Are you tired of serving cold food or heating it again and again on the oven at parties or family dinners? A food warmer is what you need to make your life easy.
Food warmers are used to maintain the temperature of your food to keep it warm and fresh after you have cooked it. This way, you can cook food for parties and events in advance and still keep it as hot as if it has just come off the oven. Moreover, it doesn’t overcook your already cooked food and keep it at a healthy temperature, so there are no bacteria in it.
A food warmer is simply a machine consisting of a tray or food pan for holding your food, and an electric device, flame, or a fuel source for heating. Some food warmers come with a cord and need a power socket to work. However, since their surface gets hot, you need to be very careful while using food warmers and must turn them off before cleaning. Moreover, you should also avoid putting them in the water when they are still hot.
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The evolution of food warmers dates back to 1888, and today, they are in high demand. From restaurants and bakeries to family gatherings, parties, and events, you will find them everywhere.
Since food warmers come in different sizes, shapes, and types, it can sometimes get tough to choose the right one for your purposes. If you are thinking of purchasing a high-quality food warmer that actually performs the way it is supposed to, the top 10 product recommendations in this guide will be of great help to you.
Before you decide which food warmer is the best for your needs, you should consider different factors to make the right choice. You must ask yourself what capacity do you want and what type of food do you intend to heat with it. Moreover, you should also consider the space where you are going to put it and if it needs to be moved from one place to another. Once you are fully aware of these factors, it becomes pretty easy to choose the right food warmer that perfectly fits your needs.
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Advantages of Food Warmers
A food warmer is a great way to serve food to your guests at the right temperature so that they can enjoy its real flavor. It not only saves you from the trouble of heating your food again and again but also keeps it fresh and bacteria-free.
Most food warmers these days let you use your own pans or utensils, so you don’t have to spend extra cash on purchasing expensive food holders. And, you can also dispense food conveniently with ladles. Moreover, many high-quality food warmers also come with removable dishes or pans that are usually oven safe so you can use them for other purposes as well. Some even come as 2-in-1 buffet servers and food warmers.
Another big advantage is that most high-quality electric food warmers come with either a thermostat or rheostat, which gives you more control over how much and how quickly you want to heat your food.
Moreover, high-quality food warmers are lightweight and sturdy. Some even have a heat-resistant outer surface so you can use them without the fear of burns. Note to mention, they are easy to clean and have a smooth surface so you can quickly remove the stains.
Another great thing about high-quality food warmers is that they are ready to be used within minutes and have a stylish look, so they fit perfectly with your décor.
Types of Food Warmers
Food warmers come in different sizes and shapes and use different mechanisms to operate. Some us e electric power for heating, while others need fuel and flame to keep your food hot.
Before you purchase a food warmer, it is always helpful to know what different types of warmers offer.
Countertop Food Warmers
This is the most common type of food warmer that is used for domestic purposes, such as events and gatherings. Even some restaurants also use them due to their reasonable size and ease of use. These food warmers are designed to sit on your kitchen countertop and heat a reasonable amount of food quickly. The capacity of these warmers for household purposes typically ranges from 3 quarts to about eight quartz, and they come in different shapes with the most common being rectangular. Some also have transparent lids so you can display your food.
Countertop Food warmers further have two types; Fuel warmers and electric warmers.
Fuel Heat Warmers
Fuel heat warmers either use wick fuel or gel fuel commonly know as Sterno to create a flame that warms your food and provides even heating. The gel is pink ethanol or blue methanol, while the wick fuel is usually glycol, which is generally safer than the gel as glycol doesn’t catch fire on its own or without the wick.
This type of heat warmer is more commonly known as fuel chafing dish, and it typically consists of a water pan or tray where you put hot water, food dishes or pans for holding your food, and a lid for covering the food. A single chafing dish can accommodate a different number of food dishes depending on its design; some come with one large food pan while some can accommodate multiple small dishes.
These warmers, when used with proper safety precautions, can be a great choice to keep your food hot for an extended period of time.
Electric Food Warmers
Electric food warmers, as the name suggests, use a cord that plugs into a power socket to heat the food. These food warmers come as buffer servers, warming tray, or simple electric warmer with fixed food tray. Some are 2-in-1 that can be used as either buffer server and also allow you to remove the food tray so you can directly place utensils on the warming tray. A benefit of the warming tray is that you can use your desired pans or utensils on it.
Electric food warmers are more versatile as most of them come with a thermostat or rheostat, so you have more control over the temperature settings. Moreover, they are usually safer than fuel warmers as there isn’t any risk of combustion.
Key Features of High-Quality Food Warmers
Before choosing a food warmer, you should be aware of the features that high-quality warmers offer so that you can make the right choice.
The most important thing while choosing the food warmer is to decide what capacity do you need. If you are looking to use it for serving one main dish on big parties or events, you should choose a medium or large capacity warmer with a large food pan. However, if you intend to use for various dishes for small gatherings where a large quantity of meals is not required, you should go for a buffet server with multiple small food pans. Typically, the capacity of domestic food warmers is between 3 to 8 quartz.
If you want more control over the temperature settings, you should go for electric warmers. Moreover, electric warmers with rheostat allow you to set the temperature between low, medium, and high, whereas thermostats give you more flexibility so you can set from a wide range of temperatures.
If you wish to use your own pans or dishes on a food warmer, you should choose a warmer tray, or you can go for a buffet server that comes with removable food pans. Some food warmer trays even let you warm small dishes like chicken bites or prawns directly on the tray without need any food pan.
If you have to move your food warmer frequently, you should look for a medium-sized and lightweight warmer, whereas if you intend to place it at a specific place in your kitchen and leave it there, you can go for a big one. Moreover, some high-quality food warmers also come with side handles, so it is easy and safe for you to carry them.
Ease of Cleaning
When it comes to food, hygiene is one of the concerns. High-quality food warmers are built form easy-to-clean materials, so you don’t need to put extra effort into removing stains every time. Moreover, some are designed with rounded inner corners for easy cleaning.
Q: What are food warmers made of?
A: Most high-quality food warmers are made of stainless steel, so they are sturdy and can withstand everyday wear and tear. Moreover, stainless steel also gives them a stylish appearance and make them corrosion-resistant for long-lasting performance. Not to mention, it is also heat-resistant, which means it is safe to use and prevents burns. One of the main reasons of using stainless steel for construction is that it is capable of retaining strength even at high temperatures.
In terms of lids construction, some food warmers come with stainless steel lids while some have transparent lids, allowing you to display your food.
Q: Do food warmers come with a warranty?
A: Many high-quality food warmers do come with a warranty, but the duration depends on the manufacturer. However, the usual warranty is 1-2 years.
Q: What are the standard dimensions of food warmers?
A: There are no standard dimensions, and different manufacturers offer different sizes and shapes. You should choose a food warmer depending on the capacity you require.
Q: Can you use disposable pans on food warmers?
A: This also depends on the brand and model of the food warmer. Some high-quality food warmers do allow you to use disposable pans instead of the included food pans.
Top 10 Best Food Warmers in 2022
What can it press?
|1. Winware Chafer, 8 quart, Stainless Steel
||Stainless steel construction||4.8|
|2. Oster Buffet Server Warming Tray
||2-in-1 buffet server and heat warmer||4.8|
|3. Winco FW-S600 Electric Food Cooker/Warmer, 1500-watt
||1 year warranty||4.7|
|4. Chefman Electric Warming Tray
||Large heating surface||4.6|
|5. Nemco Countertop Food Warmer, 6055A
||Three temperature settings||4.6|
|6. Nova Microdermabrasion Catering Warmer Set
||Heavy-duty stainless steel construction||4.5|
|7. SUPER DEAL 4 Pack Chafer Dish
||Smartly designed for easy cleaning||4.5|
|8. Proctor Silex Buffet Server and Food Warmer, 34300
||3 removable, stainless steel 2. 2, qtr. chafing dishes||4.5|
|9. MegaChef Buffet Server & Food Warmer, MC-9003B
||Power indicator light||4.4|
|10. VIVOHOME Electric Buffet Server
||Heat-resistant casserole dishes||4.3|
1. Winco Winware Chafer, C-5080
Started in 1992, Winco is a USA based brand that offers a wide range of high-quality kitchen products with the aim to help people prepare and serve food in the best possible way.
Winware C-5080 Chafer is a quality food warmer by Winco, which can be used for both domestic and commercial purposes such as parties, events, and restaurants.
Design and Dimensions
Measuring 25 inches in length, 14 inches in width, and 15.5 inches in height, Winware C-5080 Chafer is a well-built food warmer that can be used in restaurants, parties, or other events. Its polished stainless steel construction and mirror finish give it long-lasting performance and a stylish look, so it fits perfectly with your décor.
There are two gold-accented handles on each side for easy carrying and another one on the top for retracting the roll-top lid up to 90 degrees. Two solid legs perfectly hold the water and food pan in place and give it added stability.
In terms of cleaning, you can conveniently split the warmer into three parts; water pan, food pan, and lid for easy cleaning. And, the inner corners of the food dish are rounded that further help with a quick cleaning.
The food warmer uses Sterno fuel to provide even heat distribution to keep your food warm for a long time. It comes with a dripless water pan where you need to put hot water, and two fuel holders for perfect heating. The food pan fits over the water pan.
C-5080 is an 8-quart chafer that can accommodate a reasonable amount of food so you can easily use it for catering or large gatherings. Moreover, since it has a roll-top lid, you have plenty of space for food. It comes with a 2.5 inches deep, full-size food pan and is also compatible with any other full size and half size catering or restaurant trays.
- Roll-top cover
- Stainless steel construction
- Comes with two fuel holders
2. Oster Buffet Server Warming Tray
With multiple food pans and a warming tray, Oster Buffet Server Warming Tray is a 2-in1 food warmer that lets you serve up to three different dishes to your guests or use the warming tray separately.
Design and Dimensions
Oster warming tray is a 2-in-1 food warmer that you can either use as a buffet server or as a food warmer. There are three food pans, measuring 5.11 inches in width, 8.58 inches in length, and 2.44 inches in depth, which means you can use it to warm and serve up to three different dishes. And, three transparent lids for each pan has a doom-like shape for a stylish appearance and easy-grip handles for convenient removal. Each lid measures “L: 9.3 x W: 6 x H: 1.4 inches.”
When you remove the chafing pan holder, you can use the warming tray separately for appetizers or other side dishes.
One of the things that make a great food warmer is that it lets you adjust the heat level between high and low depending on your requirements. In addition, the lids and food pans with rounded inner corners are fairly easy to clean. For more convenient cleaning, you can also clean the pans in a dishwasher.
In terms of durability, the unit is built from sturdy stainless steel, so it doesn’t get scratched up easily.
Being an electric food warmer, it comes with a cord and needs a power outlet to run. There is a light on the front panel for indicating that the unit is operating.
It comes with a one year warranty for any defects in materials and workmanship.
Each of the three food pans has a capacity of 2.5 quarts and is 2.44 inches deep. Moreover, the warming tray has a 20 by 13 inch heating surface, which gives you plenty of space to put your heat-safe pans or dishes to warm your favorite meals.
- 2-in-1 buffet server and heat warmer
- Stainless steel construction
- Transparent lids
3. Winco Electric Food Warmer, FW-S600
With a full-size steam table pan and three temperature setting, FW-S600 gives you all the features to perfectly warm a large quantity of food and keep it fresh.
Design and Dimensions
Built from sturdy stainless steel, FW-S600 is super durable and has vents on its side to keep the body from getting extra hot. There is an indicator light on the front face for heat activation and a thermostat, which gives you three temperature settings low, medium, and high at 140°F, 170°F, and 200°F respectively. With this range of temperature, you can use this unit for both cooking and warming already cooked food.
One of the best things about this unit is that it features an energy-efficient heating compartment. And it conforms to ETL electrical safety standards. With a one year warranty, you can also trust this unit for long-lasting performance.
It is a large unit and measures “H: 10.6 x W: 14.6 x L: 22.5 inches” with inside dimensions of “H: 6 x W: 12 x L: 20 inches.” It has an opening of 20 x 12 inches and comes with a full-size steam table pan.
It’s a 1500W electric food warmer and operates through a power cord, but you need to put around 1-1.5 inches of water into the well pan and pre-heat it, so the unit can operate safely without damaging the metal components. The food pan goes into the well pan.
The unit is quite spacious and can accommodate up to 6 ft deep full-size pans so you can warm a large quantity of food. When you wish to heat different types of meals separately, you can use two half-size or four quarter size steam table pans depending on your requirements.
- One year warranty
- Three temperature settings
- Can cook or warm different type of foods
4. Chefman Electric Warming Tray
Offering a wide range of cookware, Chefman is particularly famous for its innovative approach and attractive designs.
For hosting a family gathering or any other get together, Chefman Electric Warming Tray offers the perfect way to serve hot and fresh food to your guests.
Design and Dimensions
Featuring stainless steel exterior for high durability and gleaming black tempered glass-top for easy cleaning and stylish look, this food warmer sits decoratively on any food table. Two heat-resistant aluminum handles, one on each side, make it easy and safe to carry the tray from one place to another, but be careful not to touch the hot glass-top surface.
It gives you three temperature options, low, medium, and high, that can be conveniently selected from the knob on the side panel. When you want to heat your food to the perfect serving temperature quickly, you can use the high mode, which heats the food at 265°F. And, the low mode at 120°F can be used to keep your food hot all day while you cook other dishes but be sure not to leave it for more than 72 hours.
A really nice feature of this food warmer is that it comes with a fuse safety function, which prevents the glass tray from overheating. In addition, it comes with a one year warranty.
In terms of size, it is a big unit with dimensions of “22.75 x 2.75 x 16 inches” and weighs 8.8 pounds.
The 400W warming tray is an electric food warmer and features 36 inches long cord. You just plug in the cord in a 120 V power outlet and select your desired temperature mode. There is a LED light on the front panel for monitoring the power status.
The large glass top has a 21″ x 16″ heating surface, which gives you plenty of space to heat multiple dishes at the same time. You can use any of your heat-safe pans or dishes, including glass and aluminum pans with it.
- Can be used for up to 72 hours
- Offers three different temperature settings
- Large heating surface
5. Nemco Countertop Food Warmer, 6055A
Known for its innovation, Nemco makes your life easy with affordable kitchen products so you can cook faster and serve the best food to your guests.
For restaurants and large family gatherings, Nemco 6055A Countertop Food Warmer gives you enough space to warm all your main dishes.
Design and Dimensions
With sturdy stainless steel construction, 6055A is robust and can withstand everyday wear and tear for long-lasting performance. Its efficient heating system is designed to distribute heat evenly, so your food is perfectly heated and ready to be served. In addition, it is ready to be used within a few minutes as it pre-heats quickly.
There are vents on each side to keep the outer surface cool. Be sure not to touch the surface though while the unit is operating. Its heating design also ensures that overall surface temperature is low to protect the components from getting damaged.
The thermostat gives you a temperature range of 120°F to 212°F with three temperature settings; high, medium, and low. ETL listing is part of what makes it a great unit. It’s also NSF certified so you can rely on it to be safe for your health.
It’s a full-size heat warmer with dimensions of “W: 14.6 x D; 23.5 x H: 9 inches” and a weight of 18 pounds. Nemco offers one year warranty on this unit.
Rated at 1200 W, the food warmer uses an electric cord and 120 V power outlet to work. It heats your food with the steam of 1.5 inches water you put in the well pan. Once the water is heated, you can place your heat-safe pans on it.
22 quartz warmer allows you to use a 12 x 20 inches full-size pan up to 4 inches deep for a large quantity of food. For a different type of dishes, it also accepts three 1/3rd pans or two half-size pans.
- NSF and ETL listed
- Compatible with 12” x 20” full-size pan
- Three temperature settings
6. Nova Microdermabrasion Catering Warmer Set
Designed for caterings, restaurants, or parties, this set of food warmer makes serving hot and fresh food easy with large capacity and even heating.
Design and Dimensions
This food warmer comes as a set of 4 full-size chafing dishes, which makes it perfect for buffets, big parties or catering. It’s crafted of stainless steel for extra durability, and the sleek mirror finish of the chafers also make them a decorative addition to your food table. In addition, the smooth finish and rounded corners of food pans make cleaning a breeze.
It gives you the option to either remove the lid completely or attach it with the dish at 90º position when you don’t have enough space. For extra stability, the stainless steel stand or frame has beveled legs, which makes serving food convenient. The stand also makes storing the unit easy. There is a heat-proof handle on each side for easy transport of the chafers without causing any burns.
Each full-size chafing dish measures “L: 24 x W: 14 x H: 11.4 inches” with inner dimensions of “L: 19.29 x W: 11 x H: 3.54 inches.”
This fuel food warmer or chafing dish uses two fuel burners for even distribution of heat and keeps your food at the right serving temperature all day long. It uses the steam of the water in the pan to heat the food.
With each chafing dish, you get one frame, two fuel holders for even heat distribution, one food pan, and one water pan.
The food warmer offers 9 L or 8 Quart capacity with the food pan measuring “L: 19.8 x W: 12.” This gives you enough space to serve large amounts of food without having to refill frequently.
- Comes with water and food pans
- Heavy-duty stainless steel construction
- Uses two fuel burners for more even heat distribution
7. SUPER DEAL 4 Pack Chafer Dish
SUPER DEAL 4 Pack Chafer Dish is designed for big events like weddings and parties to serve hot and crispy food to your guests.
Design and Dimensions
Built from heavy-duty stainless steel, this set of food warmers boasts an elegant mirror finish, which lets you serve food in the most presentable manner. In addition, its durable construction makes it corrosion-resistant, so it’s safe from rust and doesn’t tarnish.
Each chafing dish comes with a water pan, food pan, lid, frame/stand, and two fuel burners. All these components are designed to be stacked up, which makes it easy to store the unit
The frame is also made of stainless steel and features beveled legs, which give it additional stability. It also features a tray to hold two fuel burners that distribute the heat thoroughly and keeps your food warm for a long time.
The food pans are smartly designed with rounded corners to prevent wastage of food, and it also makes cleaning easy and quick. You get one heat-resistant handle on each side, which makes carrying the chafer convenient and safe. It has two hooks on the back face to hold the lid in an upright position and also allows you to detach it depending on how you like to display your food.
It’s large in size and measures “L: 24 x W: 14 x H: 11.4 inches” and has inner dimensions of “L: 19.29″ x W: 11 x H 3.54 inches.”
It is a fuel food warmer and operates by making steam with the help of fuel. You fill the water pan with water, put the food pan on it, and burn the fuel.
The food pan measures “L: 19.8 x W: 12 inches” and has a capacity of 8 quartz, which gives you plenty of room to serve a large quantity of food.
- Durable construction
- Smartly designed for easy cleaning
- Large capacity
8. Proctor Silex Buffet Server and Food Warmer, 34300
Since Procter Silex started in 1920, it has manufactured various revolutionary kitchen products, including the first toaster over and first silent toaster.
Proctor Silex 34300 Food Warmer is perfect for those Sunday football gatherings or weekend parties where you want to serve the best food to your friends and family.
Design and Dimensions
Proctor Silex 34300 is perfect for presenting food in an appetizing way or quickly heating starts as it’s both a buffet server and food warmer. It is built from stainless steel, which gives it long-lasting durability and makes it corrosion-resistant.
When you use it as a buffet server, you get three removable chafing dishes for serving a variety of dishes, with dome-shaped transparent lids so you can display the food in the most tempting way. In addition, the lids are equipped with handles for easy removal and have slots as well to fit ladles or any other serving spoons.
It also works great as a warming tray when you remove the chafing dish holder. This lets you warm small food items directly, or you can use any of your heat-safe pans to warm your favorite dishes quickly. It’s also compatible with disposable aluminum pans.
The rheostat on the front panel lets you set the temperature between high and low. A really nice feature of this versatile food warmer-cum-buffet server is that it continuously detects the temperature level and automatically turns on and off to maintain your desired level.
The operation of this unit is pretty simple as it’s an electric food warmer and runs on a power cord, so you just need to plug it in a power outlet. The light on the front panel indicates the unit is working.
For any manufacturing defects, Procter Silex a one year warranty on this food warmer.
Each chafing dish is 2.2 quarts while the warming tray is 13 x 21 inches, giving you adequate space for heating multiple dishes at a time.
- Buffet server-cum-food warmer
- Two adjustable temperature levels
- One year warranty
9. MegaChef Buffet Server & Food Warmer, MC-9003B
Megachef offers affordable kitchenware and makes your cooking process simple and convenient.
This unit is a 2-in-1 buffer server plus food warmer, which gives you all the features to present a wide variety of delicious food to your guests.
Design and Dimensions
Equipped with three chafing dishes and a warming tray, this food warmer is perfectly suitable for large friends or family gatherings. Its durable stainless steel exterior is corrosion-resistant and stylish, which looks great on any food table.
There are transparent lids for each chafing dish that features slots for serving utensils and handles for convenient removal. The warming tray is equipped with heat-proof handles so you can safely transfer it to your food table. In addition, the slip-resistant rubber feet on the bottom panel give it stability, so it’s easy to serve the food.
It quickly becomes a warming tray and lets you warm a variety of dishes when you detach the chafing dish holder. The temperature knob on the front panel allows you to adjust the temperature between 50 to 165 ºF.
The generously sized warming tray measures 21.5 inches in length, 10 inches in width, and 2.2 inches in height while the entire unit weighs around 8 pounds.
Operating the unit is quick and simple as it runs on a power cord and doesn’t require water. When you set your desired temperature, it works to maintain it by turning on and off automatically. The light on the front panel turns red to indicate the unit is operating.
Each medium-sized chafing dish is 2.5 inches deep and has a length and width of 8.5 and 5.5 inches while the heating surface of the warming tray measures 9.75 x 19 inches for consistent heat distribution.
- Three removable chafing dishes
- Anti-slip rubber feet
- Adjustable temperature level
10. VIVOHOME Electric Buffet Server
VIVOHOME Electric Buffer Server gives you the versatility to keep your food warm and fresh throughout the day.
Design and Dimensions
Featuring brushed stainless steel exterior, this ETL listed food warmer is super durable with rust-resistant properties and measures “23.4 x 11.8 x 5.3 inches”. Three chafing dishes that come with the unit make it a perfect buffer server, and when you detach them, it can be used as a warming tray to directly heat small appetizers or even main dishes in any heat-safe pan.
There are anti-slip rubber feet to prevent sliding, which makes serving food easy. For the food pans, you get transparent lids with a slot for serving utensils and easy-grab handles. In addition, the rounder corner makes cleaning the unit quick.
The thermostat gives you a great temperature range of 140 ºF to 176 ºF. This means you can heat different types of dishes to the perfect serving temperature and keep them warm all day.
In terms of portability, there is a cool-touch handle on each side so you can conveniently transfer it from one place to another without any fear of burns. And the unit weighs only 6.38 pounds.
Since it’s an electric food warmer, the operating mechanism is pretty simple; it only needs the attached power cord to operate. You will know when the unit is on as there is an indicator on the front panel.
The food pan gives you 1.5 L capacity, but since there are three of them, this food warmer is perfectly adequate for family gatherings and parties. The warming tray features a 9.5 x 18.5 inches heating surface.
- Three 1.5 L food pans
- Easy to clean
- Thermostat for different temperature levels