Looking for a thermos to pack a hot lunch to the office? We put four to the test and rated them on heat retention, ease of cleaning, and convenience.
THERMOS JBM-500 [EDITOR'S RAVE]
Available in lime green and black, at leading department stores.
At 8.5cm wide, I could easily ladle food into the jar without spills. A shallow second tier holds rice or veggies. The leakproof lid twists open and close readily, and the jar is easy to wash too.
To test each jar, I heated porridge to 80 deg C to store in them, and checked how warm it was after one, two, three, four and six hours. For the first three hours, the Thermos had a slightly larger temperature drop than the Tiger and Zojirushi models. But by the fourth and sixth hour, it was on a par with them.The food remained warm enough to eat for up to four hours.
An affordable and reliable thermal jar for soupy meals plus a little extra. 8/10
TIGER STAINLESS STEEL FOOD JAR MCJ-A050
Available in Framboise (light pink) and Cauliflower (off-white), at Takashimaya D.S., selected Isetan stores, and Metro Centrepoint.
Like the Thermos, this one was also 8.5cm wide so ladling food into it was easy.The leakproof lid was a cinch to open and close.The compact shape fit nicely into my medium-sized work bag although I could also use the handy carry bag. I liked that the accompanying stainless steel spoon came with its own plastic cover. The jar itself was easy to wash but I needed a brush to clean out porridge from the ridged lid.
For the first three hours, food was kept warmer in this jar than in the Thermos, tailing closely behind the Zojirushi after one hour. The porridge was still reasonably warm after four hours.
A dependable thermal food jar you can pop into your bag without worrying about spills. 7.5/10
ZOJIRUSHI SW-HAE55 [GREAT FIND]
Available in metallic red and steel grey, at leading department stores.
The jar was a little smaller than the Thermos and Tiger, so I had a few spills.The textured lid was the easiest to twist open and close. And if the food is so hot that it causes pressure build-up, making the jar hard to open, I can remove the flat top of the lid and use a toothpick to release the pressure valve. But the inside of the lid had many grooves, making it hard to wash.
The porridge was the warmest of all the jars tested after an hour ; it was on a par with the Tiger model for later readings. The porridge was warm enough to eat even after five hours.
Great heat retention at a reasonable price. 7.5/10
ENDO DOUBLE STAINLESS STEEL APPLE BENTO BOX CX-5006
$39 (1 litre).
Available in Apple Green, Apple Red and Lemon Yellow at Takashimaya D.S., Fairprice Xtra, and selected Isetan, Metro and John Little stores.
At 13.3cm, it was the widest of the lot – I could eat out of it comfortably. Like the Thermos, there’s a second tier for rice or side dishes.With very few ridges and no tricky grooves, this was the easiest to clean. However, the jar isn’t leakproof. There is a handle on the lid, so you can simply carry it along.
The double stainless steel construction didn’t retain heat as well – food was reasonably warm for up
to three hours, but I needed to reheat the porridge after that.
A roomy, value-for-money alternative if you don’t need to keep food warm for long. 6.5/10
THERMOS STAINLESS STEEL KING FOOD JAR - SK3000
Available in red, grey, brown, blue and gold, at leading department stores.
The 9.5cm-wide opening makes it a breeze to fill, eat from and clean. Its insulated lid also doubles as a serving bowl and it comes with a stainless steel folding spoon.
It lived up to its promise of keeping foods hot for 6 to 7 hours, and cold for up to 9 hours. It also remains cool even when filled with hot foods and does not sweat with condensation when filled with cold foods.
At a reasonable price and equipped with so many thoughtful aspects, it's hard to fault this food jar from this classic brand. 9/10