The world's most in-depth and scientific product reviews

Best Lunch Box of 2021

Packed Lunch Boxes
Credit: Kristin Anderson
By Kristin Anderson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 7, 2021
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
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 for 2021, 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.

1

Best Overall Lunch Box


YETI Daytrip Lunch Box


YETI Daytrip Lunch Box
Editors' Choice Award
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$79.98
at Amazon
See It

Insulated?: No | Leakproof?: Yes
Good temperature control
Leakproof liner
High-quality construction
Easy to clean
Expensive
A little bulky

The YETI Daytrip has excellent temperature control and leakproof storage. It won us over with its durable, easy to clean, waterproof material. 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 performance of the YETI. We also liked that it has a soft material that holds a rigid shape, making it easy for packing, cleaning, and protecting food 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. We found that even though it's leakproof, it did leak at the zipper, which is its weak point. We also noted that the rigid design we liked (for easy packing, cleaning, and protecting food from getting crushed) also made the bag a little bulky compared to the softer designs that can squish down and slide into packs. The YETI Daytrip is an excellent option for people who want good temperature regulation and need a durable, protective cooler for their lunch.

Pictured here is a packed YETI; this was our first choice in the...
Pictured here is a packed YETI; this was our first choice in the entire fleet.
Credit: Kristin Anderson

2

Excellent Food Safe Option


PackIt Freezable Classic


PackIt Freezable Classic
Top Pick Award
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$19.99
at Amazon
See It

Insulated?: Yes | Leakproof?: No
Best temperature control
Sleek and soft design
Not leakproof
Slouchy design

The PackIt Freezable 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 liner of the bag is not leakproof, and neither is the zipper; when water was placed in the bag, it quickly soaked through the liner and outer fabric. We also found that 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 PackIt Freezable has incredible temperature control.
The PackIt Freezable has incredible temperature control.
Credit: Kristin Anderson

3

Great Reusable Model with Extras


MAZFORCE Original Lunch Bag


MAZFORCE Original Lunch Bag
Top Pick Award
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$13.99
at Amazon
See It

Insulated?: Yes | Leakproof?: Yes
Waterproof liner
Sleek design
Average temperature control
A little difficult to clean

The Mazforce Original 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 the Mazforce has a seamless waterproof liner, we ran into the same issue as we did with the other waterproof options; the waterproof models with zippers were often prone to leaking at the zipper. The interior liner was a little difficult to wipe down because it has no shape and is not sewn to the exterior frame of the bag.

The Mazforce has a seamless liner and is leakproof.
The Mazforce has a seamless liner and is leakproof.
Credit: Kristin Anderson

4

Great Thermos Style


Lille Home Stackable Stainless


Lille Home Stackable Stainless
Top Pick Award
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$28.95
at Amazon
See It

Insulated?: Yes| Leakproof?: Yes
Leakproof
Easy to clean
Adjustable size
Thermal qualities
Not microwaveable

The Lille Home Stackable Thermal Compartment was leakproof in our testing and managed warm and hot food well. It has three compartments that stack on top of 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 with no leaks. It boasts a smart design for people who like to keep portions separate or bring different courses. It comes with an attractive felt case that it slides into, with a long, adjustable strap for carrying. Cleaning was straightforward; just 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, 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 Lille Stackable Thermal Compartment is built to stack all three...
The Lille Stackable Thermal Compartment is built to stack all three compartments and comes with a felt carrying case.
Credit: Kristin Anderson

5

Best Bang for the Buck


HANGO Insulated Set of 2


HANGO Insulated Set of 2
Best Buy Award
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$16.99
at Amazon
See It

Insulated?: Yes| Leakproof?: Yes
Great price
Leakproof liner
Large or small carrying capacity
Not the best temperature control

The Hango is a great two for one deal. The set comes with one large and one small lunch bag. In testing temperature control, we found that the small bag performed better, 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 cans. Overall this set performed well with a very simple design, and we think it will do the job of carrying 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 HANGO Insulated comes in a set of two, which offers two...
The HANGO Insulated comes in a set of two, which offers two different sized options for your lunch.
Credit: Kristin Anderson

6

Best Stainless Steel Option


Black and Blum Stainless-Steel


Black and Blum Stainless-Steel
Top Pick Award
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$34.95
at Amazon
See It

Insulated?: No | Leakproof?: Yes
Sleek design
Completely leakproof
Food safe stainless steel
Easy to clean
Not insulated
Small capacity

The Black+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 you can adjust the size of the compartments. This model is made of food-safe stainless steel, is super easy to clean, and 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 is not intended to keep food hot or cold. So if it is important that the contents stay cold, it will need to be refrigerated. 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 a soup and salad, rather pasta and 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 Black+Blum Lunch Box comes with an adjustable divider and a...
The Black+Blum Lunch Box comes with an adjustable divider and a stainless steel fork.
Credit: Kristin Anderson

7

Good Stainless Steel Option


To-Go Ware 3-Tier Stainless


To-Go Ware 3-Tier Stainless
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$24.99
at Amazon
See It

Insulated?: No | Leakproof?: No
Food safe stainless steel
Adjustable size
Easy to clean
Not insulated
Not leakproof

The To-Go Ware 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 that it is adjustable; the top container can be carried on its own if a smaller profile is needed. In testing, the top tier/lid of this tiffin design 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 also easy to clean, as easy 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 To-Go Ware stainless steel model set offers three food safe...
The To-Go Ware stainless steel model set offers three food safe compartments.
Credit: Kristin Anderson

8

A Great Lunch Bag for the Office


LOKASS Insulated Lunch Tote


LOKASS Insulated Lunch Tote
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$18.99
at Amazon
See It

Insulated?: Yes | Leakproof?: No
Large capacity
Attractive
Not leakproof
Tricky to clean

The Lokass Insulated Lunch Tote is an attractive and large capacity insulated tote. It by far held the most food; it held eight cans of sparkling water and has 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 testing of all models.

This bag was durable in testing and had a great carrying capacity, but it takes a lot of ice packs to keep a bag this big cool. In testing, it didn't perform as well as others. Because it is so deep, it is also not the easiest to wipe clean. The liner of this bag is not waterproof, so secure any liquids before storing them for the day. This bag would be great to carry a bunch of food prep to the office to put in the refrigerator.

The Lokass has the largest capacity of all the lunch bags, making it...
The Lokass has the largest capacity of all the lunch bags, making it great for food preppers or snackers.
Credit: Kristin Anderson

9

Another Good One for the Office


BALORAY Lunch Tote


BALORAY Lunch Tote
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$13.99
at Amazon
See It

Insulated?: Yes | Leakproof?: No
Attractive color options
Average temperature regulation
Not Leakproof

The BALORAY Lunch Tote is an attractive lunch tote lined with food-grade aluminum foil; it also comes in an array of 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 in, but it promised in the product description that it had a leakproof liner, and when tested, the water leaked right through the liner and the canvas exterior. This is an excellent option for someone looking for a cute tote to carry their lunch to the office or school.

The Baloray offered average results on the testing metrics of...
The Baloray offered average results on the testing metrics of capacity and temperature control.
Credit: Kristin Anderson

10

Good Matching Lunch Set


Fit and Fresh Insulated Kit


Fit and Fresh Insulated Kit
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$29.99
at Amazon
See It

Insulated?: Yes | Leakproof?: No
Comes in many colors and patterns
Comes with water bottle and Tupperware
Large capacity
Not good temperature regulation
Not leakproof

The Fit and Fresh Set is a great lunch kit if you are looking for a matching set. This kit comes with 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 leaking through the liner and canvas exterior. The temperature regulation was the worst of the tested contenders; this may be partially because the bag has no zip closure; just a strap that has a snap button to hold the top of the bag closed. This is a good choice for someone looking to buy a convenient lunch kit that comes with all the necessities to pack a daily lunch.

The Fit and Fresh comes with two containers, a water bottle, and an...
The Fit and Fresh comes with two containers, a water bottle, and an ice pack.
Credit: Kristin Anderson

Why You Should Trust Us


Kristin Anderson, a food connoisseur who packs a lunch daily, spearheaded this review. To start our testing, we researched over 40 contenders before purchasing the 10 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.

To measure temperature control, we placed an ice pack in each model and placed a yogurt cup in with the ice; we measured 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 if the seams and lids would leak. We then looked at features like capacity, the types of food it could carry, and extra storage pockets.

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, unique features).

Temperature Control


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 its temperature the best. We used hot water and hot food to do a similar test. The PackIt Freezable Classic held temperature the best, hot and cold, as its freezable insulation kept yogurt at refrigerator temperatures. Though none of the models kept food piping hot, the PackIt Freezable, when not frozen, proved to be a good insulator for warm food as well. The bottom line for warm food is, if you want piping hot food, be prepared to reheat. Also performing well in this category was the YETI Daytrip, which kept food well insulated for hours.

PIctured here is our temperature control test.
PIctured here is our temperature control test.
Credit: Kristin Anderson

We then used hot water and hot food to do a similar test.

Here we're measuring the hot food temperatures, using the To-Go Ware...
Here we're measuring the hot food temperatures, using the To-Go Ware stainless steel.
Credit: Kristin Anderson

Leakproof Abilities


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 held 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.

Here we're pouring water in the liner of each model to determine if...
Here we're pouring water in the liner of each model to determine if it is leakproof or not.
Credit: Kristin Anderson

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.

The Lokass Lunch Tote liner is not leakproof...
The Lokass Lunch Tote liner is not leakproof...
Credit: Kristin Anderson

Design


While looking at the design, we looked at the capacity and measured it by putting as many cans of sparkling water as we could in each of the vessels. We then looked at the ease of cleaning each model; we also evaluated the features of each box, and if the 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 larger Hango could hold a six pack of sparkling water (or...
The larger Hango could hold a six pack of sparkling water (or your preferred 12 ounce canned beverage).
Credit: Kristin Anderson

As far as easy to clean lunch boxes, the stainless steel Black + Blum and the Lille Home Stackable Compartments were at the top of that list, 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.

The Lokass has a large, secure drink holder on the side.
The Lokass has a large, secure drink holder on the side.
Credit: Kristin Anderson

Conclusion


Everyone has different needs in 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 that our research and testing helps you narrow down the options in a market so saturated, and you're able to choose the best lunch box for your lifestyle.

Kristin Anderson