Best Lunch Box to Keep Food Cold: Top 20 Options

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Best Lunch Box to Keep Food Cold

Lunch bags can provide many different benefits that make them an excellent option for many people. For example, you may find that you want or need the best-insulated lunch box that keeps your food as cool as possible.

This option is standard if you don’t have a way to keep your meals refrigerated and requires a lunch bag with a high level of insulation and a powerful and straightforward way to store all of your food.

Thankfully, there are plenty of high-quality cooler bags and lunch boxes explicitly designed. We carefully researched various options and narrowed them down to just the best-insulated lunch box options.

In our reviews, we’ll highlight what makes each of these options worth owning, including narrowing down your options for the

best insulated lunch box based on your needs as a person.

Quick Summary

Here’s a quick summary of our top picks and why we selected them:

Product Name Why We Picked It

Rockland Guard – Insulated Meal Prep Bag Cooler

Rockland Guard - Insulated Meal Prep Bag Cooler - Portable Hot or Cold Lunch Box for Meal Management at Work, Gym or Travel. (Black)

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  • It should provide for your camping needs
  • The sturdy design feels good in the hands
  • You won’t lack for places to put things, including ice packs

F40C4TMP Store Super Large Lunch Bag

Super Large Lunch Bag Insulated Cooler Bag 36 Cans (23L) Lunch Bag for Women Men, Lightweight Soft Cooler Bag Portable for Work Travel Road-Trip Sport Camping Picnic Black by F40C4TMP

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  • The large capacity should suit many tastes
  • The multiple handles make it easy to carry
  • The non-toxic EVA liner protects your food

kasibon Lunch Bag with Leak Proof Material

Lunch Bag with Leak Proof Material, Insulated Lunch Box for women/men, Lunch Tote Bag for Work/Picnic/Hiking/Beach/Fishing (grey)

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  • It works well as an all-around bag
  • The cooling power is surprisingly strong
  • The leakproof material stands up well

MIER Large Adult Lunch Bag

MIER Large Adult Lunch Bag for Men Women Insulated Soft Cooler for Picnic, Kayak, Beach, Grocery, Work, Travel, 2 Decks Cooler, Black

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  • Surprisingly large for such a simple bag
  • The light design is easy to handle
  • It stays cool for a long time

MIER Large Soft Cooler Bag

MIER Large Soft Cooler Bag Insulated Lunch Box Bag Picnic Cooler Tote with Dispensing Lid, Multiple Pockets, 18 Can(black and blue)

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  • The rigid material will last a long time
  • It should work well for most kids and teens
  • The extra pockets open smoothly

The Top 20 Best Lunch Boxes to Keep Food Cold

If you enjoy relaxed lunches or your child likes taking cold lunches to cool, the following insulated lunch box options may be good for you. These boxes may also work well for drinks, including a beer cooler when going to the beach or other similar, unique options. Some people may even use the most effective options here as a general cooler when camping, though most won’t be big enough to support that.

We’ll highlight what makes these lunch bags exciting and who they might work the best for as an investment in each review. We carefully examined each of these boxes and feel comfortable creating the most comprehensive list possible. You’ll also get an idea of the pros and cons of each to help narrow down your search even more and make your purchase a great choice.

Rockland Guard – Insulated Meal Prep Bag Cooler

Rockland Guard - Insulated Meal Prep Bag Cooler - Portable Hot or Cold Lunch Box for Meal Management at Work, Gym or Travel. (Black)

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This simple lunch box for cooling provides a variety of separate containers, two bottles, and another container for snacks. You also get mesh pockets that work well for your phone or wallet. We bring up all these features because this cooler is perhaps the best get-up-and-go insulated lunch box on the list.

It is an excellent choice for those who plan on big lunches or bring along various snacks and other items for their day. Beyond that, it could also be the best choice for camping or other similar activities, as it will provide you with plenty of pockets and other containers for storage. These make it one of the best lunch boxes for busy people.

Pros

  • It should provide for your camping needs
  • The sturdy design feels good in the hands
  • You won’t lack for places to put things, including ice packs

Cons

  • The overall size may turn off some users
  • The mesh pockets could be a bit stronger

F40C4TMP Store Super Large Lunch Bag

Super Large Lunch Bag Insulated Cooler Bag 36 Cans (23L) Lunch Bag for Women Men, Lightweight Soft Cooler Bag Portable for Work Travel Road-Trip Sport Camping Picnic Black by F40C4TMP

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Do you want a cooler that can hold all the drinks you’ll need for a party, picnic, or camping experience? Look no further than this cooling lunch box! It can hold up to 23 liters of food or 36 cold cans, providing the cooling expertise you need when camping.

Even better, it contains a strong Velcro handle and a shoulder strap, making this bag easier to take to many different areas. As a result, we think it’s the best-rugged option for most people and works well as a camping cooler or an outdoor employment lunch box.

Pros

  • The large capacity should suit many tastes
  • The multiple handles make it easy to carry
  • The non-toxic EVA liner protects your food

Cons

  • The size may be too much for some people
  • The leakproof design could use some work

kasibon Lunch Bag with Leak Proof Material

Lunch Bag with Leak Proof Material, Insulated Lunch Box for women/men, Lunch Tote Bag for Work/Picnic/Hiking/Beach/Fishing (grey)

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The insulation of this tote bag is built right into its interior and its overall structure. That’s why we think it’s an excellent option for those who want their food chilled for a long time. We found it could keep your food at least cool for 24 hours and cold for about 8-12 hours.

Beyond that, the solid water-resistant and leakproof polyester design is strong enough to withstand an extensive range of problems. As a result, we think this option works well as a catch-all best lunch box option that works for just about any person or employee.

Pros

  • It works well as an all-around bag
  • The cooling power is surprisingly strong
  • The leakproof material stands up well

Cons

  • A bit unattractive in design
  • Some may find it a little simplistic

MIER Large Adult Lunch Bag

MIER Large Adult Lunch Bag for Men Women Insulated Soft Cooler for Picnic, Kayak, Beach, Grocery, Work, Travel, 2 Decks Cooler, Black

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Mier pops up a few times on this list for adult and children’s lunch boxes. We like this option for adults because it is big enough to hold up to 15 liters of food and keeps it cool for hours. The 24-can capacity makes it a good choice for camping or hunting, as does its two-sided design.

This simple design element (including dry and wet storage areas) helps to keep your food from spoilage. As a result, we consider this an excellent option for those who work in offices, where their lunch box may sit for hours before they get to enjoy their meal.

Pros

  • Surprisingly large for such a simple bag
  • The light design is easy to handle
  • It stays cool for a long time

Cons

  • The available colors seem a little limited
  • Some heat transfer is noticeable

MIER Large Soft Cooler Bag

MIER Large Soft Cooler Bag Insulated Lunch Box Bag Picnic Cooler Tote with Dispensing Lid, Multiple Pockets, 18 Can(black and blue)

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As promised, here’s Mier again with another high-quality lunch box. It has an 18-can capacity and a nearly one-cubic-foot interior. Ironically, this “large” bag is smaller than the option we just highlighted! However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a worthwhile option for you or your kids.

We think this is a good choice for kids because it includes several extra pockets on the front. So your kids can store things like toys, cooking utensils, condiments, and more here. The strong polyester should also last a long time, even with the most challenging child using it.

Pros

  • The rigid material will last a long time
  • It should work well for most kids and teens
  • The extra pockets open smoothly

Cons

  • The “large” descriptor is somewhat misleading
  • It doesn’t hold as much food as you may want

Lava Lunch️ Lunch Box Insulated Lunch Bag

Lava Lunch™️ Lunch Box Insulated Lunch Bag | Large Heated & Cooled Double Deck Lunch Box for Men, Women, & Kids (Black) | Comes with Heat Packs (Lava Rocks)

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This kid-friendly lunch box is one of our favorite plastic models. The simple rectangular shape and solid color pattern hide a powerful lunch box. It contains no phthalate, which makes it a safe option for young kids who may be a bit rougher on their bags than necessary.

Even better, it includes a unique technology that helps to keep food both hot and cold. It contains two separate compartments for warm and cold food, making it easier for your child to get the high-quality food option they want when eating at school.

Pros

  • The simple design works well
  • Kids should find it easy to use
  • Dual compartments help keep food both hot and cool

Cons

  • The overall size could be bigger
  • It may feel a bit light, even for a child

AstroAI Lunch Box Cooler Bag

AstroAI 3 in 1 Mens Lunch Box Bag, 24 Can/15L Insulated Cooler bag Tote Keep Cool and Warm for Adult, Kids and Travel as camera bag , Grey

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Are you planning a big expedition to the beach or camping, and do you want a lunch bag or cooler that can keep your drinks cold? This option may be the right option for you. It can hold up to 40 cans or 24 liters, making it one of the most extensive options highlighted on this list.

Even if you don’t like camping, you should enjoy the strong eight-millimeter EPE foam that helps to keep your food cold. If you want big meals or plan to take many items with you to work, this option is good and could easily fit into your lifestyle.

Pros

  • The overall size is very appropriate
  • It works perfectly for beverages
  • The insulation is very strong

Cons

  • Some may find it a big bulky
  • The overall design isn’t great for a lunch box

monbento MB Original Bento Box

monbento - MB Original Black bento box - 2 tier leakproof lunch box for work/school lunch packing and meal prep - BPA free - Food grade safe food containers

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This option should do the trick if you want bento-style boxes for your lunch needs! It helps keep food cold for hours and includes a strong strap that keeps the lid closed. In addition, the Bento-style box design includes multiple chambers where you can store your food, making it easier to stay strong and secure. We particularly like this option for adults, as it should hold a large amount of food reasonably easily.

We like how you can store this box in a freezer overnight, if necessary, or add your packed lunch after the box is cooler. In this way, it holds up well against the other best lunch boxes on this list. It lacks a zippered pocket, which is frustrating, but the overall size makes it suitable for a small lunch bag, a large lunch box, and other packed lunches.

So, even if it doesn’t have a zippered pocket for other foods or a large number of separate compartments for all your items, we think this is the perfect lunch box for those who enjoy a Bento-style lunch box. It should provide all of your needs with relative ease and give you the food separation you want for your meals.

Pros

  • It holds a surprisingly large amount of food
  • Most people should enjoy this lunch box
  • Your food stays cold for many hours with this box

Cons

  • The price may be high for some
  • The simple design may bit be unattractive to some users

Bentgo Classic Bag

Bentgo Classic Bag (Blue) - Insulated Lunch Bag Keeps Food Cold On the Go - Fits the Bentgo Classic Lunch Box, Bentgo Cup, Bentgo Sauce Dippers and an Ice Pack - Works With Other Food Storage Boxes

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Bentgo is a manufacturer we tend to enjoy because they do a lot for kids, including donating much of their profits to various children’s charities. As a result, their bags are always BPA-free and work well for kids. This smaller option may be a good choice for your on-the-go child.

It is only one-third of a pound with a 9 x 9 inch base and a three-inch height. While that does limit how much food your kid can take, it should be good enough for a small lunch and a couple of snacks, including a small bottle of water or a can of soda.

Pros

  • The compact size is very cute
  • The price is right
  • Bentgo works well with charity

Cons

  • The simple design may feel a bit too basic
  • Many may not like the smaller design

Wildkin Two Compartment Insulated Lunch Bag

Wildkin Two Compartment Insulated Lunch Bag for Boys And Girls, Measures 9 x 8 x 6 Inches Lunch Box Bag for Kids, Ideal for Packing Hot or Cold Snacks for School And Travel, BPA-Free (Rip-Stop Black)

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Here’s another reasonably compact model about four inches taller than the previous type. However, it still has a lot to recommend it. The playful and colorful patterns make it an excellent choice for children and will likely inspire a lot of comparison at the lunch table with their buddies.

The smaller storage space is appropriate for most children and should include food, drinks, and snacks. We love its more compact size, as kids can place it on or near their desk and snack on various items, as their teacher allows, throughout the day.

Pros

  • The compact size should work well for most children
  • The more straightforward approach makes it easy to use
  • Children will love the colorful designs

Cons

  • Some adults may not like the color scheme
  • The insulation could be a bit stronger

DaCool Insulated Lunch Container

DaCool Insulated Lunch Container Hot Food Jar 16 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Bento Lunch Box for Kids Adult with Spoon Leak Proof Hot Cold Food for School Office Picnic Travel Outdoors - Cyan Blue

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Do you want an attractive and exciting lunch box with 304 stainless steel, no PVC, and a BPA-free design? You might enjoy this container. It uses food-grade material that helps to keep your food chilled or hot, thanks to the unique overall design with built-in insulation that makes it the best lunch box for safety.

We found that you could keep your food chilly for 12 hours in this insulated lunch box, which is an incredible amount of time. This time increases when using ice packs. Instead of relying on refrigerators or other items, this insulated lunchbox can keep your things safe. We suggest it for people who work long hours, such as nurses and other professionals.

Pros

  • The robust material provides a long-lasting cool when used with ice packs
  • It lacks dangerous materials
  • The compact design is quite appealing

Cons

  • Some foods may not fit it easily
  • The unique design may annoy some people

MIER 2 Compartment Lunch Box

MIER 2 Compartment Lunch Bag for Men Women, Leakproof Insulated Cooler Bag for Work, School, Black

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Mier is back with another fantastic product that works well for just about any age. While the overall size may be compact for adults, those with a smaller appetite may enjoy it. It can hold up to nine liters, which should be enough for kids and teenagers.

The Oxford fabric provides a durable and robust design that is both waterproof and leakproof. The food-grade material is safe for kids and will remain vital for a long time. Thanks to its dual-compartment design, we recommend this option to kids who love hot and cold food.

Pros

  • An easy-to-clean design with minimal seams
  • The rigid material will hold up well
  • It should keep food cold for 6-12 hours

Cons

  • Some adults may find it too small
  • Others may find the design a bit basic

HighSpeedDaddy Lunch Bag

HSD Lunch Bag, 8mm Thick Insulation, Meal Prep Lunch Box, Hot & Cold Food & Drinks, Insulated Cooler, Water Resistant, Soft Sided, Easy To Clean Lining, Men, Women, Kids (Coyote Brown, Large)

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This lunch bag comes in various colors (including blue and pink camo) and sizes, meaning it is one of the most diverse options we’ve highlighted. Like the other HighSpeedDaddy product we highlighted, it contains a lot of simple things that make it worth buying.

For example, it fits multiple prep containers, up to six bottles or eight cans, and includes a front pocket for utensils. These details make it a diverse and helpful box and one of our best picks for general use. We also think it works well for an office worker who wants an attractive hold-all insulated lunch box that works well with ice packs.

Pros

  • The overall design is very effective on this insulated lunch box
  • It holds a good amount of food
  • The multiple colors are attractive

Cons

  • The zippers may stick at times
  • The insulation is firm but not as good as other options

WishLotus Insulated Lunch Bag

WishLotus Insulated Lunch Bag, Oxford Cloth Lunch Box Water-Resistant Tote Bag Leak-Proof Thermal Lunch Organizer for Men Women Girls Children Outdoor Picnic School Work (Flamingo)

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This simple and inexpensive lunch bag is designed for kids and works well for those who want cool food that works well for their needs. The aluminum film helps to keep the food fresh for hours and will work well for most school lunches, including sandwiches and drinks.

The capacity is pretty good for this box type, and the weight is well under a pound. So in this way, we think it’s a good option for a kid going to preschool or elementary school, as it can hold many types of foods and drinks without causing them any difficulty with weight.

It should keep lunch cold for a long time and work well with a freezable lunch bag option. It may also work with hot food and uses a unique soft cooler design that may freeze overnight well without the need for additional ice packs.

Pros

  • The material is surprisingly strong on this insulated lunch box
  • The small size works well for young ones
  • The internal capacity is more significant than you’d think

Cons

  • The cooling power is good but not great
  • The design could be flashier for kids

OKASS Lunch Bag Cooler Bag

LOKASS Lunch Bag Cooler Bag Women Tote Bag Insulated Lunch Box Water-resistant Thermal Lunch Bag Soft Liner Lunch Bags for women /Picnic/Boating/Beach/Fishing/Work (Peony)

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This medium-sized lunch bag is perfect for adults and kids, as it can hold most of your drinks, snacks, and meals and keep them as protected as possible from various types of problems. The large front pocket helps store multiple items in insulated lunch boxes, including wallets, phones, and utensils.

In this way, we think this bag works well for someone who needs a lot of storage space. While the interior is not the largest we’ve found, it should provide more than enough room for your food throughout the day.

And it can help you keep track of other essential items in your insulated lunch boxes. In this way, this insulated lunch box can provide a surprising range of uses that make it among the best-insulated lunch boxes or bento boxes that we could find.

Pros

  • The overall size and shape is very efficient for an insulated lunch box
  • The extra pockets on this insulted lunch box make it worthwhile for everyday life
  • Most people will find its simple color scheme attractive

Cons

  • Some may find the soft cooler a bit bulkier than the best-insulated lunch boxes.
  • The interior could be more extensive, given the overall size

OPUX Dual Compartment Insulated Lunch Box

OPUX Insulated Dual Compartment Lunch Bag for Men, Women | Double Deck Reusable Lunch Pail Cooler Bag with Shoulder Strap, Soft Leakproof Liner | Large Lunch Box Tote for Work, School (Navy)

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Dual compartment lunch bags provide people with a surprising array of possibilities for the best-insulated lunch boxes, including the chance to store both hot and cold foods. We’ve talked a bit about these bags already and want to highlight one that we think combines many cool elements.

First, the polyester and nylon materials are solid, and the overall size is significant for this type of bag. We think that makes it a good option for multiple-person lunches. For example, you may pack both hot and cold foods in insulated lunch boxes for a picnic or bring food for co-workers.

Pros

  • The dual compartments work very well in this insulated lunch box
  • The polyester looks fantastic
  • The shape should store well

Cons

  • Some may find the hot compartment works less effectively
  • Spilling may occur if you’re not careful

SYNTUS Lunch Bag

Syntus Lunch Bag for Men Women Large 15L Insulated Lunch Box with Pockets & Detachable Shoulder Strap Leakproof Tote Bags for Office Work School Picnic Beach, Black

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Insulated lunch bags often include nylon materials and strong interior insulation. This bag consists of reinforced dual zippers that make it easier to open and close. The double-decker design lets you access a variety of foods and even bring an ice pack with you.

The thicker permanent foam insulation uses PEVA lining that helps to make it even cooler. In this way, we think this option is probably the best for those who want their food very cold. For example, if you want cold drinks when you’re at work, it’s a great cooler for your needs.

Pros

  • You can pack both hot and cold foods with ease
  • The insulation lasts for hours without issue
  • Pack cans and food inside this container

Cons

  • The thicker insulation on this insulated lunch box does decrease the interior size.
  • Some might find the dual zippers hard to use

PackIt Freezable Classic Lunch Box

PackIt Freezable Classic Lunch Box, Black

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Do you want a cute and attractive lunch box with a classic style? This box comes in 22 different color and pattern designs, allowing you to pick whatever look you want. And while the overall size isn’t huge, the interior is designed for spaciousness and provides more storage than you’d think.

As a result, we think this option works best for those who like the classic look for their lunch boxes. While the insulation may not be quite as strong as other options, we think it will work well for most people when combined with a high-quality ice pack for coolers.

Pros

  • You can choose many colors and designs
  • Many people love the classic design
  • It should fit comfortably into your hands

Cons

  • Storage options may be a little limited
  • The insulation is pretty weak without an ice pack

PRACMEDIC BAGS Lunch Container

Insulated Lunch Bag for Men Women Work Nurse– Lunch Box Keeps Interior Hot or Cold– Lunch Containers Water Bottle Holder- Wipe Holder for Easy Access to Wet Wipes- PracMedic Bags 12 x 8.5 x 5 In

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This manufacturer produces a variety of goods for paramedics and other medical professionals. And this lunch bag is no different. It includes a spot for medical wipes, various storage pockets, and other elements that help streamline its use and make it easy to adapt into a medical lifestyle.

All of these benefits make this specialized lunch box perfect for paramedics or other medical people. We think it works better than many other, similar-minded options. Even better, the insulation is quite strong, and your foods and drinks should stay cold for a longer time than expected.

Pros

  • Works excellent for paramedics and other medical professionals
  • Bring along wipes to keep your food safe
  • Take your meals with you wherever you go

Cons

  • Some may find it confusing
  • The extra storage pockets are suited best for medical personnel

Flamingo Lunch Box

Fatmingo Insulated Food Container 304 Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulation Food Jar 3 Compartments BPA-Free Thermal Lunch Box Black 54oz

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Though designed heavily for hot food, this option can also work well for cold food. How? Its insulated material is strong and built right into the overall design. The 304 stainless steel design can hold up to 1,10 milliliters of food and keep your items safe.

We also like its reasonably compact size, surprisingly simple and streamlined. It shouldn’t be too hard to adapt this liquid-based item into foods, especially if you like smaller objects that may easily fit into a small container. Don’t let that compact shape fool you! You can fit a lot of food in here.

Pros

  • It keeps food chilly for a long time
  • The vacuum insulation is very strong
  • The compact design still provides room for much food

Cons

  • The exterior does not indicate a BPA-free design
  • Leaks may occur around the lid

What to Consider When Examining Insulated Lunch Boxes

When gauging the different lunch boxes and bags on this list, we took the time to analyze various elements. Each of these factors is outlined below to make this process easier for you to understand. You can weigh any of these elements however you want, such as finding the material type and quality more important than the insulation or any other similar combination.

Just as critically, you need to consider these factors when deciding how much you want to spend on your box. These boxes can be surprisingly costly, and you need to balance this investment in a way that makes sense for you. Thankfully, it is fairly easy to break down all of these factors and to use them in whatever way makes the most sense for your needs as a person and a buyer:

metal lunch box

Material Type and Quality – This factor is incredibly important because many material types and quality options are available in lunch boxes. For example, it is not uncommon for many lunchboxes to utilize polyester and even plastic designs. Some might even use metal boxes or containers to hold your food, making them an interesting option. Most use 304 stainless steel and other interesting types.

Insulation Thickness and Quality – Your insulation should be at least eight millimeters thick to provide maximum insulation protection. The type of insulation will vary but is usually foam or some similar material. Some of the lunch boxes here use their exterior material as a thick metal. Metal containers typically use this option, so keep that in mind before choosing one.

Overall Size and Shape – The lunch bags and boxes here come in a pretty broad range of different sizes and shapes. For example, some are just seven inches long and wide, which is fairly small for one of these containers. Others are over a foot long and wide and hold many items. The shape can vary from a rectangular look to an almost cup-like style. Choose the type that makes the most sense for your needs.

Adaptability – How easily does your lunch box fit into your life? Does it feel like an extra arm or leg or something you can not do without? Can it work with items like various hot and cold foods, or is it more limited? Try to take the time to gauge the adaptability of a lunch box or lunch bag to get the best experience. In this way, you won’t end up with a product that is not right for you.

yellow lunch bag

The simplicity of Use – Does your lunch box feel comfortable and straightforward or unwieldy and awkward? There are many possibilities here, each of which must be considered before purchasing. For example, is there a special container where you can put an ice pack, or do you put it right in the cooler with your food? Consider these elements and balance them properly to get good results.

Handle Options – Lunch boxes and coolers usually have a handful of different handle types that help to make them easier to haul. These often include a top handle, which you can grip for easier movement, and a padded shoulder strap that provides easier transportation ability. Try to gauge not just the presence of these items but their quality, reading through reviews to learn more about what to expect here.

Zipper Quality – Though it might not seem that important, the quality of your zippers will matter. After all, many lunch bags seal up with these zippers: if they come easily loose, your food may spill out or end up on the ground. Thankfully, most zippers are high-quality, though you might end up with a couple that falls below the standard. That’s why we mentioned zippers just a few times in this article when they were either weaker or better than others.

Style and Fashion – Though you don’t want to put too much effort into this facet, you shouldn’t buy a lunch box that you think is ugly or unappealing. After all, you’re going to be using it for the next several years or so. It should reflect your personality and your style as much as possible. In this way, you can get the box that makes the most sense for your needs with little difficulty.

As you can see, there are many things that you must understand before you buy one of these freezable lunch bag options. We strongly suggest that you focus on these elements in the order we printed them here. Doing so will give you the best experience possible and minimize confusion.

However, the choice is ultimately yours, so do whatever feels right for you. Doing so should minimize your potential for error.

Cooler Lunch Box FAQ

If you’re interested in buying an insulated lunch box or a cooler lunch box for your needs or your children, you may have a lot of questions on your mind.

While we feel like we probably covered most needs with our article (aside from some LL bean lunch box options that we couldn’t fit), we know that some issues may have slipped through the cracks.

That’s why we compiled this FAQ. It should give you the insight that you need and minimize any confusion.

Make sure that you read through each question and answer here to understand better.

While we can’t promise that we covered every possible question, we did our best to come up with as many as possible.

First, we thought about what we’d want to know if we were searching for a lunch box that kept food cool. From there, it was reasonably easy to think of the answers to each of these questions based on our research.

How much should I spend on a lunch box?

black lunch box

Your budget may vary based on many factors. For example, you may not have a lot of cash to spend on a lunch box and want a budget model.

We highlighted a few options that may work for you, so read through our list to identify which inexpensive models are the best.

Typically, you’ll spend less than $50 on lunch boxes like these, which is a good investment.

However, if you buy an option that makes the most sense for your needs, it could last for years: even decades.

Careful maintenance will ensure that you don’t run into any troubles with this problem.

Is it essential to keep food cool?

sandwich cooler

People buy cooling lunch boxes to prevent their food from getting warm. This option is crucial if you have foods that may spoil.

For example, a sandwich with meats and various condiments could go bad or end up with a nasty taste if you don’t keep them cool.

That’s one reason why so many offices have refrigerators for their staff. Rather than letting them eat potentially bad food, they let them store items in the fridge. You could even place your cooler in a fridge, if you wanted, to help it stay fresher longer and avoid other issues.

What might happen if I don’t keep my food cool?

food cooler bag

In most cases, if your food warms up a little during the day, it is probably not a huge deal. However, it can affect your drinks’ overall taste and quality, particularly soda. Even worse, there’s a chance that your food could spoil and cause other long-term complications that are best avoided.

As a result, if you find your food warms up faster than expected after buying one of these coolers, you may want to add an ice pack.

Many already have containers where you can place ice packs, so identify one that you like and buy an appropriate ice pack. Thankfully, we’ve covered this topic elsewhere.

Is a thicker insulated lunch box always better?

lunch box food bag

There’s a fine line when too much insulation ends up being a bad thing. That’s because thicker insulation may take more room in your box and limit its usefulness.

Thankfully, this situation is usually quite rare because most manufacturers use a similar range of thicknesses.

For instance, you probably noticed a lot of eight-millimeter foam in our descriptions.

That’s a standard foam thickness for these lunch boxes and is usually strong enough to provide maximum insulation potential.

More than that will keep food cooler but shrink your box considerably.

Should I focus on the style or the substance of a lunch box?

tropical print lunch box

As you can see, many of the boxes we highlighted on this list are relatively basic in their overall design.

That’s not a coincidence: lunch boxes focusing on utility than fashion are usually more robust and reliable.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a box that fits your style needs.

For example, most of the options we highlighted have at least a few different color and pattern selections for insulated lunch boxes that you can choose from when buying them.

As a result, finding an option that makes the most sense for your needs should be reasonably simple without causing any difficulties.

Are kid-style lunch boxes a good investment?

kid's lunch box

Should you buy a kid-friendly lunch box for your children or invest in an adult option they can use for years? That all depends on your children. Some will want a more adult-styled choice to hold more food, while others may care more about what’s on the lunch box than what’s in the lunch box.

For example, your box may have unicorns, cartoon characters, animals, athletes, and other items that will entertain a kid and make their box more enjoyable.

Later, they may hold onto the box for sentimental purposes when they feel nostalgic about their youth rather than something where they just pack a few snacks.

Will these lunch boxes be dishwasher safe?

bento box steel

Depending on the design, there might be some boxes that you can put into a dishwasher. For example, an all-cloth box without any metal components is not dishwasher safe and may end up getting damaged.

However, those with removable metal containers in bento box options may be safe.

Check the listing or the box to see what the manufacturer had to say. Then, they’ll print whether the container is safe for the dishwasher most of the time.

This option is something they do to protect customers and themselves from complaints from people who threw a metal box into a dishwasher and rusted it.

Do dangerous materials make it into lunch boxes?

A vast majority of lunch boxes are perfectly safe and feature almost no dangerous materials. When buying these lunch boxes, always look for listings like food grade and BPA free.

Most made in the United States and even China should have these listings printed on the lunch box.

However, you may find some containers that don’t have these listings and which, theoretically, could contain dangerous materials.

This risk is something to keep in mind because there’s a chance that unscrupulous manufacturers felt comfortable not taking the proper steps to handle this lunch box issue.

Get the Most Out of Your Lunch Box

After over 5,000 words of reading, you should have a pretty good idea of what kind of insulated lunch box you want for your children.

You probably feel comfortable buying just about any one of these items and feel like any will work for you.

However, you may also want to do a little more research to find lunch bags that keep food cooler for longer, including various types of metal options.

Thankfully, most of the items we included here should more than meet your needs as a buyer. Go over each review carefully, decide what kind of buyer you represent, and then choose based on that information.

Based on our in-depth reviews, you might be surprised at how well you can pick. Just as importantly, you’re likely to be satisfied with whatever option you purchase.

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