You can’t just put an ice block in your lunchbox and call it a day. You need a lunchbox that can seal in the cold for long enough to last through the day (or at least until your next meal time). Otherwise, you might as well be carrying your food in a grocery bag.
Insulated lunchboxes come in a variety of colors and shapes, but they all keep your food fresher for longer. We’ve put together a list of the ten best insulated lunchboxes to help get you started. No more lukewarm food. Time for a change.
PackIt’s innovative lunchbox gets rid of the ice block in favor of a freezable liner built directly into the lunchbox itself. You can just fold it up and freeze the night before for all-day cooling the next day.
It offers space for small meals and a snack or two. The outside is a durable poly canvas with a BPA free liner inside. It wipes clean and resists odors, but it is entirely food safe. The interior is taller than it is wide, so it’s suitable for taller bottles or containers that need more vertical space.
Who it’s for: People who hate wasting space with cold blocks.
Coleman’s cooler lives two lives. It’s a larger size lunch box but also becomes a rigid cooler that can store up to nine cans. It’s durable nylon that resists stains and wipes clean while the interior hardliner is removable for easier packing for lunchtime.
It stands upright and offers plenty of space for multiple meals. It’s good for workers who work longer shifts than just one meal time or who need to pack multiple snack items. It’s also good for parents. There’s exterior storage, including a water bottle pocket and a front mesh pocket. The bungee cord secures things directly to the top.
Who it’s for: Parents, travelers, day-trippers, and people who need versatility.
IceTec’s lunchbox is another freezable type that uses a simple block style to give you plenty of packing space. It comes in a variety of colors and patterns and will keep your food cold for about ten hours.
The interior is food safe and BPA free with no stitches that can leak. It wipes clean and resists odors. A three-quarter zip around top gives you easy access to all your food without fighting to get containers out. It can hold up to 11 cans if you’re just looking for a good time or plenty of food for a large meal and snacks if your work shift is long.
Who it’s for: People facing a long shift at work or headed to a festival.
The Yeti is a heavy-duty cooler made with a Dry Hide shell that’s waterproof and puncture and mildew resistant. The leak-proof zipper gives you flexibility for the type of conditions and whether you’re using the cooler in and helps keep the interior cool. The liner is BPA free and food safe.
It can hold six cans or about eight pounds of ice if you’re using it as a small cooler. It has loops on the front for attaching extra storage with clips or carabiners. The cold cell insulation helps keep temperatures consistent for far longer than a traditional soft-sided cooler.
Who it’s for: People who put coolers through the wringer.
Stanley’s cooler is a hard-walled cooler with foam insulation to seal in the cold. It uses a leak resistant lock that goes on tight and stays put. It wipes down and resists odors. It’s a bit top heavy, but if you have plenty inside, it shouldn’t be an issue.
The top tie down secures a thermos or bottle in place, and the flat top can even function as an impromptu seat. It has three times the foam of other comparable coolers, which should keep your food and drinks cooler for up to 38% longer. It’s BPA free and comes with Stanley’s lifetime warranty against defects.
Who it’s for: Tailgaters, day hikers, festival goers.
The Everest Cooler is a simple, insulated lunch box that gives you space for one meal and some snacks. It has storage on the exterior for a water bottle and for small items such as candy or gum.
The interior is easy to clean vinyl and has a zip around closure that allows you easy access to whatever is inside. The adjustable shoulder strap puts it at a convenient length to carry either across a shoulder or as a cross body bag. It’s simple and traditional, suitable for office workers who need something professional or students who need a basic lunchbox.
Who it’s for: Lunch traditionalists
This cooler is another classic, hard-sided design with good space for a small meal and snacks. The top opens with one hand via pushbutton release, and the lid opens to either side for easy access to your food.
The locking lid helps prevent spills, and the hard sides prevent leaks. It shouldn’t tip over because it’s well balanced, and the interior plastic resists odors and mildew. It comes with two foam sleeves, and ultra thermal insulation keeps food and drinks cold for longer than many soft-sided coolers.
Who it’s for: People who hate leaks but carry leaky things.
This cooler is made from highly durable 600 denier polyester and zips into two different compartments. You could keep both your cold and warm food at their respective temperatures without having to sacrifice food safety. It also allows you to organize by meals if you carry more than one, or by meals and snacks.
It has a simple carry handle and a detachable shoulder handle, plus double reinforced stitching on both. You can wipe the lunch box clean, and it resists staining. The material can handle some wear and tear, so if you commute through public transportation, it’s ready.
Who it’s for: People who need two compartments (hot/cold, lunch/dinner, meal/snack).
The thick insulation for this soft sided lunchbox keeps food colder, but there’s nothing dangerous about the materials themselves. The inner liner is food safe and leak resistant, and the traditional square shape gives you plenty of space to organize your containers inside.
The outside resists stains and wipes clean easily. It folds flat to store and has an adjustable shoulder strap for more comfortable transport. There’s a mesh pocket on the front to keep small items such as gum or utensils easily accessible.
Who it’s for: Students and office workers who need a reliable lunchbox.