vacuum food flask

Zwilling vacuum food flask
Zwilling vacuum food flaskCredit: Zwilling
  • Zwilling vacuum food flask, £29.95 from Zwilling – buy here

Pros: quick release, easy clean, keeps items cool for 11 hours and warm for eight hours.

Cons: no colour options,

Rating: 5

Zwilling’s understated food flask is available in just one colour – a white base with a grey lid – and it looks and feels like a food jar for grown-ups.

Inside the grey lid, you’ll find a second screw-top lid that houses a foldable spoon. Hiding underneath this is a nifty button that you can press to release the vacuum seal in the container, making it easier to unscrew.

The double-insulated interior is designed to keep food warm for up to 8 hours or cool for 11.

In testing, we found that this worked a treat for keeping the contents of the jar warm. We especially appreciated the quick-release button, which made unscrewing the jar much easier.

Another feature we loved was that this jar had a wider opening, which made it much easier to clean afterwards.

Material: Stainless steel, Capacity: 700ml, Hours cold: 11, Hours hot: 8.

Black + Blum food flask

Black + Blum food flask
Black + Blum food flaskCredit: Black + Blum
  • Black + Blum food flask, £29.95 from &Keep – buy here

Pros: perfect for one person, easy storage, easy clean since it’s not able to go in the washer

Cons: it doesn’t keep food warm for as long as the other options, the harder lid to navigate, spoons on the outside of the flask so can get dirty, isn’t dishwasher safe

Rating: 3 / 5

The Black + Blum food flask comes in a sleek, stainless steel design with a nylon band used to secure the natural wood spoon while adding a pop of colour at the same time.

It has a 400ml capacity, which is perfect for one person – although if you’re particularly hungry, you’ll need some extra sides.

The leak-proof design also promises to keep your food hot for up to six hours or cold for up to eight.

When we tested this flask, it kept the contents piping hot until we were ready to enjoy it, and the slimline frame meant it was easy to store in our lunch bags or take on the go.

However, the silky smooth stainless steel finish made tightening and loosening the lid much harder. On the plus side, this made cleaning it super easy – handy as it can’t go in the dishwasher.

We also had to wrap the spoon to make sure it stayed clean before use, as it’s on the outside of the flask rather than the inside.

Material: 18/8 (304 stainless) steel + wood fibre spoon, Capacity: 400ml, Hours cold: 8, Hours hot: 6.

Hydro Flask insulated food jar

Hydro Flask insulated food jar
Hydro Flask insulated food jarCredit: Hydro
  • Hydro Flask insulated food jar, £34.95 from Parasol Store – buy here

Pros: great capacity, extra wide opening for easy cleaning and eating

Cons: no cutlery included, food had cooled down significantly by the 6h mark

Rating: 3 / 5

The Hydro Flask insulated food jar was one of the simplest designs we tried, and the 28oz (828ml) version offered some serious capacity. You can also get a smaller 20oz (591ml) version, though.

The cylindrical jar has a wide base with a lid that’s coated in a grippy material that makes it much easier to unscrew.

There’s no inner lid or cutlery with this one, nor does it promise to keep your food warm or cold for a specific amount of time. Because of this, we decided to go with a minimum keep-warm period of 6 hours.

In testing, we found that the contents of the jar had cooled significantly by the end of the 6 hours. It was still warm to the touch, but you would probably want to reheat it depending on what you’re storing.

We don’t think it’s a huge problem, but obviously, it depends on how long you need to keep your food warm. For a camping trip where you might not eat for hours, it’s not ideal, but for the office, the keep-warm time should be sufficient.

The one thing that this jar does have going for it is its extra wide opening, which makes adding food in and washing up afterwards that much easier.

Material: 8/8 Pro-Grade Stainless Steel, Capacity: 591 ml, Hours cold: Unspecified, Hours hot: Unspecified.

Where to buy an insulated food flask

Food flasks are widely available online, especially from outdoor specialists.

However, there are many options ranging from flasks that are meant for outdoors enthusiasts and those who just want to take a warm lunch to school or the office.

Ultimately, you’ll have to pick which type is best for you based on this and what you’re likely to be bringing with you most of the time, so here’s a quick list of retailers to help you get started.

What is the best soup flask?

Of the food flasks we tested, we think the Thermos Stainless King food flask would be best for soups.

Not only is it affordable, but it also keeps the contents piping hot for hours.

Plus, the tapered top of the flask means it’s much easier to drink out of – but of course, you can use the foldable spoon as well.

How does a vacuum flask work?

There are a couple of different ways a vacuum flask can keep the contents warm, and it starts with the double-layered base.

Sandwiched between the inner and outer layers is a void – this vacuum stops the heat from the inner layer from reaching the outer layer as heat can only be conducted through particles, whether it’s in the air, through liquids or solids.

The vacuum flask also has a screw-top lid with a seal that helps to stop heat from escaping from the opening.

Heat loss is still possible from the point where the two layers join up and the seals, which is why even the best vacuum flasks will lose heat eventually.

How much are food flasks?

Food flasks vary in price depending on how big they are and how long they will keep your food warm.

The range spans from around £20 up to £40, but most are around £30.

How to clean a flask?

Some flasks are dishwasher safe, which makes cleaning easy but it’s always best to wash it by hand if possible.

For drinks flasks, you’ll need an elongated brush that can reach the bottom, whereas, for food flasks, which are shorter and have wider openings, it’s generally possible to wash it as you would a mug.

For any stains or bad odours, simply add a couple of teaspoons of bicarbonate or soda to the flask and then top up with hot water.

Make sure you do this slowly, as it could easily overflow.

Then you just leave the liquid inside to get to work for half an hour and then rinse clean.

If you use your flask to store hot water, you might see limescale build-up.


To remove this, simply add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar to the flask and top it up with water. Leave this for a couple of hours or overnight to give it time to work.

Before you rinse it out, just give it a quick clean with a bottle brush to remove any stubborn deposits.


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