We have the Refrigerator, which sort of "create their own cold" using electricity (these obviously have to be plugged in).

What do you call an electrical device that keeps things warm?

I would think a "Warmer", but the antonym of "warmer" is "cooler", and a "Cooler" is already a thing (it's an insulating device that keeps a cold thing cold, but it doesn't "generate" cold from being plugged in).

Please ignore the scientific atrocities of saying "generate" cold. I'm simply being brief.

put on hold as off-topic by Hot Licks, JJJ, Mari-Lou A, TrevorD, sumelic Apr 19 at 22:36

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  • google.com/… – Mari-Lou A Apr 14 at 18:23
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    It's not necessarily true that a 'cooler' is a passive item. The sort of insulated box you are talking about is usually a 'cool box' in the UK. Also the piece of equipment in the corner of the office that provides drinking water is called a 'water cooler' and most of them actively cool the water before it is dispensed. – BoldBen Apr 14 at 18:26
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    Questions on choosing an ideal word or phrase must include information on how it will be used in order to be answered. For help writing a good word or phrase request, see: About single word requests – Hot Licks Apr 14 at 19:19
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    Does this device exist? (i.e. in the generic sense, outside specialist fields, like the incubator or pie warmer mentioned in two of the answers) or are you just looking for a word for a hypothetical device with this function? – colmde Apr 15 at 7:39

A warming cabinet is a heated cabinet used to keep food warm between being cooked and served.


You use the word refrigerator in the title of your question. You also use the same word in the body of your question.

If you really want something analogous ("Cold is to Refrigerator as warm is to?"), the answer would be oven:

: a chamber used for baking, heating, or drying
// Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
// Please take the pizza out of the oven.

Like a refrigerator, an oven is also a kitchen appliance—but it serves exactly the opposite function.

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    An oven is used for roasting and baking, and you can of course keep cooked dishes warm in the oven but that is not its main function. In any case, this question looks more like idle curiosity or a riddle than a question about English. The same answer could be supplied in any language. – Mari-Lou A Apr 14 at 18:18
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    But an oven is typically used to cook food. The appliance I'm thinking of solely keeps food warm. – Boom Apr 14 at 18:19
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    @MrLister "What do you call an electrical device that keeps things warm?" seems fairly explicit to me. – David Richerby Apr 14 at 18:43
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    @HotLicks and? The primary purpose of an oven is to roast, grill and bake food not to keep cooked foods warm. – Mari-Lou A Apr 14 at 19:15
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    I can set my oven to 40C - 250C. 40C is "warm" but not "hot" (i.e. a person can touch a 40C item and not damage themselves). Therefore it can keep food warm. – Pod Apr 15 at 9:44

Warmer is correct. It's a noun if you use it in this context and doesn't have an antonym. Warming tray or warming plate are other names sometimes used to describe the same thing. If you go to Amazon and put in warmer in the search box you'll see varieties of the devices which do this.


A Heater is a device, that could be electrical, that keeps things warm. One of the antonyms is a cooling device.


In Australia, cooked meat pies are kept in a heated display cabinet, called a pie warmer.


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    I'm not sure if the opposite of a refrigerator is a pie warmer. – JJJ Apr 15 at 1:21
  • @JJJ Those are meat pies, so they must've been kept cold in the pie refrigerator before being cooked! 😀 – David Richerby Apr 15 at 9:46
  • In australia we only keep pies in our fridge, so this answer is correct for australia – Ryan Knell Apr 15 at 22:57

A hot food holding cabinet (holding cabinet for short), is used to keep foods at safe-serving temperatures. The act of storing food in such a device (the equivalent of "refrigerating") is hot holding, so you may see them referred to as hot holders as well.

These are large, often the size of a refrigerator, and more common in food service contexts.


If we're being very specific in purpose and function, re: food and warming but not heating, then I'd suggest Bain-Marie. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bain-marie

The exact purpose it to heat to a fixed temperature, or keep at a fixed temperature. It's not typically used to cook, just to maintain that heat. Much like a fridge can cook (through cooling process) but that isn't it's express purpose.


Though it might be unrelated with food (as a refridgerator is), an incubator is a device that keeps fertile eggs warm, and i personally would use this word as a substitute for devices that keep other things warm.

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