Looking to start packing a healthy lunch to bring along wherever you go? After scouring the internet researching dozens of lunch boxes, we purchased 10 of the best and got down to business. We examined which can hold a proper temperature the longest and which can prevent leaky messes. We've evaluated the ease of cleaning and packing, and any additional features each one may have. We also determined the amount of food each contender can carry so that you can find an option to best suit your needs.We've tested many types of kitchen storage products to help keep your pantry staples and leftovers organized. If you're looking for some food storage containers to tuck in your lunch box, check out our reviews of the best mason jars, top-rated food storage bags, and our favorite food storage container sets to find something that fits your lunch box as well as your budget.
Our Top Picks
The YETI Daytrip Lunch Box won us over with its durable and easy-to-clean waterproof material, excellent temperature control, and leakproof storage. It has a rigid frame that is easy to pack and was one of only three lunch bags with a waterproof liner. In testing, it held cool and hot temperatures better than most in our fleet, with only the PackIt Freezable topping the YETI's performance. We found it easy to pack, and food was protected from getting crushed in transport. The lid has a magnetic closure and a sturdy, large zipper. This bag is made of durable materials and is robust enough to stand on its own when you carry it with one of the three handles on the outside.
We tested all the limitations and packed it full of food to take on the go. Even though the Yeti is largely leakproof, we found a bit of leakage at the zipper, which is its weak point. We also noted that the rigid design (which we liked for easy packing, cleaning, and protecting food from getting crushed) made the bag a little bulky compared to the softer designs that can squish down smaller depending on what's inside, thus sliding into packs easier. The YETI Daytrip is an excellent option for people who want good temperature regulation and need a durable, protective cooler for their lunch.
The HANGO Insulated Set of 2 is a great two-for-one deal. The set comes with one large and one small lunch bag. We found that the small bag performed better in testing temperature control, as the ratio of ice to space to keep cool was smaller. So when packing the large bag, throw in an extra ice pack. These bags have leakproof liners, are easy to wipe clean, and have an attractive contrasting color theme. The larger bag can fit a six-pack of cans, while the smaller can fit five. Overall this set performed well with a very simple design, and we think it will carry your lunch with minimal spills.
The HANGO set didn't score in our top three for insulation and temperature control; the larger bag would need a large ice pack to do the job. The smaller bag did okay in the temperature test, but the ice pack took up much of the usable space. In the leakproof test, the liner was leakproof, but this zipper didn't hold up to the liquid either. The HANGO is a simple design and has no extra pockets or compartments. It is a good choice for someone looking to carry a large or small lunch or looking for an affordable matching parent/child lunch bag set.
The PackIt Freezable Classic is insulated with a re-freezable gel inside the walls of the bag; the bag is the ice pack! You can pop this in your freezer overnight and have a lunch box that will keep your food cold all day. It kept yogurt at a steady temperature — within two degrees of the refrigerated temperature — for the six-hour testing period. The fabric and construction of the bag are soft, and the profile is sleek.
While the PackIt is fantastic at keeping a cold and stable temperature and is easy to wipe clean, the zipper and liner of the bag are not leakproof. When water was placed in the bag, it quickly soaked through the liner and outer fabric. The heavy reusable insulation made the bag slouchy and tricky to pack. The PackIt Freezable lunch bag is an excellent option for those concerned about food-safe temperatures and who need to keep their food cold all day.
The MAZFORCE Original Lunch Bag has a leakproof liner and average temperature control. The liner has no seams, so there are no weak points for leaking. It has an exterior zip pocket for extras like utensils or napkins and a drink mesh holder on the outside of the bag.
Though it has a seamless waterproof liner, the waterproof models with zippers were often prone to leaking at the zipper, and the Mazforce was no exception. The interior liner was also a little difficult to wipe down because it has no shape and is not sewn to the exterior frame of the bag.
The Lille Home Stackable Stainless was leakproof in our testing and managed warm and hot food well. It has three compartments that stack on each other, secured by threads that screw tight. It is built of plastic compartments lined with stainless steel, and when storing hot food, the insulated container is comfortable to touch and hold. We stacked curried lentils, rice, and a yogurt dish in the tiers and carried them around without leaks. It boasts a smart design for people who like to keep portions separate or bring different courses. It slides into an attractive felt case with a long, adjustable strap for carrying. Cleaning was straightforward; wash and let air dry in the dish rack.
Though we liked the design and the performance of the Lille Home Stackable set, it is best for warm or room temperature food, and in testing, it didn't keep hot food warm for very long — at four hours, the food was just above room temperature. We recommend pre-heating the thermos compartments with hot water before packing hot food to help the food stay warm longer. The containers are also not microwavable; the stackable design means that condensation from hot food (or food remnants) can attach to the bottom of each dish when you are unstacking them, as they are used as the lid to the container below. Be prepared with napkins.
The Black and Blum Stainless-Steel impressed with a completely leakproof design. The rubber seal on the lid and the vacuum valve on the lid ensure a very tight fit and leakproof security. The stainless steel divider is designed to fit snugly in the container and move from side to side so that you can adjust the size of the compartments. This model is made of food-safe stainless steel, is super easy to clean, comes with a rubber band to help secure the box, and also holds the included fork. We liked this sleek and simple design, as it is safe to just toss in your backpack for the day.
Though we enjoyed the function of the Black+Blum, it is not insulated and, therefore, not intended to keep food hot or cold. This box must be refrigerated to keep the contents cold. We also found in testing that the divider in the box can move around slightly, and is not sealed, so wet ingredients can leak into the other compartment. It is not meant to contain soup, but rather pasta, salad, or other food that won't leak into each other. Because of its small capacity, this box holds just enough for a lunch portion but no extras as a standard contender could. The Black+Blum is a good design for people packing daily lunches and who don't ever want to worry about leaks.
The To-Go Ware 3-Tier Stainless performed well with large capacity with its three tiers of food storage in food-safe stainless steel containers. We liked that it stores up to three separate food items in secure containers and is adjustable; the top container can be carried independently if a smaller profile is needed. In testing, this tiffin design's top tier/lid had a tight fit and was leakproof with water in it. We stacked curried lentils, rice, and a yogurt dish in it, just like we did with the Lille Stackable set, and experienced no food leaks. This design is as easy to clean as washing a dish.
The To-Go is not insulated, and when hot food is placed in it, the containers can be too hot to hold; good thing it has a handle on the top to carry it with. We also didn't love that the clasps that hold the tiers together for easy carrying do not detach from the box, so the bottom tier has long metal arms on it while eating out of it. Lastly, the top tier held water with no leaks, but the bottom two tiers do not have the same snug fit and leak water, so it's best to have thicker, drier food in those tiers. As with the Lille Stackables, the same warning of food on the bottom of the dishes upon unpacking still applies. This is an excellent option for folks who like to pack a variety of servings and flavors and who want a clean, food-safe stainless steel lunch container.
The LOKASS Insulated Lunch Tote is an attractive, large-capacity insulated tote. It, by far, held the most food; it held eight cans of sparkling water and had a mesh pouch on the side that fit a pint jar with a smoothie. The zipper pouch on the front was also the most spacious additional pocket in the test fleet.
The LOKASS is durable and offers a great carrying capacity. The drawback is that a bigger bag needs more ice packs to keep it cool. It also didn't perform as well in our tests as the competition. It is not the easiest to wipe clean because of its depth, and the liner is not waterproof. Be sure to secure any liquids before storing them for the day. Overall, we feel this model is best for transporting a bunch of food prep to the office refrigerator.
The BALORAY Lunch Tote is an attractive lunch tote lined with food-grade aluminum foil and comes in various colors and patterns. It has a unique shape that is eye-catching and simple. With an ice pack, the BALORAY stayed in the middle of the pack in temperature testing. It is a decent size and fits a six-pack of sparkling water cans.
The BALORAY is an impressive-looking accessory to tote your lunch to work. However, the liner is not leakproof. Despite the product description claiming otherwise, water leaked right through the liner and the canvas exterior during testing. Those who prefer style over a leakproof design will find this model a cute tote for carrying their lunch to the office or school.
The Fit and Fresh Insulated Kit is a great lunch kit if you are looking for a matching set. This kit has a water bottle and two food containers that click together and stack. This bag has a large capacity for whatever nourishment you may need to carry around.
We liked the Fit and Fresh set as a complete lunch kit, but it fell short on the leakproof test as it leaked through the liner and canvas exterior. The temperature regulation was the worst among those we tested, probably due to the lack of zip closure — the closure on this bag is a strap with a snap button. This is a good choice for someone looking to buy a convenient lunch kit with all the necessities to pack a daily lunch.
Why You Should Trust Us
We researched the market before selecting the ten lunch boxes in our lineup, then pitted them against each other in side-by-side tests. To measure temperature control, we placed an ice pack in each model along with a yogurt cup, measuring the temperature each hour to see which held the temperature best. We also tested the temperature with hot food and hot water. We then poured water into each model and tested the seams and lids for leaks. We assessed features like capacity, the types of food it could carry, and extra storage pockets.
Kristin Anderson, a food connoisseur who packs a lunch daily, spearheaded this review. To start testing, we researched over 40 contenders before purchasing the ten you see in our fleet. With all the lunch bags lined up, we tested things like temperature control, whether the bags were leakproof, capacity, and special features each possessed.
Analysis and Test Results
Whether you want a lunch box that can carry all of your food prep, keep your food at food-safe temperatures, or just a cute bag to take to the office, we have a recommendation for you. We analyzed and tested ten options side by side, both insulated and non-insulated. After a week of packing food and testing their functional qualities, we ranked each based on three metrics: temperature control, leakproof performance, and design (capacity, ease of cleaning, and unique features).
To measure each model's ability to maintain temperature, we put cold yogurt in each one and added an ice pack if the model allowed. We then measured the temperature each hour to track which one maintained temperatures the best. We used hot water and hot food to do a similar test. The PackIt Freezable Classic held hot and cold temperatures the best, as its freezable insulation kept yogurt at refrigerator temperatures. Though none of the models kept food piping hot, the PackIt Freezable, when not frozen, also proved to be a good insulator for warm food. The bottom line for warm food: if you want piping hot food, be prepared to reheat. Also performing well in this category was the YETI Daytrip, which kept the food well insulated for hours.
We then used hot water and hot food to do a similar test.
To see if each contender was leakproof, we put water in each one and waited to see if water leaked through the liner and the exterior. For the lunch containers like the stacking To-Go Ware Stainless Steel, the Lille Stackable Thermal Compartment, and the Black + Blum Stainless Steel, we placed water in each and put them on their side; we then rolled them around to see which ones might experience any leakage. The lunch boxes that hold up to the leakproof testing were the YETI Daytrip, the Maxforce Original Lunch Bag, the Lille Home Stackable Stainless Steel Thermal Compartments, HANGO Insulated Set of two, and the Black + Blum Stainless Steel. None of the zippers on the lunch bags are waterproof, so the YETI, Maxforce, and HANGO lunch boxes are good for protecting against small leaks; however, if you need a seal against liquid and want assurance your work bag or backpack will stay clean, go for the Black + Blum Stainless Steel or the Lille Home Stackable Thermal Compartments — nothing got past them in our leakproof testing.
For the lunch containers like the stacking To-Go Ware Stainless Steel, the Lille Stackable Thermal Compartment, and the Black + Blum Stainless Steel, we placed water in each and put them on their side, rolling them around to see if we could get them to leak.
To assess the design, we measured capacity by seeing how many cans of sparkling water each vessel would hold. We then evaluated each model's ease of cleaning and the features of each box and whether those features made it more effective or easier to use. Many of the lunch bags have a large capacity; the Baloray, Lokass, and Fit and Fresh insulated totes had the largest capacities and would be good options if you are a food prepper and want a bag that can help you transport your meals to the office. We also liked the Hango lunch bags for capacity, as they offered a large or small capacity depending on your daily needs (or the possibility to use both if you're a snacker).
The stainless steel Black + Blum and the Lille Home Stackable Compartments topped the list for ease of cleaning, as they are designed to be cleaned like a dish. Most models are trickier to clean and require more elbow grease. Stepping it up a little in the basic features, the YETI Daytrip had the best features of the lunch boxes with its rigid, easy-to-clean shape, waterproof lining, magnetic lid, and sturdy zipper.
Everyone has slightly different needs from a lunch box; whether you are a food prepper, like to carry leftovers, or prefer the traditional sandwich and snacks every day, there are hundreds of lunch box options for you. We hope our research and testing help you to choose the best lunch box in a saturated market.
— Kristin Anderson