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The Best Lunch Box

Last updated on May 24, 2024

Our Review Process

Don't Waste Your Money is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our Picks For The Top Lunch Boxes

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

Lifewit 4-Layer Thermal Lunch Box

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

Lifewit

4-Layer Thermal Lunch Box

Whether you plan on taking a cold sandwich with fresh fruit or a hot soup with a warm bun to work, this lunch box has you covered. It's made with four layers to keep food insulated and features front and side pockets for drinks and condiments. You can get the lunch box in either black, gray or leopard print.

Overall Take

Two Ways to CarryYou can get this lunch box is 8.5, 15 and 24-liter capacities.

 Runner Up

BALORAY Oxford Cloth Lightweight Lunch Box

BALORAY

Oxford Cloth Lightweight Lunch Box

Available in 26 fun prints, you're sure to find this lunch box is a style that matches your personality. The lunch box is fully insulated to keep your food fresh throughout the morning. It's also outfitted with a front pocket for utensils and a set of handles for easy transport.

Overall Take

Most AffordableWhen shopping on a budget, this economical lunch box is the way to go.

 We Also Like

Buringer Double-Zippered Leak Resistant Lunch Tote

Buringer

Double-Zippered Leak Resistant Lunch Boxes For Teen Girls

The upgraded Insulation-lined interior of this lunch tote really makes it stand out. It's constructed using only high-quality materials that won't tear, wear or leak. You can order the tote in one of 13 different colors and patterns.

Overall Take

Eco-Friendly ConstructionThis lunch box for teen girls is both lightweight and portable and outfitted with padded handles for added comfort when carrying.

 Great for Sharing

LOKASS Nylon Wide-Open Design Insulated Lunch Tote

LOKASS

Nylon Wide-Open Design Insulated Lunch Boxes For Teen Girls

The bag is extremely durable and has a 22-pound weight capacity for storing all the meals and snacks you need for the day. Commuters will also appreciate the two mesh side pockets, which are able to hold both water bottles and soda cans.

Overall Take

Versatile OptionsKeep food fresh and warm for up to 6.5 hours with this lunch box for teen girls.

Buying Guide

Ever hear your stomach yearning for lunch around noon? If you have a good lunch box, then you know your next meal is just a few steps away. A lunch box is a hand-held container where students or workers keep their midday meal. It can be made out of plastic, fabric or metal, and has a convenient handle for carrying. Inside, there are compartments for food or space to put smaller containers. Some lunch boxes are insulated to keep food hot or cold until it’s time to eat. Some also have leak-proof qualities so you can avoid making a mess in your bag while transporting your lunch to its destination.

MORE: The Best Small Coolers

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There are many good reasons for bringing your lunch to work or school with you in a lunch box. One of the biggest advantages to taking your lunch in a lunch box is that it is often a much cheaper option than buying your lunch from a café or restaurant. A small salad or sandwich can easily set you back close to $10, especially if you add on a juice or soda and a side. However, if you pack your meal in a lunch box yourself, it likely costs around a quarter of that.

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Bringing your lunch to work or school is also a healthier choice than purchasing lunch. Most restaurant food has a lot more fat and salt than the food you cook at home. When bringing your own lunch, you’re more likely to add in extra servings of fruits and vegetables. You can also use up leftovers from dinner or breakfast so you reduce food waste at home. Plus, when you have a perfectly good lunch with you already, you’re less likely to go grab something unhealthy from the vending machine.

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MORE: The Best Bento Boxes for Work and School

What to Look For

  • When you’re on the hunt for a perfect lunch box, keep size top of mind. You want the lunch box to be big enough to take all of the food you need, but you also don’t want it to be too big so that it takes up extra room in your bag. You’ll also want to make sure that the lunch containers you use to keep your food in can fit inside the lunch box easily and right side up. If they have to be tiled, for example, you may end up with leaks.
  • Consider whether the lunch box comes with small containers for your sandwiches, fruits and veggies. You’ll also want to see if the lunch box has outer pockets where you can stash a water bottle or drink can.
  • Leakproof and spill-proof are key elements of a good lunch box. Make sure that the outer box will not leak through if something inside spills. This way, you can protect your clothes, bag, car and other things from your food.
  • An insulated lunch bag ensures your food stays at the right temperature. Some lunch boxes also come with ice packs that are designed to fit perfectly inside. This is a good choice if you like to make sure your food stays cold until lunchtime.
  • Opt for a lunch bag that has both hand-carry and shoulder straps. This gives you flexibility for how you want to hold your bag. Shoulder straps allow you to have free hands, while the hand-carry straps offer better maneuverability for getting in and out of your backpack.
  • Lunch boxes can get messy. Choose one that is easy to clean. Some cloth or soft lunch bags can go in the washing machine, while hard ones can go in the dishwasher. You can also wipe them down with a wet cloth on a daily basis to prevent any bacteria build-up.

More to Explore

At the beginning of the 19th century, working-class men used heavy-duty metal containers to carry their lunch to work. They often worked in hazardous conditions like quarries and mines, so needed a protective case for their food. Around 1880, school children began using metal tins for cookies or tobacco as their lunch containers. It wasn’t until 1935 that companies began manufacturing lunch boxes with bright colors and captivating images. Mickey Mouse was the first pop culture figure to grace the front of a lunch box.

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