10 Best Lunch Boxes For Adults Fully Tested & Reviewed
When packing lunch, no one has to settle on brown bagging it. Brown bags are boring, flimsy, and won’t keep food warm or cold. Not to mention they are bad for environment. Instead, there are countless lunch boxes made for adults that are more practical and eco-friendly options.
Some lunch boxes are designed to keep food fresh longer with its insulated lining, while others keep food separate to avoid messes. It’s a great idea to pack meals to take to work, when on-the-go, or for post-gym snacks. One of the best ways to stick to a healthy diet is by preparing meals in advanced. Not only is carrying a lunch box a more health conscious choice since we are more likely to have nutritious meals and snacks instead of hitting up the local fast food joint or the vending machine, but it’s also slimming on the wallet. And when it comes to living a healthy life, nutrition is just as important as exercise.
And there is no reason to feel silly like a child for carrying around a lunch box, especially when it comes to these choices. Keep reading to see our list of the 10 Best Lunch Boxes for Adults!
- Good size
- Color choices
10 Best Lunch Boxes For Adults
This lunch box makes packing lunch, drinks and snacks in a neatly fashion possible. The upper section is made for holding fruit and other snacks and dry food, whereas the bottom is ideal for a tupperware container, with enough room for two cans of soda or a large bottle of water. Complete with insulated PEVA lining, there is enough room to add an ice pack, although it will keep food slightly chilled on its own. The pocket in the front is great for holding utensils and napkins, and there are pockets on the side for additional storage.
This option comes with a handle and shoulder strap that is detachable, and weighs in at only 13.6 ounces. It’s large enough to fit plenty of food, but that means it is almost the size of a backpack.
Its interior lining helps to prevent leaks. It is not dishwasher safe, but simple to take care of—just wipe to clean.
- Large enough to carry a days worth of food
- Separation of dry and cold food
- Portable and durable
- Size can be too big
- Top compartment is bigger than bottom
Coleman 9-Can Soft Cooler
This option can fit nine cans when placed on their side, or four standard size water bottles standing upright. This cooler has four places to put water bottles, plus has front and side pockets for additional storage. There is enough room for lunch with extra room to spare (when not filled with drinks), perfect for adding an ice pack with the hard plastic liner, or ice substitutes without it. It is also equipped with a bungee chord on top.
Weighing at just under a pound and combined with its adjustable shoulder strap, this is one portable option that can be used also as a cooler to take to the beach or sporting event.
The FDA-approved liner is safe to store foods and drinks, and is made with antimicrobial properties that make it easy to clean. This also prevents mildew, mold and odors.
- Great quality, especially for price
- Plenty of room for drinks
- Ideal option for portable cooler
- Lining can wear over time
- No top handle for carrying
- Smaller for some when packing drinks
The main insulated zippered compartment is deep and spacious enough for storing a sandwich or tupperware. There is a front pocket that zippers for napkins, utensils and dried snacks, as well as two side mesh pocks that is great for holding drinks or condiments.
This cooler bag features an adjustable strap for carrying. It weighs only 12 ounces, which is ideal for taking to and from work and the gym.
The interior is lined with vinyl, helping to make is easy to clean in case of spills.
- Compact, yet spacious
- Many color choices
- Great price
- No handle strap
- Vinyl inside can wear and tear over time
This is the best option for those who want to bring enough meals to last a day on the road with them. Because it is so massive, it can hold three full size meal prep containers (included) and a gel pack for keeping things cool in the main compartment. The top compartment is big enough to fit a fourth container or other snacks, keeping non-perishable foods separate. The side pocket can hold two protein shakes, with other mesh pockets available for extra storage.
Although this is a full size lunch box, it isn’t overly bulky. However, it is a little heavy at 2.7 pounds. It comes with a seatbelt webbing handle and strap for carrying.
The containers included are freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe. The durable bag itself has extra thick PEVA inner lining to make messes simple to clean by wiping it down.
- Enough room for three plus meals
- Strong ripstop fabric
- EPA foam insulation for keeping food cool
- Slightly heavy
- Large, yet compact
This option features one large zippered compartment that is insulated. It has enough space for Rubbermaid LunchBlox food containers and Blue ice packs. There are two mesh side pockets that holds one large bottle, as well as an utensil and compartment inside.
Featuring an comfort-grip handle, this option is light enough to carry around. It also comes with a removable shoulder strap.
This lunch box is microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe. Because the main compartment zips down, it’s extremely easy to wipe down to clean.
- Ideal for other Rubbermaid lunch products
- Wears and tears over time
There is enough space to stack containers in its FDA-approved non-toxic insulated interior, which helps keep food cold or warm. But this lunch box is built to hold lots more than a meal or two. Four cans of soda can be stacked by two and there still be enough room for lunch (or carry 12-18 cans and use a cooler). This option is tall enough to store 20 oz. water bottles, which sets it apart from other options. It features a front zippered pocket, as well as mesh pockets and on the inside lid for additional storage.
This is one big lunch box that is versatile enough to be used as a cooler, for sports or even as a baby bag. Bringing to the gym or for a picnic is easy thanks to its 48” shoulder strap that has a padded cushion for extra comfort, plus a handle.
This water resistant is cleaned easily by wiping clean with a damp cloth.
- Can fit large water bottles
- Enough space for all day food and drinks
- Adjustable strap
- Various color options
- A bit bulky for every day use
- Lining wears and tears over time
This leak proof lunch box has three compartment that portions and keeps foods separate and sealed from each other. This is ideal for preventing foods from getting soggy. It allows the user to keeps snacks or carbs in the smaller box, with the entree in the large section.
Unlike the other options on this list, this lunch box is slim and compact enough to fit inside a gym bag, purse or brief case. It comes with a 9” x 9” bento box and its accompanying insulated bag. It’s the perfect size for traveling with, and comes with a handle.
This option is dishwasher, freezer and microwave safe—just remove the lid. It’s design makes it the easiest to clean on this list.
- Slim and small enough to fit into a bag
- Comes with “World of Bento” recipe book
- Not ideal for salads
Super slim, this lunch box starts off and finished collapsed, but doubles in size when expanded to be filled with food. It’s made from silicone, and has three compartments—one large and two small—to hold leftovers, salad, or even soup. The included spork and condiment snaps into the lid, so these won’t get lost in a larger bag.
Because it compresses and expands, this is one of the most portable on this list. But that’s only when being carried in another bag. It doesn’t have any carrying handles or straps.
This option is microwave and dishwasher safe, so cleaning up remaining food or crumbs is extremely easy because of its design.
- Compact and ultra thin
- Eco-friendly (made BPA-free, from food grade silicon and recyclable plastic)
- Not as portable when carrying alone
- No space for carrying drinks
The PackIt lunch box resembles a brown paper bag when it comes to design. It has only one main compartment, with the top folding over and is fastened by velcro. There is space for a container for salad and snacks, although it will only hold one meal and small goodies. What makes it stand out is that it has an exclusive eco-gel that is built into the liner that helps keep food fresh longer. It’s the perfect size to store in the freezer for even more long lasting chill when used the next day.
This is an extremely portable option, weighing just over a pound. Plus it folds to be very slim when empty. But it’s best when put into a gym bag, purse or brief case because it doesn’t come with any handle or shoulder straps.
This bag is not meant to get clean it the dishwater or washing machine. Instead, it’s recommended to hand wash both the interior and exterior with mild soap and a damp cloth.
- Patent eco-gel that keeps foods cold
- No carrying handles
- Velcro becomes undone when too full
With its unique design, this is a trendy option for those looking to Instagram their meals. BPA-free and air tight to prevent leaks, it comes with a removable divider to keep dry and chilled foods separate. Although it looks small, it is deep enough to fit more than a dinner plate worth of food.
Lightweight and visually appealing to show off, this Bento Box-style lunch box is best carried in another bag. It doesn’t have any carrying handles, and probably won’t fit in most brief cases.
Easy to clean thanks to its design, it’s best to hand wash, but can also go into the dishwasher.
- Stylish Bento Box
- Removable divider for organization
- White container stains
- More expensive
- Not as portable
The Criteria We Used To Find The Best Adult Lunch Boxes
Lunch boxes are made to transport food, but there are many other features that make one worth buying. First and foremost, it should have enough space to fit at least a meal and a drink. But just because one is roomy enough does not necessarily mean that it will deliver when it comes to its performance and overall quality. For example, the lunch box should be made to last and be portable enough to actually get use out of it.
The options on this list were selected after in-depth research to provide the consumer with practical and highly-rated selections. When deciding on which are the best lunch boxes for adults we used the following criteria:
Adults don’t want to be embarrassed or feel childish for carrying around a lunch box. That is why design is important. But design in this context means much more than if it has an appealing look. It also has to do with how it is designed. Is it functional? How many compartments and pockets does it have? Does it keep cold/warm foods and snacks separated? What is it made out if?
It’s also important that the lunch box is built to last. The main point of using one is to be able to bring meals with the consumer for a longer period of time opposed to the daily lifespan of a brown bag. Besides rips and tears, is the lunch box leak-proof? Can it go in the microwave or freezer? How long will it last?
Depending on what it’s being used for, some lunch boxes are bigger than others. But even though that are larger, they must also be portable enough to actually be taken with the consumer. Here we looked at if the lunch box is lightweight. Does it include a handle or strap, or can it fit inside a bigger bag?
When packing perishable food or drink, it’s crucial to consider if the lunch box is insulated or not. Does it keep food cold/warm? Would, could, or should the consumer need to use an ice pack?
Even the most leak-proof options may have some spills or leftover crumbs. These messes must be cleaned. How hard is it to clean this option? Do smells linger?
Other Important Factors To Consider When Selecting The Best Adult Lunch Boxes
Whether you are training for a big race or just want to stick to your nutrition , the type of lunch box a consumer purchases should be tailored to suit their dietary needs. That might mean only looking for insulated options to keep food fresh longer, or choosing ones with room for large water bottles when looking to drink more water or a space to hold that post-gym protein shake. Think about what kinds of food that will packed to see which one will work best.
Size is important when it comes to picking the best lunch box. Some may be carrying it alone, while others might normally travel with more than one bag. Consider if an option is just too bulky to take.
While having enough space is important, having too much space can mean things get lost or shuffled around in the lunch box. No one wants to be scrambling around to find their snack when at their desk. That’s why organization is key. There should be a place or pocket for everything, so the consumer knows just where their napkins or even keys are.
Some lunch boxes come with containers or work well with containers sold by that same brand. How many containers and what size they are depends on each option. Those who typically pack a sandwich and some fruit might not care about containers, whereas those who prefer leftovers or entrees might want to consider bento box options.
Spills And Stains
Using containers or sealed Ziploc bags are the ideal way to avoid spills. But there are lunch boxes on the market that claim to be leak-proof thanks to its interior liner. Take this into consideration when making a lunch box choice. Some options that are more like meal kits might say they will prevent spills, but when carrying in a larger bag, it’s better to be safe than sorry. And even though light spills won’t soak through the box, some lunch boxes can easily stain depending on their color and material.
It doesn’t cost that much for a high quality lunch box, but prices do vary. Surprisingly, some only cost a few bucks and still are among the best out there. Just because it costs more doesn’t mean it will perform better. How much a consumer is willing to spend is up to them, but generally this is a worthy (and cheap) investment. Just think about all the money saved from going out to buy lunch.
Q: What are lunch boxes made of?
A: The materials used varies for all lunch boxes. While some are made of metal or aluminum, the ones on this list are generally made of vinyl or plastic. Not all lunch boxes are insulated, but some that are feature FDA-compliant PEVA lining that is safe and lead free. To find out what materials are used for a specific option, read its product description.
Q: Does lunch boxes “sweat” when left out or food thaws?
A: Plastic lunch boxes like bento boxes typically do not sweat on the exterior once cold food thaws. When using ice blocks, room temperature food will cause some sweating because of the moisture from the ice. Frozen food will also sweat once they start to thaw, which is great for having a cold water bottle by lunchtime, but could cause other foods to get soggy. It’s best to look for a lunch box that has multiple compartments for keeping dry food away from cold ones to prevent this.
This “sweat” is actually moisture caused by condensation. What happens is a cold bottle or container can cause water vapor in the air to cool down, condense and form tiny balls of liquid, which is what many call sweat. Worst case is the interior of the lunch bag could get moist, although the condensation won’t soak through the exterior of the lunch box.
Q: How do you clean a lunch bag?
A: Some options can go right into the dishwasher, making them very easy to clean. However, always check the instructions first because some insulated options cannot. When in doubt, hand washing the lunch box or bag is the way to do. All the consumer needs is mild detergent, warm water and a cloth or sponge. Moisten the cloth or sponge with soap and water and wipe both the inside and outside. Then use only water on a cloth to wipe away the soap and leave open to dry.
Q: What is the difference between an adult and child lunch box?
A: Both lunch boxes for children and adults have the same functionalities. The main difference here is the colors, prints and designs. Most options for children feature popular characters or more appealing designs. They might not have as many compartments and places for storage. It’s safe to say that many adult don’t want to be carrying around an option made for children. But the same isn’t true the other way around.
Adult lunch boxes typically have more room to store more meals and drinks. Many lunch boxes made for adults can also be used for children—especially those who need to pack school lunch and then need snacks and cold sport drinks to bring to practice after school.
Q: Can perishable goods still be packed in non-insulated lunch boxes?
A: Yes, they can. However, consider how long the food or drink will be left outside of a refrigerator. If this means a short commute to work before being stored in a fridge, this should not be a problem when used with an ice pack. Ice packs can help increase the time foods stay cold and fresh, so either way it’s a good idea to have one or two in the freezer ready to go.
Q: What is the best size lunch box?
A: The size that is the right fit for the consumer is specific to that person. Think about how portable, lightweight and compact you want the lunch box to be, as well as how much room is ideal. Bigger lunch boxes are best for longer work days to hold more than one meal, sporting events for extra drinks, camping, and picnics. Go for a smaller bag when just wanted to pack the essentials for lunch.
When purchasing an option online, like on Amazon for example, read the product description to check the size of that specific lunch box.
- How to pack a lunch box with cold food and hot food, Blog, ,
- How to choose a lunchbox for your child, News Website, Aug 28, 2013 ,
- Steamy Science: Demonstrating Condensation, Science Website, Apr 25, 2013 ,