PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. You can learn more about that process here.

Packing a lunch is a no-brainer when you’re trying to stay healthy and save money in the process. 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 beast that minimizes refrigerator clutter or a kid-friendly option that will adequately protect a PB&J, our roundup of the 15 best lunch boxes for kids and adults has got you covered.

RELATED: 30 BENTO BOX LUNCH IDEAS THAT ARE WORK- AND SCHOOL-APPROVED

THE BEST LUNCH BOXES, AT A GLANCE:

Scroll down for in-depth reviews of each.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING A LUNCH BOX:

  • Waterproof, 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.
  • Insulation
    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 CHOSE 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 (so they won’t take over a backpack or tote), insulated, easy to clean, durable and affordable.

Amazon

1. TOMULE INSULATED COOLER TOTE BAG

Best Overall

You can pay for this puppy with small bills, and you’ll still get plenty of bang for your buck. This durable insulated lunch bag—made from tear- and water-resistant oxford fabric—is built to last, and 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.

$20 AT AMAZON

Amazon

2. ARCTIC ZONE TITAN X EXPANDABLE LUNCH PACK

Best Insulated

As you might have guessed, the Arctic Zone brand takes cold insulation quite seriously. Here, a lunch bag that lives up to the name. This baby boasts three 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.

$29 AT AMAZON

Amazon

3. BENTGO KIDS PRINTED LUNCH BAG

Best for Kids

Your kid will swoon for one of the twelve 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.

$25 AT AMAZON

Amazon

4. GLOPPIE INSULATED MINI LUNCH BAG

Best Compact

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.

$12 AT AMAZON

Hydroflask

5. HYDROFLASK LIGHTWEIGHT INSULATED LUNCH BOX

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—but given the mushroom hue, that seems like a moot point, right?)

BUY IT ($45)

Amazon

6. LIFEWIT LARGE INSULATED SOFT COOLING TOTE

Best Oversized

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 are also 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.

$20 AT AMAZON

Amazon

7. VERSAL INSULATED LUNCH BAG WITH 3 MEAL PREP CONTAINERS

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.

$25 AT AMAZON

Bed Bath & Beyond

8. BENTGO SALAD STACKABLE 54 OZ LUNCH CONTAINER

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.

BUY IT ($15)

Walmart

9. BENTGO FRESH 4-COMPARTMENT LEAK-PROOF BENTO BOX

Best Bento Box

This bento box beats out 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.

$30 at Amazon

Amazon

10. PACKIT FREEZABLE CLASSIC LUNCH BOX

Best Freezable

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 (i.e., so it won’t take up too much precious freezer space).

$16 AT AMAZON

Amazon

11. NICOLE MILLER INSULATED LUNCH TOTE

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.” Best of all, it folds flat, so it’s only ever as bulky as you want it to be.

$25 AT AMAZON

Amazon

12. BLACK + BLUM STAINLESS STEEL LUNCH BOX

Best for the Office

We’ve got good news to 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 needless to say, steer clear of the microwave with this one.

$38 AT AMAZON

Amazon

13. CARHARTT DELUXE DUAL COMPARTMENT LUNCH COOLER

Best Soft Case

This medium-sized lunch bag is so soft you can scrunch 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.

$25 AT AMAZON

Amazon

14. FORABEST ELECTRIC LUNCH BOX FOOD HEATER

Best Electric

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. Yep, 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.

$40 AT AMAZON

Amazon

15. FJÄLLRÄVEN KANKEN MINI COOLER LUNCH BOX

Most Stylish

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. Yep, 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. This number is also plenty durable and boasts a padded body—you know, to protect fruit from bruising and the like. 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.

$69 AT AMAZON

RELATED: 70 COLD LUNCH IDEAS THAT GO BEYOND PB&J

From Around The Web