10 Best Lunch Boxes For Adults Fully Tested & Reviewed
Kids aren’t the only ones who take their lunches! Adults need lunchboxes too. Brown bagging it can get messy, costly, and isn’t exactly great for the environment. We won’t even go into plastic bags and other temporary options. Lunchboxes are the eco-friendly option that every adult needs to consider. You can reuse it every day, and it keeps you organized and is always available. Believe it or not, there are plenty of sophisticated adult lunchboxes that you can take with you wherever you go. These are a great option for runners, especially those who enjoy running far from home and who need to fuel up along the way.
A good insulated lunchbox can keep foods fresher for a longer period of time and can maintain temperatures as well. This means that you can take healthy and perishable foods with you. Runners understand that their bodies are under a lot of stress. It never hurts to have a little extra fuel to keep you going when you’ve already burned through your last meal. Distance running is particularly difficult and requires more hydration and more frequent meals.
Many runners also really enjoy the outdoors. This means camping, hiking, and days at the beach. A good adult lunchbox can make these experiences that much better. Nowadays, there are plenty of options for you to choose from. Some lunchboxes are insulated, while others are made for quick meals on the go. The type of lunchbox you purchase is really based on your needs. We reviewed a huge range of different products and listed the best of the best for our readers to check out.
- 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
Fit & Fresh Jaxx Fitpak
This lunchbox is great for meal preppers and those of you who like to keep your food and snacks perfectly separated. It comes equipped with 6 leak-proof portion control containers, a shaker bottle, ice pack, and storage space for utensils and napkins. Overall this lunchbox is well organized, easy to use, and will hold everything you need throughout the day.
This option perfectly fits everything you need and allows you to easily, and cleanly put everything back once your done eating from each container. It comes with a handle and ample storage room for everything. It easy to carry and will not be a hassle to take from place to place.
This lunchbox, and its accessories, are BPA free, microwave safe, and dishwasher safe. Making them safe to use and easy to clean.
- Comes with all the accessories you need
- Great price point
- Several color options, BPA free
- Microwave safe
- Dishwasher safe
- Ample space
- No shoulder strap
- Containers may be difficult to open because they seal so tightly
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 serve a specific purpose. They transport food, but there are plenty of other features that can make one better than the other. An adult lunch box needs to be considerate of an adult diet. This means it needs to have more space for larger portions of different types of foods. It also needs to be durable enough to withstand the types of activities that you plan on using it for. If it falls apart the first time it gets rained on, then it definitely isn’t the type of lunchbox our runners need.
We looked at a wide range of criteria when making this list and chose products that could handle the wear and tear associated with athletics. We looked at how they would best serve runners and other people who enjoy getting out and going places. We looked at practicality, user reviews, and overall ratings. When choosing the best lunch boxes for adults we considered the following factors:
As adults, no one really expects us to carry lunch boxes with our favorite superheroes on them (no offense if you’re sporting a Wolverine lunchbox). In this sense, it’s important to have a sleek and mature design that really complements your style. Design in this context also means more than aesthetics. It has to do with the functionality of the lunch box as a whole. Will it have enough compartments and pockets for all of your foods? Does it maintain foods at the right temperature? And, will it stand up to excessive wear and tear?
We looked at all of this and more when choosing the lunch boxes with the best designs for this list.
Whether you’re packing your lunch for the office or for an extended camping trip, you want to be sure that the lunchbox can stand up to whatever you’re doing. Durability is a huge factor when purchasing things like this. The last thing you want is for the insulation to give out and spoil the lunch that you were looking forward to. Or, to have everything fall out midstride in the middle of a distance run.
You need to look at the materials, the types of insulation used, and the way that the lunchbox is sealed. Some models prefer Velcro, while others use zippers or snaps. Velcro has a tendency to wear out quickly and can pick up things from outside. When looking at models that use this option, make sure that they’re using a higher-quality Velcro then your standard lunchboxes. The model that you choose needs to be well aligned with your personal needs.
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?
If a lunchbox isn’t able to maintain a temperature, you could end up needing additional supplies like ice packs or extra insulation. You also need to see whether or not the lunchbox can withstand being kept in the freezer or in high temperatures. If extreme temperatures cause the bag to break down faster or get damaged, then it may not be the lunchbox for you. It’s always best to consider exactly what you’ll be doing with the lunchbox before purchasing a certain model.
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?
A Few More Things To Think About
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 adults don’t want to be carrying around an option made for children. But the same isn’t always 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.
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