When you’re trying to stay healthy and save money, packing lunch is a no-brainer. The tricky part is figuring out what to pack it in. Whether you’re looking for a chic, insulated tote to take on a picnic, a leak-proof number for a flavor-packed salad, a meal-prep container that minimizes refrigerator clutter or a kid-friendly option that will adequately protect a PB&J, our roundup of the 16 best lunch boxes for kids and adults has got you covered.
Looking for the Best Lunch Box? Here Are 16 Awesome Picks (Starting at $15)
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The Best Lunch Boxes at a Glance
Scroll down for in-depth reviews of each.
- Best Overall: Tomule Insulated Cooler Tote Bag
- Best for Travel: Dagne Dover Axel Lunch Box
- Best Insulated: Arctic Zone Titan X Expandable Lunch Pack
- Best for Kids: BentGo Kids Lunch Bag
- Best Compact: Gloppie Insulated Mini Lunch Bag
- Best Hard Case: HydroFlask Insulated Lunch Box
- Best Oversized: Lifewit Large Insulated Soft Cooling Tote
- Best for Meal Prep: Versal Insulated Lunch Bag with Meal Prep Containers
- Best for Salads: BentGo Salad Stackable Lunch Container
- Best Bento Box: BentGo Fresh 4-Compartment Bento Box
- Best Freezable: PackIt Freezable Classic Lunch Box
- Best Lunch Tote: Nicole Miller Insulated Lunch Tote
- Best for the Office: Black + Blum Stainless Steel Lunch Box
- Best Soft Case: Carhartt Deluxe Dual Compartment Lunch Cooler
- Best Electric: Forabest Electric Lunch Box Food Heater
- Most Stylish: Fjällräven Kanken Mini Cooler Lunch Box
What to Look for When Buying a Lunch Box
- Waterproof and easy-to-clean materials
Look for stainless steel, glass, silicone or a heavy-duty fabric, like nylon or polyester. All are fairly easy to wipe clean and sanitize. (Bonus points if it’s something you can pop in the dishwasher or washing machine.)
- BPA-free lining
Make sure the lunch box doesn’t contain BPA or bisphenol A (a toxic chemical often added to plastics that can leach into food and drinks, and is linked to a wide range of health problems, from increased blood pressure to potential brain and prostate gland-development issues, according to the Mayo Clinic).
This one is kind of a no-brainer, but if you’re traveling with food that needs to be kept cold, insulation is key. (Psst: The USDA says that perishable foods, both hot and cold, should not be kept out at room temperature for more than two hours.)
How We Choose Our Picks
After researching the top-reviewed brands on the market, we narrowed our choices down to the ones that hit on the points above, focusing on styles that were relatively compact, insulated, easy to clean, durable and affordable.
If you want to get the most bang for your buck, look no further. This model is made from tear- and water-resistant oxford fabric and is built to last. Many happy customers confirm that it’s easy to clean as well. This one also boasts three layers of insulation to keep your food either warm or cold for hours, and the spacious interior can accommodate a full day’s worth of food and beverage. (It’s also a perfect fit for meal-prep containers.) The numerous color options run the gamut from decidedly grown-up-looking tweed in muted tones to fun and vibrant floral patterns, so there’s a style to suit pretty much anyone’s personal taste.
Best for Travel
Whether you're going on a road trip or taking a flight, you'll want to have this neoprene lunch box on hand. Besides being water-resistant and having an organized insulated interior, it also comes with a removable and adjustable strap to carry it like a crossbody. The outer mesh pocket will also come in handy for non-perishable items like tea bags and dried fruits. Now that's what we call versatile.
As you might have guessed, the Arctic Zone brand takes cold insulation quite seriously. Here, a lunch bag that lives up to the name. It boasts two separate compartments for storing full-size ice packs. In other words, it’s just one wall and a ceiling shy of a full-blown igloo for your food. The exterior is designed with fabric that deflects external heat, and glowing comments suggest that it’s “built like a tank” to boot. Bonus: The expandable feature means you can keep this lunchbox compact for daily use or load ‘er up with a little more for a weekend picnic.
Best for Kids
Your kid will swoon for one of the 15 cute-as-a-button prints and patterns on offer, but you’ll most likely be sold on this one because it does what it’s intended to do—lined with two layers of non-toxic insulation, it will keep food fresh until the lunch bell rings and beyond. Did we mention it also has strong zippers that clumsy (er, learning) hands can’t mess with and a waterproof exterior that can withstand any and all schoolyard accidents? If you’re on the market for an attractive lunch box that can take a kid-style beating, this one fits the bill.
Don’t be fooled by the petite size—this compact lunch box can carry quite a lot without robbing you of any precious workbag real estate. Per the numerous five-star reviews, you should be able to comfortably fill it with all the fixings of a decent meal including a sandwich, canned drink, piece of fruit and a candy bar if you’re feeling indulgent (with room to spare for an ice pack, too). Best of all, the food-grade aluminum lining ensures that both hot and cold foods stay perfectly fresh.
Best Hard Case
Never again shall you meet a sad banana at snack time. This extra-durable hard case lunch box is like a fortress for your food, and with double layer insulation, it does a bang-up job of keeping it fresh, too. This one is roomy enough for your average lunch and, by all accounts, the inside is a breeze to clean, so you needn’t tread lightly in terms of what you pack. (Note: Some folks report that the nylon exterior is prone to getting dingy.)
Constructed with thick insulated foam and lined with food-grade PEVA foil, this puppy will keep foods either hot or cold for more than five hours. We're fans of the polished oxford exterior, but this option really stands out for its size—its generous dimensions (11.8 x 9.1 x 9.1 inches) mean that it can carry a lot of food and beverage. In other words, this cooler is an excellent option for picnics and beach days, as well as your everyday office lunch.
Best for Meal Prep
If you’ve got a large amount of food to store and want to keep things nice and organized, this lunch box from Versal has got you covered. This baby boasts three separate insulated compartments—one large enough to fit three meals—so there’s plenty of room for all your meal prep. It also features a cushy, detachable shoulder strap (for comfortable carrying) and a sturdy, foam construction that promises to keep contents safe during transit. As for the three leak-proof and dishwasher-safe storage containers that come with the bag—those are just icing on the cake.
Best for Salads
Salad is notoriously difficult to travel with, but this clever container from Bentgo solves all the usual woes, wilted lettuce included. This number features two separate stacking trays—one to keep lettuce from mingling with toppings (and becoming a sad mess in the process) and another with room to store up to three different fixings (with room to spare for the 3-ounce, leak-proof container included for salad dressing). Suffice it to say, this salad container would get the Marie Kondo seal of approval.
Best Bento Box
This bento box is ahead of the competition primarily because of its customizable design—a feature that gives you the option of packing a larger main course in the three-compartment structure or adding another divider to keep your portions small (and neat). Either way, this bento box will store enough food to satiate the average adult. It’s also worth noting that the plastic construction is sturdy enough to survive a fall. In fact, you can basically think of this lunch box as invincible, since it also comes with a two-year warranty.
This innovative lunch box is designed with non-toxic freezing gel built into its walls. What does that mean? Just toss it in the freezer at night and by morning it will be ready to keep food cold and fresh all day long. Yep, this freezable lunch box essentially turns into an ice pack, which means more room to store your snacks. Folks also say that the large zipper opening on this top-loading lunch box lends itself to easy cleaning, and we love that it collapses when it’s not in use (so it won’t take up too much precious freezer space).
Best Lunch Tote
Lunch box or handbag? Nobody would ever know, but it is indeed the former. This fashionable tote has style for days...plus insulation and an air-tight zipper closure, so it actually gets the job done. Reviewers also rave about the size of the tote—it’s “spacious” and comes “highly [recommended] for someone who brings multiple items of food to work for the day.” Most importantly, it folds flat, so it’s only ever as bulky as you want it to be.
Best for the Office
We’ve got good news for anyone who has ever had to deal with a smelly food spill in their purse or work bag (ew). This sleek and sexy number boasts a silicone-molded lid and a vacuum valve, resulting in a leak-proof seal that’s seriously no joke. The colorful silicone strap also provides a nifty storage spot for the stainless steel fork that comes with the lunch box, and the interior features a divider that can slide to any position or be removed entirely, if you prefer. Bonus: You can pop the whole thing in the freezer or oven without issue—but steer clear of the microwave with this one.
Best Soft Case
This medium-sized lunch bag is so soft you can scrunch it up into a ball, but don’t be deceived—it’s plenty durable, too. Constructed from heavy-duty and water-repellent fabric, this one is built to last. The main insulated compartment has plenty of room for a large lunch (or even a six-pack, if it’s party time), and the second compartment (also insulated) provides even more storage for perishables. There’s also a handy zippered pouch in the front to hold snacks and personal items, meaning that this one will leave you wanting for nothing.
There’s a line to use the office microwave, and the clock is running out on your long-awaited lunch break. Solution: Invest in this electric lunch box and let it do the microwave’s job while you sit comfortably at your desk, or anywhere with access to an outlet for that matter. That's right, this guy will not only hold your food but also heat it up for you when you’re ready to chow down, and word on the street is that it works like a charm.
OK, it will cost you a pretty penny to rock this Swedish style in the lunchroom, but you can hardly deny the aesthetic appeal of this too-cool-for-school lunch box. The folks over at Fjällräven have an eye for design, and we’re suckers for it. That said, the utilitarian chic you see on display actually lives up to the descriptor in terms of both form and function. The size is just right: You can tote around a hearty lunch plus a snack for afternoon grazing, and the bag isn’t so big that it will become a nuisance. It's also plenty durable and boasts a padded body—you know, to protect fruit from bruising. Want to keep things cool? No problem. The outside zipper pouch is there for stashing ice packs, so you can enjoy your turkey sandwich without giving it the side-eye.
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