Lunch boxes have come a long way from the metal-tin variety popular in the mid-20th century. Back then, it was mostly kids and construction workers who stored their meals in these boxes. Fast-forward to now and they seem to be everywhere, from school and at the office to picnics and boat trips. It’s a cost-effective way to eat healthy, every day.
We all remember our first lunch box. Either we loved it because it had our favorite cartoon or TV character on the cover, or we hated it because it was a hand-me-down from our big brother or sister. Regardless of your lunch box memories, with so many varieties to choose from, there is no excuse not to love your portable meal container.
The lunch box of yesteryear is gone for good and in its place are technologically advanced materials and designs to keep your meals fresh no matter where you decide to eat.
We narrow down the five best lunch boxes you can buy online. Read on to find the one that suits you best.
Top Pick Most Popular Choice: OPUX Premium Lunch Box
You always take your lunch to work and prefer the kind that’s insulated that you can carry on your shoulder. It has to be large enough to fit your lunch plus snacks, so a small-sized one just won’t do. If you’re looking for a thermal insulated lunch bag to hold everything you need but is not too large, then this is the model for you.
We recommend the OPUX Premium Lunch box. Perfect for you and your kids, this soft lunch bag is lightweight, easy to carry, and comes in a choice 19 colors, so everyone can customize the look to their specific taste.
No need to worry about being able to fit your food into this lunch bag. Reinforced, dual zippers easily open the wide mouth of the bag so you can put everything in without worrying about the width of your containers. In fact, this lunch bag is large enough to fit a six-pack of soda or a nice lunch plus snack. Need even more space? There are also side pouches to store a water bottle and a front pocket for extra items such as utensils and napkins.
Other features include an eco-friendly PRVA lining that is soft, leak-proof and insulated so you don’t have to worry about keeping your drinks cold or your lunch warm. With a sewn-in shoulder strap, you can carry this lunch box easily on your shoulder or across your chest. This lunch bag is made from high-quality nylon and 600D polyester fabric to prevent rips
Measuring 10 inches long x 7 inches wide x 7.75 inches high, the soft internal lining is easy to maintain and clean – just wipe with a damp cloth. It doesn’t get much easier than that, right?
- Available in 19 colors
- Dual reinforced zippers
- Easy to clean
- Comes with a shoulder strap
- Does not have a carry handle
Top Pick Most Versatile: Tiblue Insulated Lunch Bag
You’re tired of buying your lunch every day from the food truck outside your workplace. The food isn’t great anyway and it feels like you’re just pouring money down the drain. It’s time to take a page from your kids and start taking lunch to work. But you’re not a kid. You work long hours and you need a bag with lots of compartments to store everything from lunch and drinks to napkins, condiments and a couple of snacks. If you’re looking for a sturdy, versatile, easy-to-carry insulated lunch bag, this is the model for you.
We recommend the Tiblue Insulated Lunch Bag. Lined with eco-friendly EVA material, the interior of this stylish lunch bag is padded with 4 mm of thick insulation pearl foam protected with 300 D polyester and an oxford outer fabric, specifically designed with triple insulation to keep food cold/warm/fresh for hours.
The heat-welded seams on the inside of this bag guard against leaks and makes it easy to wipe clean. And if you get caught in the rain, no worries – the waterproof fabric is also resistant to dirt and abrasions.
So practical and functional for you and every member of your family, this lunch bag measures 20 inches long by 6.7 inches high by 8 inches wide and has tons of pockets and storage space: one main zipped compartment for your food; one front-zipped pocket to carry utensils, napkins or condiments; one back pocket, two mesh pockets and one internal mesh pocket to keep, well, anything else that you need to take with you, including your keys and cell phone charger.
And talk about flexibility and convenience. This lunch box comes with a reinforced handle on top and a removable and adjustable shoulder strap, so you can hold it or hang it; the choice is yours. Other features include: the wide-opening makes it easy to fill and take out food; reinforced metal SBS dual zippers; secure zipper closure; rip-resistant; made from PVC, BPA, phthalate and lead-free materials. Available in 13 colors and patterns.
- Comes with a handle and a removable shoulder strap
- Has many compartments for storage
- Leak proof, waterproof
- Made from PVC, BPA, Phthalate and lead-free materials
- May be too small to fit a lot of food
Top Pick Best Budget: HOMESPON Reusable Lunch Bag
You’re looking for something a little different to carry your lunch to work. A cute tote that is a lunch box, but doesn’t look like one. You’re also on a budget and don’t want to spend too much money. If you’re looking for a functional lunch box that’s cute in design but still delivers in its ability to keep food warm or cold, then consider this product.
We recommend the HOMESPUN Reusable Lunch Bag as your next lunch box.
This reusable canvas tote bag is available in 16 fun colors and patterns, and provides an attractive and lightweight way to carry meals, snacks, beverages and drinks, or to use as a grab-and-go purse. Super insulated with thickened EPE foam and aluminum foil, food can stay warm, cold or fresh for hours. The bag is waterproof, easy to clean and BPA free.
Measuring 8.3 inches long x 6.5 inches wide x10.5 inches high, it’s roomy enough to hold a water bottle, a container or two of food and fruit. Two wide sturdy cotton carry straps mean you can carry the bag on your arm or in your hand. An inner pocket is perfect for keeping keys, a cell phone, charger or change purse.
- Available in 16 colors and unique designs
- Sturdy handles
- Very affordable
- Does not have a secure zippered closure
Top Pick Best Bento Box: Lille Home Stackable Stainless Steel Thermal Compartment Lunch Box
Picky eaters; your house is full of them. Packing lunches that they will eat is a challenge so you are considering packing food in a Bento box for your kids to take to school. But so far, you haven’t seen one that is easy to carry with compartments that can be separated. If you’re looking for a Bento lunch box that is easy to carry and one where you don’t have to use all the compartments, then this is the model for you.
We recommend the Lille Home Stackable Stainless Steel Thermal Compartment Lunch Box. This Japanese-inspired thermos has three unique food sections to keep foods warn for up to three hours. It comes with an insulated carry bag and a foldable stainless-steel spoon; no flimsy plastic cutlery.
The interior of each food section is made from high quality, food-grade stainless steel SS304, so it will never rust. It’s also naturally BPA-free and does not retain flavors or odors. The outside, and the dividers that separate the sections, are made from food-grade safe plastic.
You don’t have to worry about food leaking between sections. You can have soup in one, crackers and cheese in another, and salad with fruit in another – the heavy-duty silicone seals lock in freshness, leaks and odors. And the great thing about this lunch box is that you can use one, two or all layers, according to your needs.
Oh, and did we mention that you can pack it all away in a handy insulated carry bag that’s made of felt fabric with a food-grade aluminum foil interior. With the choice of a handle or a strap, it’s easy for even a young child to carry.
- Sections separate foods
- Comes with a carry bag
- Can be used with one, two or three layers
- Comes in four colors
- Will not fit a large sandwich
- Will not fit a water bottle or other beverage container
Top Pick Best Retro Style: Stanley Classic 10qt Lunch Box
You work long, hard days and always take your own food to work. Up early and home late, you need something that can fit more than just lunch – it’s got to be able to pack enough food to keep you going for the day.
We recommend the Stanley Classic 10qt Lunch box for all of your away-from-home food needs. Inspired by the 1950s-style lunch boxes, the food container is large, tough and hardy. Manufactured with 0.6mm SPCD steel, this lunch box has superior durability with single wall insulation. Sturdy latches and hinges are added to prevent anything from leaking or falling out.
Measuring 10 inches x13 inches x 6.5 inches, it has 10 quarts of storage, can hold lunch, snacks and a domed top and metal bracket keeps a Stanley vacuum bottle or mug well nested within the lid. And the handle on top makes it easy to tote around. Backed by a lifetime guarantee.
- Cool retro style
- Solid steel construction
- 10-quart capacity
- Backed by a lifetime warranty
- A bit heavy than other models at 3.5 pounds
Things to look out for:
What you decide to choose really comes down to your personal preference and how you will use the lunch box. Nonetheless, here are some features to consider.
The handle: Decide if you want a top handle or a shoulder strap. Some models offer both with a removable shoulder strap, so you have a choice.
The closing mechanism: If the lunch box won’t be tossed around a lot, a Velcro closure is fine. But for kids at school who may knock the box around a bit, look for a solid latch closure or a secure zipper closure to make sure everything stays inside in case the lunch box falls on the floor.
Insulation: Consider how and where you’re going to use the lunch box. If there is a fridge at work, you don’t have to worry about having insulation to keep your food cold. Even with good insulation you may need to add an ice pack to keep everything cool, so make sure the lunch box can fit food and an ice pack.
Compartments: Simple lunch boxes generally offer up a single, large open space to accommodate food and maybe a drink. If you need to take utensils, napkins and want a place for your keys, cell phone and other items, look for a lunch box that has enough separate compartments so everything will fit.
Soft or hard sides: Hard sided lunchboxes are made from plastic or metal and include Bento boxes. They are easier to clean than a soft-sided version, but are often smaller than those with soft sides and have less ‘give’ if you want to pack stuff in.
A soft-sided lunch box can be folded when not in use. Most have separate compartments for extra storage, are often more insulated, and are a bit more flexible when it comes to fitting everything in.
Capacity: You know what you and your family eat for lunch. Do you include a drink and a snack or two? Do you like soup and salad? Choose a lunch box that can accommodate all the containers, loose food, cutlery, napkins and snacks that you’ll need, and if there is room for an ice pack to keep it all cool.
Cost: Like most things, lunch boxes come in a range of prices and many are affordable. If possible, always look for a durable one that will last a long time.