Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Best insulated lunch bags 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated May 1, 2021
Best insulated lunch bags of 2018
Not all insulated lunch bags are created equal though. There are dozens of choices for an insulated lunch bags these days. These are composed of modern styling with modern technology to match it. Here are some good examples.
There is a wide range of products available on the market today, and below I have reviewed 3 of the very best options. The rating is based on multiple factors: The 3 metrics ‐ Design, Materials, Performance, and other indicators such as: Popularity, Opinions, Brand, Reputation and more.
Test Results and Ratings
Why did this insulated lunch bags win the first place?
I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! The material is stylish, but it smells for the first couple of days. I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing!
№2 – Lunch Bag Extra Large Insulated Lunch Box 13.5″ x 13.5″ x 7.5″ Zipper Tote Bags With Wallte Pouch 6.5″L x 3.5H”
Why did this insulated lunch bags come in second place?
Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed.
Why did this insulated lunch bags take third place?
I hope that the good reputation of the manufacturer will guarantee a long-term work. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built.
insulated lunch bags Buyer’s Guide
The Insider Pick
School lunches are very often mediocre, and it costs a lot of money to buy food every day. So why not pack your lunch in an awesome lunch box? We’ve rounded up the very best lunch boxes for pre-school, elementary school, middle school, high school, college, and professional life.
Whether your child is heading back to school, you are going back to school, or you’ve just grown tired of buying your lunch from the food truck outside your workplace each day, there’s no denying that a new lunch box makes the midday meal just a little bit tastier.
We visited the top consumer websites to check out the research, and listened to buyer feedback on what owners love — and don’t love — about their purchases. So if you’re ready to eat, forget about that crumpled paper sack, and read on. Here are the five lunch boxes that we most recommend.
The Bentgo Kids Bento Box, the Packit Freezable Lunch Bag, the L.L. Bean Flip-Top Lunch Box, the L.L. Bean Insulated Lunch Box, and the Ramaka Solutions Insulated Lunch Bag are the best lunch boxes you can buy no matter your age.
The bag is overall recommended because it carries a lot in a compact space. Trainers and athletes can pack several full meals and snacks in this bag. The shaker cup can easily mix meal supplements or protein powder for athletically-inclined users. The shaker bottle also doubles as a water bottle.
No shoulder strap
This bag is large enough to fit not just food, but other accessories as well. A folded towel and sunglasses can be carried with ease, particularly for those who wish to take the bag on a picnic or hiking trip. The bag also has a fleece-lined pocket and two additional insulated pockets. The larger compartment is designed to carry as many as three full meals. Cutlery utensils are not included, but they can be carried in the zipper compartment. The pack does include three plastic containers with lids. These containers are designed to hold meals, and the pack also includes a smaller container for carrying smaller items, such as vitamin supplements.
This pack is recommended for its organizational capabilities. The meal system even includes a small, removable pouch along with the bag. This pouch can hold small personal items, such as a cell phone or wallet.
Must be carried on the back with shoulder straps
This LISH bag is intended for the sporty user who wishes to tote multiple small meals and snacks at once, either to the gym or on a hiking trip. Users who wish to cook and transport healthy meals will find this bag a viable option. The bag has both a top carrying handle and a detachable shoulder strap. The six containers include four larger square containers and two smaller rectangular ones. One ice pack to keep food fresh and cool is also included in the bag. A small, plastic vitamin supplement container is also included. The side mesh pocket makes it easy to carry a water bottle or sports drink.
The included ice pack can keep food fresh for a couple of hours. However, if the user wants the food to stay fresh all day, it is highly recommended that the user purchase a second ice pack to go along with the included one.
The pack is overall recommended for its simplicity. It easily fits the six included containers, and there is a side pocket for additional storage space.
No extra features
In addition to the meal bag, this system also includes four large containers to fit up to four meals. An adjustable bottle holder is made onto the side of the bag, and this is intended for the user to carry a water bottle or another drink. The bag itself is insulated, which helps to keep food cool and fresh. Made for durability, the bag is lined with quality nylon inside and a polyester shell outside. Buyers have a choice between a red, black, grey or blue bag.
Overall, the bag is recommended as a good choice for those who want a simple bag and do not need lots of additional storage space.
Meal prep bags come in all colors. Bright neon ones are best for the gym or best to be used as a travel cooler. A basic black bag is inconspicuous and looks professional. Neon colors are generally not a great fit for a professional office environment.
Straps and Handles
Some meal prep bags include both a carrying handle atop the bag as well as a shoulder strap. When shopping for a meal prep bag, the customer should consider which feature is most important. For ease of use, the shoulder strap is perhaps the most comfortable. A shoulder strap with a metal harness tends to be sturdier than a plastic one. Meal prep bags with only carrying handles on top will work if the bag is a small one (measuring less than 1inches high and 1inches wide). Otherwise, carrying the bag using the top handle will most often cause the bag to rip or come unstitched.
All of the meal prep bags mentioned here are insulated, but in most cases, insulation simply consists of strips of foam underneath a layer of nylon. Even the best of these products can get worn down with time. Thus, the most trustworthy companies will offer a warranty.
Who should get this
If you or your kids have a lunch box that is difficult to clean and is beginning to smell a little funky, it’s probably time for a new one. If you’re an adult who works in remote locations, or if you have kids in grades K–12, access to refrigeration for packed lunches is unlikely. A durable, insulated lunch box is a must for holding ice packs and keeping foods at safe temperatures.
How we picked and tested
After researching 50 lunch containers, we tested 1for this guide.
For this guide we tested lunch boxes for both adults and kids, covering insulated lunch boxes, bento boxes, and metal and plastic food storage containers. Regardless of the type of lunch container you use, it should be break-resistant, stain-resistant, and easy to clean and store. Food storage containers should also be leakproof.
Since insulated lunch boxes are intended to keep food cold without refrigeration, they need to be large enough to hold a substantial lunch and multiple ice packs (ideally, they should have a mesh pocket on the interior lid for holding an ice pack in place). A shoulder strap is a must if you’re an outdoor worker, especially if you’re carrying other equipment to a jobsite. Though we had difficulty finding waterproof lunch boxes, an exterior material that’s slow to absorb liquids is a nice feature for keeping rainwater out, especially when you’re working outdoors.
For kids, we looked for insulated lunch boxes that were roomy enough to hold an average-size lunch yet compact enough to fit in a backpack. We tested lunch boxes with mesh pockets on the side, which are convenient for holding additional snacks.
Some parents feel uncomfortable using plastic food storage containers. For this reason, we decided to try a couple of metal containers, which are a good alternative to glass because they weigh less and won’t break. However, they can’t go into a microwave to reheat your lunch, and they aren’t leakproof. (We do recommend several glass options in our guide to the best food storage containers).
Our picks for the best insulated lunch boxes: the L.L.Bean Lunch Box (left) and the Coleman 9-Can Soft Cooler (right).
We also looked for bento-style boxes for young kids and adults that have either separate compartments with individual lids or a single lid that seals the entire box. Bento designs with a single lid need to be airtight to prevent the contents from spilling over the compartment walls and to keep food odors from mingling. Cassie Hollmann, assistant children’s programming director at Citibabes in New York, who works with kids from months to years old, told us, “A good seal might be the most important thing.” A tight seal is especially important for little kids who store their lunches in their backpacks or cubbies. “Many times backpacks, lunch boxes, and shoes end up upside down and haphazardly put away,” Hollmann said.
Some bento boxes, such as the Bentgo Kids Lunch Box, have a single lid that covers individual compartments.
No adult bento boxes did well in our tests. If you prefer packing your lunch in separate compartments, we’ve found that nothing works better than glass or plastic food storage containers.
Care and maintenance
It’s important to keep the contents of a lunch box within an acceptable temperature range for food safety. In an article for Foodsafety.gov, Bridgette A. Keefe writes, “Remember the 2-Hour rule: you must keep hot foods HOT and cold foods COLD.” Perishables last only two hours in temperatures between 40°F and 90°F before they spoil. If the temperature of food is between 90°F and 140°F, perishables will last only about one hour before you need to refrigerate or freeze them. Always keep cold foods under 40°F and hot foods above 140°F. If you or your child don’t have access to a refrigerator, the USDA recommends using two cold packs (larger than by inches each), one above and one below perishable items such as dairy or sandwiches.
Most insulated lunch boxes are not machine washable or dishwasher safe. Manufacturers suggest wiping insulated lunch boxes clean with a mild dish detergent and a damp paper towel. Be sure to dry an insulated lunch box with paper towels or a cloth and leave it open and unzipped to air dry completely before you use it. Your best bet is to clean an insulated lunch box once or twice a week to prevent it from acquiring an unpleasant, off scent.
For difficult stains, such as those from tomato sauce, removing the soiled area may take multiple attempts. If the exterior becomes stained, we recommend cleaning it immediately with a little soap and water for best results.
Most plastic and metal food storage containers are dishwasher safe (top rack only), but always read the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use and care. For some bento boxes with rubber seals around the lid, wash by hand to avoid possible deterioration.
The Rubbermaid LunchBlox Sandwich Kit 180623is a great storage option for young kids. These containers stack together nicely and lock into a plastic, freezable ice pack, which in our tests kept foods at safe temperatures for nearly four hours. However, since this set is so tall when stacked, it doesn’t fit into shallower lunch boxes like our pick from L.L.Bean.
For young kids, the ECOlunchbox Three-in-One is a nice, compact stainless steel option. The metal containers are easy to clean and dishwasher safe. This lunch box didn’t suffer any dents or permanent damage in our drop tests, but we ruled it out because it’s not leakproof and it’s too small for older kids and adults.
The Ramaka Solutions Insulated Lunch Bag is cheaply made and too big to serve as a lunch bag for a single person. The thin walls of this bag also lack structure, so it sags when fully packed. In our tests the exterior of the bag stained badly with tomato sauce, and the interior lining was difficult to wipe clean. However, a representative from Ramaka Solutions has informed us that this bag is now being made by a new supplier. We’ll consider testing the new bag for our next update.
Because the Herschel Canteen Lunch Pack lacks a handle, it’s inconvenient to hold. In person, the color of this bag is neon orange, as opposed to the rust color depicted on the Herschel website. We found that the inner lining stained easily, and it was difficult to clean.
The Wildkin Lunch Box has an inner lining with a lot of seams that trap crumbs and make cleaning difficult. In our tests the interior stained badly with tomato sauce.
The Bentgo All-in-one Stackable Bento Lunch Box was a pain to use. We had trouble fitting the lids onto the containers, and the plastic cutlery was a nuisance. The elastic band stained badly with tomato sauce and was difficult to remove.
The Bentology Bento Set seems cheaply made. The lids do not fit the bases well (before or after dishwashing), and they’re not leakproof.
The Happy Tiffin Raja Tier Tiffin Lunch Box is too large for a lunch portion; it’s more suitable for bringing to picnics. It’s also a bit tall to fit in a crowded fridge, especially if you’re bringing it to work. It dented in our drop tests.
WHAT This was created to store both bottles and breastpumps in one cooler bag. Two compartments let you stash all sorts of accessories and pump parts, while a waterproof, dirt-resistant outer layer makes it durable and easy to maintain. The fully insulated inner padding keeps milk cold for up to hours.
PARENTS SAY You’ll enjoy easy access to the contents, especially when you’re busy with your baby, thanks to the wide opening. It’s also large enough to hold most breast pumps and all its parts. Though the design is very basic, we like the versatility offered by the different ways in which we can carry it.
WHAT Simply collapse the cooler bag, pop it into the freezer for hours and it’s ready to use! Fits six bottles ― the tote handle makes it easy to carry around. The built-in cooling panels will keep your milk chilled for 1hours.
PARENTS SAY You don’t have to deal with ice packs or messy condensation with this spacious cooler bag. Although it’s expensive, you know you’re paying for something reliable. You can easily use it to transport food and drinks for outings and picnics when your pumping days are over.
WHAT Pumping mums will love this portable BPA-free cooler set that will keep your breastmilk cool and safe. Comes with four Medela storage milk bottles ― very handy! ― and a contoured ice pack.
PARENTS SAY This is probably the cooler bag you’ll want to go for if you are using a Medela pump. It’s compact and portable, and the ideal fit for four Medela storage bottles. The ice pack ensures that your bottles of milk won’t go tumbling around the bag. However, some mums wish that it’s slightly bigger, especially the mums who express more than twice a day might find this bag a bit too small.
Extra Large Insulated Lunch Bag by Sacko Adult Reusable Lunch Box with Adjustable Shoulder Strap (Red) For Men, Women. Great Lunchbox for Work, Picnics, etc.
A similar offering to the one above, the No. 21Lunch Tote is handmade in Nebraska out of waxed canvas with a leather strap closure. It’ll get you through thousands of lunches, guaranteed (in fact, it comes with a lifetime guarantee).
Oumers Large Insulated Lunch Bag
Want to get the best insulated lunch box but don’t want to break the bank? In that case, Oumers tote box cooler bag is a fantastic choice for you. It is made of 300D polyester for extra durability. This tote bag can be used for several purposes like school, fishing, work, and picnics. This bag can keep the snack or cooked food warm for 2-hours. It can keep foods cool for a long time if you put ices around the goods.The price of this insulated lunch box is super cheap.
Fit & Fresh Ladies Insulated Lunch Bag
This amazing insulated lunch bag is primarily designed for women. It has a stylish way to carry and keep your food/lunch fresh. There is an ice pack included into the interior mesh pocket to keep your lunch fresh for hours. You can easily open and stow foods, thanks to the wire frame and zipper closure. The gray PEVA lining is PVC free. It is relatively easy to clean this lunch cooler bag.
MIER 30Cans Collapsible Soft Cooler Bag
If you want to go more old school, you will love this collapsible cooler bag. High-quality anti-tearing polyester fabric with leakproof PEVA lining will keep the food cold or hot for long hours. This lunch bag comes with lots of spaces which can hold up to 30 cans. Besides that, you can also keep some wine bottles.
Skip Hop Zoo makes these little zip up lunch boxes. Other than the BPA free insulated interior, this nifty, kids sized lunch box has an interior mesh pocket for cutlery, serviette etc., and a cute little name tag, perfect for personalizing with your little one name.
The top handle can be hooked onto a backpack. This particular line of lunch boxes has matching kids backpacks, water bottles and food containers.
Disney Descendants Insulated Lunch Kit
Be on top of the newest movie trends with this Disney inspired lunch container.
The emoji movement is crazy! Have you seen the Emoji movie? July 17th every year is World Emoji Day. Emojis have evolved along with the electronic and technical communication evolution.
This insulated black neoprene lunch satchel features many of the most popular emojis. There is a sturdy inside zipper in this cool bag and oval key-hole reinforced handles sewn into the top of the lunch box.
The eco-friendly PVC and BPA free lunch kit measures 11.42″ x 10.43″ x 5.1″ and is 8.7″ deep. Wash this bag on the gentle cycle and air dry. This expressive lunch tote is waterproof and roomy enough for a good, healthy lunch. You will get a happy face when you present your little emoji fans with this bag.
A good idea is to place a small ice pack in the bag that will allow food safety for longer than the 2-hours advertised. Its a great way to keep food cold.
Apple and Mint Lunch Bags
My kids used these lunchbags last year with their yumbox panino lunch boxes. The perfect solution, featuring the patented icy cold freezable cooling panel, that keeps your contents cooler for longer – up to eight hours! Made of a water-resistant easy clean double-coated linen exterior, store your favourite food, drinks and healthy snacks whilst on the go. It does have a mesh pocket and seams inside the lunch bag, I did find this hard to keep clean.
Reusable food pouches
A market leader in durable and reliable reusable pouches in a vibrant and fun range of colours and designs to suit all ages. My Lil Pouch was created by a busy mum to sets of twins, born less than years apart, it was obvious to her what busy mums need to make life easier, and mess-free snacking for all ages. Available here.
Easy Peasy Sushi Maker
Square Sandwich Cutter
The Square Animal Sandwich and Cookie Cutter allows you to not only cut a sandwich into separate sections and remove the crust with ease it and stamp four cute animal faces onto each sandwich quarter. This cutter cuts right to the edge for minimal waste. Available here.
This space-age thermal batting from The Warm Company was originally designed for insulating air conditioning ducts or wrapping your hot water heater (for which it’s very effective). But Insul-Shine is actually quite sewable.
You can make something simple, like a reflective visor for your car or to put in your RV windows to prevent sun damage. If you’re looking for a mod metallic look, you could also use it to cover a headboard, throw pillows, or make a budding astronaut very happy with some rocket wall art.
Insul-Shine has two layers, reflective material and insulating polyester batting. The metal surface wipes clean and actually acts as a water barrier for soft coolers, diaper bags, and bottle carriers.
It is washable, but doing this may dull the reflective side. Sold in 22″ and 45″ widths.
Neither Iron Quick products should ever be used in the microwave.
Both can be machine washed but should then be air dried – not tossed in the dryer. You can also use a damp cloth to wipe clean.
Nancy’s Notions carries both types of Iron Quick products by the yard.
Back in the 1980s, the 3M Company introduced an amazing new insulating material called Thinsulate. Ounce for ounce it had one and a half times the warmth of down and twice the warmth of other high-loft insulation materials. It meant you could get sleek ski gloves that were just as warm as giant, puffy mittens.
A quarter century later, Thinsulate is still amazing. Made from microfibers that are only a tenth the size of of other synthetic insulation, it’s much more effective at reflecting back heat. And Thinsulate absorbs less than 1% of its weight in water, allowing it to retain its insulating ability even in damp conditions. You can use it in any kind of project where you want to keep warm but don’t want a lot of bulk, such as jackets and blankets.
You can get varying densities of Thinsulate, depending on the weight and R-value (insulating property) you want, from 1.up to 2.9.
Thinsulate is machine washable and dry cleanable once you have sewn it inside your project. It is a bit tough to find as yardage, but we did locate Thinsulate online at Vogue Fabric Store and The Rain Shed. It’s available by the yard, 60″ wide.
Wrap-N-Zap by Pellon is the only thermal product mentioned on this page that we can safely declare to be microwave safe. It’s got Zap in its name and it says “Microwave Friendly!” right on the package.
Made from 100% cotton batting, without glues or other chemicals that could leach into foods, Wrap-N-Zap is designed for projects like insulated baked potato bags and casserole warmers – situations where you heat up the food inside the cover and leave the cover on to keep food warm.
We found it in a 45″ x yard package at Joann Fabric and Nancy’s Notions.
Thermal fabrics are a “hot” trend
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your insulated lunch bags wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of insulated lunch bags
- №1 — 15 In Long Large Reusable Zippered Top Insulated Lunch Bag
- №2 — Lunch Bag Extra Large Insulated Lunch Box 13.5″ x 13.5″ x 7.5″ Zipper Tote Bags With Wallte Pouch 6.5″L x 3.5H”
- №3 — Insulated Lunch Cooler Bag