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Streamline prep and presentation with these great lunch boxes
A brown paper bag may get the job done, but lunchboxes are a more attractive and effective way to tote meals to school, work and back. They’re also often a more eco-friendly alternative than a single-use bag. Lunchboxes are convenient, but they can also make a statement about style, so weighing aesthetics alongside practicality is important.
A lunchbox is something you’ll look at and use every day, so there are several considerations you should take into account before making a purchase. We’ve listed the essentials here.
Who is it for? Toddlers have very different lunchbox needs than office workers. We laid out the pros and cons of each style below, and indicated if they are obviously more suitable for certain ages and needs.
Temperature control: Do you want to keep your food cold or warm? Some lunchboxes retain heat better than others, and one even cooks your food!
Extras: Many lunch boxes come with zippers, detachable carrying straps, thermoses, and more.
Size: The size of our lunchboxes vary considerably. Think carefully about how much food you realistically need to pack.
We reviewed hundreds of lunchbox options, keeping aesthetics and practical needs in mind. We have included lunch boxes that will suit kids, adults and everyone in between, in a variety of settings. We only included options from established companies that received both positive professional and consumer reviews.
This oversized lunch box doubles as a cooler, and is ideal for those who want to bring lunch, beverages and snacks. The two-compartment lunch bag includes a top “dry” section, perfect for storing sandwiches, fruits and snacks. The bottom “cold” section is no-leak insulated, and ideal for drinks and other items that need to stay cold or warm.
The insulation and food-grade safe PEVA liner maintain food temperatures and lock in freshness. They’re also easy to clean, and the detachable and adjustable shoulder strap makes carrying the lunchbox easy. The MIER bag comes with a two-year warranty. Reviewers say it’s “big” and keeps things cold even in “90-degree weather!”
This splurgy lunchbox has become a favorite among teens and cool people everywhere. Fjallraven containers of all kinds have been trending on social media for months for their colorful, streamlined shapes and fun-loving Scandi label. The heavy-duty Eco S lunchbox with foam padding insulates your food, locks in flavor and stands up to use and abuse. The lunchbox also features a zippered pocket for snacks and an ice pack. Reviewers say their older kids “love them” and they “work great” and are “easy to clean.”
This lunchbox is a win for kids of all ages, featuring a water-resistant exterior, an adjustable and removable strap for cross-body carrying, an insulated interior that helps keep food warm and cold and a front zip pocket for stashing utensils and extra snacks. The lunchbox is BPA- and lead-free. Enthusiastic reviewers say it is “great quality,” “highly recommended” and the “perfect size, cute and functional.”
Your elementary-school-aged kids will dig these fun cartoon designs—planes, dinosaurs, outer space—and you’ll love how durable and practical they are.
The Wildkins lunch box is insulated to lock in freshness and temperature, and is sturdy and easy to clean. It is also the recipient of the Mom’s Choice Award, given to brands with family-friendly products that deliver on their promises. It also has 4.7 stars on average from more than 930 happy reviewers on Amazon.
Reviewers say they’re “very happy,” with the “adorable” lunch box. The lunchbox is BPA-free.
Older kids will fall for this beautiful lunch tote featuring the work of international artists, several of whom donate a portion of their proceeds from the bags to a charity of their choice. (Several designs, including abstracts and renderings of animals and trees, are available). The insulated bag keeps the temperature steady, and flavors locked in. The totes come with a one-year warranty.
One reviewer calls this “the perfect lunch bag with the right size and feel,” while another dubs them “vibrant and flexible.”
It’s hard to believe, but this lunchbox cooks your food as well as toting it around. The white lunch box comes with two stainless steel bowls and an electric plug, allowing you to cook/steam or heat your food on the go. For a fully cooked meal, set aside about 30 minutes; to kick the lunchbox into cooking action, pour water into the box, insert food into the stainless-steel boxes, close the cover and plug it in.
Reviewers say it “works very well,” especially for folks who want access to a hot meal and don’t have a microwave at work. “It’s awesome, lightweight and easy to carry,” another enthuses.
This modern lunch box comes in several graphic, fun patterns, making it look more like a casual tote bag than a lunchbox. But the insulated EPE foam and aluminum foil lining keep food cold or warm. It’s also BPA-free and easy to clean. There is a 100% satisfaction guarantee for within 90 days of purchase.
Reviewers say they love the look of this tote, adding it “fits more than you would think. Overall, I’m very pleased!”
This insulated Rubbermaid lunchbox is designed to keep food cold or warm, and features a zip closure with a comfort grip handle and removable strap. The tote also features a bottle holder and utensil compartment. Reviewers “love this lunch bag,” saying they’re “impressed” at how much it holds. Some, however, while enjoying the usability of the lunchbox, are not as enthusiastic about the “2000 Hot Topic” style pattern design.
This freezable lunch bag comes in multiple designs and colors that will please kids and adults alike, and utilizes nontoxic, built-in freezable gel in the walls of the bag. Not only does the bag freeze, it folds and seals shut with a zip closure.
The bag also has a buckle handle, so you can clip it onto backpacks, strollers, and suitcases. It is BPA-, phthalate-, and lead-free. Reviewers love its versatility, with many using it to stash bottles for daycare. Others say the concept is great, but it’s “too small.”