The 10 Best Lunch Boxes for On-the-Go Meals

We rounded up lunch boxes suitable for both kids and adults, including our favorite pick: Built’s Gourmet Getaway Lunch Tote Bag.

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lunch boxes
Photo: Target

Having a durable lunch box for work and school lunches as well as road trips and outdoor picnics is a must. Sure, you could reach for a brown paper sack or a plastic grocery bag, but reusable lunch boxes are a much more sustainable and functional way to pack daily meals. They keep foods cold (or hot) for hours and make sure they are secure while traveling from place to place.

Our roundup features lunch boxes recommended by both our editors and Allrecipes Allstars, a group of trusted home cooks. We chose them based on our own hands-on experience and after determining the most important qualities of lunch boxes, which include durability, capacity, and portability. Below are the best lunch boxes, with the Built Gourmet Getaway Lunch Tote Bagas our winner for many reasons, such as its affordability and superior insulation.

Our Favorites

Best Overall: Built Gourmet Getaway Lunch Tote Bag

Best Lunch Boxes

Also available at The Container Store.

Why It's Great

  • Affordable
  • Features insulating material
  • Available in several colors
  • Machine washable

Grain of Salt

  • Doesn't have a pocket

Built's Gourmet Getaway Lunch Tote Bag is our best overall pick because it's easy to clean, lightweight, and affordable. It's made with neoprene that's both machine washable and insulating, keeping food cold or hot for four hours. All of these features, plus its wide variety of color options, makes it a great choice for all ages.

The material provides the perfect amount of stretch and structure, so you can fit different sizes of containers but not have to worry about them tipping over. It's also durable and water resistant, meaning it can withstand years of use. Complete with comfortable handles and a zipper, this lunch box has (almost) everything you need. The only con is that it doesn't feature any pockets to carry a water bottle or phone.

The Details: Measures 11.02 x 6.69 x 10.63 inches; made with neoprene; machine washable

Best Value: Koccido Bento Box Lunch Box Kit


Why It's Great

  • Includes containers and a bag
  • Airtight, leakproof bento boxes
  • Microwave safe

Grain of Salt

  • Containers might be too small for some meals

If you need something to take to work, this kit is a great value. It includes three stackable bento boxes, an insulated bag, a soup cup, two reusable snack bags, and a fork and a spoon. This allows you to not only pack lunch but also breakfast and snacks for long days in the office.

The bento boxes are made of BPA-free, food-grade plastic and feature silicone sealing to prevent your food from overflowing when stacking, as well as a lid with a long latch to keep the containers secure. They are microwave and dishwasher safe for simple heating and cleaning. The best part about this kit is that it comes with an insulated bag in which to carry the containers. The bag has handles and a front pocket for convenience during transport, and it can hold other containers you already have.

"I bought this a month ago and love it," Allstar Melanie Giovenzana says. "I wash it in the dishwasher and it doesn't warp, plus it's slim, stackable, leakproof, and has no harmful chemicals."

The Details: Measures 6.9 x 3 x 4.3 inches (bento boxes); made with BPA-free, food-grade polypropylene plastic material; containers are dishwasher safe

best lunch boxes
AllRecipes / Melanie Giovenzana

Best for Kids: Kinsho Bento Box Lunch Boxes


Why It's Great

  • Comes with three bento boxes
  • Features multiple compartments
  • Secure side latches

Grain of Salt

  • Hard to fit whole sandwiches

If you're looking for a smaller bento lunch box for kids, look no further than this set of three containers. "I bought this three-pack set for my 8-year-old daughter's school lunches, and we love them," Allstar Mary Burns says. "They are great quality, durable, and easy for her small hands to open and close."

Each box features one main and three snack-size compartments that are individually sealed with silicone for maximum freshness and security. The bento boxes are durable, leakproof, and perfectly portioned for kids. Whether you pack multiple school lunches each day or week, this set is a no brainer.

The bento boxes have four side latches that snap shut to prevent spills. While the bottom part is dishwasher safe, the lid needs to be hand washed in order for the seal to maintain performance. It doesn't come with a carrying handle, so you might want to get your child a carrying tote for easy transportation.

"The only negative is that it's hard to fit a whole sandwich without cutting it," Burns says, "but we don't mind because she likes shaped sandwiches anyway."

The Details: Measures 1.75 x 9 x 6.75 inches; made with BPA-free plastic and silicone; lid is hand wash only

Best Stackable: Bentgo Classic All-in-One Stackable Lunch Box


Also available at Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Why It's Great

  • Stackable, compact design
  • Dishwasher and microwave safe
  • Keeps entrée and sides separate

Grain of Salt

  • Not leakproof—store upright

Bentgo Classic All-in-One Stackable Lunch Box is our favorite stackable bento box option because of its functional design. It includes a bottom tray for your entrée, a middle compartment that doubles as a divider and a utensil holder, a top compartment with two sections for snacks or side dishes, and then a lid and a sealing strap to keep everything together. The bundled structure provides a nice amount of room for reasonable lunch portions, keeps foods separate for easy heating, and makes it compact to carry from place to place.

"As a busy working mom, I appreciate this type of lunch box because of its different compartments that allow me to meal prep healthy foods and snacks," Allstar Jacolyn Dandreano says. "If I have a long day in the office, the different meals or dishes will stay separate. I like that it's dishwasher and microwave safe, as it makes it easy to use and clean."

This bento box is made with food-grade, BPA-free plastic, and, as Jacolyn says, all the parts besides the center divider can be put in the dishwasher and microwave. It comes in several different colors, so you can choose one that suits your style. It's important to note that this lunch box is not leakproof, which means it needs to sit upright while traveling.

The Details: Measures 7.12 x 4.75 x 3.85 inches; made with BPA-free plastic; dishwasher safe except for center divider

Related: The Best Bento Boxes for Super Organized Lunches and Snacks

Best Insulated: L.L.Bean Flip-Top Lunch Box


Why It's Great

  • Fully insulated
  • Features two compartments
  • Includes a shoulder strap

Grain of Salt

  • White liner can show stains

You can't go wrong with this classic L.L.Bean Flip-Top Lunch Box. It's fully insulated, offers plenty of room for food, drinks, and an ice pack, and it has a detachable shoulder strap and short top handle for fuss-free transport. Between insulation and an additional ice pack (not included), the lunch box keeps your meal cold.

"We've been using LL Bean bags for years," Allstar Patti Weiss says. "They hold up, keep things cold for six to seven hours (with an ice pack), and are easy to wash."

The top compartment offers enough space to store two 16-ounce water bottles, and the bottom compartment provides plenty of room for sandwiches, sides, and containers. The two compartments are separated by a middle section that has a mesh pocket for an ice pack, and they have their own zippers. It comes in a few different colors, and, for an additional charge, you can add a monogram for a personalized touch.

The Details: Measures 7 x 9 x 5 inches; made with polyester; wipe clean

Best Electric: A-1ux Electric Lunch Box

lunch box

Also available at Sears.

Why It's Great

  • Heats evenly
  • Comes with an insulated bag
  • Lifetime guarantee

Grain of Salt

  • Bulky

If you don't have access to a microwave or want to skip the line, this electric lunch box is an excellent choice for hot lunches at work. It comes with an electric lunch box, a plastic container, an insulated bag, a stainless steel fork and spoon, and two charging cables for home and car use.

The electric lunch box features a stainless steel tray that heats food evenly. To warm up your food, simply plug in the cable into the electric lunch box and then let it heat up your food for about 30 minutes. The results taste just as fresh as the first time you made the recipe. And it's not just limited to hot food: If you want to pack a salad, you can remove the stainless steel tray and add your lettuce and toppings to the container. Hesitant to try one? This model comes with a lifetime warranty.

The Details: Measures 9.3 x 6.9 x 6.9 inches; made with stainless steel and plastic; hand wash only

Best Freezable: PackIt Lunch Bag

lunch box
Container Store

Also available at Amazon and Target.

Why It's Great

  • Food stays cold all day long
  • Durable construction
  • Compact

Grain of Salt

  • Slightly small for adults

PackIt's freezable lunch box features non-toxic freezable gel inside each wall so your food stays cool for up to 10 hours—no ice pack required. It's perfect for kids who store their lunch box in their cubby, and it's Commerce Editorial Director Taysha Murtaugh's go-to lunch box brand for the office.

"Not only does my lunch stay cold on my commute, but it also means I don't have to fight for fridge space at the office," she says. "My lunch stays cool at my desk."

How does it work? On the night before, freeze the entire bag (without the food in it) for at least 12 hours to get the gel frozen solid. Then take it out and pack it up; all day, the frozen walls and zip-top closure keep your food chilled, which allows you to bring a variety of foods. The lunch box is made with a PVC-, BPA-, phthalate-, and lead-free material that's easy to wipe down after use. It's also a great bag to carry drinks in for sports events or even to use as a baby bottle bag.

The Details: Measures 10.5 x 8.75 x 6.3 inches; made with polyester; wipe clean

Best Large Capacity: Qilmy Insulated Lunch Tote Bag

lunch box

Why It's Great

  • Lots of room for meals and snacks
  • Effective insulation
  • Available in a variety of prints

Grain of Salt

  • Hard to fit into a backpack

This large lunch box works well for people that need to bring multiple meals and snacks to work, on road trips, and for outdoor picnics. It has an eco-friendly aluminum foil lining that keeps food cold or warm for up to six hours, and it provides enough space to store plenty of food and beverages.

"I LOVE this bag," Allstar Jennifer Levin says. "It's insulated, large enough to carry three separate containers if needed, and holds WAY more than it appears to. I've received so many compliments on it!"

The lunch box is equipped with two compartments, one main compartment, and one front pocket, as well as a shoulder strap and carrying handles. The exterior is made of Oxford cloth, which is extremely durable and can withstand wet conditions, and comes in a variety of fun prints. Overall, this option is suitable for so much more than just weekday lunches.

The Details: Measures 11.4 x 7.1 x 9.5 inches; made with Oxford cloth and aluminum foil; wipe clean

Best Stainless Steel: Lille Home Stainless Steel Food Containers

lunch box

Why It's Great

  • Includes three containers
  • Leakproof, airtight lids
  • Fit inside one another when not in use
  • Great for portion control

Grain of Salt

  • Not insulated
  • Not dishwasher or microwave safe

This stainless steel lunch box set includes three different sizes of containers for meals and snacks at home or on the go. Because the containers aren't microwave safe, we recommend using them for cold and non-perishable foods. However, if you want to pack food that requires heating, you can bring a microwavable plate or bowl.

The large container has a 1.4-liter capacity; the medium-sized container has a 900-milliliter capacity; and the small container has a 470-milliliter capacity. Each one comes with an airtight lid that prevents leaks and maintains freshness. After use, you can hand wash the containers and then store them inside one another for easy storage.

The Details: Measures 7.6 x 5.8 x 3.1 inches (large box), 6.9 x 5 x 2.5 inches (medium box), 6.2 x 4.2 x 1.9 inches (small box); made with stainless steel and plastic; hand wash only

Best for Salads: Bentgo Salad Container

lunch box
Bed Bath & Beyond

Also available at Target and Amazon.

Why It's Great

  • Affordable
  • Large capacity
  • Separates ingredients
  • Stylish design

Grain of Salt

  • Reported issues with the dressing container's lid

Thought bringing a salad to work was too difficult? Think again. Bentgo exceeded our expectations with this smartly designed salad container, providing a huge bowl for your lettuce as well as a tray with four compartments for toppings and dressings. In other words, no pre-dressed soggy salads here.

The salad bowl has a 54-ounce capacity, which means it can hold up to 4 cups of lettuce. Once you add your greens, simply put your toppings and dressing in the middle tray and place it on top of the bowl. Finally, secure the lid with its locking clips, and you're good to go. Best of all, you can clean it in the dishwasher and then use it again the next day.

The Details: Measures 4.13 x 7.25 x 7.25 inches; made with BPA-free plastic; dishwasher safe

Our Takeaway

We nominated the Built Gourmet Getaway Lunch Tote Bag as our best overall pick because it's insulating and machine washable. It's also suitable for all ages, as it's lightweight and can fit different amounts of food.

How to Pick the Right Lunch Box


There are different styles of lunch boxes to choose from, including classic ones with a carrying handle, large sizes with a shoulder strap, and bento boxes with multiple compartments. All styles are suitable for kids and adults, but each one serves a different purpose. Bento boxes are great for young children who eat smaller portion sizes and have multiple side dishes for proper nutrition as well as adults who want to eat a variety of foods without them touching each other. Classic lunch bags are typically insulated and have one to three compartments with zipper closure. They vary in size, color, and price, so you can find one that fits your needs.


It's important to consider the lunch box's material. Some are easier to clean and use, while others are designed to last for a long time. For containers, plastic ones are usually dishwasher and microwave safe, while stainless steel models are more durable but require hand washing and can't go in the microwave. As for lunch bags, they typically feature some sort of cloth fabric on the exterior and then plastic, aluminum, or vinyl lining on the interior.

Additional Features

In addition to insulation, you'll want to consider how many pockets or compartments the lunch box includes and what type of handle it has (or doesn't have) for transportation. Look for special pockets for drinks, ice packs, and utensils. Some lunch bags and totes have a short top handle and shoulder strap, so you can carry it multiple ways. Bento boxes usually don't have handles, but there are some options that come with lunch bags.

Common Questions

What is the best insulation for a lunch box?

Insulated lunch boxes are typically made with a plastic, aluminum, or vinyl lining. All of these materials are great for preserving your food's temperature, but it's always a good idea to add an ice pack when packing cold items.

What is a bento box?

The word "bento" originates from the Southern Song Chinese slang term that means convenient, so it's no wonder lunch containers with separate compartments are called bento boxes. You might have also seen bento boxes referenced on restaurant menus for single-portioned meals usually featuring rice, meat or seafood, and vegetables.

Why Take Our Word For It?

Allrecipes is a community-driven food brand that shares recipes, product recommendations, and cooking tips with millions of people around the world. Our list of the best lunch boxes was determined by our Allstars' and editors' hands-on experience and research. Each lunch box was evaluated on its functionality, durability, capacity, and portability.

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